Choosing Web Hosting For WordPress – Knowledge Is Power!

When you need web hosting for your WordPress website, it can seem a little daunting to know what to choose – and if your website is your first, you may even be a little hazy as to what web hosting is! So let us arm you with some knowledge so you understand what is web hosting and how to choose the best hosting company for your WordPress website.

1. What Is Web Hosting?

To get your website seen on the internet it has to be placed there, otherwise it won’t be available to website users.  Web hosting companies own and maintain powerful web servers which store your web pages, and “serve” them to your visitors.

There are many web hosting companies around – but when you decide which to use to host your WordPress website, you need to consider the following essential points.

1.1 Amount of web space

Around 1Gb is fine if your website is small and your website traffic is likely to be modest.  Big, complicated websites with lots of functionality (online purchasing, online booking, forums, lots of images and video etc) which attract many visitors would do best to choose hosting with unlimited web space.

1.2  Website speed

It’s important that your website has pages that are fast to load – slow websites aren’t enjoyed by visitors and your site could actually get penalised in Google search results if it is very sluggish.

1.3  General Shared or Private Server Hosting

General shared hosting is offered by companies such as GoDaddy, Bluehost and  123 Reg etc. This is great for small personal sites and low budgets, where uptime and site speed aren’t critical.

However shared servers are less suited to websites with large volumes of traffic.  They won’t scale well and with too much traffic, your site is likely to go down.  Also website speed is affected by what your “neighbours” are running on their sites concurrently.

Private server hosting means you have resources that are not shared by others.  This provides more power and flexibility than being on a shared account.

1.4 WordPress specific hosting

WordPress specific hosting may be slightly more expensive than general hosting. However it’s definitely advantageous because WordPress has “application specific” nuances that affect hosting providers.  Managed WordPress hosting providers specialise in these nuances and optimise caching, security, and support for WordPress sites.

In addition, this type of hosting means pages can be served faster and WordPress specific security issues can patched quickly with the release of each new WordPress version.  

1.5 Whether you need CDN (Content Delivery Network) services

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a service that can help the static content on your site (images, CSS, Javascript) load much more quickly.

A CDN is a collection of servers located all around the world. When a browser loads static content, the request is automatically routed to the server geographically closest to the browser. This helps the content load much more quickly. In addition, because your content is loaded from many servers in separate locations, bursts of traffic are less likely to cause issues, because the burst is spread out over hundreds of servers, rather than just one.

1.6 If you require a SSL option

HTTPS, the secure protocol for the web, safeguards your visitors by creating encrypted connections between your visitors and your site, protecting your visitors’ privacy and the data they share with you over the internet.

In addition to providing enhanced security, HTTPS can provide search engine ranking improvements.  Read this article for more information on https for SEO.

1.7 Service Level you expect from the hosting provider

The amount of support you receive depends on the platform you choose and the operator – so check the service level agreement before signing up. Things to consider:

– network availability  – does the host guarantee 100% network availability (excluding scheduled and emergency maintenance)?

– assistance – how can you contact the host? Are they available 24/7? How quickly will your query be dealt with?

 

2. Which Are The Best Web Hosting Companies?

There are thousands of hosting companies so it’s important to select a company you feel comfortable with and who you believe will provide a good service and value for money.

Many are multinational companies like GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator etc. who have tens of thousands of clients, who are consequently treated as one of many.  There are also companies like WP Support Specialists who deal with smaller numbers of clients and build up a good working relationship with them in a more personal way.

Here’s a list of 5 of the biggest WordPress website hosting companies with links through to customer reviews:

After reading this article we trust you are armed with the knowledge you need to choose the best web hosting company for your WordPress website!

If you’re interested in our website hosting services (for that personal, yet knowledgeable service!) take a look at our options here, or contact us for a no obligation chat.

 

WordPress Version 4.7 And News Round Up December 2016

WordPress Version 4.7 – All you need to know

WordPress does like to name its new versions after legendary folk – and WordPress version 4.7 is no exception!

Named “Vaughan” after jazz vocalist Sarah “Sassy” Vaughan, the latest WordPress update is now available to from your WordPress dashboard or via download (after you have done a complete backup of your site before updating, of course).Some of the new WordPress version 4.7 features we love include:

– a new default theme “Twenty Seventeen” which people are raving about for its large images, video headers and mobile-first design

thumbnail previews of PDF files in the media library

– “edit shortcuts” – visible icons shown in preview mode which allow you to edit in one simple click

multiple languages in the dashboard, ideal for multi-lingual teams

For a more complete overview of WordPress v4.7, check out this article from WordPress.org

News Round Up December 2016

Top 15 Most Popular Multi-Purpose WordPress Themes 2016

Multipurpose WordPress themes are hugely popular – no surprise since they have extensive feature lists and a wide range of powerful tools built.  Here’s a review of  the top 15 most popular multipurpose WordPress themes — based on sales figures, reputation, and usage.

From WinningWP – Read the article here

How to Style WordPress Navigation Menus

For anyone who wants to customise the colour or appearance of their WordPress navigation menus – using a plugin or manually – this is a must read article.

From wpbeginner – Read the article here

On-Page SEO – 10 Bare Necessities To Boost Rankings 

Unsure about your on-page SEO?  Think it’s all beyond you? Well help is at hand with this article which details 10 important ways to optimise your web pages to help your site rank better in the search engine results.

From Blinkered – Read the article here 

Why is SSL Important For Your Site Security?

A great overview of why your website needs of SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, including an overview of http:// and https:// – and why Google favours https:// websites in the search engine rankings.

From WPLift – Read the article here

15 Creative Free WordPress Themes For Artists

An overview of some of the best WordPress themes for artists, photographers and other arty types who wish to showcase their work.  The themes include animation and parallax effects, plus support for WooCommerce for those who wish to sell their work.

From WPeka – Read the article here

Need WordPress Help and Support? Ask Us!

We hope you find this blog informative and useful.  If you need help with your WordPress website, just contact us

We deal with WordPress emergencies, regular WordPress Maintenance, hosting, migration, security audits and optimisation.  We’ll let you know how we can help – and you can be assured of fast, friendly and efficient service each and every time!

Difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org

Difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org – WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

We receive many requests for support from people who are hosting their website on WordPress.com. We take the time to explain the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org

Unfortunately, we can’t help people who have their site on WordPress.com as they effectively host your site and it’s a fairly closed system.

So, we wrote this blog to provide a little detail and to compare WordPress.com and the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org) which hopefully provides you with some quick and simple insight into the differences.

Difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

The initial difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is who’s hosting your website.

With a self-hosted WordPress.org setup, You host your own blog or website. WordPress.org is where you’ll find the free WordPress software that you can download and install on your own website hosting account.

For example, people who host their own WordPress website may use providers like WP Support Specialists, GoDaddy, Bluehost, Heart Internet, 123 Reg and so on.

Conversely, WordPress.com takes care of all of the hosting for you. You don’t download software, pay for hosting, or manage a web server (unless you select one of their paid packages).

Depending on your needs, WordPress.com offer a variety of packages from free to £x’s per month.

Pros and Cons of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

Both WordPress.org and WordPress.com have pros and cons, we cover a few of those below.

If your requirements are fairly simple, and you’re not interested in managing your own web server, you may prefer WordPress.com. It’s free and easy to set up, and you have various options for customising your website.

Some downsides of using WordPress.com include your domain will, by default, include “WordPress.com.” You can’t upload any custom themes, plugins or modify the code within your site. Therefore, if you wish to incorporate a landing page system, bespoke eCommerce, live-chat, and so on, you won’t be able to do that.

WordPress.com is free to set up in its most basic version, however, they do offer various upgrades, including domain name registration (if you don’t want WordPress.com in your domain name), the ability to upload videos, and use of their premium themes.

Using a self-hosted version of WordPress means you can use your own domain name, upload and install themes and plugins, edit the code behind your site, utilise a far greater number of themes, design a bespoke theme, use live chat, landing page systems, SEO plugins….. you get the idea I’m sure! 🙂

Most of the WordPress demonstration sites you see are built on the self-hosted verison.

If you have any further questions about a self-hosted WordPress site vs a WordPress.com site, feel free to contact us here with your query.

Why Linux Is the Only Sane Choice for a WordPress Site

When you have decided to create a WordPress website you need to consider which operating system to use and choose your web hosting company accordingly.  You may have discovered that both Linux and Windows options are available – but which to choose?

There are many articles reviewing the pro’s and con’s of Windows and Linux, but for a WordPress website, Linux web hosting wins hands down.  And here’s why:

  • WordPress runs under a PHP configuration that works like a dream on Linux
  • The most commonly used online database on Linux is MySQL which is more robust than the Microsoft Access database, commonly found on Windows
  • There are low hosting prices as there are no licensing costs – great if you are running multiple servers
  • Linux is an open source platform meaning that developers across the globe all contribute to make the system as good as possible
  • It is simpler to use than you might imagine – most web hosts now offer an intuitive icon-based approach to website management
  • It’s known for its stability and security
  • It’s flexible enough to allow code and application customisation

In contrast when it comes to Windows and WordPress:

  •  WordPress needs a slightly different PHP configuration to normal and on Windows, there needs to be an element of manual reconfiguration which the hosting company may not be willing to perform.
  • When the Microsoft Access database is used, it runs slower than MySQL on Linux, leading to a slightly slower website
  • It’s more expensive as licensing costs are included
  • Apache may be less stable on Windows than on Linux.

The only time you would require a Windows server is when you plan to use specific applications such as:

  • ColdFusion (Adobe script language)
  • NET
  • ASP Classic
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft SQL Server

Linux vs Windows server for WordPress websites

When setting up your WordPress website, choose a web hosting company that offers a Linux OS – it’s cost effective and faster than Windows for your WordPress website.  We guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Top 5 WordPress Plugins

One of the main reasons why we love WordPress, is that it is completely scalable to your needs. Whether you want a simple personal blog, or a full-scale e-commerce store online, you can do it with WordPress. Added functionality is added to the WordPress framework by means of thousands of free plugins, and numerous premium versions. Thus, it allows you to create a completely customisable site at a fraction of the cost and without knowing much about coding at all.

Today, we’re going to look at some of the best plugins available for WordPress.

#1 – WordPress SEO by Yoast

Unless you’ve lived under a rock, you know just how important search engine optimisation is to driving traffic to your site. SEO by Yoast is here to make it easy for you. It is a complete SEO plugin for WordPress that incorporates everything: sitemaps, meta descriptions, image titles, image titles, page content optimisation, and much more, in the free version alone. The premium version includes Video SEO and the Video SEO manual plugin, as well as Local SEO to help you achieve the winning edge in Google Maps.

#2 – Gravity Forms

Another feature-rich plugin, Gravity forms integrates with various third party services to bring a better user-experience to your site. You can now easily incorporate PayPal and other services into your site by building forms and embedding them into your WordPress site.

#3 – BackupBuddy

Everyday, hackers are becoming more savvy, and hundreds of sites are targeted every day. Sometimes we make mistakes, deleting the wrong files, or causing files to become corrupt. Sometimes, our plugins malfunction. However, BackupBuddy can quickly help you recover from a crash or other problem.

#4 – WooCommerce

This e-commerce plugin is widely reviewed, tested and certified and it can be used to sell anything in any way you wish. Bundled with a range of payment gateways including Paypal, it offers a range of options with regard to shipping, inventory, reporting, marketing and tax.

#5 – W3 Total Cache

We live in a fast world, and users don’t want to wait more than 3 seconds for your site to load. Use W3 Total Cache, the only performance optimisation framework on WordPress, to increase your page speed and improve the user-experience for your visitors. This plugin is used on some of the best known sites, and recommended by the biggest web hosts.

These are just some of the amazing plugins available to make your website more awesome. Speak to us if you’re looking for a specific plugin.