All hosts are NOT created equal. Over the years of using WordPress with an ever-increasing client base and even a client with over 250,000 unique visitors per month with 300GB of bandwidth, I’ve systematically jumped from one host to a better host several times. It would be hard to beat the hosting plan I have now — for all of my clients — for any price.
Types of Hosting
Google “WordPress hosting” and you’ll see results that span all sorts of price ranges and technical specs. You need a document to cut through the noise and help you choose the right hosting for your sites. This is that document. You are welcome to create your own account with the information provided at the end or contact me using the form at the end to migrate you to my (highly upgraded) account with dedicated hardware that you can’t get without great expense.
Let’s start with the 4 basic types of hosting accounts to choose from:
- Shared Hosting
- VPS (Virtual Private Server)
- Dedicated Hosting
- Managed Hosting
Regardless of type, here are 6 major factors to consider when considering a host:
Let’s dig into the 4 types of hosting and look at these 6 factors so you can make an informed decision that is best for you.
Shared hosting is a common hosting solution. Its most compelling feature is price.
Shared hosting is cheap. For less than $10/mo you share a single server’s resources with a few hundred other small sites. If price is the most important factor, shared hosting is the way to go.
The downsides are that pages will take several seconds to load, and you’ll be responsible for keeping your site secure and updated from hackers and malware. And if you get a spike in traffic because your blog goes viral, there is a high risk that the site may crash.
Something that has happened to about 10%-20% of my clients on shared hosting each year is that someone on their server has hogged all of the resources and affected my clients or through hacking the entire server, someone managed to install a script on my clients’ WP install that flagged it for being taken offline until an entire list of demands from the host have been met.
I’ve personally held shared hosting accounts with Bluehost, Hostgator, and Mediatemple all the way up to $225/mo.
The problem of being taken offline or blacklisted by Google or McAfee results in a $250-$400+ invoice for my services – more if I have to drop everything to bring them back online.
Virtual Private Server
A VPS gives you more control over your site for development, along with more server resources, since you’re only sharing the server with a few other sites and not hundreds. A VPS account can handle higher loads of traffic than a shared hosting account, too.
You’ll pay a bit more money for a VPS, $20-$100+ (depending on the storage) for the extra control and resources. The server will be pretty beefy, so it can handle some significant traffic, however, scalability is limited to that server. Once the server runs out of processing power, your site’s performance will drop.
Because you’ve got more control over the server, you’re responsible for your own security measures to prevent hacking and often responsible for bring it back online.
This is the solution you’ll want if you need absolute control over all the technical aspects of hosting your sites. But you, or your SysAdmin better know the difference between Apache and Nginx, and being familiar with object caching. They are often empty boxes and need everything from the operating system, firewall, and all caching and backup systems installed “just-so” to begin to resemble a VPS setup.
Pricing generally starts at $250/mo for a dedicated server — I recently priced out a server comparable to my current setup to be $908/mo without automatic daily backups or an account manager providing priority support.
Managed WordPress Hosting
This elite breed of hosting is the top of the line for speed and scalability, and it also assumes that your site is running on WordPress. That’s a safe assumption, since about 20% of the Internet is built on WordPress. Managed WordPress hosting means that a company like WP Engine takes care of all the technical details of the hosting and makes sure that your WordPress site is served quickly, usually under a second, and that speed scales with high traffic loads. So if (and when!) you get featured on Digg, Lifehacker, or Drudge Report, you’ll be able to handle all the traffic.
WP Engine will also manage the security for you, and automatically update WordPress when the latest version is released. Knowing that your site is being cared for by WordPress hosting specialists means that you don’t have to worry about hackers or security.
WP Engine even guarantees their security. No other managed host has the guarantee.
Sign up now or contact me if you’d rather not mess with migrating or setting up on a new host.