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Recommendations for a WordPress Hosting Provider?

wordpress.jpgAt the very severe risk of opening myself up to endless spam comments from a zillion people trying to get me to buy their hosting services... I want to ask you, dear readers and friends, a simple question:

Who do you recommend for hosting WordPress sites?

For some time now I have been unhappy here on TypePad... many reasons, some of which I've written about and others that I started writing about earlier this week... and then SixApart dropped the news that it had been acquired - and I seriously wonder what kind of investment TypePad will really get. But that's for another post...

Anyway, I'm finally gearing up to bite the bullet and move over to WordPress, a platform I use daily and have become extremely pleased with. I looked at WordPress.com and in fact have a couple of smaller experimental blogs there... but it is too limiting for someone like me. So I need to go self-hosted.

Type "WordPress hosting" into Google, though, and you get a zillion entries... everybody and their brother, sister, mother, father, aunts and uncles seems to be in the game.

In doing some research, I'd narrowed it down to a few services... and was pleased to see them listed on http://wordpress.org/hosting/ when I found that site.

Here's what I want:

  • EASY INSTALLATION - I want to just make a couple of clicks and have WordPress up and running... I don't want to download it, set up MySQL, do the Apache config, etc. Been there, done that... I'm looking to write, not administer.

  • MULTI-SITE - I have a network of blogs... I need a hosting provider that supports WordPress 3.0 in its full MultiSite usage.

  • EASY UPDATES AND PLUGIN INSTALLATION - WP 3 has all sorts of great ways to update the system, install plugins, update plugins... I want to use all that WP goodness. (I don't want to be waiting for a provider to have the latest and greatest version available. I want to get it all direct after install.)

  • DOMAIN MAPPING - It goes without saying that I want to map all my various domains to WP in MultiSite mode.

  • BACKUPS - While I'll make my own backups, I want the provider making backups, too.

  • COMMAND LINE - Having said all the "easy installation" stuff, I do want to be able to ssh into the server and muck with it if I want or need to. In fact, I'd potentially like to be able to run python scripts for Tropo apps on it. I may want to run other software, too.

  • RELIABILITY, SCALABILITY, SECURITY, STABILITY - It should go without saying that I want all of these traits in a hosting provider, too.

  • OUTSTANDING SUPPORT - I work for a company that provides hosting for communications apps. We provide an insanely high level of customer support (in fact, we call our teams "Customer Obsession Teams")... our team have set a high bar for me personally... so I'm looking for a provider who can give a high level of rapid response, assistance, etc.

And naturally, I don't want it to cost an enormous amount. I kind of like what MediaTemple offers... although some of the others out there have better pricing... what do you all think? If you do self-hosted WordPress, who do you use? Why did you choose them? Any other criteria you would add to my list above? (Feel free to email me if you don't want to post public comments.)

Thanks in advance... and naturally I'll be chronicling my move from TypePad over to WordPress... from everything I've read there are parts of it that will be potentially quite painful. :-(

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