Often overlooked, web hosting is one of the key features in running a website. There are numerous type of web hosts that are available: Free, Shared, VPS, Dedicated servers, and managed WordPress hosting. As a beginner, sometimes the wrong decision can come back to haunt you in the future. In this guide, we will cover specifications that WordPress require, things to consider when choosing a web hosting service, and share with you a list of WPBeginner recommended top WordPress Web Hosting providers.
You will be surprised to hear that WordPress is a very light-weight script, and it is compatible with almost all web hosting providers out there. The simple requirements that WordPress put forth are:
- PHP version 5.2.4 or greater
- MySQL version 5.0 or greater
Due to the fact that WordPress is extremely popular, all major hosts come with easy installers for WordPress. The hosts that we recommend all support WordPress.
Everyone knows that support and host's reputation is an important factor to consider. But there is another major factor that you need to consider in order to make the best decision for yourself. That is "Your Needs".
Evaluating your needs before purchasing hosting can save you hundreds of dollars. As we mentioned above that there are numerous type of web hosting available for WordPress including Free, Shared, VPS, Dedicated, and Managed. Let's take a look at each of these individually to determine which one is suitable for you.
Free WordPress Hosting
There are free web hosting available, but almost all of them have some sort of catch. If you find this in a forum or a small group, chances are that this is probably an individual who is reselling a small part of his server space to cover up some revenue. Often the catch is that you have to put their banner ads on the site. Some ask you to put a text link in the footer of your site. These folks will sell that banner ad or text link to cover up the cost of your free space along with pockketing the profits. The biggest downside of having a free host aside from the ads is that they are unreliable. You never know when this person will stop offering this service. They can leave you hanging at any time. 99% of the time, free hosting is not what you want.
Shared WordPress Hosting
Shared hosting by far is the most popular type of hosting used by WordPress beginners. It is by far the most affordable and quite frankly a good starting point for new users. Shared hosting is where you share a large server with a lot of sites. By having multiple sites on the same server, it allows the host to provide the service at a much affordable rate. The biggest catch that we see with shared hosting across providers (including the ones we recommend below) is the unlimited resource. There is no such thing as unlimited. While it says unlimited, you still have usage restrictions. If your site starts to take up substantial server load, they will politely force you to upgrade your account. If they don't take this action, this can have a negative effect on the overall performance of other sites hosted on the same server. It gets back to conventional wisdom. As your business grows, so will your overhead cost.
WordPress VPS Hosting
Virtual Private Server (VPS) refers to a virtual machine. It is a method of partitioning a physical server computer into multiple servers with respects to the individual customer's need. Even though, you are sharing the server with a handful others, this gives you almost as much control as a dedicated server. It also has the privacy of a separate physical computer, and can be configured to run specific server softwares. Often developers, intermediate users, and medium-sized bloggers utilize VPS to scale their websites. If you do NOT have any technical knowledge, you need to make sure that you purchase a managed VPS. This means that the hosting provider manages all system upgrades, and they are available to assist you if needed.
WordPress Dedicated Server
Dedicated server is a physical server that you can lease from the hosting provider. This allows you to have full control over the server including the choice of operating system, hardware etc. No beginner should need a dedicated server to start with. Once your site is receiving a significant amount of traffic, only then should you consider upgrading to a dedicated server. WPBeginner runs on a dedicated server by HostGator. If you do not employ a system administrator or have no experience with servers, then we recommend that you get a managed dedicated server. Managed dedicated server providers employ full-time system administrators that maintain your servers. Along with doing software updates, they also do server monitoring, offer phone support etc. Most top websites use clusters of dedicated servers.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Due to the large number of users using WordPress, few web hosting providers have chosen to offer managed WordPress hosting. An account with one of these providers only allow you to host WordPress based sites and nothing else. The benefit of Managed WordPress Hosting is that you do not have to worry about ANYTHING. They optimize your site for performance, they make sure that your site is secure, they make regular backups for you, they advise you if a specific plugin that you are running is having a negative impact, they automatically scan your site on a regular basis to monitor any hacking attempts of your site. Bottom line, managed WordPress hosting is hassle free fast WordPress hosting with high-quality support from staff with lots of WordPress experience. While all this sounds amazing, the plans for managed WordPress hosting is usually on the higher end of the scale. For example a personal account with a popular managed WordPress hosting provider costs $29/month where you can only host 1 site (getting maximum of 25,000 visitors per month). The next level higher where you are allowed multiple domains will cost you $99/month. A person starting out a blog cannot afford this. Managed WordPress hosting is great for established bloggers who can justify the expense with their revenue. It is for people who do not have the skills/time to deal with the technical side of things.