How to Choose the Right Host for Your WordPress Site

If you want a website that loads quickly with consistently fast page speeds, you can’t skip over how vital hosting is when considering your site’s performance. There are always things you can do to increase the speed of your website, but you can’t expect low-end “value” servers to perform the same as high-quality servers.

Cheap hosting can be appealing, we get it, but it will limit your website’s opportunity and cause any number of performance and security issues that will cost you way more in the long run, trust us!

Thankfully, you don’t have to break the bank to get incredible performance and quality hosting. But you do have to choose quality over the claims of “value” and pay more than the low-end host’s charge.

Pro Tip: Pay a little more for quality over “value.”

How to Choose the Right WordPress Hosting Service

You can categorize hosting into three different types based on how the servers are set up and handled. To be able to make the best decision for you it’s important that you have an understanding of these three types…

1. Shared WordPress Hosting

Shared hosting is the most common and cheapest hosting option available. Many hosting companies offer shared hosting plans and while the plan “features” seem great (things like unlimited sites, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited storage), the actual server configuration is not ideal. The important metrics like RAM and CPU are shared with all the sites hosted on the server. Which can be hundreds and hundreds. This means that performance can fluctuate greatly based on the traffic or issues of sites that have nothing to do with your site.

Shared Hosting Pros:

  • Unlimited Sites – This can be a pro if you have a lot of sites you need to host.
  • Email server included – This can be a pro if you don’t want to use email services like G Suite or Zoho
  • Lower Cost – Just make note that it’s not always true because of optional extras that you may have to purchase ( backups, malware mediation, etc).

Shared Hosting Cons:

  • Performance/Reliability – Because your site is sharing resources with any number of other sites it’s possible to have performance and reliability issues that are not even related to your own site and you have no control over.
  • Security – Most shared hosts do what they can to prevent security issues. However, you are still open to malware and other security issues from the unknown sites that you share the server with. This can make tracking down security issues really difficult. Also, most shared servers don’t offer free malware mitigation so if you get hacked or infected you have to pay to get things fixed.
  • Backups – Most shared hosts don’t offer free backups that are easy to use for individual sites and easy to restore from.
  • Support – Shared hosting companies often outsource support or they offer support from individuals that are not experts and can’t offer great feedback. If you need any kind of expert support, it can be really hard to access.

I would never “recommend” using shared hosting if you can afford better hosting. Furthermore, I suggest seriously revisiting your hosting budget if shared is all you can “afford”. Between lost opportunities to unreliability, there is a “cost” to getting the value option.

However, if managed hosting is more than you can spend and you don’t have the expertise or need for more dedicated options, it may be necessary to choose shared hosting because of their lower cost. If you find yourself in this position I suggest looking at Blue Host or Siteground for hosting providers. I also suggest not choosing the cheapest plan available.

2. Traditional Dedicated/VPS WordPress Hosting

Controlling or having the ability to control the server is a good way to explain this hosting option. Basically, unlike shared hosting, you purchase your own server space and it’s completely designated for your site or sites. You are not sharing resources and you are not as limited in what options you have concerning how you want the server to run.

While this alleviates some of the performance, reliability, and security issues with shared hosting, it comes at a higher price. Plus, shared servers can be bad when it comes to performance because of throttling or other sites on that server using resources, but the servers themselves are quite powerful in terms of CPU and RAM. To get close to the raw computing power of a very large shared server you have to choose higher than the basic entry-level VPS or dedicated server. Otherwise, your site may actually be slower than a shared server.

Dedicated/VPS Hosting Pros:

  • Unlimited sites – This can be a pro if you have a lot of sites you need to host.
  • Email server often included – This can be a pro if you don’t want to use email services like G Suite or Zoho
  • Full control over the server – This can be a pro if you want control and have the expertise to control your server

Dedicated/VPS Hosting Cons:

  • Managing Server Expertise Required – We can’t stress this enough, you are expected to have the technical expertise to manage the server. If you don’t, it’s not an appropriate option.
  • Support – It’s hard to get decent support. The issues on a Dedicated or VPS server are more complicated and require the person giving support to understand a lot more than typical hosting support personnel.
  • Backups – Most dedicated/VPS hosts don’t offer free backups that are easy to use for individual sites and easy to restore from.
  • Cost – More expensive than shared, but the more sites you need to host the more value you get for the price.
  • Security – Often you are responsible to update the server software to prevent security issues. Unless you are really great at managing the server this creates security issues.

I would never “recommend” using traditional dedicated/VPS hosting unless you have the technical expertise or have a desire to learn. If you do have the expertise or want to learn, I suggest going one small step further and managing your own cloud server on Digital Ocean or Google Cloud rather than purchasing a dedicated or VPS from a traditional hosting company (note that this means you won’t have an email server and you will get almost zero support).

3. Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting provides a level up from traditional hosting because the server environment is designed specifically for WordPress and bundles extra services into the hosting price that specifically makes WordPress faster and more secure. Plus, managed hosting provides a level up with specific support for WordPress users, proper backups, and staging sites.

Managed WordPress Hosting Pros:

  • Performance and Reliability – Fast, optimized for WordPress. Plus they are easily scalable.
  • Security – The servers are highly secured, monitored, and most offer free malware mediation.
  • Support – Managed Hosts can offer a much higher level of specific WordPress support.
  • Backups and Staging sites – Most offer easy to use site-specific backups as well as staging sites.

Managed WordPress Hosting Cons:

  • Email server not included – This can be a con if you don’t want to use email services like G Suite or Zoho.
  • Price per WordPress install – This can be a con if you have many websites you need to host as it can be a lot more expensive.

I suggest Managed WordPress hosting for everyone. The price is not much more then what you will end up paying for even the cheapest hosts, and the difference it will have on your site is enormous.

Some good managed WordPress hosting options are: CloudwaysKinsta and Liquid Web