Ever since the demise of TextDrive (TextDrive officially still exists, but whereas it once offered high quality service, now tech support queries go unanswered for months at a time) I've been looking for a new host. I run about 12 WordPress blogs, each with the following plugins: Akismat, Google Authenticator, Google Analytics for WordPress, Jetpack, UpdraftPlus, Wordfence Security, and WP Remote. It turns out that this setup is a lot more resource intensive than I realized and I'm trying to find a host that will handle the load without breaking the bank. I'm competent with PHP/MySQL and even with some basic command line operations like Rsync, but I'm not a programmer or web admin and so I'd like a service that has good tech support. None of this was a problem with TextDrive, but I don't feel comfortable staying there anymore.
My first move was to Dreamhost. One of my accounts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and Dreamhost offers free hosting for nonprofits. The tech support there is very responsive and competent, but the service itself was lacking. Not only was my setup exceeding the bandwidth, but every time I went over one of my sites would go offline for hours - sometimes up to eight hours at a time.
I decided to try Gandi.net. Tech support there is slower. Not 24/7 with live chat like Dreamhost, but they are competent and get back to you within 24 hours. However, I was still exceeding the number of PHP processes allowed on the cheapest shared hosting plan. Unlike Dreamhost, these outages did not take my site down for hours - just a few minutes - and when I upgraded to the "medium" hosting plan ($10 a month instead of $5) the outages stopped. However, I'm still getting warnings from the console that I'm exceeding the number of PHP processes I'm allowed and I'm worried because I want to start hosting a high-traffic site that is currently on wordpress.com.
So now I'm trying to figure out the best course of action. I see my options as follows:
1. Try to adjust my wordpress PHP usage by playing with the plugins. This could mean removing plugins (Jetpack seems to use a lot of resources), or adding new ones like W3 Total Cache (although both Gandi and Dreamhost offer some form of caching already). The problem with this approach is that it is very difficult for me to know what will work and changing the configuration across 12 WordPress installs is time consuming.
2. Switch to another shared hosting provider. Perhaps there is one out there that is better for me than either Gandi.net or Dreamhost? Maybe, but I'd like to know for sure before moving again, as it takes at least a day to migrate all my sites.
3. Run a VPS. I've seen a lot of people recommend either DigitalOcean or Linode. Digital Ocean being the cheaper of the two. But I'm worried about running a VPS as it seems to require a skill set I don't currently have. I like being able to cry to tech support if something goes wrong and I worry that if I run my own VPS I'll also have to be the tech support.
I would appreciate any help or feedback people might be able to offer in figuring out how to handle this problem.