Here at WP Business Network, we know that once you have decided to get a self-hosted WordPress website, you will need to find yourself a web hosting provider. Fortunately there are many to choose from and good-quality hosting is actually very affordable.
There are three main types of hosting to choose from; shared hosting, virtual private server (VPS) and dedicated server hosting.
• Shared hosting is where your site shares a server with lots of other sites. For a blogger or a small business just starting with a new WordPress site, shared hosting is likely to be the best option and will be the least expensive, too.
• A dedicated server is where you rent an entire server from your hosting company, which you will not need until you have a significant amount of traffic and the resultant activity on your site.
• VPS is a type of shared hosting, but it gives you more options to use specialist applications than shared hosting and there are usually significantly fewer sites on the server, providing more server power for your individual site.
Free hosting is also available, but check carefully before signing up as it may come with strings attached. It is unlikely to be as reliable as paid hosting and customer service could be an issue, too. As shared hosting is only going to cost you a few dollars a month, it's rarely worth the risk of choosing free hosting.
UPDATE: A new type of hosting is showing up on most providers of late. It is called "Cloud Hosting" and it is really a form of shared hosting spread over multiple servers (the cloud) so your resources aren't limited to a single server. Instead, when your site needs more resources than currently available on the server where it is actually hosted, it will reach out and use those services from one or more additional servers. Cloud hosting usually costs slightly more than normal shared hosting but somewhat less than VPS hosting.
Some hosting providers offer hosting optimized specifically for WordPress. This can help your site to run faster than it would otherwise and may include additional security features, too.
And finally, some WordPress-optimized hosting providers offer what is called "managed hosting". This means the hosting provider takes on many of the repetitive processes like core, theme, and plugin updates, security monitoring, backups and restorals, and other services. Be careful, though, you pay for these services in higher hosting fees and you often give up control of the functions involved. This can be good, or limiting, depending on your skill level and needs.
So now you understand the different types of hosting, what should you look for in a host?
Supports the Latest Version of WordPress
As WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world (30% of all websites, 60% of CMS), any large hosting company should be able to support it. But it is certainly worth checking your prospective hosting company before you sign up just to to be sure.
Pricing and Packages
Most hosting companies have a range of packages for shared hosting, so you can pick one that meets your needs in terms of your likely traffic and needed storage space, as well as your budget. You should not forget to allow a little room to grow, though!
You definitely will not want your site to suffer from long or frequent periods of downtime, so always check the hosting company's statistics. You can also search online for customer reviews of hosting companies.
If you are just starting out with a new WordPress site you may have some questions, so check what support is offered by your hosting company before you buy. Look at the support hours, especially if they are not available 24 hours a day and are in a different time zone to you. Also, check that they offer a range of ways to get support, for example by email, by phone or live chat.
Now you know the web hosting basics. It should be relatively easy to pick the right WordPress hosting company for you. If you still have concerns or questions, consider joining us here on WP Business Network where you can get direct answers to your questions from Steve, the WordPress Wizard.