Let’s say it straight: Quality hosting IS fast hosting. The speed of a website is a very important thing to care about, first to provide your visitor with a comfortable experience, and secondly since it’s a known fact that Google is incorporating website speed as a factor of how the site will rank.
Although site speed consists of many aspects (such as using a speed optimized WordPress theme, optimizing images, minimizing HTTP requests, etc.) a quality hosting environment will definitely be a key part of any very fast website.
PHP 7+, MySql 5.6+
The official site of WordPress lists both PHP 7+ and MySql 5.6+ as recommended on their requirements page. As WordPress is pretty good when it comes to compatibility, it can run on older environments such as PHP 5.2/MySql 5 without major problems, but your site performance will be higher if you’re using PHP7.
Benchmarks of WordPress using PHP7 are showing a 2-3x speed improvement compared to PHP5 or 6. You can have a look at other improvements and new features in PHP7 on this article.
Managed WordPress hosting
Unlike shared hosting, managed WordPress hosting server environment was designed specifically with WordPress in mind. This means you can enjoy faster page times, a higher level of protection against WordPress-specific attacks, and automatic WordPress updates.
HTTPS is a communications protocol that consists of communication over Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) within a connection encrypted by Transport Layer Security, or its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer. The main motivation for HTTPS is authentication of the visited website and protection of the privacy and integrity of the exchanged data.
Google has announced that going HTTPS — adding a SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site — will give you a minor ranking boost. Another reason to definitely consider HTTPS on any of your sites.
CatsWhoCode has recently gone HTTPS! Thanks to the awesome Vidahost support, the process went smoothly, 100% free of charge, and on a Sunday!
Although this isn’t exactly related to WordPress, a host that does backups for you is a real plus. Sure, any serious website owner will do their own backups, but believe me, host-based backups can sometimes save your whole website when everything else fails.
Having frequent backups done automatically by your hosting provider will provide you peace of mind, this is why I’d go with a host that provides them.
Quality, available support
A super important factor of what makes a hosting company a quality one is how good and fast the technical support is. Think about it: All of a sudden, your website stops working… You have no clue about what’s going on. Naturally, you send your host a request for some help. Imagine them taking 48 hours to answer because it’s a holiday. Your website will be unavailable for 48 hours, making you lose visitors, clients, profit…
When buying hosting, always make sure that the support is available 24/7, and also do some research about how good, technically speaking, the support staff is. The day you’ll need hosting support, you’ll be very happy to have been cautious when getting your hosting space!
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Before you leave, don’t forget to take a look at some very interesting related articles by our partners. Fancythemes.com have a post about the best WordPress hosting providers, WPKube is sharing thoughts about the current best managed WordPress hosting solutions available. Ecommercebooth.com has both an interesting article about the best WordPress hosting and a WP Engine coupon.