Ross on
27th May 2013

So You’re Gonna Host a WordPress Site?
Recently we were doing some work for a client who needed a bit more in terms of reliability and service that our usual web host of choice provides.  Up until this point, Design33 had always used shared web hosting for client sites.  What we tended to do was build the site on our own staging server, showing the client the build periodically at various project milestones.

Then along came a client who asked us about SLA’s.  Service Level Agreements are basically the clients guarantee about website uptime and what will happen should any downtime occur.  In this case the client wanted assurances around this and was looking for monetary compensation if the site was ever down.

We started looking around for a reliable host who could provide this.  Initially, the host we had been using (a small local outfit) came back and said something along the lines of – “Yeah, we take backups, but don’t rely on them please, oh and service level agreements, yeah, we have one somewhere I think…”)  Clearly, not going to be good enough.

There are several things to think about when looking for a place to host your client’s shiny new website.  Chris Lema lays out some great points about why you should choose a managed host rather than a shared host in his blog article.  For us – it comes down to being able to sleep at night!

Shared vs. Managed – FIGHT!
If you are hosting your site with a shared hosting package, then your lovingly crafted site (which you spent hours on) lives on a server that has lots of other sites on it.  I bet you that at least one of those other sites isn’t updated as often as yours, isn’t looked after like your one is and is more vulnerable and open than your awesome site is.  Scenario is this : the weak site is hacked, hacker may be able to gain access to your site via theirs.  If you are using a small outfit, like we used to, what happens if the server goes down? Or they have a flood? Or the building next door catches fire because someone left a chip-pan on the cooker? Do people still use chip-pans?

Anyway – you get the picture. Anything can happen.

Now imagine you have your website hosted with a company who are firstly, experts in the field. Secondly they provide a raft of services like daily backups, active monitoring, automatic updates.  For us, the best thing surrounding this whole issue is that the hosting side of the site ceases to be our problem.  We have a host who, when problems appear (and they do – right), wants to be involved in solving them. Actively engages with us to help correct the issue. Is not content just to take a monthly fee and say, ‘Yeah whatever, look like a plugin you installed broke it – not our issue’.

What does it mean for you and your client?
For Design33 it means that our client’s data is backed up – we can sleep at night knowing that someone who knows more than us about hosting is looking after our client’s sites and data. And that is worth paying for.  We use WPEngine to manage our larger client sites – we’ve found them to be, well, awesome.