What Is WordPress Hosting?
Hosting is arguably the most crucial part of building a website. Without it, you have no way to publish your content, so choosing the right solution from the outset is vital.
It’s true: your hosting selection can be the difference between a fast and secure web presence or being stuck with no room for your site to grow.
In short, your host is your site’s ‘home’ on the web. It helps to determine your site’s performance, functionality, and core security. Understanding which hosting provider is right for you will enable you to get off to a great start, regardless of your site’s niche and complexity.
In this post, we’ll discuss web hosting — specifically WordPress hosting. We'll explain what to look for in a quality host. We'll finish up with an introduction to DreamHost's platform and explain how it could be the ideal option for you. Let’s get to work!
An Introduction to WordPress Hosting
Simply put, web hosting is what enables you to publish your website on the internet. A hosting provider rents you server space to store all of your website’s files, which enables you to display them to visitors. When people visit your website, all of your site’s data travels from the server to their browsers.
Website builders such as WordPress.com will host your website for you, either for free or for a small fee. However, WordPress.org (which we’ll simply refer to as WordPress from here on out) is a little different. It is what’s known as a self-hosted platform, which means you’ll need to find and purchase your own hosting plan.
Fortunately, there are plenty of places to find website hosting online. Plus, there are a number of advantages to using a self-hosted platform like WordPress:
- You can use a custom domain name. While you aren’t required to purchase a domain through your host, most will offer the option. This lets you to manage your site and domain from one location.
- You have control over your site’s functionality and customization. When you use WordPress to build your site, you can customize your website to match your brand’s look and feel through themes and plugins.
- Your host may provide features that are specific to WordPress. If you opt for a WordPress-specific hosting plan, your provider will offer platform-specific updates and support.
While many providers will be able to host a WordPress website, we recommend you find a provider specific to the platform. Doing so will give your new site a solid foundation for functionality and support.
Understanding Your Hosting Options
We’ll get to DreamHost’s WordPress-specific options in a minute. But before we do, it’s important to have a grasp on the basics of web hosting plans. There are three primary types to consider:
- Shared hosting — This is relatively inexpensive because (as the name implies) you are sharing server resources with other businesses and individuals. You’ll be able to host a site with your own domain, create email accounts, and make changes to your site at a minimum. This type of service is great for personal blogs or online portfolios.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting — A VPS isolates your resources from other users so you don’t have to worry about how other sites will affect your own performance. VPS hosting is perfect for small businesses that need dependable, rock solid service.
- Dedicated hosting — With this plan, you have an entire physical server dedicated to your web data. You have full root access to customize the server and your data any way you want. Dedicated hosting is great for resource-intensive applications and enterprise-level websites. We recommend this plan for anyone running a large-scale business site or for application development.
The best way to think about these different plan types is to compare them to airplane travel.
- Shared hosting is functional, affordable, and gets you where you need to go — think economy class.
- Like upgrading to a seat with more legroom, VPS hosting gives you more amenities and resources, while still keeping the cost reasonable.
- Finally, dedicated hosting is first-class service that gives you even more freedom and amenities for a premium price.
Once you understand the hosting options available to you, you’re in a better position to take a look at some of the specific plans you can opt for.
Introducing DreamHost’s WordPress Hosting Solutions
Here at DreamHost, we offer all the hosting types described above. What’s more, as your hosting service, we can provide you with the following benefits:
- Not only do we meet all of WordPress’s requirements, we’re also a recommended provider, listed among some of “the best and brightest of the hosting world”.
- DreamHost offers multiple pricing options for our WordPress Shared and DreamPress hosting plans<.
- As for performance and customer support, we have an uptime guarantee, and our award-winning support team is always ready to chat.
- And much more!
Our WordPress Shared option includes unlimited website hosting as well as unmetered storage and bandwidth and starts at $7.95 per month. It enables you to get up and running quickly, since WordPress is pre-installed. We recommend this package for blogs, most starter websites, and portfolios.
Now, let’s talk about DreamPress. This is our three-tier managed WordPress solution, which was built specifically for optimum performance on the platform. In addition to taking care of your installation, we manage security and WordPress updates so you can focus on running your site.
DreamPress is ideal for small businesses, e-commerce sites, developers, and designers, and is your best bet if you’re looking for WordPress-specific hosting. The Plus and Advanced plans also include Jetpack Premium integration, while the basic plan starts at just $16.95 per month.
3 Elements You Should Look For in a Quality WordPress Hosting Platform
There are many guides available to help you choose a hosting platform for your WordPress website and various criteria you should consider. Below, we’ve chosen three major elements to look for when choosing a quality host.
1. Your Prospective Host Meets WordPress’ Requirements
It’s important that any host you are considering meets WordPress’ requirements and standards, and you have to make sure your host can offer appropriate support. In addition, you’ll also want to make sure that future updates to the platform won’t be an issue.
Since requirements change as WordPress and hosting services evolve, you should always check WordPress.org directly. Pay close attention to PHP and MySQL versions, as those are crucial to maintaining your database. Once you’ve gleaned the requirements, you can compare them to a prospective host by visiting their website and taking a look at their plans’ details and features.
If you’ve found a suitable host with regards to WordPress’ requirements, your next step is to consider pricing and scalability.
2. Look for a Host with Multiple Pricing Plans to Meet Your Needs
Generally speaking, the cost of setting up a WordPress site is minimal when compared to other platforms. However, hosting is a primary cost that you have to factor into your budget. Fortunately, many quality providers offer tiered pricing.
They do this because they understand the requirements of WordPress, the types of sites that can be built with the platform, and the differences between those websites. For example, a quality host will acknowledge the difference between a blog and an e-commerce site, and give you options based on those situations.
Choosing your plan is going to be largely subjective. First, consider what you want to accomplish with your website. If your research leads you to a host that offers pricing based on your requirements, and offers room to grow as your needs do, you are on the right track. Of course, your budget should also be a concern, and unless you’ve apportioned a lot of money, there will often be compromises when choosing a plan.
3. Your Host Should Offer Exceptional Performance and Support
It should go without saying that performance and support are important for any paid service. However, these can mean different things depending on your experience with web hosting.
The performance of your site is based on its speed and uptime. If your site becomes inaccessible (or simply too slow), you may be looking at a performance issue. This could be minor or major, depending your hosting plan and traffic, but you may still need to reach out to support.
A quality web host will be upfront about performance, while also clearly explaining their support policy. More than that, they will offer support documentation for common issues and contact information to allow you reach out for help.
When researching web hosts, take your time to review their performance based on the plan you’ve chosen. Next, take a look at their support offerings and make sure they offer the level of support you need. As with picking a pricing tier, your decision here will be based on your own needs.
When looking for a quality WordPress host, you should think of it as finding a home for your website. You want to make sure it’s secure and gives you room to grow. Understanding what elements to look for enables you to make an informed choice when selecting a quality solution.