Web hosting is a commonly overlooked part of the equation when companies are setting up their websites. Too often, owners just go with the most obvious or least expensive option, without putting thought into what will work best with a WordPress site. Sure, there are a lot of choices out there, but not all of them are a logical fit for the WordPress platform or for your specific needs. To help, we’ve created this primer to guide you through the process of choosing a web hosting partner.
Web Hosting Requirements
WordPress, it may surprise you to learn, it a fairly lightweight platform from a script standpoint, and there are only a few recommendations WordPress makes for web hosting capabilities:
- PHP version 7 or greater
- MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.0 or greater
- HTTPS support
Because WordPress is so ubiquitous, most hosting providers have made it easy to get started using their services. Some even offer a “one click” installation process.
Comparing Web Hosting Services
Every site owner has different priorities when it comes to choosing a web host. Many place reliability at the top of their list while others want on-demand customer service. Still others have specific needs when it comes to security. These priorities will dictate which web host they select.
In addition to those requirements, here are some of the types of web hosting available.
- Free: Although these seem like a good deal, they might be a front for another user who is simply allowing you to use part of his or her server space in exchange for placing banner ads on your website. This situation is unreliable and unadvised.
- Shared: The most common option, shared hosting means your site is housed on a server with many others. The rates are reasonable, but you will likely be forced to upgrade if your usage exceeds the preset limits. Small businesses will do fine with shared hosting; larger companies or those with extensive ecommerce sites should plan to spend more for extra space.
- VPS: Owners of high-traffic sites, aspiring designers and medium-sized businesses should go with the Virtual Private Server option. It allows more usage and is perfect for people with technological expertise.
- Managed: People who have little to no experience maintaining a website should gravitate toward a provider that offers managed hosting. These companies take care of everything, from upgrades to performance optimization. The number of hosting platforms that offer managed service is more limited than the other categories, and the fees are higher. But stellar customer support can be worth the price.
- Dedicated Server: This means the user is leasing an actual server or servers all its own. It can choose the operating system and the hardware, with the understanding that your system administrator will maintain the server. If you don’t have a system admin, it is best to choose a managed dedicated server hosting plan.
Best Options Depending on Needs
Now that the many options are clear, the next step is to learn about actual providers. Again, the one you choose will depend on your priorities. Here are some major nationwide web hosting providers as well as some smaller, local options:
- Go Daddy: Very popular among site owners, Go Daddy features reasonable rates, a simple process and an extensive self-support library. On the downside, Go Daddy is slow to address help tickets and isn’t particularly cooperative when it comes to admin access when sites change hands.
- Bluehost: This is one of the biggest hosting options for websites built on a WordPress platform. It offers perks such as live chat, free domain registration and free site design templates. Small business owners looking for managed hosting might want to consider Bluehost.
- WP Engine: Specifically meant for WordPress sites, WP Engine offers managed hosting that is scalable and secure. Packages start at $29 per month and run up to $249 or more for premium services.
- SpireTech: Based in Portland, this local hosting company has extremely reasonable rates and earns high marks for reliability. The most expensive plan is just $40 per month, though it should be noted that the company is designed mainly for small businesses. All package fees include free domain registration.
This primer should help you make the best decision for web hosting for your company. Once you evaluate what you need for a successful site, you are ready to choose a provider. If you are still unsure which to select or need help migrating your site from one hosting company to another, we are happy to help smooth the process for you.