Dedicated or shared hosting for WordPress MU

There’s been a fair amount of discussion regarding whether WPMU is ok for shared hosting or whether it should be set up only on VPS or dedicated servers, and I reckon it’s time to set the record straight :)

First up there is absolutely nothing wrong with running WordPress MU on a shared hosting account as long as you don’t have a massive amount of blogs or traffic (say 5000 max), don’t bugger up your install with loads of heavy plugins and are fine with some of the pitfalls of shared hosting.

Sure, Edublogs.org is now on some fancy Serverbeach cluster with ngix, memcache and varnish all over it – but it started out on a shared hosting account, and spent much of it’s first year there quite happily!

And sure, there are benefits to using a VPS and a dedicated server – like being able to tweak your MySQL configs and php settings according to requirements (and WPMU does need a bit of tweaking to run right) and being outside of the influence of others pesky accounts or OTT backups.

But, at the end of the day, using a shared hosting account is absolutely fine for the vast majority of new WPMU-ers, and most hosts will be fine with it too – as long as they are not looking for massive efficiencies or offering simply impossible hosting packages that WPMU might actually exploit (I’m lookin’ at you, Dreamhost!).

And I’m not just saying this because WP.MU uses shared hosting – in fact I’m not even going to link to the host we use to show you how deadly serious I am – I think it’s about time we cleared this up because its’ a barrier to entry for a lot of potential WPMU users (who don’t want the expense of a VPS) and it’s plain and simple wrong.

All a staring out WPMU users needs to know is:

  • Who’s a decent shared host that they can use for WPMU
  • What plugins *shouldn’t* they use in order to not freak out their hosts (firestats springs to mind :)

Submissions of good hosts or painful plugisn welcome in the comments!