If you are creating a site in WordPress, you need to take some additional care selecting your web host. WordPress web hosting, though common, is a somewhat specialized service and not every host handles it the same. Here is an overview of some of the choices available.
Most webhosts will support WordPress. Its requirements are relatively simple: The webhost must support PHP 4.3 and MySQL 4.1.2. And all common web servers such as the popular Apache, Nginx or Microsoft IIS will do. But if your website is not so common you should check first.
Some things to consider
Here are some basic considerations that might make a difference in which host you select:
Access. You will need complete access to all files in the site, and be able to upload files to your web host via FTP (of SFTP). Most web hosts should provide that but there might be some who restrict access.
Speed. Since WordPress is database-driven, every time a page is viewed it is rebuilt from the database; it is not a static page sitting somewhere. This is what gives WordPress so much power, but also might slow down page load time. Basically, the more resources the web host can give your site the faster it will run
Security. Though very robust, WordPress, like any system, is vulnerable to hacking and spam. Many threats can be averted with a little bit of oversight. Some web hosts will provide additional protections and provide backup services in case anything does happen.
Support. No web hosting is 100% problem free. There will be times when your site is down or you run into problems migrating a website or uploading a new plugin. Is free technical support available via a phone call or email at any time of day? Is there a wait time to get through? Will they be trained to handle your issues?
Types of web hosts
There are basically three kinds of hosting:
- Dedicated server. Your site is hosted on its own machine. This is the most secure and powerful, and expensive, type of hosting.
- VPS or Virtual Private Server hosting. Though they share the physical server with other sites you have your own operating system so it is “virtually” like having a dedicated server but a lot less expensive.
- Shared hosting. This is the most common type of hosting and the least expensive. Your site is hosted on a server with many other sites.
If you are offering a shopping cart and plan to handle credit card transactions, you will need dedicated or VPS hosting in order to be PCI-compliant. Compliance is required by your bank to protect your account and ensure your customer’s data is safe. If your web hosting is shared, it is not PCI compliant.
I am only looking at shared web hosting here. But all of the web hosts mentioned below offer VPS or dedicated web hosting as well.
A look a some WordPress web hosts
Here are several types of shared web hosting varying in monthly rates from $5 to $29. They will all handle WordPress but some provide additional speed, services and support which of course you will pay for
Basic shared web hosting
These web hosts are a popular and low-cost choice for WordPress hosting. Though you will need to install WordPress yourself, the hosts mentioned above all come with cPanel, a type of admin panel with common features, which has an option to automate its installation. The main reason to use these hosts are price, their rates are the cheapest in the industry. Some problems you might run into are speed. Though these hosts say you can host unlimited subdomains on the same account, having more than one WordPress installation is going to slow your site down. You can speed things along with by using a cache plugin but these come with their own conflicts and issues. Your site is also more vulnerable since the protections in place are only minimal and not specifically optimized for WordPress. Technical support is available but I have heard complaints about long wait times and insufficiently trained staff. Personally I find GoDaddy annoying with its constant and confusing promotions for additional services that may get you signing up for more than you need. Both Bluehost and Hostgator, as well as many others, are owned by the same mega-host, EIG, and are interchangable. These hosts aim for making the most money from as many sites as possible and do not offer the individualized service that more expensive hosts might. But if your needs are small and your budget is low, you can’t beat the price and in most cases your site will run just fine.
These also offer shared web hosting but are specifically optimized to run faster with WordPress. They also have more security and backup features built in to protect against spam, hacking and dataloss. Technical support is usually 24/7 and generally should be more responsive. In most cases, you can also get free help installing WordPress and migrating your website. MediaTemple includes SSD cloud hosting which should favorably increase page load time. Each of these hosts offer a variety of different features so you should check out their websites and see what packages are right for you. Though you may pay a little bit more, you additional speed and security these hosts offer are probably worth it for most business web hosting.
Managed WordPress web hosts
These are hosts specially configured to work with WordPress. No WordPress installation is necessary; the host does this for you. One drawback is control; if you want to control what plugins are installed for security and speed you may not be able to install them; the host install their own proprietary security backup and caching systems and may not allow other systems that interfere with that. Another drawback is that neither of these hosts provide email hosting; you will need to have your email hosted elsewhere. Their aim is to do one thing and do it well; offer secure and optimized WordPress web host. One great feature that both of these hosts offer is a staging area—a place to build and test a site before it goes live. WPengine, the cream of the crop, is very popular among web designers because goes one step farther with a staging area which you can call up moment to moment if you ever want to, say, test a plug-in or template on the fly. Their backup service is also very easy to restore from. I can say from experience that WPengine runs blazingly fast. If keeping your site up and running is critical to your business, the peace of mind these hosts give you might be worth the additional costs
I hope this helps give you some options. Let me know if this helps in the comment section below. A Google search on any of these web hosts, plus the word “review”, will give you plenty of feedback on people’s experiences with them.