Every business with a website also needs hosting. For most companies and nonprofits, WordPress hosting is something that their web designer managed, and it is now forgotten. This is a problem.
Paying for a well-built website is pointless if the visitors cannot use your website well because it's slow or resources become scarce. This is like building a million-dollar home and placing it in the cheapest, slummiest neighborhood. What's the point?
The point of this article is to show the reader how utterly vital your web hosting is to your business. Furthermore, I aim to explain why cheap web hosting is not only a bad idea - but it can literally break your business online.
Most hosting companies under $20 a month fit this category. The hosting companies in this category earn small amounts of money each month off of a large bulk of clients. They do this by offering the absolute cheapest of everything so there is still profit even when you spend $5 a month.
Many cheaper hosting companies offer "unlimited" storage, "unlimited resources," and/or "unlimited" bandwidth. The problem here is that all of these things cost money. Therefore, these companies cannot truly offer what they say they do. Instead, they add all sorts of hidden limitations or even obscure wording that correct these claims of "unlimited."
These cheap hosting companies will purchase a low-end server computer and cram as many clients on that server as it can hold. Then, the resources on that computer are shared between all of these clients. This means that if a client on the computer starts to use the resources available, the other customers also feel that usage.
Many of these hosting companies offer nothing in the way of security for your sites. In fact, many of them mask hacked sites, so their business doesn't look bad, but they allow the site to remain hacked until the owner figures it out and pays them to fix it.
This is a hidden cost in the cheap hosting category. These companies tend to expect their clients' sites to eventually be hacked, allowing them to make more profit. Being paid to fix a problem is good business. However, allowing that problem in order to be paid is a different issue altogether.
The cheaper hosting companies that offer backups often don't enable those backups for you. This means that you have to know to go and enable those yourself. Furthermore, they don't offer space for the backups because you're not paying them enough to provide that storage and remain profitable.
You'll need to find an external source that costs more and set up a complicated backup process for backups. This is neither user-friendly nor what most business owners would think to do. As a result, when a website breaks, there is often no backup to restore to fix the site.
There are quite a few solid WordPress hosts now (Kinsta, WPEngine, Pagely, etc.). We count ourselves amongst their ranks and even towards the top tier of these high-end hosts. That said, we ofter a lot more - but I'll get into that in a bit.
These companies have become synonymous with excellent WordPress hosting and have changed the industry for hosting companies that do a great job. More and more, people are willing to spend the right amount of money to ensure their site is running at full speed with security and backups.
High-end WordPress hosting companies tend to provide a good amount of server resources for your site. They also offer ways to upgrade your plan as your business grows. However, they rarely claim "unlimited" for any of the services they provide because they care about the client experience and want to be honest with you and educate you.
They will often use a shared server, but they ensure the server is not overloaded and actively move sites to ensure your business doesn't suffer from another's successes. Many of them also offer an option for you to set up your own server. This provides all resources directly for your website, and you don't even have to think of competing with others.
Another hallmark of high-end WordPress hosting companies is found in stellar customer support. "Wait times" of a few minutes for these hosts vs. many minutes or even hours for cheaper hosting companies can be a massive gain. Also, their representatives tend to be happier and friendlier while still being incredibly knowledgeable.
As mentioned earlier, security matters to these companies. It keeps their brand looking pristine, and it helps their customers justify spending more. It also helps keep shared servers running perfectly as the sites on the server aren't being bogged down by other hacked sites.
Often, these companies provide WordPress security plugins. Some of these companies even have lists of plugins you cannot install on their servers due to known security issues or lousy code.
High-end hosting companies know how vital your backups are. Many of them provide daily automated backups to help you recover in case of problems. Some, like Wapiti, take these backups even further.
In the case of both cheap hosting and high-end hosting, you can always install your own plugin to have another set up handy backups. When coupled with the aforementioned backup systems of these high-end hosting businesses, you end up with a robust backup solution.
One of our favorite features as a company that also offers web design services is support for staging sites. This is a fast website push that can move your site to a temporary place for new development work and then push it back over the live site when finished. Staging environments are an excellent service, and cheaper hosting companies don't offer this because it costs more.
At this point, you've learned a bit about the discrepancies in cheap and high-end hosting. Now I want to start setting apart the high-end hosting companies so you can find where the real value is for your business or nonprofit. These hosting companies can rise above the others in the "Managed WordPress" hosting space.
Managed hosting is simply this: hosting with a specific service or set of services included. More often than not, this refers to proactive monitoring of the server, security, and backups. In some cases, you may even be alerted to new vulnerabilities so you can take quick action on them. In other instances, patches may be applied to the server to pre-empt these items in real-time.
Managed WordPress hosting is like having a server team in your back pocket. In my opinion, it's worth it entirely.
With Wapiti's "Elite Hosting" and "Over The Top Support," we take managed WordPress services even further. You can expect the same proactive monitoring and support you find with other managed WordPress providers along with many other essential features.
First, Wapiti's servers are finely tuned to not only be the perfect WordPress hosting environment, but they are also highly tuned to WooCommerce and eCommerce scenarios. This means regardless of the website you put on our server, you're going to have the fastest, cleanest, most secure experience.
Second, our built-in backups are second to none - and they can be expanded to meet your business or nonprofit's needs. As a default, we offer hourly backups for one day, daily backups for one week, and weekly backups for one month. Those are "fast restore" backups directly on your server. We also offer daily backups to a Dropbox folder that can be shared directly with your marketing/IT team. Finally, we also store daily off-site backups of the entire server on a separate server in a different location. This triple redundancy makes it incredibly hard for anything to happen to your website.
Third, we proactively monitor your site. This means we're paying attention to server resource usage, security, backups, and more and ensuring everything is always running top-notch.
Finally, one of the best parts is that we actively update your WordPress plugins to patch potential security threats. This is a significant undertaking and one that many other managed WordPress providers shy away from.
While this is a separate service, we offer complete, white-glove services that include changing content on your site and updating pages. This ensures that you don't need to rely on an in-house person to do all the work. Alternatively, you can use Wapiti to support your current in-house person to save more money for your business. Really, our expertise is your gain.
We want you to try our WordPress managed hosting service, Elite Hosting. We guarantee that your website will run better than it has and that there will always be expert eyes on your site.
Reach out to Wapiti today, and we'll have a chat about how we can best manage your WordPress website for you.