One of the most foundational factors to your website is a reliable hosting company.
Your web host directly impact the performance of your website in the search engines as well as the visitor experience.[blockquote]Rob’s Notes: You need a good hosting provider. It is important for search engines and visitor experience. Recommend WP Engine as your WordPress host. For most sites you will be fine with the personal plan. If it is directly revenue generating upgrade to the business plan.[/blockquote]
Backup, what is a Web Host and what is it for?
Your website is made up of web documents called HTML files (more accurately your website now lives inside of what is called a Content Management System which generates out the HTML files… but more on that later).
For people to see these files (your website) the files need to be available publicly. You can share files from your computer, but if your internet goes down or if your computer is turned off nobody can see the files anymore. This is why we use Web Hosting companies who host or store our website files on computers specialized for websites called web servers.
Types of Hosting Environments
When determining what type of hosting you need there are a number of different configurations you can choose from.
$ – This is the most economical way to get your website online. Your site shares the resources of a web server along with a number of other websites.
- Pro: Inexpensive. Easy to get setup & maintain
- Con: Sharing resources with other websites. Can be slow or worse associated with a spammy website because you are hosted together.
- Tip: Recommended for new companies or non-profit generating websites.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
$$ – This is more expensive but gives you more advanced capabilities such as the ability to install software otherwise not provided. This is still a shared hosting environment but as many other websites. This virtualized environment also typically allows root or administrative access to its own instance of an operating system installation.
- Pro: Typically faster
- Con: Little more expensive
- Tip: Good solution if your website has advanced requirements of the server or if you are a revenue generating website.
$$$ – This can be a very expensive method as you now need a technical person (such as a systems administrator and database administrator) to maintain the server and apply patches and updates. With a dedicated server you are not sharing resources with other websites.
- Pro: Full control. Speed.
- Con: Expensive. Need technical person to maintain it
- Tip: This is a good route if you have the resources to pay for and maintain it.
$$$$ – There are also Collocated Hosting options where you own the server that is sitting in someone’s hosting facilities. Chances are if you are reading this you wont need a this option.
Selecting a Web Host
There are many factors to consider when selecting a web host…
Linux vs Windows
This is the name of the platform of the web server. For the most part the two function the same way but differ in versatility, stability, cost and management.
Great for websites written in PHP, Perl, Python and other Unix-originated languages. It usually supports MySQL databases.
Good for websites written in ASP utilizing .NET or other Microsoft technologies. Optimized for Microsoft SQL Server and Access databases.
* The choice: Unless there is a very specific reason why, you should choose Linux because it is more economical and best supports WordPress powered websites. Learn more about WordPress and what a Content Management System (CMS) is… or just take my word that it is the platform you want to be on.
Which Hosting Company should you use?
I have used a number of companies since my first hosted domain in 1995. On the larger side I recommend Amazon Web Service or Rackspace. For any medium to small website I recommend a company called WP Engine who specialize in hosting WordPress websites.
Sign up for WordPress hosting here
- What is a Dedicated IP address? Why do I need one?
- How do I protect against my website being hacked?
- What is WordPress and will it run on my current host?
- What is the difference between a domain a web host and an IP address?