If you’re using the popular blog tool WordPress, you’re probably looking for the best possible WordPress hosting provider. Choosing a host might be hard because the are a lot of them. I advise you to take your time and make sure you’re choosing the best option. WordPress doesn’t require a lot of “special” server features, one reason more why most hosting provider will offer to host your blog. You don’t need one at the top-of-the-line and don’t go for the cheapest plan you can find.
For the beginning blog a shared hosting plan should be enough, be sure an account upgrade is possible at any time. This is because you never know how fast your site is going to grow or how big it is going to get, and it’s always better to be well prepared. Check also the possibilities to move your account from a shared web hosting plan to a VPS or dedicated server. You also want to avoid the smaller, lesser-known hosts. Go for the companies where a lot of people talk about, don’t host by some new company from a guy you met on forum for example.
Don’t forget, if you blog has frequent reader and traffic a hosting failure can ruin your blog site.
User and file permissions
WordPress has great features to maintain the core system, any plugins and your WordPress themes. While for the download and update from external files an build-in FTP function act as a kind of fall-back feature, you need the ability to edit your files right on the server. The last one requires some permissions to edit files thought the WordPress backend.
A normal webserver is configured that files have a 0644 permission and directories have a 0755 permission. Most PHP/Apache powered webserver using one user ID to process the PHP files. This permission is okay for most PHP functions but not for file based functions used to edit template or plugin files. A few hosting provider offer services where PHP scripts are executed with user ID from the web hosting account. Providing hosting accounts this way is more secure than raising the values for the file/directory permissions to 666/777. If the PHP scripts are executed by the host account user WordPress doesn’t need the FTP fallback feature and all updates and downloads are served much faster. The file upload tool from WordPress back-end works without any problems if PHP scripts are executed with user permissions.
Important features you need
- Your host has to provide daily backups, ask them how long each backup is stored (several days are a must to have feature, more than a week is nice)
- Host your blog in the country where you except to have the most visitors. This way most of your visitors will see your site very fast.
- Check if the database and mail service is not hosted on the same machine as the website service. Most of the the mail server can slow down a server if mail related service have to fight back a lot of spam.
PHP related requirements
These features are not required by the WordPress core system but many plugins: cURL, safe_mode=off, simpleXML, Socket support
WebFaction, smarter web hosting
Now that you know what to look for in a host, it shouldn’t be too hard to make a decision. If you’d like to go the fast way and skip researching, I recommend webfaction.com hosting, we use it for this blog site. WebFaction fits all of the discussed requirements, and it’s very affordable overall. It’s literally perfect for hosting WordPress sites, and if you know for a fact you are going to be a webmaster for a while, you can save a significant amount of money by pre-paying for 2-5 years. WebFaction has hosting plans ranging from 10GB to 60GB, and from $5.50 to $34.50 per month. There’s a great selection, so you can find a plan that’s perfect for your budget and your wallet.