I think we can confidently say not all WordPress website hosting is created equal. Is there even a difference between WordPress hosting and non-WordPress hosting and does it matter? The answer is: yes.
WordPress website hosting can be defined as a managed hosting service optimized for the WordPress platform with security, usability, and speed enhancements.
Don’t let Danica Patrick’s long hair and chiseled facial features lure you into signing up for a hosting plan. When it comes to identifying a reliable hosting company you can’t judge a book by its cover and believe all the hype. This might sound like cliché advice, but it’s true.
One of the first things to consider is how large and complex your site is and how much traffic you anticipate. If you’re running a lot of plugins you’ll want more bandwidth. If you use large, high-quality images for blog posts that you write on a regular basis you’ll want more storage space. If you’re constantly making updates to your website you’ll want access to a staging environment that’s easy to set up and deploy from.
Shared, managed, or VPS?
In most cases you’re going to want one of three types of hosting, shared, managed or a VPS. Shared hosting is the cheapest because you’re essentially sharing resources with the thousands of other websites on the same server. With a VPS (Virtual Private Server) your website still lives on a server that hosts other websites but you have dedicated resources allocated to your site that other sites can’t touch. Finally there is managed hosting which usually is a VPS but the hosting provider manages much of the server level details like software updates and initial configurations for you.
Shared hosting isn’t bad if you have a small HTML site and don’t want to break the bank. VPS, is great if you need dedicated resources and more control. It requires more involvement on your part but is highly modular. Managed hosting works great when you want someone else to optimize the server environment for your platform (like WordPress) and to handle software updates and security.
We recommend a managed WordPress hosting plan built on NGINX architecture which is faster than traditional Apache environments.
Price isn’t everything
The landscape seems pretty competitive when it comes to pricing. You could spend anywhere from $3 per month on a shared hosting plan to $69 per month on a single WordPress managed hosting plan. The most expensive plans might be offering more bells and whistles than you need, and the cheapest ones will be slower and less secure.
A respectable WordPress managed hosting solution will cost between $20 and $40 per month and provide ample security and speed for a business website.
If you’re a large organization looking for a custom solution, you could be spending upwards of $1,000 per month for the level of support and scalability you require.
Setup and support
Some hosting companies now have the equivalent of a full-service gas station (remember those?) and offer free migrations and advisors to help you choose the right plan. Is this a good thing? Yes. Let the server guys (in lieu of your web developers) do the heavy lifting for you. Whether or not a hosting provider offers this is a good indicator of how comprehensive their support will be going forward.
Support should be accessible through different channels (chat, phone, email, a ticket system, etc.) that suit your preference(s) and be available 24/7. Most companies claim superior 24/7 support, but this isn’t always the case.
If you’re running a WordPress site, opting for a WordPress managed hosting plan is definitely worth the extra cost as Google now puts more emphasis on site speed for search rankings. No one can afford for their site to be compromised, and with WordPress running more than 20% of websites it’s a highly targeted platform for hacks. The added security of these plans will help ensure your site doesn’t become compromised.
Here are a couple hosts we recommend regularly to our customers: