So you acquired a domain name, and are now looking at web hosting providers for your WordPress sites. With all the different choices and providers out there, where should you start your search for the best web hosting? In this article, we explain the various types of hosting, features to consider, and provide a few recommendations.
Many hosts will have promotions or specials for free hosting. As with most things free, there will be an up-sell at a future date. In our opinion, free hosting is fine if you plan on hosting a very simple, static site that requires little to no processing power from the server. However, if you are running WordPress, free hosting is not geared towards your site. Additionally, free hosting can have a negative perception and user experience for visitors to your site. However, if you just want a site online, there’s nothing wrong with free hosting as long as you are willing to accept the lack of performance and user experience.
Most online sites are hosted on Shared Hosting environments. This means that several accounts (i.e., other sites) are also being hosted on the same server and using the same resources (bandwidth, RAM, etc.) of that physical server. Shared hosting is more affordable and popular since all the users are sharing the costs. If you do not expect high amounts of traffic and have a standard website, shared hosting is a suitable hosting solution. There are many reputable hosts that offer this solution at very low prices. Therefore, when choosing between free hosting vs. shared hosting, opt for shared hosting as it will definitely give you more reliability and features. Most shared hosting accounts come with one-click installations of popular software – such as WordPress – as well as shopping carts and other add-ons. However, when several accounts are using the same fixed amount of resources on a server, there will be noticeable variations in performance and stability at times. Servers may go down due to scripts executed on other users’ sites, or a single site may use up more resources leaving less for the other sites on the server. These are the types of reasons that drive more popular blogs, and especially those who make money off their sites, to opt for cloud hosting (VPS) or Dedicated hosting.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. Unlike shared hosting where other websites are sharing the same fixed resources as your site, a VPS is a virtual instance of a server that can be used exclusively by an individual customer of the service. In short, it means the resources available all for your sites (not sharing). VPS hosting is becoming more and more affordable nowadays but is still more expensive than shared hosting.
Dedicated hosting means obtaining full access to a server, and all its available resources, exclusively for your site. If you have a popular site, get massive amounts of traffic, or just want the scalability of resources on a server, then dedicated hosting may be the right hosting solution. This is what the big boys online use. But having a dedicated server means you alone are responsible for all aspects of it including, in most cases, the server administration, upgrading, security, and uptime/downtime. Furthermore, this is the most expensive hosting solution. It can get even more expensive if you choose to have the hosting provider manage all the administration of the dedicated server.
Hosting providers are great at marketing their offerings. When making a decision on which host to choose, you should carefully consider all the following factors:
We work with hundreds of users who ask for our recommendation. Based on our past experience, the following hosting providers have consistently satisfied our web hosting needs:
Once you have your hosting secured, you can move on to installing WordPress and getting your web site up and running.