There are many aspects that need to be looked into when searching for an ideal hosting provider. A quick search on the internet will give any person an idea of how to go about it. Now, while there are general pointers that can be applied when searching for providers for almost any websites, there is always that unique factor that comes into play when wanting to make sure that a website and its host fit like hand and glove.
A website that was built using PHP will have specific needs. Obviously, being a part of the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) stack, it comes with its own requirements. So, without further ado, let’s see how to search for the best PHP hosting providers:
Keep Track of Versions: a version of PHP might not run optimally, if at all, on a non-compatible server operating system. Webmasters and designers shouldn’t get blinded by all the “we have the latest software” propaganda that is the norm on many web hosting providers’ home pages. Just because it is the newest version doesn’t mean it is the right version for a site. Careful analysis should be done on which version of PHP (and any add-ons) works with which version of Linux, Apache and/or MySQL that the hosts have on offer.
Reviews and References are Important: Reviews and references say a lot about hosting companies. While it doesn’t hurt to go through reviews made by individuals and owners of websites, the real valuable feedbacks are those that come from the internet’s most popular sites.
Some of these companies have their web service technologies built on the LAMP model. Good examples are WordPress, Facebook, Yahoo! and Wikipedia, which handle huge amounts of traffic every single day. Therefore, if WordPress, one of the world’s most popular blogging tool and content management sites, says that BlueHost is one of the world’s “best and brightest” hosting sites, everyone should sit up and pay attention.
Freedom Matters: once all the version issues have been smoothed out focus turns to being able to tweak the hosting severs’ configurations to fit the exact needs of the website. The degree of freedom that the hosting provider allows its users says a lot about how accommodating it is. It doesn’t make any sense to have to contact support (and wait a day or two) for something as trivial as enabling a feature, especially when webmasters can do it themselves.
Connection and Processing Speed: One great quality about building a website with PHP is that the pages load faster than, say, an ASP .Net page. So, unless it has too many bulky images or apps that connect to a huge database, a PHP page should load quickly. If it doesn’t, then it means there is a problem with either the network connection speed or the server’s processing speed – both of which are the hosting providers’ problems.
There was a time when web hosting providers used to cap bandwidth usage and disk space allocation. But that isn’t feasible anymore. For example, Arvixe offers unlimited bandwidth and disk space, making its hosting plans very attractive.
Ecommerce Platforms: There are a number of ecommerce platforms that are open source or specifically made to run on a Linux environment. And for ecommerce sites one of the biggest headaches is finding a platform that is both secure and well-accommodating to the everyday demands of modern day shopping.
Webmasters should look for hosting providers that offer the best in all aspects of e-trading. They should be able to work with payment gateways, accept and securely process as many credit and debit cards and allow for easy inventory control, book keeping and tax handling. All these features should be easily configurable and able to be done by a website owner with no in-depth knowledge of technology and/or finance.
Never “Mixing it up”: There is a certain amount of expertise that comes with working with just one technology at a time. Although hosting providers with two or three operating systems might seem impressive to work with, care must be taken to ensure that they know all their systems equally well.
One of the most common complaints people make about hosting providers is that their support lacks efficiency”. They have to wait for days before a tech rep makes the initial contact. Then follow the trial-and-error attempts at solving the problem. Some get lucky while others are simply told their problems cannot be resolved. To avoid such inconveniences (or at least reduce them by about 50%) it is always better to seek hosting with providers that specialize with just one type of hosting: namely, PHP on Linux.
Go Green: We live in a world of floods and droughts. While some skeptics might try to deny the obvious truth, the cause behind the chaotic times we live in is carbon emissions. Studies have shown that, on average, each web server produces over 630 Kg of CO2 and uses up about 1,000 KWh of energy a year.
Right now the world needs all the help it can get and choosing to host sites with providers that do not produce any emissions will go a long way to ensuring a better future for the coming generations. The best ones to go for are the hosting providers that run on renewable energy or offset their energy consumption via green certificate. iPage is a good example of an eco-friendly web hosting platform that doesn’t sacrifice on performance.