For WordPress-based websites, a good bit of site load speed and performance problems are often caused by the hosting service. Choosing the right hosting for your website will likely increase your revenue and, most of all, it will help you preserve your sanity.
Mediocre hosting services will give you all sorts of troubles, and what’s even worse is that they may end up blaming your website for problems caused by them (!!).
This article will tell you what to look for when choosing the hosting service for your website. I usually recommend two specific hosting services to my clients depending on their needs, but I will not mention them here. The idea is to provide you with some ideas and tools you can use to evaluate hosting services independently.
Don’t subscribe to a yearly plan right away
If you take away only one thing from this article, make it this: try a hosting service for one month first, or even better, for 2-3 months, and avoid subscribing to yearly plans until you’re absolutely positive that the service is the right fit for your business.
If you don’t have access to a performance optimization expert, you can try to ask the new hosting service what would be the right plan for you before choosing one. They might be able to give you some advice on which plan would be the most beneficial for you and your website.
You can use tools like GT-Metrix and Google PageSpeed Insights to test your website before and after the migration. Keep in mind that some companies offer free migration, so this part may be solved by the new hosting service.
Usually, one month is more than enough time to compare the performance of the old hosting company against the new one. Without changing the theme or plugins structure on your website, you should notice an improvement in speed or performance.
If you didn’t change anything on the website and site page speed has become even worse, you can abandon this hosting. If you contact their support, they may tell you that you need to upgrade your hosting plan. Unfortunately, several (very, very popular) companies lie at this stage. They promise you a better performance in exchange for an upgrade, which will not solve your page load speed problems.
Sometimes, support will share suggestions to improve your website page load speed. Often these are template messages ready to be sent whenever a customer complains about performance. You can give them the benefit of the doubt and try to apply their advice. However, this is often just their way of deflecting and avoiding admitting they have a problem with their configuration.
Some hosting services are honest. However, if you can’t get unbiased expert advice, it will be difficult to understand if the hosting support is lying or not.
So when in doubt, try another service, especially if the server plan they suggested only gave you more problems.
Choose a service that offers only WordPress hosting
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a hosting service, but one of the most important is specialization. Avoid choosing hosting services that support multiple CMS. For example, services that include plans for Magento, Prestashop, etc. A hosting service that specializes in WordPress will probably have an infrastructure that is specifically designed to run it smoothly and efficiently. Of course, this isn’t always indicative of the quality of service; it’s just another starting point.
Companies that offer hosting for all kinds of CMS and tech stacks either require specific technical knowledge from you, or are built for the general public. And this group includes those kinds of users who are looking to find the cheapest deal possible at all costs. If you run a business and your website is an important component of your business, you’re probably not the kind of person who wants to cut corners and save money at the cost of compromising your potential revenue.
When you only consider specialists, suddenly it’s easier to choose one provider, right? Next, let’s get down to the details and see some of the key factors of a good hosting service.
Key factors of a good hosting service
Here are some key features you can check if you need to choose a WordPress hosting service, even if you don’t have any in depth technical knowledge.
- Simple user interface: when you log in to your hosting service, the interface should be easy to use and understand. The best WordPress hosting services don’t have the old and confusing cPanel. Instead, they have a minimal, well-designed interface that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.
- Managing websites and environments: you can copy websites from Production to Staging and vice-versa using the hosting interface. Moving your site between different environments should be easy.
- High quality support: customer service should be prompt in replying to messages and understanding them. They don’t ask you the same questions multiple times. They should also be helpful and proactive. For example, how much do they help you when there’s an error on your website or when your website is offline?
- Good backup system: you can easily create manual and automated backups of your website, which is an essential feature. Even better if they provide downloadable backups. Completing a backup should be reasonably fast; and only require a few seconds or minutes.
- Useful emails and alerts. Your hosting service sends you extra emails when:
- A vulnerability in WordPress has been discovered.
- Your website went down due to a fatal error.
- They discovered vulnerabilities in popular WordPress plugins (optional, but a great addition).
Do you have any suggestions for choosing a hosting service based on your experience? Or do you have any questions? Feel free to send me a message on LinkedIn!