The fastest WordPress hosting (as fast as managed, premium WordPress hosting) can be made very cheap. Use this guide.
If you read my epic WordPress managed hosting comparison you’ve seen the exciting finding that simply caching your (gs) Grid hosted websites using the free W3 Total Cache plugin; it becomes pretty much as fast as Media Temple’s newer and more expensive Premium WordPress service!
To make things easy for you, I’ve decided to make a short guide that shows you how to set it up, using Media Temple’s cheap (gs) but very unique (gs) Grid hosting plan.
Quick facts about Media Temple’s Grid:
- 4 GB database storage. All SSD-based!
- 64 MB database memory.
- Burst containers (automatically grow Hulk-size to cope with viral traffic, etc).
- 100 GB file storage. All SSD-based!
- 1 TB traffic.
- 2000 GPU’s.
As you can see; Media Temple’s (gs) Grid is indeed powerful. Though more database memory (you know how it is with RAM: the more the better) would be welcome! You can optionally add an SQL Container (at $20 a month) doubling its size. In the past I’ve used an SQL Container on and off – in the end concluding I didn’t really need it (you prolly won’t either). And once you start caching your website, the database will have a lot less work to do anyway;)
What’s also cool about Media Temple’s (gs) Grid hosting service: is its clustered architecture. It’s not a typical shared hosting plan, where you’re sharing a single server box with hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of other customers. Some of whom may have heavy, misbehaving websites – or receive lots of traffic – and in turn; slow down your websites. A clustered setup protects you against it because your site is hosted by not just one, but many (clustered) servers working together, to serve your website as fast and reliably as possible, to your visitors.
“Clustered” is key to this caching solution
To be 100% clear: yes yes… you can cache any shared hosting server, and it will (hopefully) make it fast. But it won’t be resilient! Disk I/O will still be a huge bottleneck whenever your site receives serious traffic. With a clustered architecture, it’s no longer a problem: there’s plenty disk I/O from the many disks serving your pages!
Another cool – and rather unique – thing about Media Temple’s (gs) Grid, is its flexibility combined with ease-of-use. You can manage all your websites via one user login. You don’t have to navigate in and out of separate sub-accounts for each website. It makes your day-to-day work very easy.
You get SSH access, php.ini access and more. But in a somewhat controlled, non-intimidating environment. I’m a big fan of that.
You can also create WordPress Multisite installs on the Media Temple (gs) – something that’s not even possible on their Premium WordPress plan.
Okay? Let’s get going!
Install WordPress in a security-optimized way
Do it manually, while also adhering to the following guidelines:
Don’t be yet another “admin” dude
When it’s time to pick your admin username, don’t pick “admin” as it will make it easier for a hacker to gain access to your website via a brute force attack (testing passwords until access has been achieved). Be creative.
A custom table prefix
When given the opportunity to create a table prefix; create a custom one. Instead of “wp_” choose something unique. It makes it more difficult to mess with your tables.
Move your wp-config.php file to a safer place
Once WordPress is installed, move your wp-config.php file one level up the folder hierarchy. Normally, it’s stored along with the rest the root of your WordPress installation in the “html” folder.
Not like this:
But instead like this:
Doing so will make it less accessible to hackers. Good, since the wp-config.php file holds your database login credentials and unque authentication keys and salts.
Restrict your wp-config’s file permissions
Change the permissions of your wp-config.php file to 400. This will make it read-only, and only to “you” (aka the server). 400 is very restricted;)
Install the W3 Total Cache plugin
Next up, install the W3 Total Cache plugin and configure it as instructed here. Alternatively, you can install WP Super Cache instead, following these instructions. W3 Total Cache is the most advanced option, WP Super Cache the easier – and equally good – caching option.
On your Media Temple (gs) Grid account, the most important caching type is disk/page caching. You don’t need to tinker with Object Cache, Database Cache etc.
A little tip! If you’re a Genesis theme user – perhaps using one of the many fine StudioPress child themes for Genesis – you should definitely take advantage of the efficient Fragment Caching available to you in W3 Total Cache Pro.
Install the Limit Login Attempts plugin
This will further help alleviate brute force attacks on your site, by limiting the amount of times a user can attempt to log in, before retries are denied. Media Temple are using this plugin on their Premium WordPress hosting accounts, and WP Engine does as well.
Optional: Activate CloudFlare
What’s even better, Media Temple is an Optimized CloudFlare Partner (not just a Certified Partner) meaning that you get access to their special Railgun technology. What Railgun does is optimize the connection speed between origin server (Media Temple) and Cloudflare. Sounds complex? It is, just know that it happens at the flick of a switch:)
PS: if you’re using CloudFlare, you should also install (and connect) their CloudFlare WordPress plugin – very easy to do.
That’s really all there is to it!
You now have yourself a highly secure, inexpensive (downright cheap even!) WordPress hosting solution. Nice eh?
Your questions and comments are welcome! Share your voice below!