How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting

front view of the cluster of Wikimedia servers...

front view of the cluster of Wikimedia servers in Aubervilliers near Paris, France, installed on December 18, 2004; the three 1U servers of the same model (HP Proliant sa1100) in the middle are ours (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two of the most important things for a web developer to consider is the web hosting company they will use and the type of hosting package they will choose. There are a lot of options and unfortunately, not all of them are right for hosting a WordPress website.

WordPress Specifics

There are a few things that are required in order to effectively run WordPress on a web hosting account. However, there are a few specifics that must be adhered to in order to run the latest versions of WordPress.

  • PHP – Version 5.2.4 or greater.
  • MySQL – Version 5.0 or greater.

Most web hosting companies not only support WordPress and its requirements, but there are many that will install the latest version for you on your server as a part of your set-up service at no extra charge.

What Makes a Good Web Host?

It’s usually easy to spot out a good web host from a bad web host. Reputation is important and if you can’t find any reviews about a company you are considering, make sure to ask around. There are a lot of extras to consider, such as e-commerce tools like shopping carts, payment systems, and policies about bandwidth overage, upgrades as your business grows and contact restrictions.

Types of Web Hosting Packages

There are several different types of web hosting packages available to choose from, however not every host will offer every type. Most will, but it is important to find out what the host’s definition of each type of hosting is and whether the services provided will suit your specific needs.

  • Free WordPress Hosting – There are quite a few free services available, but nothing is truly free. Payment comes in the form of advertising that will be posted at the top and bottom of your website to pay for the bandwidth you use. Free hosting is notoriously unreliable and can suffer from bouts of downtime, as you are not paying for the service.
  • Shared Hosting – This is the most widely used type of hosting on the Internet. It is by far the most affordable and is a great way for new webmasters, bloggers and developers to get into a professional hosting service. It is called “shared” because many accounts are hosted on the same server, sharing resources as a means of reducing costs.
  • Virtual Hosting – This type of hosting is serviced via a virtual, partitioned machine that acts like multiple servers for multiple clients. Similar to the shared hosting option, VPS is different in that it offers the user more control, privacy and security. Managed VPS hosting is available to developers that don’t have experience managing a server account.
  • Dedicated Server – If security and power are on your wish list, then a dedicated server is right for you. Customers lease a physical server direct from the hosting company that is dedicated solely to hosting their account. You have full control over the hardware, operating system and programs. Managed dedicated server accounts are available for inexperienced or over-tasked users.
  • Managed Hosting – Managed services provide developers with professional-quality management including back-ups, updates, security, program advice, database monitoring, etc. Of course this all comes at a cost. Managed dedicated hosting accounts are at the high end of the spectrum with regard to monthly hosting costs.

WordPress is actually a small script compared to other similar blogging platforms, making it compatible with nearly every type of web hosting service available. Other things to consider are the type of site you will be building, the amount of traffic you anticipate receiving, the size of the files you will be hosting and your budget.

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