We Going To Be Discussing All Things Hosting With My Temporary New Co-Host Steven Sauder of ZipFish. We Going To Be Discussing All Things Hosting With My Temporary New Co-Host Steven Sauder The CEO of a hosting company ZipFish
Yes with WordPress hosting there so many options from GoDaddy to WP-Engine we going to try and make things a bit clear and hopefully shine some light on what are you real value options when it comes to hosting in 2020!The going to be discussing two particular new hosting technologies
LiteSpeed: All-in-One Optimization with LSCache Plugin https://www.litespeedtech.com/products/
Vultr High Frequency Servers: https://www.vultr.com/resources/benchmarks/
Johnathan: Welcome back folks to the WP-Tonic Show, it’s episode 534. Yes, 534. And I’ve got some exciting news, as we told you, Adrian is having to take a sabbatical. He’s trying to do some mega improvements and new functionality to his product. A friend of the show has decided to fill his shoes in for a temporary period, Steven Sauder, and Steven has been part of the WP-Tonic panel show for at least six months now. So, he’s going to be doing both for a period of time, [inaudible 00:55] him. Steven, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?
Steven: Sure thing. My name is Steven Sauder, really excited to be here and be a part of this. I am part of zipfish.io, which is a WordPress hosting company, but also focuses on speed optimization. So, most hosting companies just host your website. We do more than that. We branch into the code and we optimize the code because you can’t really get a fast site unless the servers are fast and the code is fast and you kind of have to know what’s going on in both of those two worlds to really make everything tuned together and running as quickly as possible. So, I come from a background of kind of a more technical side of WordPress so I’m really excited to dive in here with Jonathan kind of learn and figure things out as we go along.
Johnathan: That’s great. And what we’re going to be doing in this episode, and when I told Steven that we’re going to be discussing, he just kind of… I could tell he was just biting at the bit to get stuck into this subject because he’s the right guy to talk about this. We’re going to be talking about hosting. We’re going to be talking about the fundamentals in the first half, but then we’re going to be going on to some of the new technology, lights, speed vulture, we’re going to be delving deep in the world of hosting. And then if we haven’t finished the subject, we’re continuing and it will be in our bonus content section, which you can see on our WP-Tonic YouTube channel, and please subscribe to our channel, it does really help the whole podcasting and everything.
But before we delve in, I wanted to talk about one of our main sponsors which is Kinsta. Kinsta is a well-known WordPress only hosting provider, it uses the power of Google cloud. It provides a lot more. It provides a really superb UX design interface, all the technology, bells and whistles you’re looking for yourself and for your clients. Great 24/7 support that I feel is the best you can get, but you don’t use it very often because it’s Kinsta. And it’s just fantastic for WooCommerce learning management systems, anything that needs some extra oomph, that’s what you get with Kinsta.
So, if that sounds interesting for yourself or for your clients, I suggest you go over there, purchase one of their packages and also tell them this is the important bit, tell them that you heard about them on the WP-Tonic show. So, this goes straight into it. So, at least get this covered the basics. So, it looks like traditionally, you had shared hosting, virtual hosting your own physical server, and then you had Google enter with Amazon web services in cloud hosting. So, can you give us some details, first of all, what shared hosting is?
Steven: Yeah. Shared hosting is essentially everybody just being stuck on the same exact server. And I guess just to simplify the idea of a server, it’s really just the computer that’s sitting somewhere, serving up your webpages so when somebody asks that computer for a specific webpage it’ll return that webpage to you so you can view that then. And so, the idea of a shared server, is that a server is partitioned out into a bunch of little different sections that your site can sit on in 1000,100, 50, it all depends on kind of what the infrastructure looks like, sites also sit on there. And so, you’re sharing the resources of that computer. That means if one site gets hit really hard, but it’s not your site, it’s just some random site somewhere that’s also on your shared server, that means that your site is also going to be impacted by that on a true kind of shared environment.
Johnathan: Right. And tends to be the one of the cheaper options. Doesn’t it?
Steven: Yeah, it really is because you can really try to fit as many sites as possible, the more sites somebody can fit on a server, the cheaper that they can charge for that space. If somebody can put 50 sites on a server or another person put 10,000 sites on a server, that company that can stick 10,000 sites on a server can charge a lot lower rates than somebody can only put 50. And so really the game is from a server architecture standpoint, how many sites can I stick on a server without going down or without there being massive problems or issues? A lot of times companies that are running these shared server environments are really looking at how they can maximize their profit, they’re not necessarily looking as much out for you, they’re just trying to provide you a cheap option. So, if you don’t have much money to spend, it’s a great solution and you get what you pay for kind of thing. So, like not knocking those guys that are doing it because for 250 a month that’s ridiculously cheap, some people have host at that price level.
When you do it at that low cost, there’s going to be some side effects. And one of those side effects is that you’re dealing in a shared environment where the speed of your site can be fluctuating up and down and going all over the place, you don’t have as much control over the resources, you can’t see how much resources your site is consuming, it’s kind of it just stick your site on a box with a thousand other sites and keep your fingers crossed hope for the best. But you’re only paying 255 bucks, kind of depends on where you’re at, but you’re not going to get the best service, but your site’s there and it’s being served and10 years ago, 20 years ago, that would have been unheard of, those cheap prices. And, it’s just amazing how like low cost it is, which is cool because it lowers the barrier of entry. Anybody can throw up a site if you’ve got a couple bucks in your pocket.
Johnathan: So, all that type of hosting does it benefit the most from and caching like using something like WP-Rocket or some other caching plugin? And can you explain what caching is and does it also… if it’s provided or let’s say you use CloudFlare as your CDN, does it also benefit from you setting up external CDN the most? [Cross-talk 07:35] And can you explain what a CDN is as well?
Steven: Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff there to unpack. So, when we think about the internet and speed, a lot of times one of the first things that people do to solve that issue is caching. And caching is really just the store of information without having to do any processing power behind it. So, when somebody goes to an un-cached page, what has to happen is asks for the page information and the server has to go find all the information in the database pieces together, assemble the HTML, send it back to the person that requested it that wants to view that website. That all takes time and you have a hundred thousand people doing it at one point in time and that can really bog down a server and causing some servers to crash, depending on how much head room you have, or how much CPU power you have. The server has to have the resources to keep up with all those requests, or it’s going to start airing out so people invented this idea of caching.
If somebody going to your homepage and your homepage looks identical, every single user that visits it, you can cache that entire page, which means it doesn’t have to go back to the query, the database ask the database for all of this information, assemble the page anymore, because why not just serve the pre-assembled page because you already know exactly what it’s going to be. So, caching is serving of that page, almost like a static page to the end user without having to do all this backend information on the server, all this processing power on the server. And there’s kind of two different types of caching that happened in the WordPress world. There’s server-side caching and then there’s the WordPress side caching. So, for example, you mentioned WP-Rocket. WP-Rocket itself is a caching solution, but it has to boot up WordPress to find those cached files, it has to run like some process to figure out if it’s going to be serving the cache file or not a cache file, how to direct the user.
Server-side caching, think of it as a layer above that. So, it doesn’t even have to ask WordPress for any information, it hits the server coming in before WordPress even knows about the request the server can say oh, I have a cache page of that here, take this and that’s even faster. So, you have something like WP rocket, which is a little bit slower for cache because it’s built into WordPress and then you have the server-side cache, which is above WP-Rocket that can send these static, like homepage files or whatever page you’re trying to access back to the end user. And then moving from that into what a CDN is, which stands for content delivery network. Think of it as a cache file on other people’s computers around the world. So, if I am in China and I’m trying to access a website in the United States, that’s a long way to go now, light travels really fast so it doesn’t take that long, but when you’re talking about site speed half a second, one second, it makes a huge difference.
So, what a CDN does is take all those files that can be cache and sends them out around the globe so now you have your cache files on a server in China and one in the United States and one in Australia and one in Europe and you have all of these different servers around the world that can send the file faster because the closer you are to the server, the less distance light or that information, because information is traveling at the speed of light today has to travel the faster you get that website loaded to like loaded. So, the CDN essentially is kind of like caching except on a thousand, 150, all depends on kind of what mechanisms you have servers all around the globe to try to get the information as fast as possible to the end user.
Johnathan: That’s fantastic.
Steven: Does that answer the question?
Johnathan: You did a really good job. And just to summarize, do you think like shared hosting… my original question, when it comes to cache and a CDN, does it benefit… can it benefit the most from those two technologies?
Steven: Yeah. So, the weaker your server, the more your server is going to benefit from caching and from using a CDN. All servers will benefit from that, no matter what. You could be spending thousands of dollars a month on a server, it’s still going to benefit from caching, it’s still going benefit from a CDN, it’ll still be faster if you use those things. But if you’re on a shared hosting environment it matters a lot more because you just don’t have the server resources to handle these dynamic requests coming in, and you have to be able to serve these static cached files as much as possible, or else your server is just going to get overwhelmed with requests.
Johnathan: On to the next one and then we’ll probably have to go for a break, it’s amazingly at the time goes. These virtual servers, this was the next step up really before you had to buy your own server, physical server and have it in a data center and it still seems very popular. So, what is that? And what are the benefits in with a virtual server Steve?
Steven: Yeah, so virtual servers generally, like you’ll see VPS, virtual private server will be like the kind of acronym that you see there, it’s similar to the shared server, except that you have dedicated resources. So, you don’t have a server yourself, it’s not an entire computer, but you have dedicated resources that you are allowed to use. Therefore, now all of a sudden you can start seeing, like what are your CPU usage, what is your Ram usage, you have a lot more control because the environment is essentially walled off; it kind of operates as its own server, technically, it’s going to be on the same computer, that’s where the virtual comes in. It’s a virtual server. Meaning that it’s like a server within a larger server and that allows you to have those dedicated resources so that when you pay more, you know exactly what you’re getting, you know kind of the stats behind it, how fast you can process information, if you’re going to upgrade your server, you know 10 more dollars is going to get me another CPU, 15 more dollars is it going to get me four more gigabytes of RAM.
Whatever that is, you can start looking and actually having hard metrics. When you’re in a true shared environment, you don’t really have hard metrics because everybody’s using the same pool of resources. You don’t know how many people are queuing things up for the CPU to process how many databases queries are going on at one point in time. But when you are in a virtual private server…
Johnathan: Well, does it offer… I suppose it doesn’t because you’re still going to have other website, other petitions on this server, aren’t you? So, I suppose if the other practition… I’m using the term petition.
Steven: That’s a good word.
Johnathan: If they are under a DDOS attack, can you… I surmise it’s still can affect you because it’s going to affect the whole server, can it?
Steven: Much less than what a shared server environment is going to have. So, because you have those dedicated resources, somebody’s site gets it…
Johnathan: Can you explain to the listeners what a DDOS attack is?
Steven: A DDOS attack is when somebody…it stands for Distributed Denial of Service, and it’s when a thousand people or thousands and thousands of people all over the world start hitting your site to try to take it down. So, that’s [cross-talk 15:40].
Johnathan: And that’s one of the main reasons why hackers wants to hack other people’s websites because it gives them server resources and they…
Steven: Exactly. So, you’re just spin up as many requests as possible from as many different servers or computers around the world as possible to all ask for information from one site, it gets overwhelmed and then that site goes down because it can’t [cross-talk 16:02].
Johnathan: And they make money. Am I correct in saying they make money? Because they try and blackmail certain websites saying that if you don’t give us this money in Bitcoin or whatever encryption currency that’s there for favorite, they will attack your website for a period of time. Is that correct?
Steve: There’s a lot of different variations of it. I think one of the most common ones is for some reason, people don’t like a specific company, like a group of hackers get mad at some sort of policy change or some sort of… whatever the company is standing for, people are mad at and so then they tried to attack it. I think it’s a little bit less often that you hear of like kind of rant, like some sort of like ransom type thing. Usually that’s happened when they can actually like hack into the site and take it over because a DDOS as attack can be mitigated, like there’s tools to stop that from happening. You can start blocking IP addresses, you can make people validate that they’re an actual user before they can get to your server and so you can start like putting up some defensive mechanisms around that, but it just becomes really annoying and really frustrating as a website owner, when that’s going on and your legitimate users, can’t get to your site as quickly or as easily.
Johnathan: Alright, we’re going to go for our break. We’re delving deep. I can assure you we’re going to delve deep in the world of hosting. Got true expert about how you’ve seen Steven Sauder, my new co-hosts my temporary new co-host and he’s the CEO Zip Fish we read back in a few moments’ folks
We’re coming back. First of all, thanks so much Steven, for agreeing to fill in the shoes of young Adrian, it’s much appreciated. We’re going to go on about our next sponsor, which is Adrian’s company Groundhogg. Groundhogg, if you’re looking for a native CRM system, something like similar to Active Campaign, Groundhogg has become the leader in the WordPress community, I would say and I think a lot of people would agree with me. I’ve been really impressed with Adrian and his team’s effort to build which is a very complicated piece of software and they just improve it, improve it, improve it. And it’s something I’ve been waiting for because it’s been solely missed in the stack of tools in your WordPress quiver. So, what is what does it do? Basically, it’s marketing automization mixed with email. Basically, you can trigger different events, different emails, especially if you’ve got a WooCommerce site or learning management system or any kind of site where you have consistent usage and you want clients to come back, buy more, purchase more courses, these are the type of websites where Adrian’s software really comes in and really benefits you.
So, I suggest if you’re a developer or a power client, go over to Groundhogg and that’s with two gs at the end and find out more about it, buy it, use it. I think you can be really impressed. Now, so we covered virtual private servers, so the next thing until about… time goes quite maybe free four years ago, I don’t know, time really flies, was having your own server in a data center which you could have on a maintenance contract, or if somebody in your team was very brave, you could administrate yourself, couldn’t you?
Steven: Yeah, so when you actually have a server somewhere often times that’s referred to as bare metal servers. Like you actually have control of an entire server, all of its hardware, all of its resources, it’s the most like open system you can have where you can just really go and do whatever you want because nobody cares because it’s your server and so if you mess things up and take things down and poke a bunch of holes in it, it’s going to be on you to fix it. It’s also the most expensive type of server out there usually so if you are looking at kind of where the price points for all of your bare metal servers are going to be quite a bit higher because you are controlling an entire box. So, if you think about… well, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen those pictures of data centers, where they have the rows and rows and rows and all the flashy lights and stuff. If you have a bare metal server you have one of the boxes that slip inside of those big frames. It’s an entire computer that just slides in there, that’s your entire thing. Generally, you don’t want to get involved in that unless you have really, really good reasons just because things get exponentially more complex. The primary…
Johnathan: I think you need a good maintenance contract with that.
Steven: Yeah, yeah. And [cross-talk 22:03] a lot money for it. Generally, if you’re doing things that are pretty mainstream and pretty standard, you want to be looking into the VPS, Virtual Privacy [cross-talk 22:12].
Johnathan: It’s this still an element of the market that really still needs this or has this become less popular the past few years?
Steven: It’s definitely becoming less popular, at least from what I’m seeing. I mean, you look at what like Google is doing and Digital Ocean and Vulture and AWS, almost all of that stuff is being sold through virtual private servers, VPS. It’s when people think about like cloud and like cloud servers and computing, that’s all VPS stuff because it allows you to quickly scale things up and scale things down horizontal scaling. [cross-talk 22:54] You have flexibility. If you have like an actual computer box, like you lose a lot of that.
Johnathan: So, we might as well try and begin this part now. So, the whole… we’ve outlined some of the traditional levels, but in a way, it’s been imploded because you now you’ve mentioned it. We’ve got Amazon Web Services, we got Digital Ocean, we Vulture, there’s a number of them and how do they fit… so they are virtual private servers, but they’re part of these enormous networks owned by these companies. Is that correct?
Steven: Yeah. So, these companies generally have data centers all over the world. And when you go up and spin up a new VPs server, you get to choose what data center and you’re going to go into, York city or San Francisco, Chicago, Sydney, wherever you’re pretty much wherever geographically, large city you want is an option these days and then, so you can spin up a virtual private server in any one of those regions. It makes it really simple and like in 10, 15 minutes, you can have a server running with whatever you need on it. You can have… a lot of them will have even like default WordPress kind of installations, one click word presence selections that you can click on that will set up a server configured specifically for WordPress. I think what’s interesting is that a lot of your managed hosting providers like Kinsta or Fly Wheel or us at Zip Fish, we use exclusively VPs servers.
So, what happens is if you spin up your own VPN server, you’re responsible for the security of that server. You’re responsible for the maintenance of that server, you still have a lot of responsibilities there, but the whole idea of managed WordPress hosting kind of takes that one more level higher.
Johnathan: You deal with it.
Steven: Right and so you as in owner, don’t have to worry about that anymore. And it’s like hosting providers, they’ll say like, you can have X amount of users or X amount of PHP workers or whatever, it’s them trying to kind of coordinate off or kind of tell you what they’re setting up their server environments for and what they’re anticipating [cross-talk 25:21].
Johnathan: So, would it be certainly more traditional like Blue Host, GoDaddy to some degree Site Ground. Are they kind of stuck in the middle where they’ve got traditional data centers, traditional resources, and then they’re slowly moving over? Would I be correct in surmising that they’re increasingly trying to move everything over to platforms like Digital Ocean and similar?
Steven: That’s a good question. I’m not too familiar with like the inner workings of some of those behemoth hosting companies. I know a lot of them have their own data centers especially because they were back in like the legacy era where you kind of had to have your own data center to get in the web site hosting game. And they have, usually when you sign up, you’ll see a myriad of options, you can go with like [cross-talk 26:24].
Johnathan: Which is very, very… oh, that’s why I thought we would have this discussion to give some… because it is very confusing, isn’t it?
Steven: Yeah, it can be extraordinarily confusing. Like if you go to GoDaddy and you’re trying to decide what you want to sign up for, you can sign up for like a bunch of different standard shared hosting packages, some standard VPS, I think they even have some dedicated bare metal options. They’re not focused on WordPress specifically; they’re focused on hosting whatever anybody has and they’ll figure out a way to get that on their server. But when you go the route of a true managed hosting you don’t have to think through as many of these like logistic or options because somebody like Zip Fish like us, or Kinsta or Fly Wheel, they’re specialized in WordPress, that’s what they’re doing, that’s what they’re setting up, there’s only so many options out there for how to set up a WordPress site. So, it becomes a little bit simpler and a little bit more straightforward. And I think the stability is a little bit greater too, because they’re only doing one thing and that’s what they specialize.
Johnathan: So, I think we’re going to have to have bonus content folks because we have a bridge Lightspeed or Vulture yet, which we are going to do in the bonus content, which [cross-talk 27:40] and also, I’m going to be asking some more difficult questions to Steven so hope he’s prepared. So, we’re going to have a feast which you’re going to be able to see on the WP-Tonic YouTube channels. So, if you want to learn about Lightspeed and Vulture, go over there and see the bonus content. Now Steven, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you, what you’re up to and obviously your knowledge, which you’ve cleared is shown so well during this episode/
Steven: Head over to zipfish.io, we do WordPress hosting where we focus on speeding up your site by optimizing the server and the code that’s on your server so kind of think of us as the manager of the managed hosting. We get as involved with your WordPress site as possible to make sure it’s as fast as possible. And if you have any questions on server or architecture, or how to set things up open the chat, shoot me a message, we’d love to set up a time to just kind of hear what you’re working on, maybe some of the challenges or just to answer questions. I always like helping people out, servers could be complex and hard to wrap your mind around especially with all the different options out there. So, if anybody has any questions or want any help, like just talking to server stuff, head over to zipfish.io. Reach out.
Johnathan: That’s great. And I just want to remind the listeners and viewers that we’re doing an educational webinar with Adrian, the CEO of Groundhogg on the 6th of October, it’s coming up quick. Basically, we are going to be delving in everything you need to know if you have a course-based website and you want to use marketing automation to make it more profitable. We’re going to go through free, essential ways of doing that, plus we’re going to really just have a real feast about marketing automization. You are going to be able ask Adrian questions directly which is a great thing to do if you’re interested in marketing automation, but you just can’t get it started. Like I say that’s going to be on the 6th of October, that’s a Tuesday. It’s going to be at 9:00 AM Pacific standard time.
How do you join us? It’s really very easy. You go to the WP- Tonic website in the main menu right on the far right, there’s a button that says free webinar. You click it and then you can sign up for the webinar. And I suggest that you join us, it’s going to be fantastic. So, like I say we’re going to close the podcast part of the show but join us on the bonus content where we’re going to be talking about Lightspeed and Vulture. We’ll see you next week with either another great internal discussion or a great guest in the WordPress space. We’ll see you soon folks. Bye.
Every Friday at 8:30am PST we have a great and hard-hitting round-table show with a group of WordPress developers, online business owners and WordPress junkies where we discuss the latest and most interesting WordPress and online articles/stories of the week. You can also watch the show LIVE every Friday at 8:30am PST on our Facebook WP-Tonic Show page. https://www.facebook.com/wptonic/