WordPress has quickly become one of the widely used content management systems powering more than 70% of all websites on the internet. Due to its extensiblity and huge developer base, it is now one of the major content management systems that has become a standard for hosting nearly any kind of website or application for small and large businesses and blogs alike. Nearly all web hosting companies support WordPress as default installations in their 1 click install panels and some of them provide specialized WordPress plans to support business and blog owners deploy any kind of WordPress website without much hassle in its configuration.
Along with the multitude of WordPress plugins to add additional features and themes to enhance the UI, there is literally no dearth of customization options for any kind of feature a website administrator would ever want for his WordPress based website. In fact, the external combination of API’s and services for WordPress from commercial and non-commercial solutions has greatly improved the WordPress ecosystem by making it more conducive for early adopters. Therefore, WordPress has now gained majority of the market share including the hosting companies.
Hosting for WordPress websites is another challenge. With thousands of web hosting companies all providing shared platforms with 1-click installers for quickly deploying WordPress websites, it is a major challenge for consumers to select the right one for their next website or WordPress based application. As a simple WordPress installation consumes fairly low resources, but supports further customization to add features and UI improvements, even the simple websites can quickly grow beyond control. However, as the website grows in size and customers, the resources consumed by the CMS also grows significantly. With shared hosting platforms, the limited amount of allocated resources quickly gets consumed in a growing website. Thus the customers either has to upgrade to a higher plan or has to pay extra for the consumed resources.
Most of the time, a quick spike in traffic due to viral post could cause unexpected troubles to a small website running on top of a shared plan. The allocated resources would be quickly consumed and the user may have to upgrade to a higher plan only to find out that the spike in traffic has subsided in a matter of days. Thus to curb such scenarios, cloud hosting companies took the hosting platforms to a whole new level. Now users deploying their website to a cloud environment can dynamically add resources and grow as per their requirements instead of depending on the limited resources allocated by the shared plans on traditional web hosting companies. Therefore, they do not have to incur additional charges or upgrade to higher plans in case of temporary traffic spikes.
Noticing the rise of adoption in cloud hosting solutions, some web hosting companies came up with flexible plans to allow instant scalability and stability to WordPress websites calling the solutions as Enterprise hosting. Companies like WpEngine, Pagely and WordPress VIP became quickly popular among their target consumers and attracted even the largest news and publication companies. Over time, enterprise hosting became a standard for quality WordPress hosting and now dominated the huge hosting community.
As enterprise WordPress hosting companies eased the process of deploying WordPress websites to cloud based environments through their custom built control panels and flexible resource allocation along with quality support, shared hosting platforms only remained for beginners and small time blogs that do not expect any traffic spike. Thus before you opt for a enterprise WordPress hosting plan, lets discuss when you would be actually needing such powerful resources.
When Do You Need Enterprise Hosting?
It is quite hard to determine when you would be needing enterprise hosting instead of traditional shared or VPS hosting. As each website or application is built for s specific market and each of the incoming user base depends on a number of factors, it becomes quite complicated when predicting the resource usage for any kind of web application. However, we can always generalize on the basis of expected page requests and the marketing efforts put into the website or application to determine its minimum resource usage levels. Based on such assumptions, we can determine the amount of resource consumed by the application and thereby decide which type of hosting should be ideal for your requirements.
If you are a building a small website like a portfolio website or even a personal blog that may not receive more than a thousand unique visitors per month, then it is safe to assume that you might not need anything more than a good shared hosting plan from some of the major web hosting companies. You can easily build your website and install the necessary plugins and themes and get going. Moreover, you won’t even have to worry about security or setup and the popular web hosting companies are focused on providing the best support in the industry to retain customers.
Now if you are building a fairly popular corporate website or even a small time social network or forum for a community or a group of people, then you can easily determine the maximum number of visitors that would be visiting the website even at the highest peak times. Thus you can opt for a shared plan that provides more resources and you won’t have to worry about running out of resources. Even if your website is supposed to serve more than 5K users, you can easily upgrade to a VPS plan where your bandwidth allocation is much higher. This is the same case when hosting a corporate or personal blog. If you are getting a constant number of visitors for a longer period and the number of visitors is more than what a shared hosting plan can handle, then you will have to buy a VPS plan that comes with enough resources to run your website and has enough resources to manage even thousands of visitors at a time.
Now in the above cases, the number of visitors to your website has remained more or less constant. Thus the bandwidth consumed by each can be easily averaged out and calculated to determine the total consumption. But what if you have no idea how many visitors you may attract? What if your website is newly launched and it goes viral just in the matter of days? Or worse yet, what if one your published articles becomes famous overnight and you start getting loads of visitors but only for a short period? This is where cloud hosting comes in. Cloud hosting servers are built from the ground up to be modular and delivers resources that can be consumed as per requirement.
In above scenarios, if you were hosting under a shared or VPS plan, you will incur additional bandwidth charges along with the cost of your plan. Moreover, the server may not support your application growth and crash altogether. Thus cloud plans are ideal for such features and thus are suitable for websites that are expected to grow fast in a very less time. However unlike shared hosting plans, the cloud hosting companies charge at least twice or thrice the price of a shared hosting plan. Although this may be a bit costly for normal customers but they definitely come with feature sets that lack from major web hosting companies and specifically from shared hosting plans. Let’s dive deeper on the features provided by some of the giants in enterprise WordPress hosting and then find their major alternatives in cloud based companies.
Comparing The Top Enterprise WordPress Hosting Providers
Over the years as WordPress adoption grew all over the world, its parent company Automatic, expanded wordpress.com that implemented the content management system in to a full-fledged cloud based hosting solution for small and large businesses and blogs. As it was one of its kind at the time and provided some pretty great extensions, the existing WordPress blog users quickly upgraded to the premium features that seamlessly connected with their blogs. The company grew in leaps and bounds while strengthening its architecture to provide even better features to commercial and large scale web applications like Forbes, Time and CNN.
Following its success, numerous web hosting companies started providing WordPress dedicated hosting plans to woo customers to their shared hosting plans. Through 1-click installers web hosting companies eased the deployment of numerous content management systems that were earlier required to be setup separately after configuring the server. This made it even more easier for clients and customers to easily setup WordPress installations and deploy their websites quickly.
Moreover, due to the modular nature of WordPress installations, the resources allocated to each user was strictly controllable and therefore small websites and blogs could be deployed at much cheaper prices than previously available. Thus a single dedicated server was easily able to hold up to 2K-3K websites simultaneously.
However, when any one of the websites went viral and started consuming resources more than it was allocated, it has to be upgraded to a higher plan where less number of WordPress installations were held on each dedicated server. The practice continues still today but in even more complex mechanisms. When cloud based server architecture came into widespread use, most of the steps in the above process became unnecessary. Web hosting companies could easily scale their server architecture in a matter of seconds and allocated more bandwidth to the users without having them to upgrade or move their website installations to other servers.
Instant scaling along with resource availability meant web hosting companies could easily provide more services at cheaper prices allowing users to consume as much resource as necessary and charge them based on their usage. This era of hosting saw a number of web hosting companies rising to please customer demands. Some of the popular ones today are WpEngine and Pagely. Let’s dive deeper into each of the platforms to understand what they offer and how they could be useful for your requirements.
Widely popular for its excellent customer support, WpEngine has made a name for itself in the web hosting community for its excellent server architecture along with skilled workforce to help their customers even at the worst conditions possible. It provided web hosting for all kinds of purposes including personal, professional and business users. However, it doesn’t provide any pricing details for enterprise users. As enterprise users need custom plans for deploying their respective WordPress websites, the company deals with them directly to solve their queries and provide customized plans for each of the types of resources they use.
The personal plan starts with $29/month and allows only one WordPress install with up to 25K visitors per month, 10GB data storage and unlimited data transfer. To install more than one WordPress CMS to run multiple websites you have opt for the professional plan. The professional plan priced at $99/month comes with up to 10 WordPress installs, 100K visitors/month, 20GB local storage along with unlimited data transfer. The Business plan comes with the allowance to install even more websites i.e. up to 25 installs and allows up to 400K monthly visitors along with 30GB local storage and unlimited data transfer. The premium and enterprise grade plans are for dedicated WordPress servers that can easily handle up to 150 WordPress websites and still function exceptionally in resource heavy environments. But their pricing is custom designed as the dedicated server resource usage is highly unpredictable.
Unlike WpEngine Pagely doesn’t support any kind of personal usage plans. Its smallest plan is for businesses and allows users to host up to 3 WordPress websites along with 10GB storage and 10GB bandwidth priced at $64/month. The plan also comes with a 50GB CDN that should be enough for all kinds of personal WordPress deployments. The next higher plan is the professional plan priced at $149/month and comes with the ability to host up to 10 websites on top of 20GB storage and 25GB bandwidth that comes with a 100GB CDN. The plan is ideal for deploying WordPress multisite, woo commerce stores and membership based websites that run on top of highly secure and fully managed cloud servers.
All the remaining 4 plans are VPS configurations that are meant for high resource consumption. The VPS-1 plan comes with the ability to host up to 60 websites on a 50GB disk storage and can serve up to 150GB bandwidth along with a 750GB CDN. It is priced at $399/month and can easily run even the most resource intensive and transaction or session oriented websites on top of it. The VPS-2 plan is even more powerful and allows users to install up to 30 WordPress websites on top of 50GB disk space and The VPS-3 plan comes with the ability to host 30 websites but allocates more resources for each of the websites. You can consume up to 500GB bandwidth in total and 2500GB CDN and provided data storage up to 50GB on top of each installation. This allocates more resources for each website and allows users to run even more powerful websites on top of the servers. The VPS-4 servers priced at $1799/month are made for high resource clients and resemble dedicated servers. You can host up to 60 websites on a 50GB disk space running 2 VPS-2 servers. It comes with 3.5TB of PressCDN along with 500GB bandwidth.
The pioneer in WordPress cloud hosting is still one of the best in the industry. However, the prices involved in running enterprise WordPress websites on top of the servers is quite high compared to other competing enterprise hosting companies.
However unlike other web hosting companies, WordPress doesn’t limit any resources. You can use truly unlimited bandwidth, space and storage on top of the world class WordPress server for $5000/month if you are setting up through their service partners. However, you have to pay $15,000 for a one-time setup and $3000 for hosting up to 5 websites. Along with a stable server architecture, you get the benefit of hosting your website on the same servers as the WordPress blogs run on. It also provides numerous solutions to enhance security and improve user engagement and analytics. Along with the above, WordPress also provides optional add-ons like VideoPress, Liveblog, Search, Site and Security Monitoring, Content migration and a number of options for developer support. All these features included could help you build any kind of WordPress based software on top of WordPress grid.
Unlike easier solutions like the above where the companies take care of all the setup and configuration of the website along with providing scalable architecture that you can easily deploy depending on your resource requirements, Cloud hosting companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google and a number of others provide only the bare bone essential server architectures where you will have to customize everything as per your requirements. Let’s dive deeper into each of the major cloud hosting platforms to analyze them better.
The newest entrant to the cloud hosting market is one of the toughest competitors to the existing cloud giants Amazon and Google. Microsoft provides all its cloud platform services under the Azure services banner. It offers the widest range of services ranging from computing platforms like Virtual Machines and Service frameworks to Data Storage, Analytics and Security services. Best of these services combines could greatly help any WordPress based website to run efficiently in the least cost possible. With instant scaling features for virtual machines and unlimited bandwidth usage, it is highly improbable that any good developer would screw things up on the platform. Moreover, there are extensive guides of all kinds for web applications on the documentation section. The Azure marketplace already has a scalable solution for WordPress installation that can be easily deployed and managed through the Azure Portal.
The leader in cloud services now has more than 70% of the cloud market. Its continuous innovation along with wide range of services for each type of feature allows users to build literally any kind of application on top of its servers. Thus you can build full-fledged WordPress websites or even WordPress application on top of your amazon instances while enabling auto scaling and load balancing multiple servers. You can also build any kind of application apart from WordPress websites on top of amazon servers. The powerful instances come with numerous add-ons that can be directly installed from the AWS marketplace. You can also find WordPress deployments on the marketplace. Or you can always start a new instance while building your application and customize and configure it for your requirements. The company also offers a free tier that allows users to test major sections of the applications for free up to a year. For small websites, your WordPress CMS can run for free for up to one year on top of amazon servers.
The competing giant has some of the best server architecture in the world and allows users to build custom application on top of its cloud platform with the help of its app engine that can handle any kind of custom or pre-configured app. With support for all kinds of devices and a quite unique set of features Google targets all kinds of customers ranging from developers and administrators to beginners and thus offers up to $300 in google credits that can be spent on testing the infrastructure. Like the others, Google also has a widely appreciated marketplace that has all kinds of commercial web applications that can be deployed in one click. It also has an auto scaling WordPress application ready to be deployed. You can reconfigure the deployment configuration to include custom resources and thereby build and deploy any kind of web application on top of the servers.
Enterprise hosting for WordPress is one of the best hosting platforms for WordPress websites. Numerous other companies provide such services but the above ones are among the market giants. If you are a developer, then you should definitely try the cloud solutions but if you are an experienced web administrator and want to just deploy your website without having to deal with the technicalities then the popular WordPress solutions should be ideal for your requirements. Deploying on top of an enterprise hosting company takes all kinds of configuration problems out as the hosting company handles almost all of them. Thus depending on your skill level, you can either deploy on a cloud host or an enterprise hosting company.