WordPress hosting/Web hosting service-providers are a dime a dozen but you get what you pay for. Many businesses or sites that are just getting started opt for cheap hosting and/or something that seems to bundle a lot of “useful” features (cPanel, free WordPress themes, 1- click install, free e-mail) but this often ends up causing more headaches than it benefits those customers.
Recently I have helped an agency client migrate from a top-tier plan with a managed cloud-hosting provider to a dedicated plan at WP Engine. While the services of the previous provider somewhat compared to WP Engine as far as specifications go and was only a third of the price, the execution of those services left a lot to be desired. Real-world performance, support-response, support-quality, up-time/reliability, and ease-of-use of pricier providers compared to cheaper offerings shows it’s value right away.
Once the migration was complete there was no denying the the speed and performance of improvement of the 40+ sites. These sites no longer experienced intermittent down-time or slowness and if there were any issues, the support-team at WP Engine was quick to let us know and assist. While my client saved money up-front on hosting-costs with the previous provider, the amount of support-time spent communicating/troubleshooting/resolving issues (that ultimately were a result of the server itself) quickly ate up those “savings.”
So, what should you look for when choosing a web host? Well, let me share my criteria with you–
When helping clients decide on what hosting provider fits their needs it’s helpful to have a check-list of needs and features and find solutions to check those boxes. With the majority of my clients, that list looks like this:
- WordPress – some WordPress Hosting/web hosting providers specialize in WordPress (Kinsta and WP Engine are popular ones), others just support or have WordPress-hosting as part of their offerings.
- Backups – a robust backup system can be part of your hosting or you can pay for a third-party service.
- Reliability – does the potential web host have a good reputation for up-time and reliability? What about support?
- Security – does the web host you’re considering have a good reputation for staying up-to-date on security standards and best-practices?
- Speed – are you able to procure a server that will perform well and within your budget?
Apart from the host itself there are other helpful tools that I employ when possible:
- CloudFlare – has proven to be a valuable time-saver when it comes to DNS management. Being able to manage client’s DNS needs in one easy-to-use interface makes life easy. The caching, additional security-layer, protection from DoS/DDoS attacks and other malicious attempts, as well as page-rules are my most commonly-used features. My favorite thing about it is when you enter a domain you want to manage, it pulls all of the existing DNS records automatically– from there, all you have to do is point that domain to CloudFlare’s name-servers and voila, you’re all set.
- ManageWP – provides many general services for WordPress site management such as: site-monitoring, backups, plug-in/theme/WordPress updates, SEO/traffic reporting, and more. This tool has proven to be useful for managing a large amount of WordPress sites from one interface. Their placing plans allow you to purchase a package or choose services a-la-carte for very little money per site.
If your hosting-infrastructure is falling short these suggestions will help you determine where some changes may need to be made. In the end, everyone’s needs and preferences are going to be different. If you have any questions about your current set-up and want to chat, feel free to drop me a line at: contact @ charleskhoward.com.