Welcome to part 2 of our WordPress Hosting Guide, in the last part we delved into the various ways that you can find a web host to suit your individual needs. Assuming you’ve already done that, we’re now going to get our server setup so that it’s primed for our WordPress install.

The Setup

In this guide we’re going to setup WordPress on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64-bit using Nginx, PHP-FPM, Percona Server for MYSQL, Memcache (Which WP Super Cache will be using as the data store) & MaxCDN to serve static assets.

The actual installation of WordPress itself will be in the next part, here we’ll purely be looking at how to install everything we need on the server. We’re using the WSWD SSD VPS 1, you can do this on any server with SSH access.

Logging Into Your Server

Firstly you’ll need to SSH into the server, to do this you can use Terminal on OSX or Putty if you’re on Windows.

ssh root@serveripaddress

You’ll then be prompted for your root password, which you should have received (or set) when you signed up to your VPS plan.

When you log in successfully you’ll see the shell, which looks something like this:

root@serverbear:~# 

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WordPress has fast become the goto open source Blogging/CMS platform on the web. It brings simplicity & functionality to the end user, but still needs a fair amount of tweaking to perform fast. Chances are if you’re reading this guide then you’re semi-interested in finding out how you can improve the performance of your WordPress install.

In this guide we’re going to take you step by step through setting up a brand new server with a WordPress install from scratch, this includes all the server optimization & WordPress plugins. We’ve split the guide up into parts that you can see in the tabs below.

Warning!

We are not recommending WordPress hosts in this post, however we are giving you the smarts you need to make a calculated decision on your own. Be wary of websites that flat out recommend hosts (most likely they are getting paid for it).

Getting Used to the Command Line

In this guide everything we do will be on the Linux command line, if you’re used to control panels (like CPanel or DirectAdmin) then this may seem a little daunting at first. But trust me, ditching the control panel will do wonders for your performance & also your general knowledge of the Linux operating system.

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If you’re a web host then customer feedback is one of the most important forms of social proof that you can have on your site to help users converting into paying customers.

If you’ve ever been on the Linode website you’ll notice that they do a great job of displaying positive tweets on their homepage (note that I said positive):

Yesterday our DNS provider @pointdns suffered a massive DDOS attack & tweeted about Linode a few times:


You might ask why aren’t these tweets showing? Linode is cleverly only showing Tweets that they have favourited in Twitter. Thus they are able to completely curate what you see on the homepage.

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At ServerBear we help web hosts connect better with customers by providing a more transparent insight into their performance & plans. We’re trying to make public data that’s generally hidden under the surface, data that you don’t normally get to see until after you sign up.

This got me thinking about the reasons why people might choose a certain provider, let’s separate these reasons into Public & Private.

Public Reasons

These are reasons that the user can predetermine themselves, through research without having to actually signup.

Lets pretend for the purpose of this post there’s three very different types of hosts:

  1. There’s large companies that have the budgets to spend on flash websites & advertising (think DreamhostEleven2Hostgator, Softlayer or Rackspace). Some of which have been eaten up by larger holding groups like EIG & UK2, you actually might be surprised at how many hosting companies EIG owns (Netfirms, FatCow, Bluehost, iPage, HostMonster & heaps more). Others continue to grow at an astounding rate.
  2. You then have up & coming companies that have previously spent more of their energy on providing a good service & infrastructure but relied on word of mouth to grow (think Linode or Singlehop), you’ll see a lot of these companies climb the ranks in the INC 500.
  3. Finally you have the smaller companies, they could be one man shows (i.e. Hostigation) or have a handful of employees (like 6sync). Some will own their own hardware, others will lease their hardware from suppliers like OVH or Hetzner.

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