One of the first steps in having a new WordPress website or any website is to decide on where it will be hosted. This is sometimes a decision which is not given deep thought but choosing a bad host can break your website. It was recently reported that 25% of the websites on the internet are running on WordPress, so it should come as no surprise that there are companies out there advertising hosting for WordPress and as such, we came up with this list to help guide you in your decision making.
Before going forward, it is important to explain to two most common types of hosting which is generally recommended for WordPress. The first and most commonly used is cPanel hosting. cPanel hosting was designed to host any type of website (mostly websites built with the PHP language), which include static HTML, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and more. The advantage to this is that it gives you greater flexibility with what can be done with the hosting account. Therefore, at the end of the day, you can have a WordPress website in one directory and Customer Relation System in another. The other type of hosting which a lot of hosting companies are offering is what is known as WordPress Hosting. This type of hosting offers features which are specific to WordPress and has its advantages and disadvantages. Being that these types of hosting are designed for WordPress, they require little to no effort as WordPress is usually installed after you have paid for the hosting plan. WordPress sometimes run faster on this type of hosting (not to say that WordPress does not run fast on cPanel hosting). The main disadvantage to using WordPress hosting is that you lose the flexibility to setup other applications easily on the same account. In most cases, you only get one database so if you are able to setup another application on the same account, it would be sharing the database with your WordPress installation.
Even though I only focus on cPanel and WordPress hosting, WordPress can also be hosted on other hosting platforms like Plesk but for the purpose of this article, we will only focus on cPanel and WordPress hosting as they are generally cheaper.
Now we have that out of the way, let us look at factors you should look for with WordPress hosting.
This is always an important factor but should not be the major deciding factor. The good news though is that the market is very competitive which leads to reduced pricing. One thing to pay attention to is not to be caught by hosting providers who give a cheap price for the basic package and charge for other basic features like backup. In most cases, cPanel hosting usually cost less than WordPress hosting but as explained earlier, your decision to use WordPress vs cPanel hosting should be based on what you foresee yourself doing with the hosting account.
Being that we are on the topic of money, we should also look at the recurring cost which is called the renewal cost. The renewal cost of hosting can be different from the cost you are given when signing up. Discounts do not apply here as it should be expected that the renewal cost will be higher than the discounted cost. It is not unexpected that renewal cost can be higher than signup cost but it should not overpriced so you should always pay attention to the renewal cost.
The term locality in this case means where the server your WordPress website is hosted on will be located. You might ask why this is important but it can help your website to respond faster to your visitors if the server is located close to them. For example, if visitors to your WordPress website are located in North America, most likely a North American service will be able to respond faster than a server from Europe. It is simple science of distance. Additionally, search engines do pay attention to your hosting server location and prefer server which is close to visitors.
If a visitor cannot access your WordPress website, then it does not exist. Search engines like Google and Bing do not take kindly to websites they try to index and are not accessible. Ultimately, it will lower any search engine ranking the website already has. This is why it is important to have your website be accessible as much as possible. Most hosting companies advertise that they have 99.9% uptime and there is nothing wrong with below 1% downtime as hosting companies do require time to update and secure their servers, so that is expected. What is unexpected is a website that is unavailable due to server issues. Please note that if your website is generating high traffic and requires more resources than you current account is providing, you should look to update the account to make more resource available to the WordPress website.
We just mentioned how important server uptime is to the success of your WordPress website but you should also ensure your WordPress website is given enough resources to take advantage of the available uptime your hosting company is giving you. You might start out with a small website but as it grows overtime it will eventually start to consume more resources. This is why you should choose a hosting company which will allow your WordPress website to grow. Hosting companies should have higher packages which allocate more system resources to your website. If you are wondering what is meant by resource, you can see the definitions below.
Most hosting companies allows you to point multiple domains to a single website. An example is https://www.wpspartan.com will carry to https://www.wpspartans.com (first URL did not have an s at the end of the word Spartans). Also, some host also allow you to host multiple website on a single hosting account but this will require you to attach multiple domains to the same account. The catch here is that they might not give you this ability on the lowest or cheapest account available, so if there is a feature you are interested in, you may be required to pay extra. Additionally, remember that if you have multiple websites on a single cPanel, then they are all consuming resources which and should be taken into consideration when selecting an account.
You never know what can go wrong but just in case of emergency, a backup of your website can be a life saver. A simple thing as installing a bad plugin or as bad as your website being hacked might require you to look back at your website backup to get it up and running again. Sadly, this is not a standard feature and should be considered when selected a hosting provider for your website.
If a hosting company is not able to offer 24/7 support, then that should be a deal breaker. Anything can go wrong and it always helps to have experts on hand to support your website. Spending an hour waiting for technical support also is unacceptable as a downed website can result in revenue lost and a bad customer experience.
Email does come as a standard feature with most cPanel hosting but might not for WordPress hosting. It does help to boost and confirm your website reputation if your visitor get an email from your website’s domain and not from a free email service like Gmail or Hotmail. Some hosting companies also offer better email resources at a cost depending on how heavily your company will be utilizing emails. You will need to consider a hosting company who is able to provide this service.
Additional features offered by your hosting companies can only make your life easier or give you greater flexibility in what applications can be deployed to the account. Below is a list of some nice to have features that can be offered by hosting companies.
Lets face it, its always nice to get something free. Some hosting companies will give you a free domain when you sign up for a specific period or longer. In most cases, 1 year hosting is required for the free domain. Some hosting companies will also give you free credit towards advising with Google, Microsoft and Facebook. If offered, this is something you should definitely take advantage of to help drive traffic to your website.
Hosting is an important part to any successful website so careful consideration should be taken when selecting a hosting company. It is not a forever marriage if you decide to use another company later as you have the freedom to transfer your website to another other hosting company. With all this said, you should now be better equipped to start searching for a suitable host. Nonetheless, we have created a spreadsheet which can help you in your decision making by allowing you to see company hosting offered by WP Spartans to that of other hosting companies.
If you are looking for affordable and reliable hosting for your WordPress website or any website, check out the hosting plans available from WP Spartans.