WordPress is eating the Internet.
It’s rapidly become the world’s most popular content management system. Almost half of all new web pages are published using the WordPress platform. You can make a WordPress site have almost any functionality you want.
When you’re looking for a company to host your WordPress website, you need to know what you’re looking for. Keep reading for your guide to WordPress hosting.
What is WordPress hosting?
WordPress is a free software package that helps you publish content. While WordPress itself is 100% free, you have to have a computer that is hooked up to the Internet in order to publish a website. This service is called “hosting”, and there are hosts that are specifically set up to handle WordPress.
Dreamhost.com notes that: “With the use of over fifty thousand extensions (called plugins) and tens of thousands of themes to help design your site, WordPress can be practically anything. It’s even great for SEO…”
What to look for in a WordPress host?
There are many kinds of hosting environments. You should look for a WordPress host that is rich in features specifically related to the WordPress platform.
Pre-installed or “One-Click Installs”
Your WordPress hosting environment shouldn’t require you to actually install WordPress. The software itself can be had for free from wordpress.org, but it’s complicated to set up.
The database is a separate program from WordPress [WordPress can work with many different databases installs]. You as the hosting customer, shouldn’t have to set up the database yourself. It should come pre-configured for you. That’s what you’re paying for!
Secure Socket Layer [SSL] certificates
When you visit a website, the information passes between your browser and other connected computers that make up the network. Conceivably, there are many stops along the way where your data could be inspected by unscrupulous operators.
The solution is to encrypt your website using an SSL certificate [also known as a TLS cert]. When you use SSL, the traffic coming in and out of your site is encrypted and is gibberish to whoever is snooping. In 2017, Google began punishing sites that weren’t using SSL encryption.
It’s no longer optional to have an SSL cert. If you don’t have one you’re making a mistake.
Make sure your hosting provider can install SSL certificates for you and can explain to you the various types of certificates available. For most blogs and even e-commerce setups, a generic SSL will do. There are specialty certs that display extra information in the user’s browser bar that are appropriate for corporate or flagship sites.
Shared and Dedicated Hosting
There are two main types of servers offered by dedicated WordPress hosts; shared and dedicated hosting. A domain name like “example.com” points to a server connected to the Internet with an Internet Protocol [IP] address like “12.345.678.987”. A server can host an unlimited number of different sites on one single machine. This is known as a “shared” server. Most WordPress websites reside on shared servers.
It only takes a fraction of a second for a machine to serve up a WordPress site. Decent servers can handle dozens of simultaneous connects at once. Hosting companies can put hundreds of sites on one machine if it is managed properly.
Generally, shared hosting will be good enough for most WordPress sites. You can run a typical e-commerce site with WooCommerce on a shared server with no security problems.
You’ll need to graduate to a dedicated server to install your own software, or if you want total control of the system.
There isn’t a right or wrong choice between shared and dedicated hosting. It’s a business expense dictated by your specific requirements.
A key feature to consider in when trying to find a WordPress host is what level of customer support they offer.
WordPress is a terrific platform, but it has many moving parts and requires real experts to set up and install. It’s easy to lose your way, and you might need someone’s help to get back. Make sure your hosting company offers terrific customer support.
WordPress doesn’t technically come with email. It’s a separate process and is itself incredibly complex. If your domain is “example.com” you want your email address to be “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
In order for that to happen, you’ll have to find a hosting provider that includes email in their package. Most do, but it can be a premium feature.
Just about every WordPress host offers different packages and features. Some offer one thing for free but charge for another thing. There isn’t a correct choice, just add up the TOTAL cost for all the things you need.
Simply put, your next website should use WordPress. It’s a trusted, respectable platform that can satisfy all of your website’s needs.
Now you have everything you need to make a decision about your host provider.