WordPress is the leading CMS and website building platform that currently houses 28.9% of the websites currently on the internet. If you have recently joined the bandwagon and decided to create a site in WP, then chances are you’re now contemplating your WordPress hosting options.
Do not take this decision lightly because it will largely govern the success rate of your site including its SEO part.
Hopefully, this guide will help you make an informed decision. Read on...
Requirements for WordPress Hosting
WordPress is compatible with most of the cheap web hosting companies and most of them do provide the option of one-click install. WordPress happens to have an extremely lightweight script and its requirements are –
- PHP 7 and later versions
- MySQL 5.6 or greater versions
What to consider while choosing a host
Of course, you will look for the no-brainer stuff like reliability, security, uptime, customer support, speed, etc. when contemplating your options. But, the most important of all factors is to assess your individual ‘needs’ first. If you base your decision on this evaluation, you could easily save hundreds of bucks.
Before we talk about that, let’s talk about types of hosting available –
- Free Hosting
- Shared Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Server Hosting
Option #1 - Free Hosting
Many companies provide free web hosting services. But, you should remember that there’s usually a catch there. You may have to run a few ads to cover up the cost of the server and its management or it could be in some other form. It’s not, however, necessary but make sure to do your due-diligence. Also, free hosting is best suited for simple websites such as static websites, project-based websites, sites for NGOs, blogs, etc. It’s also a good option for students who cannot shell out money on hosting. If you need a feature-rich website and demand that the web crawlers take you more seriously, then try to avoid free website hosting. But, if you want to run a basic website to get yourself acquainted with the online world, it’s not an entirely bad option. Most free hosting plans don’t come with phone support. There’s usually a forum, some kind of knowledge base, or an online community user can reach to get answers.
Option #2 – Shared WP hosting
The most common type of hosting shared WordPress hosting is the most recommended type. This hosting should give you a good starting point without burning a hole in your pocket. If you’re a beginner you should go with shared hosting. Basically, you’re sharing the resources of a server with several other websites. This is the very reason that shared hosting costs less than other options. One thing worth noting is that almost all companies claim to provide unlimited resources. This is only partially true. You may have to pay overhead costs when your business begins to grow. However, most bloggers, photographers, and small-scale businesses should prefer this option.
Option #3 – VPS Hosting
A server is basically a virtual machine. The server is partitioned into multiple virtual servers and each virtual server is given to each user. Therefore, even though the resources are being shared by multiple users simultaneously, it gives the control just like a dedicated server does. You get to enjoy the privacy of a separate computer. Most of the medium-sized bloggers, intermediate users and developers go with VPS hosting. However, you need to have a basic website/server management knowledge. In case you don’t have that knowledge pick only managed VPS where the service provider takes care of managing system upgrades, etc. Additionally, technical support/assistance is more readily available to the managed VPS users.
Option #4 – Dedicated Server Hosting
The name should make it abundantly clear that the users get a dedicated server. This way they get full control over stuff like which operating system they want, the infrastructure to implement, and basically everything else. Beginners and even small to mid-scale entities do not need this type of hosting. Dedicated server hosting is suited for websites that receive a huge traffic volume. It’s also important to be mindful of employing a system admin or someone with server management knows if you decide to use a dedicated server. Otherwise, go only with managed dedicated server hosting. Most of the companies that provide the latter hosting type have full-time administrators who take care of server management on behalf of the users. They take care of stuff like running software updates, monitoring the server for security threats, offering phone support, etc.
As mentioned, this type of hosting is ideal for high traffic websites. You must have guessed by now, this type of hosting is supposed to the most expensive one.
Ask yourself these questions
If you’re still unsure about what type of hosting to go with, then you should ask yourself these questions-
- What does your current traffic landscape look like and is it likely to grow in the next few months? If yes, by how much. As a beginner how much traffic do you expect from the site?
- What is the kind of scalability you’re looking for? Your answer to the previous question will decide this answer.
- Do you want a developer-friendly hosting service?
- How often do you think you’ll be contacting the support?
- Most important of all, what does your hosting budget look like?
Other important factors
Hardware - Websites that create viral content or are prone to sudden traffic increase should not go with an average hosting plan. High-end websites should go with HDD drive based storage and CPUs with greater processing power.
Support – A tech-savvy person could do even with average support. But, if you lack technical knowledge, be sure to assess the quality of support.
Security Features – For websites that store sensitive data and have to process online transactions the security feature is paramount.
Back-up and recovery - What do the recovery and backup options look like? Are they promising? You would need to ask yourself this if you cannot afford to lose even a day old data.
What type of hosting do you currently use? What has your experience been like? Do share your thoughts!
David has 7+ years of rich involvement in Integrated Marketing Communications and Server Management. She has lead teams of professionals in her career and built the online and offline reputation of organizations.