Join Jen Kramer for an in-depth discussion in this video Choosing a good web host, part of Installing and Running Joomla! 3: Local and Web-Hosted Sites.
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- The next thing I want to talk about is the way to choose a great Joomla web host. The one most important thing that you should remember where this is concerned, is that just because your web host says that they support Joomla, doesn't necessarily mean that they support Joomla well, or that they support a current version of Joomla at all. There's more to consider in a web host than the price. Sometimes web hosts that cost five dollars a month, are more expensive than those that cost 20 dollars a month.
That cost comes from your wasted time. Anyway, here's a few pointers for picking out a good web host. First of all, take a look at the technical requirements for Joomla in the most recent version of Joomla that you happen to be working with. For the purposes of this video, that's Joomla 3.3, but you should keep checking back here for each new version of Joomla, 3.4, 3.5, etc. The most current version of Joomla at the moment has a minimum PHP requirement of PHP 5.3.10 or higher.
This is actually different than earlier versions of Joomla 3, which had PHP 5.3.1. Notice that the recommended version of PHP is actually 5.4 or higher. This is much higher than older versions of Joomla 2.5, so for example, maybe you've recently migrated your website from Joomla 2.5 to 3, in this case, Joomla 2.5 has a minimum of PHP 5.2.4 or higher. It's possible you're running your Joomla 2.5 site on this older version of PHP.
You migrate to Joomla 3, and unfortunately, your web host doesn't have the right version of PHP to support your site. So, you want to investigate this very, very carefully. The other extremely important consideration when considering web hosting for Joomla, is backups. So there's three simple steps to thinking about Joomla, and thinking about backups for your Joomla website. First of all, if there are backups that are available to you, find out how often they're made. Many hosts do backups, but sometimes those backups are only available to the hosting provider themselves.
They make backups because sometimes their servers catch fire or they get flooded, or there's some other catastrophic failure at the server farm. Those backups may not be available to you. So you want to make sure that there are backups that are available to you, and how often they're made. At an absolute minimum, a daily backup and a weekly backup will be made. The daily backup is a backup of the previous day's site. The weekly backup is made once a week, usually on a Sunday, but it doesn't have to be. And it's held for a week, in case the daily backup fails.
So you want to make sure that you ask this question about how often these are made. The second thing you want to ask is how long restoration is going to take. Also ask what the host considers a valid reason to restore from backup. Some hosts don't prioritize restoring your site from backup, and it can take days to restore your site from one of your server's backups. In which time your site is down, or it's broken, or whatever happens to be wrong with it. So if your host has to be responsible for restoring your site from backup, make sure you ask them how long it will take once you put in that ticket request to restore your site.
The third thing you want to ask your host about is whether you have access to backups. If you have access to all the backups, then you can restore the site whenever you need to. You don't have to put in a trouble ticket, and have them do the site restoration for you. So if you have access to backups, it's even better than having them restore the site for you from backup. If you're looking for a place to start for recommended Joomla hosting resources, take a look at the Joomla Resources Directory, which is at resources.joomla.org.
They do have a beta version under development right now, at resources.joomla.org/beta. This is a great place to go to find out what Joomla web hosts are currently listed in this directory. These are hosts that have been vetted at a minimal level, to make sure that Joomla is going to run correctly with them. So once again, just because your hosting provider says they run Joomla, doesn't mean that they do. It doesn't necessarily mean they have the right version of PHP, so it's very important to check into that. And do check into backup policies, how often those backups are made, whether they are available to you, and how long your site restoration takes.
And if you check into all of that ahead of time, then you're going to wind up picking a great Joomla provider, and it'll be so much easier and so much more fun working with your Joomla website.