In this article by AJ Morris of Liquid Web, we learn some considerations for nonprofit web hosting. Does your nonprofit have all of its hosting bases covered?

With limited funds, staff and timing, nonprofits have a lot to accomplish without a lot of resources. When it comes to nonprofit web hosting, you need to take into consideration what your hosting provider will include in their services. The last thing you want to do is have your CEO or fundraising chair also be your web developer or system administrator.

Here are four important features to look for in a host for your next nonprofit WordPress project: managed hosting, security, support, and knowledge.

Managed vs Unmanaged WordPress Hosting

These days you have options when it comes to hosts and one of the most important things you need to consider is looking at a managed WordPress host. You see, all hosts will host WordPress for you. But guess what? Unmanaged hosts aren’t going to do things like:

  • Keep your server up to date.
  • Keep WordPress updated and secure.
  • Actively monitor your site for uptime and performance.

Imagine having to setup a firewall with the latest security measures as a CEO or fundraising chair at your nonprofit. I’m guessing these aren’t always something you, as a CEO, know how to do or want to spend your time doing.

Think of all the time you are going to save by having a host that keeps your server up to date, your WordPress version, does up-time and performance monitoring and even updates your plugins for you.
~ AJ Morris, Liquid Web

A managed WordPress host is going to offer all of this to you at a premium cost. Now, I understand that money is a precious commodity for nonprofit organizations, but think of all the time you are going to save by having a host that does all of that for you. The time you gain by being able to focus on your mission and goals alone is well worth the cost.

In addition to these benefits, many managed WordPress hosts also provide:

  • Daily backups of your site, with one-click restore.
  • Dedicated infrastructure resources for your site.
  • Free SSL so your visitors understand their site is secure and you’re able to process donations securely.

Managed WordPress hosting offers more features than these. Spend some time to educate yourself on the benefits of managed hosting and you’ll learn what matters most to you and how paying for this type of service can actually save you in development dollars and peace of mind.

One thing you should also consider is having to do plugin updates. To my knowledge, no other host will do these for you. But Liquid Web will with our Managed WordPress plans. We’ll check your plugins, determine if they can be updated, and update them if it’s not going to break your site. This way rest assured, you know your site is updated — even your plugins!

Security

When considering a host you want to ensure that your site is secure and that your host takes care of all the security-related matters. For most nonprofits I know, they also do online fundraising. As the fundraising season is upon us, it’s important that your site has plenty of uptime and is secure for all the donations your site will collect as the year closes.

One of the interesting things that you want to consider from your host is if they do any type of remediation when your site is hacked. If they are already looking at your site, chances are they might know how to immediately fix it. Some hacked sites can be fixed simply by re-installing your core WordPress files. However, understanding how the attacker was able to access your site is the only way to prevent it from happening again. For example, if your site was hacked because you had an outdated plugin version, you may simply need to reinstall the updated version of the plugin and that will take care of any issues.

Support

As a nonprofit, your site is the main focus point of your organization. All of your content lives here, your fundraising happens here, your various campaigns, and even the issues you bring up at the local, state, and federal level are being talked about here on your site. But what happens when your site goes down? Do you want to spend your personal time away from your core responsibilities — driving your mission forward? Or would you rather know that your hosting provider has your back and is proactively working with you to bring your site back up?

Many managed WordPress hosts out there will give you multiple ways to contact them like phone, email, or even chat. But not many will proactively monitor your site to help get your site back up and running when it’s down.

When researching your webhost, make sure to look into how support is provided. If possible, look for referrals from others who have used that host and ask them how they find their support.

WordPress Knowledge

Every interaction you have with your hosting provider should be give you insights, tips, and tricks on how to help you with your website.
~ AJ Morris, Liquid Web

When you do have to engage with your hosting provider, you want them to be smarter than you. This is why when you’re looking for a hosting provider that works specifically with WordPress, you want them to be knowledgeable not just about WordPress but about the plugins and even the infrastructure they have you running on.

Every interaction you have with your hosting provider should be give you insights, tips, and tricks on how to help you with your website. That is really what a good hosting provider will do.

New Partnership with Liquid Web and Give

We have teamed up for this fundraising season by building a special nonprofit hosting plan. This is available to nonprofits that are just getting their sites up and running, looking to change hosting providers, or wanting to increase their fundraising efforts.

What you’ll get is GiveWP’s Basic Bundle included with Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress hosting. You’ll be able to host one site for $99/month. That’s over $600 in savings for your first year. Learn more about our partnership and to get started with your nonprofit hosting plan.

AJ Morris

AJ is the product manager for Managed WordPress products at Liquid Web. He works with Sales and Marketing to make sure we're telling the right story to our customers. He's used WordPress since 2006 and enjoys giving back to the community.

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