Competition in the WordPress hosting sector is fierce. This is a great thing for consumers as it means lots of choice and helps keep web hosts pushing to be the best they can be. WordPress Managed Hosting has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years but in part, thanks to the plethora of options option to you, it has become more confusing than ever when trying to work out who is the best WordPress Web Host. So, in this article, we’re going to run through the questions you should interview a web host with before purchasing WordPress hosting with them. We hope you find it useful!
1. How long have you been in business?
Age isn’t necessarily an indicator of quality… we can think of several web hosts (who shall remain nameless!) who have been in the sector for a long time but are still no good. That said, if a host is brand new (less than a year old) then you are likely to want to tread with caution. They are ultimately untested and, whilst we all have to start somewhere, you need to decide if you are happy to entrust your website(s) to a company that has little to no track record. Don’t discount them (we were new to the market once!) but be especially careful that you have things like an independent backup of your website so, if worst came to worst, you could at least move on should they shut up shop unexpectedly.
Pressidium’s answer: We have been in business since 2014 and have seen year on year growth over this time. We host sites for small businesses and startups as well as Fortune 500 companies, all of who have come to rely on and enjoy the superior hosting experience we provide.
2. Will you migrate my sites across to your platform and if so, what do you charge for this?
Migrating WordPress sites can be a hassle. If it’s something you do regularly then it won’t cause you much of a problem but if you don’t then you’ll need to be prepared to devote some serious time to the job. Ideally, your chosen web host will be happy to migrate your sites across to their platform and for free. They should know their platform inside out and can optimize your site during the move to make sure it works flawlessly on their infrastructure. And if they charge for the privilege you have to start to wonder if they want your business!
Pressidium’s answer: We will happily migrate your site(s) over for free with one free migration per site in your chosen plan (i.e. if you have a Professional plan that can support 10 WordPress sites then we will undertake ten free migrations for you). During the migration, we will make sure your site operates at an optimal level on our platform. The move will be as seamless as possible for you ensuring minimal to zero downtime for your site.
3. What support do you offer?
Support should be close to your number one priority. Ignore it at your peril… even the best of us need help with our websites sometimes and it’s often at a critical moment making effective, timely support a must! In reality, if you’re paying a few ££’s a year for shared hosting, the support you are going to receive is going to be basic at best. It’s impossible to pay for high-quality support agents who really know they’re stuff if all your earning is a few cents per website hosted. If it seems too good to be true, it definitely is. It can be hard to work out how good support levels will be. A good test is to ask a few technical questions prior to signing on… if you get fobbed off with canned answers at this stage of the process then go elsewhere.
Pressidium’s answer: We pride ourselves on our support. Our specialist DevOps support team is staffed solely by WordPress Experts & Experienced Systems Engineers meaning you will be speaking with someone who truly understands WordPress and can assist with complex problems. Issues are ‘owned’ by the team member who handles your support ticket and we don’t rest until your issue is sorted. Support times are very quick – expect a response in 15 mins or less on our standard plans and 5 mins or less on our Enterprise plans (oh and did we mention this support is provided 365 days a year, 24/7?).
4. Do you have a backup system in place for my websites?
We cannot overemphasize how important backing your website up is. And the reality is, the cheaper the host, the more careful with this you will want to be! That said, no one is immune to data loss or getting a website hacked, making backups a prudent choice no matter what. Be very, very careful though… many WordPress hosting companies will advertise that they backup their websites. You need to find out though if these are true offsite backups however. What normally happens is your website gets backed up, but on the same server. This isn’t much use in the event of data deletion on the server though. It’s akin to keeping your insurance documents right next to the fire in your house. You also want to check whether or not you can download your backups for your own safekeeping. You can find out more about backing up your website in this article.
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Pressidium’s answer: We provide ALL our clients with two types of backup. The first are Instant Backups. These allow you to quickly take a snapshot of your website prior to undertaking any work on it, for example, updating a plugin. If in this example, the plugin update corrupted your site for some reason, you could quickly restore the site using the Instant Backup. This is done via your control panel and for most websites takes a minute or so to complete. We also take daily offsite backups that are stored away from our central infrastructure for safekeeping. In the unlikely event of data loss on our central infrastructure, this means your website can be restored quickly. You are able to download a full copy of your website (which includes all website assets like images and also the WordPress database) at any time via the control panel.
5. How reliable is your system? Can it handle traffic spikes?
Ok, so we’ve got two questions here! Basically, you need to work out what kind of system the web host is running and how much protection this gives your website. Is it loaded onto a shared server or a VPS server (or another type of system). If your site gets popular after you get some unexpected promotion can it handle the traffic increase? This is important as the last thing you need is your site going down just because the number of visitors suddenly climbs.
Pressidium’s answer: We host all client websites on N-tier enterprise HA architecture that has been built from the ground up. It offers exceptional levels of reliability with no one point of failure. It also runs incredibly quickly ensuring your sites load at lightning speed. Because of the way our architecture has been designed it can handle traffic spikes with ease ensuring that your site never goes down no matter the traffic thrown at it
6. Do you defend against Brute Force attacks and Malware?
WordPress, unfortunately, is a prime target for hackers. As such it’s important that not only your host can handle ‘good’ traffic but also can take out the bad kind! You need to know that preventative measures are in place to protect against brute force/hacking attempts and that the hosting infrastructure has been hardened to help avoid your site getting infected with Malware.
Pressidium’s answer: All sites are protected with hassle-free threat protection with multi-layered security mechanisms designed to keep your site safe. No plugins required! This security suite includes a Network-Based Firewall layer and a Web Application Firewall Layer that will pick up SQL-Injection attacks, bad-bots, brute-force attacks or malicious cross-site scripting activity.
7. Do you charge for overages?
Overage visit billing is one of the most significant revenue streams for many WordPress hosts (some call it “bandwidth” instead of visits, but it’s the same thing; i.e. ‘a measure of traffic’). Don’t get caught out by these limits… with your Credit Card on file, the first you’ll likely know about breaching these limits will be when a large bill arrives on your doormat! Check what the host’s policy is on overages and make sure you retain a copy of this information for future reference.
Pressidiums’s answer: In contrast, at Pressidium from a billing perspective, traffic is essentially unmetered. All our plans specify the number of visits they are designed to handle, and we are happy to advise which plan would be most suitable for you based on your current website traffic. We will not complain if your site’s resulting end traffic numbers are over your plan’s limits by a reasonable margin. If they are constantly and significantly over this margin, then obviously an upgrade to a more suitable plan is the fairest and most commercially responsible option. Finally, we will not charge you overage for a sudden increase in traffic, nor will we limit your site in any way – only after a significant amount of time if your site’s traffic is much over your plan’s limits then we will suggest a suitable upgrade which is both cost-effective for you and fair for us.
8. What other features do you offer to make my life easy?
Building and maintaining a website is hard work. As such, the more of the heavy lifting that can be done by your web host the better. What tools are provided to make your life easy? Do you get Instant Backups? Is the control panel user-friendly? Can you assign logins to third parties? Are staging sites includes and how well does this functionality work? Are SSL certificates included and easily provisioned? All of these features could in a way be considered essential… if your host is any good, they should probably be provided!
Pressidium’s answer: We offer a raft of clever and helpful features all designed to make your life easier. As discussed, Instant Backups are provided on all plans. Staging sites are included with just a couple of clicks needed to create a copy of your website that can then be worked on without disrupting your live site. Our control panel is modern and sleek, making it a breeze to see the status of your sites, including site plugins which can be updated with a click from the control panel. A Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate can be generated for free and quickly assigned to a site and much more. Full details on our features can be found at https://pressidium.com/features/
Managed WordPress Hosting can vary wildly in quality. Hopefully, this checklist of web hosting questions means you’ll be better equipped to sort the good from the bad. If you do make a wrong call though or are currently stuck with a bad host, don’t suffer in silence… migrate away to a better host! It’s normally a lot easier than you might image… a good host will go to great lengths to onboard you meaning you are free to take your business to the best host you can. Your website deserves it!