If you are thinking about starting a new self-hosted WordPress website for your business, you need to make some decisions about web hosting. But it can be confusing.
Here is web hosting explained in simple terms.
What is a Hosting Service?
Basically, your new website will need to live on a computer somewhere so that readers can access it 24 hours a day. This computer needs to be spacious enough to handle the size of your website (all the related files and media on the backend) as well as powerful enough to handle the amount of traffic that your website will normally get.
Free website services like Blogger or Weebly do not require separate hosting. And some paid services like Typepad or Squarespace include the hosting as part of their service.
However, should you choose to build your website with self-hosted WordPress or a different platform that does not include hosting, then you will need to get WordPress hosting. You will also need to decide what type of hosting plan is right for you and then you will need to shop around for a web host.
Shared Hosting Definition
Most new websites start out here.
As the name implies, your website will live on the same server (computer at the hosting company) with many other user accounts. All of the websites on that shared server also share the same resources like RAM and CPU.
Typically, in the beginning, traffic to your website will be low. Hopefully, that will change as the popularity of your business grows. 😉 But for some offline businesses that merely need a web presence, this will always be more than enough.
However, as your website grows in size and in traffic, you may outgrow shared hosting. What this means is that your growing website will start to use an unfair share of space and resources on that server.
The advantages of shared hosting are:
- cost – very inexpensive
- some accounts allow unlimited domains – which means that you can host more than one website on one hosting account.
The disadvantages are:
- if your website explodes in popularity, you may need to upgrade to a different type of hosting plan
- often a web host will “throttle” the resources available to you if you use too much, which will slow down your website
- the speed of your website can also suffer if another account on the same server starts to eat up too many resources
- you have no control over the other type of accounts that share your server – so if some are unsavory in nature your server could become blacklisted (read: it is important to use a reputable hosting service)
- lack of complete control over your server
For most small businesses the advantage of price far outweighs the negatives. Should you hit the boundaries of your shared plan, many companies will work with you to move your website to a roomier space and a bigger plan.
Virtual Private Hosting (VPS)
VPS is the next step up from shared hosting.
Technically, you still share a server with other accounts. But in the case of VPS, the server is divided into segments for each account and each segment run it’s own operating system and has it’s own dedicated RAM.
In essence, it is like having your own dedicated server yet you are still on a shared server.
The upsides to VPS are:
- price – costs more than shared hosting, but still considerably less than a dedicated server
- more dedicated resources
- more control over your account
- many hosts offer different levels within VPS, so you can start at with a lower plan and grow with it as your site grows
The downsides of VPS are:
- it is more expensive than shared hosting
- you are still sharing a server with other accounts – so again, a reputable host is important to make sure that enough resources are allocated to your account
This is the top tier of web hosting. By the time you get to this level, hopefully, you will have a technical web guru in the wings to help you manage the sheer size and traffic volume that your site will be receiving.
The upside here is that you’re not sharing your server with anyone else. It is yours alone. You will have complete control with what you do here.
The downside, of course, is cost. Dedicated servers are expensive, so only move in when you need it.
WordPress Specific Hosting
Many web hosts now offer hosting specific to WordPress which can be very helpful.
For example, as part of it’s WordPress hosting packages, SiteGround offers automatic WordPress upgrades and backups which can make your job a little easier.
It really does help when your host and their customer support team understand the inner workings of WordPress.
What Web Hosting Service Do You Use?
What do you like about your web host? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
I recently wrote about my experience in migrating my WordPress website to SiteGround.
When I first started blogging I looked for web hosting explained in a way that I could understand. I hope that this article helps you learn how to start blogging on the right foot.