If you’re planning on creating a new WordPress website — or are unhappy with your existing hosting provider — you’ll need to choose where to host your site. It’s daunting to sift through the hundreds of different hosting options to figure out which best suits your needs. Here’s a quick primer to make this choice a bit easier for you.
For the majority of small- and medium-sized businesses, third-party “shared hosting” is a reliable cost-efficient hosting solution ($5 – $15/month). With shared hosting, your site is sharing a server with several other websites. This is what allows hosting companies to keep costs low. The tradeoff is that if another site on the same shared server sees a sudden increase in traffic, then the server could get bottle-necked and temporarily slow your site down. Shared hosting plans typically do not include site backups and back-end WordPress upgrades, so we recommend having your own backup and upgrade strategy in place if you plan to use shared hosting. Examples of shared hosting companies include ICDSoft, HostGator and BlueHost.
Since WordPress is by far the most popular back-end platform for websites, there are several hosting companies that specialize in it. They usually provide “managed WordPress hosting” — so they’ll handle your backups and upgrades as new versions are released. Managed hosting plans tend to be more expensive ($20 – 200/month), but can be beneficial if you want to take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to your site. The tradeoff of managed hosting is that the providers will sometimes disallow certain WordPress plugins for any number of reasons. For example, the provider might claim that a plugin uses too many resources on the hosting server. Examples of managed WordPress hosting companies include WPEngine and SiteGround.
If you anticipate more than 25,000 visitors per month, you may want to look into “dedicated hosting.” This is significantly more expensive than the other options (between several hundred and several thousand dollars per month). We suggest consulting an IT professional regarding your specific website needs before purchasing a dedicated hosting service.