A good friend of mine once made, I believe, one of the stupidest decisions of his life, if not the only. In order to get started with his own personal blog, he hired a VR to take care of the initial WordPress installation for him, which he had believed to be quite a painstaking process. He did not want to get into detail as to what he specifically paid for the service, but I suspect it’s in the $xxx range. I firmly believe there are many freelancers out there who still take advantage of newbies, and this article is intended to shed some light on this matter and extensively lecture you on how you can choose the right WordPress hosting solution for you and how to avoid getting scammed in the process. Without further ado, let us begin!
Table of Content
- Top 10 WordPress Hosting Providers
- What is WordPress Hosting?
- Differences between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
- What is a “Good” WordPress Host Anyway?
- WP Hosting Types
- WordPress Hosting Features
- WordPress Hosting Cost
- Cheap WordPress Hosting
||Just 1 Cent|
Generally speaking, WordPress Hosting refers to any web hosting provider which gives you the necessary tools to create your own WordPress-based website in virtually no time. Once you successfully sign up for an account and subscribe to a plan of theirs, you’ll see in your account the necessary tools to get started with creating your WP website. The process itself shouldn’t last more than 5 minutes. It’s that easy.
I highly suspect you’ll stumble upon these two websites at some point in the future, so it’d be great to clarify what each provides right off the bat.
Firstly, WordPress.org refers to the open-source CMS itself which provides essential information about the system and how to download and install it.
Then, we have WordPress.com which refers to a company that provides WP hosting solutions. In my previous experience with their services, which was rather short, I was offered very few choices to opt for. The few choices were also very feature-inconsistent and not offering any potential future growth and prospects. I would strongly suggest you avoid their services and read on, unless you want to get familiarized with the whole WordPress thing at the expense of a few bucks.
There’s no difference between a traditional hosting solution and a WordPress-related one. Both bring the same advantages and disadvantages depending on the desired platform you opt for (Shared, VPS, Dedicated etc.).
However, if I were to analyze my past experience, I’d say there is some sort of difference in “nuance” between the two. Namely, if whichever company claims to offer custom plans for WP Hosting, it means they have actually dedicated an entire server to this purpose. That is not a guarantee though, just a possibility.
Fret not though, as by no means should you search for dedicated WP hosting plans to actually be able to have one hosted for you. Most companies will provide you standard tools to install this CMS to your account, and they usually go by the name of “1-click WordPress installation software” such as Softaculous, usually found within the cPanel and DirectAdmin control panels.
WordPress is very reliable, regardless of your actual needs or expectations. You could be an average blogger writing about average stuff or maybe an established e-commerce business owner. For both entrepreneur types, WordPress will most likely do.
However, there is a basic key point you ought to follow in order to prevent undue splurging, and that is choosing the right type of server tailored around your specific needs. There are three of them that I’ll be covering shortly: Shared, Virtual Private Server (abbreviated VPS) and Dedicated. Let’s pore over the main features of each:
1.Shared WP Hosting
This is undoubtedly the most popular choice among bloggers in need of a quick, reliable and relatively secure way of hosting their data, and not only.
In a nutshell, shared servers are those servers sliced into little pieces and “shared” among various customers. The number of customers sharing a server at a given time is heavily reliant on the size of the server itself.
Naturally, this hosting solution is bound to save you lots of money that would be otherwise spent unwisely on other more unnecessarily-feature-packed plans. If your desired hosting provider is also well versed on this competitive game, you shouldn’t feel that your shared server is in fact shared at all.
With regard to popular Shared WP Hosting providers available for you to consider, I can wholeheartedly recommend buying a plan from InMotion, SiteGround or even Wp Engine. All three offer unmetered emails, domain names, disk space, bandwidth and a free domain name upon registration.
2.VPS WordPress Hosting
I usually am very skeptical of Shared Servers due to data security reasons. Many companies that I’ve done business with before have threatened other server tenants with permanent suspension of their accounts because they’d use too many server resources – which raised some questions. What if someone actually used up WAY too many resources and brought the server to complete breakdown? What would happen to your data in that case? This is why I’d very much prefer opting for a VPS hosting plan instead.
Basically, VPS Hosting works on the same concept as Shared Hosting does, with the exception that there is way less customers sharing the respective server at a given time. Furthermore, due to the fact that these plans tend to exceed $50 per month, the clientele is more select and savvy, therefore occurrences of issues such as the aforementioned one are unlikely.
The folks at InMotion and BlueHost offer free SSD storage, domain names and a hassle-free website transfer process should you already own one.
3.Dedicated WordPress Hosting
If your budget is large enough to allow for considerable expenses, I would recommend you choose dedicated hosting out of all plans due to performance reasons. As the name suggests, dedicated hosting means that you’ll be allotted your own server packed with features you can choose. Obviously, the costs are very high, exceeding $100 per month, but if you expect thousands of unique visitors per day, such plan is a must if you want to house all of them without concealed issues.
Ideally, your Dedicated WP server is configured with multi-layer caching and SSDs for enhanced performance and speed. Staff should also dedicate some of their time to manage your server for you, which is a plus. I’d personally recommend you opt for InMotion Hosting’s dedicated plans, but really, any host nowadays is able to provide top-notch dedicated servers as far as I’m concerned.
If your desired web host by some miracle doesn’t have an in-house WordPress installation capability, you can always visit WordPress.org and follow the download and installation steps outlined there.
However, any host that respects its company, customers and, last but not least, itself, must have at least some sort of basic WordPress implementation in their offering. If not, well, avoid them at all cost, really.
Those hosts that do respect themselves will often allow you to install WordPress via what they call “1-click installation software”. As I previously covered, this is usually made available on cPanel and DirectAdmin panels and go by the name of Softaculous.
For example, at eHost, once you successfully sign up to an account with them, you can easily access the cPanel dashboard and 1-minute install WordPress among with many, many other CMS’s such as Joomla, Drupal, Magento, phpbb etc.
Out of those I mentioned above, Magento is used for e-commerce purposes, but WordPress can easily substitute the role, too, via themes such as WooCommerce that are heavily integrated in WP. The advantage of using WordPress over Magento is that the former is more reliable, secure and benefits from a larger user base. It being open source, it only means people can contribute their own tweaks and implementations to the platform, making it only greater with each update that comes by.
The ideal WordPress hosting provider obviously allows you to install it right from their servers and not force you to manually download it from the official WordPress.org website. That’s the first feature you should consider.
There are a few more you should consider though.
- Domain Hosting
If you are strictly on the lookout for a domain hosting package, most web hosts will be able to help you with this, as they will allow you to host an unlimited number of domain names, all the while offering you one domain name for free in the first year – which is very nice of them!
- Blog Hosting
WordPress’s main purpose was, is and will always be providing people an easy way of blogging, even though in the last few years the direction WordPress has taken is considerably different, with some developers turning it more into a jack-of-all-trades-kind of CMS.
Regardless of that aspect, a lot of people love WordPress for the simple fact that it’s so easy to get started doing what you wanted to do in the first place without spending too much time developing the actual website. If that wasn’t enough, some web hosts also offer a few hundred dollars worth of free marketing credit to accrue the first visitors to your website and, why not, turn a profit in the first month. It’s doable, believe me!
- Email Accounts
You have finished creating your WP website in one single day and now want to get started reaching your audience. Fine, but how will they be able to contact you?
Although some entrepreneurs believe that e-mail communication is slowly dying due to other seemingly more reliable contact methods taking over the place at a fast pace, I firmly believe some old-school ways just never disappear. Web hosts seem to agree with me on this point since virtually all of them provide the capability of hosting an unlimited number of email addresses and allotting an unlimited amount of disk space for storing them. Most web hosts allow you to access your email via popular apps such as MailChimp, SquirrelMail and RoundCube.
Okay, well, this term is a bit misleading if you encounter it for the first time now. Basically, web hosting providers are willing to bet that you will never use up even a quarter of the resources they allot to you, so they promise you “unlimited resources” when, in fact, the more ethical term is “unmetered”. If you reach a certain unseen limit they impose, you will be subject to account termination, so be careful.
- Security is Priority
People are jealous by nature, there’s no denying in that. If your website turns out to be a success and reaches out to an impressive number of people, chances are some jerk will launch a DDOS attack to your website which could prove to be disastrous. If your hosting provider does not clearly outline security measures, or doesn’t offer them at all, avoid it at all cost. You’ll save yourself a lot of time.
Generally speaking, you can help maintain the security of your website by keeping it up to date with security patches, implementing an SSL certificate and many other ways.
- Managed WordPress Hosting
I’ve seen this term being used so much in the recent period that I’ve decided to cover this a little bit, too, in order to shed some light on the matter.
At some point, if you are lucky enough, you’ll be prompted to choose between self-managed, semi-managed and managed WordPress hosting.
If you’re not familiar with these terms, here’s what they mean:
- Self-managed: any plan that is advertised as “self-managed”, not necessarily WordPress Hosting, is just simple hosting, meaning that your host won’t intervene in the process of setting up and maintaining your server whatsoever. They provide you the electricity to keep it up, you make sure it functions properly.
- Semi-managed: this is actually the most popular plan on the market. The host provides you the server, the initial website setup (usually free), updates and data backups and then lets you manage the server on your own in every other aspect.
- Managed: if you opt for such plan, you won’t ever have to worry about server malfunctions and otherwise any other negative thing that could happen to said server. Your host will take care of every aspect except for your website content obviously. This usually brings with it greater costs, but every penny is worth spending, trust me.
There are essentially unlimited plans available on the market, ranging from free to $100-dollar worth ones. It’s up to you to analyze the offering and determine whether a plan suits your needs without overspending or even underspending sometimes.
Affordable hosting solution exist, and they come in the $2-to-$5 price range. Not bad, right? Do not expect stellar performance out of these though, as you’ll probably end up being very disappointed.
Free WordPress Hosting
I would personally not recommend choosing free hosting at any time, but if you want to give all of this deal a try prior to actually committing to a monthly or yearly contract, go for it, I guess. Still, don’t expect much out of any free offer. They’ll most likely lack significant standard features and not provide any kind of quality at all, so do not store anything on those servers as you may end up losing them the next day.
The conclusion you should normally draw out of all you’ve just read is that there’s a myriad of hosting providers that offer great deals, and as many that might not specifically cater to you. It’s up to you to carry out your own due diligence and stay safe in these realms. If you’re a newbie, I highly recommend you educate yourself a little bit more before committing to spending serious money. Time is money, and money is time, don’t forget that.