Hosting Server Operating Systems
Running your WordPress site can be done through two options – Linux or Unix running Apache and Windows running Internet Information Server. The first option is better for meeting specific technical requirements.
- Linux – Based on the Linux Kernel, this operating system involves a free and open software partnership. A license like GNI GPL allows use, modification and redistribution of source code at commercial as well as non-commercial level.
- Windows Server – Microsoft sells various versions of Windows operating system.
Web Server Software
- Apache – Installed on more than 100 million sites, Apache is a major player in the web server software market. Commonly run on Linux operating system, it provides excellent functioning and performance.
- IIS – WordPress installs can run on Apache servers as well as IIS. However, this may lead to configuration problems.
- PHP – Hypertext Preprocessor is a scripting language used for designing web pages. It can be embedded into HTML and runs on a web server. PHP5 is a must for running WordPress on your server.
- MySQL – This includes a comprehensive database management system used by WordPress and many other free software solutions. MySQL has a significant role in large web projects like Google and Facebook. For WordPress installs, MySQL 5 is highly recommended.
Apart from the technical details, you need to consider the speed, quality and support offered by the hosting company. Server issues can happen at any time and good support can prove to be a lifeline at such times.
Up-to-date scripts and installations are important for keeping your server configuration, scripts and software secure. Simple settings like configuring PHP with register_globals and allow_url_fopen turned off can enhance the security of a hosting account. A good hosting company will undertake auto upgrade of server software as and when new security patches get published.
Server Performance and Hardware
Greater the number of sites hosted on a server, more will be the load on it. This means that server load policies are very important when considering different web hosts.
Hosting Company Features
Even though all WordPress Hosting companies make high claims, you need to look for key factors like control panel, data transfer and disk space.
- cPanel is one of the best control panels available at present. With a variety of features, it has a user-friendly interface and allows simple navigation. It is a good idea to look for a WordPress Hosting company that has cPanel, even if it is costlier than other options.
- Custom control panels are not as effective as they seem to be. In spite of several cool features, these may be difficult to setup and operate. Other control panel essentials like Fantastico, mod_rewrite, suPHP and mod_security must also be present in the hosting plan.
The installation of basic WordPress requires ample disk space. It is also used for storing data like text, videos, templates, images, etc.
Also known as bandwidth, data transfer is the amount of available of consumed data that is transferred through a site to the server. You can start with lower bandwidth and increase it according to the site traffic, file size and popularity of your WordPress site.
Steven Johnson, a WP Hosting Reviews senior editor, works from Atlanta and covers all things related to WordPress and Hosting. He graduated from Georgia Tech in Chemical Engineering, has managed hosting companies and now builds WordPress and Joomla Websites for small to medium companies full time.