Who you choose to host your website is a critical decision that will impact the overall performance of your B2B website. However, many businesses don’t take the time to re-evaluate their current website hosting company or properly vet a new hosting provider. In many cases, this is simply due to lack of knowledge or time.
In my experience as a web developer, I’ve dealt first-hand with the issues caused by using the improper hosting provider. These issues can include everything from slow website load times to an inefficient website update process to unstable platforms that cause hosted websites to “go down” for extended periods of time. Since Bop Design is a WordPress-only web design shop, we often get the question: “Which hosting company should I be using?”
When it comes to choosing a hosting company for a WordPress site, there are 7 important questions to ask to make sure they are the right fit and have the best capabilities to keep your B2B WordPress website running smoothly and efficiently.
Does the company offer a WordPress-specific hosting plan?
This is a basic question that should be asked right off the bat. If the hosting firm doesn’t offer a WordPress-specific plan, they may not be familiar with the platform or have the ability to properly support it. Additionally, if they do have a WordPress plan, ask how it differs from their other offerings. Some hosting companies host WordPress websites on servers finely tuned for optimal speed and performance, while others just throw “WordPress” up on their site for marketing reasons and take no extra efforts. In other words, their service meets only the minimum requirements for hosting a WordPress website.
Does the hosting company have WordPress experts on staff?
Having a staff that’s well-versed in WordPress can be critical to fixing any issues that arise quickly. Also, experienced WordPress staff members can anticipate common issues and provide guidance on using the correct settings for maximum speed and uptime.
Is a one-click staging environment included?
This is a little more advanced than the first two topics discussed but can make a huge difference in updating plugins and testing potential B2B website edits. A secure staging environment essentially allows you to build a clone of your website that can’t be found by users on search engines like Google. You can effectively test out any new features or changes you would like to add to your website without affecting the functionality of your live website. It also allows you to test plugin updates to ensure they don’t impact other aspects of the website, or if they do, it enables you to be prepared with a fix. Lastly, it enables you to set up the changes and roll them all out together from a secure environment. This is a best practice to make sure your website downtime is minimized and doesn’t affect potential clients.
How can you contact the support team?
There is nothing more frustrating than finding out the only way to contact a hosting provider is via an online chat. In certain cases, you may need to hop on a phone call to quickly address a hosting issue that has caused a B2B website to go down. Ideally, you should be able to call them, use support chat, or a ticketing system (although it all depends on your personal preference). Having multiple options for contacting your B2B website hosting company ensures you are able to get critical issues handled easily and minor issues handled without having to place a phone call.
What version of PHP are they using?
PHP is a scripting language that is used on server-side web development and typically is used to run a web server. Ideally, the web hosting provider should be running PHP 7. PHP 7 offers considerable performance increases over PHP 5.6, ensures your hosting plan will be compatible with future versions of WordPress and will improve the performance of your B2B website.
Is the web hosting company using Varnish or other caching systems?
Varnish and other caching systems increase the speed of the website by reducing (or eliminating) PHP and MySQL queries on each page load. These are considerably faster than caching ‘plugins’ like W3 Total Cache and will help to create a better experience for visitors to your website. They won’t have to wait as long for the website pages to load and you’ll experience lower bounce rates from slow load times.
Do they offer one-click backup and restore?
There may be several instances where you will want to roll back your company’s website to a backup from the previous day (or week), for any number of reasons. Comprehensive, and easily accessible, backup is important for this reason as it allows an efficient way to restore a previous version of the website.
With the selection of web hosting companies out there, it can be tough and time-consuming to evaluate and select the company that will be the right fit for your firm’s needs. These 7 questions should provide a guideline of what to ask a potential hosting company to ensure they can effectively support your WordPress website.