There are quite literally thousands of web hosting options out there for your WordPress site, whether you’re creating one from scratch or are looking for a new host.
There are a number of factors to take into account when it comes to choosing a host, but one of the most important thing to note is that each site is different, depending on your requirements, so the first thing to do is address what your site needs.
- How much traffic does your site get, or do you expect it to get over the next couple of months?
- Does your hosting service need to be developer friendly?
- How much support will you require?
- What is your budget?
One of the most important things to bear in mind when choosing your host is how it’s going to perform so make sure to check out what kind of memory (RAM), processing power (CPUs) and disk space are available first.
RAM and CPU are perhaps the most important as these will determine how many visitors at one time your site can host.
If your RAM and CPU aren’t up to scratch them you’ll notice your site slowing down, especially at peak times.
If you’re expecting to have lots of bursts of traffic, then the average hosting plan isn’t going to cut it for you and you’ll want to up the RAM and CPU.
Disk space is slightly less important as many hosting providers will provide this unlimited.
Your hosting providers should usually provide information on your speed and performance via the dashboard, so it’s worth a check to see how you’re currently performing.
This is going to depend largely on how used to WordPress and web hosting you are. If you’re a WP whizz, and know all about installing, migrating and so on, then you’re likely not going to need much support from your web host.
Having said this, it is always good to know that there’s somebody at the end of a phone call or email who will be able to get things back up and running if everything does go pear shaped.
Check out what your web host’s support services are like. If it’s going to take them 24 hours to get back to you every time you have an issue, you may want to look elsewhere, especially if you’re a WordPress newbie.
Uptime refers to the amount of time that your site is up and running. Obviously you want this as close to 100% as possible, but even the best hosting site will have the odd glitch now and then.
The average uptime is usually around 99.5%, but they can vary by a couple of 0.1%. While this might not seem like much difference, for some bigger businesses it could make a big difference to your income!
You can use a site such as My Hosting Uptime to check your site’s uptime.
Types of hosting
So what type of hosting is best for you? There are four types to choose from, all with their own pros or cons.
(There is also the option of free hosting although these will usually ask you to place adverts on your website and generally aren’t as reliable as paid options so we wouldn’t recommend them)
Shared hosting is your cheapest option, and your site will be coupled with up to another hundred or so websites all powered by the save server.
These work well for smaller sites as they will have less traffic and won’t require as many resources.
The issue you can face with a shared server is if it happens to overload, then all of the sites on the server will slow down.
Shared servers generally are only suitable for smaller sites which are just starting out, and would probably struggle with large loads of traffic.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
VPS servers give you a certain amount of RAM and CPU to suit your needs. You can modify these to adapt to your requirements, although this is quite technical if you don’t know your stuff, so we wouldn’t recommend it to a rookie.
Having said this, VPS is a very flexible method, and the fact that you’re on your own server means that it’ll never overload and should maintain a good speed.
We recommend this server type if you’ve been hosting for a little while and are looking to make a step up.
A managed server is completely taken care of by the hosting company (from a technical standpoint), allowing you to take care of the important stuff!
Your hosting company will totally optimize your site and keep on top of any problems or viruses that may occur, so that you don’t need to worry.
We spoke to Liam from Identify Wed Design who said: “Personally, we would recommend managed hosting, especially if you’re just starting out, as it allows you to totally leave the technical side of things to the pros.
“It means that you can direct your focus to growing your business and website, and you won’t have to worry about performance issues along the way!”
A dedicated server is solely for your website, and unlike a VPS, all of its resources are available to you, offering the ultimate performance.
Of course, this means that dedicated servers are extremely expensive, and are only required by sites which achieve incredibly high traffic.
As such, we would almost never recommend using a dedicated server as they’re just too expensive!