There are so many factors that go into making an online business successful. And one of the most important is the type of hosting plan you choose.
You’ve probably heard that WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS), powering over 38 million live sites, so you might be wondering, “What is WordPress hosting?” and “Is it right for my website?” Let’s look at:
- What is WordPress hosting?
- What are the benefits of using it?
- Whether you’re better off using it or a more general web hosting plan.
What is WordPress hosting?
WordPress hosting is a form of hosting that’s optimized specifically for WordPress websites. It’s a subset of web hosting tailored to sites built on WordPress.
WordPress hosting packages vary depending on the hosting provider but typically include features like one-click WordPress installation, automatic updates and custom WordPress themes.
Now, having a WordPress site doesn’t mean you have to sign up for WordPress hosting. Regular hosting will get the job done just fine. However, integrating your WordPress site with a WordPress hosting plan is the best way to maximize its performance, security and availability.
What is the Difference Between WordPress Hosting and Web Hosting?
Types of WordPress hosting services
When selecting a WordPress hosting plan, you’ll come across various hosting options. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses. Let’s explore the four most common types of WordPress hosting services and who they’re best suited for.
Shared WordPress hosting
Shared WordPress hosting is the cheapest type of hosting solution and is ideal for smaller websites and first-time website owners. Many plans cost less than $5/month.
Shared hosting is when a web hosting company lets you rent or allocates you a small portion of a single server. This means you share server resources with other website owners.
One downside of a shared hosting plan is that if one site takes up too much of the shared resources, your website’s performance could be affected.
Another con has to do with server customizability—a shared server environment means that you won’t have a hosting setup tailored to your specific needs.
And as your website begins to experience more traffic, it may be necessary to upgrade your plan to get better hardware specs; this will help you avoid performance-related issues.
Overall, shared WordPress hosting is great when you’re just starting out and on a budget. But it might cost you more in the long run due to the issues that surround a shared server environment.
Managed WordPress hosting
Managed WordPress hosting is when the web host handles everything related to the backend administration of your WordPress site. This includes things like updates, maintenance, security and backups.
Managed WordPress hosting plans typically come with better site speeds, security and specialized support.
Let’s look at why this is in a bit more detail:
- Speed: Because the server is optimized for running WordPress sites, your website will perform better than it would on a non-optimized plan. For instance, managed plans often come with caching that happens on the server side. As such, you won’t need a WordPress caching plugin, nor will your site slow down due to using one.
- Security: Your hosting environment is secured against WordPress-specific threats like SQL injections and malware infections. You’ll also benefit from features like malware detection and removal, SSL certificates and automatic backups.
- Support: You’ll get access to a team of WordPress experts who understand the nuances of the CMS.
Besides the above, many managed WordPress hosts also provide staging sites to test any changes before making them live.
Managed WordPress hosting plans comes at a higher price point than shared hosting. Certain plugins may also be restricted. For instance, a plugin could offer a feature the host already provides (e.g., caching) or have a known security vulnerability.
Overall, managed WordPress hosting allows you to devote your time to revenue-generating activities since the host takes the technical aspects off your hands.
Dedicated WordPress hosting
Dedicated WordPress hosting is one of the options available to you.
As the name implies, dedicated WordPress hosting is when you get a server all to yourself. You’ll have root access to the server and won’t have to share hardware, like disk space, memory or CPU, with other users.
Choosing a dedicated hosting plan usually means your site’s performance, security and uptime will be at their best since you won’t have to worry about sharing resources like you would on shared servers.
Some dedicated server plans give you the choice between a managed and unmanaged service.
A managed service means the hosting company will handle the troubleshooting and upkeep of the server for you.
With an unmanaged dedicated hosting plan, the technical aspects and maintenance of the server will be up to you. As you might have guessed, unmanaged dedicated server plans generally give you more control—you can optimize your server to match your exact specifications.
One downside to dedicated hosting is that its cost is significantly higher than the other types of WordPress hosting services. Dedicated hosting plans can easily run upwards of $100/month, depending on the web host you choose.
Overall, if you’re a new site owner, signing up for dedicated WordPress hosting won’t be necessary, as you don’t need that much control or many resources to get your website started.
If, in the future, your website experiences high traffic monthly, a dedicated WordPress hosting plan might be an excellent choice.
Virtual private server (VPS) WordPress hosting
The final type of WordPress hosting we’re going to look at is VPS hosting.
This type of hosting involves a single physical server that’s split into multiple virtual servers by a hypervisor. You’ll have a subsection of a server dedicated solely to your site, meaning you won’t have to share resources like bandwidth and RAM with other users. This results in better performance and security.
In the case of VPS WordPress hosting, the same rules apply, except that each site will run on WordPress. This means that the server environment will be optimized for WordPress sites, giving you higher levels of performance and security than a standard VPS server would offer.
VPS hosting also provides more control over server-level settings. For instance, some web hosting providers like Bluehost offer full root access.
This hosting option is suitable for those who want a plan above shared WordPress hosting but aren’t ready yet for dedicated WordPress hosting.
Factors to consider when choosing a WordPress hosting provider
Each way you turn, there’s a WordPress host marketing its solution as the best choice for you. So before making your decision, do your research and compare different options.
Specifically, you’ll want to take factors like performance, security and customer support into consideration when choosing a WordPress hosting plan.
Performance affects everything from user experience to SEO to conversions to sales. For example, a study by Bidnamic found that the conversion rate increased by 17% for every second the site loaded faster.
Uptime should also be considered if you want optimum site performance; if your site is unreachable, it can have adverse effects, such as decreased traffic and customer churn. Make sure the host of your choice offers a clearly defined uptime guarantee of at least 99%.
It should also include features such as a content delivery network (CDN) and built-in caching, both of which are great for improving loading times.
The answer to the question: “What is WordPress hosting?” lies in considering various factors like performance and customer support.
Consider also testing site speed yourself by taking advantage of various WordPress hosts’ free trials or refund policies. Tools like PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom can help you determine whether a particular host lives up to its promise of faster site speeds.
Like performance, scalability can impact your site’s bottom line.
As a new site owner, you might opt for the most affordable hosting solution out there. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, as your web traffic grows, this type of WordPress hosting can work against you, as your plan might allocate insufficient resources to your site.
For instance, it’s possible that you might suffer an outage if your WordPress site can’t handle higher traffic levels.
Therefore, choose a web host that can support growth and allow you to scale your servers in response to increased traffic demands.
Check if the host provides scalable plans or plans above shared hosting (e.g., VPS hosting). This way, you won’t have to switch web hosting providers to cope with higher demand.
Security is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a WordPress web host. Your data (and that of your customers) must be kept secure to keep things running smoothly.
Sadly, nearly 45% of survey respondents experienced between one and five successful cyber-attacks against their business. Another report by Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that the annual cost of cybercrime will reach $10.5 trillion by 2025.
The good news is that many WordPress hosts offer robust security measures to protect your data against a wide range of cyber-attacks and minimize risk.
Since different price points exist among the various WordPress hosts you’ll come across, it’s best to compare plans and pricing to find the best fit for you. For instance, some web hosts charge more in the long run, so things can quickly get expensive as you continue to scale.
You should also be on the lookout for hidden fees. For instance, there are hosts that will charge you extra for security add-ons or for exceeding your bandwidth limit.
Keep an eye out for introductory offers, which can allow you to save money in the short term while trying out a web host’s capabilities. The longer the discount, the better. For example, Bluehost offers a discount of up to 50% when you pay for 36 months of hosting upfront.
Quality support can’t be overlooked when running a WordPress website. This is especially true if you’re a beginner. Not to mention, things break sometimes, so it’s important to know that your chosen host has your back in an emergency.
So before you commit to a hosting company, consider what options there are for contacting support. Keep an eye out for hosts who offer multiple channels, like email and phone.
You can also test out the host’s support team on your own to see if it’s timely or effective. If they have live chat support, ask them some questions and take note of how long they take to reply
Another option is checking review sites like G2 to learn what other people’s experiences have been like.
Benefits of WordPress hosting
When looking into what WordPress hosting is, you’ll come across various benefits associated with the platform.
Now that you’re familiar with what WordPress hosting is, let’s look at the advantages this kind of plan can give your WordPress website.
- Security: WordPress hosting typically comes with built-in security measures tailored to WordPress to secure your site and its data. These measures include things like daily backups, malware scanning and automatic WordPress updates. And should the worst happen, and your site gets compromised, the hosting provider should have WordPress experts available to provide support.
- Speed: Since WordPress hosting is optimized to run WordPress sites, you’ll get faster loading times compared to a standard hosting plan. Also, things like built-in caching are usually included to enhance website speed.
- Quick set-up: Because most WordPress hosting plans come with the CMS pre-installed, setting up your WordPress site only takes a few minutes. In addition, some managed WordPress hosts also provide custom themes to streamline the process.
WordPress hosting is an excellent option if you’re interested in designing your site with the most popular CMS. Because they’re optimized for WordPress-specific websites, these hosting plans can help your website perform at its best.
What’s more, WordPress hosting has a variety of budget options and can be scaled to meet growing demand. Add in a reliable WordPress host, and you’re on your way to building a profitable online business.
At Bluehost, we offer WordPress hosting plans with key features like top-notch security, faster site speeds and round-the-clock support.
Contact us today to learn how Bluehost can support the growth of your WordPress site.
What is WordPress hosting? Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
To ensure we leave no room for doubt when answering the question: “What does WordPress hosting mean?” we’ve compiled some of the web’s most frequently asked questions:
WordPress hosting is your best option if you plan to build your site with WordPress. That’s because a WordPress hosting plan integrates seamlessly with WordPress sites to ensure optimal site performance and high levels of security.
If you’re using WordPress.org, you’ll need to purchase hosting from a third-party provider and register a domain name. But if you opt for a WordPress.com account, it comes with hosting (both paid and free). Check out this resource to learn more about the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
Initially, WordPress was mostly used for blogging. Today, it enjoys immense popularity and can be used to create all kinds of different websites, from eCommerce stores to professional portfolios.
Shared hosting is the cheapest type of hosting available and involves sharing server resources with other sites. If another site uses too many of the resources, it could negatively impact your site’s performance and security. Shared hosting plans also generally have limited customization options.
WordPress hosting is a subsection of web hosting that’s been optimized to run sites built on the popular CMS. Just note that a WordPress hosting plan can be a shared hosting plan, but a shared hosting plan doesn’t need to be a WordPress plan.
The types of WordPress hosting include managed hosting and shared hosting. With managed WordPress hosting, the host does all the heavy lifting in terms of server maintenance and offers features to optimize performance and improve security, like caching and automated backups.
Shared hosting refers to renting space on a shared server. It’s budget-friendly and great for when you’re just starting out.
To create your site, you’ll need to purchase hosting and a domain name, so depending on the web host you choose, it can cost you less than $100 a year. That’s assuming you haven’t used any paid themes and plugins or hired a professional to build out your site. If you do, it could cost you significantly more. Our guide explains in detail how much a WordPress site costs.