Hosting your own WordPress install is fairly easy. The most popular web hosting companies provide ample support for it, and the installation process itself is seamless enough for most people. However, choosing the right hosting plan is a different matter altogether.
There’s plenty of confusion surrounding web hosting plans, and a lot of people can get stuck when choosing among the incredible amount of offers out there. To make matters worse, having an inappropriate hosting plan can have its consequences; an insufficient amount of server power can lead to a lot of downtime, while an excessive plan may become a money sink with a lot of wasted resources. Let’s take a closer look at what kind of infrastructure you may need for your website.
Types Of Web Hosting Services
There are many different ways to host a webpage, and each of them has its pros and its cons. Roughly speaking, a web hosting may belong to one of the following categories:
The first and most basic type of hosting out there is shared hosting. Here, ‘shared’ means that your website will be stored in a machine that also holds a number of other websites. In essence, it means the resources of the server are collectively used by all the hosted accounts. This has the advantage of being a very cheap type of hosting, as companies can place many different websites onto the same machine.
Conversely, having to share your server resources means that at times your site may be starved for resources because everyone else needs them too. Worse yet, shared hosting plans tend to be less stable than most, since something going wrong with a single account can end up compromising the whole machine.
VPS (Virtual Private Server)
A virtual private server is a more modern, more stable version of shared hosting. Unlike purely sharing the server’s resources across all accounts, a VPS can provide more solid boundaries between each hosted site through virtualization. This results in having a more stable environment to work with, and having a set of alloted resources for you to use.
VPS hosting can be considered a hybrid of shared and dedicated hosting, as it’s more expensive than the former, but comes with many of the advantages of the latter. Perhaps, the best aspect of VPS hosting may be its ability to automatically allocate more available resources as you need them, letting you grow your plan without any major changes.
Dedicated servers are on the high-end of web hosting plans. A dedicated server means an entire physical machine is given to you, so you can freely use it however you wish and have all of its server resources at your disposal. Purely speaking, a dedicated server offers the best performance and stability off the box, since you don’t have to share your resources with anyone. It also allows you for better customization, since you may have access to the server’s configuration files.
The downside to this is the cost. Since you’re renting an entire machine, dedicated hosting is normally a very expensive option compared to the rest. It also means you have to manage the server yourself, or at least have someone do it in your place.
What Are WordPress Hosting Requirements?
Let’s make it clear from the start: a WordPress install needs a fairly high amount of CPU resources to run smoothly. This is owed to being an incredibly flexible CMS (content management system), which needs more processing power to account for all the plugin and theming functionality. To remedy that, there are a number of techniques for reducing CPU and bandwidth usage, such as adding a cache plugin or optimizing your images before uploading them.
As with any site, your hosting requirements will scale with the amount of traffic you receive. This is because as more people try to access your page at the same time, the server will have to work harder to create and then provide these pages. Therefore, one of the most useful metrics you can use to measure the requirements of your site, is the number of visits.
You also need to take into account the kind of site you’re running. Do you have a blog with mostly text-based content? Or are you a video streaming site that needs lots of bandwidth? It’s important to ask these questions to yourself, and think whether to invest on a more powerful plan.
What Kind Of WordPress Hosting Do I Need?
If you’re just starting out, the option we recommend the most is Shared Hosting. It is a very cheap choice that will let you size up the real needs of your site fairly quickly. You can then consider upgrading your plan or to stick with the current one.
As your site grows, it is recommended to switch to a VPS hosting plan. There is no telling when you will exactly need a better plan, since resource consumption can vary a lot from one WordPress install to another. You will have to check your site performance regularly and see if it needs more resources. One thing is clear: if you’re experiencing a lot of downtime, then you’ve probably outgrown your current host. If you’re selling some sort of product or service through your site, you’ll want to invest in a good hosting infrastructure to ensure the site is kept online at all times.
If you’re really serious and want the absolute best quality, a dedicated server can be a good option as well. As mentioned before, this is normally the most expensive option, but also the most customizable one. Most of the advantages of having a dedicated infrastructure lie in being able to install anything you’d like on the server, without any restrictions.
Managed WordPress Hosting
There is also the option of going with a host that specializes in the WordPress platform. Due to its immense popularity, a number of hosting providers have recently started offering managed WordPress hosting plans. Some of the more popular ones are WP Engine and Pagely, which are entirely focused on hosting the WordPress platform.
To be clear, a managed WordPress hosting service is not that different from a normal hosting plan– the main difference is that the whole service is geared towards working with the WordPress platform. This means the staff supervising your hosting will be prepared to work with WordPress, and solve most issues related to it. Moreover, the servers may be customized to provide improved performance over other, more generic hosting services.
Since this type of hosting is more specialized, it can be priced a bit higher than similar plans. Still, its cons are offset by the advantages that stem from having an enviroment specially adapted to work with WordPress. It can also save you the pain of having to decide which type of hosting to use, since most managed plans are straightforward and are measured in terms of the size of your size.
Choose According To Your Needs
Choosing the right hosting service can be a bit tricky. Since there is no simple way of measuring your website’s needs, most of the time it’s a matter of choosing a flexible plan and adjust accordingly over time. However, it is worth noting that investing in the infrastructure of your site is never a bad idea, since a solid web hosting can prevent many problems down the line.