A Complete Guide to Choosing WordPress Hosting for 2018

By |2018-05-06T20:22:35+00:00January 5th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |

Even with all of the “honest” reviews and competitive discounts out there, choosing the best WordPress hosting provider for your site can be difficult.

A lot of what goes into finding the right hosting provider is specific to your particular circumstances. And for this reason, it’s important that you’re able to identify where you’re at and which direction you’d like to move in.

The Problem With Finding a Reliable Hosting Company

The world of web hosting is pretty confusing simply because there isn’t a clear, one size fits all solution for every soon-to-be website owner out there. And if you go out searching for WordPress hosting reviews, you’ll most certainly find yourself wading through reviews that are (1) sales pitches designed to earn affiliate income, (2) a detail of one person’s one-time (often biased) experience, or (3) a description of the features the web host offers that doesn’t take the customer’s needs into account.

If you’re looking for the best WordPress hosting option for your website or thinking of upgrading to a different hosting provider/plan then you’re in the right place.

We’re not here to write up lengthy sales pitches recommending a single web hosting provider for every possible scenario. We won’t be sharing our personal experience with our web hosting provider. And we certainly won’t make you read yet another “review” post of the features a WordPress web host offers.

We will, however, explain what types of hosting options are available to you, which web hosting provider-plan combination stands out for a specific scenario, and how you should choose the WordPress hosting provider that’s right for you.

By choosing one of the hosting providers in this quick reference guide, you can rest assured that:

  • You’ll be starting out with a step in the right direction.
  • It will be the most cost-effective yet reliable hosting solution for you.
  • You’ll be able to scale your hosting services as your site grows.
  • You won’t find yourself locked-in with a hosting provider.

Finding a suitable web hosting provider for your WordPress website is a big deal which is why we’re going to break it down into smaller components and tackle it systematically.

You should decide on the type of hosting that’s best for your site before you look around for the web hosting provider you want to go with. So, let’s start with that.

Free, Shared, VPS, Dedicated, Managed, and Cloud Hosting

One of the very first things you need to understand is the different types of hosting options that are available to you. If you’re thinking of starting a WordPress website, you can choose to go with free, shared, virtual private server, dedicated, managed, or cloud hosting.

When it comes to WordPress hosting, free WordPress.com hosting is a less talked about option though it’s suitable for some website owners. You’re able to create a WordPress website and host it on their servers free of charge. However, your site will have to display brand ads, you’ll have limited customization options, and your monetization options will also be limited.

What Happens in the Back-End

With free WordPress hosting, you get a WordPress.com subdomain which means your site’s URL will look something like blogname.wordpress.com. The free plan gives you 3 GB storage space on the hosting server.

What You Need to Know

  • WordPress.com hosting is free because you’ll basically be on a subdomain and your site will display brand ads.
  • You can monetize your site using Simple PaymentsWordAds, some affiliate linking, sponsored posts, and by promoting WordPress.com and Jetpack plans.
  • You will have a limited amount of customization options available to you.
  • Since your site is hosted with WordPress.com, it won’t be “yours”. If you don’t comply with WordPress’ Terms of Service your site could be taken down.
  • WordPress will manage your site’s security and take care of backups for you.

Who Free Hosting Is Suitable For

Free hosting is a great option for low-traffic sites such as:

  • Hobby bloggers.
  • Any one who’s looking to try out blogging and wants to avoid initial start-up costs.

Shared hosting is the best option for first-time website owners who are looking for a web hosting option that allows them to (1) monetize their site, (2) customize it however they want, and (3) not be subject to brand ads. It’s a low-cost hosting solution that gives you enough flexibility and room to try out different things with your site and grow it.

What Happens in the Back-End

When you go with shared hosting, you’ll be sharing the resources of the shared hosting server with other customers that are on that same server. This means that everyone on the same server is sharing from the same pool of resources.

What You Need to Know

  • Shared hosting is usually a low-cost option because you’re sharing server space with other customers.
  • You don’t have a lot of control over your server’s resources.
  • You’ll be sharing resources like CPU usage, bandwidth, server space, and SSL certificates.
  • If one site on the shared server uses up 70% of the resources, the others are left with the remaining 30% of the resources.
  • If there are security vulnerabilities in a site on your shared server, it increases the risk of a hacking attempt on your site.

Who Shared Hosting Is Suitable For

Shared hosting is a great option for low-traffic sites such as:

  • Small blogs – personal, travel, food, gaming, etc.
  • Portfolio sites – freelancers, design/development agencies, service providers, etc.
  • Small online stores.
  • Local business sites.

VPS hosting is most commonly used for hosting websites that need a more powerful machine and guaranteed allotment of server resources. You get your own partition on a shared server with resources that only you have access to. In case of hosting related performance drops, moving from a shared hosting account to a VPS account will help your site perform better.

What Happens in the Back-End

A virtual private server is created by vitualization software. What it does is it takes a shared server and divides it into smaller servers. This way, each virtual server (also called a partition) gets its own set of resources that the other partitions on the same shared server can’t access.

What You Need to Know

  • Your site (partition) is independent of other sites (partitions) on the same shared server.
  • If a partition on the shared server crashes, it won’t cause security vulnerabilities in your partition.
  • You will be given root access to your virtual private server.

Who VPS Hosting Is Suitable For

VPS hosting is most popular with websites that grow quickly such as:

  • Sites running web applications.
  • Small to medium sized online stores.
  • Entertainment sites.
  • Forums.

Dedicated hosting is suitable for larger websites that receive tons of traffic or run complex web applications. This is an expensive hosting option since you’ll have an entire physical server “dedicated” to running your site.

What Happens in the Back-End

With dedicated hosting, you’re renting out a physical server that’s there to host your website and nothing else. Since you have all of the server resources at your disposal, you’re free to do whatever you want with them. Dedicated hosting is also the most secure hosting option. If you keep your site secure, the chances of facing malicious hacking attempts are at a minimum.

What You Need to Know

  • Dedicated hosting is expensive and can set you back anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month.
  • Setting up and managing a dedicated hosting account requires extensive knowledge.
  • Dedicated servers have a finite set of available resources which means that they can be difficult to scale.

Who Dedicated Hosting Is Suitable For

Dedicated hosting is used by medium to large sized businesses that run high traffic websites such as:

  • Sites that need load distribution and splitting.
  • Chat room websites.
  • Video streaming (and other media streaming) websites.
  • Database/file server hosting.

Managed hosting is when you outsource your WordPress site’s hosting to a company whose job it is to take care of the technical side of things. They’ll set your site up on a hosting server, manage its security, take backups, update your core software/themes/plugins, provide daily monitoring, etc.

What Happens in the Back-End

With managed WordPress hosting, your site could be set up either on a shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting environment depending upon the plan you sign up for. Your hosting provider is in charge of managing all of the IT-related services ranging from the operating system to your WordPress installation.

What You Need to Know

  • Managed hosting is generally a mid-range hosting option.
  • You can pick which kind of hosting environment you want your site to be on – shared, VPS, or dedicated.
  • Managed hosting is kind of like a service where the hosting provider takes care of all of the technical stuff.

Who Managed Hosting Is Suitable For

Managed hosting is used by website owners who would like to outsource the technical side of hosting their site to experts such as:

  • Website owners who aren’t sure how to set up and manage a hosting account in a dedicated hosting environment.
  • Website owners who don’t have the time to set up and manage their hosting account.

Cloud hosting is when your website is hosted on a network of servers rather than a single, standalone server. Most cloud hosting environments are setup in a way that you have to share server resources the same way you would do in a shared or VPS hosting environment.

What Happens in the Back-End

Hosting your site on a cluster of servers ensures that you have a lot more resources at your disposal than you would in a traditional shared (or even VPS) hosting environment. The key benefit of going with cloud hosting is on-demand scalability. So, for example, if your site was to get a sudden traffic spike, your site would automatically be migrated to give you the resources you need to handle it.

What You Need to Know

  • The content you upload to your site is stored on multiple servers at a time.
  • You can have resources allotted to you dynamically e.g. in case of sudden traffic spikes.
  • With cloud hosting, you pay for what you use.
  • There’s a low chance of website downtime or poor performance.
  • If you integrate complex third-party applications, you might find yourself locked-in with the hosting provider.

Who Cloud Hosting Is Suitable For

Cloud hosting is great for website owners who are looking for a scalable, customizable, and cost-effective hosting solution such as:

  • Those who are trying out different techniques to grow their websites.
  • Those who have outgrown shared hosting but don’t have the budget for dedicated hosting.

How to Choose the Best Hosting Provider for Your Needs

By now you should have a better understanding of the different types of hosting options that are available to you and fit your specific criteria. This should make it much easier to find a hosting provider that meets your requirements.

That said, we’ve picked out our top recommendations for each type of WordPress hosting that’s based on our own experiences with testing out their features/speed/uptime/performance and those of other WordPress professionals and proven experts.

Recommended Shared WordPress Hosting

Bluehost

Founded in 2003, Bluehost powers over 2 million websites and is one of the most popular shared hosting providers in the WordPress space. Their shared WordPress hosting plans are affordable and incredibly easy to get on board with.

With Bluehost, you can expect to get a free domain name, one-click WordPress install, email accounts, round the clock support, and a 30-day money back guarantee. Bluehost’s cPanel is easy to get to grips with and you won’t have any trouble finding your way around it.

Bluehost offers three shared hosting plans – Basic, Plus, and Prime starting at $2.95 per month.

And you know who else recommends Bluehost? WordPress itself!

Bluehost

Recommended VPS WordPress Hosting

InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting offers managed and self managed VPS hosting. Their managed VPS servers are built on a cloud infrastructure giving you the best of both worlds when it comes to hosting your growing WordPress site. And if you’re a developer, their self-managed VPS gives you complete control over your next project.

With InMotion Hosting’s VPS plans, you can expect to receive free server management, guaranteed uptime, SSD servers, live-state snapshots, and extra processing power with unlocked CPU cores.

InMotion Hosting’s Managed plans start at $29.99 per month and their Self-Managed plans start at $19.99 per month.

InMotion Hosting

Recommended Dedicated WordPress Hosting

Liquid Web

Liquid Web has been around for over 20 years now and their strong suit is their dedicated hosting solution. You can sign up for a single processor dedicated server or go for a dual processor server if your site calls for even more processing power.

With Liquid Web you’ll get a fully managed dedicated WordPress hosting experience that includes high-powered SSDs, dedicated IP address, automated backups, DDoS protection, 24/7 server monitoring, and 99.995% uptime.

Liquid Web’s Single Processor Dedicated Servers start at $199 per month whereas their Dual Processor Dedicated Servers start at $399 per month.

Liquid Web

Recommended Managed WordPress Hosting

WP Engine

WP Engine is synonymous with managed WordPress hosting and for good reason. The company markets itself as your WordPress digital experience platform and helps you host your site in either a shared or dedicated hosting environment.

With WP Engine you’ll receive all kinds of neat features including free staging, transferable installs, CDN, automated SSL certificates, support for WordPress Multisite, strategic account management, and free daily backups and malware scanning.

WP Engine offers five managed hosting plans – Personal, ProfessionalBusiness, Premium, and Enterprise starting at $29 per month.

WP Engine

Recommended Cloud WordPress Hosting

HostGator

HostGator has been around since 2002 offering affordable hosting services to sites of all shapes and sizes. The company stands out among the competition for its WordPress cloud hosting solution that gives you everything you need to rocket into the cloud.

When you sign up with HostGator, you can expect to see 2.5x faster page loading times right off the bat owing to a perfect balance of super-charged cloud architecture, CDN, multiple caching layers, and low-density servers. The cloud hosting plans also come with advanced security features, guaranteed scalability, and 24/7/365 support from experts.

HostGator offers three WordPress cloud hosting plans – Starter, Standard, and Business starting at $5.95 per month.

HostGator

2 Comments

  1. Big Guy on Stuff - Tommy February 11, 2018 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    Very nice write-up! My experience with shared hosting was that the folks providing it horribly oversubscribed the server leading to the server always going into bouts of running at 30 – 60 times load (on a 16 CPU server). One of them also had a script that would kill off user processes using too much RAM. I run a WordPress site that doesn’t really get that much traffic, and they kept killing off my php processes. It was a nightmare.

  2. Rafay Saeed Ansari (@RafaySAnsari) February 13, 2018 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    Thanks for your kind comment, Tommy, and for sharing your experience. That sounds rough! Working as a web developer, I run into this situation where the client either does not have the resources, requirements, or is unwilling to pay for dedicated or VPS hosting. This leaves their only likely option a shared hosting plan, which can be nightmare territory indeed. My recommendation would be to opt for a highly reputable host. You might end up paying a tad extra but nowhere close to how much you would pay for other kinds of hosting. Not to mention the headaches you save yourself from by not running into these kinds of problems.

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