WordPress powers nearly 40% of all websites, but not all WordPress sites are equal. Beyond the design and content decisions, one of the most important choices you’ll make for your WordPress site is where you host it.
The right WordPress hosting company can increase your website’s speed and security, as well as provide you with reliable customer support. Ultimately, it can make or break the entire experience for your visitors, customers, and you.
So if you want to look beyond the splashy marketing to pick the best host for your unique needs, what should you look for? What makes a host the right fit for you?
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the most important considerations when choosing WordPress hosting to help you make the best decision possible.
Types of Hosting
When deciding between different WordPress hosting solutions, you’ll need to choose between whether to manage your site’s technical side yourself or let someone else take the reins.
There are key differences between self-hosting and managed WordPress hosting. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each approach.
Self-hosting, or self-managed hosting, is where you control every facet of the site’s technical side yourself. It gives you a fine level of granular control over your server, as you are in charge of everything, from installation to security.
Having this amount of control of your server means that it’s more difficult to get started and will take more time. While you may see lower prices for this kind of hosting, you will spend more of your own time managing it.
There won’t be any technical support either, which means that you’re on your own if something goes wrong. Setting up a server is complicated. You need to make sure that everything is configured correctly, or you could end up footing the bill for a data breach.
On the plus side, if you have experience with web hosting, you’ll enjoy the extra control. If you want to add new features to the server yourself or tinker with the fine details of your setup, managed hosting will be impractical.
Managed hosting offers a streamlined experience that benefits the average user. In this type of hosting, a third party manages your server. They also can optimize it for your particular needs. For example, in this instance, they’ll be able to fine-tune WordPress so it runs the best it possibly can.
Keep in mind, managed hosting is not a completely hands-off experience. Through the control panel, you can generate technical reports and tweak your site to a certain extent, which means you’ll still be able to manage your server to a limited extent.
The big advantage of managed hosting is that you’ll have a robust hosting solution for your website without getting involved with the technical side of things. Your security should be rock-solid too, so there’s a lower chance of a data breach.
Also, most managed solutions offer excellent support. It’s not unusual to find many of them offering 24/7 assistance, though their levels of expertise and the amount of support they will offer will vary from company to company.
If you’re not particularly technically minded and want a strong foundation for your website, or if you’re running mission critical sites that can’t afford to go down, managed hosting is your best option.
Cloud hosting is where your website is hosted on virtual servers. These servers draw resources from a network of physical servers, and you get the power of those interconnected servers.
Cloud hosting packages vary, depending on the host provider. You can expect to receive a certain amount of storage and bandwidth and the ability to scale your site as needed. The hosting provider usually is responsible for the server functioning properly while you take care of your individual site.
The ability to scale your site according to your traffic needs is one of the greatest benefits of cloud hosting. You can adjust resources, depending on the demand at any given time and know your website will continue functioning at its best. Also, cloud hosting can be managed or self-hosted.
Dedicated hosting is where you get your own server for just your website. It can be managed or self-hosted. All the server resources and configurations are yours and yours alone, and you can use them however you’d like. This approach can really improve site load times and stability.
What’s included in a dedicated hosting package varies, especially when it comes to features and support. Generally, the hosting provider will take responsibility for the upkeep of the server and you get to control the setup and maintenance of your site. This setup also means that you can install any software you want on your site and manage it however makes sense for your business.
Because no other sites are on your server, you don’t run the risk of exposure to malware or viruses from neighboring sites.
VPS stands for virtual private server. The server is the computer where all the files of your website are stored. When someone goes to your website, it’s the server that sends them the data.
Virtual private servers use virtualization technology to split a powerful server into multiple virtual servers. It’s still just one computer, but it functions like several separate ones. And similar to a dedicated hosting plan, you don’t have to share data or memory with other users. Your portion of the virtual server is all yours.
VPS hosting gives you all the same benefits of a dedicated hosting plan, like complete privacy and your own resources, but the cost is much lower because you’re only using a portion of a server. This hosting type can be managed or self-hosted.
Hosting Factors to Consider
When it comes to how to choose the best WordPress hosting, you should think about what you actually need. Not every plan will work for your website or budget, so finding the features your site needs is key.
Determine Your Budget
You can have the fastest WordPress hosting in the world, but if it costs more than you can afford, it’s not the right WordPress hosting for you. There are a lot of factors that affect the price tag of a hosting solution, including the server’s specifications, your bandwidth, and more.
When you’re trying to find a great WordPress hosting solution, consider your actual needs. Take into account:
- The number of visitors that your site gets per month
- What extra features you need
- How much storage you need
- Whether it’s flexible or if you’re locked in
While it can be tempting to go for the most powerful option available, it isn’t always necessary. If you’re only getting a few thousand views per month, you don’t need to get a top-level hosting package.
Most hosting packages offer monthly or yearly plan terms. Before you buy, make sure to review all hosting plans for any hidden charges or additional costs for the features you want.
Find a Host With the Features You Need
Hosting is customizable. There is a dizzying list of features that hosting solutions can offer, from different types of tools to including SSL certificates with your subscription.
You can opt for an off-the-shelf plan which includes certain features, or you can pick a custom plan that allows you to mix and match a wide range of options. When you’re choosing a WordPress host, you should consider the features you need right now.
Paying for features that you won’t use is an unwise decision. Instead, check whether you can add these later, should you change your mind or if your needs change.
Some essential features that you may need include:
- Free migrations
- Ability to host more than one site
- Security services
- 24/7 customer support
- Up-to-date technologies
Take a thorough look at any hosting company’s site and, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, get in contact with them to check what features they offer on their plans.
Security Should Be a Top Priority
In today’s world, your website is an extension of your business if not the entire business itself. Should your website get hacked or become infected by malware, it may be forced offline until it’s recovered and the hack is repaired. Every minute that your site is offline, you’re losing business.
You need to make your website’s security a top priority. Make sure that the hosting company offers a firewall and other anti-malware software. You should also check that the host is running the latest version of WordPress and PHP. Staying up to date is perhaps the most crucial step that a host can take to stay secure.
You can gauge the security of a host by Googling its name and seeing whether it’s ever made the news in a negative light. Has it ever been hacked or suffered a data breach? Are there any other security issues that have affected it?
Do They Offer Staging Environments?
Editing your main website can be risky. If you make a change that causes issues, they will affect your site and cause problems for your users. You need to use staging areas instead.
These are clones of your site that let you tweak it and see how changes work without affecting your main site. When you’ve confirmed that the tweaks work on the staging site, you can roll them over to your live site.
Editing live sites is risky, so you should ensure that your host offers you staging environments.
Do They Cache Your Site?
The result will be the same. Once a user visits your page once, some elements will stay on their computer, which means the next time they visit your site, it will load faster. Page speed is vital for SEO and happier customers, so you should make sure that you use caching on your site.
What Level of Support Do They Offer?
Whatever kind of hosting you’re using, the host needs to offer robust customer support. If the worst happens and your site goes down, you need to be able to get in touch with tech support and have them solve your issue. If they don’t, it can cost you.
Yet customer support should extend beyond disaster recovery. If your site is experiencing issues and you don’t know how to fix them, customer support should be on hand to help you out.
You can tell a lot about how a host treats their customers from their reviews. If you’re questioning the quality of support you’d be able to access, look at the host’s online reviews and see what their existing customers have to say.
Scalability and Performance
Over time, your business will grow. You need your site to grow with you. That might be a problem if your hosting plan isn’t scalable. Knowing how to choose a web hosting service also means knowing that you want a plan that can adapt to your business.
Scalable hosting will allow your site to run at peak levels even during massive traffic spikes. So, if your content goes viral or you’re in the middle of a product launch, you won’t suddenly find yourself with a site that’s gone down. If your hosting plan isn’t scalable, your bandwidth might be throttled by your hosting company, causing your site to load incorrectly or not at all.
If a website visitor can’t find you online or access your website due to unplanned downtime, it negatively impacts your branding and your bottom line. As a result, your business can suffer. To run a successful business, you need a successful website. To have a successful website, you need a reliable network.
Reliable uptime means your site is available at any given time. Even if the network or servers fail, full redundancy prevents any site access issues. If the network is down, then it automatically fails over to another data center.
Not all hosting plans offer this feature. When it comes to how to choose a web hosting provider, reliability is a crucial factor in your choice.
Data Center Quality
Not all data centers are the same. Data centers are the locations where the servers are stored. If your hosting company only has one data center, that could mean your site is more likely to go down.
Some managed hosting companies offer additional protection by providing automatic failover. That means if the server hosting your site goes down, another takes over, keeping your site up and functional.
Whatever hosting plan you choose needs to be up-to-date to guarantee fast load times and top performance. Optimized servers, regular backups, and global CDN can enhance the user experience on your website.
Pressable offers automatic scaling and automatic failover, meaning that traffic spikes and down servers won’t take your site offline. And when you need help, there’s 24/7 customer support along with tons of knowledge base articles to help you solve whatever issue you encounter.
Checklist for Finding the Best WordPress Hosting
By using this checklist, you can make an informed decision when selecting a WordPress host that meets your website’s specific needs.
|Hosting Type||Determine which type of hosting is best suited for your website’s needs.|
|Server Location and Data Center Quality||Choose a host with servers in a location that’s close to your target audience.Ensure that the host uses a high-quality data center with reliable hardware and infrastructure.|
|Scalability and Performance Optimization||Check if the host can scale up to meet future traffic demands.Look for a host that offers performance optimization features, such as caching, content delivery networks, and SSD storage.|
|Security Features and Reliability||Look for a host that offers SSL certificates, firewalls, and regular backups.Ensure the host has a good uptime guarantee and provides reliable services.|
|Customer Support and Service Level Agreements||Check if the host offers 24/7 customer support and how quickly they respond to support tickets.Look for a host that provides service level agreements (SLAs) to guarantee uptime and response times.|
|Pricing and Billing Structure||Compare pricing plans and billing structures to find a host that fits your budget and needs.Look for a host that offers a money-back guarantee or trial period.|
|Reviews and Customer Feedback||Read reviews and feedback from current and previous customers to gauge their satisfaction and experiences with the host.|
|Managed WordPress Hosting||Consider using a managed WordPress host for convenience and support with WordPress-specific features.|
Final Tips for Choosing a WordPress Host
It can be challenging to find the managed WordPress hosting solution that’s right for your business, but we hope you’ve found our guide helpful and feel more informed about making this crucial decision.
If you’d like to use managed hosting and take advantage of a wide range of features, Pressable can help. We offer a range of plans, including custom plans, so you’ll get exactly what you need with us.
For more information, schedule a consultation with us!