WordPress powers over 30% of all websites on the internet, but if you’re thinking about starting your own WordPress site you need to know that web hosting—that is, the place where your website lives on the internet—is key to your site’s performance and security. If you’re just getting started with WordPress, and don’t have much experience with hosting or web technology in general, it can be hard to know what to look for in a web host. To make sure you get the best possible web host for your WordPress site, read on for our top tips and recommendations.
What Makes a Good Web Host
A host should have speedy servers, and it’s important to consider how much traffic you’ll need to support. You’ll also want a host that offers exceptional customer service, as well as an intuitive interface for managing your site.
Is Free a Good Thing?
If you’re in business, then you know money is tight. With that in mind, free web hosting might seem like a great idea—but often it’s not. Free web hosts generally have advertisements on their sites, which means your site could be bringing them traffic and income while they give away your hosting space at no cost. It’s hard to compete with that kind of arrangement—so if you want an ad-free WordPress experience, you should probably look into paying for your own space.
What Features Do I Need?
As with any website, WordPress hosts come with a wide range of features and price points. When choosing a web host, ask yourself what you really need out of your website. Some WordPress hosting providers have limits on things like storage space or traffic transfer. There are also differences in security between hosting companies—if you’re running a business site that deals with sensitive information like credit card data, you’ll want to look into how secure and hack-proof each company is.
WordPress web hosting can range in price depending on your desire. Small personal blogs will be able to use a shared hosting plan. If you are running a large business site or want more power, then a VPS (Virtual Private Server) might be needed. These plans start at $70/month and go up with added features and resources.
Where’s the Server Located?
Since WordPress is built on PHP and MySQL (different types of computer languages), your server has to have a web host that’s compatible with these platforms. Some hosts advertise their plans as WordPress-ready, but even these can lead to compatibility issues. To ensure you have a solid hosting partner, you should check that your web host is compatible with PHP and MySQL before signing up. For example, Bluehost claims it hosts more than 1 million websites – but fewer than 200 are running WordPress.
If you’re setting up an eCommerce site, your web host will need to offer some sort of eCommerce hosting plan. While WordPress is primarily used as a blogging platform, thousands of people use it as a selling tool—so there’s no reason you can’t get everything you need from one company.
Security and Backups
While there are a number of other factors to consider when choosing web hosting, one of the most important is security. Make sure your host offers up-to-date malware protection, and that it’s regularly scanning your WordPress installation to find any malicious code or vulnerabilities. Also make sure you have backups; in case your site is hacked or a piece of code messes something up, you’ll want to be able to restore everything quickly and easily.
Control Panel or Cpanel Alternative
If you’re using WordPress and want to use a custom domain, you’ll need web hosting that gives you an advanced control panel or Cpanel alternative (see #1). You’ll want it because without it, adding DNS records on your domain may seem impossible if not just risky.
As with all web hosting services, you’ll have certain add-on options that are available to you. One of these is called a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which allows users to distribute content via their own global network of servers. In layman’s terms, it helps website users load your website faster. The other option is called WordPress VIP Support, which offers 24/7 support through phone and chats during regular business hours.