Are you interested in launching a WordPress website? Whether you’re an aspiring developer or a code-shy food blogger, you’ll need to sign up for web hosting. However, if you’re a beginner, you may not have the slightest idea how to pick a provider and plan.
Fortunately, there are plenty of web hosting options to choose from. By comparing their features and services, you’ll be able to select the hosting that best suits your needs.
In this post, we’ll explain what website hosting is and why choosing the right provider is so important for your future success. Then we’ll share three factors you should keep in mind when you’re shopping for a WordPress hosting provider. Let’s get started!
An Introduction to Website Hosting
In a nutshell, web hosting is what enables you to have a website live on the internet. Using powerful web servers, hosting companies house and manage access to the many files that make up your site.
When you purchase a web hosting plan, your website’s data is stored on one or more servers. Every time a visitor accesses your site, their browser sends a request to the relevant server. That server sends back your site’s files, and the browser displays them to the visitor.
It’s also important not to confuse a domain name with a web host. Your site’s domain name is its primary URL (for example, “https://mywebsite.com”). If your web hosting server is your site’s ‘house,’ then your domain name is its home address.
There are a few different types of hosting to choose from. Some of the most popular include:
- Shared hosting. The simplest and cheapest option, shared hosting is when a single physical server houses multiple websites and users.
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS). Like shared hosting, a VPS plan stores your site’s files on the same server as many other sites. However, your website has its own virtual partition with dedicated resources that keeps it separate and safer.
- Dedicated servers. A top-of-the-line hosting option that gives your website its own physical server. This offers the ultimate in security and performance, but comes at a steep cost.
- Cloud hosting. Rather than a single physical server, cloud hosting gives you access to a network of servers that share the load of your site’s files (and the data for other users’ websites). This way, your site can still be available if one server goes down.
Along with simply providing space for your site, web hosting services typically manage a lot behind the scenes. They can take care of site maintenance, backups, security, and more. Exactly what you get depends on the provider and plan you select.
Why Choosing the Right Hosting Provider and Plan Is So Important
There are lots of hosting options out there, and each one has different implications for your website. Your choice of hosting directly affects your own day-to-day management of the site, as well as its user experience. Plus, your provider and plan will affect your site’s security, performance, percentage of ‘uptime’, and more.
Ultimately, the success (or failure) of any website is greatly influenced by its web hosting. For that reason, you may want to consider a managed WordPress plan. This type of hosting offers you an all-inclusive package that makes handling your site a lot easier.
Managed WordPress hosting is an excellent opportunity for anyone, but especially for beginners. Here are a few advantages to going this route:
- Access to expert technical support
- Dependable security and backups
- Site optimization for best performance
These are just a few of the many benefits of choosing a managed WordPress host. It’s a more hands-off experience, taking many of the key technical tasks off your plate so you can focus on creating content and/or running your business.
Managed hosting is a level of service, rather than a type of plan per se. In other words, you can find managed shared hosting, managed VPS hosting, and so on. These plans will typically be a little pricer than their unmanaged counterparts, but the tradeoff can be well worth it.
Many providers offer managed WordPress hosting, and it’s important to choose the company you’ll do business with carefully. When you sign up with a web hosting provider, you’re usually making a long-term commitment, so it’s important to give this decision the weight it deserves.
3 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Web Hosting Provider
With so much variety out there and so much depending on your hosting provider, it can be helpful to narrow your search by focusing on the most important criteria. With that in mind, let’s explore three key factors to consider when choosing web hosting.
1. Your Needs
Every WordPress website has a distinct set of goals. You may be running a simple blog, a business website, or an eCommerce store. With these different use cases come different needs.
For example, a large online business with lots of traffic will need robust security and performance optimization, so that customers can make their purchases smoothly and safely. It may also need more resources.
On the other hand, a modest hobby blogger will probably want a hosting plan with a more basic suite of features. When making your choice, you’ll need to consider the type of site you’re building and who your audience will be.
Some providers serve one particular type of user, while others have packages catering to a wide variety of needs. For example, WP Engine offers a plan for almost everyone. Small businesses, eCommerce stores, and even developers who want lightning-fast headless WordPress websites should find a suitable plan for their unique requirements.
The bottom line is that web hosting is not one-size-fits-all. It’s smart to opt for a provider that offers a variety of plans, so that if your site’s needs change over time, you won’t have to move your site elsewhere.
2. Customer Support Options
All web hosting providers should offer their customers a solid support system, so that when problems occur they can be troubleshooted and resolved as quickly as possible. However, the reality is that some hosting services are notorious for providing minimal customer service.
A bare-bones customer support team can be extremely frustrating. Since you’re likely to need them during a time of great distress for your website, you’ll want your web host to be both available and knowledgeable.
At a minimum, you may want to look for a solid knowledge base of information, and a support ticketing system so you can reach out and receive prompt responses regarding your issues. Ideally, you’ll also want access to chat and phone support.
It’s best to opt for a provider that offers multiple support channels, so you can use whatever is most convenient to you during a given situation. We’d also suggest checking out user reviews for any hosting provider you’re considering, so you can see what kinds of experiences real customers have had.
3. Plans and Pricing
For many people, budget can present a very real limitation. Thus, it’s important to be realistic about the funds you can afford to invest in web hosting. You want to strike a balance by not overpaying for unnecessary add-ons, yet not neglecting essential features that will safeguard the well-being of your site.
So you’ll want to know what your budget is before searching for a provider and plan. You can find options for as little as $5 per month, while high-end hosting can cost hundreds of dollars per month. Domain names also carry annual fees, so you should factor in that cost as well.
Plans are almost as varied as hosting providers themselves, which can make deciding overwhelming. To make your choice, take advantage of any comparison tables, and look closely at the details of each plan before choosing. Some important features you might want to look for include storage space, backups, performance monitoring, and security.
Getting started with a new website can seem overwhelming. Everyone is a beginner at some point, and choosing a web hosting provider is one of the first steps you’ll have to take. However, you don’t have to feel like you’re stepping into uncharted territory. If you’re equipped with the right knowledge, you’ll be able to make a wise decision for your site’s future.
In this post, we looked at three main things to consider when choosing a web hosting provider:
- Your needs
- Customer support options
- Plans and pricing
Do you still have questions about choosing a WordPress web hosting provider? Let us know in the comments section below!