WordPress Hosting

What Type of WordPress Hosting Should I Choose for My Website?

Not many people give much thought to WordPress hosting despite it being one of the key elements of every profitable WordPress website. Truth is, choosing the best WordPress hosting based on the nature of website you operate will have a huge bearing on your SEO, and for those in business, the bottom line as well.

Everyone and their neighbor is running a WordPress website these days, with the popular content management system (CMS) powering more than a quarter of the world’s websites. And growing.

But ask many of them the type of hosting they are on and you will most likely be met with a blank stare.

And you can’t blame them really.

As much as tech-talk is not everyone’s cup of tea, WordPress hosting comes in different types offered by millions of hosting providers and packaged in all types of plans that it can get hazy. Some plans fetch for as little as $1.99 a month, while others go for several hundred dollars a month.

For beginners, in particular, this can get a bit overwhelming.

To aid in your quest for the type of WordPress hosting best suited for your website, this article aims to walk you through the four major types of hosting solutions available for WordPress, looking at the strengths and downsides of each.

Please note that we have excluded the free version of WordPress, a solution that doesn’t require you to purchase a hosting package, let alone register a domain name. This option involves hosting your site on WordPress.com.

Obviously, everything that is free has its fair share of downsides to it.

One of the most notable ones when using this free version of WordPress is that you get to use a URL which contains a “.wordpress.com” extension at the end.

If you are out to launch a serious website or blog, what you want instead is a paid plan, or what is basically known as self-hosted WordPress which you can download at WordPress.org.

And this is what forms the basis of our discussion today.

  1. Shared WordPress Hosting

Shared hosting is the cheapest form of WordPress hosting and naturally, it follows that it is also the most generally used. It is especially common (advisable too) among websites and blogs that are just starting out and are yet to gain considerable traffic.

Shared WordPress hosting is based on the principle that a website with minimal traffic isn’t likely to use much server resources. For this reason, your website is bundled with many others, often in the hundreds (sometimes thousands!), all sharing the same server and its resources – disk space, memory, and processing power, not to mention the bandwidth.

For small websites with little traffic, this shouldn’t be a problem. But in the event that other websites sharing the server begin to witness an increase in traffic, the server slows down and that’s when you start experiencing slow load times and constant site crushes.

This, mind you, also applies in the case of good host providers. However, the savvy ones will often advise you to upgrade your plan if your site starts to grow to the point that the current resources on the shared server are no longer sufficient for its growing needs.

You will come across web hosts offering unlimited disk space even on a shared WordPress hosting plan. This is not the main issue when you are hosting your website, though – the main catch lies in having enough RAM and CPU. These are the two things that influence your website performance, and they are not promised with this type of hosting.

Shared hosting plans are also notoriously wanting when it comes to customer service. Hours, if not days, can elapse before your query is addressed, and most times you find that the answer given is insufficient.

This is understandable when you reason that the shared hosting provider is probably inundated with requests from hundreds of customers and that the company might not have WordPress specialists on hand.

As well, you have very little control on a shared plan when it comes to website configuration and customization.

But this is not to mean a shared plan is a bad thing.

As we just pointed out, it is a good option for blogs or websites that are just starting out since the traffic at this time is low. What’s more, if cost is an issue, this is by far the most economical option.

But it’s best avoided if you are creating a high-traffic site or one intended for commercial purposes.

  1. Managed WordPress Hosting

To the layman, managed WordPress hosting is just a form of shared hosting, albeit more expensive.

To a point, they could be justified in thinking this way.

Reason being managed hosting, in a way, resembles shared hosting only that this time, it has all the things you wish shared hosting offered – good amount of backup, speed optimization, no downtime, high levels of security, WordPress core updates, plugin updates, expert WordPress support…And then some.

Think of it as the premium version of shared hosting, with the hosting provider handling all the technical back-end tasks of running a WordPress website or blog so you don’t have to. This leaves you to focus less on your website and more on what truly matters: your audience or customers.

Managed WordPress hosts have a very good understanding of their product and their machines are tailored for it. The operating systems running on their servers are optimized for WordPress, and they boast dedicated support teams who know the nuts and bolts of it.

All of the benefits you stand to reap from a managed WordPress hosting account comes at a cost, of course, with prices going even up to a couple of thousand dollars per domain. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t cheaper options around, with some available even for under $20 per month.

What you can’t argue about is the value for money that comes with this type of hosting. And yes, that goes even for small websites. Many of the features cannot be found in other plan packages, including integrated CDN support, one-click staging areas, customizable backup options and many more.

If you run your business online, managed WordPress hosting should be high up on your list of choices.

  1. VPS WordPress Hosting

VPS (virtual private server) hosting is the other alternative you have when it comes to hosting your WordPress site.

VPS hosting resembles shared hosting in that it also involves sharing the resources of a server (dedicated server in this case) with a bunch of other website owners. Unlike a shared platform, however, a VPS plan involves only a handful of clients sharing the server as opposed to the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of users.

Dedicated server, you say?

Well, yes. However, in this case, you are not assigned the complete resources of one server as is the case with dedicated hosting.

Rather, this server is virtually partitioned among several users, with each having private access to their own section and without the interference of noisy neighbors.

Okay, the bad neighbor effect could occasionally affect you in VPS hosting, but if the company hosting you is doing so on powerful servers (with excellent customer service) this is something that can be significantly addressed.

For example, you could be allocated 10% of the server’s hard drive space, 10% memory, 10% processing capability and so on. Unlike a typical shared environment, any website that exhausts this allotted amount of resources will not affect the others on the server.

The beauty of VPS is that it offers the benefits of a dedicated server but at a fraction of the cost. And in case you find the allocated resources are not serving your growing needs, you can always revel in the fact that VPS plans and hardware are some of the most flexible and scalable around.

But it also comes with the downside of requiring some technical expertise since management of the server is your job. And don’t forget that this is largely a Linux-based environment.

Fortunately, VPS hosting provides the option of managed and unmanaged hosting. A fully managed plan will have the web host running the server for you, but this will, expectedly, come at an added cost.

  1. Dedicated WordPress Hosting

Dedicated hosting is the mother of them all. You assume total control of an entire server’s resources, all to yourself.

For this reason, hosting your WordPress site on a dedicated server can be very expensive, making it most ideal for high-traffic sites. This is especially so considering this type of hosting offers incredible performance.

A dedicated server also gives you total control of the server, and if you fancy leaving management of the server to your provider, many do offer both managed and unmanaged dedicated plans.

Dedicated WordPress hosting is a bit of an overkill for most site owners, unless yours is a high-traffic site or you’re an entity that desires absolute privacy. In the case of the latter, though, you will have to opt for an unmanaged plan.

Last Word

Now that you have a clear idea of the types of WordPress hosting plans available to you, the next important step lies in hunting down a good service provider.

This is not part of our discussion today, but all we can say is that you are sure to find many great hosting providers who specialize in WordPress. Just remember to be conscientious in your search, for it is an important step you don’t want to overlook.