WordPress dominates the blogging market, but that doesn’t mean every host has the best platform or support for WordPress. A good host offers additional support and freedom of choice for the blog’s platform. A not so great one limits what you can do with the platform, rendering it less than its optimal self. Here's how to choose the best host when you use WordPress.
What Will WordPress Be Used For?
The first step is determining business requirements. WordPress has evolved from a blogging solution to an all-in-one website framework. Ecommerce, content management, and photo galleries are just a few of WordPress’ alternative uses. WordPress uses the same install for all of these content types, but the type of hosting will be different, depending on what the software will be used for. For instance, a photo gallery can benefit much better from a content delivery network (CDN), because high-resolution photos are generally large files that can be slow to display.
Types of Hosting and the Pros and Cons
The most popular type of WordPress hosting is shared hosting. Its main advantage is cost. However, the cost benefit comes with a disadvantage. The blog’s server resources are shared with sometimes hundreds of other bloggers. This means if a blogger decides to bog down server resources, all other WordPress sites on the server also suffer. Security is also an issue. Malware injected on one site can possibly infect others on the same server.
An upgrade from shared hosting is VPS. A virtual private server (VPS) provides the WordPress owner with a virtual server that is independent of other site owners. The VPS itself still sits on the same physical machine as other sites, but it’s sandboxed from others. The site owner can control server settings, manage applications installed on the server, and scale the VPS resources as needed. VPS is fast becoming a cost-efficient alternative to dedicated and shared hosting as the “middle-of-the-road” hosting option that gives the owner the flexibility to control the server.
Dedicated servers are the most costly choice, but they are better for corporations and businesses that need the flexibility to own a server but don’t have the real estate to house the hardware. Dedicated servers are exactly what they sound like – you manage and run one physical machine that no other user has access to. It’s the equivalent of leasing a server.
Some hosts offer managed WordPress services. This type of service is best used by site owners who are unfamiliar with the maintenance required to run WordPress. Additionally, the host installs plug-ins, themes and updates security patches on the site. The host offers full support with this option, so the site owner just needs to upload content and that’s it. Managed WordPress hosting is hassle-free, but it’s also important to choose a reputable host that has the ability to tune, secure, and optimize settings.
If you need cheap WordPress hosting, shared is a good way to start blogging. However, VPS is typically what startups use to manage a new site. Dedicated and managed hosting are generally used for sites that already have a following or you expect a high amount of incoming traffic soon. Whatever platform you choose, ensure it’s with a reputable host that knows the ins and outs of WordPress.
This is a special guest post by Jennifer Marsh. Jennifer is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for open cloud company Rackspace Hosting.