Self hosted WordPress allowed us to take full control on the CMS hosting, installation and usage. It also enabled developers around the world to sell their ideas and designs by releasing premium plugins and themes, and I think most of the themes and plugins are worth every penny. So it became win-win situation for WordPress users as well as the developers and seems good for both of them. Now if a platform becomes so popular, it catches eyeballs of both good and bad guys. This is true with WordPress as well where PRO developers are busy in making the platform more awesome, the hackers are targeting it with new attacks everyday. And that is where the security of the self hosted WordPress blog becomes very important.
Security of a WordPress blog starts with the hosting platform that you choose. That is the first step in case of self hosted WordPress and I think one should take that step very wisely. So what are the options available for hosting a WordPress blog,
1. Shared hosting
For newbies and non-serous users looking for cheap option. Just started your new self hosted blog and don’t have any income yet with the same and even don’t want to invest much from your pocket, you may choose this type of hosting. Your site will share the same IP address and server with 100s of other hosted sites on the same hosting server. Issues related to other hosted sites may cause problem to your site as well. In case Google find malware on a site hosted on the same server, there is a chance that your site may also feature malware detection message on Google which is a very serious issue.
- Very cheap, starts from $4/month
- cPanel may provide one click installation for WordPress
- You may not find any mod_security issue as the security is set as medium
- High risk of hacking
- May see more downtime
- CPU Throttling may cause site downtime
- Can not run SSL as no dedicated IPs
Popular shared hosting providers – Hostgator, BlueHost, HostMonster
2. VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting
One server running multiple virtual OS which actually appears as multiple servers. You site will be hosted on single server with shared hardware with other users. But restarting other’s account will not restart your server i.e. no direct impact of other’s activity on your account.
- Less security risk than shared hosting
- Kind of dedicated server at lower price
- More control on hosting server
- Better use of installed hardware
- Still not fully secured
- May face downtime if virtual software fails (may fail even because of issues with other hosted accounts)
Popular VPS provider – Knownhost
3. Dedicated hosting
One server hosting only your sites. No sharing of hardware with other accounts.
- 100% control on server
- Dedicated hardware running only for your sites
- High pricing
- Fully dependent on one server hosting, still may face downtime if anything fails on this server
Providers – Knownhost, Dreamhost
In all the above hosting types, you can see that the downtime and security is getting better with pricing but still the site is not 100% hack proof. For new bloggers or WordPress users who are not going to invest much time and effort on their site and not seeing that as the next huge thing in their life, may choose shared hosting. But for serious users, I would suggest to keep checking other better options.
So, even hosting the site on VPS or dedicated hosting platforms doesn’t make the site 100% secured and downtime proof, so what are the other options available?
Have you heard about WP Engine? Yes, they are the mad guys with hosting price as much as $249/month for a WordPress site. C’MON, $249 for hosting a WordPress site with traffic limit as 400K visitors/month? Is that worth the money?
Note – WP Engine is also having lower plans starting from $29/month with other limitations.
A low range dedicated server will cost you $150 per month. You can expect your server running without any problem for a traffic of around 1 Million and more, then why one would invest $249 a month on WP Engine? At first, when I saw the pricing of WP Engine hosting, I was shocked. How come they charge so much for hosting a WordPress site, I means one can get one of the best available dedicated server for that price range. The only thought that came in my mind was that they must be offering SSD or other latest server component in their hosting plans. Then I started exploring the features of WP Engine and talked to few friends who has already moved to WP Engine, and here is what I found.
WP Engine is not just a hosting provider but a dedicated WordPress hosting provider with guaranteed up-time and 100% hack proof security provider. They are a team of WordPress hosting experts with a deep knowledge on how to run a WordPress site with optimum performance without impacting the experience of the user. Their expertise will allow you to focus on your work rather than making changes on your self hosted WordPress. There is no need to install a cache plugin on WP Engine hosted WordPress sites, as they are having in-house caching platform to server the cached pages from your WordPress set-up It does improve the page load time of WordPress site if hosted on WP Engine.
Features (or say why $249/mo) -:
Dual Server hosting – On WP Engine, you site is hosted on two servers. In case one server faces downtime, the site will remain up as it will start serving pages from another server. The data is auto-synced between these two servers automatically.
CDN (Content Delivery Network) – With $249 package, you get CDN service as well. That means you will load the static content from a CDN which will further reduce the page load time and your site will load faster. Otherwise you will have to spend few dollars on CDN services like MaxCDN.
Regular Backup – Taking backup is very important for sites having huge and important content. If you are generating income out of that, then it becomes 100% essential to have backup on regular basis. ValutPress, a service by Automatic, offers regular backup for one WordPress site for $5/site whereas the security scan plan comes for $40/month. It is included in WP Engine hosting plan.
Security Scan – WP Engine keeps their server updated and keep scanning to any vulnerability that may cause security issue. In case of recent attack on WordPress sites, they implemented few IP blocks on all hosted WordPress sites by making changes in their .htaccess files.
In-house Cache – No need to use Total Cache or WP Super cache. WP Engine provides in-house cache system and this way you core WordPress installation doesn’t need to run any plugin for that purpose.
Staging Server – In case you think to make some changes on your WordPress site related to plugin or theme customization but you want to test the same first. You may use the staging server option of WP Engine to create a replica of your main site and test the changes. Once you are done with that, you may apply the changes to main site. The replica will not be visible to Google or other search engine.
Automated Upgrades – WordPress releases updates regularly with some important security fixes as well. You may forget to update your site’s WordPress as it requires you to hit the update WordPress button. WP Engine automatically update your site’s WordPress installation so that you don’t have to worry about upgrading the same. That means, you are always running the latest version of the WordPress CMS.
Am I convinced that they are not mad?
With some exclusive features for WordPress hosting specially related to the security and reliability, I think the peace of mind that we get after moving to WP Engine is worth the money spent. WordPress is getting targeted by hackers each day and the frequency is increasing day by day. That is why if you are concerned about your WordPress blog or cart or CMS, I would suggest you to try WP Engine. They are offering 60 days free trial as well. And yes, there are plans for less than $249 per month as well Actually, they have a plan for $29/month too.
I think, I have a better tag line for WP Engine and is,
Stay Focused, Stay Productive. Rest is Taken Care of by WP Engine…
So now I am 100% convinced that they are not charging just any amount for hosting the site but the services included in the package is worth every penny. Nothing can replace the peace of mind that you get after hosting your important sites on good and reliable servers.