If you have a good idea for an online business, you have to launch it as soon as possible. However, you can’t rush, because that’s where mistakes usually happen. A lot of people fail to realize that even though using WordPress is extremely simple, there are a lot of minor things that could cause it to underperform. This is especially true if you add such a massive plugin as WooCommerce.
So, you’re definitely smart if you’re looking to take a more sensible approach to starting your new WooCommerce-based website. It’s best to know exactly what kind of hosting and support you will need to be able to run your new online venture as smoothly as possible.
Now, let’s see the exact system requirements you’ll need and the things you should pay attention too when finding a server to host your WooCommerce-based website.
Minimum Server Requirements for WordPress
Just about any run of the mill hosting server works for WordPress if it fulfills these requirements:
- PHP version 7 or greater
- MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.0 or greater
- HTTPS support
Actually, WordPress will work on just about any ancient version of PHP, like “PHP 5.2.4+ and MySQL 5.0+”, but it’s not a good idea. These versions have reached the end of their life, but that isn’t the main problem. The main problem is that they may expose your website to many security vulnerabilities. This is the most crucial part.
If you’re using WordPress and WooCommerce to run an eCommerce site that has money and a lot of personal information going through it, the last thing you want to do is expose it to security vulnerabilities.
Even though you can backport security, PHP7 has significant advantages that you just can’t access with version 5.2. Not to mention that it’s much faster and safer. If you don’t see any other benefit in upgrading to PHP7, then there’s the added speed and stability.
The Official Minimum Server Requirements For WooCommerce
The official minimum requirements of WooCommerce are the following:
- WP Memory limit of 64 MB or more (128 MB or higher is better)
- MySQL 5.6 or greater
- PHP 5.6 or greater
- WooCommerce 2.5 requires WordPress 4.1+
- WooCommerce 2.6 requires WordPress 4.4+
About 90% of hosting providers on the web meet these specifications, however, WooCommerce requires a bit more to run as it’s supposed to.
The Official Optimal Server Requirements for WooCommerce
The hosting server has to meet these requirements to ensure that WooCommerce performs “optimally”. However, a lot of users will just require these common features.
- CURL or fsockopen support for PayPal IPN
- An SSL certificate for installing direct payment gateways
- SOAP support, because numerous extensions require it
- Multibyte String support in case you’re looking to run a non-English store.
- For pretty WordPress permalinks, you’ll also need apache with mod_rewrite (or a similar nginx / IIS extension)
A Solid Setup for WooCommerce
First thing’s first, your best option is using LAMP stack that is running PHP 7+ and MySQL 5.6+ to run your website.
Use Apache for stability and Nginx for Speed
The combined power of these technologies will give your site the optimal performance you’re looking for. Furthermore, you can use Varnish to configure for speed, but do it with care. Optimization is way outside the bounds of “minimum requirements”, but it’s definitely worth tinkering with.
Cache as Often as Possible
Configure a good caching plugin for WordPress like WP3 Total Cache, WP SuperCache or WP Rocket. It will be easy to set up and it will get your system closer to its best possible performance.
Get Good Looking Permalinks with mod_rewrite
Good Looking permalinks are important for SEO purposes. You’ll have to install mod_rewrite and get it working. Almost every plugin is set to use .htaccess files to do this in the Apache hosts. So, it’s best to do this for ease of management. However, you can also gain more if you move this into an httpd.conf file and not allowing .htaccess files.
Go HTTPS Right from the Start
HTTPS is important both from a SEO and a security perspective. That is why you should go for a hosting option with an SSL certificate and run it everywhere on your site. You’ll have to make sure that there’s no broken padlock icon wherever you go on your website. So, none of your website should be available through HTTP only through HTTPS. The HTTP version should just quietly redirect all of your site’s visitors to the HTTPS version.
Go the Easiest Route and use Managed WordPress Hosting
If you want to spare the hassle of optimization, there are plenty of hosting companies who would gladly do it for you. You can pay their management services in the monthly fee, and you don’t have to worry about the things we’ve mentioned above, because they’ll take care of it for you.
We would recommend WP Engine, CloudWays or Kinsta as managed WordPress hosting is one of their core services and they’re really good at it. You’ll find out everything you need to know about them below.
Best Managed WordPress Hosting Providers
If you’re really not the type who would sit down and tinker with server settings and WordPress, than you’ll be happy to know about these companies. They are the very best at providing fully-managed WordPress hosting plans that ensure that your site runs as smoothly as it can. You don’t have to move finger, just handle some basic administration and content management.
WP Engine is a premium managed hosting service located in Texas. Its founders were well-aware of the important place WordPress has come to fill in the World Wide Web and created a highly successful business. WP engine has 500,000 customers in 120 countries, which is quite amazing. Their services spare an insane amount of time for anyone who’s running IT projects and need professionals to take care of their website for a reasonable price. This way, nobody has any unnecessary headaches and the entire staff can put all of their energy into running the business.
WP engine does a lot of things very well.
- They secure your WordPress site.
- Optimize server settings to reach speedy loading times.
- Perform daily backups to ensure you don’t lose anything.
- Update all your WP plugins once a new version comes out.
If you have an already existing WordPress website that isn’t performing at its optimum, you can have them migrate it for you. From there on out, they’ll set the right staging environment, provide you with third-party supported SSL, CDN integration and a lot more. You can do this without a risk, as they offer a generous 60-day money back guarantee. Their cheapest plan is $35.00. It might be six times more than what you would pay for a simple shared hosting plan, but it offers a lot more value as well. Furthermore, you’ll get a much greater ROI from a fully optimized site that’s running at peak performance.
But the main benefits of a WordPress optimized hosting plan are:
- Speed: Your site will perform 10 times faster than it would on a regular server.
- Security: Any security issues you face will be patched up by a security expert.
- Tools: You’ll have access to plenty of tools that make it easier to manage a WordPress site.
- Support: You have WordPress-specific support options that aren’t available at regular hosting providers.
- A Proper Staging Environment: Spot mistakes faster than your website’s visitors do.
You can get pretty much everything you would need to run your website at its best. WP Engine is acknowledged by the hosting industry as one of the best at providing managed WordPress hosting. So, there’s really no risk in using or trying their services.
For more information about WP Engine, check out their official website!
CloudWays is another marvel for WordPress users, as they offer high-performance at an affordable price. In fact, they strike the perfect balance between affordability and great functionality. They offer fully-managed, cloud-based hosting services that ensure that your site is as fast as it can be. Their infrastructure is optimized for speed, security and reliable performance. You can try their services during a 30-day money back guarantee period and see for yourself. If you’re fully satisfied with what you got, the monthly fee for the service is only 5$. It’s easily the best deal you can get on the market, but is it really a reliable service?
CludWays has been around since 2009 and they have been doing good business ever since. They have a 30+ staff and 8000 customers using their service in 43 different countries. CloudWays helped in launching 25,000+ web apps on 12,000 servers, which is quite amazing for such a small company. Though they aren’t as popular as WP Engine, but they are getting there.
CludWays beats traditional hosting in many ways. For starters, your website will be stored on multiple servers, not just one. This will ensure that it’s available 100% of the year and also ensures a consistent speed. This means that not even physical incidents can harm your website and it will be online even if something goes wrong.
What makes it faster than traditional hosting is that it detects your customers’ location and transmits the content from a server that’s closest to it. They also use SSD to improve the site’s performance. But what makes their services even better is that they provide managed services for WordPress, Drupal, Magento, Joomla and Moodle as well. You can rest assured that your website is safe and sound in the hand of experts.
Setting your account up, launching your site and enjoying it at its peak performance has never been easier. If you find CloudWays’ services compelling, check out their official website!
Kinsta is another cloud-based WordPress solution that’s designed for small businesses that want to spare their manpower and would rather have someone else managing their website. They provide homes for the likes of Ubisoft, General Electric and Intuit as well, which speaks highly of how reliable they are.
However, Kinsta is an outstanding option only as long as you’re choosing it for WordPress. If you’re working with any other content management systems, you’re better off using CloudWays or any other company that offers managed hosting for your CMS of choice. Otherwise, Kinsta is easily the perfect choice for WordPress users.
I’ll say it once more, Kinsta is built for a singular purpose, ultra-fast and secure WordPress hosting and that’s exactly what they deliver. All of their features are geared towards speed and security and it’s hard to come across a hosting provider that’s as well-specialized as Kinsta. Their cloud hosting architecture is built across Google Cloud, which ensures their servers are kept up to date with the latest framework versions and that they have maximum support.
If you’re considering buying into Kinsta’s services, you have three options:
- Starter $30 – Hosting for a single WordPress install, which is suitable for 20K visits and has 3GB of storage space
- Pro $60 – Offers hosting for two WordPress installs and 40K visits with 6GB of disk space.
- Business $100 – Provides hosting for three WordPress installs that is suitable for 100K to 1.5M visits and has 10GB to 120GB storage space.
Needless to say, Kinsta is expensive, but you’ll have to pay the price for an industry-leading service. So if you choose them to manage your WordPress site, you won’t go wrong, that’s for sure.
Even though WordPress is geared towards usability, it’s a complex system under the hood. It has to be managed well in order to work at optimal speed and efficiency. You either have to do it yourself, hire a web developer or buy a managed hosting service to handle your site. But if you want to get the most out of WordPress and your business, it’s best if you go all in on optimizing it.
Updated: November 12, 2018