First, you have to decide which Content Management System (CMS) to choose for your site. For the average site, that decision is easy – WordPress is the world’s #1 CMS. Easy to set up and quick to get running, it’s a simple platform with pre-built themes and nice designs. Additionally, there are hundreds of thousands of WordPress-savvy web developers out there who can help you if you need something more custom. While choosing WordPress as your CMS might be an easy decision, deciding how to host your WordPress site can be a bit more involved.
There are three options to sift through for WordPress hosting – shared hosting, managed hosting or DIY hosting. There are pluses and minuses to each of these options. The decision you make should take four key aspects into account – cost, dependability, security and support.
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of these three types of hosting and discuss how they generally handle the four aspects of hosting.
Shared web hosting is at the low-cost end of the market. It offers a quick and easy platform to get a small site up and running. It is widely available through companies like GoDaddy, Bluehost and HostGator.
The dependability of the service is typically mediocre. Shared hosting works by having hundreds to thousands of websites hosted on one server. Bandwidth and resources are capped for each website – this packs as many websites as possible onto a single piece of hardware. In short, if you get a lot of website traffic due to a Super Bowl ad or Oprah appearance, or need to host something that is interactive, like Facebook, this type of hosting won’t work for you.
The typical security of shared hosting is also on the low end of the scale. Shared hosting environments often work off similar web server infrastructures, which allows hackers to more easily target the website. Any WordPress security will have to be self-managed via plugins or external firewalls.
Customer support for shared hosting environments ranges from good to bad; it depends upon the hosting company. You will be required to manage the backups, WordPress and plugin updates yourself.
In general, this option is good for the personal blog, or small business brochure type of website, as it’s super low cost and very easy to spin up.
Managed web hosting is a step up from shared hosting. At a higher price point, the hosting company should be offering more maintenance efforts on its part, a more robust server (that is more secure) and a higher level of customer service. However, what is available on the market can meet those expectations … or not.
Costs are generally higher, ranging from $30-$300/month. In this instance, you truly get what you pay for.
Dependability is generally better than shared hosting. On the lower end, the plans will be more flexible to handle higher traffic spikes as needed. On the higher end, you are set up from the get-go to be able to handle more consistent volumes and use more processing power. The servers are managed by the hosting company; sometimes the backups, WordPress updates and plugin updates are managed as well for you.
Security is usually less of an issue. Most plans now come with a security add-on plan at additional cost, and the servers are typically more finely tuned to help out. The higher-end plans will include robust security in the costs.
Customer service tends to be much better in all managed hosting situations. Sometimes, they’ll even help you figure out WordPress gotchas that can be puzzling to work through.
Managed hosting is good for small-to-medium businesses that only need a simple marketing website, but that might run into traffic spikes due to increased publicity.
Self-hosted, do-it-yourself hosting is not for the faint of heart, but it does give you the freedom of complete control over your hosting environment.
Costs can start around $60/month and go up to the thousands just for hosting. Then you’ll need to factor in your own or your employees’ costs to set up, manage and maintain the servers.
Dependability and scalability fully depend upon the hardware that you choose.
Security can be locked down very tightly, both at the server and software levels of WordPress. You will also have control over adding firewalls and content delivery networks.
With this type of hosting, the customer service is all on you. You and your staff have to know the business of hosting and be capable of solving problems on your own. Managing this type of environment will normally involve a system administrator, a web developer and, sometimes, a software engineer.
The benefit of this approach is that you can have super-charged websites that can handle lots of functionality and millions of users.
In short, there’s a lot to consider when deciding how to host your WordPress site. Take guessing out of the equation by letting our in-house development team help you choose the right system for you.