Features

About Lightning Base’s Service

The Lightning Base hosting environment is designed from the ground-up for providing fast, stable, and secure WordPress sites. We create a fully serviced experience on top of this, maintaining your WordPress installation, backing everything up, and providing the custom support you need.

Want every detail? Read on:

The Hosting Environment

Hardware (Including SSD’s)

We use servers based on modern Intel Xeon (server class) processors connected to reliable, redundant infrastructure. The real difference in our hardware is the move to 100% SSD based storage. Many WordPress hosts have experienced struggles with databases becoming overloaded, generally due to poorly-coded plugins. This is primarily a disk-speed access issue. SSD’s can easily outperform traditional hard disks by 10x in relevant benchmarks, and as high as 100x in some random access routines, nearly eliminating any concerns about disk speed. Our SSD’s are local to the server and arranged in a Raid 10 configuration (which provides redundancy and speed) making for the absolute fastest access times – which also provides a small boost to the response time of every file served.

Global CDN

A content delivery network provides two important functions: it acts as a cache, directly delivering static files, so that many requests never even reach your server, and it holds files closer to their final destination, minimizing latency and maximizing transfer speed. Our CDN is truly global, featuring 9 locations in North America, 6 in Europe (including 2 in Eastern Europe), 5 in Asia (including 2 in India), and 1 in Australia. This is a stark contrast to many CDN’s that leave out Asia or Australia due to the higher costs (and we’re working on South America and Africa). The performance and capacity enhancements a CDN provides are something no site should be without, so a substantial amount of CDN bandwidth is included with each of our plans. When your site is setup, we automatically configure it to deliver static content through the CDN – no effort required on your part.

Software

Our servers are all Linux-based, running a custom combination of software ideal for high-performance WordPress hosting. For the utmost in compatibility with all WordPress setups, we run a traditional Apache, PHP, and MySQL combination, with custom settings to ensure speed. An opcode cache is included, which in our tests cuts PHP page generation time roughly in half for many sites. Finally, we front everything with Varnish, running a configuration designed to make its operation completely transparent – yet allowing it to serve out thousands of pageviews per second when a site really hits its stride.

Hosting Near You

Lightning Base’s servers are currently located at a well-connected datacenter in Chicago, USA. This location is central to the United States, and has great routes to both Europe and Asia. The location of your webhost matters – when we’re talking about speed, geographic distance has a small impact within continents, and a substantial impact across the world (although this is lessened by our comprehensive CDN). We’re dedicated to opening additional datacenters so we can be closer to our customers. Fill out this form to let us know where you would like to have your site hosted.

Security

We know security is important. Our servers are first protected by a comprehensive, dynamic firewall, followed by a webapp firewall configured to prevent malicious code – while still allowing the requests WordPress needs through. Each user’s filesystem is isolated from the others we host, and security scans are performed on a regular basis to find and prevent intrusions. Finally, we strongly encourage and will help setup Cloudflare for speeding DNS resolution and providing another layer of security outside your virtual machine.

Handling the Big Day

You’ve finally made it – a finely crafted article goes wildly viral, thousands of people flock to your site – and the server dies. It’s an all-too common occurrence, and one we worked hard to prevent. Here’s how it works: we enable static page caching on every website, so only logged-in users will need a dynamically generated (processor intensive) page. Our CDN caches all the static files other than the html page itself. What this means is that each time someone visits your site, all the server has to do is serve up a single small file, while the CDN handles everything else. On top of all this sits Varnish, speeding up the delivery of these pages with in-memory caching. With a relatively simple page, even our smallest account can handle over 1,000 pageviews per second, which is an unheard of number (we’re talking over 86 million visitors in a single day at that rate). If your site is really large and complex, this might be lowered somewhat, but will still easily be hundreds per second.

The Service We Provide

Site Setup or Transfer

The first step in our suite of services is the installation or transfer of your site. When you order a site, we’ll setup a new WordPress install and configure it to work with our CDN and serve static cached pages directly via Nginx. We can also install our suite of recommended plugins or a selection that you have chosen. If your site already exists elsewhere, we’ll work with you to get it transferred over – whether you want to provide login details to your existing hosting, or send us a backup of your site for installation on our system. We will also help minimize any downtime associated with the changeover.

Automatic Backups

Every site needs backups. We provide them on multiple levels. Our server is backed up daily, and these backups are copied off-site for disaster recovery. We also backup your WordPress install itself. This provides an important layer of protection, allowing us to restore from disaster – whether on our end or an errant click on your part. By default, full backups are taken weekly and database backups taken daily – and all are sent offsite. These can be made more or less frequent upon request (individual site backups consume your bandwidth), and can also be sent to your own storage account if you want full control over your the safety of your site. You won’t find a more complete backup routine.

Multi-site (and Multiple Site) Support

We know many people maintain multiple WordPress sites, and have designed our service to support this. When you purchase service, it comes with one WordPress install included. This install can have multi-site (which allows a single install to host multiple websites) enabled with a simple request, at no charge. We also provide full support for multiple WordPress installs in packages above our personal plan, with pricing rapidly falling to $5 or less per site. Cost and time effectively hosting many sites is one of our specialties – learn more about how we can help you host client websites or run numerous proprietary WordPress sites.

WordPress Service & Support

We only do WordPress, and that lets us provide much more comprehensive service than most hosting companies. Anyone you interact with at Lightning Base will have extensive experience with WordPress, and we’re happy to provide help. We obviously can’t devote hours to each user every day, but we’re happy to help with configuration issues, suggest a useful plugin, or improve your understanding of the software. You can also get more details on why we’re a great if you’re learning to use WordPress. We also provide fast and friendly help with any (unlikely) technical problems with our services. Finally, although we’ve done everything we can to make things secure, nothing can stop a poorly written plugin or compromised password – we’re happy to restore from a backup or provide some help cleaning out your install if your site does get hacked.