There are several different factors to consider when choosing a host for your WordPress website. One of the most important is speed. The speed of your host can make or break your own site’s page speed. Unfortunately, hosting speed is mostly out of your control, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the most out of your host.
Avoiding Bulk Hosting
It’s simple math: the most sites on a server, the slower a site will be on that server. There are only so many resources to go around, and those resources have to be divided up amongst all of the sites. That’s why you want to avoid bulk hosting providers. But what is a bulk hosting provider? Bulk hosting is a host that just dumps your site on to a random shared server along with a bunch of their other clients. There’s no specific balancing or optimization going on.
These hosts are typically very inexpensive (at least to start off), which is why they don’t offer much in the way of services. That’s how they stay cheap. If you’re just starting out, it can be incredibly tempting to go with a bulk host, but the hit you’ll take in site speed often times outweighs the benefits.
Look for a managed host
Managed hosting is a relatively new option offered by several WordPress hosting companies. Many of these companies also offer bulk hosting plans, and the managed option is an upgrade. There’s nothing wrong with that. But not all managed hosts are the same.
What differentiates the top managed hosting companies is the services they offer. Are they just offering backups and plugin updates, or are they going above and beyond with load balancing, traffic prioritization, and more? These additional services are what justify the additional cost of a managed host. Make sure what their offering matches your needs and, more importantly, your expectations.
Use a CDN
CDNs, or content delivery networks, are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They speed up the delivery of your site, greatly improving page speed. Using a CDN is recommended by just about every page speed optimizer out there. Not using one can greatly impact your Google PageSpeed ranking.
If your host offers a CDN, I highly recommend you take advantage of it. It may be a small fee to use, but the long-term benefits to your page speed are worth it. If you’re more technical, and your host does not offer a CDN, you can always use the free CDN provided by Cloudflare.
It’s important to know that not all CDNs are created equal. Many hosts rely on Cloudflare’s free CDN for their service, which can create congestion as usage grows. WPEngine’s CDN, on the other hand, does not rely on Cloudflare. Instead, it delivers your content based on the location of the user. This allows for faster delivery and increased page speed.
As you can see, hosting speed depends on a variety of factors. Who you choose will always have tradeoffs, so you’ll want to make sure those tradeoffs are ones you can live with. As far as who we recommend, we’re big fans of WPEngine and Liquid Web. Both offer fantastic plans at great speeds. For more information on how to get started with either company, contact us today!