There are a lot of web hosting options to choose from, most of which will run WordPress. So how do you decide which is best? A lot will depend on your needs.
Hosting a site is very inexpensive, but choosing the cheapest one is not always the best choice. When choosing a host for WordPress, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration. The best hosting option for you will depend on how willing you are to manage and setup WordPress yourself.
WordPress, themes and plugins need to be kept updated, and even though updating WordPress takes less than a minute, many are too busy to keep up with that or simply don’t do it. Not keeping your site updated leaves it vulnerable to attacks.
This article will cover two types of hosting, standard shared hosting and managed hosting.
Let’s start with the basics.
WordPress has a list of requirements your host needs in order to run WordPress.
In fact they have a copy and paste for you to send your host to ask if they meet the requirements.:
“I’m interested in running the open-source WordPress <http://wordpress.org/> blogging software and I was wondering if my account supported the following:
- PHP 5.2.4 or greater
- MySQL 5.0 or greater
- The mod_rewrite Apache module
NOTE – this article was written awhile ago. I no longer recommend Bluehost or any other type economy web hosting. Managed WordPress hosting offers far superior performance and support.
One of the hosts WordPress recommends is Bluehost, which is what I have used in the past for all my sites. They have great support, daily backups and 1 click install on WordPress. (Note: I recently moved to Managed WordPress hosting with ZippyKid – see below)
The most important thing to have with a host, besides the WordPress requirements, is support. What kind of support is offered? One of the things I like most about Bluehost is that I can call or live chat whenever I need support with a hosting related question.
For example, I had an issue with my site after updating a plugin. Bluehost was able to retrieve a backup from the day before so my site was back up after only a few minutes. One thing I want to note is that Bluehost, and other similar budget hosting options will provide support only on server issues, and not WordPress issues and optimization.
There are other companies with great support as well, so when researching new hosts, start by contacting them with pre-sales questions to see how they respond.
Make sure to ask questions like:
- What happens if your site goes down
- What kind of support do you offer
- Make sure they meet WordPress requirements
Different types of hosting options
Shared Hosting – this is the most common type of hosting, and a good option if your site has less than 8,000 – 10,000 visitors a month. Shared hosting means you are sharing a hosting server with thousands of other websites, who also share the same server. This is why shared hosting is so inexpensive.
Many hosts offer “unlimited storage and bandwidth” however this is a bit misleading. Many don’t truly offer unlimited storage, and bandwidth and site speed can vary depending on traffic to the other sites that share a server with you. Shared hosting is a good option to start with, and then you can upgrade later as needed.
On two of my sites where I have more traffic and media (images and video) I upgraded to a Virtual Private server and use a CDN to deliver my content.
Be prepared – shared hosting has it’s limits, and you are at the mercy of other sites that you share the server with. Be prepared for speed issues, even with low volume of traffic. My frustration with these issues along with WordPress performance is why I switched.
Shared hosting prices can be as little as $3 a month, on average it will run about $6-$10 a month.
Virtual Private Server – these servers share one physical server, however that server has multiple separate servers. The Virtual Private Server or VPS, shares the hardware, however each site has dedicated server resources. This is the next step up from shared hosting that allows you to avoid having other sites on a shared server slowing down your website. Most VPS options, have a set amount of memory or bandwidth allowed, rather than the unlimited options of Shared Hosting.
The advantages of VPS is faster hosting. The disadvantages – maintaining and configuring yourself.
VPS hosting ranges from $25 – $200 a month
Dedicated Server- this option means your site has it’s own server, that you control. This is of course the fastest and most expensive option at $200 a month and up.
Start with shared hosting and upgrade to a VPS when traffic increases. If you want to increase the speed of your site, then I highly recommend using some type of Content Delivery Network, Like Max CDN or Amazon S3. Amazon S3 is so inexpensive, it is literally pennies a month to host and deliver your content.
If the things mentioned above are way over your head, or you simply don’t have the time or want the hassles of maintaining a WordPress site, then you may want to consider Managed Hosting.
With WordPress Managed Hosting, they’ll take care of installing, updating, and backups for you. They configure everything for you, including setting up a CDN (content delivery network) for you, which means your site is fast – very important for seo.
With Managed hosting, they do everything for you, and make sure your site is updated, secure and up and running. So you never have to worry about the techy stuff. The other nice thing, is that as your web traffic grows, or you experience a spike in traffic, the managed hosted services can scale and handle the additional traffic. Shared hosting cannot.
Prices for Managed hosting ranges from $20 – $150 a month. Zippy Kid is $20 a month, and of all the managed hosting options, this one in my opinion gives you the most bang for your buck. It includes a Content Delivery Network with it’s $20 a month hosting package. Page.ly starts at $20 a month, $49 if you want to upgrade to a CDN. WP Engine starts at $29 and you will need to upgrade to get the CDN. ZippyKid is who I currently use.
Zippy Kid, Page.ly and WP Engine are excellent services for your WordPress site. Especially since the last thing a business owner has time to do is hassle with WordPress updates. None of the services requires a contract – it’s month to month so you are free to switch at anytime. ZippyKid has 30 day free try, WP Engine comes with a 60 day money-back guarantee.
If you have any WordPress website hosting recommendations, leave them in the comments.
Note I am affiliate for the services mentioned in this article except for Zippy Kid. This means if you purchase them I get a small commission. I only promote services that I have used and that provide the best support and products.