Get WordPress Hosting That Won’t Let You Down.
It’s important to select good website hosting right of the bat because your website performance will depend on it, but even more importantly you need to know that the support guys have got your back, and that their security is top notch. The cost of a website outage can be high whether it’s caused by hacker attack, or un-planned server down time. How much could you lose in revenue if your website was down for a day or two? It’s not essential that you find the best WordPress hosting Australia has to offer, but you do need high quality hosting with good support.
WordPress is fairly easy going when it comes to hosting, so the following advice will work for most other platforms too. We only work with WordPress and Hubspot though, so please check your requirements carefully if you have a different platform.
If you were hoping for premium, WordPress only hosting, like WP Engine offer then you would have to go with a none Australian company. At the time of writing there is nothing quite like them in Australia, but you can still get a great partner and and easy experience if you do a little reading and testing first.
Australian hosting providers by size
The host providers in Australia tend to fall into one of the following categories;
- Huge – the Amazon’s, Google’s of the world. Multiple datacentres centres world wide.
- Large – likely to own most if not all of their own infrastructure, and may have multiple datacentres.
- Medium – will probably own some of their own infrastructure, but may use 3rd party datacentres.
- Small – will probably own little hardware but will likely have complete access to the hardware. Likely to use dedicated hardware servers installed in 3rd party co-located server racks.
- Tiny – probably renting a dedicated or virtual server from one of the above.
- Resellers – don’t own any hardware, and will have partner agreements with the above.
Any of the above can be suitable for your website, and just because they are large does not mean you will get better service. Each has slightly different dynamics though, so it’s worth trying to identify where your hosts really sit.
Signs of a Quality WordPress Host Provider
Access to Cpanel.
Many host providers have their own home brew control panels (Netregistry, Go Daddy, etc), and while they can be good they are never a match for the power and ease of Cpanel. Additionally, once you’ve learned Cpanel you can migrate to another provider with zero down time, and almost no work on your part at all. Cpanel costs money, which is why the big guys often want to make their own, but my advice is to insist on sticking to the best software on the market.
Super high quality support.
Some hosts have outstanding, fanatical support. Other don’t and most are somewhere in between. Support is hard to provide and it’s the first thing to suffer when providers cut costs, and this is one of the best points to use to whittle down the compeition. Before jumping ship do a paid trial for a month.
Solid Back up.
Many host providers only offer basic back up which is not guaranteed in any way, and even worse, some make it very difficult to back up yourself. It is critical that a host provides options to back up daily with options to allow you to keep backups as long as you like (retention period). I would look for hosts that also make it easy to back up off-site to cloud storage like Dropbox or Amazon S3.
Speed and performance.
Google uses website speed as a factor in ranking websites, and poor speed also has a bearing on he quality of the experience a visitor may have. Rating hosts can be quite difficult as they all promise the moon, but they may be cramming so many websites on a server that it slows everyone down. You can take out a months membership and get your website loaded up and do some speed tests. Don’t forget to take base lines speed tests on your current host so you can compare. In my experience the hosts that provide the best customer support also provide good performance. You can test speed using Hubspot Website Grader or Pingdom, but be aware that the test sites may be in the US, so speed tests can vary from day to day. Always compare with another in Australia.
Willingness to communicate.
Does the host provider give out multiple forms of connection? Are they on social media meeting customers? Check out www.whirlpool.com.au as many of the top guys have their CEO’s on the forum handling customer complaints and queries. If you know you can jump on a forum or social media and get the attention of the CEO then you can be pretty sure you’re going to be looked after.
Price is not rock bottom.
They all have to compete on price as the market is highly comodotised, but it’s simply not possible to provide top notch service for $3.50 per month, and you’re business website is worth too much. Web hosting is cheap anyway, so never go for the cheapest as you’ll pay for it in other ways.
Security is a priority.
You would think you could rely on this but you simply can’t. Ask questions of the sales team – What measures do they take? Do they have dual factor authentication? What happens if you get attacked? Mod Security is now common which is a web application firewall. It is good, but we’ve had big problems with it clashing with one or two WordPress plugins. We use Sucuri and Wordfence plugins on all our sites, both of which have web application firewalls you can use, and Wordfence’s is free!
Some form of Wordpress management software.
I use Installatron which is provided by my host, but there are others like Softalicous, which can be used to manage your WordPress installation, automatically upgrading WordPress, themes and plugins, and they even take an automated backup before they start a backup. An up to date, backed up WordPress install will protect you from most serious website issues, and now you can get it all done while you sleep!
Recommended WordPress Host Providers
There are probably many great hosting providers, but based on my admitedly limited research my pick of the bunch for WordPress hosting Australia wide are;
The two were so close during my research that there was really nothing it. Panthur won by a nose, and I’m very pleased with them. All of our WordPress customer’s website are hosted with Panthur, and we provide an additional layer of support for WordPress and our own web design.
Their support is outstanding, and I have never waited more than 15 minutes for a response and 9 out of ten times the issue is fixed inside of 15 minutes. They have helped me with any issue I’ve raised inlcuding a few that turned out to be WordPress script problems, not hosting issues.
I’ve had two outages in 6 months, each about 2 hours with no knock on effects.
It’s all to easy to jump in to bed with a new service provider only to find in a few months that they have habits that drive you to distraction. Armed with the points above you should be able to find a decent provider that will last you for years, and who you can develop a relationship with.
A little bit of due dilligence and some pre-commitment testing and you should be well on the way to finding a great provider for your WordPress hosting in Australia.
Do be aware though, that to have a complete WordPress service you need to consider the hosting AND WordPress maintenance. If you do not have a web designer to back you up, consider getting a go to guy from Up Work to give you a helping hand should you have a problem that the hosting provider doesn’t cover, like an upgrade, plugin clash or script error .