When it comes to WordPress hosting, you really do get what you pay for. I’m often called upon to help when things go wrong, like when the site goes down, becomes unresponsive or slow to load.
Sometimes it’s been hacked. The most common I see is SQL injection which corrupts the database and makes it almost impossible to recover without a complete rebuild. More often than not, the WordPress installation simply hasn’t been maintained, plugins need updating and there’s no backup, or if there is, it’s on the same server as the installation and probably also corrupt.
WordPress is the number one content management system in existence. Popularity comes at a price, and as such it’s often a target for a cyber attack. Sounds dramatic, I know, but it’s frustrating from a developers point of view when a few simple steps before could have avoided the need for a whole lot of work now.
Enter WP Engine. The best host for WordPress. Yes, that’s my personal opinion as I’ve used this host for many years. I also recommend it to all of my clients. It’s made for WordPress, and that’s all it does, hosts your WordPress site. There’s no confusing cPanel, just a sweet little dashboard showing your all your installations and stats, access to your backups (daily backups, that you can roll back at the first sign of trouble), SSL certificates at no extra charge (essential) and a friendly 24/7 support team if ever you need help. You’re also able to create multiple versions of your installation for testing updates before you push them live. Life saver!
The cost starts at $29 USD/month and worth every cent. For more businesses running a typical WordPress site, blog or online store, this is more than enough. There are other packages for more installations or better performance, if you’re getting a lot of traffic.
WP Engine also recently opened up a data centre in Sydney, so if having your website hosted in Australia is important to you, they can do that too.
The lure of cheap website hosting could still appeal to you, for any number of reasons. If you must, there is really only one budget host that I’d recommend (again, from experience) and that is California based operation Dreamhost. The cost starts around $8 USD/month and the biggest upside is that they also offer SSL certificates at no extra charge.
I keep banging on about SSL, and the reason is that Google is now ranking sites based on their security (if your url starts with HTTPS and the green padlock is showing next to it). Popular browsers like Google Chrome are now also starting to warn visitors not to visit websites that are no secure. So you need an SSL certificate and many of the budget hosts will charge you $100+/year for the privilege.
Dreamhost (like the aforementioned WP Engine) offer free certificates from Let’s Encrypt which will get the job done. What they don’t have as part of the entry level tier is backups included, so you’re going to need a solution there and somewhere else to store your backups (like Dropbox) that’s not the same place your website lives. Dreamhost do have a WordPress specific product called Dreamhost that I’ve not played with yet, so if budget is critical then this could be an option.
Need someone to do it for you?
Agent Digital offers fully managed WordPress hosting as a service to our clients, using our favourite host WP Engine. We’ll login and update your plugins and installation once a month, help you roll-out a backup if you need, and send you a monthly report from Google Analytics tracking site visitors and website goals. If ever you need help, just open a support ticket and we’ll get right onto it.
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Disclosure statement: The opinions stated in this article are mine. The links are affiliate links to my preferred providers. Signing up via these links won’t cost you anymore, and I’ll get paid for referring you.