Selecting the perfect hosting service for your WordPress website can feel challenging. There are hundreds of hosts out there, and a few dozen big ones. It can be hard to figure out which one you should go with.
While any host will likely be able to host your WordPress website, there are certain things you can look at to make sure they fit your needs for your website project.
The essential factors you need to consider when choosing a hosting service for your WordPress website, including speed, security, cost, performance, customer support, and checking current customers experiences with the hosting provider. Depending on your needs, you may be looking for a cheap and simple option, or you may need a more advanced and customizable solution.
Before we get started, it’s important to rememeber that there are several types of hosting, and most of these come eithe rmanaged or unmanaged. With a managed server all the security, server updates, and server management are handled for you, unmanaged meands you’ll have to do all this work yourself. To keep an unmanaged server up to date, and more importantly, secure, factor in 3-5 hours a month on server maintenance, and needing to know how to do that.
The core types of servers are
Shared hosting means your website will exist in a server along with a number of other websites, a good rule of thumb here is that the cheaper the shared hosting, the more sites you’ll be sharing the server with.
Shared hosting is cheap, but your website may be exposed to hackers by another site on the server. Considering the low cost of this type of hosting youcan assume there are websites on there where sites, plugins, and themes are not always kept up to date. Another risk is that if one website starts using a lot of resoures, it may damage performance, or even break, other sites on the server.
VPS (Virtual Private Server)
A VPS is similar to shared hosting in that all sites are on the same server, however each account is partitioned from the other. This greatly reduces risks from contamination form otehr hacked sites on the server, and it virtually assigns resources to limit the risk of one site reducing the peformance of others.
Nowadays it seems like everything is on the cloud, and this includes hosting . For the most part as a user it will give you similar benefits to a VPS, but allows for more flexibility, scaling, and security.
Scalability is a huge benefit of cloud hosting. Compared to a dedicated private server (see next) your cloud hosting environment can have it’s resources expanded with just a few clicks by a technicain, or even in your own dashboard.
Dedicated Private Servers
A dedicated private server is exactly what it sounds like. You’ll have your own phsical device on a server rack. Historically a private server was the cream of the hosting crop, but it does lack some of the benefits of cloud hosting, particularly scalability. With a dedicated private server a technician will need to physically upgrade the reseources in your server box, or transfer everything to a new physical box.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a WordPress Host
Lets deep dive in to the different facets of hosting providers you’ll want to pay attention to.
Speed is a critical factor when selecting a hosting service, as it directly affects user experience, search engine rankings, and conversion rates. A fast-loading website keeps visitors engaged and encourages them to explore more content, and will ultimately boost your online presence. If you’re building a small business site, or personal blog, speed might not be as much of an issue, but keep it in mind that if thigns take off, you’ll need to upgrade quickly to avoid site downtime.
When evaluating hosting providers, consider the following aspects:
a. Server location: Choose a hosting provider with data centers near your target audience to reduce latency and improve load times. This can be offset to a degree with a CDN network, which is common on higher tier hosting providrs.
b. Server resources: Ensure the hosting plan offers sufficient resources such as CPU, RAM, and storage to handle your website’s traffic and content. It may be difficult for you to estimate what you’ll need here, and you may need to talk to the hosting provider to figure out what you need based on your expected traffic.
c. Caching: Opt for a hosting provider that offers built-in caching or supports popular caching plugins to further enhance your site’s speed.
d. Content Delivery Network (CDN) integration: A CDN helps distribute your content across multiple servers worldwide, improving load times for users in different geographic locations. While this might be an addon for cheaper hosts, you can also use third party services to provide this, such as Cloudflare. Most premium hosting providers will include some CDN functionality.
The security of your WordPress website should be a top priority, as it directly impacts your website’s credibility and trustworthiness. When selecting a hosting provider, consider these security aspects:
a. Regular updates and patches: Choose a provider that keeps their server software up-to-date and promptly applies security patches. You can chack online reviews to get some idea of how often a host has security issues.
b. SSL certificates: Ensure the hosting provider offers free SSL certificates to encrypt data and secure your website. Since LetsEncrypt became avaialble, many osts now offer a free SSL solution.
c. Malware scanning and removal: Opt for a hosting service that provides regular malware scanning and removal to protect your site from security threats.
d. Automatic backups and easy restoration: Choose a provider that offers automatic backups and a straightforward restoration process to minimize potential data loss.
While you may want the most cost-effective hosting solution, it’s equally important not to compromise on the quality of a hosting prvider. Balance the cost with what you are tryign to do, and how skilled you are at technically self managing a host. Consider the following factors when evaluating hosting costs:
a. Initial pricing and renewal rates: Compare the introductory prices and renewal rates of different hosting providers to ensure you’re getting the best value for your investment.
b. What’s included: Some cheap hosting services have very limited hosting offerings that may cause your website to ebcome slow, or unreliable. You may also end up spending more on additional services and plugins than if you went with a more expensive hosting solution.
c. Hidden fees: I touched on this above, but e cautious of any hidden fees, such as additional charges for backups, SSL certificates, or domain registration.
d. Money-back guarantee: Choose a hosting provider that offers a money-back guarantee to test their services without any financial risk.
The overall performance of your WordPress website depends on the hosting provider’s reliability and uptime. When comparing hosting providers, consider the following factors:
a. Uptime guarantee: Opt for a hosting provider that offers at least a 99.9% uptime guarantee to ensure your website remains accessible to users.
b. Server reliability: Evaluate the hosting provider’s track record in terms of server stability and performance to ensure a consistent and high-quality user experience.
- Customer Support
Responsive and knowledgeable customer support is vital when selecting a hosting provider, as they can quickly address any technical issues or concerns. Consider the following factors when evaluating customer support:
a. Availability: Choose a hosting provider with 24/7 customer support through various channels, such as phone, email, and live chat.
b. Expertise: Opt for a hosting provider with a support team experienced in WordPress-specific issues, ensuring they can provide effective solutions.
c. Response time: Evaluate the hosting provider’s average response time, as quick assistance is crucial when dealing with technical issues.
d. Customer support resources: Look for a provider that offers extensive resources such as knowledge bases, tutorials, and community forums to help you resolve common issues independently.
- Customer Reviews and Ratings
Customer reviews and ratings can provide valuable insights into the quality and reliability of a hosting provider. Consider the following when examining customer feedback:
a. Overall satisfaction: Look for consistent positive feedback, indicating that the hosting provider has a good reputation for delivering reliable services.
b. Specific issues: Pay attention to any recurring complaints or problems raised by customers, which may signal potential issues with the hosting provider.
c. Review sources: Check multiple sources, such as review websites, forums, and social media, to gather a comprehensive understanding of the hosting provider’s reputation.
Choosing the Right Hosting for Your WordPress Needs
Understanding your specific hosting requirements is essential for selecting the right hosting provider. Consider the following factors when evaluating hosting options for your unique needs:
a. Small business vs. high-traffic website: Smaller websites with low to moderate traffic may benefit from shared hosting, which is cost-effective and offers sufficient resources. High-traffic websites should consider more robust hosting options, such as VPS, dedicated, or managed WordPress hosting, which provide greater server resources, customization, and scalability.
b. E-commerce capabilities: If you plan to run an e-commerce website, ensure that the hosting provider offers features such as SSL certificates, PCI compliance, and support for popular e-commerce platforms. A lot of hosts also limit “PHP Workers”, this is number of concurrent PHP processes. For example, an ecommerce site with something like a dynamic “number of items in cart” logo for the shopping cart, it will be running a php script on every page load as someone browses through the site. This kind of thing can quickly exchaust your number of PHP workers and cause site slowdown and crashes.
c. Managed vs. unmanaged hosting: Managed hosting offers additional services such as automatic updates, security measures, and performance optimization, while unmanaged hosting requires more hands-on management but provides greater control and customization. We would advise you to avoid a cheaper unmanaged hosting ption if you don’t know how (or wont have the time) to keep your servers updates, optimized, and secure.
Choosing the right hosting provider for your WordPress website involves careful consideration of all the factors we mentioned above. In reality there is no best WordPress host to choose, you have to do some careful research to pick the right host for what you need in your specific situation.
In most cases we’re going to recommend using a managed hosting service such as WP Engine, or a mid range option such as LiquidWeb. There are cases where using low cost hosts such as Hostgator makes sense, but only for non critical sites, and always keep a backup with a tool such as Updraft plus.