Though there are hundreds of thousands of web hosts available on the net with a vast majority meeting the minimum requirements of WordPress and choosing the right one from the collection can be hectic. Just like air is important for us humans, WordPress breaths on its rich hosting environment. So let’s get familiar with hosting. After you go through this article, you will not have any question left un-answered.
What is hosting?
If an organization or any individual has a website they will require posting their page on the website. For this purpose a web host is required who can offer you the technology and the services that are required for posting your web page on the internet and this is called hosting. As is with any website, to be viewed, the address has to be entered in the browser. It is this address that connects your computer to the server allowing the user to view your website.
What Type of Hosting Do You Need?
Web hosting options come in many forms, like: shared hosting, free web hosting, dedicated hosting and so on. The functioning of all the hosts is one, to host your content so the internet users can easily access your content on online. The difference is how their structure is different in benefiting you.
Here’s a closer look at three of them:
Shared Hosting: Obvious to the name, with shared hosting you will be sharing web space with other users. Since the users will be sharing a server the cost will be shared as well, making this not only the most affordable, but popular option especially for small business, individuals or people who want to set up their blog or e-commerce. The back fall is on a shared hosting you will face all the activities your neighbors do. This means if someone makes an error in scripting, the server as a whole will suffer. If someone’s site encounters extra traffic, your site could get slower. And, if the server decides to go down, not only will your website go down, but eventually your business will also.
Free Web Hosting: Now what could sound better than a plan free for web hosting? Ideal for those who want to create a small website designed to share with family and friends. Yes, over the years free hosting does receive criticism as it lacks security, features and customer support, but there are some reliable web hosts that offer free hosting services. Do remember, free web hosting is designed especially for the small websites. IF your intention is to have a powerful web presence than consider taking paid hosting services as you will require reliability, control and most of all security.
Dedicated Hosting:If your business requires a bit more than just the typical sharing resources available from servers, then its better you opt for a dedicated host. In order to succeed with this host service it is important for you to have experience. In case you are a novice you can use a managed hosting service. These types of services handle your tasks for you relieving you from this dilemma. Yes, this will cost you though.
Which is the best Hosting?
The best of all advices is-Know and understand what is hosting and what is right for you. With the above three it is clear, Shared is meant for small business, Free is made for personal usage and dedicated hosting is designed for larger needs and will also be expensive. Before choosing your web host make sure they offer you a Linux server, PHP 5.3.x, SSH Access and MySQL 5.x. You should also make sure they offer custom php.ini with customized .htaccess + mod_rewrite + mod_deflate with cronjobs.
Official Requirements for WordPress:
This is no novice information that you will require adequate versions of MySQL and PHP. The choice should be made as per the version of WordPress you are installing for which the information that will be required can be obtained by acquiring Apache mod_rewrite. And, in case your budget is short you can chose the shared hosting.
Support for custom php.ini files
To set the configuration options you will require using the custom php.ini files (*).
It is vital to place the php.ini file in the correct place and make sure your web host supports this feature. This file will help you n adjusting the maximum upload file size, maximum available post size with maximum time for script execution. This will make your uploading of large files containing long videos and pictures conveniently.
Here is an example that will allow you to upload a 64M file:
You can place this in your wp-admin directory so you can upload larger files onto your site from your backend.
An alternate for setting the configuration options is by using PHP’s ini_set() (**), but this does not support all of the options.
In our above example we can only set the max_execution_time, but cannot write upload_max_filesize or post_max_filesize because these have to be setup in the php.ini, .htaccess or the httpd.conf. The valid options are available for ini_set() come with the mark PHP_INI_USER or PHP_INI_ALL under the “Changeable” column just under the List of php.ini directives.
If apache is in a LAMP environment then these are important:
1- Support for .htaccess override.
This will allow you to have pretty permalinks and other adjustments by using the mod_rewrite and mod_deflate:
Apart from satisfying the requirements of WordPress it in enabling pretty permalinks you will require to do other useful stuff with your mod_rewrite. This is a common case when you redirect old links after you have moved your site to WordPress.
mod_deflate module compresses the content before it is sent to the network. This not only reduces the traffic, but improves the loading time of the page allowing proper usage.
2. Secure Shell (SSH) Access
If you belong to the category of serious developers and users who have appreciation for a terminal availability with the power of having a command line then SSH access is a must to have. All windows users love Putty for this.
If you are trying to import a database of 25M via the phpMyAdmin and your web hosts offers you just a limited post size of 2M, then SSH Access will be your lifeboat.
As FTP is inherently insecure it is better you sftp (windows users can use psftp instead) your files onto your server.
3. cron-crontab-custom cronjobs
Many of the functions actually rely on periodically scheduled tasks for execution. Example can be sending a newsletter or even having to superfluous data. Though WordPress offers a little ‘fake’ or pseudo-cron, the real deal is in being able to add lines as the ones given below into your crontab:
*/10 * * * wget –O – -q http://www.example.com/wp-cron.php?doing_wp_cron
This makes sure the wp-cron will run on every 10 minute gap.
In case your web host does not offer you any add on cron jobs, you should think of changing your provider.
4. GD Image Library
If you have intension of processing images, say resizing images “on a fly”, then GD image library options has to be enabled. Most of the plugins rely on this library for creating thumbnails and resized images among other uses.
If you have SSH access on your server, you can check to know it if is available by using:
$ php –m | grep gd
You can also check using this script:
For image processing the memory limit should be high so set memory_limit in your php.ini to:
Memory_limit = 128M
Or use ini_set() in your script:
5. choose a host who has a good reputation
Ever tried distributing a newsletter to thousands of users and seeing this as a waste because most of the users rejected then due to your web host provider being in the blacklist. This will be annoying.
Hence; make sure your web host provider does not do anything that makes their server go to the blacklist. To check the reputation of your web host provider use Senderbase.
6. Dedicated unique static IP
If you want a SSL certificate, you will want a dedicated unique static IP. A dedicated IP also gives advantages like isolating your site from the other sites that are hosted on the same server as you. If you use a shared IP address, if any one of the users causes the IP address to be blacklisted, your site will also suffer. A dedicated IP saves you this dilemma. In case your dedicated IP is static, it means your IP will not change over time which will provide you some beneficial benefits.
If you select your web host with care you will be having a user-friendly website running in no time. Some of the best web host providers are Blue Host, Dream Host and Laughing squid.