Here is a list of questions you (we) should be asking a hosting company before purchasing a hosting plan.
- Basic Server Performance. Memory Limit at least 256M, Maximum Execution Time at least 120, Maximum File Upload Size at least 128M
- Does the hosting handle large bursts of traffic well? If your site gets a sudden burst of 1,000 or 2,000 visitors will the server be able to handle it?
- Does the hosting provide caching systems to help with page load times?
- Does the hosting company provide actual uptime statistics for your site. (Most hosts display the standard 99.9% uptime guarantee but do not provide a way of checking this claim)
- Does the hosting company handle traffic well from different areas around the world?
- Does the hosting company provide current versions and automatic upgrades for software like PHP, MySQL & Apache/Ngnx?
- Does the hosting company have a hard limit on actual visitors?
- Does the hosting company have a backup system?
- Does the hosting company have good security? Do they offer password resets and two-factor authentication?
- Does the hosting company set limits on the number of Websites you can host?
- Does the hosting company provide email? Even if they do you may want to consider other email hosts such as Google Apps for Business to keep your email more secure.
Here are a few online tools to use to find the best web host for your WordPress site.
You can contact the host directly to ask for some examples of websites they host so that you can test for performance. Some web hosts will even have examples of sites on their website.
The following tools can help you evaluate example hosted sites (or your own site’s current host):
- LoadStorm – Stimulate user loads to check performance and speed
- Blitz.io – Test static caching of your WordPress site’s homepage
- Uptime Robot or Pingdom – Monitor real-time uptime statistics with an external service
- WebPageTest.org – Test the speed and performance of your website
- WPPerformanceTester – WordPress performance plugin
There are several great WordPress hosting companies to choose from. Our top picks are Site Ground, WP Engine, Blue Host, Host Gator and Liquid Web. We recommend SiteGround (GrowBig – Shared) or SiteGround (GoGeek – Shared)* – WordPress Shared hosting, and this is why.
Here are the things that matter the most to us when it comes to quality Web hosting:
- 99.999% uptime. This is simple make sure the servers are up online virtually all the time so you web site is never down.
- Speed. The speed of your website impacts user experience and visitor bounces. Every second counts when it comes to page speed.
- Location. Is the server your site will be hosted on central to your core visitor group?
- Reputation. A web hosting company’s reputation matters. How long has the company been around? Do they have fifteen years of experience or two? How do they respond to complaints? What do other folks say about this company?
- Customer Service. Is it 24/7 live U.S. support? Are the techs just answering the phones or actually fixing the issues presented?
- Security. Like customer service, we don’t usually think about security until something bad happens.Network firewalls, access lists, intrusion prevention systems and server firewalls. Multiple layers of security protecting your site is what to ask for. Also, make sure they’re updating server patches in a timely manner.
- Control. Not all host offer the same level of control. A good host will give you the necessary access to do what you need to do. The most common control panel is cPanel, it’s the best.
- Not Overloading Resources. One of the biggest problems in the hosting world is overloaded servers. Many hosts try to cram too many sites on a shared server to maximize profits (hello GoDaddy). Overloaded servers make sites slow or unavailable due to other sites on the same server hogging resources and bandwidth. GoDaddy is notorious for this. They get you in with their low prices then when their resource limits are reached you are advised up upgrade your server from Level 1 to Level 2 to Level 3 for their cPanel hosting accounts. Their managed WordPress hosting offers unlimited resources but no cPanel.
- Free SSL (secure socket layer). The standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. Some hosting companies are now offering free SSL now since Google announced it will be giving a little more search ranking favorability to websites with SSL.
- Free CDN (content delivery network). A content delivery network is a system of distributed servers (network) that deliver webpages and other Web content to a user based on the geographic locations of the user, the origin of the webpage and a content delivery server. … CDNs also provide protection from large surges in traffic.
In summary is is always best to budget at least $15-20 a month for a quality Web host. Again, when we take on a WordPress Website Design project we highly support Site Ground. Even though there are many other Web hosts that provide quality hosting environments Site Ground has never let us down and we respect that!