Achieving Optimal Web Hosting Efficiency

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to Avada Theme or have been at it for a number of years, questions about website hosting are always top of mind on user forums, Google searches and a highly discussed topic between Avada site creators as well.

Start reading the Avada Users Facebook Support Thread and you’ll notice that everybody’s got an answer to this question, one that most likely reflects their own current website hosting provider. It’s a natural response, a human thing to do. Face it, if you’re happy with your current website hosting company, a place where you are not experiencing any problems and are charged what seems to you, a fair amount, why would you post/recommend anything else? Problem solved RIGHT?

Web Hosting is Like Leasing a Car, The One you Drive is Likely the One You’d Recommend…

Basically, this analogy can be transposed to the car you drive. If asked, what do you think is the best car? Of course, it’s the make and model you’re driving at the moment! But what if someone lent you the latest Audi offering while they were on vacation, would you still think your Toyota was the best car out there – bar none?

Let’s Get Back to Website Hosting, Here’s What You’ll Get From this Post…

1. Understanding The Difference Between SHARED and VPS Hosting Environments

Throughout my 30 years as a communications agency principal, I’ve become a big fan of using metaphors when trying to have clients relate to business concepts or any other process they need to better understand. When it comes to website hosting, I’ve pretty much found the perfect one. “The Swimming Pool”.

SHARED HOSTING

VPS HOSTING

SHARED HOSTING :

Think of a public swimming pool like at the YMCA, one where you get to use the pool, most likely for a small monthly membership fee or maybe even for free. You get many benefits to using this shared pool. The actual pool, the water, the maintenance, the monitoring of the Ph levels and even the addition of chlorine when the pool starts getting yucky. It’s all good, except that you’re not alone using it, hence the yucky part. That’s pretty much what shared hosting is about.

Shared hosting means exactly what it says, you’re sharing a “pool” with a bunch of other websites. You’re also sharing with people who might be taking up more space, who splash around a lot more than you like bullies or are having a pool party at a certain time of day or at a specific hour in the evening where they’re taking up most of the pool’s real estate. Hey, that’s the same pool you’re paying to use? but let’s not forget the rules here… YOU’RE SHARING!

I DON’T LIKE SHARING…

Let’s use the same metaphor, applying it to VPS hosting… In this scenario, you’re still paying for a pool, but you’re getting your own private swimming pool. Consider it an “Olympic Size Pool”, a basin in which you can decide to use the whole of it for your own needs or structure it into distinct lanes, keeping all of your swimmers (websites) separate. In fact, a VPS environment might even be a nicer, more recent pool, one that offers extra amenities which come at a price, but give you much more enjoyment out of your overall membership.

VPS HOSTING: 

In a VPS environment, you can still have other websites co-mingling in the same pool, you can still be sharing to some extent, that is, if there’s more than one website hosted on your VPS, but regardless of how many sites are on a VPS, every domain is guaranteed a specific amount of “Premium” space, every site has its own corridor of sorts, to do so, as it pleases.

Regardless of what’s going on in other lanes in the pool, individual sites are not affected. Unlike SHARED hosting, VPS server environments let you manage different aspects of the server to specific requirements you may have, that you may want or unknowingly really need. And if we’re talking about hosting an Avada Theme website, we’ll cover aspects that your current server is most likely not even managing.

Furthermore, the most revealing aspect of any hosting environment is SPEED. In today’s busy world, people aren’t patient, web content needs to get to a user’s device quickly, if it doesn’t, it’s on to the next search result. When your present server can’t keep up, that’s when you should start shopping for better hosting.

If you’re looking to host more than a website, a VPS solution is a great option…

By now you’ve most likely understood the basic difference between both types of hosting. Put simply in laymen’s terms, SHARED means you’re sharing an entire server with other websites without boundaries. Your site is limited, controlled and affected by whatever is going on throughout the entire shared server.

All in all, SHARED hosting is adequate on many sites, although it might seem to deliver content at an acceptable speed on the front end (In a web browser) it pretty much means SLOW or SLOWer website backend tasks (WP Dashboard) in regards to creating a site using Avada’s Fusion Builder.

VPS hosting, on the other hand, which stands for “Virtual Private Server” means you’re getting a dedicated portion of a high-end server. VPS servers are usually managed with WHM, a cPanel add-on that let’s the owner host any number of websites, your websites. You are in control of what is on a VPS server, which also means that you can provide any or all sites you run on it with specific resources that give additional performance benefits as needed.

When it comes to choosing VPS hosting, you’ll unlock a world of opportunities. These range from custom server settings, blazing fast content delivery speeds and best of all, scaleability. The added ability to upgrade your existing hosting package to suit an ever-increasing demand for your website’s growing popularity or content.

And if you’re an avid Avada enthusiast, VPS hosting offers much fast response times when working with Fusion Builder. All out integration without the waiting.

2. What Does “WordPress” Website Hosting Entail?

whelk_web_site_design_site_web_lachute

For starters, WordPress sites can be hosted pretty much anywhere, in any server environment. Having a WordPress website doesn’t necessarily mean you need to pay a lot for hosting, as many WordPress sites run on basic SHARED environments.

WordPress.org states on their hosting page:

There are hundreds of thousands of web hosts out there, the vast majority of which meet the WordPress minimum requirements, and choosing one from the crowd can be a chore. Just like flowers need the right environment to grow, WordPress works best when it’s in a rich hosting environment.

 “We’ve dealt with more hosts than you can imagine; in our opinion, the hosts below represent some of the best and brightest of the hosting world. If you do decide to go with one of the hosts below and click through from this page, some will donate a portion of your fee back—so you can have a great host and support WordPress.org at the same time. If you don’t need the flexibility of a full web host, you may consider getting a free blog on WordPress.com.”

If you’re reading this post, we’ve pretty much established that you’re not going the FREE route to hosting on WordPress.com. So let’s assume you’re shopping for website hosting for your Avada theme and you’ve come across a number of offers, some which put forward a “WordPress” hosting offer for your site. What does that really mean?

Simply put, you’re getting SHARED hosting that has all of the minimum requirements required to host your WordPress site, including a pre-installed WordPress environment which will let you upload your chosen WordPress Theme and enable you to promote a website on the web.

WordPress.org gave me some good direction for this article with the above phrase: “a rich hosting environment”

I’VE DECIDED TO PUT THIS PHRASE TO GOOD USE IN THIS POST!

3. So What is “a rich hosting environment” as per WordPress.org Insinuates?

In order to answer this question, we’ll use Avada’s requirements as the benchmark for this discussion as to create our Avada “Rich List”.

If you’re currently using Avada Theme, take a look at your “System Status” Tab…

Avada Theme Demos for example need minimum server requirements in order to run efficiently. WordPress by default runs with 40 MB of server memory assigned to it. When using Avada Theme Demos, the memory requirement can be 128 MB or even 256 MB depending on the chosen Demo.

PHP Requirements on a server are pretty much what determines your server’s capacity to manage your Avada Theme Website. PHP in essence is a server-side scripting language designed primarily for web development but also used as a general-purpose programming language. In other words, it manages how your server handles your website.

There are many versions of PHP running on hosting servers, most run version 5.x, but hopefully you’ll try to upgrade to PHP 7.x after reading this and if you happen to be shopping for hosting, you’ll make sure that 7.x is on your “Rich List”.

WORDPRESS ENVIRONMENT:

From the information above, let’s start building our Avada “Rich List”:

• https:// If not already done, consider switching your site to https:// Let’s Encrypt is an easy to install, free SSL service that most website hosts offer inclusively. We offer it with every new website build or hosting package.

• WP Version: That’s the version of WordPress running on your server, make sure it’s up-to date at all times. As of this writing, the current version was 4.9.1

• PHP Memory Limit: The amount of memory your server is configured to make available to your Avada Theme website. The more the better and if you’re seeing RED, you need to define more and/or get hosting that offers it. TIP: in your config.php file, define the amount of required memory, add the line:

define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’);

We’ve got a few good things on our hosting list, let’s move to the next section of the Avada System Status Tab.

SERVER ENVIRONMENT:

Apache is the name of the software most servers run on. Apache works using PHP scripts to define what it provides to the hosted content – hence your Avada Theme Site. Adding to our “Rich List”, we’ll start addressing the different server options…

• PHP Version: As per above info, we’re looking for anything that starts with a 7, in our case, we’re on 7.0.26 as this is a STABLE, proven release of PHP which works. Yes, 7.1 is available, in fact we’ve got it running on some of our sites, but as long as you have 7.x on your list, you’re good.

• PHP Post Maximum size: 2 MB upload for files and 8 MB for the actual post size are pretty much the norm.

• PHP Time Limit: This refers to the number of seconds a script is allowed to run. When set too low, you’re not giving the server enough time to process certain scripts. Set to at least 300 or make sure you can access such requirements on your server.

• PHP Max Input Vars: PHP obtains input variables from HTML forms (through GET and POST requests), as well as from any cookies enabled on a page. By default, the maximum amount of input variables allowed for PHP scripts is set to 1000. For our Avada “Rich List”, we’re changing this to at least 3000.

• SUHOSIN: This was developed to protect PHP code in earlier versions of PHP. In our environments, we implement MOD SECURITY on the entire server space to protect all aspects of server security. You need ModSec on the list!

• MySQL Version: As WordPress runs on MySQL, it’s, of course, important to have it up to date on the server as well.

• Three Green Checks: Without going into detail, your host server should have these three checks ticked.

Now that we’ve covered the system Status, we need to address our actual server needs to complete our “Rich List”…

4. Additional Web Hosting Considerations for your Avada Theme Site

We’re well into defining what you need to make Avada Theme websites happy. Here are some additional points to consider in order to provide you with the best options during your decision-making process. Adding to the “Rich List” as insinuated by WordPress.org, you need to consider these topics as well.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:

• Server space: This is the amount of disk space you’ll get when you sign up for a website hosting platform, be it SHARED or VPS. In our experience, most well put together and well-optimized Avada sites take anywhere from 1 GB to 3 GB of disk space. PS: If you’re running an IMAP mail server on this space, you’ll most likely end up using more disk space for mail than for http usage, your actual site. Something to take into consideration.

• Bandwidth: This refers to how much traffic you’re going to generate with the site. Typically, our smaller sites generate anywhere from 1 GB to 5 GB of monthly traffic, larger, better positioned sites, actively read blogs and e-commerce sites with a good flow of monthly users generate anywhere from 5 GB to 100 GB per month of traffic.

• Email: As explained above, it’s important to know if your host offers reliable email management, be it POP3 or IMAP. and also additional spam filtering solutions that go beyond basic SpamAssassin software capabilities.

ADDITIONAL VPS FEATURES:

If you’re shopping for a VPS server space, here’s some valuable information you can add to your list. It’s important to realize that you get what you pay for and that of course, the more you pay, the more power and speed you actually get.

• Amount of Memory (RAM): The amount of RAM (memory) your server has to power your website. This can go from 1 GB to 64GB or more…

• Number of CPU CORES: The number of processors that compute your servers scripting and overall server demand. You can power your VPS from 1 to 16 CORES in most cases.

Furthermore, if you’re hosting multiple sites on a VPS environment, you can actually allocate more or less RAM or CORE % Values to different sites as per their individual needs.

5. Choosing the Right Website Hosting for Avada Theme

The last points to cover on this list are about the actual relationship you’ll have with your chosen host. Yes, in most cases, bigger is better as in what users seem to think about “SiteGround“. You could also argue that the more you pay, the more you get as with what is offered on “WP-Engine“. In any case, you’ll be shopping for three main things:

TYPE OF HOSTING, SUPPORT and PRICE:

• SHARED vs VPS Hosting: What kind of car would you like to drive? If you’ve chosen the Avada Theme simply because it’s the best theme out there, more power to you. A well catered shared hosting environment can and does work if you have access to at least some of the tweaks we’ve put forward. For everyone else, it’s going to boil down to what you really need. Basic, reliable website hosting (SHARED) or fast and scaleable website hosting (VPS).

• Support: That’s a whopper of a question. At $1.99/month, I’m sure most will agree, at that price, you’re pretty much on your own. Have a question, a problem or ongoing issue… Submit a ticket, it’s a wait and see approach to everything. When looking into higher-end server environments for your Avada Theme site, usually the offer starts with the word MANAGED. Whatever you think this means, in the reality of web hosting, this means that the host will manage all aspects of the SERVER. This does not include your site’s content, your plugins or any other issues that directly relate to something in your Avada Theme. Got it?

• Price: As you do your due diligence and compare everyone’s “back-end” before you actually commit and get on board at anywhere from $20$ to $60 per month for Avada Theme hosting that meets our “Rich List”, you’ll be quick to figure out that pricing is indeed all over the place? Some hosting companies will lure you in with a “first month” deal while others while offer incredible VPS pricing structures, just as long as you sign on for a 36 month term…

OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER:

• Real People: Are you going to deal with “Real People”? Do you get to actually talk to someone easily if ever you need to?

• Solutions, not more problems: When something goes wrong, and it most likely will at some point, will the chosen host help find a solution?

• Getting out of your existing hosting: Let’s say you’re unhappy where you are, can you get a refund for any unused portion of your existing hosting?

• Getting a discount: Over and above initial sign up deals or long term opt ins, what else can you negotiate? Will they buy back your existing hosting term?

And last but not least… WHAT DOES YOUR HOSTING PROVIDER know about Avada Theme?

If you’ve still got unanswered questions on website hosting in general, you’re not planning to use Avada theme or you’re just one of those people who needs to take it ALL in before deciding… Have a look at Cloudwards.net article about “Best Web Hosting”.

6. The Avada Theme “Rich List” as Proposed by WHELK

Taking into consideration everything we’ve talked about, here’s our WordPress “Rich List” which should provide optimal Avada Theme server requirements:

  • https:// Free Let’s Encrypt

  • PHP Memory Limit – 128 MB or more

  • PHP Version 7.x

  • PHP Time Limit: 300

  • PHP Max Input Vars: 3000

  • MOD SECURITY

  • Adequate Server space – 5 to 10 GB

  • Bandwidth Usage – High or Unlimited

  • Email Options – Pop3 and IMAP

  • Support – Server side or better

  • Price – All things considered

  • All other factors

7. Avada VPS Hosting by WHELK

At WHELK, we’ve been hosting customers for over 10 years. In fact, most of our Avada Theme customers are hosted on our custom VPS servers which we’ve tuned to deliver Avada content easily, securely and at blazing fast speeds.

What sets us apart? Two words: AVADA SUPPORT. 

Our customers not only get all of the above, a fully ticked “Rich List” of options all custom catered with “Concierge Level” attention, they are provided with real time access to real people who know the Avada Theme and everything that goes with it.

Looking for Avada Theme website hosting, take a look at our personalized offer:

VPS HOSTING PROMO – 25% OFF 

Ready to start your own Avada Theme website, planning on doing it yourself? If you don’t want to sweat the technical stuff, we’ve got you covered with our one of a kind website offer that gets you started in no time at all… Take a look at our Avada Startup Platform, it’s the perfect base from which to launch your next site and you get access to Expert Avada Help if and when you need it.

I Hope this article helps you get more out of your avada Theme website.

The most valuable lesson you can take from this post is that HOSTING MATTERS when it comes to your Avada Theme website. Have a question that’s still unanswered, Whelk Avada Theme Support can provide you with personalized solutions to your website hosting issues.

If you’re thinking of building your next site with the Avada Theme, get ready to experience a world of support options that are sure to answer any questions you may have along the way.

Make your next site, an Avada Theme site!

Click the button above for FREE Avada Theme Fusion licensed support.

Check out the Official Avada User’s Group Page on Facebook for FREE advice and Q&A about ongoing Avada issues!

At WHELK, not only do we create beautiful Avada Theme sites, we also support and provide high-end hosting on our fully managed Avada tuned VPS servers.

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Have Questions? We’re Passionate Avada Theme Experts, Ready to Help…

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