With the growing popularity of WordPress, deciding what type of WordPress hosting to choose for your website can be quite overwhelming. When evaluating your options you would undoubtedly come across many different terms, jargon, and technicalities. This can be a bit frustrating, but it doesn’t always have to be the case. So we’re here to help.
How to Evaluate Hosting Solutions
As one of the top 10 WordPress development agencies worldwide, we’ve had the opportunity to work with over 60 different hosting companies since our inception in 2010. And while many vendors are subpar and mostly playing the “race to the bottom” game, there are quite a few great picks on the market!
In making your final decision, it’s important to evaluate what different hosting types and plans can bring to the table, as well as how they can benefit your business. Besides understanding terminology, the most important aspects to consider are cost, ease of use, performance and stability. Think about how much WordPress-specific knowledge you need to have, what are your website’s goals, how fast would you like to scale it, etc.
Carefully examining the features of each hosting type and provider is essential to making the best choice. The right type of hosting for you should be able to check off all boxes on your list of requirements. It should be suited to your level of technical knowledge, be fast and stable enough to accommodate your traffic, and offer the necessary flexibility to adapt to your changing needs.
In this article, we will discuss what are the five main types of WordPress hosting available. Although, we will not be going over the specific companies. Instead, we will be explaining what shared, VPS, dedicated server, managed and cloud hosting mean, so you can pick the most suitable one for you.
1. Shared Hosting
Shared hosting works on the premise that the smaller a website is, the fewer resources it needs. It’s cheap and easy to use, thus making it perfect for someone who doesn’t really understand how hosting solutions work. What is more, it’s an excellent option for those just starting out in the WordPress scene and need an affordable hosting solution.
When using a shared plan, you’re essentially splitting the use of a single server alongside other users. If this is your first website ever, or if you’d prefer to take things slow and make upgrades when needed, this hosting plan can be the right one for you. Pretty much every popular provider offers shared hosting at considerably low prices, so it’s also definitely easy to find.
While shared hosting is easy to set up and afford, it has a few drawbacks. Even though the server is shared, not every user gets an equal piece of the pie. There may be other websites on the server using a disproportionate amount of resources compared to you, thus leaving less room for your website and causing it to slow down.
Additionally, you should be aware that there is a greater risk of a security breach. Even if you protect your website with all sorts of fancy technology and software that you have at your disposal, you may not be able to stop a security breach at the server level. A good shared host should be able to prevent this by using isolation, but that’s not often the case.
2. VPS Hosting
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is a type of WordPress host that sits between shared hosting and a dedicated server. It’s an upgrade from shared and is very suitable for people needing more resources while still keeping the cost fairly economical.
The robust technology in VPS hosting is used to separate users on the same machine. So, unlike a shared server, where you might have to share space with thousands of other websites. With VPS you would have to share space with 5 to 20, meaning there’s less risk from a bad neighbor effect – no overcrowding and no malware breach at the server’s level.
With VPS hosting server resources are allocated more efficiently. These systems employ a hypervisor which oversees and manages the complete virtual system for every user. This means that your site will have its own share of resources regardless of the share of the other websites on the server. And since your ‘virtual’ space is private, you will have more control over configuration, software and more.
Many hosts offer two types of VPS – managed and unmanaged.
- Unmanaged VPS requires some knowledge about how networks work since you’ll be responsible for managing and configuring your own server.
- With managed VPS, however, your host is the one ‘managing’ the server for you, eliminating the need for you to have technical capabilities.
3. Dedicated Server Hosting
Dedicated server hosting is rather expensive, but great for performance. This type of WordPress hosting is suitable for a high-traffic website with a big budget that needs optimal performance.
With a dedicated host you can have an entire server to yourself, meaning you don’t have to share resources or limits by a virtual partition.
Being the only account on a server enables you to completely forego bad neighbor effects and complex hypervisors. This also allows you to fine-tune the entire environment to your liking and set up protections that are tailored to your specific needs. Moreover, a dedicated server is particularly useful if you need a very specialized deployment process or custom monitoring tools.
With so much freedom of customization, however, there are a few things to consider. On the one hand, because you need to be able to do everything yourself, using a dedicated hosting server requires considerable knowledge and a complete access to everything, which can significantly increase your costs. On the other hand, if there’s any faulty hardware dedicated servers need someone to go and physically replace it, meaning that that it will take longer to fix.
Therefore, dedicated hosting is a great option if in addition to a very large monthly traffic, your website requires a lot of resources. But you should keep in mind that you will either need to have the technical capabilities to build a hosting environment from scratch, or be able to afford to hire a system administrator to do it for you.
4. Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress (WP) hosting is a unique type of hosting that offers various services specifically related to WordPress. It’s a powerful type of hosting, suitable for businesses of all shapes and sizes, using WordPress and you need to be willing to devote extra resources to features such as backups, automatic updates, security and expert WP support.
With managed WordPress hosting, providers ensure an expert level of maintenance of their services. Because they have to support only one content management system (CMS) – i.e. WordPress, they can set their entire environment – including both hardware and software – to offer useful and powerful features, improve speed, and cancel out security issues.
Managed WordPress hosting has quite a few benefits. It’s specifically designed for WordPress, thus allowing specialist hosting providers to fine-tune their systems and develop useful management features for this type of CMS.
Your website will run much faster, while using fewer resources. Moreover, since this hosting strongly supports and encourages you to have the latest version of WordPress, you’ll always be safe from harm and up to date.
The downsides of managed hosting, however, are less flexibility and a higher price. The exact features that help make your website safer, can also be a bit restrictive at times. Additionally, because of the high level of required support, this type of WordPress hosting is on the pricier side of the spectrum. The cost depends on the size and needs of your website and can adapt as these change. The bigger your website grows, the more resources it will require, and thus the costlier it will become.
Our recommended managed partner is Pagely and that’s where we host our highest scale websites. When it comes to serving hundreds of millions of pageviews, navigating complex eCommerce flows, managing large franchise networks, and handling peaks during Black Friday – working with the right partner will help you scale automatically as needed and mitigate any popular scalability risks in the process.
Read also: Why Is WordPress Ideal for Growth-Hacking?
5. Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting can essentially fit websites of all sizes. It’s easy to scale, both in terms of price and resources, making it a good choice for all users. However, it’s a quite sophisticated type of hosting, so it may require some technical knowledge.
This type of WordPress hosting is an option between VPS and dedicated hosting. When using it, your website will essentially be hosted on a cloud architecture, instead of a specific physical server. The Cloud offers a type of VPSs, but each virtual unit is distributed on multiple servers, thanks to which downtime decreases. Additionally, cloud costing plans cost less than dedicated servers and are more stable than VPSs.
Thanks to its underlying technology, cloud hosting offers superb scalability. It allows users to add and remove resources quickly and easily, so they only pay for what they use. For instance, if your website has a sudden spike in traffic, you can scale up your resources during the spike, then go back to normal after.
Similarly to other hosting types, cloud hosting can also be managed and unmanaged. There are some managed hosting providers that are actually built on cloud hosting technology. You can also find unmanaged cloud hosting providers, with which you’ll be solely responsible for managing and for optimizing its resource usage and performance.
Keep in mind that an unmanaged cloud hosting requires considerable specific knowledge. However, if you’re technically sound you will be able to get scalable, high-performing and cheap WordPress hosting that can successfully adapt to your website needs.
Large enterprises often rely on a mix of hosting solutions to get the job done – especially for diverse platforms and technical stacks built in different technologies.
They end up setting VPS containers in different cases while hosting dedicated instances in-house. Using the cloud for internal operations. And managed solutions for specific sites in their network.
More importantly, a number of managed providers (most of them, actually) build on top of established cloud providers like Amazon (AWS), Microsoft (Azure), and Google (Google Cloud Platform). Even if you end up working with a popular vendor like Pagely or Kinsta, the underlying infrastructure will build on top of the titans.
And in some cases, specific cloud-based services – such as Amazon’s S3 for file hosting or Google’s BigQuery – will be used as separate services on top of the managed solution. Because scalability is complex, yet necessary at scale.
Selecting the right type of WordPress hosting for your business and website is something that should not be taken lightly. The hosting you choose will have a tremendous effect on your website’s performance and security, and if you want good results, you have to evaluate your options carefully.
Your final choice will depend on a few variables including cost, ease of use and ease of achieving an efficient performance. You have to consider your budget, level of expertise and the speed you want your website to scale to.
We hope you now have a clearer idea of what to look for when evaluating your web hosting options. If you need further assistance in making a final decision, don’t hesitate to connect with us. We’d love to help you choose the best possible hosting solution for your business needs.