Choosing the right host can make or break your WordPress site so it’s important to choose a great one. There are a massive variety of WordPress hosting options available to you such as shared hosting, managed, VPS, dedicated, and more.
In this blog post we will cover some of the basics of WordPress hosting including the underlying software and server resources to ensure your success.
WORDPRESS HOSTING REQUIREMENTS
As with all things there are minimum requirements to running WordPress, these are:
- PHP version 5.2.4 or greater (recommended: PHP 5.4 or greater)
- MySQL version 5.0 or greater (recommended: MySQL 5.5 or greater)
Source: WordPress Requirements
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SOFTWARE STACKS
One often overlooked factor is the software stack you use to host your WordPress site. If you’re hosting using shared or managed hosts then this isn’t something you need to worry about.
Which stack your choose largely depends on your requirements and skill set. Two of the most common stacks are:
- LAMP: Linux, Apache HTTP Server, MySQL, and PHP – Simple, straight-forward, and easy to use but can be resource heavy.
- LEMP: Linux, Nginx HTTP Server, MySQL, and PHP – A little more complex and manual setup is often required. Not often supported in shared hosting options.
Fun fact: This site (eliottstephen.com) is hosted on a LEMP stack running: Ubuntu Server, Nginx, MariaDB, PHP7, OPCache, Memcached, and CloudFlare.
WHY IS CHOOSING A GOOD HOST SO IMPORTANT?
Websites are at the foundation of your business! You need a good web host to ensure that your business website is secure, reliable, and gets to your visitors as quickly as possible. If you choose a bad host then yourself and your customers will have a bad experience.
It’s important to understand your requirements, budget, shop around different hosts, and do your research! You don’t want to be signing any contracts or entrusting your data with anyone until you’re certain.
The Huffington Post wrote a great piece about this here.
No – You can always hunt down a free WordPress host however there are a multitude of problems that can arise. These may vary from poor performance, security issues, and are often very unreliable.
Shared hosting is the most popular and most affordable option for hosting a WordPress site. It’s a great option for small sites and beginners however if your site becomes popular then you will run into problems! Sites hosted using shared hosting are on a single server with hundreds if not thousands of other sites. Your resource allocation is often very low and performance can be impacted by other sites on the same server.
Be careful with hosts that claim “UNLIMITED” usage, it doesn’t exist. You will always have limits and you may be prompted to upgrade your hosting package. It may be tempting but may also cause some serious headaches later.
Fun fact: Even WordPress.com, the worlds largest free blogging platform started on shared hosting.
Managed WordPress hosting is a fantastic option for most sites. It bridges the gap between shared hosting and your own server. Everything is taken care of for you including installation, optimisation, backups, upgrades, monitoring, scaling, and security. Managed hosting is more expensive than shared and some VPS however it’s a great alternative for those who can afford the expense.
VIRTUAL PRIVATE SERVER
VPS is a private virtualised environment with it’s own OS within a shared environment. Customers often have root access to the server and can install their own software from email hosting to web and game servers. You have a lot of control however with great power comes great responsibility. You are responsible for software upgrades and all things that could go wrong on the machine. Some hosts may offer a management service where they handle all the upkeep and installations.
Prices can vary from £10/mo to over £400/mo excluding management. Because of this it’s often a good option for high-traffic websites, medium-sized businesses, and developers.
Dedicated servers are the most powerful option available and are physical servers that are leased from your hosting provider. You retain full control over the server including your choice of operating system and sometimes underlying hardware. Much like VPS some hosts also offer a management service where they handle upgrades, monitoring, etc. You DO NOT need a dedicated server if you are starting out, you’ll use a fraction of what you’re paying for and is often a hassle to maintain.
These are by far the most expensive option, often varying from £100/mo to over £1,000/mo depending on allocated resources. Because of the power of the servers and high prices, dedicated servers are often used by very high-traffic sites and large companies.