Last updated: February 11, 2018
With WordPress, anyone can have their own blog, create a corporate or e-commerce website, and update its content easily. Nonetheless, you will need a hosting provider for your WordPress site to be accessible. There are two WordPress versions – wordpress.com and wordpress.org. With wordpress.com you can take advantage of using a free WordPress site hosted on WordPress’s servers, getting a subdomain type of site. This is a good option for beginners who are not familiar with the particularities of WordPress hosting, the plugins available, and who do not need a lot of server resources like storage space, speed, memory, and bandwidth.
Regular and Managed WordPress Hosting
When your website grows or if you are a more experienced user or you simply want to create a corporate or commercial site, you will have to opt for a wordpress.org version of the software. WordPress content management system (CMS) is a PHP and MySQL based software, which should be installed on a server to run. This will be your host or hosting server. With WordPress being the most popular CMS, most hosting providers do offer hosting plans that are tailored to meet the requirements of WordPress regarding required software and hardware resources.
Unless you have decided to use the free WordPress hosted version, you have two basic choices: managed or regular WordPress hosting. Bear in mind that the free WordPress hosting provides limited functionality concerning installation of plugins, as well as customization of your theme and website functionality. Therefore, a larger site or an e-commerce website will need either managed or regular WordPress hosting.
With traditional hosting, you take the responsibility to manage aspects of your WordPress site like security settings, software updates, and adjustment of various settings. A managed WordPress hosting service will take care of the WordPress environment for you, including security and software updates, or even installation of plugins. You should be aware that hosting services that are specially customized for WordPress may not allow you to run sites based on other software platforms since their hardware and software infrastructure is configured to optimize the WordPress performance. This type of managed service can save you time and money administering your website, but may also prevent you from using specific plugins that your site might require in the future.
Shared WordPress Hosting
The regular WordPress hosting is available in three service variations: shared hosting service, virtual private server (VPS), or dedicated website hosting. An average personal blog can be hosted both as a free version on wodrdpress.com (if you accept the downside of not having a custom domain name) or as shared hosting service. A shared WordPress hosting will require you to manage the basic and more advanced settings of the CMS yourself while sharing server resources with other websites. These websites might be WordPress-based or not, and their number can be in the range of thousands on a single server where they share the available hardware and software resources. Subsequently, shared hosting has some disadvantages regarding security and availability of server memory, speed, and bandwidth.
VPS WordPress Hosting and Dedicated WordPress Hosting
The more your WordPress site grows, the more resources you need. At this point, you may opt for VPS WordPress hosting where you still share a server with other users, but a certain percentage of dedicated resources are allocated to you. This is not an actual dedicated server, but your hosting provider will grant, say, 20% of the available resources exclusively to you, depending on the hosting plan. Thus, you can always use 20% of the server storage space, 20% of the server computing power, or, in other words, 20% of all resources. With VPS hosting, you will usually manage the site and most of the server settings yourself although certain restrictions may apply regarding root access to the server and other more advanced options. Nonetheless, this is a good option for most businesses that have outgrown the stage of shared hosting.
Dedicated WordPress hosting, which is not the same as managed WordPress hosting, is intended for larger businesses or sites that enjoy millions of visitors a month. With dedicated WordPress hosting, you are in control of an entire server. This server is running your website exclusively, and you can configure and use it at your discretion, provided that you observe some rules of the web hosting provider. This service can be tricky to set up and manage properly because you are in charge of the entire process, so some providers offer managed dedicated hosting. This service will take charge of the management of more advanced WordPress and server settings, as well as scripts needed by your site.
As you can see, there are many options available for WordPress hosting and the final decision is up to you. A good idea is to start with a less sophisticated solution and gradually learn the more advanced functionality of WordPress before moving to a hosting plan that requires managing a website on your own. A managed solution will be a bit more expensive, but you can concentrate on your core activities delegating the maintenance and support of the website to your WordPress hosting provider. Opt-inµ for VPS or dedicated web hosting if your website requires more resources and if you can manage your own server environment. Even with VPS and dedicated WordPress hosting, you can choose a managed service that will make the running and maintenance of your website hassle-free.