There are no requirements about what type of hosting your website should use. If your website is on the internet that’s the only requirement. However, because this is a topic we are often asked about, we can share the following experience.
Recommendations for Smaller Sites
If your site lists fewer than 300 meetings, economy shared web hosting is probably the right choice. Factors to consider are price, speed, support, and availability of free SSL. Once hosting company that many sites are using is ICDSoft, where you can get a shared UNIX hosting with free SSL for a low cost. There may also be a bulk discount option that might get you more savings. Please contact the vendor for more info.
There are definitely more hosting choices out there, but one to watch out for is GoDaddy: their pricing is good for the first year, but then it jumps up dramatically. Also SSL is expensive.
Recommendations for Medium Sites
If your site lists more than 300, but fewer than 1,000 meetings, then a “business” shared hosting plan is probably the right choice. ICDSoft is one option; other options at this tier are Dreamhost and Hostek. We hear that Dreamhost offers discounts to nonprofits.
Recommendations for Large Sites
If your site has more than 1,000 meetings, one solution that’s in use successfully on a number of A.A. websites is a Linode 2GB VPS as configured through Laravel Forge. This is $12.50 / month, but involves fewer features, such as email or a control panel.
UNIX or Windows?
If you’re using WordPress, UNIX may be a better fit, without some of the file permissions issues encountered with Windows.
HTTPS / SSL
We strongly recommend getting an SSL certificate to enable the little green lock next the https:// in the location bar. The benefits are:
- Additional layer of security;
- Anonymity for your users;
- Enables geolocation (“find meetings near me”);
- Helps your Google search ranking.
Firewalls, such as SiteLock, can provide a good additional layer of security. To allow us access you can simply whitelist our IP address, which is 188.8.131.52. Several sites are doing this.