How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting and the 4 Top WordPress Hosting Choices
WordPress has gained immense popularity in recent times as a Content Management System (CMS) and a website-building platform. It is also known to reach people faster and is very easy to use.
This is where most dreamers and entrepreneurs begin the journey of expanding their business online.
Since web hosting is the first step towards building a professional website, it is essential that you know all the crucial factors going in.
Here are detailed descriptions of the most popular WordPress hosting categories and the critical factors to keep in mind before taking the final leap:
Types of WordPress Hosting
1. Shared Hosting
If you ever had a website, you must have crossed paths with shared hosting. In this hosting category, multiple sites share the resources of one physical server. As a result, the cost goes down, but the website performance suffers as well. Because you are sharing space on the server with other hosting clients, you may have to pay only a fraction of the total cost.
This will help if you have a tight budget for your website. This is why shared hosting usually turns out to be the most affordable option among all plans by the provider.
However, having such shared resources also means that, how the other clients are using this server will profoundly affect your site’s performance. If they use up too much bandwidth, your website speed will go down and vice versa. So the dependence on other hosting websites can create essential problems for your business.
Also, if your website starts getting more traffic, a shared server cannot handle the load and will malfunction. This can create dire consequences for your business. For example, your eCommerce website or online shopping store will attract more customers on the eve of Christmas.
But if the site crashes due to such a traffic surge, it will result in a massive loss for your business. So shared hosting plans can be useful for you if it is going to be used for lightweight or personal use only like blogging.
Shared Hosting Pros:
- Low price
- Perfect for beginners
Shared Hosting Cons:
- Limited resources
- Reduced performance
- Scaling issues
2. Dedicated Server WordPress Hosting
In dedicated server hosting, you get a whole server for your website only. There is no need to share the hardware or software resources with anybody. So you can have full control over the specifications of your website. You can also customize the server fully to meet the particular needs of your site. For example, you can have TLS certificates for running your WordPress website on HTTPS.
This also ensures top-notch security and high performance for the website. The pages load much faster, and the data stays safe under high-security measures. It will draw millions of users from all around the world on a regular basis and thus ensure high traffic.
The biggest drawback of plans with dedicated hosting is the price. They usually begin at $100 per month, and it can get much more expensive from there. This is why only the big enterprises dare to invest in it since they can guarantee themselves profit from here.
Dedicated Server Pros:
- Dedicated resources
- Strong security
- Good website performance
- Can take heavy traffic loads
- Fully customizable
Dedicated Server Cons:
- Not scalable
3. VPS WordPress Hosting
VPS or Virtual Private Servers use the virtualization of physical servers to create enormous advantages for hosting clients. In VPS hosting, one physical server is partitioned into several compartments.
Each compartment then behaves like a dedicated virtual server for a single client. This brings down the cost of a hosting plan and provides full control of the partitioned resources for the client. As a result, it kind of combines the benefits of shared hosting and dedicated hosting at the same time.
Each client runs their copy of the operating system on their virtual server which ensures limitation of access by other parties. They are also given root access to this virtual server creating an autonomous controlling opportunity for the server management personnel of your team.
This is why your team must have people who have commendable experience and expertise in this area. Otherwise, having such powerful access to the server specifications will not benefit your business that much.
There will also be room for malfunctions since the hardware resources of the physical server are still shared by all hosting clients. It is not easy to scale up here due to limited hardware resources.
This hosting will be the best for owners of small businesses and similar medium-sized organizations with a fairly tight budget.
VPS Hosting Pros:
- Full control
- Dedicated resources
- Good website performance
- Can take decent traffic loads
VPS Hosting Cons:
- Not scalable
- Compulsory technical expertise
- Shared hardware resources
4. Cloud WordPress Hosting
This is one of the newest forms of hosting in the industry. In cloud hosting, the mechanism depends on a vast network of servers and interconnected software. This network of hundred servers combines their power to behave like a single giant server.
It is the most easily scalable hosting variant since more servers can be added to the network if the traffic load goes up. Same goes for all other hardware resources. Because of such flexible resource structure, the client only has to pay for the resources he has used. Thus, it is the most cost-effective solution to any hosting issue.
Since the data is shared here through many interconnected servers of the network, it can be accessed anytime from anywhere. This poses certain security risks for companies who deal with sensitive data.
Cloud Hosting Pros:
- Easily scalable
- Can take huge traffic loads
Cloud Hosting Cons:
- Can be more expensive
5. Managed Hosting
Managed hosting is a service that can be combined with any other type of hosting.
Here, the hosting provider takes full responsibility for handling the technical aspects of the hosting, though ask questions to understand the full scope of the managed hosting of a given hosting service.
Managed hosting usually costs more than unmanaged hosting. But because someone else is handling all technical issues, you can invest more time into focusing on your business.
Factors to Consider When Choosing WordPress Hosting
1. Loading Speed
Loading speed is crucial to the growth and popularity of any website. There are many research data and statistics to prove this reality. According to the 2009 founding of Forrester Consulting, about 47% of all web surfers would wait only two seconds at most for the website to load.
A 2012 research by Aberdeen Group showed how a one-second delay in page loading could cause the conversions to go down by 7%. Standing in 2018, the internet users expect the website speed to be lightning fast.
Since Google announced that the page loading time would be factored into the ranking of a website, all site-owners have become much more aware of the loading speed. Being high in the SEO ranking can draw in free traffic from Google. So both Google-generated traffic and usual website visitors expect to see your pages appear in the blink of an eye.
To maintain such high speed on your website, you would require the hosting plan to offer an ample amount of RAM, processing power and storage systems. It will work the best if there is no restriction on these values. These resources will be the most effective if they are unlimited.
2. Server Management
WordPress is full of enthusiasts and dreamers who wish to make it big in their respective fields. So when they run the website, they prefer to spend most of their time on building new plans for their business growth.
Unless you have the technical skills and the time to manage the server, the hosting service should manage the server, including keeping all the packages up-to-date that keep your server running securely. For this, the WordPress hosting provider must include server management in their plans.
They must provide technical support to deal with such issues and handle them with proficiency. If they take the responsibility of solving such complicated underlying problems, the owner can peacefully continue with his business and see more profit.
3. Server Scalability
Your carefully designed and organized website can crash down if the server resources fall short. And we don’t need to tell you how horrific that might be for your business. For example, if the WordPress website houses an online shopping store and crashes due to a shortage of bandwidth, it will cause drastic losses to the business in an hour.
Therefore, the amount of RAM, CPU, and bandwidth provided with the website must be scalable. These numbers must be able to cope up with the growing traffic to meet their ever-changing needs.
So even if your site is not drawing much traffic now, settle for scalable servers which can handle the extra load and prevent crashes or losses in future. A scalable server increases the resources automatically when the need arises and keeps the website operational.
4. High Uptime backed by an SLA
The biggest global online retailer Amazon ended up losing almost $2.64 million this year due to downtime of only 13 minutes. It had faced such a situation before too. In 2013 Amazon lost $2 million to a critical outage and it lost $4.13 billion in 2008 for the same reason.
If the world’s number one retailer can still fall victim to downtimes, it is no surprise if you do as well. But a good hosting provider can make sure that you get the maximum uptime for your website.
Cloud hosting can be a good option for this since if one server goes down in this hosting system; another one can replace it immediately. So, choose your hosting vendor wisely. Pick one that offers more than 99.5% uptime backed in writing with a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that specifies exactly what sort of compensation you're entitled to if the service falls below the guarantees made in the SLA.
5. Customer Support
Many minor to significant problems may occur while running a WordPress website. You then have to seek expert help who can get you out of it immediately. A secure customer support system can be a vital force in this regard. In the case of a WordPress website, the support people offer a lot more than just solving such problems.
They can also suggest the right plugins, settings, themes, updates and more for the longevity of your website. Choose a WordPress hosting provider who can deliver support like this 24/7 and have advanced knowledge in resolving WordPress issues. It can be through Live Chat, email and other relevant media.
When it comes to security, no website owner should leave any room for error. Relying on the second-best security measures is not an option. The vendors of your choice must be capable of providing top-notch security for your website. The security system should consist of firewall protection, access control panel, malware monitoring and an SSL certificate at a minimum. This can be great additions to the already strong safety of WordPress’ core. To make sure your website is taking advantage of this extremely secure core, verify that your WordPress version is up-to-date.
Caching can represent two things - it either points at the local storage of data to speed up following retrievals or at the reserved memory areas in all computers aimed at speeding up instruction execution. In web hosting, caching refers to the first meaning. Caching makes it easier for the regular visitors of your website to load pages faster.
It is the norm for WordPress users to implement caching systems based on a plugin. However, many hosting vendors provide their caching system which is customized for WordPress.
As a result, it runs faster than the plugin-based ones. To maintain their fast speed, most hosts refuse to allow plugins like WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.
The hosts’ caching can be object-based like Memcached, or the combination of an in-memory datastore service and its WordPress counterpart. Both of these will speed up your website by taking the load off of PHP interpreter and database.
All websites need to have backups of their data to bounce back quickly after a disaster. This is crucial since along with cyber-attacks, the sites are always at the risk of a resource malfunctioning or reaching its limit. If the hard drive your server gives up, all data will be gone with it forever. Also, in the case of a virus infection, restoring it from an uninfected backup might be easier and less time-consuming than to clean up every point manually.
To keep all significant data secure, backups need to be an indispensable part of the hosting plan. Data backups should be provided on a weekly or daily basis. This backup should include the “wp-content” or “uploads” folder which includes all your images.
9. Content Delivery Networks
CDN or Content Delivery Network represents a network of distributed servers which delivers web content to front-users based on their geographic location. This helps to make the website more relatable and useful for the visitors, providing them with the smooth user experience.
The CDN caches static content of the website and thus bring them up faster on the user’s subsequent visits. This enhances the site speed and improves its performance. So an excellent hosting vendor would have built-in CDNs or CDN services like MaxCDN included in their hosting plans.
10. Multiple Geographically Dispersed Data Centers
If you have targeted users of a particular location for your business, the physical location of the data center will matter a lot. The closer it is to your visitors’ location, the better will be the loading speed of the site and thus the performance will also improve. The majority of your site users can enjoy the privilege of this fast loading speed if the data center is close by. So ask the vendors about the actual location of their servers during negotiation.
11. Developer Tools
WordPress development has a community of its own. The developers here would love the advantage of having various programming tools at their service. These can include a version control system like Git or BitBucket, debugger like Xdebug or Query Monitor, WP-CLI enabled staging servers,
Nginx-based dynamic caching, content builder, etc. Plugins or extensions like this can make your developers’ work easier giving them more time to take care of the crucial problems and features.
No one can deny the costing limitations when picking their hosting plans. It is impulsive for most website owners to go for the cheapest one immediately. However, that might not result in long sustainability and can also hamper the performance of your site. What you need to look for is the best value for the price. So before settling for a vendor, go through all the features they are offering.
The overall cost also depends on the servers’ health and the quality of customer support provided. The number of resources is best being unlimited, but there is a catch. If your website on shared hosting starts drawing in large numbers of visitors, the provider will force you to scale up and pay more. Take all such things into consideration before making the final decision.
Launching a website on WordPress is easy for the beginners. But if you want your business to bloom or your content to reach a vast audience, you must invest in a hosting plan.
Figure out the specific needs of your business and see which one can cater to them the best.
The 4 Best WordPress Hosting Services in 2018