So, have you decided to go ahead with WordPress for your website? Once you have decided, this leads us to the next important point – the hosting. If you have done your research, you would have come across different hosting packages, such as dedicated, shared, VPN, and WordPress. What do these terms mean and how is WordPress hosting different from the others?
What is WordPress hosting?
To put it simply, WordPress hosting is simply hosting that has been optimized keeping WordPress in mind. It has been optimized specifically to ensure the platform’s performance and security. In most cases, it also includes one-click WordPress making it easier for the users to get started with their WordPress websites. You will notice that some WordPress hosts also offer automatic updates for WordPress software. With regards to the types of WordPress hosting, there are two main ones. One is called Shared WordPress hosting while the other is known as Managed WordPress hosting. We will see more about these in the following sections.
The next question most users have in mind is whether we need WordPress hosting to run a WordPress website. No, there is no need for you to go with WordPress hosting just because you have a WordPress website. To have a WordPress website, all you need is a host with PHP version 5.2.4 or higher and MySQL 5.0.15 or higher. Put simply, almost every host is technically efficient to handle your WordPress website. However, WordPress hosting specially optimized to give you the best performance with regards to your website. Users have mentioned that they have has a better experience when using WordPress hosting. This is applicable across different metrics.
Shared WordPress Hosting
If you search around for WordPress hosting, you will come across two types – shared WordPress hosting and Managed WordPress hosting. The shared hosting is usually the cheaper of the two. The reason behind this is that your website will be sharing a server with other sites. While the server is be optimized for WordPress performance, it will not be just for you. Other websites will chip in and use it as well. Besides performance optimizations, you will have to be able to make use of the one-click WordPress installer.
While the latter is useful, it is not nearly as popular as cPanel. cPanel is usually present on most hosts. This also includes the one-click WordPress installer. Some shared WordPress hosts will offer their users the option of pre-installing WordPress. You would even be able to automatically upgrade your WordPress software if your host is known for it. In other cases, your host might upgrade your plugins and themes as well. Since keeping your website updated is important, both in terms of performance and security, the latter feature is a very useful one.
There are some shared WordPress hosts out there who offer the users WordPress-specific features in addition to the regular features. However, most of the features we have discussed above are standard ones, offered by almost all the hosts. Coming to the price, shared WordPress hosts usually offer high discounts for the first billing cycle. Post this, the rates usually follow the normal pattern. This is a great way to attract new users. The prices differ widely between your regular plans and the higher tier shared WordPress plans.
Managed WordPress Hosting
You can think of managed WordPress hosting as a step higher to that of shared WordPress hosting. The former usually offers everything that comes with shared hosting. Additionally, it has many other features to its credit as well. You will notice that managed WordPress hosting offers better hardware specs. This means you will be able to have a better and faster WordPress website. Looking at the security aspect, you will receive WordPress-specific firewalls. In addition to this, users will also get regular malware scans and intrusion detection. All these make sure that your WordPress site is protected and secure.
If you are looking forward to caching your WordPress site, you can enable server-side caching. It will do wonders in speeding up your website. You will require a plugin to make this work, but with Managed WordPress hosting, it becomes easier to cache with hardly any efforts from your side. Another benefit of this type is that many hosts allow staging sites. This lets the users test any changes to the website before it goes live. It will enable you to see if everything is alright before you go ahead.
No doubt managed WordPress hosting is a better option. However, the only drawback to it is the fact that it is more expensive. In most cases, you might have to pay even triple the rate of shared hosting.
Shared Vs. Managed WordPress Hosting
It is commonly believed that shared WordPress hosting should be used by beginners while managed WordPress hosting is suited better for those who have an established website. Following this popular maxim, most newbies do go ahead with shared hosting while other websites having higher traffic chose managed hosting. In most cases, this is solid advice. However, there is a major point that one must consider before going ahead. The Time and Effort Factor.
Looking at this from another angle, we see that beginners don’t usually have the required knowledge to configure caching and perform other technical tasks. Even if they are able, they will soon get overwhelmed by this. For this reason, managed WordPress hosting makes more sense. Since most of this will be taken care for you, you will not have to run around yourself. However, for this luxury, you should also be willing to pay more.
This means you might be paying a little bit more, but in the long run, you would be saving a lot of time that could be better utilized elsewhere. Again, your research might not always show you the best path to take. However, with managed hosting, you don’t have to worry about anything. If you are working on a tight budget, shared WordPress hosting is a better idea. Otherwise, Managed WordPress hosting makes more sense.