I’m posting this as a community wiki because I’d like to get a collaboratively edited list of features for a high-end WordPress webhost.
For example, if you are running a high-traffic WordPress-based site and/or a WordPress site that needs really hardened security what features would you love to see offered so that you don’t have to implement everything that exceeds the most basic installation of WordPress core? Many of us know that WP Engine has just launched and it’s the closest thing to a high-end webhost specifically for WordPress that I’m aware of. But rather than have there be only one, it would be great if there were many webhosts offering a much higher level.
Admittedly I’m weak in this area which is one of my reasons for posting but I’ll start with a strawman list of desired features. Let’s ignore the non-WordPress related things like 24 hour phone support, etc. and ask that we also be specific i.e. don’t just say “performance optimized” or “highly secure” like you see on this site, but actual specifics that indicate a specific implementation:
- Preinstalled Memcached support
- Standard .htaccess tuning for GZIP support
- Optional integration with Amazon Cloud Front for upload files
- Automatic file and database backup with an advanced admin console like a “Time Machine” on the Mac but for WordPress in the Browser.
- Files that are automatically versioned upon FTP upload into SVN or GIT
- Automatic database versioning into SVN or GIT
- Pre-selected list of verified and supported plugins
- What else? I’m sure there’s a much longer list than I’ve come up with.
Another speciality feature could also be White-labeled turnkey WordPress multisite hosting. What I mean by this is a service that allows someone with marketing and sales experience in a vertical niche (for example, “Dry Cleaners“) to offer website hosting for their market without having to do any technical work whatsoever, including having the host handle all support as well as signup and billing but do it white-label. I think there’s a huge market for this.
Note I’m not asking because I want to create such a service, I don’t, but I would like to see a definitive reference for webhosts who would consider offering such a service.
- Another feature that would be nice to have would be to have a service that could synchronize WordPress core, themes and plugins across multiple servers so that managing multiple server instances for a site that needs to scale would be easier and handled by the hosting company. (ref: Ticket #13067 – Configuration of Plugin and Theme Repository/ies)
Yet another feature would be to offer an option to use a Sphinx Search server and to interface it with WordPress using one of these plugins:
- WP Sphinx Search
- WordPress Sphinx Search Plugin
- WordPress Sphinx Plugin
- Search API (See Also)
Cron scheduling via robust and reliable Linux cron as an alternative to WordPress’ pseudo-cron (see also and this). Possibly incorporate admin functionality i.e. with one of the following plugins:
- Crony CronJob Manager
- Cron View Plugin
Over on the LinkedIn WordPress group someone offered free hosting and I asked him what his service would offer to which he replied the following (need to become a member to see this link, membership is free but I think you have to be approved by the group moderator first):
- PHP Minify
- PHP Mcrypt and all Dependancies
- ION Cube Loaders
- GD Library
- Zend Optimizer
- AMR codec support
- AC3 codec support
- AAC codec support
- MP3 codec support
- OGG/Vorbis codec support
- x264 codec support
- DivX/XviD codec support
- win32 codec support
- W3 Total Cache plugin for use with Highwinds CDN
In addition to those items he also mentioned:
- Latest up to date version of PHP
- Latest up to date version of MySql
- MySql configured with high allocations of RAM
- Systems configured to do their best not to run anything in Swap
And in addition to all the above someone else in the group suggested it would be nice to have:
- Opcode PHP cache like APC or eAccelerator
- The question “What steps can I take to optimize wordpress in regard to server load” has some useful comments related to this topic.
I think we also need a few more features:
- Minifying JS, CSS and the HTML that is being sent down the wire.
- Caching the op-code of the PHP that will be generated (apart from Memcached).
- Upload the JS, CSS and Images that are used in the theme and/or plugin to a CDN and sync automatically.
- Option to use one of the public CDN netwoks like Google for common resources like jQuery.
- Offer a common CDN for all the WordPress admin scripts and images (which should be the exact same on multiple installations of WordPress) so that I can have that work just a little faster.
- Managed DNS – To ensure that they can restore a backup of your site on another location automatically in case they have issues with the current hardware. With this they can automatically switch your domains over to the new settings.