How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting
Now that you’ve explored different WordPress hosting services, you might be wondering, what factors should you be looking for while choosing a WordPress host?
Before you pick one, you might also need to have a clear understanding of different WordPress hosting types that meet your budget and requirements.
To host a WordPress site, you can find a few different options ranging from shared hosting and all the way up to having your website’s own dedicated server. You need to choose the right hosting type that comes with all the essential features you’ll need to get your site up and running without breaking the bank.
Free WordPress blogging with WordPress.com
WordPress.com is a free blogging platform that helps you create a blog without having to pay a penny for hosting. While it allows you to easily set up a blog and publish content by creating a free account, the downside is that the platform comes with a lot of restrictions that limit your abilities to grow it.
Due to the fact, the free WordPress.com is not a reliable platform if you’re getting serious about building WordPress blogs and websites.
- It doesn’t give full control over your WordPress site.
- It doesn’t allow you to monetize your site with popular advertising networks like Google AdSense.
- With the free WordPress.com, you’re not allowed to install a plugin to extend your site just like a hosted platform. Read the difference between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.
- You can’t pick a custom domain name for your blog that’s easy for your visitors to remember.
You may also find other free WordPress hosting providers but they’re unreliable as you never know when they’ll stop offering their free service. I’d rather go with a paid hosting setup than an unreliable hosting service, which risks my efforts and hard earned reputation.
WordPress hosting: Shared
Choosing a shared hosting service is the best way to start your WordPress website if you’re just starting out and are expecting a low traffic volume. With shared hosting, server resources including RAM and storage space are shared across different users of your hosting provider. This is how your hosting providers can profitably sell you hosting spaces with minimal price.
Even though resources are being shared, there’s nothing to be worried because only you can access your site’s files.
Shared hosting could be the best choice for blogs, personal websites, small businesses that expect only a low traffic volume. It’s the best entry-point for users who’re just getting started with their WordPress website.
Shared hosting often comes with all the set of features you can ever expect from your hosting provider, such as one-click WordPress install, an excellent uptime guarantee and so on.
To get started with your WordPress website, you can install WordPress using the one-click WordPress install wizard, and easily customize the site and build content by logging into your WordPress dashboard.
Managed WordPress Hosting
If you’re looking to create a WordPress site with an optimized hosting server built specifically to boost your WordPress site’s performance, you need to look for a managed WordPress hosting service.
Want to know how managed WordPress hosting differs from other hosting services? Take a look at the pros and cons of managed WordPress hosting.
- Ease of management: If you opted for a managed WordPress hosting service, you don’t have to handle the technical aspects of maintaining your server. Your hosting provider will manage it, so you can focus on the business/marketing aspects like creating and publishing great content.
- Security: Most managed WordPress hosting services come with auto-updates, automatic WordPress vulnerability fixes, and regular data backup, which give an extra layer of protection to your site. This also gives you a peace of mind since you don’t necessarily have to install and manage complex WordPress security plugins to provide bulletproof security.
- Speed: Most reputed managed WordPress hosting providers, like WPEngine and Liquid Web offer content caching at the server level, so you don’t necessarily need to use a content caching solutions or content delivery network to speed up your site.
- Expert support: In case you need help regarding your WordPress site’s performance, you’ll get expert WordPress assistance from the support team.
- Expensive: Compared to shared hosting, managed WordPress hosting is quite expensive.
- Limitations: Some managed WordPress hosting providers like WPEngine doesn’t allow you to use certain plugins that might clash with their hosting service.
- Only WordPress sites: Obviously, you can’t build a non-WordPress website on your managed WordPress hosting account.
Now that you know the good and the ugly side of hosting your WordPress site on a managed WordPress hosting environment, the next question you might be asking yourself is that whether you need a managed WordPress hosting for your site.
If your WordPress website outgrows your existing hosting environment and you constantly had to hire WordPress experts to optimize your site, you might need to choose a managed WordPress hosting service.
Conversely, if you’re a WordPress beginner, looking to build a WordPress site quickly and easily, shared hosting could be the best choice. Since all major shared hosting providers make it easy to build a WordPress website with one-click install wizard, shared hosting is the best solution for beginners.
WordPress Hosting: VPS
VPS hosting is an abbreviation for Virtual Private Server hosting. VPS hosting gives more power and flexibility to your website than a shared hosting service.
VPS is basically an independent partition of a physical server. With virtualization, it creates multiple virtual partitions of a physical server that enables you to effectively control your own resources and configure them the way you want.
While you’ll still be sharing server resources with other websites hosted on the same physical server, VPS gives you almost as much control as a dedicated server. You also get a tremendous amount of bandwidth and storage solely reserved for your site.
VPS WordPress hosting could be the best choice for websites that expand rapidly, which also need excessive bandwidth and security beyond the shared hosting ecosystem.
Best of all, VPS is scalable meaning your hosting provider can adjust the amount of server space allocated to your site as your need evolves.
WordPress Hosting: Dedicated
Hosting your WordPress site with a dedicated server could be the right choice if you need to host an extremely high traffic site without sharing its resources with any other users. With a dedicated server, you’re leasing an entire physical server only for hosting your WordPress site.
That also means you are in full control over your server, including the choice of operating system, hardware etc. Since you’re leasing an entire server, it’s a no-brainer that dedicated server hosting will cost you a lot more than shared and VPS hosting services.
Dedicated hosting is less vulnerable to hacking and other security threats. If you don’t want to employ a system administrator, it’s highly recommended to get a managed dedicated server.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a WordPress Hosting
No matter what type of WordPress hosting you want to choose, you’ll need to have a clear understanding of what you could expect as standard from the outset.
Speed is one of the most critical elements that can make or break your website or online business. Your visitors expect your site to load within 2 seconds. Even worse, most of them leave your site if it takes 3 seconds to load. WordPress can be a resource-heavy application if left unoptimized. That means you can’t afford a WordPress hosting provider that compromises on speed.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should choose an expensive hosting plan for your site. A lot of hosting companies offer cheap hosting that doesn’t compromise on speed.
To analyze the uptime guarantee and more importantly, how these hosting services perform when there’s a traffic surge, we’ve created a test site on almost all popular hosting providers out there. These test sites are built on top of WordPress with the default theme and dummy content.
We’ve conducted speed tests using 2 different speed testing tools: Pingdom and Load Impact to give you a better idea of hosting performances.
Almost all hosting providers offer you one-click WordPress installer that lets you easily launch a WordPress website even if you’re not technically inclined.
Aside from one-click installer, there are a few other things you need to look for in your hosting plan.
- WordPress hosting requirement: To be able to properly run WordPress sites on your hosting, you need to ensure that your hosting service supports PHP version 7 or greater and MySQL version 5.6 or greater. This is the basic hosting requirement to run a WordPress site. All hosting providers featured in this article support these requirements.
- Domain limit: Hosting companies often come with a starter plan that limits the number of domains you can use on it. If you want to host many domains, you might choose a service that offers unlimited domain hosting.
- Email hosting: Just like domain names, some hosting providers set a limit for the number of email addresses you can set up with your domain name.
- Control panel: Understand what admin side tool your hosting company offers before you dive into choose one. Though cPanel is the most popular control panel, some hosting providers come with their own custom control panel. The key is to choose a service that provides the control panel you’re most comfortable with.
You never know when you’re going to need an expert support regarding your web hosting. As your visitors will be browsing your site around the clock, you need to ensure that your hosting provider offers 24/7 support. Support is usually provided via three different modes such as live chat, email and phone.
If you prefer support via phone, make sure your hosting provider offers phone support without charging you extra. In fact, some companies require you to make an additional payment if you want to get assistance over your phone.
Last but not least, the pricing of your hosting service is also an important factor you should consider while choosing a web host. To persuade new users to subscribe to a hosting plan, companies often offer a huge discount during the initial term, but not for successive or renewal periods.
To avoid disappointment down the road, take a due diligence on how much your hosting plan will cost for successive periods and analyze whether it will be affordable for you. Taxes are often charged separately and aren’t included in the advertised price.
Having helped thousands of users to choose a WordPress hosting and set up a WordPress site, we have answered just about every question you can think of. This is why we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions, so you can get started with the best hosting service for your WordPress site.
Do I need managed WordPress hosting for my site?
Managed WordPress hosting is a concierge service where all administration aspects of running WordPress is managed by the host. It’s built specifically for running WordPress websites on it, and it’s optimized for speed, security and scalability, etc.
If you’re just starting out, it’s in your best interest to get a shared WordPress hosting service that comes with all the set of hosting features (such as one-click WordPress install) that meets your budget.
Managed WordPress hosting could be the best choice for those websites that attract a lot of traffic and need a tight security layer. This way users don’t need to take care of any technical configurations on the server side to make them blazing fast.
How much does it cost to purchase a WordPress hosting?
When you’re starting out with a new WordPress site, you can choose a shared hosting plan that will cost around $100 per year. As you grow your traffic, you can upgrade your hosting account to either VPS WordPress hosting, managed WordPress hosting or dedicated WordPress hosting for handling more traffic.
Do I need to have domain and hosting from the same provider?
Not necessarily. You can get a domain and hosting from different providers. Some hosting providers allow you to register a domain name for free when purchasing a hosting account, which makes it easy to set up a site without keeping 2 different accounts for managing both domain and hosting.
Alternatively, you can buy a domain name from a domain registrar. In the long run, buying a domain name from a domain registrar will be profitable for you because the domain renewal cost will be low.
Do I need to get a hosting addon?
No. Hosting companies used to upsell several hosting addons when you purchase a new hosting account. Those hosting addons are not needed when you’re starting out, so make sure to uncheck those addons. In case you need to them in future, you could always purchase them without hassle.
Do I really get unlimited/unmetered bandwidth and disk space with shared WordPress hosting?
Shared hosting providers often advertise that they offer unlimited/unmetered bandwidth and disk space. This means you get unlimited resources based on the Terms of Service of your hosting providers and you’re not charged based on the bandwidth and disk space you use.
You’re obliged to consume the resources for the normal operation of a small website.
What happens when my WordPress site outgrows the initial plan?
If you exceed usage, you’ll likely receive an email from your hosting provider to reduce it. If you find frequent outage, it’s the best moment to upgrade to any higher plans so you can provide a stable hosting environment for your blog.
Why does hosting support matter?
When it comes to hosting, you never know when you’re going to get in trouble.
In fact, just because a web hosting provider has a satisfactory uptime score, doesn’t necessarily mean your WordPress site will be 100% secure and up around the clock. For example, if you’re on a shared hosting server, your site may have an impact on how other websites hosted on the same server consumes the resources.
When you find any issue with your hosting server, you’ll want to contact your hosting provider instantly and get it resolved in no time. It can only be done if your hosting provider has a good track record of resolving support requests quickly.