The strengths of our hosting architecture

Richard Bevan, Systems Architect Extraordinaire explains:

We have taken some time to make sure our hosting is optimised for WordPress websites.

Our hosting architecture is different to a stand-alone web server, in that it passes through a number of filtering, security and caching engines. This means that before a request for a page gets to the Web Server (that serves the page), it has to pass through a Web Application Firewall, a Load Balancer, and then it hits the Web Server.

Our distributed architecture means that a web request doesn’t necessarily need to go all the way to the web server. What’s the advantage here? Speed. This can have a dramatic effect on page load times. Aren’t we clever?

Caching:

We hold a copy of your webpage, typically for 30 minutes (but that can be different depending on the customer’s needs). This means a request can be served quickly by a caching server, and this is normally the fastest way – using the least resources – for a request to be served (i.e. for a page to be loaded).

Web Application Firewall:

Using a Web Application Firewall (WAF) on your website is a very effective way of improving the general security of your WordPress website.

These managed services filter potential threads like HTTP protocol violations and SQL injection attacks before they can make their way into your WordPress website. They can also serve as a staunch line of defence against Denial of Service (DoS) attacks (which can bring your website crashing down with an influx of useless traffic).

Load Balancers:

Once traffic passes through the Web Application Firewall a request hits our Load Balancers. These choose a web server to connect to.

The Load Balancer monitors the time it takes a web server to respond. If it has taken too long, then a different web server might be chosen instead. If a server fails to respond to a request, the Load Balancer will mark it as unavailable and use other available servers.

This means that a very busy web server will not adversely affect your users; and until normal operations for that server are resumed, it will receive fewer requests.

Web servers:

We take special care to make sure that WordPress is using all available resources to serve a page quickly. This includes memory caching, which can return data that would otherwise come from the database. This makes use of WordPress object caching which can seriously improve your page-load time. Making sure web servers are able to keep up with demand is an important part of our monitoring system.

Data centres:

Our choice of Data Centres is based on how each of them has been setup. Each primary Data Centre is powered by different electricity companies, and they also have diesel backup generators. The network routes into each Data Centre are different, which means any Data Centre can have a 100% failure, and the other will be unaffected.

We feel we have a good end-to-end solution and provide rock-solid hosting to our customers. Many hosting companies will host WordPress on one server for a reasonable monthly price. Our approach, however, is to split the hosting solution across lots of different dedicated servers. This means we achieve a level of performance that most hosting providers will never be able to match.