WordPress Hosting Guide
WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. Web hosting companies provide a hosting storage space service to their customers, at a cost. Hosting companies offer a variety of solutions, serving up different levels of storage, speed, control, reliability and so on. In order to host a WordPress website, a web hosting company must run the latest software to ensure their servers are up-to-date:
- PHP version 7 or greater
- MySQL version 5.6 or greater
- HTTPS support
Types of WordPress Hosting
There are four different types of WordPress hosting; shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and managed hosting.
Shared hosting means exactly that; your hosting service will be shared with hundreds or thousands of other websites, sharing the space on the same server. Shared hosting is often the more affordable type of hosting because of its limitations. Although it’s an economical solution, shared hosting has limited resource space meaning you have no control over how the space is being used, how much RAM another website is using, etc.
Lack of control, for some, can be a good thing; if you’re not technically minded, or simply don’t want the hassle of the technicalities of a hosting server, shared hosting is a good option. Alongside this, most shared providers provide what’s known as cPanel (control panel) which is very convenient and easy to use, outlining each and every option you could require, with simplicity.
The issue you’ll find with most shared hosting companies is that their marketing techniques will certainly draw you in, but may not tell the whole story. For instance, many companies boast unlimited disk space, emails, bandwidth, etc. Unfortunately, unlimited does not actually mean unlimited; there will be a limit on every users account, but most won’t ever reach this limit because the majority of shared hosting users will be beginners, bloggers, and small companies. As soon as your website starts to gain more traffic, or your business starts to grow, most hosting providers will give you a nudge to upgrade your package, which you’ll want to do anyway to gain business benefits. But, it’s something to watch out for and bear in mind.
- Starting from as little as $1.99/mo, shared hosting has a huge cost advantage so you won’t have to splash out loads of money to host your WordPress website
- Many large WordPress server providers have been around for a long time; they are professional and offer many features to ensure you’re not left feeling like your cost reflects what you’ve paid for
- Knowledgeable staff are on hand to help you with any technical queries
- Most providers will grant you access to easy to use admin panels, such as, cPanel
- Compared to other server hosting options, like a dedicated server, you’re sharing your space with others, therefore you will receive slower response times
- Large companies who offer shared hosting servers to many people can often experience downtime due to their large customer base
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
VPS hosting essentially splits a server into individual virtual servers for its users; from the offset, it is similar to dedicated hosting in that each user has its own server space, however, the server is shared amongst a few other users. Each user will be able to have root access to their server space which can provide a much more secure option for those that require it.
Website performance can still be limited, but nowhere near as much as a shared hosting space. If you’re just starting out, then VPS hosting is unnecessary, however, if you’re starting to grow and you’ve noticed your website is becoming slow, you’re experiencing more downtime, or you have any security issues, then it’s a sure sign you’re ready to jump into the world of VPS hosting.
- Administrative access and control allows you to configure your server the way you like; install your own software, and customise your own settings
- You’ll have the ability and access to create multiple cPanel accounts which means you can give control to others, such as, friends/family, or business partners, meaning everyone can manage different websites, if required
- Access to the cPanel is driven from WHM which gives you administrative access to the back end
- VPS hosting can be a lot more costly than shared hosting, starting at around $29/mo
- You’ll need to have the technical knowhow, and time, in order to manage your own server which means you’ll be responsible for administrative tasks, maintenance, and updates
Dedicated Server Hosting
Dedicated server hosting comes at much more of a cost compared to shared or VPS hosting; we’re talking hundreds of dollars per month, or sometimes even more, depending on your hosting provider. A user will have full control of their own server, where their website, and only theirs, will be hosted on the server. This means each user can tailor their server exactly how they like it, with brilliant performance, stability, and security.
Dedicated server hosting is no easy to task though; if you’re looking to host your website through this method, you will require extensive knowledge in this area, how the servers work, how to set them up, etc. Dedicated server hosting is really only recommended for experts in the field, given the technological knowledge required, and the expense.
- Ideal for companies or organisations with high traffic
- Full control and access of the server meaning you can configure it exactly how you want, giving your own permissions
- Option to have the server managed/unmanaged depending on time, experience, etc.
- You won’t be sharing resources or space with other users so reliability and uptime will be extremely good
- Dedicated servers can be extremely expensive, based on bandwidth, RAM, storage, and more
- If you want additional software or operating systems on your server, you will need to consider the cost of these too
Managed Web Hosting
With WordPress becoming more and more popular by the day, many web hosting providers are now offering a service called managed WordPress hosting. Essentially this means that all of the technical aspects of running WordPress are managed by the hosting provider. This includes, WordPress updates, uptime, reliability, scalability, daily backups, and security. This service is a little costlier then shared hosting, however, it is a hassle-free experience.
If you’re focussed on getting your business up and running, or are already at that stage and simply don’t have time to manage your own hosting, then managed hosting is probably a good idea to take the pressure off. If you do have any problems, managed hosting provides you with premium support which means any support that you require is handled by actual WordPress experts who have the technical know-how to ensure your website is fully functional.
- Managed WordPress servers are configured solely for WordPress which means speed is never compromised
- You’ll be in secure hands as a managed WordPress hosting provider will ensure you have the tightest level of security in place
- Daily backups will be run so if you ever feel you need to revert back to previous changes, you have the ability to do so, hassle-free
- Any required updates will be automatically applied
- Expert support will be provided by extremely knowledgeable WordPress staff
- The features mentioned do come at a premium compared to shared hosting. You’re probably looking around $29/mo as a starting point
- You’ll be surrendering control as someone else will be managing the technical aspects of your website
If you’re just starting out, or are new to WordPress, you probably don’t need to look into managed server hosting just yet. If you run a small business or have a lot of traffic coming through to your website, then you may want to consider managed server hosting to let someone else do the work for you. If you’re not interested in learning the technical knowhow and your website is continually growing, and you want a safe and secure hosting package without any fuss, then opt for managed hosting; the increased cost will certainly be worth it.
More about WordPress Hosting
Many web hosting providers now offer some kind of WordPress hosting service; when you purchase a WordPress hosting package, the CMS will already be preinstalled so you won’t have to worry about installing it yourself and setting it up, compared to non-WordPress hosting services. Most hosts will provide the same features, including, automatic backups, updates, and caching; if your package already comes with certain features built in, like the aforementioned, they will disable your access to install your own plug-ins, so as to avoid any conflicts or downgrade your websites performance.
WordPress hosting packages can vary in price quite drastically. Most lower end packages can start from as little as $1.99 per month, whereas others can well exceed $100 per month, depending on what you’re after. If you’re a small-time blogger, are experimenting with WordPress, or just getting started, there is really no point in spending more money than you need on a package greater than shared hosting. The reason for this is simple; you will not use the features that managed, VPS, or dedicated can offer, so it’s not worth it.
However, if your website brings in more traffic, and you are a growing business, then it is certainly worth looking into other WordPress hosting services to ensure your websites demands are satisfied. Paying extra for managed WordPress hosting may, in the long run, save you time and money, even if you are spending a little more from the offset. If you’re business is growing and you’re potentially going to look for a system administrator to perform and handle similar tasks, then you’ll be spending a lot less by opting for a managed hosting package. On the flip-side, if you already have people in line to do the administrative tasks for you, opting for a VPS hosting package may be more suitable. This will give you the control you require, giving you access to multiple cPanel accounts if necessary, whilst not spending over the odds for your package, and experiencing increased performance compared to shared hosting. If you’re wanting to go the whole hog and you require the most space, control, and security, and you can afford the premium, then dedicated server hosting is the way to go. You can always choose between managed or unmanaged dedicated server hosting, too, giving you the best of both worlds.
Is WordPress specific hosting required?
If you’re going to be creating a WordPress powered site, then there would be no real reason to opt for standard hosting when WordPress hosting is available; it generally makes the process of installing WordPress to your hosting provider a million times easier. However, if you’re looking to potentially host other websites that are not powered by WordPress, then WordPress specific hosting won’t allow you to setup a non-WordPress site, so you will need to bear this in mind.
You’ll also need to assess how long you’ll want to host your WordPress site before; if you’re just starting out and you’re not entirely sure whether WordPress is for you or not, then most hosting providers will offer a cancellation period where you’ll receive a refund within your cooling off period. Have a look around at different hosting providers as the money back guarantee can vary between providers; some offer 30 days, whereas others can offer as much as 90 days.
Assessing your needs before purchasing is the best starting point; once you’ve decided on your requirements, there will be lots of WordPress hosting servers to choose from, but most of them tend to offer the same standard features. You’ll want to ensure that your provider offers you monthly data transfers, storage, 24/7 support and emails, to begin with. Additional features will then be dependent on your requirements. There’s no harm in starting small with shared WordPress hosting, and upgrading along the way once you realise your websites potential.