How do you decide the best hosting for LearnDash?
There are a lot of folks who wonder how to find the best hosting for LearnDash websites. I wrote about this before, where I explained PHP Workers. But today I want to give you the four things you should consider, and the hosting options that are available for you.
What we'll consider is these four factors:
- Speed / Performance
Speed and Performance
The best hosting for LearnDash is similar to the best hosting for eCommerce or membership sites. That's because all three kinds of sites are applications that have a lot of customers logging in. That's a completely different profile than most WordPress sites that can easily be cached because they're blogs or corporate sites.
But speed and performance on application sites is a lot harder than blogs and brochure websites. It requires a different calibration of caching with an understanding of how to do it right for LearnDash.
What that means is that you won't really get what you need with the cheap shared hosting that costs less than $5/month.
There are some hosts out there that really do well with support. There are others that don't. That's a problem when you're dealing with a site that constantly has people logging in, constantly hitting your site. There's no downtime or days where you can ignore the site.
So you need support that really understands WordPress, and won't simply tell you to turn off all your plugins (a standard approach for regular WordPress sites).
I've already made this point, but when you're looking for the best hosting for LearnDash, you have unique requirements that may include multiple websites at sub-domains. That requires a flexibility that you don't always get when a host only gives you one site for their price.
Flexibility also is what you need when you're customizing your caching approach. Will your host work with you to create inclusions or exclusions (and any other rules you need) to optimize performance.
When you look at all the hosts out there – they'll make promises about how well they'll deliver your speed, support, and security. Everyone says that. But they're not all the same. And while price doesn't tell you the whole story, it tells you a part of it.
You should expect to pay $30/month or more (though there's one exception).
Your Hosting Options
Here are the four options for your LearnDash hosting:
SiteGround – $11/month with 400,000 visits
This is the exception I was talking about when I told you that you should expect to pay $30/month as a minimum. They have a solid infrastructure along with a great support team that will be able to help your platform. That said, high concurrency can create issues for these plans and they'll offer you an upgrade to a VPS – which, at that point, I'd look at some of these other options. But if you're just getting started, this is a great and economical option.
WP Engine – $30/month with 25,000 visits
Without question, WP Engine is the most well-known platform for hosting WordPress sites. They start at this price. But you'll have to pay more if you have more than 25,000 visits, or if you want additional features or a second site (which I always recommend). They have a solid support team. About the only thing I hear from current customers is that sometimes you catch their attention and they work hard to upsell you.
Kinsta – $60/month with 50,000 visits
Kinsta is another solid host – built on top of Google infrastructure with hosting regions everywhere across the planet. Their $60 plan supports 2 sites and gives you twice as much traffic access to your online courses than WP Engine. They have staging, CDNs and free SSL certs. And they have some additional advanced solutions for caching that a high-traffic course will appreciate.
Nexcess – $79/month with unlimited visits
If you don't know, I led the product team to design the hosting features and plans for eCommerce, membership and online learning sites. You might think that means I have a bias. But you might also consider that my particular expertise in those kinds of WordPress sites helped us build a very specific platform to be the best hosting for LearnDash.
You get the CDN, staging, SSL, multiple sites, and more. You also get custom caching and greater PHP workers for high concurrency. And there are no limits to how often you get visitors.
(And this shouldn't need to be said, but if you're making money from your online courses, think of this expense as an investment into your business.)
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