When it comes to building a website, WordPress offers the best of both worlds – it’s powerful and yet extremely easy to use. WordPress is well known for its user-friendliness and flexibility and currently powers 43% of all websites. But there is one crucial decision that must be made before any website design begins – and that’s choosing the right type of WordPress hosting for your website.
In this guide we’ll take a look at the different types of WordPress hosting available, the difference between WordPress hosting and web hosting, and the factors you should consider when choosing a hosting partner for your WordPress website.
WordPress is well known for its user-friendliness and flexibility and currently powers 43% of all websites.
At the end of this guide, you should have all the information you need to make the best decision for your website, and your business.
For more information about WordPress, we recommend reading our What is WordPress guide.
What is WordPress hosting?
WordPress hosting is web hosting designed to handle the specific needs of WordPress websites. In order for a web hosting provider to be able to offer WordPress hosting, they have to meet certain requirements as outlined by WordPress themselves. This includes having servers that support the latest versions of PHP and MySQL, HTTPS support, as well as certain security protocols. These measures are in place to prevent security vulnerabilities. Most reputable web hosting companies should have the necessary resources to be able to offer hosting for WordPress.
There are different types of WordPress hosting options available, including free, self-hosted, and managed. The type of WordPress hosting you choose depends on your specific needs. We’ll go into more detail about the different types of WordPress hosting later on.
WordPress hosting vs web hosting
As already mentioned, WordPress hosting is a specific type of web hosting that is optimised for WordPress websites. Web hosting, on the other hand, while capable of hosting WordPress websites, is not necessarily optimised for WordPress and may be more suited for static websites or websites powered by other CMSs.
While many of the resources overlap, if you’re planning on building a WordPress website, it’s preferable to choose hosting specifically geared for WordPress. That way you can rest assured that compatibility issues around updates and security can be kept to a safe minimum. Remember, WordPress is a content management system (CMS). WordPress hosting is pre-configured for this platform to ensure peak performance of your WordPress websites. You can also expect more features than standard web hosting, including easy installation, pre-installed plugins, and updated software.
Types of WordPress hosting
As with website hosting, WordPress hosting comes in different shapes and sizes.
Below are the most common types of WordPress hosting available.
WordPress.com is a hosting platform owned and operated by Automattic – the developers of WordPress. There are a variety of plans available ranging from basic, which is free and popular among personal users, to more feature-rich plans more suited to larger businesses. Smaller businesses that fall between these user demographics may not have the experience needed to get the best out of the enterprise plans, which is why many opt for a managed WordPress product. In some cases, this is a more affordable approach as well.
Shared WordPress hosting
Shared WordPress hosting is when you download the free open-source WordPress CMS from WordPress.org, and install it on a shared hosting server. This option is popular for more technically advanced users who wish to build and customise their websites themselves. Note that for self-hosted WordPress, website hosting still needs to be purchased and you’re responsible for all updates and maintenance yourself.
Managed WordPress hosting
Managed WordPress hosting is a hosting service provided by a web hosting provider that meets the requirements to host WordPress websites on their servers. As is expected from WordPress, managed WordPress hosting plans, like this one offered by xneelo, are optimised for ease of use and quick setup, and include all the necessary features to build a professional website, with numerous added benefits.
This all-inclusive WordPress solution option is popular with users who want to create a fully-functional website quickly, and not have to worry about the more complex aspects of hosting.
Standard features of managed WordPress hosting include but are not limited to:
|Storage||The amount of data you can store on your website.|
|Hosting for your WordPress website||Your portion of the web hosting provider’s server that hosts your website.|
|Traffic allowance||The amount of visitors your website can accommodate (in xneelo’s case this is unlimited).|
|SFTP account||Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) enables you to transfer data safely and securely.|
|Control panel||This is your unique dashboard to manage certain administrative and technical aspects of your hosting account.|
|Backup schedule||Backing up your website regularly ensures you can restore your website to a former state quickly and easily should unexpected errors occur.|
|Firewall||A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is a type of website security optimised for WordPress.|
|Free themes and Starter Sites||Ready-to-use themes and Starter Sites give you a solid foundation to work from, for example, a website designed for a restaurant or an e-commerce store.|
|Staging environment and temporary domain||This allows you to test new ideas and website design and layout without interrupting your live website.|
|SSL certificate||A pre-installed layer of security that encrypts and authenticates your website.|
The type of WordPress hosting you choose depends on your specific needs, your technical requirements and how much time you’re willing to spend managing your website.
Is WordPress hosting for me?
If you decide to build your website using WordPress, then you would need to make a decision around WordPress hosting. Every website requires hosting, from the simplest blog, to the biggest e-commerce store.
WordPress hosting is specifically designed with WordPress websites in mind, so whatever decision you make, you can rest assured that your website is in the best hands.
Some of the biggest brands running on WordPress include Variety, Time Magazine, The White House and TechCrunch.
Some reported drawbacks of WordPress hosting, especially for everyday non-technical uses can include:
- Plugins and widgets that need frequent updating
- Updates that can cause unfamiliar dashboard changes
- Some functionality and themes are expensive
- Some customisation that requires coding
On the other side of the coin, managed WordPress hosting is a great option for busy business owners and those who are not fully comfortable managing the technical aspects of their websites themselves. The web hosting side of things is maintained for you, updates take place automatically, and there is a backup system to ensure no data is lost during the update process. There are also security features in place to ensure your website stays secure.
|WordPress hosting||Managed WordPress hosting|
|1 GB (free plan)||25GB Storage|
|Unlimited traffic||Unlimited traffic|
|Theme directory (free and paid)||Free themes and Starter Sites|
|Only available in Shared.||Staging environment|
|WordPress Dashboard||WordPress Dashboard and control panel|
|Manual backup or via plugin||Backup schedule|
|Support forums||Tutorials and help centre|
|SSL Certificate||SSL Certificate|
|WordPress support (level depends on plan)||24/7 support|
What to look for in a hosting partner
Before settling on a WordPress or web hosting provider, there are several factors you need to consider. These include, but are not limited to:
The resources you’ll need
Web hosting plans include specific quotas for resources such as disk space and traffic (most web hosting companies these days offer unlimited traffic.) You’ll need to determine how much your website will need.
Capacity to scale
While your website may start off small, you’ll want to be able to upgrade your hosting package with ease as your business grows. Be wary of any hosting provider who makes upgrading or downgrading between packages unnecessarily complicated or costly as well as contracts that are difficult to get out of.
Availability of technical support
Be on the lookout for a hosting provider that prides itself on its customer service, and that makes itself available to you 24/7. The customer support team should be available by phone and email and should also provide you with helpful resources to guide you if you prefer to figure things out on your own.
The benefit of using the services of a specialist web hosting company is that you receive all the resources, expertise and support you need included with your plan. This may be a deciding factor for many small businesses who want some of the features of a premier WordPress plan, without the expensive bells and whistles.
Look for a hosting partner with a proven track record in customer service, uptime and support. You’ll need to do some homework here and look at a few comparison and review sites to see what kind of service other customers have experienced.
Look for a web hosting plan that includes security features like a free SSL/TLS certificate, DDoS protection against attacks on your website, and a Web Application Firewall (WAF) that protects against the most common attacks. The more security measures in place, the better.
How much assistance you need is a crucial deciding factor. If you require every aspect of your web hosting managed for you, including software updates, security patches, and networking, then managed WordPress hosting would be your best choice. If you prefer to build and manage every aspect yourself, then a self-hosted WordPress website would be better.
How much does WordPress hosting cost?
How much does WordPress hosting cost? The answer depends on what type of WordPress hosting you need based on the resources you plan on using.
The more advanced features and functionality, the more you can expect to pay.
Basic shared WordPress hosting, including a domain, is free on WordPress.com, but this plan is recommended for personal users because of the limited features and integrations available. Paid plans come in three tiers, each suited to different users. The lowest plan after free starts at R70 a month and goes up to R800 a month for e-commerce functionality (depending on the latest exchange rate).
A managed WordPress hosting plan can save you both time and money by combining certain features in a more cost-effective package, so you have everything you need for a fully-fledged e-commerce store, for example, with the added benefit of security, support and web hosting all-in-one.
Pricing depends on the plan and provider you choose. A basic managed WordPress hosting plan can cost below R100, while more advanced plans can exceed R600. Look for a plan with the features you want.
By now you should have enough information to make a decision about WordPress hosting.
Remember, choosing the right type of WordPress hosting for you or your business comes down to what you have planned for your website. Do you want limited functionality or do you expect it to form the working heart of your business? Look for the features and resources you need, and the amount of support you want, and choose a plan wisely.
You want a hosting partner to be part of your digital journey, not a bump in the road.
Already made a decision about WordPress hosting? Learn how to create your first WordPress website here.