We are a useful point of reference for anyone administering a Joomla!® CMS website who suspects that their hosting provider is selling them short.
Reason: we have more than ten years of experience providing help and support to Joomla! CMS website administrators.
We recommend that Joomla! CMS website administrators periodically review the level of support provided by their hosting provider, and compare this support with other providers.
Need help and support?
Assess your needs
And re-assess your needs as time progresses and your business or organisation changes.
There are lots of different options out there.
It is tempting to pay for more resources than you presently need.
Equally, it is tempting to drive down hosting costs only to end up paying a high price at a later date when your website gets hacked, blacklisted or both.
Higher hosting charges should reflect premium services:
- telephone support,
- low density shared server hosting,
- pci compliant server.
Joomla! CMS Security
Make Joomla! CMS Security YOUR #1 priority from the outset.
Two important things to check with your hosting provider before accepting and paying their invoice.
- What is the period of notice required to terminate the hosting agreement?
For future reference, make a note of the hosting provider's terms for terminating the hosting agreement.
Some hosting providers require written communication on headed notepaper well in advance of the renewal date if you are to avoid being invoiced at the scheduled renewal date.
This may not be an issue if the contract is monthly.
But could be if the contract is yearly.
For this reason you may wish to initially enter into a monthly contract.
And delay converting this to a yearly contract until you are happy with the process for transferring your website away should the need arise.
Essential & Desirable Features
Things to check.
Is it a Windows, Apache, Litespeed or Nginx server?
We have hosted Joomla! CMS websites on servers running various applications in recent years.
What have we learned?
LiteSpeed server performance has impressed us.
We have not enjoyed hosting the Joomla! CMS in an Nginx environment.
We would not consider hosting a Joomla! CMS on an Nginx server unless the hosting provider were to:
- permit custom Nginx configuration, and
- guarantee that Nginx can load a customised NGINX CONF file
as configured by the Nginx Configuration Maker tool included with Akeeba Admin Tools (web application firewall).
Is it designed for speed & security?
SSD or Solid State Drives deliver much improved performance when compared to traditional spinning disk HDD drives.
And NVMe (or Non-volatile Memory Express) SSD drives offer significant performance improvements over traditional SSD drives.
Up to date applications
Does the hosting provider offer the latest available release of PHP and MySQL software?
24/7 email support
Is it possible to get help when needed?
What do other customers say in reviews?
Inclusion of Let's Encrypt will enable you to reassure website visitors and over time improve your search engine ranking.
Let's Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority (CA), run for the public’s benefit.
Hosting Control Panel
Does the hosting provider offer a choice of control panel user interfaces?
They may for example only offer Plesk or cPanel.
We have hosted Joomla! CMS websites on servers using both control panels in recent years.
What have we learned?
cPanel offers a superior user interface when compared with Plesk.
The range of hosting features included with cPanel when offered in a shared hosting environment has also impressed.
Visit the link below to explore the features of the cPanel Hosting Control Panel.
Backup & Restore
Do they provide a Backup Wizard to enable quick and easy website backup?
And the reverse: do they make it easy to restore a previous website backup?
The latest versions of cPanel include Backup & Restore Wizards.
Also ask about upload limits:
- File Manager, and
Avoid hosting with a company which does not allow you to upload large database files (where limit is set at < 250 MiB).
Reason: modern CMS websites can have databases that are very large (> 100 MiB).
If you want to perform a manual restore of your website's database then you will have to 'slice and dice' it if the limit set by the hosting provider is lower than the database file size.
Secure FTP Access to Server
Check the hosting provider supports FTP access to the server using SFTP or FTPS protocol?
If not then look elsewhere.
Using the basic FTP protocol sends data (including your password) from your machine to the server in unencrypted form.
When you use SFTP or FTPS protocol it ensures that data is encrypted between your machine and the server, making it harder for a hacker to "sniff" your password.
More resilient than traditional server hosting.
CloudLinux is recommended for added protection when hosting your website in a shared server environment.
Solid state drives are proven to offer much higher levels of performance than traditional spinning disk or HDD servers.
This should really be in our essential list!
A feature which comes with the cPanel control panel, but not always included in the package offered by hosting companies, so worth checking.
PHP Selector enables you to choose PHP 7 when others on the same server are still using an older unsecure version.
Server located in UK
The reduced latency (time delay) resulting from closeness to target audience is something to think about.
If your target audience is overseas or global then you may wish to consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
Content Delivery Network integration may be something you will need in future as your business grows.
CDNs like Cloudflare will improve performance in overseas search engines.
Worth checking for reassurance but make your own mind up!
Ask for a free trial or subscribe to a monthly plan before committing to a yearly subscription (to benefit from available discounted rates).
In extremis telephone support can be invaluable.
Most hosting companies provide a sales telephone number but not a technical support telephone number.
Two-factor or Multi-factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an improved security measure.
2FA requires two forms of identification before you may sign into the cPanel Dashboard:
- your password + a generated security code.
Using cPanel 2FA requires downloading an app to your smartphone.
The app supplies a code which must be entered in addition to your password before you can sign in.
Multi-factor Authentication provides a wider range of options than 2FA.
Personal Joomla! CMS Help & Support
We coach, help and support managers with responsibility for Joomla! websites in organisations across Cheshire, Manchester, Merseyside, North West England & the UK.