WordPress is a popular, powerful content management system (CMS) that’s used to power more than 33 percent of the websites on the internet today.
Many people still consider it a mere blogging platform, but it’s used by businesses of all sizes and major players like TechCrunch, BBC America, Vogue and many internationally recognized company websites.
What Makes WordPress the Top CMS?
The best thing about using WordPress as a business platform is the fact that it’s free. It provides powerful functions, features, and plugins that allow a high degree of customization and flexibility.
The company also offers hundreds of themes and tutorials that are easy to follow and use. This makes it ideal for DIY website building without needing a lot of technical knowledge.
However, that doesn’t mean that it lacks features for more advanced users and website designers.
WordPress works on an open system that allows anyone to design an efficient website with an elegant, professional-looking user interface. All access to admin functions is accessible from a single dashboard. That includes reporting and analytics as well as editing and other features. WordPress is also fully scalable, so it works great for any company from startup to enterprise.
You’ve put a lot of work into creating the best blog or eCommerce website you can, using the number one content management platform, and it deserves the best WordPress hosting service to keep it going.
But, what criteria should you use to decide on a hosting company?
Five Considerations When Choosing a WordPress Host
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What kind of features and specifications will you need as a foundation for your WP website? Consider the nature of your website, the level of expected traffic and interaction you’ll need to accommodate visitors and scalability.
How fast do you expect your website to grow? What kinds of engagement will occur between you and your visitors? Is the website primarily informational and educational, or will people be viewing products and ordering merchandise?
Narrow down your expected requirements for now and in the future, and nail down your budget. In doing so, you’ll have a framework from which to make other decisions about hosting services. Make sure that the host you choose is optimized for WordPress.
1. What Type of Website Are You Building?
If you’re creating a personal or writer’s blog, you can go with a low-cost hosting platform that maximizes the features that make WordPress such a great blogging platform. There should be resources available to handle images and video efficiently if you plan to have either.
Business websites usually need tighter security, more speed, and room to grow. It’s also a good idea to find an established hosting company with a long track record of success with eCommerce, and it should be able to handle about 10 – 20 percent growth each month. That’s about average for an emerging company.
2 Determine How Many and What Type of Resources You’ll Need
One of the main reasons for high bounce rates is poor user experience (UX). The two most important resources you’ll need to prevent it are speed and bandwidth, These determine how much traffic you can handle and the quality of service you provide in terms of responding to user requests and ensuring fast, hassle-free page loads.
Other resources available with hosting plans are storage, email addresses, and domains. How much of each will you need to accommodate your traffic, readership, and type of content?
3. Decide Which Type of Hosting You’ll Need
The kind of website you’re building determines all other considerations, including which type of hosting platform and operating system (Windows or Linux) works best for your website.
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There are three kinds of hosting: shared WP hosting, managed hosting, and dedicated or virtual hosting.
- Shared hosting: The most budget-friendly option, but you’ll share all the available resources with other subscribers. This hosting solution works well if you have a relatively static website that’s mainly text-oriented, like a blog. Just don’t get locked into a contract if you expect to grow quickly because you’ll pay extra for additional resources above the plan maximum. These platforms can also be slow if others with whom you’re sharing the server hog the limited available resources.
- Managed hosting: This is a good option for sites that use a lot of resources and need uninterrupted service. All infrastructure is stored and maintained by the service provider, leaving you with the benefits minus the hassle and expense of upkeep. However, you have less control over optimization and resource allocation.
- Dedicated and virtual hosting: Virtual private servers are essentially one of many virtual servers hosted on a single physical server but separated into segments. The advantage is you don’t have to share resources with other clients. Dedicated servers are the most expensive, but they offer unlimited resources, almost complete control, and more flexibility.
4. What Kind of Pricing Works Best With Your Budget?
There are usually three hosting plans available from most providers: monthly, bi-annually, and yearly. Most offer some kind of free trial and a money-back guarantee.
Yearly contracts offer the best value, but pay-as-you-go is a good choice if you’re just trying out a new host or don’t want to be locked into a contract. The price ranges with the type of features you get, like unlimited bandwidth and other perks.
It may be tempting to try a free web hosting service, but those often come with hidden costs that include:
- Selling your info to third-parties
- Limited bandwidth and storage
- Poor security
- Limited functionality
- Extra cost for advanced features
- Slow speeds and lots of downtimes
Why get substandard service for free when you can get unlimited bandwidth, speed, security, and a host of other features for as little as $2.99 per month with a yearly contract on a virtual server?
Also consider, WordPress hosting may be a bit more expensive than standard shared hosting – especially managed WordPress hosting – but that’s okay. You’re getting a hosting plan that is designed with WordPress in mind, so it makes sense to pay a bit extra for performance. Keep in mind that platforms like Wix and Squarespace, two of the best website builders for creating websites, charge upwards of $35 or $40 per month for their Business (re: managed) plans
Compared to the cost of starting a brick-and-mortar business, it’s pretty cheap.
5. How Much Growth Can Your Host Support?
Are you a startup company with high growth potential or will you simply be adding a post to your blog once a week? Especially if you’re considering a long-term financial commitment, consider current and anticipated needs before signing a contract.
Are the infrastructure and available resources enough to support sustained traffic growth? Will you incur high fees if you exceed certain service caps? Is what the company offers too much for your expected level of traffic and type of content, or is it just about right?
Be honest with yourself when answering these questions. Most businesses think in terms of absolutes: “I’m paying twice the cost for hosting – is that worth it?” … but they fail to realize that hitting their bandwidth limits and being throttled by their host would be far more costly than the additional monthly payments.
Before choosing any service, find one that fits your current needs but supports expected growth without bumping up the cost. You should carefully read the agreement and terms of service (TOS) before signing any contract.
It’s okay to use a free trial if offered, so you can make sure your web host offers the level of performance and security you need; just make sure to read to fine print regarding customer support and other potential issues first.
Following the tips outlined above won’t guarantee high traffic or success, but it will provide you with the tools and platform that offer a solid chance of success. The rest is up to you.
Sam Bocetta is a retired defense contractor, having spent the bulk of his career as a Naval engineer. Sam’s background includes decades as a SysAdmin working with DevOps teams to improve their internal security processes. Sam now writes independently about emerging technological trends in online privacy and security.
(This is a guest post)