WordPress Hosting

WordPress Hosting

Are you planning a WordPress site?

When you are looking for WordPress Hosting it is critical to find the right hosting partner as it could be a decision that contributes to the success of your business or personal blog. If you look at WordPress.org it recommends:

  • PHP 7.4 or greater
  • MySQL 5.6 or greater, OR MariaDB 10.1 or greater
  • Nginx or Apache with mod_rewrite module
  • HTTPS support

This does not narrow down the options much, you have an endless choice available that meet these basic needs to run a WordPress site. The caution is the challenge in running anything more than a personal blog.

We have worked with lots of hosting providers over the years and don’t insist our customer take our hosting recommendations but we do offer advice on what you should look for in a hosting provider. There are various types of WordPress hosting options available such as Services, Shared, Virtual Private Servers (VPS), Dedicated and Managed WordPress hosting and we will take you through some requirements to help you select the best option. Factors you need to consider include your budget, technical expertise, and plans for the future.

WordPress Service Hosting

Price range typically Free – £50 /month

WordPress Service Hosting is where you create a simple site based on pre-loaded templates, one such service is wordpress.com.

These tend to be easy to start up but you can fastly grow out of the basic templates and plugins provided, they also tend to restrict your branding in that you would be a subdomain of the service provider, e.g. mynewbusiness.wordpress.com.

We would not recommend this for anything that needs to be serious about being online due to the restrictions.

Shared WordPress Hosting

Price range typically £5 – £25 /month

Shared hosting is the least expensive option and perfect for small sites with low visitor volumes.

The way it works is many, often 100’s of sites share the same physical resources with no separation between your website and the others on the server. The major negative to Shared Hosting is that if one website on the server has a problem it could and often does impact all others.

This means it is ideal when experimenting with an idea or starting out with a limited budget but is not recommended if a problem that impacts your site will do your business damage.

VPS WordPress Hosting

Price range typically £25 – £200 /month

VPS or by its full name Virtual Private Server Hosting is the next step up from Shared Hosting in that although it is located on a shared server your site is partitioned from the others giving extra protection and also allowing you to be in control of more elements of the hosting.

This means it is ideal for a growing business that wants some assurance around its hosting and also more control although it does come at a higher price than Shared Hosting.

Dedicated Server WordPress Hosting

Price range typically above £100+ / month

A Dedicated Server is where you have all the resources to yourself with no sharing and typically you as a business would have full control of what you install on the server which does mean you need greater in-house skills to run.

In the modern world of hosting providers and the adoption of cloud environments, this is not really needed unless you are a big organisation and regulated so that cloud is not an option.

Managed WordPress Hosting

What do we mean by Managed WordPress Hosting?

In all the options above the hosting company manages the day to day tasks of the actual server but WordPress is not simple and itself needs to be managed. For us Managed WordPress Hosting needs to take into account specific customer needs as not everyone is the same. Some organisations may just want to be able to call if a problem occurs or buy a fixed number of hours a month or just hand over the whole process. Thus managed means matching service to your specific requirements.

If you are happy with technical elements and have the time then buying a Hosting plan is the best option but this does mean you have a responsibility to maintain everything in WordPress itself. If this is uncomfortable for you then you need to speak to a WordPress management specialist to advise you on the issues with maintaining WordPress.

We would recommend unless you have someone working for you that understand WordPress then to take a Managed WordPress Hosting option as this is cheaper than hiring an in-house expert.

Any questions or want a chat about WordPress Hosting then just drop us a message.


We are affiliated with and use Cloudways as our preferred hosting partner as they meet our needs to create scalable performant and resilient WordPress sites.

Load WordPress Sites in as fast as 37ms!

Web Vitals and WordPress

Web Vitals and WordPress

There has always been a lot of focus on user experience when designing WordPress sites but now with the Google initiative Web Vitals we have a way to measure what good is. This becomes an essential tool in any team to ensure a website meets the users’ expectations and becomes even more important as it becomes a ranking signal.

So what is Web Vitals?

Web Vitals is more than just performance but covers four critical areas:

  1. Performance looks at the page and measures first visible items along with when the user can interact.
  2. Best Practices gives advice on recommended design and implementation patterns.
  3. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) checks if the page is discoverable and understood.
  4. Accessibility checks if the page has any problems that may prevent users from interacting.

What most people focus on is Core Web Vitals which maps to the area of performance. But, our recommendation is you must address all points as to why would you have a great performing site if users can find it (SEO) and are frustrated when using it (Best Practices & Accessibility).

Many tools exist for measuring Web Vitals (see options below) and often they will report two values, the first for Mobile and the second for Desktop. Although, we need to consider Desktop it is Mobile that we need to get working as that is the harder and with a modern responsive website, Desktop will naturally come along as you fix Mobile.

We will now look at each in turn and the diagrams are based on a real Mobile example we have worked on.

Performance

The performance report gives you an overall score, for this website 95, but we really need to focus on three items, these are the three aspects of the user experience; loading, interactivity, and visual stability, indicating if you pass the Core Web Vitals assessment, however, we do expect this to evolve:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance and to provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity and to provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of 100 milliseconds or less.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability and to provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of 0.1. or less.

Compliance considers a page passing if it meets the recommended targets at the 75th percentile for all of the above metrics. This website as depicted below comfortably passes this:

Tools can often give three sets of these measurements:

  1. Lab Data is scores calculated from a single run by the tool you are using.
  2. Field Data is real-world data captured for this page.
  3. Origin Summary (as depicted above) is the aggregate experience of all pages on the website from the previous 28 days.

Although lab data is useful for debugging improvements, the field data and origin summary gives you a view of the overall website health.

Best Practices

This evaluation looks at the coding aspect of your page and gives your developer pointers as to what needs to be improved or where errors exist. In many cases, this could be problems with WordPress plugins or themes and you may need to raise support tickets on the provider to get fixed. In other cases, it may be down to the way you have configured and set up your WordPress site and hosting.

Web Vitals Best Practices

SEO

The SEO evaluation looks at Search Engine quality guidelines focusing on three main areas:

  1. How search engines find your pages
  2. How search engines understand your pages
  3. How visitors use your pages
Web Vitals SEO

Often some SEO activies can negetively effect your site and you should make sure that you

  • make pages for your users and not for search engines
  • don’t deceive or trick your users
  • think about what makes your website unique, valuable and engaging.

Imagine you ran a shop on a high street where everyone sold the same thing. SEO is about convincing the passer-by in the street to come into your shop and not the others. After working hard to get them in, there is no point at all in having them enter to find out it was not what was expected.

Accessibility

In today’s world, we must make sure our website just like traditional bricks and mortar shop is accessible to all. This simply means that the site’s content is available, and its functionality can be actioned, by anyone. We must consider people that need to access but don’t use the traditional route of keyboard, mouse or touch screen, therefore, considers users who are experiencing some type of impairment or disability.

As note mentions below in the diagram, automated testing can only test a few elements and it is recommended that not only do you address those reported but you also run manual testing as part of your test and release processes.

Web Vitals Accessibility

How to Measure

Google believes that the Core Web Vitals are critical and is committed to surfacing these metrics in all of its tools; Page Speed Insights, Search Console and Chrome User Experience Report.

In addition you can go directly to web.dev web vitals for more reading and tools to measure.

Conclusion

Often the areas we have talked about are looked at by different members of the team and what this article hopefully indicates is it is about the whole and you can’t afford to be great in one quarter you must aim for achievements in all areas. In our example here we still have work to do in Accessibility and Best Practices.

WordPress itself encourages non-technical users to install plugins to provide functionality and often the ease of doing this creates problems that will be identified in Web Vitals. Unlike what WordPress marketing suggests we believe that WordPress when used for all but a small personal blog needs care and attention to achieve good results. In the example above we started at values in the 20s to 30s for most categories and it took a lot of work and effort to achieve the acceptable result, we have today.

But, please remember the job never finishes and this standard will evolve over time.