- Written by Constantin Oesterling
WordPress Web Hosting in the Cloud
Web Hosting is a very broad term. In today's world of Internet, Web Hosting industry has greater significance. Anything and everything we require are available through websites these days. Thousands of websites are being developed and launched in every single day. With the advancement of Internet and websites, came a lot of software which makes website development an easy task. The most popular among those is WordPress.
What is WordPress?
WordPress was initially launched in May 2003 as a simple code which helps anyone aspiring to write their minds out into an online presence called a blog. Over the years, WordPress has developed from the old styled blog to a fully functional Content Management System (CMS) which can be used to build websites of any choice. Along with the popularity of WordPress, emerged a lot of themes and plugins and various other features which make any website requirement or feature addition doable at a click.
WordPress is an open source project which runs on PHP and MySQL. Since it is open source, there is no license fee to get the software. You can simply download it from their official website, install it and build a website without spending a penny. A lot of developers around the globe are working on making this software the best among the lot. Being open source, anyone is free to make any changes in the source code and tailor it based on their needs.
You can use WordPress for any type of websites, whether it be big or small. The simple design, easy to use interface, the wide variety of plugins and themes available, multipurpose use, free of cost, all bundled in this tiny package makes WordPress extremely popular.
WordPress is widely used by people of various streams. It consists of:
- Bloggers who create a website just for writing purposes
- Beginners or aspiring developers who want to build a career in website development. Not just beginners, expert developers are also equal admirers of WordPress
- Small business owners who do not have enough money to spend on big and costly platforms, but still require a secure and reliable means to create a website. On a side note, there are many fortune 500 companies who use WordPress as well
- Photographers or artists who wants to create a portfolio website
- Most WebHosting companies build their websites using WordPress
- Online magazines, newspapers, etc.
Advantages of Using WordPress for Website Creation
- Cost Effective - WordPress is built on an open source platform, which makes it fully free to be used. There is no cost related to software download or installation and you can create as many websites as you want.
- Simplicity - WordPress is extremely simple to use. The user interface is straightforward and even beginners can learn it on their own, without supervision.
- Templates, Plugins & Themes - WordPress supports a large number of plugins, themes, and templates. Anyone without any coding experience can immediately setup a website using WordPress. Themes and templates help them give a stunning look to their website, while plugins help to add any feature they require to the website.
- Search Engine Friendly - WordPress is written with high-quality code and is extremely search engine friendly. In addition, there are many useful SEO plugins available like Yoast, which makes it further optimized and helps websites rank well in search results.
- Updates - WordPress developers are continually working on making new and improved additions to the software, and releases periodic major and minor updates. All updates are notified to users and they can configure WordPress to automatically process the updates. In addition, updates to plugins and themes are also available.
- Security - Security is a major advantage of WordPress. Being the most popular CMS, attacks against WordPress websites are very common, but WordPress has a lot of security features by itself which makes it difficult for hackers to crack into the site. In addition, many security plugins are also available
- Scalable - No matter how big or small your website is, WordPress is able to grow or shrink based on your requirements. WordPress can be used for mere blogging purposes and can also be used to create a big website with numerous hits.
Differences Between Wordpress.org & Wordpress.com
WordPress is available in two forms. One is as wordpress.com and the other is wordpress.org.
Wordpress.com is a simple blogging platform which lets anyone use that platform to start blogs. Anyone who is passionate about writing and wants to start a blog can sign up for a blog at wordpress.com. You will get a subdomain created at wordpress.com, say, for example, javapipe.wordpress.com and you can simply start writing in it. Wordpress.com allows customizations within limit only. You cannot make too many modifications in your blog, rather than the ones allowed by wordpress.com.
Wordpress.org, on the other hand, is a lot more advanced version of this great tool. It lets you download the software, install it and use it to build a full-fledged website of your wish. While wordpress.com lets you build a blog at zero cost, wordpress.org requires a domain name registered and a suitable hosting plan purchased from a hosting provider. Once it is done, you can make any website of your choice by installing WordPress. Wordpress.org has no restrictions and lets you customize your website any way you wish.
Managed WordPress Hosting
We hear a lot about WordPress Hosting these days. WordPress Hosting is more or less a stable shared hosting itself, which concentrates more on WordPress websites. All major features of WordPress like upgrades, security, performance, caching techniques, backups, plugin management etc will be taken care of by a managed WordPress host. The users can just sign up and start using the software, and be less bothered regarding anything else required for the proper functioning of their websites.
JavaPipe's PHP Cloud Hosting also has given utmost importance for WordPress and other major CMS. All features necessary for the smooth functioning of WordPress websites are incorporated into our hosting plans. JavaPipe employs superior SSD hard disks for best performance and speed and runs websites on CloudStack environment which make the websites more reliable. We also provide multiple PHP versions on the server, thereby providing users the ability to choose the version suitable for their code. The control panel provided is SiteWorx, which is a feature rich, extremely convenient panel even for beginners. In addition, JavaPipe's PHP Cloud Hosting also provides Softaculous - a wonder software with more than 400 scripts pre-installed which lets you install any software in a click.
No hassle of downloading the software, creating databases or going through any tough installation steps. Just click on 'Install', enter the details asked and start using the software. Our PHP plans also have CDN feature available, which boosts your website loading speed dramatically, by loading your website from a server present at the nearest geographical location available. In a nutshell, JavaPipe's PHP Cloud Hosting, though not specifically termed as WordPress Hosting, is at par with any normal WordPress Host.
How to Set Up WordPress on JavaPipe's PHP Hosting Using Softaculous
Let us now see how WordPress can be installed using JavaPipe's PHP Hosting. Suppose my domain is javapipe.demo and is hosted on JavaPipe's PHP Cloud Hosting server. In order to install WordPress, first, log in to the SiteWorx control panel. The email you received from JavaPipe with subject "Hosting Package Information at JavaPipe" will contain your login details.
Step 1: Enter your email address as the username, password and your domain name to log in to SiteWorx.
Step 2: Once logged in, search for Softaculous on the left side search bar. You can also find it under the "Hosting Features" section.
Step 3: WordPress will be automatically listed under the Top Scripts when you access Softaculous. If not, search for it on the left search bar. Hover over the WordPress logo and click "Install".
Step 4: The next window will ask you to enter a few details related to your WordPress installation. The details required are as follows.
- Choose a Protocol - If you want your site to be accessible securely over https, then choose https, otherwise select http
- Choose Domain - The domains which are accessible for installation, under your account, will be listed in a drop down box. Choose the domain name under which you are planning to install WordPress. I am going to install it under my domain javapipe.demo
- In Directory - If you want the installation to be on your main site, leave that column blank. If you want WordPress to be installed in a subdirectory, enter the directory name. I want my WordPress to be available as http://javapipe.demo/blog , hence I enter the directory name as 'blog'. If I want my installation to be at http://javapipe.demo , then I would leave it blank.
- Site Name - The name you wish to put for your website
- Site Description - Description, if any, you want to provide to your installation
- Enable MultiSite (WPMU) - If you want WordPress multisite enabled, then check this option
- Admin Username - Your desired username for WordPress admin area. Note it down, so that you do not forget it.
- Admin Password - The password you wish to choose for WordPress admin. It is strongly recommended that you set a very strong password by clicking on the key icon to the right. Note down the password but keep it highly confidential.
- Admin Email - Email address of the admin user
- Select Language - The drop down provides a list of various languages to choose from, choose the one you wish to use
- Limit Login Attempts (Loginizer) - JavaPipe provides an additional layer of security by letting users enable the 'loginizer' plugin to prevent attacks
- Database Name - The name of the database which will be used for WordPress installation. Softaculous will generate a random name, which can be modified if required
- Table Prefix - Prefix required for the database tables. It is not mandatory to modify it, hence you may leave it unchanged
- Disable Update Notifications - It is recommended that you receive notifications regarding the updates available, hence keep it unchecked. WordPress is very popular and that popularity attracts a lot of attacks against it as well. It is recommended that the software and associated plugins and themes are always kept up-to-date
- Auto Upgrade - There are three auto-upgrade options available which will automatically upgrade your WordPress installation, themes, and plugins as and when new updates are available. You can keep the option checked or unchecked. If the options are unchecked, you will be notified of updates, but the actual update will not take place until you log in to the WordPress admin area and click 'Update'. If the option is checked, you will not even know when the updates run, it will be handled automatically
- Automated Backups - Backups are a mandatory feature for any installation. JavaPipe provides automatic backup options for your WordPress installation, and you can choose whether your data should be backed up daily, weekly or monthly or not backed up at all. I set it to daily to minimize data loss
- Backup Rotation - If the previous option is enabled, then you also need to tell the system regarding the number of days to retain the backups. I set it for 4, so that when backups run for 4 consecutive days, then the oldest backup will be erased to make room for backup on the 5th day. At any point of time, 4 different backups will be available.
Once all data are entered, click "Install". It might take a couple of minutes for the installation to finish, and a confirmation message to be displayed.
That's it! You have successfully installed WordPress. Now you will be able to access your blog at http://javapipe.demo/blog. The admin interface to manage WordPress is at http://javapipe.demo/blog/wp-admin/
Working with WordPress
Now that the installation is over, it's time for us to get introduced to the software. Let's start by accessing the admin area at http://javapipe.demo/blog/wp-admin/. You must now enter the admin username and password provided at the time of installation to log in.
We will quickly discuss a few important options in the WordPress dashboard so that it will be useful for newbies. We will start by creating a new post to the blog, and see how we can view it in the website.
Once on the dashboard, go to Posts -> Add New. This will take you to a screen where you can enter a new post. Start by typing a heading to the post. I set the heading as 'My First Post' as you can see from the image below. Beneath it, you will see a wide textbox where you can enter the contents of the post. Once you are done, click on the button 'Publish' to the right of the page. This will make your post public and viewable in the browser.
You can view the post by simply going to http://javapipe.demo/blog. The post you entered recently will be listed on top, by default.
Plugins are bits of code which helps by adding additional functionalities to the existing installation of WordPress. WordPress plugins have become too popular and has grown too much in number that you think about a requirement in your mind, and you will find a plugin for it. All WordPress plugins are available for download at Wordpress.org.
Let us start by installing the most common plugin for WordPress: Jetpack. Jetpack is a multi-purpose plugin which provides websites statistics, improves website speed, protect WordPress from attacks etc. You can find most of the popular plugins in the 'Plugins' area of WordPress dashboard. You can simply search the plugin name and click on 'Install' to install the plugin. If the plugin is not available in your admin area, you can download the plugin from wordpress.org. Once downloaded, go to WordPress dashboard, and click on plugins and click 'Upload Plugin'. Browse and upload the zip file you obtained from the plugin website, and plugin installation is completed.
The installation will be completed in a few seconds, after which you need to click the 'Activate' button to activate and start using the plugin.
WordPress themes are plenty in number, both free and paid. Themes provide various ways to customize your website and provide simple methods of developing a website, even without coding knowledge. Any newbie can start designing a website with the help of WordPress themes. Themes also help to make the site more beautiful with elegant designs. We will now see how to change the theme of a website through WordPress admin area.
Login to admin area and click on Appearances - Themes. There would be themes available by default, namely Twenty Fourteen, Twenty Fifteen, Twenty Sixteen etc. These are themes provided by WordPress itself when the software is installed. You can easily switch between any of those themes by hovering your mouse over the theme and clicking 'Activate'. You also have a live preview option available, which lets you see how your website looks in the new theme, before switching to that theme.
To install a new theme, click on the 'Add New' button at the top of the page.
This will list a lot of themes available for install. You can choose the theme of your choice, which best suits your website and click 'Install'. Alternatively, if you are going for a paid theme, download the zip file of that theme and click on 'Upload' button as shown in the image. You will be asked to browse the zip file and then click 'Install' button. Once the theme is installed, you need to click 'Activate', just like you did with plugins.
After the theme is installed and activated, there are a lot of 'Customize' options within the theme which lets you modify the website as you wish. It lets you set the Site Title, modify the background images, colors, header, footer, any custom codes you need to insert and much more. You can also see the live preview on the right side so that the changes can be applied or reverted instantly.
Pros & Cons of WordPress Hosting
WordPress by itself is a superior product. Due to its huge demand, WordPress Hosting also is gaining a lot of popularity these days. Given below are the various pros and cons noticed of WordPress Hosting.
- Speed - Loading speed is a great factor when it comes to any website and hosting companies always strive to provide the best loading speeds for their customers. At JavaPipe, we use an extremely high-speed network and high bandwidth for website traffic. In addition, we also let customers use a CDN like CloudFlare for speed enhancement. The customer can enable CloudFlare from Siteworx control panel itself. When CDN is enabled, the website content gets distributed across various servers which are at different geographical locations. When a user accesses a website, the content is fetched from a server which is geographically nearer to the user's location, thereby delivering web pages faster than earlier. JavaPipe also employs various caching techniques to improve page speed.
- Performance - A WordPress host always makes sure to use the latest techniques available for performance improvement. At JavaPipe, we use SSD hard disks on a CloudStack platform which greatly leverages performance. The performance benchmark of SSD disks is much higher than that of normal disks. The reliability and scalability factors of cloud environment double the performance boost.
- Support - Support is another important factor related to Web Hosting. The support team should be knowledgeable and should be available 24X7. In addition, the team should be courteous, and should find themselves in customer's shoes while troubleshooting a problem. Before signing up with any host, it would be a good idea to test their support team and their responses. WordPress Hosts often employs WordPress specialists in their support team so that they can resolve any issues related to the software. At JavaPipe, we have extremely knowledgeable techs available round the clock to help customers with any technical issues that come across. In order to prioritize the tasks based on criticality and also provide timely resolutions, our support team is available 24X7 over emails and helpdesk. Most issues are addressed in less than 15 minutes, which lessens the waiting time for any customer.
- Updates - WordPress is a software which is updated often. As such any host who concentrates on WordPress hosting, should always look out for updates and get them done at the correct time for customers. The advantage of signing up with a WordPress host is that the WordPress installation, updates etc will be taken care of by the host. Customers can simply sign up and create the website and leave all other headaches to the host.
- Security - Security is a major factor, especially when you run a software which is extremely popular. Hackers are out there, everywhere, looking for loopholes to crack into the website and destroy it. In addition viruses, malware, malicious codes etc are also injected into the websites. A WordPress host will always be vigilant against any such attacks, and will make sure that their servers have the best protection available. Periodic server scanning and security hardening will be done by hosts, which otherwise the normal users are unable to do. At JavaPipe, we also have DDoS protection available which mitigates any sort of attacks (note: the PHP Cloud Hosting does NOT include DDoS protection). We also provide secure plugins along with WordPress which helps to reduce attacks.
- Backups - Disasters happen at times, and they are unexpected. Good WordPress hosts foresee such disasters and will have proper backup configurations on their servers. If anything worse happens to a website or the server as a whole, disaster recovery will terribly fail without proper backups. JavaPipe has proper remote backups in place for all customers. In addition, we also let customers backup their website on their own through WordPress.
- Price - WordPress is open source and is free, but WordPress Hosting is not. WordPress Hosting is costlier than normal shared hosting, due to the additional features that are used specifically for wordpress. A managed WordPress host is indeed a good choice, but if you are a beginner with a small website, a managed WordPress host may not be your cup of tea. JavaPipe, on the other hand, is affordable for all, and we do not advertise ourselves as a WordPress host, though we do carry all features that are required for being a good WordPress host.
- Lack of Control - WordPress Hosts do not provide full control over their websites to customers. There will always be restrictions related to certain installation or plugin, based on security factors. This may sometimes be not acceptable for all users.
Tips for Hosting a Fast and Secure WordPress Site
We discussed a lot about WordPress and WordPress Hosting and now we are coming to the end of this post. Before concluding, let us also go through a few tips that help to keep WordPress sites secure and faster.
For making your site faster, you should consider the following factors:
- Location - Location of your web server is an important factor when it comes to page loading. In order to reduce latency, it is recommended that you choose a datacenter which is close to the location of your expected visitors. This will help in rendering pages fast. Another option for improving page speed is the use of a CDN like CloudFlare. CDN is the abbreviation of Content Delivery Network. A CDN will have servers distributed across the globe. When CDN is enabled for your WordPress site, the static content will be distributed across these servers. When users access your website, content will be delivered from a server which is geographically nearer to the visitor's location. This will make sure the pages are delivered faster than the location of the actual webserver.
- Choose themes wisely - Themes, though are an important factor in designing your website, should be chosen wisely. There are numerous themes available which may serve your purpose but you should make sure that the themes are indeed good and have good reviews. Some themes, whether free or paid, will be poorly coded and will be highly resource intensive. Such themes, when hosted on a shared server will eat up CPU and other resources too much that it will badly affect the working of all sites on that server. Paid themes often will have more features and will be properly tested and released. Before being attracted towards a free theme, it is always recommended to consider the reviews of previous users.
- Do not overload with plugins - Plugins are another important factor which we see in plenty in WordPress sites. Plugins are useful in so many ways, however, they are also main targets of attack against WordPress sites. Most hackers aim poorly coded plugins, and inject malware into the website through them. It is recommended that you disable all unnecessary plugins and keep only those which are required for the functioning of your site. Some plugins may cause resource hogs in the server as well. Such plugins should be immediately removed.
- Do not clutter your home page - Another factor which you can consider while trying to load your website faster is to keep your home page as simple as possible. Some have a tendency to display everything together on the front page itself. This will cause a lot of things to be loaded in the initial stage itself, causing too much delay for the page to load fully.
- Enable Caching - Caching is a method by which the content once served will be saved for some time, in a good guess that it will be requested again soon. When the same content or page is accessed again, then the data is first checked in the cache, rather than contacting the server. If the data is found, it is loaded from the cache, thereby reducing page load time. There are many WordPress plugins like WP Super Cache etc which does caching pretty well
- Embed images and videos - Videos and high-resolution images when loaded from the same server as the website, will increase the page load time. Instead, the best practice will be to embed the images and videos from third party websites like YouTube. It has the advantage that, by the time your other website contents will be loaded, the image or video will be loaded from the third party site and thus reduces loading time. It also adds to the benefits that you get the videos streamed without losing your bandwidth.
- Securing WordPress Admin Area - Coming to security, major attacks seen against WordPress sites are towards the admin area. Hackers try to gain access to admin area by trying random logins. So a hard to guess admin username and a very strong password is a must for security. Do not use dictionary words for passwords. Always frame your passwords with alphanumeric characters, symbols and special characters.If possible password protects your WordPress admin area with a strong password. This provides double protection to the admin area and hackers need to crack two logins to gain access.It is also a recommended technique to IP restrict the WordPress admin area. This means that only those users whose IP Addresses are whitelisted are allowed to gain access. Others, including hackers, will receive a 'Forbidden' message.
- Conducting Security Audits - It is recommended that you request your support team to schedule periodic server scans or security audits in the server to find rootkits or trojans. Support teams of all prominent hosting companies do this without being asked, but if not, this is something that will be of help.
- Use Strict Permissions on Files - It is the user's responsibility to make sure that no loose permissions are set on the WordPress files. World executable files are open doors to hackers and they should not be given unless it is extremely required and is suggested by WordPress team.
- Use Firewalls - Server firewalls are mandatory to protect websites. In addition, if the web server has DDOS protection, then it would be a plus. DDOS filtering protects your websites from distributed attacks.
- Use security plugins - There are many security plugins available in wordpress, installing which will help prevent attacks to an extent. All in one WP, WordFence etc are a few to name them.
To conclude, WordPress Hosting is now a general trend in the Web Hosting industry. Most of the WordPress Hosting companies host WordPress sites on shared servers. There are many companies who also offer managed VPS services for hosting WordPress. Dedicated server plans are also deployed for this purpose.
JavaPipe provides WordPress Hosting as a part of our PHP Cloud Hosting as well as any VPS or dedicated server with the "Fully Managed" option selected during checkout. To know more about JavaPipe's PHP Cloud Hosting which supports WordPress with 1-click setup just like you saw in this article, click here.