More and more businesses and bloggers understand the value of their online presence these days. They often think that building a beautiful, engaging, and functional website is the key to their success. And that’s true. For that purpose, one-third of all website owners choose WordPress to build and maintain their site. However, selecting the right hosting provider for your pages is equally important.
What is WordPress Hosting?
There are hundreds of thousands of hosting providers that meet minimal requirements to host a WP website. That’s why choosing from them can be a chore. While more of the providers can host a WP site, not all are perfect for it.
WordPress hosting is essentially the same as regular hosting but optimized to run a WordPress website. This type of hosting guarantees better WordPress performance and covers its security needs. Apart from that, it includes one-click WP installs, and some of them even automatically update software.
Since such hostings’ support specializes solely on WordPress, their support is more likely to give you professional and efficient recommendations.
There are a couple of options that you can choose from when it comes to WordPress hosting: shared and managed.
You do not necessarily need WP hosting to host a WP website, but there are apparent advantages to it.
How to Choose The Best Hosting for WordPress Site in 2021?
There are several options to choose from, and we will help you understand which one is right for you. But before we jump into the description of those, there is one crucial thing that you need to pay attention to regardless of the chosen option.
Performance and speed. You get that only from high-quality hardware. In particular, The memory (RAM), the processing power (CPUs), and disk space play a significant role in how your website functions. What’s important is how quickly your host is able to deliver the information to your visitors. Simply put, you will lose money if you utilize slow hosting. It’s important to know that you will still get a slower page load if you use tons of WordPress plugins. Forrester’s research has shown that users expect a website to load under 2 seconds, or they would live. And it was back in 2009!
I came across a perfect analogy for shared hosting. It is like public transportation: it has low fees, gets the job done, gives you some flexibility, and is overcrowded. Think about it; some of the providers offer shared hosting options for as little as $2/month. Let’s say it takes them $400 to run the server your website is hosted at. It means that they’d need to host 200 websites there just to get their money back! So it can result in overloading of configuration, slower traffic, and so on. Shared hosting providers are often overloaded with support tickets as well.
But there are businesses for which shared WP hosting is enough. For example, if you have not more than a couple of hundreds of visitors per month or your company does not depend heavily on the website – shared hosting is an excellent option with the bottom-rock price. It’s also a cost-effective option for you if you’re starting and unsure how much visitors/traffic you’re going to get. In this case, check if you can easily upgrade to more sophisticated options at no time with the chosen provider.
Popular options for this type of hosting are:
If you like analogies, Shared hosting is a giant hypermarket, and managed hosting is a local grocery store with cage-free chicken and organic vegetables. You get to pay more, but you can be sure about the quality of service you get.
In the past, managed hosting meant only one thing: you would hire a team of people who would take care of your server. They would install an operating system on it, change hard drives, maintain security, and so on.
Today managed hosting took a step forward, and new companies that provide tailor-made services for specific applications (and WordPress is the most popular one) emerge every day. These companies build their business around one application and will optimize your web presence in many ways. Here are the main advantages of choosing this option over the shared one.
- Support: Experts will not only solve your common hosting issues but also give you expert advice on WordPress themes, plugins, updates, and so on. Moreover, often their employees contribute to the core WP system, so you can be sure that you will get all the information you can possibly need.
- Faster sites and better performance: The major benefit of going with WP-specific managed hosting is that their entire stack is tailored to your content management system. That usually means faster sites due to the usage of specialized tools like caching engines and CDN – server locations worldwide that will help deliver information to your visitors ASAP regardless of their physical location.
- Better security: Most managed hosting providers offer nightly backups that are easy to restore. This is great if something went wrong with your website – either it was a hacker’s attack or an unsuccessful update. Besides, their servers will be optimized for WordPress security, which means you won’t have to worry about security plugins at all. You’ll get features like two-factor authentication, and limited login attempts, and stronger passwords.
- Caching: Caching is one of the most critical steps when it comes to speeding up your website. Most providers offer their custom-built caching systems, and they proved to be times and times faster than any WP plugins available. Caching can be done in multiple ways: object caching by Memcached, a Redis-based in-memory data store service, and a WordPress plugin counterpart. Those tools will take a load off the database and the PHP interpreter, speeding up your website a lot, and modern managed WP hosts do it all for you. That’s how you get the unbeatable speed.
Managed hosts are great for people who run their businesses on WordPress, including all kinds of e-commerce, sites with significant traffic, etc. By choosing the managed option, you don’t need to think of hosting and focus on your business instead. It is a bit more pricey than a shared plan, around $30 per month. But it is not a high price to pay for all the advantages you’ll get.
The above are the most popular options when it comes to hosting a WordPress website. But it is only fair to mention VPS and dedicated options.
Virtual Private Server or VPS
It is also a shared option. The difference is that you have a portion of the server that’s yours. That results in a higher speed than regular shared hosting and increased security. They come in various packages from fully managed to absolutely no support. There are also specific cons when it comes to VPS. One of them is a bad neighbor problem: when websites hosted on the same server overuse the machine’s resources, you possibly can get poor performance.
Since you are located at a particular server, scalability can be an issue, and sometimes you will need a full server migration to scale.
VPS is an affordable way to get as much flexibility as you need. You can quickly deploy popular software packages but have to be familiar with installing and running Linux to manage VPS successfully.
Virtual Dedicated Server or VDS
That’s very similar to running VPS. However, instead of sharing the server with others, you have a server all to yourself. The price usually starts at $100/month and goes up to the roof. This plan applies to enterprise-grade websites where top-notch security and excellent stable performance is a must. That’s why big banks would host all of their data on dedicated servers. Apart from the price tag, the big downfall is you sometimes have to deal with hardware failure. That’s why you need to take care of the mirrored server; otherwise, you’ll deal with days of downtime.
This type of hosting is not for average website owners. That’s your plan if regular shared hosting can not handle your amount of traffic (more than 300,000 hits per month) or you require a highly secure server (for instance, you’re in a government-regulated industry).
Must-have Hosting Features for a WordPress site
As you can see, WP site can be hosted with different plans and providers. Besides, WP itself does not provide a list of features that are needed, just technical requirements. However, there are several features that every good host should offer:
- Good loading speed (preferably under 1,5 seconds)
- Security (At the very least SSL certificates so that your visitors don’t see red signs at the left corner of your URL address)
- Support – that’s the reason you shouldn’t use free hosting options. You don’t want to be all alone when trouble emerges. And you want to have backups. If you don’t have reliable 24/7 support, all you have is the FAQ section and the down website.
Tech Requirements to Host a WordPress Site
- PHP version 7.2 or greater
- MySQL version 5.6 or greater, OR MariaDB version 10.0 or greater
- HTTPS support
- WordPress also recommends Apache or Nginx as the most robust and featureful server for running WordPress, but any server that supports PHP and MySQL will do.
Is There a Free WordPress Hosting?
Yes, there are several free hosting providers. But we recommend choosing one of the paid options instead since they’d put tons of ads on your website and sometimes even distribute malware to your visitors! There are cases when free hosts shut down websites without notifying their owners. And, of course, forget about the proper customer support.
Reasons to Prefer WordPress-Specific Hosting Over Standard Hosting Provider
As you already know, you can host your WordPress site pretty much with any hosting provider. But there are several pretty good reasons why you shouldn’t. But choosing WordPress-specific hosting, you get:
- It’s swift! Everything has been tweaked to cater to WordPress’s way, so no time is needed to “marry” all the different products involved.
- Web technologies that are pre-configured for fast setup and super easy installation
- Servers can be set to protect your website against WordPress-specific threats.
- Better support for WooCommerce and other WordPress plugins; moreover good WP-specific company will take ownership of your issues and simply resolve them, unlike the regular hosting, which can support you only to a certain extend.
- The servers are always up to date. The team will ensure that the server is running the latest software.
- Bundled services work very well, and they are easy to install.
- Increased uptime. Seamless integration between your CMS and server, together with automatic updates, will give your website the most stable uptime it can possibly get.
Frequently Asked Questions About WordPress Hosting
How much does WordPress hosting cost?
WordPress hosting is generally between $3.95 to $20 per month for a shared hosting option to several hundred for a dedicated server.
Which WordPress hosting is best for small and medium sites?
In most cases, for most of the small businesses, if their life does not depend on the online presence, a shared WP hosting option should be enough. For the medium sites with the possibility of growth – managed hosting is the way to go. That way, they can concentrate on their business without being worried about the hosting.
Should you commit to a long-term WordPress hosting plan or pay monthly?
It’s totally up to you. But if you’re serious about your website, you’re very likely to keep it for longer than a month. If so, most providers offer great discounts for those who subscribe for a year or two. So why not take advantage of that?
Why dedicated WordPress hosting is better than wordpress.com
People often confuse WordPress.org -CMS with WordPress.com, a hosting service created by the same founder. In reality, it is no different from any other free hosting. That means many ads on your website, an inability to upload any plugins, no custom themes, and no third-party analytics. If you’re going with their free plan, you get a wordpress.com branded domain. What is the most unfortunate is that they can delete your website anytime they want. So there are plenty of reasons to go with a reliable third-party hosting provider.