Want to get more articles like this one? Join my newsletter

In Hosting

Give your WordPress client an Apple experience

Hosting your WordPress site is an annoying problem. You can’t go far to see a discussion about it. Every week, someone asks who’s the best host. And each week, you never know if you’ll see conflicting answers or a consensus.

It’s not like you can live without hosting either. That puts you at the mercy of hosting providers. This isn’t to say that hosting providers are evil. I think a lot of them are good and mean well.

It’s just that, regardless of their intentions, it doesn’t change things for you. Hosting is a critical part of your client’s experience with your service. They’ll call you if their site is slow, down or even hacked. They’ll question the quality of your work because of it.

But it’s more often than not a result of their decision. Clients skimp on hosting all the time. It’s one of the aspects of a project that your client tends to neglect the most. You know this. You’ve lived it many times.

Your client thinks: “Why should I pay $50/month (or $100/month with SSL!!) for premium hosting? I can get something for half or a quarter of the price.” Of course, it sounds great to them.

Except you’re left holding the bag when things go wrong.

You need your Apple experience

Apple likes controlling every element of your experience with them. There’s so much thought given to everything. It’s what defines Apple as a company today.

They think about the moment you enter the Apple store. What it’s like for you to hold and open the packaging. And, of course, the way you use the device itself. Everything is there to make you feel special.

As a WordPress expert, you’re Apple to your client. You want to give your client an exceptional experience with your service. To do that, you need an Apple-like control over it.

Hosting is your Apple store

Hosting is the same as that Apple store experience. It’s how you display your “iWork” to your client. And even more important, it’s what presents your client to the world.

Whenever someone visits your client’s site, it’s like going on a date. Your client needs to leave a fantastic first impression. That’s why metrics like page speed are important. Your date will just leave if you’re a mess.

This isn’t something new to you. Your client might not know that or take it seriously, but you know that’s how the web works. Their lack of care ends up reflecting back on you and your service.

In some way, this situation creates a conflict between the two of you. You could find better clients! But that’s often not the option at the time.

The solution is to do like Apple. You need to take control of hosting, of that server stuff. gulp

Except servers aren’t that simple

That’s why hosting companies exist. There’s a lot going under the hood. You need to take care of security, updates, performance, etc. These are all part of the job of managing a server.

You don’t want to offer your client a leaky bucket. Although, you could argue that that’s what they’re getting with cheap hosting.

We haven’t even talked about what you need to install on the server to make WordPress run. You need to install PHP, a web server and a MySQL database. You’ll have to configure them because they’re never configured properly out of the box.

Those just cover the basic requirements. If you want more performance, you need to install and configure even more services. Want to use an object cache? You need Memcached or Redis. You might also want to replace Apache with Nginx or MySQL with Percona or MariaDB.

Oh boy! That’s a lot of knowledge to even pass go. No wonder you don’t want to deal with this server stuff.

What if this was all done for you?

Imagine that all the barriers that you read before disappeared. The superpowered WordPress server of your dreams was just two commands away. And it’d cost you $5/month (or whatever your server cost is).

You’d call me crazy, right? You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Well, that changes starting today.

Brace yourself for eating delicious (WordPress server) cake!

DebOps for WordPress

No no, you didn’t just stumble into a hosting company ad (or maybe you did…). This is an open source tool that I’ve built for you (and me too). It makes setting up WordPress sites with Digital Ocean (or any other server you can SSH into) a breeze.

It does all the heavy lifting for you

Don’t know how to configure a Linux firewall? Don’t worry about it. It handles it for you. What about automatic server updates? That too. Daily MySQL backups? Yep. Fail2ban? I think you get the idea.

You don’t have to find any more excuses. You can give yourself and your client a fast and secure server with:

  • Nginx
  • MariaDB (MySQL replacement)
  • HHVM
  • PHP-FPM (automatic fallback)
  • Redis
  • WP-CLI
  • Varnish (optimized for WordPress)

Don’t know what these words mean? That’s ok! All you need to know is that it’s everything you’d expect from a top tier host (minus the dashboard).

All you need is a Digital Ocean droplet or something similar. DebOps takes care of the rest for you. Now that’s sweet!

It’s also super easy to use

This is an important requirement for any project I do. I’m not talking “Carl-level” easy either (is there even such a thing?). I mean easy for someone who doesn’t touch servers on a regular basis.

It’s still a command line tool. So you need to be comfortable with that (at least for now).

That said, I did a lot to remove as much friction as possible for you to use it. And that work will continue as the project grows. There’s always more documentation to write. The goal is for it to be as good as the WordPress Codex.

Ready to try it out!?

Ok, you’re sold. You want the goods now. Where can you find this miracle project?

You can find it on GitHub with all the documentation. You’ll find everything that you need there to get the server you deserve.

Don’t have a server to try it on?

You can use this referral for Digital Ocean. Now, I wouldn’t post a referral link in normal situations. It’s just the only way I know to give you a free 10$ on Digital Ocean.

I don’t even get anything until you spend 25$ so this is just to help you out. You can use someone else’s referral if you want. It’s just a way for you to get a free test machine.

You can do a lot with 10$. It’s a free server for two months. Just make sure that you click the $5/month one when you create it. They’re sneaky and select the $10/month by default. It’s mentioned in the documentation as well.

You can make that 10$ last for a long time too. You just need to destroy (not turn off) your droplet after you’re done with it. They bill per hour so the meter stops once it’s destroyed.

Take control of your client’s experience

It’s time to give your client an Apple experience with your service. You’re a WordPress expert after all! You need to create these expert-level results for your clients.

So that means that the buck stops with you. You have to get your hands dirty. You need to handle this hosting stuff.

Except now, you have a tool to help you.

P.S. This site now runs on a DebOps configured server (a $5/month Digital Ocean droplet). If you want an idea of how fast it is, take a look around!

Photo Credit: Aaron G (Zh3uS)

Creative Commons License