Hosting

Why should I choose VPS hosting?

Why should I choose VPS hosting?

Why should I choose VPS hosting?

Virtual Private Server is the right choice for developers, webmasters, resellers and simply for those who run resource-intensive websites. We use KVM and VMware technologies for virtualization, that is why each VPS performs and executes exactly like an independent physical machine and therefore offers security and flexibility for your sites, independence from neighbors, full control over your hosting environment and power of a dedicated server at an affordable price. KVM delivers 133% increase in disk speed performance comparing to XEN technology. Both KVM and VMware VPSs has got their own customers, and we respect all those customers.

 

Hosting

What is the difference between shared hosting and VPS?

What is the difference between shared hosting and VPS?

What is the difference between shared hosting and VPS?
It is the same difference as between a dedicated server and usual shared hosting.

With a VPS, you receive all the power of dedicated hosting with the ability to have your own set of services and customizable disk space. With shared hosting, you have limited administrative access and can’t customize software configurations, while with a VPS you can perform any actions from your control panel and don’t need to contact technical support with every single request.

Hosting

What is VPS Hosting?

What is VPS Hosting?

VPS hosting is a Virtual Private Server, and is a virtualized server. A VPS hosting environment mimics a dedicated server within a shared hosting environment. It is technically both shared hosting and dedicated hosting.

VPS Hosting is one of several types of web hosting accounts you can choose from to host your website online. To have a website on the internet, you need to have your website files on a web server.

Setting up and managing a server can not only be expensive, but difficult too. Purchasing web hosting allows someone to rent space on a web server, making it easier for the average person to have host a website online because all they need to do is upload their site files (no server setup is needed on their part).

Why is VPS Hosting different than Shared and Dedicated

With our dedicated servers, you rent an entire server. This is optimal for people that have very high traffic to their websites or need to setup their server in a very specific way. Not everyone needs to have a fully dedicated web server however. If you’re just getting started with your website, you can save quite a bit of money if you rent a small portion of the server. Shared hosting is when you share a portion of the server with other users rather than rent an entire server to yourself.

If you are considering a dedicated server and are unsure if it is right for you, perhaps you will need to get VPS hosting.

How does VPS Hosting Work?

The technology behind VPS hosting is similar to that of VMware or Virtual Box. These programs allow you to run several virtualized operating systems on one machine. For example, your desktop may be running Windows 7, but you can also run other operating systems such as Windows XP or Linux without needing to restart your computer.

Operating System Virtualization

Our VPS hosting envionments function in the same manner. While we have one physical server, we can run several different virtualized operating systems on that one server. Each virtualized operating system acts as if it was a dedicated server. This allows you to have all of the benefits of a dedicated server at a fraction of the cost.

InMotion Hosting uses Parallels Virtuozzo Containers in order to virtualize the Operative System. Each VPS hosting environment is referred to as a container, and the physical server each container is provisioned to is referred to as a node.

What are the benefits of VPS Hosting?

VPS hosting gives you the affordability of shared hosting while at the same time giving you more power and control like a dedicated server.

Privacy As you don’t share your OS with anyone else, there are no other websites on your server that potentially have access to your files.
Customization With a VPS Server, you have your own Operating System. This also means that you have your own instances of all server applications such as Apache, PHP, and MySQL. If you need to have any of these services customized, you can make changes to suit the server to your needs.
Control If you’re installing server applications that require a system restart, you can do so at any time. Even though technically you share a server with other VPS servers, your VPS server can be restarted without affecting anyone else.
Dedicated Resources On a VPS Server, you have dedicated amounts of RAM available to you at any time. Unlike shared hosting, there is no one else on your server that can use utilize all the RAM when you need it most!

VPS Server Management Options

Our VPS hosting platform offers a choice between two distinct management styles. cPanel VPS Hosting includes Optimized Configurations for better performance, free cPanel/WHM license, and automatic backups for easier server management. Cloud VPS includes full root access, burstable RAM and CPUs, and a lower price for more control and speed.

Hosting

Differences between Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting

Differences between Shared, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting

With all the different types of Web Hosting available, it can be confusing as to which one is right for you. Do you choose shared hosting, a VPS, or a Dedicated server? In this article, we will cover the basics of the different types of Web Hosting plans so you can find which type is the right one for you.

Hosting Platform Analogies

Shared Hosting
Shared Hosting is very similar to living in an Apartment Complex. All residents are in the same location and must share the available resources with everyone including the pool, parking lot, and playground. In shared hosting, all accounts must share the available resources with all the other accounts on the server. These include CPU time, memory, and disk space. Our System Administrators monitor all of our shared servers 24/7.

VPS Hosting
VPS Hosting includes our 4GB, 6GB, and 8GB plans and is similar to owning a Condo. While you still share things on the property, you are ultimately responsible for maintaining your own property and repairs inside the condo. There are also significantly fewer residents per building.

On a Virtual Private Server, not all resources are shared. The overall CPU time and memory are shared across all accounts on the machine, but at the same time, portions of those resources are always dedicated to each account. This allows for more power and flexibility than being on a shared account. (Click here to download a PDF with more information.)

Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated Hosting includes our Essential, Advanced, and Elite Dedicated Server Hosting Plans. Dedicated Hosting can be compared to owning a house. You have access to all the resources available on the machine and no one else’s account resides on the machine (your house). (This PDF gets into the nitty gritty of Dedicated Hosting.)

Apartment living to Condo living

Upgrading from Shared to VPS Hosting

Shared accounts are great for most users as you can host all sorts of applications on them (such as WordPress) and there are plenty of email accounts to go around. If you compare Shared Hosting to Apartment living, a need for an upgrade may arise if you have:

  1. A Growing family: If your family grows more than what your apartment can handle, then it may be time to upgrade. In shared hosting, if your website becomes popular, you may need to upgrade to VPS Hosting for more CPU and Memory for your account. This will allow you to handle all the new traffic coming to your site.
  2. Customizations: If you love the color red and want to paint your walls red, you may not have permission to paint any walls if you live in an apartment. Moving up to a Condo gives you more ownership of your space, allowing you to paint and decorate however you choose. If you require software that is not available in Shared Hosting, uUpgrading to VPS hosting will allow you to install any software that you would like!

Condo Living to Single Family Home Living

Upgrading from VPS Hosting to Dedicated Hosting

Keeping with the Condo analogy, you have a lot of control, but you don’t have complete control. There are many reasons that a Condo was great for you at one point in your life, but you’re at the point where you have a big family and there’s a lot going on every day. You may decide to buy a single family home, where you’ll have plenty of parking and extra bathrooms.

VPS Servers are great for mid-sized businesses because you have a virtualized private server that you can setup and tweak exactly the way you want. A VPS Server is not a Dedicated Server, however, so you are still on a server with other users and your actions can negatively affect them. For example, if you have a very busy website, dominating the server’s CPU time and memory could cause performance issues with other users on the same server.

Hosting

What is Dedicated Hosting

What is Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is a term used to describe web hosting packages that provide a dedicated server with dedicated resources to a single client. Dedicated hosting plans are ideal for WordPress websites with very large number of visitors. Many WordPress hosting service providers offer Dedicated Hosting plans along with shared and VPS hosting plans.

For example, in a shared hosting plan, a client is sharing a computer with many other clients. In the case of a VPS hosting plan the clients are sharing a machine but not the resources with other clients on the same computer. However, on dedicated hosting plans a client leases a whole server with all of its resources. Web hosting companies offer different packages of dedicated hosting plans. Prices of theses plans are based on the clients choice of hardware and resource allocation.

Dedicated hosting plans are ideal for large organizations or websites with much higher traffic. The clients get full control of the server which allows them to configure it to meet their own needs. The dedicated plans also come in managed and unmanaged forms where the hosting center can manage the server for the client in case of any problems. Dedicated Managed servers are generally more expensive. The pricing is also influenced by the amount of resources needed such as bandwidth, storage space, and amount of RAM, amongst other things. Additional expenses for dedicated servers also include the software packages needed to run the server. Such software can include licensing for Windows, if desired, cPanel, if desired, and other paid software. Free alternatives to most of the paid software packages are available but are not generally preferred due to issues with stability of the software. The main exception to the preference for paid vs free software is the widespread use of Linux over Microsoft or other paid OS on servers.

Hosting

What is Dedicated Hosting?

What is Dedicated Hosting?

Dedicated hosting is a hosting configuration in which a server is devoted to a single organisation or for a single purpose, such as a website. This is in contrast to shared hosting, in which a server acts as a host to multiple clients. A dedicated hosting service is sometimes referred to as a dedicated server and can be set up in-house or externally as a service from within a data center. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits.

Customisation – Dedicated hosting grants a certain freedom and control that other hosting solutions are unable to provide. The fact that the server is dedicated to one client and there are no cohabitants means that the server (and overall hosting solution) can be tailored to the specific needs of that client. This ensures that they can select and pay for the features that they require.

Uptime – In a world where convenience is everything and consumers aren’t used to waiting, it is vital to ensure that a website, for example, is functional at all times; site downtime could lead to customers moving on to competitors. Dedicated hosting allows for high performance and stability to ensure that websites and other business functions are operational virtually 100% of the time (usually upwards of 99.4%). To this end, providers should offer server monitoring and back-up facilities alongside support services (described below) to keep functions running as seamlessly as possible.

Congestion – Server congestion is much less of an issue with a dedicated server, especially when compared to shared hosting options. With the latter, you often run the risk of congestion due to the traffic and usage levels of other websites or applications hosted on the same server, competing for bandwidth, disk space and CPU usage. The very nature of dedicated hosting ensures that this isn’t an issue. It also works the other way; if the website in question is resource heavy then dedicated hosting may be the answer to ensure that other websites aren’t disrupted.

Security – Clients using a dedicated platform will be able to deploy security measures, such as anti-virus and firewall configurations, that are more tailored to their own functions; whilst also avoiding the security vulnerabilities that can otherwise be introduced by the activities of neighbouring clients on shared hosting platforms. In addition, dedicated servers located within data centers can benefit from the physical security measures that such facilities often put in place, including, for example, biometric authentication, security guards and mantraps.

Support – Some dedicated hosting services come with a certain level of support. This is important as a high percentage of dedicated hosting customers use the service to host mission critical or important computing functions or websites. Effective support ensures that site disruption is kept to a minimum. A fully managed hosting provider, for example, may offer support 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.

Details of support levels, as well as information regarding reliability statistics can usually be found in the service level agreement (SLA). These documents can often provide an insight into the quality of a particular service and should be consulted carefully when going through the process of choosing a provider.

If opting for a dedicated service that does not come with any support, it is important to ensure the presence of the necessary knowledge to manage and maintain a server effectively.

Hosting

The Dead-Simple Guide to Installing a Linux Virtual Machine on Windows

The Dead-Simple Guide to Installing a Linux Virtual Machine on Windows

There’s something refreshing about installing a new operating system onto a computer. And now, it’s easier than ever to do it without wiping out your existing setup.

Whether you want to learn bash scripting, try out a new program, or test hardware compatibility, running a Linux virtual machine (VM) will get you there. Best of all, it takes just a few minutes to do.

The Basics

Before we really get going, there’s an important distinction to make about terminology. When it comes to virtualization, the operating system you already have is the host OS. The one you are installing is the guest. Simple, right?

Also, now is a good time to take a moment and decide whether you will create a fixed size or dynamically allocated virtual hard drive for your VM.

The difference is pretty straightforward: a fixed-size drive carves out a specific amount of storage space for the guest OS, while a dynamically allocated drive will expand the space as needed. Depending on your use of the VM, you should be able to decide pretty easily if you can predict the physical storage space needed. Although there are ways to resolve issues later (such as increasing a virtual disk’s space limit), it’s much easier to make the right decision from the get-go.

All set? Let’s get started.

1. Install VirtualBox

VirtualBox is a free program provided by Oracle. This is the software that powers the entire virtualization process, so go ahead and download it here if you haven’t already and then install it.

2. Download Linux

Next, you’ll need to track down a version of Linux that suits your needs. This is easier said than done.

There are a vast number of distributions that you can choose from. You can start with this article for help defining your specific needs and refer to this one for a quick rundown of some popular options.

Once you find the version you want to try, download the installation file. You should end up with an ISO file in your Downloads folder.

3. Set Up Your Virtual Machine

Now that you have VirtualBox installed and Linux downloaded, it’s time to get your guest OS set up. Open VirtualBox, click New, and use the following steps as a guide:

  1. Name and operating system. Give the VM a name, choose Linux from the Type dropdown, and select the Linux version as indicated. Go with Other Linux if your distribution isn’t listed.
  2. Memory size. Select the memory size. This will siphon RAM from your system for the VM, so don’t overdo it. This number can be changed easily later under the VM settings menu.
  3. Hard drive. Since we’re starting fresh, leave it on the default Create a virtual hard drive now.
  4. Hard drive file type. There are multiple choices here for advanced users. Choose VDI for now unless you know you will need one of the other options.
  5. Storage on physical hard drive. Based on your decision earlier, select either Dynamically allocated for an expandable drive file or Fixed size for a static drive file. As the description states, please note that a dynamic drive file will expand as needed, but will not shrink again automatically when space on it is freed.
  6. File location and size. Since you’re making a virtual hard drive within your existing file space, you can give this file a name and choose where it is stored. Adjust the slider or type in a specific number in the box to the right to specify the virtual hard drive size.

In VirtualBox, you should now see that there is an item on the left-hand side listing your name from step 1 followed by Powered Off. Let’s go ahead and get it powered on.

4. Install the Linux OS

We’ve set the stage for the new guest operating system, but it still needs to be installed. Select your new VM on the left and click Start at the top.

The next window will prompt you to select a start-up disk for the VM. Click on the icon next to the dropdown to open a file explorer window, then track down the Linux ISO you downloaded earlier.

Once you have selected the file, click Start. This will take you to the boot-up options for the OS, and from here you can simply follow the prompts. Many Linux distributions will give you the option to try the software or outright install it – keep in mind that you have set up a virtual disk drive for this VM and you will not be affecting your files on the host machine by installing the new OS.

Once the installation is complete, you’re all set!

Linux Mint with Xfce... delicious.

Linux Mint with Xfce… delicious.

Additional Notes

Guest additions. Some integrations with a Linux virtual machine can be tricky due to display drivers and other hardware dependencies. To resolve some of these issues, VirtualBox comes with a guest additions ISO image. Once you have the Linux OS installed and running, go to the menu items at the top, click on Devices, then click on Insert Guest Additions CD image… to install them. My 64-bit Ubuntu installation insisted on using a fixed screen size and resolution until I installed the guest additions and restarted the VM.

Consider going light. Unless you have plenty of processing power to spare, consider going with a lightweight distribution that is easy on your system’s resources. Look for variants of popular distributions such as UbuntuFedora or Mint that include a desktop environment that will be less resource intensive. LXDE and Xfce are popular options and worked well for me in my VMs.

Troubleshooting. If you’re having trouble running a particular distribution, you can try wiping the installation and trying again, searching for a solution online, or using another version altogether.

Hosting

WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting Explained

WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting Explained

October 24, 2018 By Nate Shivar

WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting Explained

Choosing the best web hosting plan for your specific project has always been a bit confusing. Plan features never line up. Terminology never matches. And pricing varies according to current discounts and plan length.

But that was before the latest trend – WordPress-specific hosting plans.

Nearly every hosting company offers a “WordPress Hosting Plan” in some form.

Sometimes those plans are nothing more than a headline change. Sometimes they very well-priced for the extra services. And sometimes they are plainly upsells with dressed up “features.”

It’s maddening – because here’s the thing. WordPress software runs fine on typical web hosting.

You do not need “WordPress Hosting” to run WordPress software. All you need is a Linux-based hosting account that supports PHP and mySQL.

Both are run of the mill features since the early 2000s. So what’s with all the WordPress Hosting plans vs. Web Hosting plans?

Well – sometimes a WordPress-specific plan is absolutely worth paying for. WordPress does have some needs & requirements that are not “generic” so some companies can offer seriously better service, support & performance for WordPress installs.

Here’s how they differ along with features worth paying for, and what to look for when shopping for the right host for your specific project and next steps.

Disclosure – I receive referral fees from companies mentioned on this site. All data & opinions are based on my experience as a paying customer or as a consultant to a paying customer.

WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting Overview

WordPress software will run fine on standard Web Hosting. In fact, most companies offer an auto-installer to make the process easy.

However, WordPress Hosting plans should provide features that…

  1. The hosting company can provide better at a “global level” than you can.
  2. The hosting company can use to provide consistency.
  3. The hosting company can provide as a bundle that is a better value than you can buy individually.

If a WordPress Hosting plan does not do any of those three conditions AND charges more money – then it’s a bad deal.

That said, do not throw out all WordPress Hosting plans as overpriced upsells. Some are worthwhile and some are amazing. Your goal as a customer is to understand what features you actually need.

WordPress Hosting Features Considered

There is a myriad of features that hosting companies will bundle (or highlight) in their sales material. Here are a few of the broad feature categories to consider with WordPress Hosting.

I’ll also point out how you can do the same thing on standard web hosting.

Speed & Performance

There are a ton of variables that affect website speed. There is no single factor that makes your website “fast” – especially with WordPress.

Advantages of WordPress Hosting

WordPress Hosting means that your account shares a server with other WordPress installs.

This means a few things –

  1. The server’s resource usage is more predictable.
  2. The server’s configuration can be more specific.
  3. Upgrades can happen faster, due to #1 and #2.

Different hosting companies will go further than others on their configuration.

It’s usually hard to tell who actually does what though. It’s important to read the fine print to see what they *actually* do.

If you see things like “increased PHP memory” or “NGINX” or “PHP7” – then you know that they have made special considerations for an advanced WordPress configuration.

Now, there are companies like SiteGroundInMotion, and Bluehostthat all have a strong bias toward WordPress in their standard web hosting. Often, their standard web hosting will be “better” for a WordPress install than some hosting companies’ “WordPress Hosting.”

Lastly, there are companies like WP Engine and Flywheel that *only* do WordPress installs. WordPress is their one thing. They are able to customize their servers to force speed considerations at the global server level rather than at the install level.

Doing the Same with Web Hosting

So all that sounds great, but the open secret about WordPress speed is that you can do 90% of a specialized WordPress hosting plan on a solid, but standard hosting account.

Think of it as buying a house that is good for “entertaining guests.” Sure – there are some houses that come prebuilt with a nice kitchen, a good deck, and comfortable furniture. But you can create a great house for “entertaining guests” on your own – provided you have a generally solid house.

Most hosting companies allow changes to PHP version and extra allocation of memory.

If your server has a solid response time, then you can do almost all the caching that you need via a plugin.

If you take the time to understand all the variables of website speed, then you’ll be fine with a standard (and cheaper) shared hosting account.

In fact, most hosting companies allow even advanced configurations like NGINX on VPS accounts.

In the end, you are paying for convenience with a WordPress Hosting plan. They bundle many performance features that you can assemble on your own with standard web hosting.

That said, there can be a real difference in raw configuration and resource allocation, which we will look at next.

Configuration & Resource Allocation

Like I mentioned earlier, the core difference between a “WordPress Hosting” plan and a standard “Web Hosting” plan for the hosting company is that they know what will be running on a specific server.

Since they know what will be running, they can configure the server and allocate resources specifically for WordPress.

Some of these features will be near useless (like auto-installing “common” plugins). But some can be useful and worth the money for some.

Advantages of WordPress Hosting

A WordPress Hosting plan can pre-configure many web technologies for quick setup within WordPress.

For example, using an SSL with WordPress is not super-complicated, but it does need many steps. A WordPress hosting plan can provide a pre-configured setup.

Same with a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN can speed up content delivery around the world.

It’s not super-hard to integrate one with WordPress, but it does need some steps. A WordPress Hosting plan can automatically “hook one up.”

The same goes for a staging site (ie, “test site that syncs with your live site) or memory allocation or auto installers.

Doing the Same with Web Hosting

The thing about resource allocation and configuration is that you are straight-up paying for convenience.

That’s not a bad thing – often convenience is worth it. But before purchasing a plan because it promises “WordPress features” – it’s important to remember that there’s rarely a feature that you can’t reproduce on standard web hosting.

For example, many hosting companies cap allocated memory, but you are free to increase it via an edit in wp-config.php. It might require looking up a tutorial or using a 3rd party service, but it is possible.

Sometimes that’s an upsell, but sometimes convenience is the difference between bad site or a good site – as in the case of security.

Security & Vulnerabilities

WordPress security sounds complicated and scary, but it does not have to be.

WordPress is inherently secure. WordPress has notoriety with security because it’s so popular. It’s a big target. It also allows anyone to install any “plugin software” that can create vulnerabilities.

Securing your website is a bit like securing your house. You can never guarantee against a break-in but you can become less of a target.

Practicing basic precautions will protect against most attacks. But it’s important to maintain a backup in case someone *really* wants to break-in.

Advantages of WordPress Hosting

Like resource allocation, WordPress Hosting plans provide hosting companies with predictability so that they can provide the same custom maintenance to all their accounts.

They can secure all their servers running WordPress to protect against WordPress-specific threats.

They can do bulk upgrades and instantly apply security patches. They can identify vulnerabilities across many accounts.

In other words, they can provide routine maintenance services since they are maintaining all their WordPress accounts as one.

Doing the Same with Web Hosting

That said, most all WordPress Hosting-specific services are routine. They are rarely “above and beyond.”

Just because you have a WordPress Hosting plan does not mean that security is “done.” You still need strong passwords. You need to maintain reputable (and ideally, minimal) plugins.

WordPress Hosting services might take care of routine maintenance, but that’s something that you can easily do on your own.

The key security difference between the two is, again, convenience. But – it’s convenience that leads to habits. Practicing security means having secure habits.

If you are the type of person who needs convenience & ease of use for good habits, then you’ll appreciate WordPress Hosting plans’ security features.

If you are the type of person who sets up systems and habits (and you will be actively using your site) – then you can re-create every security feature on standard web hosting.

In fact, sometimes you can do security even better with a 3rd party plugin. I use the one from JetPack (maintained by WordPress.com) that does security scanning, automates updates and does backups all in one.

Either way – it’s important to think critically about what you personally need.

Customer Service & Support

Understanding your needs & habits factors into customer service & support as well.

It’s easy to dismiss customer support until you need it. And you will need it working with WordPress. WordPress has a lot of moving parts that can create issues quickly.

Since WordPress is free, community-supported software, it does not have professional support bundled with installation.

When you install WordPress software, you are relying on your own troubleshooting ability. You “own” any problems with it.

Your hosting company’s support usually only covers problems with your hosting account – not the software on your hosting account.

Advantages of WordPress Hosting

When a hosting company sells a “WordPress Hosting” plan – they usually make some sort of promise to provide software support…to a point.

And the “point” depends on your hosting company. It’s important to read the exact text to see how far their commitment goes.

A WordPress Hosting specialist like WP Engine or Flywheel will often take ownership of your issues and simply solve it.

Some hosting companies will simply guarantee that your rep is trained on WordPress issues.

It all depends.

*Side note – this is WordPress.com’s main pitch. They are the commercial side of the WordPress software community. They do provide WordPress-only support to the software & hosting bundle. I wrote about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress software here.

Doing the Same with Web Hosting

WordPress drives a *ton* of business to many hosting companies. Many hosting companies are basically WordPress Hosting companies by default.

If you go with a hosting company like SiteGroundInMotion Hosting or Bluehost – then your tech support rep will be proficient in common WordPress issues.

Additionally, you can always make use of Google, the WordPress.org forums, paid support via JetPack, or many of the premium plugin providers.

Your support journey might take a few stops, but it’s free and open. And sometimes it’s higher quality since you “own” the issue and are learning more about your site.

Either way, the choice comes down to the price of convenience. Do you want a single, go-to support option (WordPress Hosting plan) or do you want to put your own system together (standard Web Hosting)?

Software & Bonus Features

This balance between choosing your own 3rd party software and bundling extends to software and bonus features.

Many WordPress Hosting plans offer lots of bundled software with WordPress. They might have premium themes, plugins or even SSL certificates or CDN subscriptions. It’s all quite attractive.

The important thing here is, again, choosing convenience over control. And thinking through exactly what you want.

Advantages of WordPress Hosting

With WordPress Hosting plans, their bundled services usually work well. They are simple to install and come at an attractive price.

With an SSL, you can quickly secure your site without going through a 3rd party.

With a CDN, you can speed up your site without the confusing setups and API keys.

With a theme collection subscription, you get access to a range of designs for free.

Doing the Same with Web Hosting

On the flip side, you can usually get all the software and bonus features bundled with WordPress Hosting for a better price if you put in the time and planning.

Theme makers are a dime a dozen. You find exactly what you are looking for and buy one a la carte somewhere on the Internet. Same with plugins.

SSLs, CDNs, and other bonus features are available somewhere for the price and selection that you want.

For example, I wanted an Extended Validation SSL for this site – I had to get it from a 3rd party rather than my hosting company. I decided that I wanted to use MaxCDN rather than CloudFlare. That kind of thing.

If you want to use the products bundled with WordPress Hosting plans, then factor that into your decision.

But if you know that you want different software anyway, then be sure to add it to the “total cost of ownership” with your WordPress Hosting plan.

WordPress Hosting Providers Overview

I have tried out a lot of hosting companies as a consultant and as a customer. Most of my projects use WordPress, though I usually work with standard web hosting installs.

Here’s an overview of some of the well-known brands that I’ve used. Skip to next steps here.

InMotion WordPress Hosting

InMotion is a fast growing independent hosting company. I use them for this site. They are reworking their WordPress plans, but right now they are a focused version of their Business Hosting plans. InMotion provides WordPress-focused support regardless of plan. They do bundle a drag-and-drop builder with WordPress Hosting plans. Worthwhile plans.

Read my InMotion review.

See InMotion Hosting plans.

Bluehost WordPress Hosting

Bluehost is the big brand in the WordPress world. Bluehost’s WordPress Hosting plans are pricey. But – they do add a lot of value – including running WordPress on an NGINX VPS platform.

Read my Bluehost review.

See Bluehost Hosting plans.

SiteGround WordPress Hosting

SiteGround is a fast-growing independent hosting company. I use them for several side projects. Like InMotion, they are reworking their WordPress plans. But right now, they bundle free CDN and NGINX settings. They also have a one-click staging setup for WordPress. Worthwhile plans.

Read my SiteGround review.

See SiteGround Hosting plans.

WP Engine WordPress Hosting

WP Engine was the first “Managed WordPress” hosting company. They only do WordPress. Due to that specialization, they offer a lot of unique features that are worth their pricing. Worthwhile plans.

Read my WP Engine review.

See WP Engine WordPress Hosting plans.

GoDaddy WordPress Hosting

GoDaddy is the big brand in the web hosting space. Their WordPress Hosting plans are fine, but overpriced IMO given the value-adds.

Read one of my GoDaddy reviews.

See GoDaddy Hosting plans.

HostGator WordPress Hosting

HostGator is a well-known budget brand. They are sister companies with Bluehost. HostGator’s WordPress Hosting is a rebranded form of their Cloud Hosting. Cloud Hosting is a bit of a different beast. Basically, HostGator hands your install to Amazon/Google/etc for a flat rate and a usable dashboard. It’s interesting, but not comparable to other WordPress Hosting plans.

Read one of my HostGator reviews.

See HostGator Hosting plans.

iPage WordPress Hosting

iPage is another well-known budget focused host. They are also sister companies with Bluehost. Their WordPress Hosting plans are web hosting plans with pre-installed software.

Read my iPage review.

See iPage Hosting plans.

WordPress.com WordPress Hosting

WordPress.com is a commercial website builder owned by Automattic and running only on WordPress software. They bundle hosting, software and support into a single package. Their founder, Matt Mullenweg, wrote the original WordPress software. If you want a more controlled but sleeker experience, WordPress.com is where you go.

Read my WordPress.com review.

See WordPress.com Hosting plans.

Next Steps

The short version of WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting is one of convenience vs. control.

If the convenience of WordPress Hosting is worth the higher price point, then go for it. It’s worth it. One of my clients swears by his plan and his ability to “just pick up the phone and have it fixed.”

If you are sticking with a budget or simply want more control over 3rd party services, then be confident in your decision to use standard web hosting. WordPress was built for everyone. It does not need and will not need specialized hosting services to run well.

You might be interested in my Best WordPress Hosting Quiz here or my WordPress setup guide here.

I also wrote an explainer to explain what is WordPress hosting here.

Good luck

Hosting

The Beginner’s Guide to VPS: What Is It, Why Do You Need It, and When Should You Upgrade?

The Beginner’s Guide to VPS: What Is It, Why Do You Need It, and When Should You Upgrade?

The Beginner’s Guide to VPS: What Is It, Why Do You Need It, and When Should You Upgrade? thumbnail

If you are finally ready to get your website up and running, it’s probably safe to say you’re looking into purchasing web hosting. And it’s a battlefield out here for beginners. There’s a glossary of new terms — what the fetch is a kernel?! — and acronyms seemingly dropping from the sky. One that you’ll hear a lot: VPS.

But fret not, beginner. This guide will walk you through what VPS hosting is, why it can be beneficial for your website, and even give you a run-down of when you should sign up.

Let’s get started!

What is a Virtual Private Server?

First, let’s define what VPS actually stands for — virtual private server.

Let’s first focus on server. In layman’s terms, a server is a powerful computer that stores all of the data and files that make up your website. When someone types your domain name into their web browser, that powerful computer “serves up” your website to the searcher’s screen.

Now for the virtual aspect: VPS uses virtualization technology to split that one powerful server we just talked about into multiple virtual servers. Think of it this way: it’s one piece of physical hardware that functions like several separate servers.

The word private means just what it implies. Your virtual server is reserved for you, so you won’t have to share RAM, CPU, or any data with other users.

How VPS Stacks Up Against Other Common Hosting Plans

To truly understand how VPS works, it’s important to get familiar with some of the basics of web hosting, including other common plans. Here’s a brief breakdown of the differences between shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting.

1. Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most common form of web hosting and works well for many new website owners. When you purchase a shared hosting account, you’re sharing key resources like CPU, RAM, and hard drive space with all of the other website owners using that shared server.

Let’s use an analogy to make understanding this concept a little easier.

Think of a shared server as a large apartment complex, and all of the individual apartments are rented by other website owners. All of you need a place to live — just like your website’s files — but going out to buy a huge family home would be too expensive for your needs. Sharing common areas and utilities in an apartment block helps keep costs down. And the same is true for shared hosting.

Another shared plus: your panel will be fairly easy to navigate since most web hosts pre-configure and maintain the server for their shared customers.

There are a few downsides to shared hosting, though, mostly because you’re sharing. For instance, if someone else on your shared server has a huge spike in traffic, that could affect your website’s performance. However, if you’re just getting your website off the ground and don’t have huge traffic volume, shared hosting is a great way to get online!

2. Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is the opposite of shared hosting. Rather than pooling resources (and sharing the costs) with other website owners, you have one system that is reserved for your website only.

Sounds great, right? The catch is that it’s more expensive, but you get 100 percent control over your resources and you can customize software to meet your individual needs. This type of hosting package is best for websites with robust technical demands. For example, dedicated hosting could be right for you if:

  • you are getting large amounts of traffic each day.
  • you need to install your own operating system.
  • you are handling thousands of financial transactions.
  • your website requires custom software.

3. VPS Hosting

VPS hosting sits squarely between shared and dedicated. When you choose VPS, there will be other websites hosted on the same hardware as yours (remember that powerful server we talked about earlier?).

But — and it’s a big one — your website is the only domain allocated to your particular virtual compartment. And that means you get your own operating system, dedicated storage, powerful CPU, scalable RAM, and unlimited bandwidth.

With a VPS, you are getting many of the benefits of a dedicated server — for an affordable price. In short, VPS hosting can give you more bang for your buck.

DreamHost’s Shared, Dedicated, and VPS Hosting Plans

Feature Shared Hosting VPS Hosting Dedicated Hosting
IP Address Shared with hundreds of other websites hosted on the server Only shared with websites hosted on your VPS Only shared with websites hosted on your dedicated server
Custom OS Nope Yes Yes
Hosting Control Limited Control Full Control Full Control
Isolated RAM Nope Yes Yes
Isolated CPU Nope Nope Yes
Root Access to MySQL Server Nope Nope Yes
Custom Software Nope Yes Yes
Server Resources Limited Use Full Use Full Use
Free Domain Included Yes Nope Nope
Cost Starting at $7.95/mo Starting at $15/mo Starting at $149/mo

Should You Upgrade to VPS?

The best way to evaluate whether or not you need to upgrade to VPS is to take stock of your website. Here are eight tell-tale signs it’s time to go virtual.

1. You’re Worried About Security

If you need enhanced security features, advanced monitoring capabilities, more backup space, improved website reliability, or plan on taking any form of online payment, then you may want to consider VPS. With VPS, you get reliable resources and can count on top-notch security features.

2. You Start to Experience High Traffic Volumes

If you are just starting your website and don’t receive very much traffic, then shared hosting is the ideal solution. However, if your website’s audience is consistently growing, you’ll want to consider upgrading. You don’t want to run the risk of your website running slowly or, even worse, your server crashing because it can’t handle the traffic. If you anticipate an increase in visitors, do yourself a favor and switch to VPS.

3. Your Website is Consistently Running Slowly

Shared hosting is not meant for websites that use large amounts of RAM. As your website grows and you add more and more content, you will start to see a decrease in your website’s load times. As soon as this happens, it’s an indication that you are maxing out your limits. Upgrading to a VPS will enable you to scale your website without having to worry about slow load times.

4. You Have An Online Store

The moment you plan on running an online store is the moment you should upgrade your hosting plan. Why? Because with VPS, you have a secure and dedicated virtual server where you are more likely to pass a PCI compliance test. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard was established by major credit card brands to protect against cardholder data theft.

If you are accepting credit cards on your website, you want to do everything you can to ensure the safety of your consumers’ financial information. Since VPS is more secure than shared hosting, it’s the better option for ecommerce websites.

5. You Need To Install Custom Software

Shared hosting is great for website owners that build their site with standard WordPress plugins and other standard programs. However, if you reach the point where you need to install custom software, use a custom server configuration, or engage in any other advanced programming, then you’ll want a hosting option that affords you more control.

Similarly, several standard tax, billing, bookkeeping, and other integrative programs require around-the-clock server availability as well as high-speed internet. To run these applications successfully, you’ll need either a VPS or dedicated hosting plan.

If you operate on a shared server, you’ll only run into frustration when you learn advanced actions are forbidden or that apps don’t have the support needed to function properly. Instead of dealing with this potential problem, upgrade to VPS hosting and immediately gain more control over your programming actions.

6. You Run Into Server Errors

Do you encounter “Service Unavailable” errors, any 50X errors, or the “Internal Server Error” often? When you see errors, it’s likely that your potential customers are too. While you can troubleshoot downtime issues, there is simply no room for server errors if you’re running an online business. Pre-empt this problem by upgrading to VPS.

7. You’re on a Budget

It’s true that a dedicated hosting package can also solve these problems. However, it’s important to note that dedicated servers are a pricier option. If you need to improve your bandwidth, increase your security, and get more RAM, then the most affordable option is to opt for VPS hosting.

8. You Build Websites For Your Clients

Is it part of your job to build websites for your clients? If so, it can get expensive to purchase individual shared plans over and over again. Additionally, it would be difficult to manage each domain from separate accounts. With a VPS, you can host an unlimited amount of domains all while making sure you have enough RAM for each site to function properly.

How To Choose The Best VPS Hosting Plan For Your Website

Now that you know what a VPS is and when you should upgrade, let’s talk about what makes a great VPS plan and how to find the best web hosting provider. After all, you wouldn’t trust your website with just anybody, right?

Self-Managed Versus Managed Services

When selecting VPS hosting, you usually have two plan options: self-managed service or managed service.

You need to be familiar with server administration, troubleshooting, and managing the applications, software, and services installed on your VPS if you choose a self-managed service. If you are either unfamiliar with these admin skills or you just want your hosting provider to take care of it for you, then opting for a managed service is the way to go.

Linux/Windows

You might think this tip falls into the “No Duh” category, but it bears sharing: make sure the hosting package you select is compatible with your operating system. DreamHost, for instance, doesn’t offer Windows hosting since most of our users prefer to run Linux.

Reliability

The VPS hosting service you select should have uptime ratings of 99.5% and above. Anything lower is simply unacceptable. For the record, DreamHost boasts the industry’s highest uptime at 99.98%. Stop it, we’re blushing.

Hardware

When purchasing a VPS hosting package, make sure your service provider offers the latest and greatest in hardware, including solid state drives (SSD) — the fastest storage technology. SSD makes running high-speed applications easier thanks, in part, to the lack of moving parts.

24/7 Customer Support

When it comes down to it, you simply don’t know when you’ll experience a site meltdown. So make sure you purchase a VPS hosting package from a company that offers 24/7 customer support.

Backup Service

Imagine you are revamping your site when something goes wrong and you lose everything because you forgot to backup your site. Shivers. This is an all-too-common occurrence, and it can cost you money, time, and more than a few gray hairs. Make sure when you purchase VPS service, you choose a provider that makes backups easy.

Conclusion

Made it all the way to the end of this guide? Well, pat yourself on the back because you are a VPS beginner no more!

What it boils down to is this: if your website is growing and beginning to attract some well-deserved attention, you’ll want its performance to keep pace. And that means it’s time to increase your site’s resources by upgrading.

While VPS hosting is more expensive than a shared plan, the benefits of a VPS give you a lot of bang for your buck — without having to spring for the much-pricier dedicated hosting plans.

Hosting

How to install WordPress using Softaculous

How to install WordPress using Softaculous

Once you order hosting service, you can start creating your own website. Using Softaculous automatic app installer you can install WordPress in a few clicks.

Below you can find step-by-step guidelines covering the process:

1. Log into your cPanel.
2. Navigate to Exclusive for Namecheap customers section > Softaculous Apps Installer menu:

How to install WordPress using Softaculous
3. On the homepage, click on the WordPress icon:

How to install WordPress using Softaculous

4. Switch to the Install tab to proceed:

How to install WordPress using Softaculous

5. On the next page you will need to fill out the details of your WordPress installation.

  • Choose the domain you wish to install WordPress for
  • In the In Directory field you can specify the root folder for WordPress installation. By default, this field is empty, and it allows installing WordPress on yourdomain.com directly. If you wish to install it to a subfolder, like yourdomain.com/blog, simply type “blog” in this field.
  • Database Name can be left default.
  • Table Prefix can also be left default wp_; however, due to security reasons it is better to change it, e.g., to ncwpsite_ .
  • The Site Settings section should be filled out accordingly to your needs, though you can change it anytime later if required.

Make sure you set up secure and hard-to guess details in the Admin Account section:

How to install WordPress using Softaculous

How to install WordPress using Softaculous

How to install WordPress using Softaculous

6. When ready, scroll down and hit Install.
In a few moments you will see the message that WordPress has been successfully installed:

How to install WordPress using Softaculous

 

You can now go ahead and log into your WordPress Dashboard to start working on your website.