Our advice for choosing WordPress Hosting for your small business website.
How to choose a web host for your WordPress site
Many companies offer specialised WordPress hosting and Hosting, which is suitable for WordPress. Deciding who to choose can be overwhelming. Pretty much all of them will meet the minimum requirements for WordPress and get your site online, but there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s important to do a bit of research into exactly what they are offering.
If you’re in the process of choosing WordPress hosting for your website, these are the factors I encourage you to consider.
Factors to consider
You might not require a huge amount of storage or traffic bandwidth from your web host right now, but what if your business takes off? What if you eventually need additional functionality? It’s important to choose a web host that can scale to meet your future requirements because it means you don’t have to repeat this process in the near future or go to the trouble of moving your site from one host to another.
Generally, a host will display the range of plans they offer and the additional features available with each one. If you’re not sure what it all means or what you might need going forward, it’s worth getting in touch with their sales team. They should be able to help you decide which plan is right for you today and which one you should look at next.
Having robust security for your site is increasingly important. It can damage your brand if your site is frequently down because of DDOS (denial of service) attacks or if it gets infected with malware. Customers won’t want to give you their personal information if your site is not secure (as shown by the little padlock in the browser address bar). Does your host offer:
- Firewall protection?
- Virus and malware protection?
- A free Let’s Encrypt SSL install and an automatic renewal? What are the SSL certificate options?
- Automated backup solutions for your site?
- DDOS protection?
If you have an e-commerce site, an SSL certificate is particularly important as it ensures any data the customer enters into your site (such as their name, address, and phone number) is securely encrypted before it travels through cyberspace.
If you’re not a WordPress expert, it’s a good idea to select a plan that has a technical support team available to you – ideally, one with a good knowledge of WordPress. Technology isn’t perfect, and things go wrong occasionally, so it’s a big help if you have a skilled technician on call. Another thing to consider is how easy it is to get hold of them and your contact preferences. I am happy with 24/7 chat, but you may prefer to pick up the phone and talk to someone directly. Some hosting plans only offer email support, which might not be responsive enough for your needs.
Spend some time reading reviews online. You should be able to find some on Google reviews or the company’s Facebook page. If they received a complaint, how did they respond? Bear in mind that many hosting companies have affiliate plans, so the person reviewing the hosting may receive a commission. I also have affiliate links and receive a small commission if you purchase a product or service from a provider you visit from my link.
As with most things in life, when it comes to WordPress hosting, you get what you pay for. While it might be tempting to opt for the cheapest plan you can find, saving $20 a month will be a false economy if your site doesn’t perform efficiently or you spend hours emailing and phoning support to rectify problems.
I strongly recommend to all my clients to opt for a solution that gives you complete control over your web hosting and domain name. Having full access to both of these means that you can easily switch web design companies at any time. We want our clients to stay with us because they choose to, not because they have to!
Types of Hosting
Not all WordPress hosting options are the same, so it’s important to choose the one that is most likely to suit your current and future needs.
Shared hosting means you’re sharing server space and bandwidth with multiple users. Because of this, it’s usually very economical but comes with the trade-off that you might experience site performance issues because there is constant competition for the server’s resources.
Virtual Private Server hosting is similar to shared hosting, except a set amount of server space and bandwidth is reserved for your site, which decreases the risk of performance issues. As a result, VPS hosting is usually more expensive than shared hosting.
Cloud hosting spreads your hosting resources across several virtual servers, offering great scalability and flexibility. There is less chance of site downtime because the host is not relying on a single server.
Dedicated hosting is where you do not share server resources with other users, reducing the security and performance issues of shared hosting. You might consider dedicated hosting if you have particular server configuration or site functionality requirements.
Other important things to consider:
- Do you need email hosting, and if so, what solutions do they provide?
- Do they give you the ability to add content to your site, and if so, what interface do they use?
- Where are their servers located, and what backup protections do they employ?
- Are there any caching or performance tools available?
- What options do they offer for site staging, and how easy are they to use? (This is essential for e-commerce websites with reasonable amounts of traffic.)
Which host should I choose?
WP Beginner, a WordPress resource site with over 400,000 users, regularly publishes a list of recommended hosts. Their top four hosting companies for 2021 are:
Codeinwp, a site for WordPress freelancers, recommends the following four sites based on a price-to-quality ratio:
They also highly recommend WP Engine for sites that have higher levels of traffic.
Our recommendations are:
- WP Engine (strongly preferred if you have a high-traffic site or an e-commerce site with a lot of products)
- SiteGround (which is no longer available directly to individual customers in New Zealand, but I can offer it to my clients as an approved reseller)
- Panthur (an Australian hosting company)
- Bluehost if you are looking for an affordable option
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