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5 Things to Plan for When Hosting a CMS-Driven Website

Nick Durkin
Published on September 17, 2014

In order to receive the best ROI for your CMS-driven website, be sure to keep these hosting considerations in mind.

A web site that is built on top of a Web Content Management System (CMS) not only delivers the site’s content to visitors, it also serves as a portal for developers to maintain content. It is important to keep these needs in mind when planning to host your CMS-driven site before deployment. You should also revisit your hosting configuration when performing major CMS upgrades, as your needs may have changed. Here are five things which you will need to take into account when determining the hosting plan for your CMS-driven site:

Server Hardware Requirements

When developing your web site, you most likely chose the CMS to use based on features, ease of use, cost, or compatibility with your existing data. Your hosting configuration will have to meet the hardware requirements specified by the CMS’s provider. The biggest choice will be whether to use a dedicated physical server or a virtual private server (VPS). After choosing what type of server to use, you will need to think about the following items:

  • Amount of processor cores and speed
  • Amount of RAM
  • RAID level and disk space

In addition to these items, there will most likely be a different set of hardware requirements if a separate server is needed to host the site’s database.

Server Software Requirements

Your CMS provider will also have a requirements list for what type of software to use for your server’s operating system, web application, and database. CMSs like Ektron and EPiServer will run their platform on Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft Internet Information Services. They both also require Microsoft SQL Server for their databases. Other CMSs like WordPress and Joomla! historically use Linux, Apache, and PHP. They both primarily use MySQL for their databases.

Networking Considerations

It is important to plan for how much data your site’s visitors are going to transfer each month. Hosting companies typically have different plans depending on how much bandwidth your servers will need. Your bandwidth usage is going to depend on several factors, such as how many visitors your site has and how media intensive your site’s pages are.

Redundancy and Load Balancing

If you would like your site to be resilient to events like server hardware issues and traffic spikes, you should consider hosting your site on more than one server. When using load balancing, visitor traffic to your site will be spread among your multiple servers by using a load balancer appliance that is provided to you by your hosting company. If a web server goes down, the load balancer realizes this and will only send traffic to the servers that are up.

If you would like your site to be resilient to datacenter-wide outages, you can ask your hosting provider to host another web server in their disaster recovery site. By utilizing DNS failover, traffic will be sent to this backup web server in case the main datacenter goes offline.


Maintenance considerations and planning are important, especially on CMSs that use Microsoft Windows as their operating system. These servers require the same monthly updates and reboots that any other Windows server needs. If you would like to keep your site up during these maintenance periods, you should consider the options in the above “Redundancy and Load Balancing” section.

Other maintenance items to consider include frequency of backups and what type of support the hosting company provides. Good technical support is important, because an issue with your site may reside in multiple places such as site code, operating system, web application, hardware, or networking. A company with diverse support will be able to pin down where the problem lies quickly and work to provide a fast resolution.

Keeping these considerations in mind when determining the hosting plan for your CMS-driven website will ensure that your site, once deployed, will run correctly and provide the best possible experience for your site’s users. If you have any questions about how any of these aspects of hosting, or if you want to know more about how Diagram’s hosting plans can meet these needs, please contact us to speak to a Hosting Expert.

Additional Resources:

System requirements for different CMS platforms: