If you have arrived at this post, it is because as a freelance professional or an agency, you have surely realized that choosing the Best WordPress Hosting Provider for your clients is a daunting task.
In this post, we will focus on the criteria to take into account to find the Best WordPress Hosting Provider for freelance, design studio or agency dedicated to the development and maintenance of WordPress websites.
Criteria and Guidelines. Let’s avoid the opinions
This post may contain “opinions”, but let’s focus on giving you “the tools” with which you, a WordPress developer or a design professional, can analyze the key aspects and decide for yourself what is necessary for a reliable WordPress hosting.
There are no reviews without an affiliate behind it
The hosting market is a competitive and aggressive market. The majority of providers compete with words such as Fast! , Cheap! Free this and free that.
Due to this, At times small and reliable provider like wetopi get drowned in the noisy web space.
Hosting companies created many affiliates and partners, allocating significant margins to feed the sale through this channel.
Taking into account these worlds of reviews and comparisons. The most opportune thing to do is, avoid ranks and reviews. And provide you with a guide on good guidelines and criteria for a good WordPress hosting.
A serious decision with deep impact.
The selection of a good hosting provider is important for freelance, professional or an agency.
Providing a good hosting service to your clients will gain their trust and confidence.
That said, a bad choice can lead to a disaster that triggers loss of projects or much worse, damage your reputation.
So, Let’s begin!
Speed should not be criteria, we should consider it as an important requirement in choosing a hosting environment for your WordPress website.
And it is best to find a hosting immediately which is fast, instead of waiting for your website to grow.
WordPress is a great blog/cms application albeit its voracious appetite to consume hosting resources. As you install more plugins, the most resource intensive it becomes.
Important to take note that what I have mentioned above are related to the hosting environment only. You have to take into account the hosting and the software site to optimize your website. With wetopi, the hosting site of the optimization is taken care of.
Php7-fpm + nginxThis is the best combination of server environment if you want to squeeze the processing capacity of the server.
Storage SSD (Solid State Disks).
As a professional, you spend a lot of time on the backend of your WordPress:
Those of us who handle complex WordPress sites, know how desperate it can be to work in the backend of an e-commerce, a multilingual site or simply a WordPress with an overload of plugins.
Alternatively, you can install a cache plugin to speed up the website, however it’s not beneficial to the management of the WordPress site. Caching benefits the website users only.
SSD is something you should look into when looking for a WordPress hosting. An SSD based hosting will ensure speedy access to your website.
The TTFB test.
TTFB “Time to first byte” helps us to measure the time that we use in contacting the server (network latency), plus the the page building (Web Application) plus the time networking takes sending us the first “block” or byte.
In this post on how to improve the speed of WordPress we deal in more detail with the use of this metric.
To observe the test, you have to install a fresh copy WordPress and make sure to deactivate cache. TTFB should be less than 200ms.
Measuring the TTFB on the homepage of our WordPress serves as a comparison yardstick. The TTFB combines the construction time and the time it takes to get the first byte to our browser.
Attention, it would not be so interesting to look at the TTFB of an already prefabricated resource e.g. a gif image. In this case, the process time is not very relevant, the image does not need to consult the database or use php.
The TTFB test on the admin side.
Wordpress Administration page, This is the place where the admin will spend most of the time conducting administration chores. The speed of the admin page is essential for an efficient workflow.
To measure the TTFB of the Admin site. Disable all browser cache and try to reload the page a couple of times.
We should get a TTFB less than 200ms.
2 Security and resource isolation
Opting for a dedicated server is the first option that comes to mind when we try to escape from a bad experience with a shared hosting service. Our recommendation is: opt for a dedicated server as long as the following rules are met:
- The dedicated server includes administration and security. Or there is a sysadmin to manage the server.
- One WordPress site per server. Avoid at all costs to turn your server into a “Shared Hosting”.
If we can not afford one WordPress site per server, the alternative would be a good system which has the features of isolation of accounts and resources: i.e CloudLinux, CageFS,
Firewall or reverse proxy capable of filtering traffic.
According to a incapsule report, 28.9% of the internet traffic is malicious bots!
It is advisable to free your WordPress site from unwanted traffic. With this, you will reduce the consumption of resources and free yourself from potential attacks. For this, we have two options. The first is to add a security layer to our WordPress by installing a security plugin. The second, a more efficient method, have an external security layer. A reverse proxy that acts as WAF, Web Applications Firewall.
In Wetopi, we use a very specific dynamic filtering rules for WordPress. These firewalls learn from the traffic directed to each and every WordPress and share that knowledge globally, freeing the entire internal network of non-legitimate traffic.
Google has made it clear that it wants all websites to be in HTTPS.
The problem with that is HTTPS slows down the website performance. However, The HTTP/2 protocol has been created to solve this problem. HTTP/2 allows “Multiplexing” and Compression headers, this compensates speed for the use of TLS encryption. The major setback with HTTP/2 is, not all providers currently support it.
How to test for HTTP/2 protocol
With Google Chrome, you first need to enable it: open the DevTools by right-clicking any page and choosing “Inspect Element”. Go to the network tab, right-click the columns in the and enable the “Protocol” column.
Once enabled, refresh the page and it’ll show you what protocols each resource are using.
In the column corresponding to the protocol we should read: h2, http2 or quic
A quick reminder;
HTTP/1.1: the “classic” HTTP protocol, known and loved for over 15 years
SPDY/3.1: Google’s first version of the HTTP/2 spec, formed the basis of HTTP/2
H2-14: H2 stands for “HTTP 2”, the 14 will refer to “draft 14” since the HTTP/2 spec isn’t final yet
H2C-14: H2C stands for “HTTP 2 Cleartext”, the HTTP/2 protocol over a non-encrypted channel
When there is a problem, it rarely has to do with incidents such as the loss of a service.
The problems which we usually waste most of our time are in; infinite redirection, blank page, excessive response times, intrusions, malware, data corruption, incompatibility of plugins, …
Criteria to follow:
Choose a service with specialized WordPress support.
Generic hosting providers lack of technical knowledge on open source softwares.
Hosting providers generally only provide support on the hardware and operating system level. If you encounter a problem with your WordPress, they wouldn’t able to assist you in detail. Also it is not economically feasible for hosting providers to have a support center or a specialized team in each of the applications hosted on a web server: i.e Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Prestashop, WordPress.
Specialization is key. Bear in mind that, as professionals, your level of WordPress knowledge will probably surpass that of most of the staff of a generic hosting services call center.
We need agility.
“Agility” is defined as the ability to move, think and react quickly and easily. It might be the single most important characteristic in WordPress support.
Ideally, if we can talk or chat with a technician because we will avoid an escalation that is nothing more than climbing the hierarchy of the call center until we reach someone who knows what we are talking about.
Beware of very cheap hosting offers.
In the beginning, cheap hosting sounds perfect for individuals and businesses. However, we have to ask ourselves the hard question, if it’s a reliable solution? There is nothing wrong with trying to save some money with hosting, Just be cautious not to go very low or it’s you and your website that will suffer the consequences.
Time is our scarcest resource. We must manage our time wisely.
How to reduce WordPress development and maintenance times?
Take the leap and develop the projects online.
Undoubtedly work online web projects, will allow us to reduce deployment times and will facilitate interaction and collaboration with the client throughout the process.
Work with a hosting ready for the online WordPress development.
A good online development environment must be fast and have low latency. It is our time and patience that is at stake.
Caution: we all use the slogans “start free” and update to a professional plan when going into production. Be cautious! That the “free” development environment does not perform as the professional environment!
In wetopi, the free development environment and the final production environment has the same system resource configuration.
Cloning to staging environment. .
The ability to clone your WordPress during development or maintenance processes allows us to reduce time and displeasure.
Today we have many ways to create WordPress copies. We must pay special attention to the process. The question you should ask the hosting provider is,
Is it easy and quick to create a clone?
In wetopi, cloning is done at the infrastructure level (we replicate the whole server) and it is reduced to a single mouse click.
Staging environment with steps to production.
Any task, be to deploy a backup, test a new plugin in a clone, validate compatibility of an update, etc. It is important to be able to carry it out in a Staging environment that allows us, if it suits us, to turn it into production.
Other time savers
Suppliers are gradually breaking into the market with specialized WordPress management panels. Perhaps the disappearance of those complicated generalist panels seems to us a loss of functionalities, but we should not deviate from our objective: to reduce the times in our work cycle. Here are some features that will help you in this task:
Single Sign On. Unified access from the panel to the administration to all our WordPress.
Automated WordPress Updates.
Project transfer. Sporadic tasks such as transferring billing or migrating projects between accounts should be easy to do.
Restoration of backup in Staging with step to production.
Installation and management of HTTPS Certificates and simplification of link rewriting.
Collaboration. Systems that allow collaboration and teamwork.
For example, to be able to invite external developers without having to create access accounts ftp, mysql, WordPress.
The infrastructure supports the process of upgrading the resources for a growing website
- How easy is it to scale my server?
- Can i upgrade the resource requirement on demand for a specific period of time ?
- Can I grow progressively without migrations or interruptions?
- How much would the upgrade cost?
- Do we lose the investment by interrupting the period of the service to which we are subscribed?
At wetopi, we want to minimize the friction that every professional face when working and hosting WordPress projects.
In short, we are just techies passionate about WordPress. With wetopi, a specialized WordPress hosting, we want to go further to offer professionals and agencies a platform to work efficiently and effectively.
Start enjoying this tool!