Understanding WordPress Hosting
WordPress is a powerful and scalable hosting platform for building practically any type of website. However, your site will only be as stable as your choice of hosting provider. This means choosing a web host that knows all the ins and outs of WordPress.
What’s more, there are some dedicated WordPress hosts that optimize their servers specifically for the platform. You don’t need to understand all the technical details to know that this is an ideal situation. Using WordPress hosting that works well with the platform your site runs on can lead to an increase in performance and uptime, and a corresponding decrease in errors.
Put simply, a dedicated WordPress hosting service is often a superior choice for WordPress sites. In this article, we’ll look at WordPress hosting, including the different types you can choose from. We’ll also help you decide which option is best for you. Let’s jump right in!
What Is WordPress Hosting?
You may already be familiar with regular web hosting, and managed WordPress hosting works in much the same way. However, it differs because your provider will optimize your server and associated files specifically for the platform.
Given the platform’s popularity, many web hosts now offer dedicated WordPress plans. Other hosts (such as WP Engine) dedicate themselves entirely to WordPress, in order to provide the best web hosting service possible for those users. Determining which managed WP hosting option is best for you requires a fair bit of research and discernment.
WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting
The difference between WordPress hosting and web hosting comes down to specificity.
Web hosting is a generic umbrella term. Anytime a hosting provider sells space on its server to a business or individual and connects them to the internet, that’s web hosting. The Content Management System used is irrelevant.
WordPress hosting is a more specific form of web hosting that caters to WordPress users. Providers that offer a WordPress hosting plan (or dedicate their service uniquely to WordPress) have optimized their servers for WordPress sites.
Do You Need WordPress Hosting to Run Your WordPress Site?
The short answer is no; you don’t need a WordPress host to run your WordPress site. With that being said, managed WordPress hosting does offer some distinct advantages if you’re planning to build your blog or business site using the hosting platform.
First, a WordPress host is usually more familiar with WordPress and its unique aspects, which is important if you ever need support for your site. WordPress hosting providers are also typically optimized for the hosting platform, ensuring that your site runs at maximum efficiency.
Finally, they may include extra WordPress features you won’t find with generic web hosts. WP Engine plans, for example, include the powerful Genesis framework and StudioPress themes to help you build your site.
WordPress Hosting Options
As with all types of hosting, there are several varieties of WordPress hosting to choose from. Let’s explore the four most common options.
- Managed Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- Shared Hosting
- Virtual Private Servers
Managed WordPress Hosting
In a nutshell, managed WordPress hosting is the direct opposite of ‘unmanaged’ hosting. With this type of plan, your host will carry out optimization and maintenance on your server for you. While you’ll have less control over your server, you’ll have a knowledgeable WordPress expert making sure your site remains quick and stable. WP Engine offers various managed WordPress hosting plans in addition to other WordPress site offerings.
In our opinion, businesses without dedicated IT staff stand to gain the most from managed hosting, as you can rely on your provider’s expertise to keep your site in top condition. However, even those with such a team in place can benefit, since you’ll be able to use the spare server resources elsewhere.
Dedicated WordPress Hosting
You’ll often find that larger sites need lots of server resources, to cope with higher levels of traffic and more data. If that sounds like your site, dedicated WordPress hosting may be what you need. This type of hosting provides your site with a server all to itself, rather than one that’s shared with other websites (aka shared hosting, an option we’ll talk about shortly).
While dedicated hosting gives you the ultimate in server resources, bandwidth, and security, there’s usually a very high price tag attached. What’s more, you’ll be entirely responsible for managing your server in a lot of cases. For this reason, only large companies with the budgets to match can usually consider a dedicated server. In the case of smaller sites, VPS hosting or shared hosting may be a better option.
In contrast to a dedicated server setup, shared hosting is when many websites share the same server and resources. This is the most common type of WordPress hosting you’ll find. Shared hosting can vary from low-end cheap hosts, to higher-end shared hosting solutions.
Lower-end shared hosting providers often fit many websites on a single server, and have limited security protocols between the accounts, increasing security risks and cross contamination from other websites on the server. This can be an even greater issue with cheaper hosts, since the low barrier to entry allows for a larger number of poorly-configured shared environments.
Higher-end shared hosting providers limit the number of websites on a server, and ensure that there is spare bandwidth and failover capabilities in case one website on the server has a traffic spike, or starts to hog the server’s resources. They also include improved security measures and limitations to protect against cross contamination.
For businesses, lower-end shared hosting isn’t likely to be a viable option, especially if you deal with sensitive information. Higher-end shared hosting, on the other hand, can provide a good compromise between price vs. functionality and security.
Virtual Private Server WordPress Hosting
If you’re looking for a solid middle ground between a high-tier dedicated server and cost-effective shared hosting, a Virtual Private Server (VPS) could be ideal. While you’ll still share space with other sites, the server is set up in a way that virtually partitions each site, so they’re essentially isolated.
This setup provides a security boost, and you’ll usually get more resources and see better performance. In our opinion, VPS hosting is a great option for many small businesses, due to the balance between cost, resources, and security.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a WP Hosting Service
There are several factors to consider when choosing a WordPress hosting service. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common considerations.
Speed and Performance
The first (and arguably most important) thing to consider when choosing a WordPress hosting provider is speed. Page speed is crucial to both the user experience and search engine rankings, so any provider you choose should be optimized for speed.
Key elements to watch for are the type of storage used, how much memory is allocated to each website, and how much bandwidth is available for traffic. You can often find this information in the plan details for any fast WordPress hosting provider, but if not, don’t be afraid to ask support staff.
Many hosting providers offer useful developer tools to make it easier to build and administer your website. This is especially true for managed WordPress hosting providers, since the tools are much more likely to be platform-specific. Development tools to watch for in WordPress hosting plans include integrated local environments, WordPress plugin and WordPress update management, and easy access to site administration tools.
If page speed isn’t the most important consideration when choosing a host, security certainly is. Secure WordPress hosting ensures that your data remains yours, and it protects your customers as well. Key security features to look for when shopping for managed WordPress hosting include dedicated hosting environments, firewalls, automated backups, and monitoring for malicious plugins.
How Much Does WordPress Hosting Cost?
By now, you may have decided that a WordPress hosting plan is right for you. But what is WordPress hosting going to cost?
Because any provider can host a WordPress website, annual costs can be as low as $35–$70. However, these inexpensive $5/month plans are typically on shared servers.
For a more professional experience, a better option is dedicated, managed hosting. A managed WordPress host can charge anywhere from $300 to $3000+ per year, depending on your needs.
At the lower end of the scale, you’ll be able to handle 25,000-75,000 monthly visits on 1-3 websites. The average annual cost for this kind of managed plan is $300-$600.
As you invest in more expensive plans, you’ll unlock more sites, bandwidth, local storage, and monthly visit capacity. For example, 20 GB of local storage and 200 GB of monthly bandwidth starts at around $1150/year.
WordPress Hosting on a Budget
While managed WordPress hosting includes a range of benefits, it does come at a premium. For smaller businesses and users on a budget, low-cost or free options are a convenient solution. Aside from the obvious financial benefits, these low-cost solutions are also relatively straightforward and accessible.
However, they do come with drawbacks.
As mentioned, cheap hosting plans will likely be on shared servers, which often limit speed and storage. With numerous sites on one server, security is another issue, and support can be hard to reach. You’ll also be unable to control the ads shown on your site (or earn revenue from them), and you risk an arbitrary shutdown of your website.
Overall, budget options are perfect for personal blogs and hobby sites. But if you hope to make money from your website, it pays to invest in a reputable hosting provider.
Which WordPress Hosting Option Is Best For You?
Of course, each hosting solution has its relative pros and cons, and we’ve highlighted some of those above. Ultimately, the WordPress hosting you choose should reflect the budget you have to work with, your site’s goals, and the niche you work in. However, you can make an educated guess as to which WP hosting choice will be the best fit, before looking into each option further.
For example, if you’re a fledgling blogger just beginning your WordPress journey, shared hosting will likely be the best option, mainly because it’s budget-friendly. As your blog attracts a following, you can then look into other hosting options that meet your site’s growing needs.
As we’ve already outlined, small businesses dealing with sensitive information online will need more stability and security, which a VPS hosting plan can usually provide. However, if you’re a larger company or enterprise expecting a high volume of traffic, it makes sense to budget for a dedicated server. Of course, you’ll need a team in place to manage the server if you decide to go this route (alternately, you can get a managed dedicated server).
WP Engine WordPress Hosting Solutions
When it comes to your hosting needs, WP Engine has all the bases covered. We have WordPress hosting plans available, enabling your service to grow alongside your site. Plus, your hosting will be optimized to provide the best performance possible for WordPress.
With all our hosting packages, we offer top-notch security, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates to help encrypt your users’ data, and much more. We’re also the only WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), which makes us a perfect fit for your latest project, regardless of size or requirements.
Get Support for More Common WordPress Questions From WP Engine
Not only does WP Engine offer solid and reliable WordPress hosting, but we also have an award-winning customer support team! Although our uptimes are beyond compare, we provide round-the-clock help and support to all of our customers, regardless of your query.
In fact, we even offer lots of help and guidance to non-customers too. Our Resource Center is packed to the brim with handy advice and tips to make your WordPress website and DXP shine. Head on over and take a look, and contact us for more information on how we can help you reach more customers!