General Rules For Your Hosting Enviornment
- Try and avoid “shared hosting”, unless absolutely required.
- Expect to pay $29-$99 per month at the low end.
- Avoid “Windows” hosting/servers. Choose “Linux” options.
- Make sure you have a plan which provides a dedicated IP and SSL certificate.
- If you are on a shared host now, you may be able to upgrade to a VPS level plan easily/cheaply.
- If your host aggressively caches (specifically WP Engine), make sure you can turn it off or ignore certain URLs on your site. Read this article to learn more about configuring WP Engine for MemberMouse.
- Make sure your get adequate performance on your site even with caching turned off.
- Varnish caching run server side can also cause issues. Varnish is something that is included with Bluehost VPS hosted sites and possibly other hosting providers.
Do I Need To Upgrade?Running a membership site requires more processing power and memory than running a traditional website. MemberMouse needs to make a check for a member's permission before it loads most of your pages, and this can take some time. Also, things like gateway API calls, email vendor API calls, checking on a coupon code, pulling a user's membership information, etc, all require activity behind the scenes.
Many of the lower level shared hosting plans (and even the better shared hosting plans) rely on aggressive caching to get you the performance you need at the price you are paying. (Read this article to learn what caching is). You cannot cache a membership site like you can a normal site. MemberMouse is constantly trying to stay in front of the best practices of caching, to allow you to run the most efficient site. But in the meantime, any membership site will require that you have slightly more robust hosting plan.
Top RecommendationsIt's very tricky to recommend hosting providers because of all the variables involved. Even on a single hosting provider the majority of our customers could run MemberMouse without issue while a small few will inexplicably run into issues.
With that said the basic hosting provider we're currently recommending is SiteGround (full disclosure: we're an affiliate of theirs).
The reason we recommend them is because they're very affordable and we've had minimal instances of our customers running into issues with them. Even their shared hosting plans (we like the GoGeek plan) offer strong performance and caching disabled.
If cost isn't your primary motivating factor and you're more interested in performance then we recommend ServInt (again, we're an affiliate of theirs).
We use ServInt to power membermouse.com.
If you're thinking about migrating servers make sure to read this article before you do so: http://support.membermouse.com/knowledgebase/articles/508163-migrating-membermouse-to-a-new-server
Other Recommended Hosting ProvidersWordPress has their own list of recommended hosting providers which they feel are the top hosting providers for running WordPress. Their list includes Bluehost, DreamHost, MediaTemple and Laughing Squid. The hosting providers mentioned above certainly don't represent a complete list of hosting providers that will work for WordPress and MemberMouse. These are just the ones that we know work well in all areas or are recommended by WordPress themselves.
As far as considering hosting providers, a good rule of thumb is the more the provider pre-configures the server environment in order to "increase performance" or "increase security" the more possibility there is that they will inadvertently cause issues with any software that runs on their servers. Providers that specifically advertise themselves as a "WordPress Hosting Provider" are usually doing this to varying degrees.
Plans To Avoid
- We’ve seen issues with GoDaddy's and HostGator’s shared hosting plans. Upgrading to GoDaddy's or HostGator’s lower tiered VPS plans has fixed the problems and was a painless upgrade for our customers. (Some people in the comments have had issues with Host Gator’s VPS, including having to manage a server themselves.)