When you decide to start an online business or blog, you run smack up against hosting. What’s the best kind of WordPress hosting for your site? How much bandwidth, CPU space, etc., do you need? What sorts of services will help you the most?
If you’re brand new to the WordPress platform, you may need some education just to know what those words mean. It’s difficult to make a smart decision when you don’t have a clue what it all means.
For purposes of this discussion, we’ll consider three types of WordPress hosting: shared, managed, and one all-in-one solution. There are others, but if you already know what a VPS is, you’re probably not reading this article anyway.
Shared WordPress Hosting
This is where most people start. Cheap enough to be affordable even for hobby bloggers, it’s affordable for new online businesses without much income as well. There’s nothing wrong with it, but you should be aware of its limitations.
With shared hosting, many websites share space on the same server — hence the designation, “shared.” Sometimes several thousand sites can reside together on a server.
This becomes an issue if either of the following happen:
- One site uses too large a share of the CPU and/or SQL resources. When that happens, it slows down all the other sites on the server.
- One site suffers a security breach. It’s not guaranteed that your site will be injected with malware if another site is, but it increases the likelihood. Ditto with viruses. (That’s one of the many reasons it’s important to make regular backups and to keep up with updates to themes, plugins, and WordPress itself.)
Because shared hosting is set up for the average user, the host may not be able to accommodate your need for special programs or configurations.
The company I send clients to for shared hosting is SiteGround.
NOTE: I have an affiliate relationship with several of the linked hosting companies listed in this article. That means, if you click the link and end up purchasing a hosting plan, I receive a commission. It helps keep this site going, but doesn’t allow me to retire to Bali (I wish it did!).
Managed WordPress Hosting
Unless you’re comfortable setting up your own server, this is where you go when your online business gets serious. You’re earning an income, and your traffic’s increasing to the point where shared hosting just doesn’t cut it any more.
Look for a host who specializes in WordPress. You’ll be assured that the servers are optimally configured to run WordPress sites, rather than a hodgepodge of different platforms.
When you choose managed hosting, the company handles security, and many of your routine updates and upgrades. Generally they offer caching, which speeds your page load times.
One downside of managed hosting is that they may restrict the plugins you can use. While this may feel constraining initially, it benefits you in the long run. If they’re doing their jobs properly, they won’t allow you to choose plugins that slow your site to a crawl or compromise site security.
For WordPress managed hosting, I recommend WPEngine.
Note that managed hosting typically does not include email or DNS. You’ll find these bundled with shared hosting, but managed hosting focuses on the hosting and leaves email to the email experts. Many of us find that Google Apps for Work gives us everything we need in an email provider, or you can arrange for it through other third-party email services.
The Next Step…
Once you’ve decided which type of WordPress hosting will work best for you, the next step is to determine the size of the hosting package you’ll need. For that, you’ll need an idea of the volume of traffic that will visit your site.
It’s another reason most bloggers, solopreneurs and small business start with shared hosting — when you have no traffic, you don’t need to concern yourself with running up against limits. Once you’ve established steady traffic, you should also be earning enough to afford a better quality of hosting.
Just as you need a larger house after adding a couple of kids to the family, you’ll need to reevaluate your hosting needs as your online business grows.
Need help deciding what kind of WordPress hosting you need for your site? Schedule a half-hour consultation.
This post was updated on October 11, 2021.