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There’s a lot of web hosts out there. There are some of them that are terrific, some not so much.

So I put the list together and it’s up on the website and we’ll show the link and talk about what those look like, but the one I like that seems to be really solid and do really well as A2 hosting. And I just want to break from the sort of Question and Answer and go through a detailed tutorial about how to set up web hosting for WordPress through A2 hosting.

When you go to A2Hosting.com, there’s also an A2hosting.CA out there for direct to Canadian links if you’re from Canada like myself, but I’m going to walk through the A2Hosting.com because the .com and .ca experiences are very similar. The nice thing they will do for the .ca piece is if you’re looking from Canada they do detect your geography and give you local currency.

So they offer web hosting as well as domain registration, SSL, and other services. Today I’m really going to focus on the hosting piece. other videos, if people like this one, I’ll talk about SSL and what’s involved with SSL and I’ll also talk about domain registration. Now the first thing you’ll notice is a whole bunch of options up top: shared hosting, WordPress, VPS, reseller, dedicated domain Solutions, a lot of things there. but really what you want is Shared hosting. Shared hosting gives you good value, gives you a lot of flexibility, and the WordPress hosting ironically you don’t really need that for WordPress hosting. shared hosting will do great.

They offer three different plans with three different sets of features. Light, Swift, and Turbo. I put clients on turbo and it has been fantastic. night and day. they’ve come from some very large other hosts and those large other hosts, (which I will not name here) are just really slow by comparison. timeouts,

Lots of fails. turbo by comparison seems to deliver a lot of capacity and the price starting if you get all the deals and everything else at $12.49 CDN per month is pretty affordable. So I definitely suggest that turbo is your way to go if you have the budget for it. If you’re watching your pennies, you can go down to Swift or light which are significantly less in price, but I think you win a lot by going for Turbo.

The Swift and Turbo Plans have some nice add-ons, but I think if you really push your luck on that they may say something about that. If you are putting material into the terabytes. A lot of websites run, you know two, five, ten, gigs nowadays with a lot of the video and  audio and image assets. So they’re good.

They have a generous amount of space. Even from the light plan going up. They offer what’s called CPanel, which is more and more becoming the standard for how to administer your website from a back-end. and it’s really handy. It’s there’s a lot of material out there on the web about how to use CPanel.

I find it’s my go-to even though I’ve got years of experience as a sys admin and server admin and done it from the Linux command line… that all sucks by comparison to having control panel available. So they offer it and it’s fantastic. They do offer two things that sound very similar but very different; SSL and SSD. SSL is your secure socket layer, which is for https or secure transactions. They also offer SSD: solid state drive. There’s no moving parts: your data is moving at the speed of electricity. So you’re moving much faster than you are if you’re on a spinning drive. If you look in, you know, the height difference between current iPads and mobile phones and everything else those all have really no moving parts and that allows them to behave much faster and much better.

There’s no mechanical pieces. So the light program gives you some of the features.  When you go up to Turbo– or, sorry, when you go up to Swift, they give you unlimited websites, which is kind of nice feature for this, just the small price bump and unlimited websites means you can spin up development version to your site or variants.

So if you go for the Swift or the turbo plans the unlimited websites allows you to spin up these developmentites and the old sites and the new sites and keep them all there for reference because you don’t have to worry about the space. you know, you should practice a little bit of economy. But, you know, just because you have to get your head around what all the assets are you putting up on your web server, but Swift and turbo both don’t limit you so this is free for you to manage. Now, if you were to go up to the turbo plan. the “Turbo” in the Turbo plan is they do some things to speed up the user– er, the flow through of data. So they give you what’s called their own turbo, which they advertise is up to 20 times faster for speed.

They have a site accelerator. They offer a site transfer service in both the Swift and the Turbo plan. And one thing that’s consistent across the board for all these plans is they have an anytime money back guarantee, which is nice that if you get disaffected with their service, you do have the option to cancel and move away. and you get back the prorated money that you haven’t spent yet on your hosting.

So that’s really nice assurance. You don’t feel like you’re locked in. Like one client of mine. I did a good job of talking them up and they went for three years of hosting in one shot. And the nice thing once I got a really good bump from some of the coupon codes and discounts offered by A2. but the other thing they were able to do was just know that this one price point, this one shell out of cash, deals with having a web presence for three years.

So it was really nice. We knew like, you know, they’re not gonna grow dramatically so we know in three years what their websites going to look like compared to now so the hosting we’re locked in for now will serve them for the entire time and the price all in all was… pretty cheap. Well just to put out hard numbers, after the discounts and everything else it was something short of three hundred dollars for three years ofhosting. so that gave them all this functionality that the Turbo plan offered (and for three years!) for less than $300. So it was a really nice price. If you need additional details, “get full details” lets you see even more on these. But if you just want to jump into it, the “Get Light,” “Get Swift,” “Get Turbo”

Those are the buttons you click to move into getting your hosting set up. In this case, we’re going to go through the Swift plan. kind of, you know, Goldilocks zone in the middle. Again. You see what they offer. It’s kind of nice, this shows you also what you’re missing. You know, the Great Big Turbo thing.

Okay. Let’s let’s walk through what the Swift Plan will get you. So the one thing you’ll see in here is Turbo Cache, APC cache, Memcached. Those are nice features. And those what you’d get on the turbo plan, but are not available in the Swift plan. So if your website isn’t super intensive, you may not be limited by that. Also, you’ll notice that the Swift plan has one gigabyte of physical memory, but the turbo plan has double that. so that’s a nice bump up for that little price shift.

You’ll also notice they talk about data centers. A data center is very important.  Michigan/Arizona, Amsterdam, Singapore. You know, they try to cover off places where their clients are probably likely to be where their data centers are. It’s important to try to put your website close to where your key audience is.

So if you’re in the Midwest and you’re a furniture company you want to be able to have the Michigan data center. If you’re on the West Coast or Southwest you want Arizona, if you’re in Europe, you want the Netherlands data server that A2 offers. If you’re in Asia, South Asia, Australia, you want to go for the Singapore server.

So those are the important things to keep in mind just to make sure that when you get underway with this, you capitalize on how they have data centers that are close to your user base.  The other thing they have that’s really nice is the offer different levels of PHP. Now this is good and bad. old versions of PHP kind of carry with it the impact of having old code and code that could have been well exploited by malicious actors , hackers Etc.

But they still offer PHP 5.5, 5.6, 7, 7.2, and up to 7.3. What you could do is you could deploy an old site that needs the old version of PHP. but A2 is very good about making sure that you don’t have bad, malicious, or exploitable files on the server. So once you get going with hosting they may send you an e-mail going “Hey, you’ve got this, it’s vulnerable to an exploit. You need to remove it.” in extreme cases they may actually remove or disable the file for you. So it’s important to keep in mind that even though they let you have old hosting, they, like all other service providers eventually will sunset support for old versions of PHP.

A lot of people are now running Drupal 6 and old versions of WordPress have tripped over the problem of finding old hosting. Or, trying to find old hosting to support their old code code base. So what you need to do is you need to modernize your code and I’ve got another blog post about what to do about Drupal 6 if you’re stuck with that, and I’m happy to walk through how to fix your website so that it can run if it wasn’t Drupal 6 and where it needs to go next but going to A2 hosting gives you the breathing room to deploy a site that has that old code and you’re going to get a little bit of a honeymoon by going there, but you’re going to have to move up to the modern day.

I pick on Drupal 6, it lapsed many years ago and there’s thousands of websites still running it.  So anyways back to how we get this going. So if you look at the plans, your best breaks they give you are going from monthly which is your highest price point if it’s undiscounted all the way up to triannually, which is the one I previously spoke up.

What’s your best win?  So in this case, what we’re going to do is we’re going to continue on with signing up somebody for the Swift plan.

First question they ask is the domain. now. It’s important to notice that they say they want to register domain on your behalf. But probably you don’t need that. Probably you already have an existing domain. So choose one of the other options down here that lets you plug in your current domain. in my case.

I’m using solardistributordirectory.org. And I’m going to use that pre-existing domain that I already own in this space.  So once you select that they take you here to give you a rundown of what the prices are. Because I’m doing this from Canada they’ve converted into Canadian dollars. They give you a bunch of options here and you can choose which of those options work best for you. A2 website builder- you don’t need it. So I would say no because this is video about how to set up WordPress hosting. they will give you other options for mail sending. So most of those you can just Skip and and forgo.

In this case they do have an option for an A2 optimized site. So you may want to go for that because they’ll give you a code base that you could still move into but your web experience is otherwise made ideal for WordPress. They also prompt you to come up with your initial user name and password for that WordPress install.

And then they move you forward. They let you review what options you’ve gone for then you come in here. You put it in your stuff. In this case, I’m putting in my information.

Business, all those sort of contact pieces, where I’m from (Province or state), your ZIP code/postal code, country. Gives you all that sort of stuff to fill out. Let’s keep rolling for that.

And they summarize both the regular fees plus the ones that after your honeymoon or your teaser rate are available. They ask for your account password. Doyou generate and create an account password or come up with something that’s nice and hard to guess? I’m sure you’ll find plenty of places and I can link to resources about how to come up with a hard to guess password.

Security question.

Then you have a number of options for how to pay. Check or money order needs to clear. So they do have that option, but it takes the longest. I like PayPal. It’s handy, you can put in your credit card have it charged to your credit card. Gives

you the option to join the A2 mailing list, which is good. You got lots of information that could help you out. Maybe become a little bit smarter, better at what you’re doing with your web hosting game. So all the information in, they send you off.  Once you’re set up and you’ve got your account going they will bring you back to a screen that says welcome back Shawn (in my case).

And anyone named Shawn you’ll see the same thing. Gives you a rundown of what services are up for grabs. It gives you a quick cpanel login. So it lets you immediately jump into cpanel. So I opened up a new tab there for that one. Shows you all the classic stuff you’d see in cpanel. It’s very feature-rich.

They give you a good version of cpanel. Some places give you a very pared-down one with kind of sparing features. This one, anything but. now if you’re like me and you want to spread the word and get a little bit of a bump, they also have a referral program. kind of nice. And as you see you get your confirmation email gives you more links information that you can act on.

A receipt which is good. You can generate that. If you need to trap it for the sake of business accounting. [So they give you a lot of this additional information to help to give you everything you need in email form, including some of the basics: Credentials or how to get into stuff, name servers for being able to move your domain into place, all that good sort of stuff shows up in your email flow.

So it’s not like it’s on the screen and if you back out you’re in trouble, so that’s great. So what I’ve done after getting that information I go over to my domain registrar, Namecheap.

So what I’m doing is I’m cribbing from here and using the A2 name servers back in my domain registration.  And if you look at the logic its NS1.A2hosting.com and NS2.A2hosting and Etc. So I just kind of shortcut it. Put in the first one copy paste, edit and copy paste. You know, I only go so far.

And then what I’ve done on my domain registration is I’ve pointed the name servers there to resolve and say that this domain of mine is using the A2 hosting name servers to figure out where the website actually lives. Then A2 hosting in turn will say to the internet “this is where the website is hosted and point traffic that comes to my domain name to the A2 hosting space that I’ve just paid for.”

and because I set up an A2 hosting WordPress optimized website as a way to get started it gives you a basic equivalent of tour WordPress install. So anyone who’s familiar with WordPress sees this is very much the hello world version. It’s got the Baseline theme, first… everything. My blog, my WordPress blog, your Hello World blog post, all the basic stuff. and that comes out of the box when you say at A2 hosting that you want your WordPress optimized hosting.

And from there, then you have your login credentials because they’ll give you that in one of those emails, as well as you would have said it during your account setup. So either way you can now go into this Baseline website and start to trick it out

I find they’re really solid. I’ve thrown over several clients of mine over the recent couple of months and found they’re all great. The support system is second to none. It will go above and beyond for actually delivering meaningful good support help, because I think that’s really the important piece of this. When you end up with an ISP service provider, are they good at dealing with stuff when it goes wrong?

Because if it goes right, you don’t really notice anything about the service. Website loads, everything’s okay. Your money is being spent… great! But if something goes wrong, you very quickly understand what a quality web host is all about. And A2 really delivers on that and I highly recommend them and I highly recommend you check them out. At the very least, see what other people have to say.

I think A2 is really worthwhile, and I think you’d really benefit from going there. Thank you very much. So that’s how you put together WordPress hosting through A2 and if anyone has any questions, you can contact me and I’d be happy to send you through more information about how it works.

If you get part way through the hosting and you get stuck, again, email me. I’m happy to walk you through how it works.