Finding a WordPress hosting solution for your new website isn’t always easy. There’s a lot of options out there and even if you do settle on a host, how do you know which type of hosting you should choose?
This can be a minefield for bloggers new to WordPress, who just want to get their site up and running. Experience too many obstacles and you might just want to give up before you even start.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be so hard. There are solutions out there that are perfect for those of us whose technical know-how is non existent. Read on to find out what those solutions are, what types of WordPress hosting you can expect to find and which one is perfect for your needs.
Choosing The Right Type of WordPress Hosting
As I mentioned previously, there is more than one way to host your WordPress website. The four main solutions fall under the following categories:
- Shared Hosting
- Virtual Private Server (VPS)
These form the most common plans you’ll find on the market. However there are other things we need to consider before delve into more detail about each option.
WordPress have a few, simple requirements you’ll need to keep in mind when choosing the right host. These are:
- PHP version 5.2.4 or higher
- MySQL version 5.9 or higher
Combine these two requirements with the latest version of WordPress and you’re half way there. Popular hosting sites like BlueHost and WPEngine are both fully compatible, therefore you should have no problem getting setup instantly with these.
While any host that supports the above two requirements are good to go with, it’s my recommendation that you also find a host that runs Linux and Apache. Along with PHP and MySQL there are the most common platforms for setting up WordPress and it will enable you to take full advantage of all of WordPress’s powerful features. If in doubt, you can always ask a host whether they support these before you purchase your plan.
This is one of the most popular forms of website hosting on the market. With shared hosting packages, multiple websites are hosted together on the same server. This means you’re sharing your corner of the internet with lots of other, low traffic websites which isn’t a bad thing as it enables the host to charge a much lower fee for their plans.
One thing you should be wary of is when hosts mention unlimited storage and bandwidth. This can be a little misleading since performance will be measured on processing power over storage and bandwidth. The good news is shared hosting can generally cope with a couple of thousand visitors a day – ideal for new websites. Once you go over that level of traffic, you’ll need to consider upgrading to a VPS plan which I’ll cover next.
Pros and Cons
- It’s cheaper and more affordable
- There are lots of hosts to choose from
- Convenient for basic functions
- Usually has a navigable cPanel for easy access
- Most have a one-click option for installing WordPress
- If your site grows quickly, you’ll be forced to upgrade due to server load
- Upgrading can be more expensive
- Shared servers can have slower site performance
A VPS or Virtual Private Server is a physical, computer server that’s been partitioned into several different servers. These can then be customized and set up based on each user’s individual needs. For developers and designers, this is a great step up from shared hosting as it provides much more room for your projects to grow – perfect if you need to host sites for your clients.
Most VPS hosting plans will have a control panel to make navigating and maintaining your sites easier. This saves you from the hassle of messing around with low level system administration – not something you’ll want to do if your knowledge isn’t on the technical side.
Pros and Cons
- VPS offers lots more control over how your server is setup
- You have the privacy of a smaller server
- It can run more specific software
- Can support websites with a larger amount of traffic
- You’re still sharing the physical server
- Can be much more expensive than shared hosting
- Will need managed VPS if your technical knowledge isn’t up to scratch
With dedicated hosting, you can rent or lease a physical server directly from a hosting provider. Essentially you’ll have a physical server at your host’s location, that’s dedicated entirely to you and your websites. The server won’t be shared with anyone else and you’ll have complete control over your setup. This is a good solution if your website is a raving success and is attracting a huge amount of traffic. Most blogs and business sites however should manage just fine with either shared or VPS hosting.
There are many levels of dedicated hosting to choose from, starting at cheaper, lower power options, all the way up to solutions with immense processing power. The downside to this is a technical one. If you don’t have your own system administration resource and have little to no knowledge of running your own hosting, you’ll face some problems. In situations like this you’ll want to look at fully managed hosting packages.
Pros and Cons
- Full control over your own dedicated server
- Increases site performance making it much faster
- Great choice for extremely high traffic sites
- Can be very costly
- Not recommended if you have little to no technical experience
Managed WordPress hosting is a little different to the previous types of hosting on offer. With managed hosting everything is taken care of for you, leaving you free to concentrate on other things such as writing, marketing and creating products. WPEngine for example is an excellent managed hosting choice, if you want to take the stress away from worrying about your hosting maintenance.
A team of WordPress experts will be on hand to install and optimize your setup for optimal performance. They’ll ensure your site is kept secure and most will suggest a range of themes and plugins to use with your WordPress site and which ones to avoid. Needless to say managed hosting is quite pricey. At the lower end with only one website, you’ll be looking at a significant price which escalates to around $99 per month for more sites. If you don’t want to worry about the technical side of your setup however, it’s an excellent, fool-proof choice.
Pros and Cons
- Completely managed by staff trained in WordPress
- Will optimize your sites performance
- Perform regular backups
- Will keep your site secure
- Good for users with no experience
- Can only host a WordPress website
- Can be incredibly expensive if hosting multiple sites
Types of Hosting To Avoid
It can be incredibly tempting when first starting out, to go for the cheapest hosting options available. While that’s understandable if you’re trying to save money, it’s worth considering the reputation of the hosts you’re looking at.
Free hosting solutions for example, should generally be avoided as they offer almost zero customization of your WordPress installs and you’re limited on ways in which you can monetize your website.
Similarly it’s worth avoiding hosts that offer plans for $2-3. These hosts can’t possibly offer you the level of support you’ll need to run a website on such a small fee. Expertise costs money and with those rates the expertise is likely to be less expert and more tease.
I suggest you shop around and read customer reviews, forums and social media before considering options like these. If customers aren’t happy, you’ll be able to find examples easily enough with a simple Google search. Ultimately it’s best to stick with reputable hosting companies that are supported, promoted and generally celebrated.
Hosting for WordPress Beginners
If I had to start all over again and choose one type of hosting for my WordPress site, I’d opt for shared hosting to begin with. It’s relatively inexpensive and fairly easy to get up and running.
As a beginner you don’t need the bells and whistles that fully managed or dedicated hosting provides. Your site will be small and will grow gradually. It won’t require better performance, more space or extra functionality.
In time and with the right content strategy, your website will grow to the point where you might need to expand beyond the average shared hosting option. At that point you can reconsider your options to find a solution that will work, however in the beginning stages shared hosting offers everything you need to get started.
The Best WordPress Hosting Solutions
BlueHost has been around since the mid 1990s and has fast become one of the most popular options for hosting WordPress based websites. Powering over 2 million websites, they’re a WordPress recommended host that offers unlimited hosting, file transfers and email accounts. Further to this they provide instant setup of your WordPress installation, along with a free domain name and site builder.
Given that BlueHost have no hidden fees and an anytime money-back guarantee, they’re a popular option for many bloggers. Their most popular shared hosting plans start at just $5.95 per month, while standard VPS hosting begins at $14.99 p/m and offers plenty of room to expand beyond that.
A brand that provides business class hosting, Inmotion is well known in the marketing industry. Their hosting packages offer functionality that’s perfect for scaling as your website grows, while their technical support has received awards for its lack of downtime.
Their best shared hosting package starts at $4.49 p/m, while a good VPS plan will set you back $49.99 p/m. Inmotion also offer dedicated server leases on 5 different pricing levels from Essential, right up to Commercial Class 2000 for the ultimate plan.
With industry leading, award-winning support to boast of, MediaTemple has been offering its hosting services for over 16 years. As well as standard web hosting, they offer both VPS and Managed hosting options, giving you room to grow as your site does.
Media Temple also have a premium WordPress hosting plan for $29 per month. This plan allows up to 3 WordPress installs, automatic updates, unlimited bandwidth and an all-in-one control panel.
Web Hosting Hub
Web Hosting Hub combines an easy to use control panel, great support and website builder, to create hosting packages that are ideal for the beginner. Installing WordPress is as simple as clicking a button, while their small business features are incredibly useful for businesses just starting out.
Their best value hosting plan dubbed “Nitro” begins at $5.99 p/m, however their useful suggestion feature will help you choose the best plan for your needs.
WordPress Engine prides itself on being one of the best, fully managed WordPress hosting providers on the market. Their plans include solutions for individual WordPress users with only a single site, right up to larger businesses and enterprises. With support staff that are WordPress experts themselves, they can help with any query.
Personal plans begin at $29 p/m with a limit on 25,000 visitors each month and one WordPress website. The plans then scale up to Professional, Business and lastly to Enterprise which offers 25+ WordPress installs, millions of visitors, a dedicated environment and storage customized to meet your needs. For the price of the Enterprise Plan you’ll need to get in touch with them.
Developed by people with a passion for all things WordPress, SiteGround offer a range of shared, cloud and dedicated hosting services. Starting from as little as under $3 per month (discounted), their plans offer lots of room for your site to grow, with a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
The best plan to begin with if you’re after more than one WordPress install would be their GrowBig plan for shared hosting which is priced at $5.75 per month. Dedicated servers begin at £147 per month, increasing to enterprise level.
Ultimately the hosting package you choose depends on the level your WordPress website is at. Each type of hosting plan has its own pros and cons, therefore it’s worth shopping around for a solution that fits your growth stage.
For people new to WordPress who are looking for a simple solution to host their new websites, there’s a clear winner. Shared hosting is perfect to start out with until your blog earns enough in revenue to warrant an upgrade.
Which is your favorite service provider and what would you recommend for beginners? Let me know in the comments.