A lovingly crafted website is not meant to be kept under wraps; it is to be showcased to the world. It is at this point where web hosting comes into the equation, an crucial player most people completely ignore during their site’s development phase.
Now it is not as easy as throwing money at the first host that gives you ‘unlimited disk storage, unlimited data transfer, unlimited domains, unlimited magic beans…’ etc. No gift keeps on giving in web hosting. Anything that sounds too good to be true most definitely is; which is why you need to take some time out and look deeper than the claims.
Here is a brief checklist of things you need to consider:
A competent support staff can work wonders when you run into a snag and need all the help you can get, regardless of whether you have a team of professionals at your hand or not. Try checking their live chat, phone, email, or community forums (if any). That’ll give you a more realistic idea of the hosting provider’s support claims.
Many times, hidden in small print, are the restrictions on traffic volume your site is permitted to have. To check out how much data transferring you’ll be doing, multiply your average page size with your expected number of visitors. Example: A 50 KB page that expects 20,000 visitors will use 0.05MB*20,000 = 1000 MB = 1 GB.
Make sure you find out the payment plans exceeding traffic limitations, so you are not setting yourself up for a nasty surprise when your site does exceed specified traffic.
The total size of your website determines how much disk space you are going to need. This includes everything from markup structure, media, content, etc.
You have to get a host that provides you with the required disk space.
The larger the size of your average page, the more bandwidth will be required to transfer your page to users. Make sure you check out the bandwidth specifications of your plan.
Specific application / extension support
If you are using ASP, PHP, etc., and/or have FrontPage extensions, you need to confirm your hosting provider can support and handle it.
Some servers may have reasonable restrictions on certain types of content. Check your own against it to keep from violating any terms.
A good host server runs routine backups as a safety net. Find out your provider’s backup plans.
Emails, Domains, and more
A lot of hosting providers will offer emails, domains, and other goodies. Check those out to get the best value.
Now that you’re all caught up, we can take a look at the five most common types of WordPress Hosts.
Note: Keep in mind that this article is about how to choose the best WordPress Host for you. Speed, scalability, security, and support aside, you’ll eventually have to settle for a host that can accommodate your needs.
Alright then, let’s start with…
The mere sound of it is probably music to all the beginners on a tight, tight budget. Allow me to disillusion you…
The ‘free’ in Free Hosting always pertains to your money, and yes, in that regard, they do what they say, as in you do not have to pay a single penny to get your site on the web.
So what’s the catch?
Only the fact that most of them are: unreliable, have limited services, and will most certainly plague your site with ads.
A lot of free hosting options are usually resellers who are ‘giving away’ their server space (or some part of it) to cover a bit of revenue. While you do not have to pay in money, you will most likely have to pay in your site’s ad space. They keep the profit while leaving you in squalor. Oh, and if you specially made your site to be an “ad-free haven amidst the dark, dank labyrinths of the web”, good luck telling that to your hosting ‘provider.’
If you need more reason to never trust a seedy guy offering you anything for free, keep in mind this is just some dude with some server space. There’s nothing he stands to lose/gain from simply leaving you hanging and revoking his… benevolence.
Bottom line: Free hosting? Just say no.
Example: GoDaddy, BlueHost
It is popular and with good reason too. You can pay for it in pocket change, and you’re done for a month. So okay, you have to share the server with others, but I get all I need. Everything is unlimited if they can just give you 100 GB disk space for $3. It is the best thing ever.
So what’s the catch?
First off, remember that Shared Hosting is not Chuck Norris of Hosting services, far from it in fact. Everything they have is very real, and by extension, limited. The resources are vast, but you get usage restrictions, and hidden/conditional ones on those that are sold as infinite/unlimited/unmetered. The moment you start toeing the line, you’ll either be forced to scale up (read: pay up) or disabled.
Then there’s the issue the whole server being brought down because one of your neighbors installed something funny, the utter idiot. Through no fault of yours, you’ll have to spend hours waiting while the server staff fixes it. Despite security and privacy measures, incidents like these happen and affect thousands of users exactly like you.
If you think complaining will help, then good luck getting yourself heard over, oh, thousands of others in the same boat as you. Shared hosting providers make their money by selling $5 services to hundreds of thousands of others.
That is not to say all Shared Hosting providers are bad. It is a very good, very viable option for those who are starting out: small businesses, startups, beginners to the web in general. Just keep in mind that if you continue to scale up, you’ll eventually outgrow your shared host, no matter how limitless of everything they have got.
Example: InMotionHosting, Media Temple
Virtual Private Servers will blow all minds over the age of 70. A virtual machine is physically divided into multiple servers, and each divided bit is up for grabs. Essentially, this is almost as good as a dedicated server. It has the benefits of speed, control, and privacy since it can be optimized and configured as desired.
So what’s the catch?
If you are painfully inept with technical aspects of web development and hosting, you’ll be utterly lost. If you have no ability (or intention) of immersing yourself in technicalities, do NOT get a VPS.
This kind of hosting is popular with web developers and designers (because control), medium-sized enterprises, established bloggers with high-traffic blogs, or those looking to scale up.
Dedicated Server Hosting
Example: HostGator, Acenet
An entire server dedicated to only you. Dedicated servers are leased from hosting providers for a substantial amount of money. In turn, you get total control over nick-nacks like OS, hardware, applications, etc. Ideal for handling crazy large amounts of traffic.
So what’s the catch?
The cost. That is it. So if you are a beginner/ small business/ have a low-traffic site or blog, then quite frankly, you cannot afford dedicated server. That is okay; everyone starts small, and you do not need it anyway. Not yet.
Extremely high traffic sites use dedicated servers because nothing less than that could work. Large gaming servers are usually dedicated too.
Example: Arvixe, SiteGround
WordPress is very user-friendly. Unfortunately, the entire hosting process is not.
This is why established hosting providers are now offering Managed Hosting: for those who want to worry only about the front-end and content and absolutely nothing else. The provider will optimize performance; keep your site secure, and backed up for calamities. Hands – and – Hassle-free.
So what’s the catch?
The cost, because you have to pay for the entire team of people at the server side, managing your site. A $29/month plan with single domain and an up cap of 25,000 visitors is not chicken feed, and the scaling options are even scarier to look at, cost-wise.
This is great for companies cutting back on IT costs and long-standing, influential bloggers who can part with that much money without stretching themselves too far.
All you need is a careful analysis of your needs and pocket-expanse. Options like Managed or VPS may sound like the end of all troubles, but they are not for you if you have no use for the vast resources you are paying for.
Lucy Barret is a creative Web Developer and a Blogger with hobbies of writing technical articles. She is an expert of converting PSD to WordPress at HireWPGeeks and handles a big team of experienced developers. She enjoys writing articles and always on the lookout for sharing unique and helpful information with other bloggers. Follow her company on social media channels like Facebook and Google+.