Hosting is one of the most important, but commonly overlooked aspects of running your website. Without a high-quality host behind you, your site will load slowly, have high downtime, and even be less secure, or more susceptible to hacking.
By choosing a quality WordPress host you can greatly improve the performance of your WordPress site while giving yourself a ton of additional advantages.
Learn what WordPress hosting actually is, the various forms of WordPress hosting that are available, how it can benefit your site, and finally what to look for in a quality WordPress host.
What Is WordPress Hosting?
In the purest sense, WordPress web hosting is a host that’s been optimized to run WordPress. The additional features offered will vary depending on the type of WordPress hosting you go with. But, generally it’ll be equipped with features like one-click-install, so you can quickly install WordPress on your site, or automatic updates to the WordPress core.
Generally, WordPress hosting will have support staff that’s better versed in WordPress-related technical issues than your standard hosting staff.
Keep in mind that WordPress hosting is not a requirement if you want to run WordPress. You can run WordPress on almost any style of host as the requirements to run WordPress are quite minimal.
In fact, the only technical requirements support for running WordPress include MySQL 5.0.15 or higher and PHP 5.2.4 or higher. However, just because you can run WordPress on technically any host doesn’t mean you should. A WordPress host will help you get the most out of your website and offer you greater levels of performance across the board.
The Different Types of WordPress Hosting Available
Above you learned that any kind of hosting solution can technically be WordPress hosting, once you install WordPress. However, actual WordPress hosting is a specific type of hosting environment that’s been optimized to help WordPress run better.
Here are the most common types of WordPress hosting that you’ll find.
1. Shared WordPress Hosting
Shared WordPress hosting is the cheapest form of WordPress hosting you’ll be able to find. Think of it as a step up from traditional shared hosting in that it’s optimized specifically for WordPress.
Still, with a shared WordPress hosting solution, you’ll be sharing server resources with other websites. This sharing of the web server environment is what helps to keep costs low.
The web server you’re sharing will still be optimized for WordPress though, so you will get improved performance over a traditional shared server.
Other common features you’ll find in traditional WordPress hosting include the ability to use a one-click WordPress installer, so you can install WordPress in a couple of minutes. Some hosts will even give you the ability to pre-install WordPress the moment you sign up for hosting.
Other features you may find include automatic updates to the WordPress core, along with your themes and plugins, and of course, a knowledgeable support team.
Any other WordPress-related features included in your package will be host specific.
2. Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress sites enjoy one of the highest levels of hosting available for WordPress sites. Managed WordPress hosting takes the stress out of hosting and managing your site, as you’ll have a team of WordPress experts behind you every step of the way.
Typically, managed WordPress hosting will utilize a dedicated server. However it can also be configured with VPS hosting, cloud hosting, or even a shared server environment. The exact type of server specifications depends upon the hosting provider you end up choosing. Most often you’ll find that managed WordPress hosts utilize dedicated servers, so that gives you more control over server setup and scalability.
Here are a few of the biggest benefits of WordPress managed hosting:
- Incredibly fast speeds. If you run a WordPress site, then you can get extremely fast loading speeds by using an optimized server environment.
- High levels of security. With WordPress hosting you have a secure hosting environment designed to protect against WordPress-specific attacks.
- Up to date server. With automated updates you can ensure your site remains fast and secure without any added work on your end.
- Dedicated support team. WordPress hosting offers you a support staff that’s well versed in WordPress and can help you quickly remedy any hosting or site issues.
- High-level of uptime. If your site makes money, then every moment it’s offline you’re losing money. A WordPress host can help stop this from happening.
Managed WordPress hosting is one of the more customized hosting solutions available. As a result, there are some drawbacks that might not align with the goals of your site.
For example, there are typically plugin restrictions. Certain plugins can be banned due to their codebase, their security protocols, or a variety of other reasons. So, if you’re using a plugin that the host doesn’t allow, then you’ll need to find an alternative or consider a different form of hosting altogether.
Also, if you want to run any other kind of site beyond WordPress you can’t do so with managed WordPress hosting. There simply isn’t support to run any other kind of site on the heavily customized server environment.
Lastly, the costs of managed WordPress hosting might be prohibitive for some website owners. If your website is very profitable, then investing in managed WordPress hosting can help improve your site’s performance, while saving you time on any technical hosting tasks. If you have a small budget, then there’s no shame in starting with shared WordPress hosting and upgrading once you have the budget.
3 Big Benefits of WordPress Hosting
No matter what type of WordPress hosting you choose you’ll find some incredible advantages. Here are a few reasons why people choose WordPress hosting.
1. Very Fast Speeds
Today having a fast loading website is non-negotiable. If your website loads slowly not only will you be providing a poor user experience, but you’ll rank lower in the search engines too.
WordPress hosting is one of the best ways to speed up your website.. Even using shared WordPress hosting will improve your site’s performance over standard shared hosting plans. By only running WordPress on certain servers, you can make optimization and performance tweaks.
However, for the highest levels of performance, you’ll want to opt for WordPress managed hosting. With managed WordPress hosting you’ll get a hosting environment that’s been completely optimized to your site. Plus, you’ll have a team or WordPress experts behind you that will work to make optimizations and offer advice to further elevate levels of performance.
2. High Level of Security
Security isn’t usually thought of until it’s too late. However, by being proactive about website security you’ll keep your site secure while keeping all of your visitor and user data safe.
WordPress hosting has the unique advantage of being able to protect against WordPress-specific attacks. When you’re using a more generalized host any security protocols in place will only protect against more broad attacks.
However, with WordPress hosting you can implement security measures against attacks that specifically target WordPress. Since WordPress is the most commonly hacked CMS, you’ll want to take additional steps to protect your site.
A lot of WordPress hosts will also have regular security scanning and monitoring, so you can be sure your site is always protected.
With managed WordPress hosting this is usually taken a step further. If your site does experience a security breach, the host managing your site will help you fully recover and patch any security holes.
3. Up to Date Software
When you’re running a WordPress site you’ll need to run updates on a regular basis. It’s a small task that only takes a couple of minutes. But, a lot of site owners usually forget to check into their sites to see if any updates are available.
Not only is keeping your site up to date a way to ensure high performance, but it will keep your site more secure.
Like most things, security related updates are issued to patch security holes that have been discovered. Without updating your themes and plugins you leave your site open to being exploited. Plus, when new versions of the WordPress core have released any plugins or themes usually make updates as well to remain compatible.
Depending on the WordPress host you’re using, automatic updates might be a part of the hosting package. This will ensure your site is patched against any known security issues and always running the latest version of the WordPress core, plugins, and themes.
Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting: Which is Best?
The general rule of thumb is smaller WordPress sites that get less traffic should utilize shared WordPress hosting, while established WordPress sites that get higher levels of traffic should opt for managed WordPress hosting.
However, two of the biggest considerations should be your overall budget and how much time you have to manage your site.
Across the board shared WordPress hosting services will be cheaper. If you have little to no budget, then you’ll probably want to opt for this style of WordPress hosting.
Managed WordPress hosting is going to be the more expensive option, but you’ll also have to spend less time managing your site. All technical and maintenance tasks will be taken care of by a team of WordPress experts. This will free up your time to take care of more value-add tasks related to your site.
Overall, managed WordPress hosting will give you the highest levels of performance, security, and features, but if you’re on a budget, then using shared WordPress hosting will still offer your site a lot.
What to Look for in a Quality WordPress Host
The most important aspect in choosing a WordPress host is quality. But, what hosting factors actually make for a quality host?
Overall, it depends upon your unique needs as a site owner. But three of the most important metrics include the speed, the level of uptime, and the quality of the support team.
- Speed. Speed refers to how long your site takes to load, along with the time it takes to open new tabs and basically navigate the site. If your site loads too slowly you’ll have a poor user experience, which will negatively impact your search engine rankings, and make it difficult for your site to succeed.
- Uptime. Uptime is the percentage of time your site stays online. Most hosts will offer 99% uptime, meaning that 99% of the time your site will be accessible on the internet. Having high uptime is important, especially for sites who are processing transactions. When you have a profitable website every second your site is offline will cost you money. Some hosts will be able to provide 100% guaranteed uptime. In this scenario, when server updates or maintenance need to be done your site will be transferred to another fully operational server.
- Support. When you’re dealing with a WordPress host you’ll want a knowledgeable support team behind you. If you run into any issues with your site or server you’ll want to have these issues resolved quickly. Hopefully, you won’t need to rely on your support team often, but when the need arises you’ll want to ensure they have your back for all things WordPress-related.
Closing Thoughts on WordPress Hosting
Essentially, WordPress hosting is any form of hosting that’s been optimized to run WordPress. The most common forms of WordPress hosting you’ll find are managed and shared web hosting, although there are other types available.
Shared WordPress hosting services, also known as WordPress hosting, will be the cheapest form of WordPress hosting available. You’ll get a WordPress-optimized hosting platform t that you’ll be sharing will other users. However, each user will have their own partitioned server environment that gives you access to a certain level of server resources.
The other form available is WordPress managed hosting. The managed hosting platform will provide you with a very high performing server environment that will help you get the most out of WordPress, along with a dedicated WordPress team that will help to manage and optimize your site and server environment.
Hopefully, by now you can answer the question: what is WordPress web hosting? And you can decide if it’s the right step for your new site. If you’re ready to learn how to build a website or how to register a domain name, contact the experts at HostGator today for more information.