We are talking about normal, empty, Linux web servers where you can install Apache2, MySQL, PHP and run WordPress reading guides like we have or many other standard websites have. If you are running one server setup WordPress or with a separate MySQL database server, then your options are a dedicated server, cloud server and some ready-to-use platform. I was reading Darren Rowse’s latest article. He also suggested our method but he is inclined towards hiring WordPress contractors.
Always know that a dedicated server with good hardware and networking card will perform far better than any cloud server. But the charge is far higher. Cloud server gives us a sort of freedom. It is not easy to manage a dedicated server. MySQL database and various types of caching tools work best on a dedicated server.
An unmanaged cloud server is by far the most cost-effective solution. Most of us have websites with 40 thousand to 1,00,000 unique visitors per month. We can avoid using a dedicated server. Cloud servers are quite suitable for these kinds of sites.
- Use a separate DNS (Hurricane electric DNS is free, there is Cloudflare, presently we use Rage4 DNS at 2 Euro per month)
- Use a separate CDN (you can choose yourself, we use CacheFly). You can use Akamai via Linode.
- Use Mail service like that from Google, Zoho
Traditional cloud hosting like Linode, Digital Ocean, and Cloudways will offer you a cloud VPS with dedicated resources or now there is something like Closte where you’re only billed on the exact resources that your website needs. Cloudways platforms handle setting everything up for WordPress and give you staging sites, automatic backups, security, etc features. Linode, Digital Ocean provide general-purpose webservers. The resource which costs $5 on Linode would cost $10 on Cloudways. Closte is good for a very small site or testing and development. You simply need to pay for what you have used.
Cloud hosting is shady when used from too low quality providers. They will push swap instead of real physical RAM.
Some of the best cloud server hosting providers are:
- Google Cloud
- AWS (Amazon Web Services)
- Azure (Microsoft)
All of these have their datacenters, sysadmins etc to properly operate a web hosting service. These are medium-cost tiers. There are costly options such as Media Template, options from non-English speaking countries such as Aruba Cloud, low-end boxes such as VPSDime. VPSDime’s network has all possible hosting solutions with different brand names from colocation hosting to storage servers. OVH is another similar brand.
We test our things on VPSDime since it costs lower and their sysadmins are knowledgeable. Their cost is $1/GB RAM/month because the virtualization technology is OpenVZ. OpenVZ, being a kind of container virtualization, has certain limitations when compared to Xen virtualization. OpenVZ is cheap but the Time To First Byte (TTFB) will be slightly higher.
You’ll get a lot of guides for Linode, AWS and Digital Ocean. Setup on Linode and Digital Ocean is easy. Naturally, people tend to incline to use any of them. It is not that running a production site on VPSDime is extremely cheap. You will need nightly backup, a faster processor etc and those services will push the bill towards $26 per month.
When your site’s resource need will go closer to $100/month, then you will need to think about using a dedicated server. You can not use 100% CPU, and 100% RAM on any cloud or VPS server for a longer time. Linode, Digital Ocean, and VPSDime all will warn you and force you to upgrade. I have not seen a huge difference between Linode and Digital Ocean but Linode is more friendly.
Whatever service provider you choose, for the websites with 40 thousand to 1,00,000 unique visitors per month, you will need 4GB to 8GB RAM. Your cost will be $26 to $60 per month. Do not forget to take at least weekly backup. You can read our guide on backup via SSH.
You can always use Ngnix reverse proxy to add IPv6 and decrease the Time To First Byte (TTFB).