We have a lot of options when it comes to WordPress hosting. It’s relatively easy for a host to meet the minimum requirements (PHP 7.0 and MySQL 5.6) to host a WordPress website, so just about any host can work, but not all hosting plans are ideal. This can make it difficult to know what kind of hosting you need for your WordPress website.
Prices are all over the spectrum, ranging from the single digits to triple digits per month. Quality ranges from bad to award-winning. Lower quality can send readers away, never to return. Higher quality hosting can improve your load time and up-time, which will affect your SEO, site authority, and conversions.
Features also have a wide range. Some just offer storage space and bandwidth. Others offer free SSL as well as other add-ons and services such as email and backups. Most make it easy to upgrade or downgrade any time you want. Some will even migrate your site from a different host to their servers for you. Some include the domain name. If they do, then they own the domain name for at least the first year and you won’t be able to move it to a different host.
Typically, the more expensive it is, the higher the quality and more resources are available to your website. However, you don’t need to buy the most expensive. You just need to match the type of hosting to your needs. There are several types of WordPress hosting including free, shared, managed, VPS, and dedicated. In this quick guide, we’ll look at each type and help you decide which is best for your WordPress website.
1. Free WordPress Hosting
A few hosts provide free WordPress hosting, but they only allow for very little storage and bandwidth so there’s no room for growth. They usually include their own ads or links to their services to help pay for the cost.
Another option is WordPress.com, but this is also limited as it doesn’t allow you to use plugins, you can only use the few themes they provide, ads are placed on your website, and it adds WordPress to the URL. You can upgrade but you’re still limited.
Free hosting is not ideal for any type of business website. I recommend avoiding them since options and support are low to non-existent and resources are extremely low.
2. Shared WordPress Hosting
Shared hosting is the most popular type of hosting. Many websites share the same server including storage and resources. When one site on the server gets a lot of traffic, all other websites on that server have fewer resources they can use. Most include a cPanel and many include email. Many plans allow you to have more than one website.
Shared hosting is the most affordable and is a great choice for getting started. Most hosts include a one-click install of WordPress, so it’s easy to get your website running quickly. When you need to upgrade you can have your host move your site to a different server. Most move it for free.
Most do claim to offer unlimited storage and resources, but in reality, they still have usage restrictions and you’ll need to upgrade if you get more traffic or use more storage than they like. Some will oversell their capabilities in hopes that the websites won’t get a lot of traffic.
It’s ideal for small businesses and blogs. You can upgrade as your site grows.
3. Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting plans have WordPress pre-installed. They’re already optimized for performance and the host handles security, maintenance, backups, support, etc. These plans can only host WordPress websites.
Plans are available for any size website. As expected, they do run more expensive than shared hosting. Many include extra features such as a staging site, speed optimizations, and free licenses to professional tools. Some even include free CDN and WordPress theme builders.
Managed WordPress hosting is ideal for anyone that doesn’t want to handle website management and can afford to pay the extra cost. It’s the easiest way to run a WordPress website. Plans might be out of reach for beginning websites.
4. VPS WordPress Hosting
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a hosting plan that provides a slice, or a partition, of a server as private space just for your website. The server is still shared with other customers, but each customer has a dedicated amount of space and resources. VPS servers have fewer websites on them and each has their own privacy. What happens to one doesn’t affect the others. It has almost the same level of control as a dedicated private server.
VPS is offered as both managed and unmanaged plans, and they’re more expensive than shared hosting. With managed plans, the host handles the server upgrades and provides support. With unmanaged plans, you’re responsible for all server management.
VPS hosting is a great choice for mid-size businesses and growing websites and blogs that get a lot of traffic or need a lot of storage space.
5. Dedicated WordPress Hosting
With dedicated WordPress hosting, your website is on its own server. This server isn’t shared by anyone else, so all of the server’s resources are yours to use.
They’re available with managed and unmanaged plans. With unmanaged, you have complete control over the operating system, software, and hardware. This requires a server administrator. With managed, this is taken care of by the host. They also provide support, server monitoring, and updates.
Dedicated servers are expensive and are only needed by very large websites that get millions of visitors. Most large and well-known websites on the internet use dedicated servers. Many even use more than one.
That’s our quick look at the different types of WordPress hosting that are available. When choosing hosting, consider what you need for your WordPress website. There’s no reason to buy a larger hosting plan than you really need.
If your website is a brochure that only a few clients need to see, then you won’t need hosting that supports millions of visitors per month with unlimited storage. On the other hand, if you’re uploading hundreds of photos per week and making thousands of transactions, you can’t use shared hosting since the volume of traffic will affect all other websites on the server.
Consider the speed you want, how you want to handle security and maintenance, the level of support you want, etc. Keep in mind that unlimited doesn’t mean unlimited and that extra services do cost extra. Decide what you need and then purchase a plan that meets those needs.
What type of WordPress hosting do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.