WordPress runs best on specialist website hosting.
We know that selecting the right hosting for your WordPress website can be a difficult choice.
With hosting options ranging from a few pence-per-week to hundreds of pounds a month, it can seem like an impossible decision to make. We feel your pain, so below are details about what hosting we use, and why we think it’s a great solution.
Let’s start with the basics.
What makes great WordPress hosting.
There are several must-haves when it comes to hosting your WordPress site.
- A fast server
- The ability to take regular back-ups (when you need to)
- A staging area
- Great support
- 99.9% uptime
Let’s look at these in more detail.
1. You need a fast server.
Important point. Google does not reward your website for being fast. It simply penalises it for being slow.
If your server is slow, then your website will be slow. Period.
Hosting your site on a shared server with 100s of other sites increases the chances of your site being sluggish.
The fewer sites hosted on your server, the faster your server (and site) will be.
The general rule-of-thumb here is that the cheaper your hosting is, the more sites will be sharing your server and the slower your server will be.
2. You need to be able to back up whenever.
Overnight backups are pretty standard now, but what if your developers need to make significant changes at 5 pm and you’ve been working on the site all day?
If something goes wrong, and you need to roll the site back, you’ve lost all that work.
It’s crucial to have the ability to login to your server control panel and take a backup whenever you want.
Moreover, this backup should be more than just a ZIP of the site – it should be a point in time where you can roll the site back to if the worst happens.
While there are plenty of plugins that allow you to backup your WordPress site to your Dropbox etc, nothing beats the ability to be able to backup and roll back with a single mouse click.
3. Staging areas are crucial.
Making sizable changes to a live WordPress site is not something you should entertain.
If your site is large, with lots of plugins and other functions, there’s a lot that can go wrong when making changes to themes or adding new plugins.
A staging area will allow you to clone the live site over to the staging site, make the changes, test and then push the staging site back to the live site.
This makes managing your site easier, avoids downtime and means that your developers can confidently work on changes to your WordPress site (which ultimately saves time and money).
4. Great Support
If you’ve ever waited 20 minutes on a support helpline or over 24 hours for a response to a support ticket, you’ll know how frustrating poor hosting support can be.
It’s very unlikely that your developer or WordPress agency is also a server expert – it’s a completely different skillset, so it’s crucial to have fast technical support from your hosting company.
Whether you deal with this directly, or your developers do it on your behalf, lengthy waits for support can cause periods of downtime and other problems.
You need support that can provide answers in minutes, not hours.
5. Sever ups and downs
No site is up 100% of the time. But frequent outages can cost your business customers, especially if they are during office hours. It’s important to make sure your hosting company has at least a 99% uptime service level agreement so your site is always available.
Obviously, there might need to be some downtime for scheduled maintenance or data centre moves, but this should always be in the small hours.
The other important thing to remember is that it’s not considered downtime if it’s something you’ve done.
Installing a bad plugin or breaking the functions file can take the site down, but this isn’t the servers fault, it’s your own – this is why we suggest having a support or maintenance contract for your site, so if the worst happens, we can be on hand to fix it.
Hosting is often one of the most overlooked aspects of making a website work harder.
Far too many sites sit on cheap and slow shared servers. Hosting in this environment might save a few pounds but can cost you in the long term.
Having gone to all the effort of planning, designing and building a brand new website, we prefer to see them living on a hosting platform that’s fit for purpose.
Reducing your site’s loading time by seconds (even milliseconds) can have a very positive effect on your placement in search results.
The hosting environment and optimisation of your site for load time is something we focus on before every site goes live.
There are various types of hosting available – below are the three most common.
Shared hosting means one server, lots of sites. If your site lives on a shared hosting account, the server resources are shared between all the sites on the server. Different hosts have different amounts of sites that they will put on shared hosting accounts – it can run to hundreds. Shared hosting can be perfect for many websites. It’s a good place to start before deciding if you need something more.
A VPS or Virtual Private Server is the next step up – it ‘mimics’ a dedicated server environment whilst actually being in a shared environment. We often set up VPS’ for one site only so all the resources are used just by one site. VPS’s require management, so they are more expensive to use.
Dedicated WordPress Hosting
If you’ve got a WordPress site, it makes sense to host it on dedicated WordPress hosting. Toast use this for larger sites. It’s fast, secure and managed meaning your site will load quickly – something that can affect its placement in search results. We strongly recommend specialist WordPress hosting for your site.