With the growing rates of technological revolution, all businesses and individuals are eagerly embracing the online world. The digital journey starts with a website; and what better way to kick off this expedition than opting for WordPress? (The hosting that powers over 40% of the websites on the internet).
Once you’ve decided to build your website with WordPress, then comes the decision of choosing the right hosting platform. With a plethora of options available online, any new user can get confused when selecting the best WordPress hosting plan for their website.
There are a few crucial factors that can help you make the right selection. I will unveil those elements and guide you through all the essential metrics to choose the best WordPress hosting. Keep reading to find out more:
New to all these terminologies? Don’t worry! This guide serves newbies as well; I will cover all the important bits of WordPress hosting. If you are acquainted with the basics, skip the next few headings to directly move to the buying guide.
What Is WordPress Hosting?
Before we begin with WordPress hosting, let’s look at the basic definition of web hosting. Web hosting is the process of buying online space for your website to exist so that it can be accessed from anywhere.
WordPress hosting, as the name suggests, is the type of web hosting specifically for running WordPress websites. A robust WordPress hosting plan optimizes your website to meet all the speed, performance, and security requirements.
WordPress hosting plans generally offer easy, one-click, WordPress installation solutions to save you from time-consuming and complex processes. Also, they include automatic updates, backups, scalability, and customer support for users’ convenience.
Types of WordPress Hosting
Before figuring out how to choose the best host for WordPress, let’s delve into the different types of WordPress hosting out there.
Shared hosting is perhaps the most popular and cheapest solution and is favored by new, growing, and low-budget businesses. However, the lower price and less work come at a “cost,” as shared hosting involves multiple resources sharing the same server.
The downside to shared hosting is its low performance; it is unstable and fluctuates quite frequently. Since everyone utilizes the same resources, if anyone experiences a peak in traffic and consumes more resources, it will affect all the other members sharing the server.
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The dedicated WordPress hosting model offers you a dedicated machine for your website. Unlike shared hosting, with dedicated hosting, there is no involvement of other resources, and you solely own the hosting environment.
Dedicated hosting eliminates the shortcomings of shared hosting, gives you a performance boost, and offers a more stable environment.
However, it also has its cons as maintenance is quite tough with dedicated hosting. It requires you to manage your server yourself or hire an external resource to monitor your resources, deploy updates, install security patches, safeguard your site from security breaches, and more.
Users who want the luxury of both shared and dedicated servers can opt for their hybrid solution, i.e., VPS hosting. This hosting plan allows the users to have their own “virtual” server with their own resources, and only the hard drive is shared between multiple users.
As a result, the level of administration/flexibility of a VPS hosting is close to that of owning a server. At the same time, there is no need for users to indulge in hardware maintenance because the host service provider is responsible for server maintenance.
Cloud hosting is similar to VPS hosting, except that we create virtual servers from a server network in cloud hosting. The main objective of cloud hosting is to provide high availability, flexibility, and scalability in allocating resources.
The server network has considerable power, and if the need arises, you can dedicate more resources to a virtual server with a few clicks. Cloud servers also allow you to scale your servers without any limit at any time.
Cloud hosting is further divided into three categories: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is a cloud computing model in which the users rent computing, storage, and networking resources from the hosting provider.
The users deal with the choice and installation of the operating system necessary for their own purposes. This is a premium service and is based on the use of hardware resources of a server.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
In the PaaS cloud computing model, users rent a platform that is ready to use. A PaaS provides pre-configured features and the overall structure necessary for the development of applications.
The PaaS model does not require hosting expertise to provide infrastructure options for advanced development activities.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS requires the users to purchase subscriptions (usually monthly or annual) to access a specific software installed on remote systems.
Therefore, both the hardware and software are owned by the provider. At the same time, the user will only use that specific service without intervening in the hardware and software environment.
If you want super-fast speeds, and server-side caching, then you should opt for managed hosting without thinking twice. It offers improved hardware specifications and robust security that frees your site from bugs and malware. Managed WordPress hosting is the improvised version of shared hosting, as it offers everything as shared hosting and tops it with added benefits.
Managed hosting saves time, workforce, offers better performance, and is optimized for WordPress SaaS. It is designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses, high-traffic blogs, and companies that want enterprise WordPress hosting.
To top it all, you also get 24×7 support with most managed hosting solutions, so you’re in excellent hands if things go south.
So, why would anyone opt for any other hosting when managed WordPress hosting covers it all, and that too in a better way?
There’s one downside to managed hosting, and that is its expense. Except for a few providers, like Cloudways, you have to pay hefty amounts for managed WordPress hosting.
9 Features You Should Look for in a Best WordPress Hosting Plan
Your WordPress hosting plan should provide you with all the extensive features that you’d need to run your website smoothly and efficiently.
However, always look for the features in a WordPress hosting plan that you feel are of utmost importance to your requirements.
For my evaluation, I’ve focused on five determining factors in choosing the best hosting for WordPress: performance, security, support, features & pricing. The last two factors, features & pricing, may vary depending on the host.
“Great hosting boils down to the 3 S’s: speed, support and security.”
– Adam Berry, Wingard Creative
That said, there are some features that your WordPress hosting provider should always include to ensure you have a trouble-free hosting experience. I have listed those crucial features below:
Performance holds extreme importance in the selection of a WordPress hosting plan.
Imagine having your content go viral, gaining vast loads of traffic on your site, but surprising all your excited visitors with lagging or broken pages. That’s disappointing, right? Poor WordPress hosting can cause all your efforts to go in vain, so don’t ever risk going for a hosting plan that does not offer good performance.
Foresee the traffic caused by virality and be prepared for the peak times. The transfer speeds matter a lot, as they are pivotal in conveying information to your website visitors. Ensure that your hosting plan offers low data transfer times even in the case of traffic surges.
The best practice is to keep an eye on your server’s RAM, CPU, and disk space usage. Consider upgrading your hosting plan for smoother work processing whenever you are close to exceeding your given limits.
If you want to remain carefree of the speed and performance, then opt for managed hosting. Additionally, you won’t have to install caching plugins as it usually comes bundled with managed hosting plans.
Note: Curious about your website’s page experience. Use Cloudways’ FREE Google Page Experience Checker tool to check its performance, and compliance with the core web vitals.
While performance is necessary, server scalability is another factor that businesses should never ignore. If your server can’t cope with unexpected, high traffic, your website will most likely crash.
If something goes viral on your site or if the holiday season brings an unexpectedly large stream of users, you are obliged to cater to them. However, it won’t be possible if your server can’t handle the load.
This is why you must choose a hosting plan that allows you to scale your servers either manually or automatically when the need arises. If your host lets you scale your server in one click, you’re in good hands.
You can pick up a hosting plan that offers all the features in the world, but it would be useless if it does not emphasize uptime. Downtimes are a nuisance to website owners; not only do they drive away customers and visitors, but affect your Google rankings as well.
If your website goes down frequently, not only will your existing visitors be unable to access your site, but you’ll lose any chance of gaining new customers and may even earn a negative reputation through word-of-mouth.
Downtimes are a nightmare for any website owner. Save yourself from these wrecks, and choose a web host that guarantees at least 99.9% uptime and delivers on that promise! Just remember that downtimes can be the deciding factors of your virtual life and death! So you can’t risk opting for a hosting provider that doesn’t guarantee uptime.
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Who doesn’t love faster loading times? You don’t want to disappoint your visitors by slow-loading pages.
The page speed is crucial these days, and the fast-paced requirements have convinced the users not to wait for your page to load; they prefer to move to faster loading pages. It is an important element for the site’s SEO, and we all want our pages to shine on the SERPs.
Caching is one concept that can help you minimize the loading times for your frequent visitors. Once a user visits your page, some of the elements of your websites are saved on their systems, so when they visit the same page the next time, those elements load faster.
Managed WordPress hosting providers offer their own caching solutions for your WordPress sites, and they provide better performance than the plugins. Some WordPress hosting providers add the cache plugin to your WordPress backend or implement the CDN services.
Up-to-Date Server Technologies
WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) powered by PHP, the most commonly used online language to create dynamic websites or structured portal websites to manage different types of content.
Nonetheless, WordPress also needs a database to save all the content you upload for your website.
This means that WordPress requires hosting that supports:
- PHP version 5.7 or higher
- MySQL version 5.6 or higher
All leading WordPress hosting providers offer a backup policy. While some provide it for free, others require extra costs. Managed WordPress hosting providers like Cloudways provide automatic backups of multiple applications on a single server.
Although many hosting providers guarantee utmost security, even the most secure providers are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and disasters. You should always consider the best WordPress hosting provider that offers a free and automated backup service.
Migrating a WordPress website from one provider to another is always a complex operation requiring time and particular attention.
The best WordPress host will allow convenient and effortless switching, whether you have a virtual server, a dedicated server, or a shared server.
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Try our free automated service to migrate your WordPress websites.
Even tech-savvy users require support at one time; the non-tech-savvy users especially find themselves stranded at points even with the best WordPress hosting providers.
Running your website intuitively would be a considerable challenge if your hosting provider doesn’t offer fast and cooperative customer support.
Some people are influenced by optimism or are overconfident of figuring all by themselves and ignore this feature while selecting a hosting provider. Either way, some issues are too complicated and can confuse even the technically-sound minds, so it’s better to have the support of someone who understands the product.
Another essential element of support that you must consider in terms of assistance is the method of communication. Usually, hosting providers offer a support system via live chat, email, or ticket.
Ensure that your hosting providers give you the opportunity to connect to their support staff and get your solutions instantly.
Pricing is generally the most important decisive factor for users opting for a WordPress hosting plan. Sure, you will be lured to choose the cheapest options, but remember that many low-priced hosting plans fail to meet your basic requirements.
Budgeting is crucial; let’s assume your preferred hosting provider offers all the features you need and more, but it’d be of no use if you cannot afford it?
That said, there’s one way you can get premium hosting services and even afford its pricing, and this is the pay-as-you-go model. Yes, very few WordPress hosting providers like Cloudways offer this model, allowing users to buy the space as per their requirements and scale it whenever needed.
Always analyze the pricing plans of any hosting provider before making your final selection. Ensure that there are no hidden charges involved with their pricing plans.
Most hosting providers charge their customers monthly or yearly, whether or not you use the hosting resources (RAM, CPU, bandwidth, etc.). Therefore, it is not a good option if you go with any of these hosting providers, so the best option is to always go with a pay-as-you-go pricing plan.
Final Thoughts: Does the Best WordPress Hosting Exist?
If you search the phrase “best hosting for WordPress” on Google, you will find multiple results in which the websites will claim their provided hosting or affiliate partner as the best WordPress hosting provider.
However, it is upon you to judge those WordPress hosting providers across the points I’ve mentioned in this buyer’s guide and then decide whether or not all the requirements are met.
Although this blog isn’t backed by a selling perspective, it would be unfair for me not to mention my favorite WordPress hosting provider, Cloudways.
The final decision is yours to either go with Cloudways or any other WordPress hosting provider. All I ask is that you should at least check their offerings (as they offer a 3-day FREE trial without any credit card requirements) and user reviews to see if it works out for you.
How do I choose the best WordPress hosting provider?
You should consider the following metrics while selecting the best WordPress hosting provider:
- Optimum Performance
- Easy Scalability
- 99.9% Uptime
- Up-to-Date Server Technologies
- One-Click Backups
- Free Migrations
- Customer Support
- Flexible Pricing
Ensure that your chosen WordPress hosting provider fulfills all of these metrics efficiently.
Which type of hosting is best for WordPress?
Managed hosting that provides easy customization, flexible pricing, at least 99.9% uptime, and excellent customer support is the best hosting for WordPress.
Which hosting is best for WordPress beginners?
WordPress hosting providers like Cloudways that automate all your tasks and allow easy customization via simple clicks are the best WordPress hosting options for beginners.
How do I choose a good hosting provider?
You can choose a good hosting provider by checking if it meets the following requirements:
- Fulfilling all your website’s needs.
- Ease of setup.
- Flexible pricing.
- Excellent uptime.
Sarim Javaid is a Digital Content Producer at Cloudways. He has a habit of penning down his random thoughts and giving words and meaning to the clutter of ideas colliding inside his mind. His obsession with Google and his curious mind add to his research-based writing. Other than that, he's a music and art admirer and an overly-excited person.