Author Topic: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?  (Read 4219 times)

RapmasterD

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Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« on: August 27, 2014, 03:07:37 PM »
For my NEXT post, I'll delve into the topic of fear and how to conquer it. I expect great answers from ALL of you!

For THIS post, I need to ask the age old question of which hosting service you think is best for Wordpress.org hosting.

I've looked at past threads on this forum.

GoDaddy appears to have its detractors.

BlueHost appears to have its fans.

I'm not a fan of any service that promises unlimited anything (ahem...HostGator).

I'd automatically go with BlueHost but with a $25 per month charge for ongoing hosting, I want to make sure they kick ass. My definition of kicking ass = great customer support with emotionally intelligent people on the other end of a phone that can talk boneheads like me through a temporary jam and/or provide great counsel.

I intend to start a relatively simple blog and possibly evolve into selling an information product or two. I'm gravitating toward WordPress because I've had a Wordpress.com blog for a few years and 'know' the service. I've toyed with Drupal in the past -- not for me.

Thanks in advance for any feedback! BTW, this "OP" has kid duty for the next couple of days so apologies in advance if I'm not responsive immediately.

FIPurpose

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2014, 03:23:27 PM »
I would go with trying to find a small web hosting company. The ones I have dealt with usually specialize in particular sectors. They tend to have limited hours, but are really dedicated to their customers. In fact I've thought a good bit about opening my own web hosting company, maybe I'll be looking into that again soon.

Chunk

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 03:58:04 PM »
I like Bluehost. Just so you know, they aren't $25 per month. There are deals where you can get three years of shared hosting for about $150. If your site grows and you need more, you can get a bigger plan - maybe that's one of the ones you saw.

I really like their customer service. I have had a few occasions where I've had to wait about 15 minutes to get someone on live chat. They are usually faster and are always faster than that on the phone. I just don't like to talk on the phone and prefer live chat.

RapmasterD

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2014, 06:18:44 PM »
Thanks to you both.

Good advice, Chunk. I'll call them next week. I'm with you in general on going the self-service versus phone route, but something about 'live' support when I'm stuck on a web jam is appealing. Thanks again.

gimp

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2014, 12:32:50 AM »
I have bluehost. Recently paid them for a 3-year hosting contract (instead of paying once a year); at $7/month. Plus about $10/year per each domain I own (god, that list is growing, isn't it?)

Daley

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2014, 09:34:16 AM »
If you're concerned about promises of "unlimited" anything (as you should be, because those services are always grossly oversold), you shouldn't bother with Bluehost either. I've dealt with them repeatedly on behalf of other clients, and they're terrible. Straight up terrible and oversell server space and bandwidth for everyone, and the smaller the site (traffic wise) and longer the duration hosted, the worse it gets over time. Have a recount of the last major Bluehost encounter I had. (Relevant followup: Dreamhost was also abandoned since then despite its "free" status for the NPO in favor of an ASO VPS.)

Stick with a smaller host that actually has limits on the services they provide for the money paid, the quality and reliability will be far greater. I've yet to hear a complaint from anyone who's used A Small Orange for that very reason. Support is excellent, the prices are reasonable, and the shared hosting servers aren't overloaded. The only other thing I would recommend is that from a security end, I would make a point to resist the urge to register your domain through whatever host you use. Better security practices. Gandi.net or Namecheap are excellent registrars for the money.

RapmasterD

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2014, 02:10:51 PM »
gimp - Thank you. How has your BlueHost experience been?

I.P. - Thank you for your perspectives. Yes, I will have low volume of course to start with. Oh gosh, that last sentence was douchy...SORRY! And yes, I bought my domian name through a different hoster --- ummm...GoDaddy. Lord, please don't kill me.

The_Dude

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2014, 04:17:02 PM »
I tried a blog experiment a while back and used Bluehost.  I realized that I wasn't that passionate about the subject and decided to cancel before my prepaid time was up to avoid any auto renewal.  Bluehost didn't make it very clear that i had to cancel the service in multiple locations so they still charged me for another year of domain registration and when I contacted them would not reverse it.

Left a bad taste in my mouth

gimp

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2014, 06:41:58 PM »
I can't complain. Been using them for 5 years now. Overall satisfaction is why I renewed for 3 years instead of one. I also am wary of any plan claiming to be unlimited, as bluehost does, but frankly -- you won't get enough traffic / use enough resources to go up against the wall where you find out what "unlimited *" has in fine print. I've known people who use 14TB of bandwidth a month (TB, yes, TB) without having an issue.

I use a shared hosting plan, and currently host, uh... 4 domains? I think. They do the simple stuff right and I only need the simple stuff. I can't speak to the rest. They offer bells and whistles I don't use.

My load times are fine (300ms average). I run custom code on it (ie, no wordpress / joomla / etc garbage), so I can't speak to anything about that. I use it as a remote backup server when I'm on the go for a few files I generate, which works great. SSH always works great. Transfer speeds are very reasonable; direct transfers to/from are in the 1.5MB/s range. This is despite my shared hosting reporting about 2300 domains registered to that IP address.

RapmasterD

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2014, 10:30:33 PM »
Wow. Extremely impressive, gimp. Thank you for your detailed message. It inspires confidence.

gimp

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2014, 12:22:08 PM »
Daley and I are at odds about many tech topics. His points are always reasonable, even if I don't agree or share the experience. So it goes. I think his field of expertise is in IT, but I can't be sure. I just build shit.

Some back of the envelope math - if we assume my site is reasonable with about 10k or so logged requests per month and that's an average, that puts the shared server I use at over 2 million hits a month. That's a bit under one request per second. Even if we assume 10x that number, that's 10 requests per second. 10 static requests per second can be handled by an 8-bit microcontroller for $0.35 in onesies - personal experience, here. I've built it.

Of course, that's not so realistic - your requests tend to be fancier. 10 requests per second, each spawning (let's say) 10 requests to a database, and a more complicated dynamic webpage, means the creation and destruction of some 100 threads per second. With your basic thread pool manager, and let's say a relatively low-end 2x 8-core hyperthreaded xeons (this is fairly low end for a server), you can do the task completely trivially. A fairly naive install of your basic webserver and database software will handle that. I am not sure why Daley said that 12 database requests and 4.5MB of data per second is an issue. Most requests are dominated by seek time (that is, the amount of time it takes the hard drives to physically find the data), and 4.5MB of data per second on even a 1 gig backplane is trivial... and these days, even cheap servers have multiple 10 gig ports, each of which gives about 500x the bandwidth 4.5MB/sec would need. Which is why I can transfer large files at speeds limited by my network connection, not theirs - they have way more bandwidth than you would need.

Which would go some way towards explaining why despite 2000 other people using my server, I have no issues - I am fairly sure that 2000 customers like myself can use a $500 pc from dell with some extra hard drives running out of mom's basement, let alone a real server.

Realistically, you're going to have 95% who use approximately no space or resources at all, 5.9% who use about as much as I do, and 0.1% who use everything else available. If those 0.1% get unruly, and the server isn't managed well, then their overuse can fuck you up. That is always the case with shared hosting. You are unlikely to find shared hosting where there is no potential for someone else's overuse to screw up your normal use. As Daley said, some small hosts can make it happen by management with an iron fist. If you are incredibly worried, find yourself a small host with strict limits on resource usage. I much prefer the flexibility of being able to go overboard for short periods of time if I need it - maybe I want to test something, or upload ten thousand RAW photos when I'm traveling, or whatever.

fantabulous

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2014, 02:51:24 PM »
I'll parrot the general recommendations of looking for a host that doesn't offer "unlimited" shared hosting. How small of a host to look for depends on whether you might see your site outgrowing shared hosting and needing to be moved to some sort of dedicated hosting. A larger host will usually be able to help out with the migration to their own higher end offerings.

I don't want to reveal my own employer or shill their services, so I won't make that recommendation. I will mention that it's a large enough host that some shared hosting companies are in fact my employer's customers and I've been in the position of dealing with those customer's oversold services. Sometime these hosting customers will handle their own problematic customers well once I've helped them with identification. Others just want me to stick more bandaids on to get things limping along again.

gimp does have a very valid point about taking the gamble with "unlimited" shared hosting, though. It's usually not terribly disruptive over the long term if other problematic customers are dealt with well on the server. And even well defined/metered shared hosting isn't immune to other disruptive customers. I'd still recommend staying away from the "unlimited" services if you're needing a potentially high level of support from the host. The extra cost of the closer metering of services tends to go better customer support.

Daley

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2014, 03:03:22 PM »
Daley and I are at odds about many tech topics. His points are always reasonable, even if I don't agree or share the experience. So it goes. I think his field of expertise is in IT, but I can't be sure. I just build shit.

Yup... heavy background in IT/IS, networking, (and VoIP at this point)... but I also do some web development and general server ape services as needed. There's muh background. I personally don't mind the disagreement, it keeps things interesting... and I think we'd have probably hit things off better if I didn't mistake him for a marketing shill with his first posts to the forums here.

I am not sure why Daley said that 12 database requests and 4.5MB of data per second is an issue. Most requests are dominated by seek time (that is, the amount of time it takes the hard drives to physically find the data), and 4.5MB of data per second on even a 1 gig backplane is trivial... and these days, even cheap servers have multiple 10 gig ports, each of which gives about 500x the bandwidth 4.5MB/sec would need. Which is why I can transfer large files at speeds limited by my network connection, not theirs - they have way more bandwidth than you would need.

You are absolutely correct in this assessed statement, and there should be zero problem handling 12 database requests and 4.5MB of data a second by any reasonably equipped server. These are reasonable numbers, even potentially for SQL server loads... the problem are the statistics that accompanied those throughput numbers: one out of every 78 SQL connections are timing out, one out of every six queries served are slow. The failure and slowdown rates indicate a taxed server that cannot handle the loads it is being given. The site in question had a small Wordpress install with this (far smaller than Technical Meshugana). Low traffic, but the SQL server issues were causing regular problems loading the site. It got worse when I introduced something with a lot more content and a database larger than 4MB.

It gets worse when you compound the fact that most of those other 2000 some-odd websites are frequently using database resources as well, and appear to primarily be SEO spam and malware honeypots designed to try and drive traffic... layer in an increasing stream of abusive and malicious botnet traffic on nearly every domain - especially on CMS installs looking for weaknesses (and so few people knowing how to eliminate that traffic), and it gets a bit ugly on anything but raw file data throughput... but even that, I've found they have a nasty habit of throttling traffic exceeding 1GB in a 24 hour period. This also indicates a management issue, however, and caring more about paying customers than what is being hosted.

As a point of raw numerical comparison to the Bluehost logs in question from what I linked, Bluehost's SQL failure rate was 1.28% of all queries (which alone doesn't mean much, malformed queries get tossed into this number), and 16.667% of all SQL queries were slow (one out of every six), which is a sign of server load issues. The slow queries are the truly problematic ones, especially when they're so slow they time-out and fail, and it's important to remember that stock Wordpress (IIRC) runs at least 18 queries per loaded page. Their SQL servers on their shared hosting also ran through approximately 16.3 GiB of total traffic and ~43,150 queries an hour. This SQL server was being restarted about once every 2-3 days. I found similar statistics on other Bluehost hosted Wordpress installs on different shared hosting servers.

Currently with Technical Meshugana on the shared hosting plan I'm using with ASO (their Small shared hosting plan - $5/month plus further discounts on annual purchases and coupon specials), the relevant SQL stats are as follows: failure rate of 0.44% of all queries (429,100), and only 869 slow queries total, which works out to something like 0.000009% of ~97 million total connections. ASO's SQL server these numbers are from push 15.6 GiB of total traffic and ~49,990 queries per hour, and as of this message has an 80 day uptime which coincides with a maintenance event.

You'll note, similar throughput on shared servers between the two providers, but the difference is staggering on the slow queries end for SQL performance between the two. You can have as fat a pipe as you want, but when dealing with scripted content, the SQL server makes and breaks load times. I'm paying less than $5/month to ASO for a plan that has plenty of bandwidth and storage space, and the SQL server performance (not to mention the technical support) is like night and day compared to Bluehost, which costs a fair bit more for that promise of "unlimited". Management goes a long ways, as Fantabulous has pointed out... and it bears out in the numbers between the providers discussed by myself.

gimp

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2014, 04:23:51 PM »
Your plan sounds pretty good. As you point out, one of the issues of big companies is that they can let certain things slip a little. Like, say, having a shitty hard drive that isn't exactly failing but isn't exactly seeking as fast as it should be. And then never replacing it.

What's more annoying is that the proper management software - for example, VMware's suite of virtualization tools - such problems are immediately detected and flagged. A poorly performing server should just have its data copied, processes moved (god I love virtualization support - thank my ex-coworkers for that one), and shut down for maintenance. And as you correctly point out, the quantity isn't the issue - your host has just as many requests and serves as much data per hour with an almost infinitely lower failure rate. Clearly something was fucky with the setup you encountered. Should that happen to me, believe me, my loyalty will evaporate - it's very much predicated on never having any issues beyond the occasional maintenance and one downtime event in five years.

I might even go as far as recommending to the OP that unless they plan to occasionally take advantage of "unlimited" as I do, to go with your host - it's cheaper.

Daley

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2014, 05:12:45 PM »
Clearly something was fucky with the setup you encountered. Should that happen to me, believe me, my loyalty will evaporate - it's very much predicated on never having any issues beyond the occasional maintenance and one downtime event in five years.

I am truly happy to hear that you've not run into problems with Bluehost, and it appears to be a situation of encountered experience. The only problems with my experiences with Bluehost is that I've seen SQL stats across three different shared hosting boxen with them, and all three had similar statistics to the one quoted above. I think the lowest slow query rate I ran into was around 10%. My last encounter with them was about eight months ago (with the same issues), and I've had more than one of their support staff tell me on more than one occasion that their servers were running as intended when I brought up those failure rates on their own SQL back ends, and that the problems were on my end. And that right there is why I can't recommend Bluehost to anybody. They're zero for three in my book.

I might even go as far as recommending to the OP that unless they plan to occasionally take advantage of "unlimited" as I do, to go with your host - it's cheaper.

Appreciate the vote of confidence, Gimp.

Nords

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2014, 12:20:39 AM »
gimp - Thank you. How has your BlueHost experience been?

I.P. - Thank you for your perspectives. Yes, I will have low volume of course to start with. Oh gosh, that last sentence was douchy...SORRY! And yes, I bought my domian name through a different hoster --- ummm...GoDaddy. Lord, please don't kill me.
You might be confusing routine service with rapid (or emergency) response.  Bluehost does pretty good on the first.   It's probably fine when you're starting out, but eventually you're going to build a business whose income is going to depend more on robust response to unexpected conditions.  Last year Bluehost was totally nailed by a DDOS attack on Pat Flynn's SmartPassiveIncome site, and their fumbles cost him $12K just in lost ad revenue. 

I spent $25/year for over three years to register The-Military-Guide.com domain name with WordPress (or rather their Wild West Domains contractor) and never had a problem.  The guy who bought the blog transferred the domain name to GoDaddy last month (to consolidate with his other domains) and GoDaddy screwed it up for over a week.  The blog was up but the IP address translated to a temporary domain name (myftpsomething) that redirected to The-Military-Guide.com.  How freakin' hard could it be for GoDaddy to transfer one domain name from an established company to their custody, and what other excitement is waiting for us?!?

Start with Bluehost, because you need to avoid paralysis by analysis and get going.  But after you've been up for a few months, then start paying attention to other hosting companies and consider switching as your traffic grows.  You might also consider moving your domain name registration away from GoDaddy now, perhaps even to WordPress.

larmando

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2014, 12:27:35 AM »
How about a linux VPS, a lamp stack, and wordpress?
You can start a lot cheaper than 25$ a month, IIRC, and then grow it as your traffic needs it.
(examples: gandi, where you can get servers starting at ~10$ a month and then move up from there)
(there are many more of course, I just happened to have use them)


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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2014, 05:01:52 AM »
Not to hijack, but alongside a good hosting service, anyone have a good guide for moving a .com WP blog to .org, or a paid service that they think is worth the $? Or does it ultimately depend on which hosting provider you go with?

RapmasterD

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2014, 06:03:10 PM »
Thanks again, everybody. Wow, the detail....much appreciated!

I'm thinking SiteGround as a starter....

Nords

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2014, 10:36:55 PM »
Not to hijack, but alongside a good hosting service, anyone have a good guide for moving a .com WP blog to .org, or a paid service that they think is worth the $? Or does it ultimately depend on which hosting provider you go with?
BlogCrafted.com. 

He gets an affiliate fee from Bluehost (and passes a hefty discount on to you) but he'll move your database to wherever you want.  He'll also add whatever other services you want, from WP's Jetpack default (easily done on your own) to something like FeedBurner (not so easy). 

It's not rocket surgery, and you could do it on your own by looking up the process and following the directions, but it can go horribly wrong and take all day to recover.  I'd rather write.  I earned his fee back with just two weeks of AdSense revenue.

kittrad

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Re: Wordpress.org Hosting -- Best Service?
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2014, 01:02:48 PM »
Quote
I earned his fee back with just two weeks of AdSense revenue.

Nice one. Nature really is doing its work and rewards the person with the idea.