Best PHP and WordPress Hosting – What to Look for in a Great Host
WordPress is one of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) in use today, powering websites across the globe. For nearly 10 years now, WordPress has been used by beginners and experts alike to build completely bespoke websites, ranging from tiny personal blogs to elaborate e-commerce storefronts and everything in between.
While WordPress can be downloaded and installed on your own server for free, this option isn’t practical for real world use. To ensure that your WordPress website functions the way you intend it to, you’ll need to look into purchasing a hosting plan from a reputable provider.
A good web host will offer you a wealth of features, including free backups, free domain privacy, among many others. However, not all features are created equal. You’ll want to focus on a few key points before committing to a hosting plan.
Firstly, ensure that you’re hosted by a company with a good reputation. Take a look at their own website’s reviews to get an idea of how others feel about using their services. Secondly, look into the features that interest you most and don’t worry about the rest.
Every website, blog and application has a defined amount of bandwidth that it needs to function. Regardless of whether you’re well within the limits set by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or significantly over, you’ll want to look into what type of bandwidth is on offer from your hosting provider.
For instance, if you have a site that receives daily traffic of 50GB and up, ensure that your web host has a sufficient amount of bandwidth to handle this. Also, check that they offer a certain level of data transfer, as this will determine how much data you can store on your site without hitting a cap.
You’ll want to purchase a hosting plan from a company that offers live support via email should you run into trouble. In case you’re not familiar, live support is when someone responds to your query (usually via email) with immediate effect, as opposed to having to wait until the next business day.
Since it’s often difficult to diagnose issues and put them into context without having access to the live chat environment, live support is an indispensable tool for any website owner or developer. Moreover, the level of support you receive will largely depend on the plan you purchase. For instance, premium plans offer 24/7 phone support and live chat, while basic plans only give you email support.
If you’re based in Europe, North America or Australasia, then you don’t need to worry about location being a concern. However, if you’re planning on visiting some of the more than 60 countries that WordPress is accessible from, then you’ll need to consider the location of the server that houses your website.
In case you’re visiting from a country where Google Maps is blocked or GeoIP data for your country isn’t available, then you’ll have no idea of how to get there. Without this information, you’ll never be able to provide GPS-enabled directions, and this could potentially ruin your trip.
Money Back Guarantee
Above all else, you’ll want to purchase a hosting plan from a company that offers a money back guarantee. This is vital if you’re not entirely confident that what they’re selling you is going to solve your problem. In the event that you’re not completely satisfied with the service, you can contact the support team and request a refund.
Some companies, like 1and1, offer an ironclad money back guarantee, ensuring that you can’t lose any money should your plan go wacko. Others, like Bluehost, only offer a 30-day money back guarantee, stipulating that you have to give it a go for a month before you can request a refund.
Features Vs Price
The above points are all crucial to consider, regardless of whether you’re looking to build a small blog or a massive e-commerce store. Keep in mind that features and pricing aren’t always directly linked, so you might want to look into the cheapest hosting plan that offers the features you need, without having to compromise on quality.
For example, if you have a relatively small site that doesn’t receive that much traffic, then a shared hosting plan from Bluehost might be your best bet. Or, if you’re looking for a specific feature, like free backups, then you might want to consider a hosting plan from 1and1, as these offer this feature for free.
Last but not least, you’ll want to ensure that your selected host offers adequate WordPress security. For years now, WordPress has been the target of hackers and cybercriminals, with the number of attacks increasing every year.
In 2018, WordPress suffered its worst breach in history, with nearly 57 million user accounts being compromised. For the sake of comparison, that’s more than double the previous record-holder, Over 4.9 million accounts were leaked in the Not one, but Two data breaches earlier this year.
This is an all-too-familiar story, and one that’s led many WordPress users to seek security through the use of a VPN. A VPN will protect you while giving you the clearest possible connection to the websites you visit, and this will, in turn, protect you from malware, identity theft, and other forms of online danger.
In addition to security through anonymity, a VPN will also mask your IP address, ensuring that your activities on the web stay private. While there’s no denying that a VPN can be a great tool for security, it’s also essential that you select a reputable provider. Since VPNs are largely unknwon to most people, it’s often difficult to tell how good a company is until you’ve actually used their service. In the end, though, you’ll surely be glad you did.
In the end, when it comes to choosing a web host, price is certainly a consideration. However, you shouldn’t let cost be the sole factor in your decision making. Instead, you’ll want to look into the features that interest you most and don’t worry about the rest. Moreover, you should research the company you’re considering using, as this will dictate the quality of support you receive should you encounter any problems.