Picking the right web hosting provider and plan is a very critical step in starting a new WordPress website. Of course, you can try out a few different hosts, but migrating a functional website from one host to another can often be a big hassle and may lead to downtime and loss of traffic and revenue. Starting out with the right service can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
But before you even start to look at specific providers, you should first have a clear idea of the type of hosting you’ll need for your WordPress site. The three most common types that the majority of website owners use are: shared hosting, VPS hosting, and managed WordPress hosting.
The following is a quick overview of these three types and the main advantages and disadvantages of each. You’ll also find a recommended, reliable provider for each type.
Why Go With Shared Hosting?
Shared web hosting is the most basic, entry-level type of hosting that most beginner webmasters start out with. In a shared server environment, the physical server is shared between multiple user accounts, each of which is allocated a certain quota of the server’s resources (CPU, RAM, disk space, bandwidth, connections, etc.)
Shared hosting is normally a managed service, which means that the provider will be responsible for installing and updating the server software, implementing security measures and fixes, monitoring uptime and performance and fixing any technical problems with the server or the software it’s running.
This makes shared hosting the most suitable type for beginners since it requires very little technical knowledge to use. It usually comes with cPanel or another control panel where you can easily manage your service (files, databases, email, and such).
Another key advantage is its affordability. Renting your own server would cost a few hundred dollars a month, while most shared plans cost less than $10 a month. Prices and features do vary from one service to another though.
So what’s the catch here? The main catch is that shared web hosting comes with limited server resources for your website to utilize. It can work well with a small and simple WordPress site or blog, but may not be adequate for a very active site or one that uses heavy plugins, such as WooCommerce.
If you have a brand new website and don’t expect it to receive more than a couple of hundred visitors a day for the next year or so, then a good shared hosting service should get you through with minimal costs. However, if you have an established business website or an online store, then you should consider using either a VPS or a premium managed WordPress hosting plan, and these are discussed below.
Recommended: One of the best shared web hosting providers is ChemiCloud. Their prices are reasonable and they have a knowledgeable support team that quickly resolves any technical issues. This may not be one of the “popular” companies that almost every review/affiliate website talks up, but they are highly reliable.
Why Go With VPS Hosting?
A VPS is a virtual private server that functions like an independent server, but it’s not quite so. One physical server can host multiple VPS instances by means of virtualization software. Each VPS is fully isolated from other VPS instances on the server and can have its own operating system and any other software that needs to be installed on the server.
Most VPS providers allow customers to build their own custom plan with the required number of CPU cores, RAM size, storage space, and other specifications. Unlike shared hosting, the resources that come with a VPS account are 100% exclusive and dedicated to that account. And in case more resources are needed in the future, they can be easily added to the existing plan. Cloud-based VPS is readily scalable with the ability to add as many additional resources as and when needed.
Given the higher amount of guaranteed server resources, using a VPS often leads to better and steadier performance and improved loading speed compared to shared hosting. This type of hosting is perfect for small business and e-commerce websites as well as any established WordPress website that gets a significant amount of traffic.
In terms of cost, a VPS is notably more expensive than a shared plan, but still much more affordable than a dedicated bare metal server. It’s also worth noting that managing a VPS requires some technical expertise with server management, especially if the service is unmanaged or self-managed. A fully managed VPS plan includes technical assistance from the provider but comes at a higher cost.
Recommended: One of the best VPS hosting providers is Scala Hosting. They have solid servers (multiple locations), budget-friendly services and a very responsive live chat support team that is available 24/7. They offer scalable cloud-based VPS plans with a free alternative to cPanel called SPanel. You can also opt for cPanel, but given its high licensing fees, SPanel is really a great alternative with similar features.
Why Go With Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting can mean different things, but in general, most of the technical aspects of hosting and running a WordPress site will be managed by the provider instead of you having to do it yourself. This includes automatic installation, automatic updates, caching systems, CDN integration, performance monitoring, bug fixing, etc.
This type of hosting usually uses a shared server environment, but unlike generic shared hosting, the server stack would be optimized to work specifically with WordPress and nothing else. Site loading speed and overall performance are usually remarkably better with managed WP hosting, not just because of the increased server resources that come with it, but also because of optimized server software and advanced caching techniques.
In addition to that, the technical support team is usually more knowledgeable and consists of skilled agents who are familiar with WordPress and the most common issues site owners may experience with it.
But remember that what you get with managed WordPress hosting drastically varies from one company to another, as does the price. Make sure to confirm that all of the features you need are included with the service and don’t make any assumptions. For example, many providers of fully managed WordPress hosting do not provide email hosting.
Managed WP is suitable for both beginners and experienced users looking to save themselves the time and hassle of dealing with routine technical checks and updates of their server and WP installation. It helps you worry less about the technical stuff and focus more on your business or whatever it is you do with your site. The main con is that it comes at a higher price point.
Recommended: Rocket is an excellent provider of premium managed WordPress hosting. Their servers are very fast and secure, and each plan comes with built-in caching, CDN, staging, user-friendly control panel, and plenty of other useful features. They have a helpful and quick technical support team that is always available via live chat. The only drawback is that they don’t have email services, so you’ll need to use a third-party email service if you want to create mailboxes for your domain name. Other than that, their service is hard to beat in terms of reliability, speed, and security.