Choosing A Host For Your WordPress Sites

Choosing a host for a WordPress site or sites is based on a few primary considerations: speed, security, reliability, customer service and, of course, the relative cost of the service. The nature of your work, the number of sites you host, the level of service you provide to clients and the rates you charge will all dictate how you weigh each of these features. Let’s have a look at why each of these factors is so important to host a WordPress site.

Technical Hosting Requirements For WordPress

WP Dev Shed advises on the latest requirements for running WordPress, which most hosts do support:

Thankfully WordPress has very simple requirements and will run on just about any standard linux based hosting service. Indeed a hosting company would be mad not to support WordPress given it is used on around 20% of all websites. That said, it pays to be aware of the specific requirements, namely: PHP version 5.2.4 (or higher) and MySQL version 5.9 (or higher).

Hosting And Speed

In today’s demanding world, speed is essential. And, websites that do not load quickly have high bounce rates, high shopping cart abandonment rates and see more customers defecting to their competition. It is just not competitive to host on a platform that does not deliver speed.

The easiest way to ensure you have the fastest load time in your industry is to research all your industry competitors and do competitive site load tests. Establish which site is loading the fastest and find out where it is hosted. Host your site there. Remember also that you will need to test regularly and ensure that your host is offering you the best industry platform for your websites.

Security Needs And WordPress

Your host should offer you advanced security options, which can help to minimize the number of malicious attacks carried out. You may be able to ask for a firewall or additional spam filters to be applied to keep your websites as clean as possible. Security is of paramount importance and WordPress does take security breaches very seriously so if you do encounter a problem, your host should offer you a response on the same level as WordPress itself.

The first, and most common case of security breach, occurs when there is a violation of a password and it is hacked. More often than not this practice is carried out by spam bot software that send continuous log in attempts through the log in page until it eventually gets a match. Some hosts can provide additional software, which will block the IP address of any device that sends continual unsuccessful attempts at logging in. Speak to your host about added security features at server level.

WordPress talks about the second instance of security breach and how you and your host can protect you against attacks:

The second case is when a hack happens at the file system level of a particular shared web host’s server. Since the file system is compromised, files can be modified and Javascript or PHP injections are common and this can affect any software running on the server; Drupal, Joomla, or WordPress! Usually it’s something the individual hosting provider can prevent by increasing security on their shared file systems and servers.

WordPress does offer additional help and support in terms of security and responds promptly to requests. There is additional information and plenty of resources contained on the forums as well.

With open source web software there comes the responsibility of maintaining the website, from a number of different perspectives. This includes the security elements. When WordPress, other software, apps and plug ins go through updates and they are not done, the security becomes compromised. Doing regular updates can help to protect you against vulnerabilities.

Of course, you will also need to ensure you have a completely secure connection with which to access your website. If not, this could also present an area of vulnerability.

And, because the possibility of a hack is always present, regular back ups are also essential. In the unlikely event that your site is hacked, you do need to know that you can restore and retrieve the most recent version of what you had online. If you cannot arrange to do your own back ups, make sure they are included in your hosting package. It’s like insurance for your website, and without it, there is no guarantee that you will always have access to your website.

Customer Service And Support

Technology is now a very well integrated part of our lives and IT is not something reserved for the dark, back room of the office building. If you have a problem or need assistance your hosting provider needs to be able to deal with it in real time, and with minimal inconvenience to you. Some providers are selling their services based on guaranteed uptime, and response time based SLAs, so if technology is the cornerstone of your business, it may be worth paying for an advanced level of service. If you want to offer your clients a service that is above average, pick a hosting provider that is known for the level of their customer service and attention.

Remember: You Get What You Pay For

Cloud Tweaks provides this balanced feedback on picking a suitable host:

It is recommended that you thoroughly research your hosting options before actually placing your website online. You should research hosting providers to determine which ones have the lowest frequency of attacks. But having the lowest number of attacks does not necessarily mean the host is more secure, it might just not be popular. Find the least vulnerable provider by conducting online searches.

If you want to go for a cheap option, you are probably going to be cutting corners somewhere when it comes to quality, and that could very well be in the security department. While the cost is one factor, that most people do base buying decisions on, the cost should not be the reason you pick a provider.