Until recently I had a very simplified checklist for launching a site powered by WordPress. The steps were basically as follows:
a) Buy web hosting space
b) Buy a domain name
c) Modify the name servers to point to the host
d) Install WordPress
e) Make a few teaks… literally a few
f) Add a new theme
g) Add some plugins
h) Start posting
But now I realize that there is so much more to consider. Site speed, SEO and security are very important factors that can be easily overlooked. And there is a lot that comes into play when considering each of those aspects.
The Many Considerations That Influence The Speed of a Web Site
Take speed for instance. Where you purchase a domain may not matter when it comes to speed, but how many years in advance you buy the domain name may factor into SEO. But what about DNS? The decision whether to keep the DNS with the domain host, or transfer it to the web host (used to be the default practice), or use a 3rd party premium service now comes into play. DNS can and does affect the speed of a web site.
Of course the web site host will make a big difference. It’s important to know what you are getting into. How much are you able to do on your own and how much do you have to rely on the tech support of the company for? This can affect many things including dowtime. Also, the hardware used on the server where your web site will be hosted on plays a role. Same with the number of sites hosted on that box. Shared hosting often gets an umbrellaed “slow” label but smart hosts have taken care of the original complaints regarding affordable shared hosting.
Caching and content delivery network’s factor into the speed of a web site. Do you offload all static images to a cookieless domain then to a CDN for faster retrieval? Probably should.
What about the plugins that are used on the site? Do they slow the site down being resource hogs or too database dependent? Or are they optimally coded and boost the performance of your site and workload in some aspects? Yoast’s SEO plugin is a heavy lifter but runs optimally. Google’s CDN will fix all the stupid mistakes made by WordPress, the theme developer, the plugin developers, and yourself. It’ll fix common image issues as well. It rewrites your pages on the fly and loads the media (images primarily) in an optimal way.
Most or All of the Speed Considerations Can Affect Security as Well
The decisions about where you buy your domain, who handles the DNS and where your web site is hosted can all affect the security of your web site too. Also, how you setup WordPress from jump makes a difference in how secure your site is.
Also, the theme that you use (avoid free ones that aren’t from reputable sites) can affect speed and security. Certainly the plugins you decide to use can leave you vulnerable or conversely improve the security of your site. Choose wisely.
If all these factors that affect your site’s speed, SEO, and security are above your current level of knowledge, then have a read through WPEngine.com. Spend an afternoon reading every letter on that web site. You will learn a mass amount. Use Google as your dictionary. You will get an idea of some best practices for WordPress installation and so much more. In the end you might find that managed WordPress hosting is in your best interest. There’s enough we already have to do to run our sites after all!