How to Choose the Right Joomla Hosting Provider
Choosing a web app as a platform for your site or blog can be risky. Compared to hand-coded or static websites, web apps tend to consume much more in terms of resources. Choosing the right hosting partner and plan can make a big difference for your Joomla site.
Table of contents:
What is Joomla?
Joomla is a web-based Content Management System (CMS). It is available free for everyone to use, made available under the open source model. A CMS can help users easily build and deploy powerful websites quickly and often with little to no coding knowledge necessary.
Joomla itself has been in the market for a decade and a half now. It was first released in 2005 and since then has undergone significant changes. For now, the newest beta – version 4 – has just been released, so users should still be using version 3.3 which is more than six years old.
Challenges Faced by Joomla Site Owners
Being a web-based application, Joomla presents users with many of the same challenges others in this category face. Primarily, it needs more resources to run smoothly and there are certain prerequisites your server has to have in place.
Almost all web-based applications will need the traditional stack to run. This includes:
- the Operating System (OS)
- web server
While Joomla is a bit more flexible in what can be used, the core requirements still remain.
Since the content for Joomla sites is dynamic and requires database interaction to work, there is additional overhead. Web hosting plans with few or poorly handled resources will definitely present Joomla site owners with poor performance.
This is further compounded by the type of content that is typically handled on today’s web – feature rich and media-heavy content will significantly increase overhead. If your Joomla plan is relying on shared resources, performance may be erratic.
For those who opt for unmanaged hosting plans, Joomla sites can take some effort to prepare for and maintain. This of course does depend on exactly what kind of hosting plan you’re intending to use.
Some Virtual Private Server (VPS) or Cloud plans can require lots of time, effort, and technical knowledge to handle. While you might be fine with this, it will take away hours of your time which could be spent on marketing your site or expanding your content instead.
If you decide to go for the cheapest hosting plan available it is only a matter of time before you run up against a wall. Shared hosting, aside from poor resource allocation, also has severe limits in how far you can scale your site.To understand this, let’s look at the various key types of web hosting plans available for Joomla hosting.
Types of Website Hosting Solutions
Web hosting plans differ in pricing, characteristics, and feature set. While most of us are typically concerned about pricing, it is the other two portions that mainly affect how well our websites can perform.
The cheapest and most easily managed of all web hosting plans, it is still possible to host Joomla sites on shared plans. In fact, for low traffic volume Joomla sites where performance isn’t an absolute requirement, they can be ideal.
Shared hosting plans allocate resources on demand from a shared pool. When your site needs them, it will make a request and if nobody else is using those resources, they will be allocated to you – temporarily. This can lead to performance problems caused by wait times if the server is always busy and handling too many sites.
Among all web hosting plans, dedicated servers are the most expensive and difficult to manage and maintain. They are essentially entire servers for your private use – which may lead to excessive cost and performance overhead.
In terms of performance, privacy, and security though, dedicated servers are among the best choices there is for Joomla. For those needing to run important business sites or have high requirements in performance, dedicated servers are a good option.
Virtual Private Server
VPS accounts are the mid-way between shared hosting and dedicated servers. They offer much of the same benefits in speed, scalability, and features that dedicated servers have at a fraction of the price.
Most Joomla sites will be able to perform exceptionally well on VPS hosting accounts and they are highly recommended. The key drawback is the technical skill needed to handle these accounts, but that can be overcome with a Managed VPS hosting plan.
What is Joomla Hosting?
Most web hosting plans you’ll encounter will be built along common lines such as shared, VPS, or dedicated. Some web hosts however, customize special plans for those seeking ideal performance for specific deployments.
One such example is the special category of Joomla hosting plans that ScalaHosting offers. These plans are customized not only for optimal Joomla performance, but are geared for your convenience as well. Most will enable you to quickly build your perfect Joomla environment in just a few clicks.
Why is Other Hosting Not An Option?
Since customized Joomla plans don’t cost more than regular hosting options at ScalaHosting, why would you opt for an alternative? If a host has the expertise to create these custom plans and support your efforts in Joomla site build, take advantage of the offer.
If you opt not to, that’s fine as well, but know that some customized plans may be specifically tweaked to give you performance that you won’t easily find elsewhere.
Choosing a Joomla Hosting Plan
As with most web hosting, there are some specific things you need to consider when looking for your perfect Joomla host. Some of these include:
Major Security Issues
Not all web hosts take equal care of security on their web servers. Some such as ScalaHosting offer advanced security features like SShield, which provides active, real-time cybersecurity protection for sites on their servers. Things like this can help boost your website security, and best of all, it’s included with your plan for free.
If you’ve felt that your Joomla site performance hasn’t been the best even if you’re on a decent plan, it might be due to the server equipment itself, or other factors. If the support team is unable to help you resolve inefficiencies, it may be time to audit your own site, or re-assess your choice in the hosting provider.
Whenever possible, look for a web host that is confident in the quality of service it provides. This isn’t just lip-service, but should be something tangible, like a clause in their Service Level Agreement (SLA). ScalaHosting assures users of a 99.9% uptime, spelt out in full detail in their Terms of Service.
Do You Need Unmanaged or Managed Joomla Hosting?
If you’ve decided that you need a more powerful web hosting plan, are you confident in handling the technical deployment and upkeep? Despite being a virtual server, VPS accounts behave exactly like standalone servers. You will need at least some server and network management skills in order to handle that.
If you’re unprepared for this, it may be wiser to opt for Managed hosting instead. In plans like this, the web host will take over responsibility for the deployment and technical upkeep of your virtual server.
What Content Volume Are You Anticipating?
Almost all sites start small, but some site owners have concrete plans to grow their visitor volume. If you fall into this category, it may be a good idea to put serious thought into scalability of the plan you choose.
While dedicated servers are usually overkill, it might be a good move to opt for VPS as well. These plans are highly agile and resources can be quickly adjusted to meet your needs at any time. This is useful so that you won’t have to keep migrating plans in the long run.
Where is Your traffic From?
Networking 101 will tell you latency is a performance killer. The further away your visitors are from your hosting server, the longer the wait time will be for your site to load for them. Because of this, knowing where the bulk of your traffic originates can be helpful. Simply choose a web hosting server that is in closer proximity and you and your site visitors will be happy.
Joomla Hosting Requirements
To run the latest stable version of Joomla (version 3.3), you will need Apache, Nginx, or Microsoft IIS for the web server. Multiple databases are supported as well, including
- SQL server.
Finally, PHP is necessary – the higher the version, the better the performance.
Secure Sockets Layer
While some sites may still be running without SSL, these are absolutely necessary especially if you want a good flow of organic search traffic. Although many web hosts offer free SSL, there are some who may make the process as difficult for you as possible.
ScalaHosting offers free SSL certificates with all Joomla plans for your convenience. If you need something a little better, you also can choose from the range of commercial SSL certificates available as well.
Tips to Get a Good Magento Hosting Provider
If you follow the guidelines listed above, chances are you will be able to get decent hosting for your Joomla site. However, some areas not yet covered are more generic and apply to the hosting company instead of the plan itself.
Make sure the host you’re looking at is:
- Offers good customer support and,
- Has a good reputation.
Joomla may not be the most popular CMS in the market but it certainly is an entertaining one to use. Given its relatively old stable build, requirements remain very manageable for the time being.
However, since the beta for version 4 is out, those currently hunting for Joomla hosting might want to give themselves a little bit of leeway and up your requirements just in case. Still, waiting for version 4 stable (or even RC) to be released, does give you more time to search for the perfect Joomla hosting now.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Joomla free?
Joomla is open source and offered for free use to everyone. Remember though, that it is just a CMS and to run a Joomla site you will still need your own web hosting plan and domain name.
Does Joomla offer hosting?
The Joomla community itself doesn’t offer web hosting, just the CMS. For hosting you will need to seek the services of a web hosting company like ScalaHosting, which offers a wide range of plans suitable for almost every scenario.
Is Joomla better than WordPress?
Although Joomla has been recognized to offer a few advantages over WordPress, the latter is definitely much better. It has more capabilities in terms of customization, SEO, and other areas compared to Joomla.
What is the use of Joomla?
Joomla is a CMS designed to help users serve content on dynamic sites. It is considered as a web application, which means it needs other supporting environment variables to work, such as an appropriate web server, database, and PHP.