WordPress Hosting: A What You Need to Know Guide
Choosing a WordPress host is akin to choosing a restaurant or business location. Choose the wrong restaurant and you will deal with poor service and sh*tty food. A poor business location means less or no business for you, which is just as bad as crappy food.
Picking the best WordPress hosting means having a great time running your business, which is exactly what we are angling for. However, it is no easy task considering there a crap ton of web hosts out there – all offering differentiated versions of the same service.
How then do you choose the perfect host for your WordPress site? That’s our topic of discussion today. Through this post, we are helping you to choose the best WordPress hosting. Additionally, we recommend a couple of WordPress hosts towards the end, so you can narrow down your selection to the absolute best. Ready? Okay, let’s dive in.
How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting
Consider WordPress Hosting Costs
The price of hosting varies widely depending on the host in question, the plans they offer, and the business-specific features you require. As such, we cannot propose a one-fits-all price tag. Your budget plays a role too as far as choosing a host goes, seeing as you cannot buy what you can’t afford. All the same, we come prepared with a few pointers to help you pick the right WordPress hosting in terms of pricing.
For starters, you needn’t break the bank to get your hands on great WordPress hosting. $5 to $30 bucks a month will score you some great packages in the shared, VPS, and managed hosting categories as a beginner. In some cases though, $30/month for hosting might prove pricey especially if your new blog earns zilch.
Secondly, and this is closely connected to the point above, playing the cheapskate card and going for the $1.99-a-month packages will only land you in hot soup. Surely, what level of service would you expect from a host who charges you just $1.99 a month with the promise of “unlimited” resources?
If yours is a small WordPress blog, a shared hosting account costing about $5 bucks a month should suffice. You might want to check out Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting as some the packages are relatively cheap. The only drawback with VPS hosting is you need some technical know-how to set up and optimize the server environment, unless you go with managed VPS hosting, which comes at a steeper price. Some managed WordPress hosting packages are suitable for beginners as well, all thanks to low costs not forgetting the added features and performance.
Dedicated server hosting is on the higher side price-wise, which makes it a big no-no for the perfect beginner testing the waters. The resources that comes with dedicated WordPress hosting are ideal for large websites that pull a lot of juice in terms of traffic. I’m talking about hundreds of thousands if not millions of views a month. You don’t need this kind of server power when starting out. You can, however, go with dedicated server hosting (or any pricey hosting package really) if you have the moola to splash.
What about free WordPress hosting? Shun this option like the plague if you’re serious about your WordPress-based website. It is just not worth it.
In short, and in terms of pricing…
- Shared hosting is most ideal for small personal blogs with low levels of traffic i.e. less than 1k views a day. Average price ranges between $5 and $10 a month.
- VPS hosting is ideal for the webmaster looking for a little more computer power than what is available in shared hosting. It’s essentially an upgrade for shared hosting. VPS supports higher traffic levels than shared hosting, and the average price ranges between $10 and $70 a month.
- Managed WordPress hosting – This is for the WordPress lover who doesn’t have the time or skills to tinker with the technical details. You get to concentrate on administration tasks such as content creation, product design, and marketing. The host upgrades your plugins and themes and maintains the server while you sleep. The industry average price is about $30 bucks/month for a single personal website.
- Dedicated Server WordPress Hosting is for the big fish with enough funds to invest in enterprise-level hosting. You get the entire server box – hardware and all. However, you don’t need this as a beginner unless you’re the type to buy a Ferrari just because you can. Packages start at a little over $100 a month, and can go up to thousands, if not ten of thousands.
- Free WordPress hosting is ideal for, well, no one unless you’re not serious about your site. You are better off with WordPress.com, even though you’re severely limited in terms of features and flexibility. After all, if you’d like to test drive WordPress, you can start by installing it on your computer. This way, you neither part with a penny, nor force-advertise anybody’s offers.
Money matters aside, let’s move on to the next section, which has everything to do with you, your tastes and preferences.
Consider the Features You Need
Paying a premium for all the features but what you need to run your WordPress site is definitely bad for your business. So is settling for fewer features than you need. Every host, not just WordPress hosting providers, will bombard you with promotional material that promises all the features you’d ever need, and then some. But are some of these promises true, or have these folks mastered the art of talking a big one?
For instance, you don’t need the “unlimited everything” offered with most shared hosting plans, more so when starting out. Who in their right senses would offer you (and a million other users) unlimited resources for less than five bucks a month? These guys must turn in a profit, so think twice before you’re sucked into a mediocre shared hosting package. Keep it in mind that I’m not against shared hosting plans, but just because you’re getting “unlimited” features, it doesn’t mean this plan is ideal for your business model.
To put it in better terms, we would encourage you to plan ahead so you can determine the resources you need now and in the future. Speaking of which, what are some of the features you need to consider when choosing the perfect WordPress hosting?
Whether yours is a tiny blog or a popular WordPress resource, the last thing you need to worry about is the security of your site. Just like many other digital entrepreneurs, I have been hacked before and the experience was everything but what you’d consider pleasant. Not to mention the business I lost while repairing my sites.
The WordPress hosting provider you’re choosing, do they offer airtight site security? Or will you have to fight off hacker after hacker on your own? How about malware scans? Do they have firewalls in place to protect your precious site from the scam of the internet? DDoS defences? These are some of the security questions you need to ask yourself.
You don’t understand the usefulness of regular full backups until you break or lose your site. This I know firsthand as I had no backups when the hacker struck. The results? I lost a couple of my sites and crippled others severely.
With regular backups, however, you just need to hit the restore button and you’re back in business. Without backups, you are…well…screwed. Big time. It’s like going to a gunfight
with a knife without a bulletproof vest. You’ll end up building your site(s) from scratch and stuff.
Does your choice WordPress host offer reliable backup solutions, or will you need to invest in a 3rd-party solution? You’ll be surprised to learn that some hosts promise regular backups but don’t deliver on the promise. Others will require you to upgrade this feature as an add-on while others will only backup your database. In case you break any other part of your site, you’re…well…screwed again. Still, some hosts will give you a hard time when you ask for the backups. The world we live in.
Bandwidth, Disk Space & RAM
If the WordPress hosting provider you ultimate choose doesn’t have the facilities to offer you adequate bandwidth, disk space and RAM, you’ll suffer from slow site speeds and chronic downtimes that are just horrible.
You need the high speeds for your SEO and to provide a great user experience. If you have no idea, Google has a thing for fast sites and few people will stick around if your site takes more than 4 seconds to load.
Control Panel & Site Administration
You will spend a lot of time tinkering with features and options behind the scenes. You will make a friend out of your control panel, so it’s only good if you go with an admin interface you’re comfortable using. Yes, this includes first-time bloggers who have no idea what a control panel is.
cPanel is the most popular control panel on the web. It’s easy to use and supported by a huge number of hosts. Other hosts, especially managed WordPress hosting, come with custom dashboards, so be on the lookout for that as well.
There are so many other features to consider including email hosting, site builders, add-ons, number of domains/sub-domains supported, scalability, CDN, and supported scripts to mention a few.
The only way to choose the best WordPress hosting in terms of features is to investigate all the features you’ll need for your site. Ideally, go with a reputable web host, who provides the best of everything you need. Read web hosting reviews and guides such as this one on managed WordPress hosting to separate the grain from the chaff.
Are you with me? Learning something new? Alright, let’s move on.
The Level of Customer Support
So last night you published an epic post that attracted a lot of traffic, but your site is nowhere to be found this morning. Perhaps that’s not the case; perhaps you keep getting a 500 error instead of your homepage. Perhaps you’d like to migrate your site, but don’t know the first thing about web servers, databases, and the works. Perhaps you just broke or lost your site to a determined and malicious hacker.
Who do you turn? The customer support guys are often the fist people you go to when facing a problem with your site. But what if your host’s support department is a joke? What if you can’t get them when you really need help? What if they can’t sort the mess in time for the holiday shopping spree? What happens if they aren’t helpful?
I will tell you what happens. You suffer – you and your business. Which is why world-class customer support is an important consideration when choosing the right WordPress hosting for your biz.
- Can you even access the support department?
- And are they available at a moment’s notice, or will you have to wait for an eternity?
- Are they skilled enough to help you out with your WordPress-related or hosting-related issues?
- Are they, for lack of a better term, awesome?
You can easily tell if a web host is worth its salt by the level of customer service you get. If the customer service sucks, their service will most likely suck. Be vigilant and read reviews online. A simple “example host reviews” search in Google is enough.
Recommended WordPress Hosting Providers
Now that all this WordPress hosting business doesn’t sound like rocket science, how about checking out a few WordPress hosts worth mentioning? Cool? Cool.
An industry leader in the managed WordPress hosting niche, WP Engine is the hosting partner you need by your side as you build your WordPress business. They have the expertise and the tech to provide a hosting solution like you’ve never tried before. The service is dedicatedly super-fast, which means faster page speeds for your site. If you forgot, fast page speed is important for SEO and user experience.
WP Engine offers you automated daily backups, powerful firewalls, proactive malware scans, Evercache proprietary caching, CDNs, SSL certificates, 24/7 support, and plenty of disk space and bandwidth. And since this is a managed WordPress host, they take care of theme + plugin updates as well as server maintenance, while you concentrate on your business.
They offer at least 5 managed WordPress hosting plans namely:
- Personal at $29/month – Supports one website, 25k visits/month, 10GB storage and unlimited data transfer.
- Professional at $99/month – Supports up to 10 sites, 100k visitors/month, 20GB storage and unlimited data transfer.
- Business at $249/month – Supports up to 25 sites, 400k visitors/month, 30GB storage and unlimited data transfer.
- Premium – Supports up to 150 sites, 1 million+ visitors/month, 100 – 300GB disk storage and unlimited data transfer. You call them for the price quote.
- Enterprise Grade – Their most powerful package, this plan supports up to 150 sites, 5 million+ visits, 400GB – 1TB storage and unlimited data transfer.
Looking for a lot server power so you can push WordPress to the extremes without a care in the world? WP Engine might have just the solution for you.
I moved my business website over to WP Engine after trial and error with other hosting providers. What really has made the difference at WP Engine is the simplicity of the dashboard and the ease of deploying from staging to production environments. If you ever have questions or need some advise, the support team is also top notch! There is no reason to host with any other company than with WP Engine – they are, by far, the best WordPress hosting company! – Tucker Stern
Go to WP Engine (use coupon: db33 to get 33% off)
With an impressive customer rating of 4.98/5.00, SiteGround went from a little known company to a reputable and popular web host in quite a short span of time. Now, they offer tailor-made shared, cloud (VPS) and dedicated server hosting packages suitable for all budgets. Shared hosting packages start at just $3.95/mo, Cloud hosting starts from $60/month and dedicated server hosting comes in at $229 bucks a month.
The hosting plans come with awesome features including free domains, 24/7 support, top-notch security, fast speeds, 99.9% uptime, 1-click account setup, unlimited traffic, 30 day money back guarantee, cPanel, 1-click installers and much much more. If you’re looking for a budget friendly WordPress hosting that will let you scale up easily as need be, SiteGround is your best bet.
I was with 1&1 for several years before moving to siteground so I know what really bad hosting is like. Anyway siteground is excellent by comparison. The support is first class I mean really fast answers – you can email, open a ticket or live chat and i can’t fault it. The control panel is intuitive and very simple to use, they have all the usual auto installers etc. – Tony Poulsom, Biz-edge.co.uk
Flywheel is – in a nutshell – managed WordPress hosting “…built from the ground up for designers and creative agencies.” This, however, doesn’t mean you can’t appropriate their superb server resources especially with packages starting at just $15 bucks a month. Complete with free site migrations, and a couple of other cool goodies, Flywheel makes creating, launching and managing your WordPress websites as easy as A, B, C.
What cool goodies are you talking about?
You get free demo sites, easy-to-use staging environments, seamless billing transfer, server-level caching, top-drawer security, an easy-to-use dashboard, auto-backups, managed WordPress updates and collaboration tools that are fun to use among other features.
You can start enjoying amazing WordPress hosting with the Pay-Per-Site plans or the bulk plans. The prices range between $15 and $75 per month for Pay-Per-Site plans and $100 and $250 per month for the bulk plans. Alternatively, you can order a custom package made just for your needs.
The reliability, speed, and support are all amazing – but where Flywheel really shines is their deep understanding of the needs of agencies and design firms. – Joe Olsen, Phenomblue
Go to Flywheel (use coupon: flykube to get 20% off)
This is an all-rounded and revered web host that’s suitable for businesses big and small. With a relaxed and unique looking website, you will want to trust InMotion Hosting right from the moment you land on their homepage.
They offer three hosting packages beginning with shared hosting at $4.89 bucks a month, VPS hosting at $29.99 per month and dedicated server hosting at $119.99 per month. They also offer a range of enterprise hosting solutions as well as managed hosting, so pick one that’s best for your needs.
Features include professional 24x7x365 support, 99.99% up-time, support for WordPress among other scripts, free domains, SSH access, SSD drives, data backups, 1-click installers, 90-day money back guarantee, multiple data centers and so much more.
Just recently purchased a VPS plan off of them and have nothing but good things to say thus far. Their customer service has been amazing, I have already dealt with numerous tech support representatives while transferring over my site to their server’s and all of them have been extremely helpful. Keep up the good work. – Michael Cook
At the End of the Day…
Choosing nothing but the best WordPress hosting is an important step towards achieving online success. Your WordPress business needs a good home – a home that will allow you to concentrate on what really matters; your business. You need only the best because if WordPress hosting is not going on for you, running a business will prove a steep slope to climb.
A great web host should let you concentrate on growing your site, not the technicalities, down-times nor those other ugly things we’ve mentioned a few times. We hope you can pick the perfect WordPress hosting provider with the above tips and recommendations.
Which is your favorite WordPress host and why? Please share with us in the comment section! Cheers to your success!