The pros and cons of dedicated WordPress hosting

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Some web hosting companies specialize in delivering services dedicated to very specific types of software. WordPress is one example of popular open source software that a hosting company may feature. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this type of hosting.

Some of the advantages include:

  • Expertise in the software you want to use. The company knows WordPress well because that is all it does. This means, at least in theory, that you will get good support if you have any problems with the software.
  • Guaranteed compatibility. Since it is their only product, the host will make sure WordPress runs well and installs without any problems. As such, you will never have to worry about compatibility issues.
  • Additional tools. Presumably, a host dedicated to WordPress will also provide useful tools and plugins to enhance the experience, as that is the only way the host can have a real edge over competition.

Some of the disadvantages are:

  • Limited exclusively to WordPress. Yes, this advantage can also be a disadvantage. If you ever want to switch to another content management system or blogging platform, you will have to look for a new host. If you ever want any other type of software installed, it may or may not be allowed by your host.
  • Narrow support. This host may be good at providing support for WordPress-specific issues, but anything beyond that, even if they allow it, will likely not be supported.
  • Not unique. While exclusivity might sound like a plus, it really may not present any real advantages over a host that offers the same features in addition to support for other software. A good host that can install WordPress and many other web applications may give you more for your money.

Hosts that specialize in WordPress hosting may know some of the caching and content delivery tricks that less-experienced hosts may not have encountered. The true advantages, however, pretty much stop there.

In the end, it is a better idea to search for a host based on standard criteria, such as the quality of service, customer support, and technology. Many will offer the same features as WordPress-exclusive hosts while also offering so much more.

This post was first published on the WebHostingBuzz blog on June 30, 2012, as What are the benefits of using a web host that is dedicated to WordPress hosting?

WebHostingBuzz offers a wide range of hosting services – web hosting, business web hosting, reseller hosting, virtual private servers and dedicated servers – as well as specialized services such as WordPress, Joomla, Magento and Drupal hosting plus e-commerce hosting. The company says it has over 30,000 customers worldwide, in over 200 countries, hosting more than 100,000 websites at datacentres in the US and in The Netherlands. Check out what they offer: US | Europe

WebHostingBuzz is a sponsor of NevilleHobson.com (which runs on WordPress).

Hosted by WebHostingBuzz

Website backups: 4 ways to protect your investment

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Your website is the culmination of many years hard work and toil. You’ve invested time and money in building and promoting your site. And the site is your store front on the internet. But imagine if, overnight or almost instantaneously, all of this goes to waste and your website data is lost? Unfortunately I see this happen on an almost daily basis, says guest author Matt Russell, CEO of WebHostingBuzz.

At WebHostingBuzz, we regularly highlight the importance of good data security (ie, backups!) to both our clients and anyone reading our blog or following our social media channels (we’re on Twitter and on Facebook).

Sadly, this advice often falls on deaf ears. So we’re releasing a range of guides/advice on partner blogs to try and encourage better backup practices.

First, let’s take a look at the reasons why data loss can happen. The most common causes are:

  • Hacking. Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to exploit and gain access to websites. Once a hacker has access to your website, you can be sure he isn’t trying to optimize your HTML code for SEO. Hackers will often deface websites, install Trojans or poison them with malware. WordPress and Joomla are particularly vulnerable, just because they are so popular. New exploits come into the wild on an almost daily basis that can harm or kill your website.
  • Hardware issues. A good hosting company will have RAID-protected hard drives in their servers, giving redundancy if any one hard disk is to fail. But there are plenty of not-so-good web hosts who skimp on hardware, use older hard drives and may not use RAID at all. Even the good web hosts that use RAID carry some risk; although it is unlikely, a RAID card can go bad and corrupt data on all of the hard drives.
  • User error. We’re humans and mistakes can be made. It’s possibly to delete or over-write important areas of your website causing the website to break, and giving you a lot of stress!

Unfortunately, I witness the above all too often. While my goal of this post isn’t to talk about us, I’m going to use us as an example to highlight the risks.

We give users a range of tools to protect and backup their website. We also employ the best firewalls in the business and have a huge collective of experience in maintaining and securing our servers. But if a user sets a username of “Joe” and a password of “111” or even “password”, you can bet your bottom dollar, pound or euro that it doesn’t take much of a brute force script to gain access to his growing WordPress blog.

So I’ve written the following advice in easy-to-follow format, designed to help you improve your website data security.

  1. Choose a web hosting provider that invests in it servers. I suggest you choose one that has a minimum of RAID10, preferably hardware and with a BBU (battery backup unit). This means if a hard disk is to fail in the host’s server, the server can remain online and in a functional state while the disk is replaced.
  2. Create multiple backups of your own website. Store some of these locally, and free services like Dropbox let you store this information on the cloud so you don’t suffer if your local computer dies. You can never backup too often and if you are using popular FTP clients and backing up pure site data, you can easily use the scheduling functions to do this automatically.
  3. Use the tools that your hosting provider gives you. In cPanel, it’s easy to create and download full website backups (that you can store locally and also on Dropbox). At WebHostingBuzz, we’re partnered with CodeGuard, a unique but simple way to incrementally backup your site. This adds an extra level of protection and means our users can backup/restore their site in seconds.
    If your hosting provider doesn’t integrate with CodeGuard, you can still sign up with them directly and supply CodeGuard with your FTP details so they can backup your website data.
  4. Practice good password security. Use long and hard to guess passwords. The likes of LastPass and Roboform mean you don’t need to remember these; you can store them securely with either of these password managers.
    Don’t share your password. Create separate user logins for your webmasters or agencies involved in publishing your website. Always login on a secure connection (https, sftp) when you’re accessing your control panel, WordPress admin or FTPing to your site. Your hosting company will probably provide you with a shared SSL certificate but even if they don’t, you can grab a cheap SSL certificate for under $10 from the likes of CheapSSLs.com.

Matt Russell is CEO of WebHostingBuzz, a global web hosting company that operates in the US and in Europe. WebHostingBuzz serves clients in 146 countries from its 6 data centres around the world. Matt has been in the hosting industry for over 10 years and enjoys writing about hosting, security, web marketing and more. Connect with Matt on Twitter: @mattdrussell. [Disclosure: WebHostingBuzz is a sponsor of NevilleHobson.com.]

Liking WebHostingBuzz, and deals

qualityyoucanrelyon

Just over a month ago, I started a relationship with a new web hosting service, WebHostingBuzz. The words you’re reading now are served up to your screen from a database in the cloud (well, from a dedicated Dell server physically located in a data center somewhere in the US).

As I noted in my first post about WebHostingBuzz, you now get content served to you a lot quicker and more reliably. If you look at the footer of this page (on the site itself), you’ll see a counter showing how quickly the page was served. Typically, it’s less than half a second. Page load speed is important to Google ranking.

I’m very pleased with the uptime record since I moved this site – 100%.

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According to Hyperspin – a service that monitors this site and emails me daily reports – 100% uptime has been the state of things since I made the move to WebHostingBuzz. They promise 99.99% so I’m quite pleased with 100% over 30+ days!

So far, I’ve had nothing but a stellar experience with WHB. I’ve not had reason to connect with tech support yet (which is actually a good thing), but I’m pretty confident that when I do – and it’s inevitable that I’ll have to at some time – I’ll encounter the professionalism and great service that I did when the tech team helped me migrate things to their service.

In that first post I wrote last month, I mentioned what the deal is with WHB:

[…] in essence, they’ll host my web presence at no financial cost to me and I’ll talk about them from time to time, here and elsewhere, and give them a platform to occasionally tell their own story. We’re addressing our arrangement openly and transparently: there’s a little badge on this site that declares ‘hosted by WebHostingBuzz,’ for instance, as well as a similar phrase in the footer of each page.

Even if we didn’t have a sponsorship deal, I’d talk about them anyway. But rather than just talk about WHB, I asked them to give me something to offer readers of this blog.

They didn’t hesitate, and here’s the deal and how to get it:

plansus

plansuk

  • On budget, reseller, business or VPS plans
  • On either the US or the UK WebHostingBuzz domain
  • Get 50% off your first purchase, for any purchase period
  • Your coupon code is: hostingdream
  • Enter that code in the coupons box when you get to the checkout

That’s a good deal – 50% off. (I get no commission, by the way, nor any other type of benefit if you take up WHB’s special offer. Just to be clear on that point.)

If you decide to join up with WebHostingBuzz, let me know how you get on.

WHB: A new host for a new year

In November 2011 I made a decision that, in early 2012, I’d move this blog and some other web properties to a new hosting service. From today, that service is WebHostingBuzz and I’d like to introduce you to them.

whbscreenUS

Founded a decade ago, WebHostingBuzz (WHB for short) offers a wide range of hosting services – web hosting, business web hosting, reseller hosting, virtual private servers and dedicated servers – as well as specialized services such as WordPress, Joomla, Magento and Drupal hosting plus e-commerce hosting. The company says it has over 30,000 customers worldwide, hosting more than 250,000 websites at datacentres in the US and in The Netherlands.

Sounds pretty standard stuff, doesn’t it? It’s the kind of setup you’d expect from any competent hosting company. I think WHB undoubtedly meets that minimum bar; it’s some other things about them that I think takes them beyond the minimum.

The arrangement I have with WHB is more than simply customer and hosting service. When I was initially approached about getting together with WHB – the timing couldn’t have been better, given my November decision – I had a number of conversations and email exchanges with their UK-based CEO Matt Russell. It quickly became clear to me that here is a business that acts differently and which is interested in forming relationships with people and businesses that aren’t just about obvious commercial interests. They see themselves as forward-thinkers and look for similar others in the relationships they want to build, and want to use the evolving social web as a platform to tell their story.

nosopaI also like their stance against the US government’s proposed SOPA legislation that aims to combat online intellectual property theft among other things. The intent of this proposed law may be good but the proposed measures and methods to fight such crime currently in front of the House Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives are alarming in areas such as the power it confers on government (and if you think that only matters in the US, think again).

So we agreed a sponsorship deal that brings benefits to both of us – in essence, they’ll host my web presence at no financial cost to me and I’ll talk about them from time to time, here and elsewhere, and give them a platform to occasionally tell their own story. We’re addressing our arrangement openly and transparently: there’s a little badge on this site that declares ‘hosted by WebHostingBuzz,’ for instance, as well as a similar phrase in the footer of each page; and there’s this post to start with that is posted primarily to its own topic category: webhbostingbuzz.

Today, we threw the metaphorical switch and this site is now ‘hosted by WebHostingBuzz.’

What does it mean for you, the reader? Well, in a practical sense, the first thing is that you should get content served to you a lot quicker and more reliably as this site is now hosted on a dedicated server. It also has WHB’s VIP Management service behind it where people who know what they’re doing will look after the physical infrastructure that enables the content to appear on your screen.

If you’re thinking about a new web hosting service, you might want to check WHB out and look at some of their special January offers for dedicated servers as well as the coupon discount from their UK home page. (Note: I get no commission or anything for mentioning or linking to any of their deals.) Connect with them on Twitter and on Facebook. I wonder if I can persuade them to open up on Google+ as well.

And finally, I’m impressed with their 24×7 tech support in the past week and during this weekend – it really is 24×7 – as they did all the heavy lifting to successfully migrate my WordPress content including databases, DNS changes, etc, to their service.

A good move.