Hosting Basics & Why You Should Probably Be Using WP Engine [discount code included!]
A Good Host Is Hard To Find
Finding a suitable hosting provider for your WordPress website site can be confusing. The internet is awash with one glowing review after another – meanwhile, many of them are fluff pieces designed only to get you to click on an affiliate link. What’s the difference between shared hosting, managed hosting, and dedicated hosting? Which providers are most reliable? We address these questions and others that you might have about finding a great host for your site.
First let’s address some of the basics about hosting, servers, and WordPress.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is the most popular content management system (or CMS) on the internet. People use it to build and run websites. It can run on any host that has Linux, MySQL and PHP.
What is Web Hosting?
When a hosting provider allocates space on a server for a particular website, they are “hosting” that website. A website is composed of a number of files (code, images, etc) and these files need to live somewhere so that they can be accessed by people on different computers around the world who want to view your website. Hosting providers lease space on a server that hosts your website so that people can quickly access those files in the form of a website.
What is a Server?
Essentially, a server is a computer. Your own computer could be a server, except that servers are special types of computers that are always connected to the internet and are specifically built to “serve” websites to visitors. Your server is the physical place where the website lives and where it is hosted.
What is a Shared Server vs Dedicated Server?
Most websites use shared servers. Shared servers are single servers that offer space to a variety of websites. The problem is that a server can only go so fast, and if one website is putting a lot of stress on the server (because there is an influx of visitors, for instance) then it might slow down the other websites. Servers can also crash if the computing power of the server can’t match the number of requests being made to it.
A dedicated server is a server that is leased by only one website. This can be great if you have a website that gets high traffic levels or needs to process an intense amount of data. But for most websites, shared servers are fine, and web hosting providers can respond to upticks in visitors without negatively affecting the other sites hosted there.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Because WordPress is such a popular CMS, many hosting providers create space on their servers that are specially configured to help WordPress sites run better, and they also offer specific support and other services for WordPress sites. Managed WordPress hosting can mean different things, and sometimes it is just a renamed product with a higher price tag. But finding a reliable hosting provider that specializes in WordPress CMS can be helpful because the software infrastructure they provide will be designed to match with the needs of a WordPress CMS. This could mean that the website is easier to migrate and launch, that updates are more straightforward, and that load times are faster.
What is WP Engine?
WP Engine is a managed WordPress hosting provider that uses a variety of Amazon and Google servers to provide hosting specifically for WordPress sites. It hosts some 120,000 sites all around the world and is a great choice for the vast majority of our clients. While it can be more expensive than other smaller shared servers, it provides extra features and has proven to be a reliable host for thousands of websites.
The Benefits of WP Engine
With over 120,000 customers in 140 countries, WP Engine is the most widely-used managed WordPress hosting service out there these days, boasting that “5% of the online world visits at least one experience on WP Engine per day”. Those stats are as impressive as they are unsurprising, given the range of benefits you get from hosting with WP Engine:
- Well-resourced hosting, optimized for WordPress. On a variety of speed tests conducted in various locations around the world, no load time was over the 2 second mark, and was often well-under. WP Engine uses servers located all around the world and keeps your data on different servers so that the electrical signal doesn’t have to travel very far to begin loading your site. They have special “caching” systems that keep your website loading and responding quickly. They also provide support so that they can help you identify “choke points” or problem spots that might be slowing your site down.
- Automatic nightly backups, so if anything goes wrong, you can always recall from a history of themes, plugins, data, you name it. You can also do manual backups whenever you wish.
- Free migration from your old host.
- Staging site included with your hosting plan. A staging site is like a secondary site that is a mirror image of your main website, the only difference being that the staging site is private, so no one except you is visiting it. This site is used to “stage” changes that you want to make to your site. Using a staging site makes it easier to make changes to your site without having to disrupt the main site.
- A free SSL certificate, which secures online transactions and protects customers’ PII (Personal Identifiable Information).
- 24/7 access to a support team well-versed in the ins and outs of all things WordPress, via phone, e-mail or live chat.
And really, the list goes on. If you’re looking for a great hosting provider with great customer service, WP Engine is really unmatched. Everytime we recommend WP Engine to our clients, we know that they’ll be happy with the result. That said, we are happy to discuss other hosting providers that we have worked with, in the event that for one reason or another WP Engine isn’t right for you.
We’re happy to offer our blog readers a discount on WP Engine plans. Use this link to purchase managed WordPress hosting from WP Engine and you’ll receive a discount on your plan. Not sure which plan is right for you? Get in touch and we can help you navigate the options.
As always, give us a call if you want to start working on a website that will take your business to the next level!