My Ultimate WordPress Blog Hosting Setup

Oh yeah!

[This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog series.]

I’ve been asked this a few times and I wanted to at least create a post that I could always refer to and update as things change.

I’ve tried a number of different hosting and server solutions over the past two decades and I’ve got 4 very active solutions right now that I have varying opinions about with another 5 hosting services that are used for a variety of different side projects.

All-in-all I’ve simply got some experience with more than a few hosting solutions and hosting providers but I would never call myself an “expert” at any of this.

Currently I actively use the following services:

  1. FireHost
  2. MediaTemple
  3. Site5
  4. Dreamhost

The last 3 I use for smaller sites, web apps, and a variety of different environments for experimenting. I could go into detail about each one but I want to spend some time focusing on the first one which currently manages TentBlogger.com (which you care about most anyways, right?):


FireHost is Epic Awesomeness

I am absolutely in love with FireHost right now as they are managing this blog here and will house even more properties as time grows.

They’ve come at a perfect time as my business and blogs have expanded their needs and after having experienced some significant failures it was time to move on to much greener pastures.

For those that aren’t familiar FireHost has a cloud-hosting solution which has a distributed network of systems for speed, load-balancing, and management of data.

Combined with a use of a CDN solution I have an ultimate delivery system world-wide. With the ability to scale the system on-the-fly, robust monitoring tools, root access, backup systems, and a great customer support system I am as pleased as I can possibly be with a hosting provider.

To be honest, the hardware is amazing but the customer support so far has been their most telling value. Incredible!

But, what it does absolutely knock-the-socks-off is a custom WordPress environment.

The Ultimate Killer WordPress Setup:

I’ve custom architected my solution over at FireHost with WordPress solely in mind – in fact, it’s so custom that I don’t use it for any systems or websites that aren’t running WordPress (I have other providers for those apps)!

Here’s what it looks like under the hood (major systems internal and external):

  1. Currently 4 Processing Cores with 4GB of RAM with 30GB of redundant and backed up SAS storage.
  2. cPanel
  3. LiteSpeed
  4. Linux (Ubuntu 64 bit)
  5. Varnish
  6. APC
  7. Memcache
  8. W3 Total Cache
  9. MaxCDN
  10. DynDNS
  11. VaultPress Backups
  12. Managed Redundant Firewall
  13. Managed Redundant Web Application Protection
  14. Managed Redundant DoS/DDoS Mitigation
  15. High Availability Configuration
  16. Managed Backups with 14 Day Retention (Snapshots)
  17. 24 x 7 x 365 Monitoring and Response
  18. World Class customer support and service

Firehost gives me the freedom to customize a solution to my exact needs and specs. I’m a freak when it comes to experimenting to find the perfect WordPress setup and after more than a few years I think I’ve got at least one (of the many) optimal installations and environments.

What is the Cost of This Particular Setup?

A typical question I also get is what this might actually cost me on a per month and per year basis for this particular setup. Let me begin by saying that it’s not for the faint of heart!

The total cost on a per month-basis is approximately $500.

A lot? Yes but not in comparison to to what I’m paying one of the other dedicated hosting solutions for my other properties which is about $1,100 per month. I’m looking to move majority of those systems to FireHost very soon.

The reason though that this is the best solution is simple: Scalability. A dedicated solution cannot scale well or easily and compared to FireHost is ridiculous – I can scale on-the-fly with a simple flick of my wrist (literally):

Easy to scale and grow.

I could scale it permanently or even just for a day or two when I expect larger traffic numbers!

Love this flexibility which is hard to find in many other solutions – and it’s so pretty!

*Sigh* – I’ll Never Get to Have That…

You might be thinking about how you wish you had a setup like this and I just want to encourage you and say a few things about that:

  1. You’re not there yet, but you could be as your blog grows and becomes more profitable!
  2. Make sure that your blog hosting costs never out-distance your ability to make money from your blog. I like to keep things “in the black” from a financial perspective.
  3. You don’t need everything in my aforementioned setup to be optimal. In fact, my other hosting solution has an entirely different configuration for my other blogs and it works just fine (but it’s a bit too expensive for my taste).
  4. Make this your goal! Make it your goal to get to a point where you need a configuration like this. This is more of a long-term goal but you can easily get there with a combination of many short term goals!

Sure, FireHost is certainly not a “starter” blog package but it’s something that may, at some point, fit your needs. If you’re spending more than this already then you may want to consider it!

The “TentBlogger” WordPress Hosting Solution:

I just want to plant a “seed” of thought in you as you finish reading this: I’m exploring an opportunity to provide to you, my community, this type of solution at a fraction of the cost.

This is still very much a project in the “exploration” phase but I’d love to hear your thoughts – would you sign up for a  hosting service that was specifically crafted by me for your WordPress hosting needs? What would it take? What would you love to see? How much would you pay for such a service?

Love to hear any and all thoughts and I’d love to know your current setup too for your WordPress-powered blog!

[This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog series.]

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John

Hacker. Human.