WordPress Hosting

WordPress hosting is a very important topic in my work as a developer. Most of my clients have “mission-critical” websites, they use hard-customized versions of WordPress as an engine to run the whole company, or are e-commerce platforms where the site represents the 100% of the company income.

So, it’s easy to understand why hosting is so important to me. I need to offer the best service while guaranteeing the highest level of security and performance. Over time I learned that if the website is your primary “company asset”, there is no compromise about the hosting. You just want the best 🙂

And of course, there is no “best hosting company for whatever” out there as every site has his specific needs. But at the same time there are features and parameters that make a hosting a good one, and in this post, I will go through them and explain in detail what I look for when I consult customer for the best stack for their project.

Urban Jungle In a world where everyone claims to be the best, try to make informed decisions based on features

I’ll also list the hosting companies I use and explain, in my perspective, what are my decision elements.

1. Guaranteed resources

Imagine that your site’s performance and uptime can be impacted by someone else website, will you be happy with that? I don’t think so.

Well, this is what happens in “shared hosting” environments 🙂 More sites share the same resources and can be impacted by events happening on a website you don’t even know.

In most of my cases, this is simply not an option. My projects often deserves guaranteed resources and a total control over the environment.

2. Security by design

Is difficult to find a company which does not claim to have “bulletproof security” in place, but what happens when you install a vulnerable plugin on purpose? In this case, it’s you (the final user) innocently creating a security flow.

Security by design is a set of security features which makes a WordPress hosting resistant to the most unpredictable events, and even to a human fault. More specifically, I suggest to have:

  • vulnerability scanner to pro-actively alert in case of known vulnerabilities
  • automated backups (daily at least)
  • built-in firewall
  • disaster recovery procedures (dislocated backups in a separate location)
  • low-level software maintenance (server operative system and libraries)

This is all in addition to the most basic security features like physical server security, access control, password rotation and so on.

Working as solo dev, or sometimes as the lead of a small group of engineers, I feel responsible about the security and this set of features is what makes me sleep well at night.

3. Performances

Ok, we all know how performances are important for SEO, user experience, sales and more. Caching plugins can help, but I always prefer to host WordPress on an environment built for performances.

Speed is an aspect strictly related to the hardware, the web server, the database engine and a whole ecosystem which have to be harmonically architected and well designed. Is not a button to press or some code to write, there is a lot behind a fast website.

We could say that WordPress performance has a shared responsibility model between the code (theme, plugins, set up) and the stack (hosting).

Hosting side, I usually like to have:

  • data centers available near to the main traffic source (to have the lowest latency)
  • built-in caching system
  • CDN (Content Delivery Network) available
  • premium DNS (if the provider hosts the DNS as well) for faster response times
  • a stack ready to scale-up quickly if the website traffic grows

4. SSH

Ok, things are getting technical and this post aims t be “general” purpose. Let’s just say developers need to have SSH to do their job in the most efficently way.

And if you are a company, you still want to maximize your devs time and productivity.

Long story short, we need SSH… no dicusssion here 🙂

5. Skilled support

Let’s be honest, is no surprise to find poor support operators especially in the largest hosting companies. Good support is not a “nice to have” even for experienced developers, for a series of reasons:

  • some companies do not give you full server access, and there are things which require to “enter the danger zone”. So, when it happens, is good to have someone skilled to do it for you
  • we sleep 🙂 while sites need to be up 24/7. So in case of emergency, clients can get help directly from hosting support
  • having issues “escalated” here and there is frustrating, at least for me

6. Flexible pricing

Pricing is another important factor for me. While I look for all this advanced featured, I also like to offer my clients a flexible pricing model which allows starting small and growing in sync with the growth of their business.

And besides, who is willing to pay $ 500 per month for a website which gets 20 hits per day?

WordPress Hosting comparsion

Based on these simple and effective parameters, I designed a visual guide to help you to find the most suited web hosting company for your website. As you can read in the disclaimer, this is the result of my own opinions on services I personally tested on several projects of any size.

by Design
KinstaYesYesYesYesYesfrom $ 30/m
SitegroundAvailable*YesYesYesAvailable*from $ 11.95/m
WP EngineAvailable*YesYesNoAvailable*from $ 35/m
PagelyYesYesYesYesYesfrom $ 199/mm
DreamPressAvailable*NoAvailable*NoAvailable*from $ 16.95/m
BlueHostAvailable*NoNoYesAvailable*from $ 7.99/m
GoDaddyAvailable*NoNoAvailable*Available*from $ 12.19/m

If you had a different experience with one of these companies or want to suggest me a new platform to try, feel free to reach me at info [at] francescocarlucci.com

If you need professional help to review your app/website and choose the best WordPress hosting service based on your specific needs, you can hire me on Codeable for a consultation task.

Disclaimer: In this post, I tried to design valid guidelines to choose a hosting company from a developer/business owner perspective. I can be wrong on my “ratings”, but they come from real experience and I included only companies I personally tested on behalf of my clients.

Some information may be not correct as I have not been using some of these services for a while. If you find any error, just email me and I’ll correct.

In the text there are some referral links, but this is not a marketing blog, just an honest developer perspective based on facts.