Choosing your WordPress Hosting and When to Upgrade the Core Files

Choosing Your WordPress Hosting

Finding a WordPress hosting site may be the most important thing you do. Choosing the right host is not always an easy task, and remember unlimited hosting is not unlimited. Look for the real limits. Make sure to “READ THOSE T.O.S.” For example, I recently helped a client with a website at Site 5 hosting and they have an arbitrary limit for what they call resource points— I mean what is that???

Make sure you find a hosting company that offers great support in at least 2 ways. Some preferable ways are live chat, e-ticket and phone. With multiple options you will always get the support you need when you need it.

Choose a company that offers cPanel hosting if at all possible. cPanel provides a graphic interface and automation tools that simplify hosting a web site. It is easier to setup and manage your website. And many cPanel providers have simple one click install scripts for WordPress which makes the installation easy. Plus they have an optional auto update of the core, but be careful of that (see the next part of this article on why auto update might not be a good idea).

Look for a company that does not oversell their shared hosting.  What does this mean? Well almost all hosting you can get for $17 a month or less will be shared hosting. This means you share the server with upwards of thousands of other websites. Think of a freeway. If you have ever travelled on one at 2am, you know you can go top speed, but if you have ever travelled one at 5pm, you know you might be moving at 10mph — same idea on a web server, more websites means slower delivery.

Finally, be sure they make WordPress a priority for their hosting service since WordPress has some unique needs for it to run efficiently and with as few problems as possible.

I researched several hosting companies recently and have found two that do not seem to oversell their servers and provide great customer service (as well as cPanel hosting). So if you need hosting, check these guys out:

When to do your WordPress Core Update

So it’s been a couple of weeks now since the new core update to WordPress version 3.5, and the question many people have is how soon after core drop should you upgrade? In my opinion it should be held off for about 2 to 4 weeks when moving to a major upgrade.

Upgrading WordPress is a painless process 98% of the time and goes perfectly smoothly. But that 2%, either you will end up going backwards and reverting back to previous version, spend your precious time troubleshooting what went wrong, or find the need to hire a professional to fix it for you.

Why should you wait a week or three? When you wait a bit to do your major upgrade, all the prominent plugin authors will get their plugins updated. This is usually where 99% of all upgrade issues stem from because the plugins that have glitches in them.

What are the benefits of upgrading? You get great new features like the new media manager in WordPress 3.5, and you get the new 2012 responsive theme to help you create a simple but elegant website.

What’s the downside of upgrading? Well you lose features you might have become used to such as the link manager. Yes, not too many folks know about or use it any more but I do have a few clients who do. And although you might lose something you like with an older version of WordPress, you will have to eventually upgrade. Why? Well simply because security flaws are always present, and if you leave an out of date WordPress website up, you are asking to get hacked….. Just ask Reuters about what happened to them when they did not upgrade.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about either subject, I have more detailed podcasts at my website WPMedic.ca

 

John Overall

John Overall has been working online since 1995, and in 1999 he opened his web design and hosting business. Since early 2009, he has been focusing on WordPress as a platform for people to deliver their messages to the world. With this focus on WordPress, he helps individuals and small business solve their website needs by using WordPress as a platform to maximize their websites impact.

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  • http://twitter.com/mikejestes Mike Estes

    There are also a number of fully managed WordPress hosts out there. They don’t offer cPanel access, but they can manage the WP upgrades for you. They can be more expensive than shared hosting, but usually the speed and features they take care of are worth it.  wpengine.com pagely.com and skimhost.com are some that I’ve had clients use and enjoy.

  • Anonymous

    Great suggestions.  Shared hosts often claim to have “Unlimited Bandwidth”, but will then either throttle your site or disable it if it’s taking up “too much of the server resources”, which is how they get around it.  I like both CPanel as well as Plesk for website administration, but having access to phpMyAdmin is pretty much a must in any hosting administration software.  If you can edit the account php.ini file, that’s a bonus as well. 
    It’s been a while since I’ve tried the one-click installs, but the one thing I recall not liking about them is that they didn’t allow you to change the database prefix (for extra security).  If that’s been changed, that would be fantastic as the one-click installs are really fast and easy to use for anyone – at any skill level.
    Excellent suggestion on waiting a few weeks to upgrade major core releases.  There have been a few of them historically that have broken sites and it’s best to let the Plugin developers have that extra time to bring their Plugins up to date as well as extra time for the WordPress core team to find and patch bugs in an incremental update that often follows the major releases.