How I choose my host | Vexxhost wins

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Dear all,

I wanted to wrote a few words about how I choose my host –
Note: I will try to not enter in too much details as why I was very unhappy with some of them because I don’t want to start a flame
My needs: WordPress + WooCommerce Multilingual / WPML
From the beginning I can tell you that I’m familiar/had with Linode, MediaTemple, Appfog, Jelastic,WPEngine, Stormondemand, Servint. That’s just to name the most important ones. As you can see, I’m really focused on performance.

Everything begin a while ago when I hosted with Stormondemand (several months) – a SSD plan with 3GB ram. Because I wasn’t happy with my load times (3-4sec) I wanted more. They help me to put Varnish so we come down to 2 sec. Wonderful! Only that one day I started to get 21sec load time. I loose 3 days with them to fix that. They also told me that they don’t support it. So I had to find a better host.

At this moment, I was a bit confused – I have to switch away from LiquidWeb? That doesn’t make sense. I think I was a bit unlucky because they are very good. Just that with me they didn’t want to do the extra step. Still, I believe in them. I was a sad because I was sure that I will remain with them. Rock solid.

Time to review my options
What I want: speed, speed and reliability. I don’t want to manage my server. I have a business to run.

The ones that qualified were: Appfog (400 req/s), Pagodabox, Jelastic, WPEngine, WiredTree.
If you know others I will be happy to know.

To finish with the last one which I’m sure is one of the best out there (otherwise I wouldn’t put it out there), I didn’t like the fact that they don’t offer a trial. Not only that but they don’t refund you the money also. I can’t even think this.

Jelastic is rock solid. Let me repeat. You can put a load balancer as nginx in front, you can add a memcached and you can scale vertically or horizontally. Absolute pure speed and reliability. The partnership for America is with Servint if I’m not wrong.
With Jelastic (you can try it for free) the only thing was that you have to get a bit technical to put more sites on the same environment. Because I tried that in the past and had some problems I didn’t want to do it again. I was a bit tired. Give it a try. You will be amazed.

Pagodabox had a terible time to first byte. Didn’t go further

Appfog. That’s a very good one. It’s blazing fast. 400 requests per second.
They have a problem: Any change you make you have to make it locally and push it online. Otherwise your content disapear because they don’t have a persistent storage. So I didn’t want to take that path for my business. A bit scarry for me. But I will continue to use them for other sites.

So here I asked myself: Who’s the best out there in WordPress hosting? I said ok, why not? Let’s pay $99 for a professional plan and you have CDN, performance and the best knowledge around. I was wrong.

WPEngine. That’s a horible story (for me of course). The same site with which I was unhappy at Stormondemand because of the 2 sec was loading in 4-5 seconds here.
I also had big problems like 14sec to load the backend. I tried 7-10 days to solve the problem with them. I wanted to be fair with them and I really give it a try.
The fact that they are the best can be true if you have a blog. If you have a real site be prepare to hear:
• It’s a good compromise to have a 4-5 sec load time because of the powerfull WPML plugin.
• it’s not on our side. We checked everything
• your theme is bad
What I want to say here: if you don’t fit in their standard, they will really drive you crazy. And I can tell you tha there’s a big chance to have incompatibilities or problems because of their custom platform. Usually they will sort them out.
That’s perfectly normal but I couldn’t imagine that: they couldn’t make it run ok a standard installation of WordPress + WooCommerce + WPML. A standard and uncustomized one. A cleam install if you want.
The thing that I strongly didn’t like: without taking a look they will blame you You really have to prove your case.

After all this I was really down. I really wanted to hang out there with WPEngine. Because I really wanted to have the peace of mind.

Power or fine tunning?
You can have power or very good management but not both.
So if you want power go with Linode, Stormondemand, Jelastic

If you don’t need power, I strongly recomend WPEngine. You will have a very good support, a premium CDN and a happy under 1 sec load time.

Another aproach
I was rethinking what I want:
• good speed – so it must be Nord America and the closer to Montreal the better
• SSD for high IOPS
• Managed – because you don’t want to fine tune something that is not suported.
• memory – around 3-4GB ram
• aroud $100

With this in mind I go to and check benchmarks for Nord America.

Vexxhost – High Performance Cloud Hosting Solutions

That’s how I found Vexxhost. A company that I never herd about before.
I can tell you right away that I wouldn’t even tried them if they didn’t have a 30 days money back. Because of that I take the chance.

Later on I will find that they are also a CLoudflare partners.

What I bought:
A 8GB ram Cloud server for $80 per month.
Ok, I went a bit high. But they have plans from $5/month.

Bottom line:
• 600ms site load time over SSL (:O) for the same site. That’s what it matter for me. On this one we even didn’t enable Cloudflare. We just put a CDN.
• 474ms for another site with a page size of 1MB

Final Thought

Don’t aim low. Aim high. In those days when everything is important you can’t afford to not do your job. It’s your baby. That mean do whatever you have to do and have a quick site. Take care to be quick even if your client is in Europe.
Because the story with Vexxhost is longer I will put a review to show you what they did.

Requirements for a high performance site:
• have a presence where your business is or very close. Also, be sure that you are on a good network
• SSD – because of high IO that’s almost critical
• CPU power
• caching – use W3 Total Cache – combine, minify, use database cache and object cache.
• use a CDN – you can’t really escape this one. Still, you can get it cheaper because if you host with a Cloudflare partner you pay nothing for it.

Have a nice day,

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