How to Get WordPress Hosting
WordPress is an uber-popular content management system that powers more than 32 percent of the world wide web. Its success is understandable; WordPress is easy to use, and it boasts an incredible library of themes and plug-ins that enhance your site in many ways. In fact, WordPress is the foundation for millions of websites, from personal pages to big brand online destinations, such as Bloomberg and The New Yorker. If you’re thinking about building a website and don’t want to code it from scratch, WordPress is the way to go.
Most web hosts offer some form of WordPress-specific service, be it an optimized or a managed environment. Both types boast platforms specifically designed for WordPress. In each, the CMS comes preinstalled, so you don’t have to download and set up a WordPress installation as you’d do when using a traditional web hosting environment.
Note that we’re speaking here of the WordPress.org CMS that acts as the foundation for your self-hosted website, not WordPress.com. The latter CMS has more in common with website builders than traditional website hosting. In effect, WordPress.com is a turnkey (and more limited) WordPress solution, whereas the services in this roundup offer a vastly more flexible (and labor-intensive) DIY approach.
Depending on the web host, you can enjoy a huge variety of site-friendly features, including automatic data backups, page caching, and automatic CMS updates. Note that some web hosts restrict a short list of plug-ins that may duplicate features already built into the optimized or managed setup or negatively affect your site’s performance.
Managed WordPress builds upon optimized WordPress hosting in a few key areas. Your website will be assigned a customer support squad that isn’t just super-knowledgeable in all things WordPress, but one that also ensures that you don’t have to ever worry about going into your site’s back end to do anything other than create content. Managed WordPress hosts typically offer site-staging for posts and pages so that you can test them before they go live, automatic malware detection and removal, and enhanced security, too.
It’s important to understand that the dividing line between optimized WordPress and managed WordPress can be quite thin, and also that each site may have its own slightly different definitions for the two terms. You should contact a web host’s customer support team to learn the specifics of its WordPress hosting.
WordPress Pricing and Features
WordPress hosting prices are all over the map. Entry-level plans should cost roughly the same as shared web hosting, but higher-tier plans can scale upward to around $60 per month. The upside? Your WordPress installation should run more smoothly and setup should be easier in a WordPress environment than in a traditional hosting environment. In addition, going the managed WordPress route may save you money in the long run, as it might save you the cost of hiring a system administrator to perform the same tasks. This can be particularly beneficial to small businesses.
Before you sign up for a WordPress web hosting service, you should look for these attractive—and possibly essential—features. Ideally, you’ll want to invest in a WordPress host that provides unlimited monthly data transfers, email, storage, and 24/7 support. Many WordPress web hosts that place caps on those features, particularly on the managed side of things. WP Engine ($20 Per Month at WP Engine) , for example, limits sites to 400,000 visitors and a relatively paltry 30GB of storage. If you expect lots of site growth, you’ll want a host that can properly accommodate your website’s future expansion.
Additionally, you’ll want a service that offers Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) if you plan to sell products. Ever see a green padlock in your browser’s address bar while you’re on your bank’s website? That’s the symbol that tells visitors that SSL is in place. It’s a symbol of trustworthiness.
An SSL connection encrypts the data that travels between your site and users’ web browsers, thus safeguarding the transmission of purchasing information. All the WordPress hosting services in this roundup offer SSL certificates, but the prices vary from company to company. Some companies include a free SSL certificate when you sign up for a hosting plan, while others charge close to $100.
Naturally, your web hosting needs will differ from the next person’s, but keep these features in mind if you want a silky smooth WordPress experience.
The aforementioned features are valuable to the web hosting experience, but none can match the importance of site uptime. If your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your blog or your products or services. Potential new customers may miss your site altogether, and existing customers may go elsewhere out of frustration or confusion.
We’ve added uptime monitoring to our review process, and the results show that most web hosts do an excellent job of keeping sites up and running. Web hosts with uptime issues cannot qualify for inclusion among the best services in the field, no matter how solid the rest of their offerings are.
Do You Need WordPress-Specific Hosting?
If you’re planning to create a WordPress-powered site, there’s no reason not to invest in WordPress-specific hosting. It’s chock full of benefits. That said, a WordPress environment won’t allow you to set up a non-WordPress site—that’s something else to keep in mind, especially if you have a site in mind that will rely on specific frameworks, for example. In such instances, you’ll want to go build your site on shared hosting, VPS hosting, or dedicated hosting services. And, if you want to start your own web hosting company, reseller hosting is the way to go.
You also need to consider how long you’ll need WordPress web hosting. If it’s a short-term project—say, less than a month or two—you’ll typically receive a refund should you cancel your hosting within 60 days. Some companies offer 30-day money-back guarantees, while others offer 90-day money-back guarantees. Once again, it’s beneficial to do your homework.
We’ve reviewed many WordPress hosting services aimed at individuals and small businesses, and included our favorites this guide. The chart above, which includes traditional web hosts that offer WordPress hosting and dedicated WordPress services, gives you a quick overview of the features you can find with each service. If you want a more in-depth look at those WordPress hosting services, read the full reviews, linked below.