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April 16, 2018

Web Development

How to select the best hosting for your CraftCMS of ExpressionEngine website

There are literally thousands of choices when it comes to website hosting and it can be hard to decide what is right for your needs.

There are literally thousands of choices when it comes to website hosting and it can be hard to decide what is right for your needs. We don’t provide hosting for our clients, instead we work hard with them to decide what is right for their needs. When it comes to CraftCMS or ExpressionEngine, the needs are pretty straight forward:  PHP 7, MySQL and preferably a Linux environment with WHM and Cpanel. Once you’ve checked off those requirements, there are a few types of hosting to consider:

Shared
A Shared host is where you have multiple (sometimes thousands) of websites on a single server. Everyone on that server shares the resources of that server (space, ram, bandwidth…etc). Think of it like renting a PO Box at your local Post Office. You are renting space and sharing the resources of that post office.

VPS
A VPS (virtual private server) is similar to shared hosting but with far fewer renters in the Post Office. You are sharing a server but have dedicated/fixed amounts of resources applied to your account. With VPS hosting, there are two things to consider: Self Managed or Fully Managed accounts. A Self managed VPS account means that you are personally responsible for that account. Any updates, any upgrades or issues in the account are your responsibility. A Fully managed VPS account is just that - fully managed by the parent hosting company. They are responsible for any updates or issues that arise. In our experience, unless you have experience with network administration and manning servers a Fully Managed VPS is the way to go.

Dedicated Hosting
Finally, dedicated hosting is like owning the Post Office - you get the actual server to your self and don’t have to share resources with anyone. This option is far more expensive but has many advantages if you need the resources.

Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting is very similar to VPS hosting - highly configurable but often more expensive. There are some great options when it comes to Cloud hosting but you must always consider your own abilities when it comes to managing a server.


Ok, now that you know the differences between the types of hosting - what should you look for in a hosting company:

American Support with 24/7 phone availability, chat, and support tickets
This may sound patriotic but we’ve found it much easier to work with companies who employ American support technicians. It helps break down the language barrier, ensures that we’re on similar time zones and more. Any hosting company worth their salt should provide you with the ability to create/mange support tickets and most have live chat, which can save you lots of time. Beyond that, make sure they have phone support available because sometimes you just need to call and talk to a real person.  

Domain Name Registration
While you can register your domain anywhere and save a few bucks each year, we recommend that you register your domain with your hosting company. Doing so will give you one place to manage you’re settings, simplify your DNS configuration and more.

Free, configurable backups
This ones pretty self explanatory but very important. You should be able to configure backups of your entire hosting account to run whenever you want and store the data wherever you’d like.

Control
When it comes down to it, you want to make sure you have the ability to make changes via Cpanel or Plesk for your account. This will ensure that you can configure your PHP settings specifically for your website installation to get the maximum performance. Some companies limit this, so it’s important to check.


So what companies do you prefer:
Liquid Web
Digital Ocean
Media Temple
A Small Orange


Want more advice, let’s talk about your CraftCMS or ExpressionEngine website and determine the right hosting for your needs.

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