Web hosting is an often overlooked yet essential part of making your online presence known to the world. In fact, choosing the best WordPress hosting for your unique set of needs can not only improve your SEO rating but ultimately increase sales and revenue.
It’s essential to note that there are various types of WordPress hosts available on the market, including Shared, Free, VPS, managed, or dedicated hosting. Due to this, we’ve come up with some of the best questions you should be asking yourself when deciding on your hosting needs and the companies that can help you achieve your goals.
Step 1: Hosting
Before being able to choose WordPress, you will need to decide on a hosting service. While some of you might already hold the knowledge required to manage a server and install WordPress on your computer, others might choose the sweet comfort of a subscription service. This latter option will introduce you to a server that is up and running –sometimes there even being a free-of-charge alternative. Nonetheless, we strongly recommend using a paid hosting provider, as they are typically more committed to providing high-quality services and features.
The decision of which hosting service to choose can also be hard, as there are multiple companies that promise you the stars and the moon. To make things easier for you, we have selected two names that look highly promising –both with their pros and cons.
Bluehost and WordPress have been closely working with each other since 2005. Featuring an easy-to-use interface with straightforward functions that are accessible to every user, this hosting provider is excellent when it comes to their 24/7 customer support, billing information, or domain management.
For non-techies, SiteGround is the way to go, as this hosting provider oversees the installation of all managed WordPress hosting –all using a one-click installation process. Additionally, you can benefit from automated daily updates and backups, content management, enhanced security, staging, caching, free account transfer, and other useful features.
If you choose to for with A2 Hosting for your WordPress site, you can’t go wrong. This lightning speed hosting will meet your needs whether you’re a part-time blogger or a large business trying to provide a great experience for your visitors.
Step 2: Branding
Nobody denies that you have probably already picked a name for your website or have a list tucked away in a tight safe, and that’s a great start. However, another aspect to be mindful of is selecting an adequate domain name –the part of a URL that identifies IP addresses, the link to identifying computers or devices on a network or web page. Another more comfortable way to look at it is that IP addresses make your web address.
Concerning selecting a domain name for your website, you will need to opt for a suffix of your choice (i.e., .org or .co.uk or .org). In some cases, an annual fee will be required, but that will depend on the service you have chosen. For example, Bluehost offers a free domain registration for the first year of use, or otherwise, you can purchase a domain name directly from a registrar such as GoDaddy or NameCheap.
After that is done and dusted, you can begin the setup process, and it will be time to get to work. What you do and in which order will ultimately depend on you and your attention to detail. Simply remember that you can access the dashboard and work on what you feel is most pressing.
Step 3: Appearance
Concerning appearance, WordPress defaults to a specific theme, and you can choose if you stick with it or not. The choice will ultimately fall on you, as there are several pre-installed themes you can quickly pick from. Alternatively, check out the directory of other ideas by going into the option of “appearance”, and then selecting “themes”. Click “add new” and you’ll be greeted by a list of free WordPress themes that are guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest pickers.
Otherwise, install themes offered by a third party. Although you might pay a small price, they will include many more features, making it more interactive and attractive for your users. For example, Themeforest is an excellent starting place to find a premium theme. After you’ve downloaded the item you want, go to the directory and click “upload theme”.
Other parts of your appearance will consist of customization of headers, background, widgets, or menus. There are so many things you can choose from; it’s trully a case of the ‘world is your oyster’. Although WordPress comes preloaded with some widgets, some already pre-activated and located in your sidebar, others are just waiting for you to discover them. Rearrange everything as you deem necessary, installing new ones along the way by using the plugin directory.
Step 4: Plugins
Plugins will depend on how you’re using your website and how much you make use of the functionality of your theme. Nonetheless, they add a more sophisticated element to your site, one that some of your users might enjoy –making you seemed even more involved in the overall concept and what you want your end user experience to be like.
One example is Akismet, a plugin which comes pre-installed on your WordPress, and it’s up to you to activate it or leave it be. The primary function of Akismet is to protect your site against spam, which is imperative for the safety of your information and the sanity of anyone wondering about your site.
Step 5: Pages
Maybe you want something different, a one-page site that attract direct attention with its catchy and to-the-point content. Unless you’re going down that route, you’ll probably want at least a couple of pages, including one with contact information and one relating to your story –an “about us” page.
Other possible concepts include portfolios or galleries in which you can showcase your work. Be mindful that some will require additional plugins such as Contact Form 7, WooCommerce, or others in order to have these types of pages –it will ultimately vary depending on your preferences and what you hope to achieve with your website and its captivating content.
Managed WordPress Hosting vs. Traditional Hosting
This point is one of the most important distinctions that you’ll need to make before thinking about anything else. While traditional hosting means that you are given a server space and a certain degree of allocated support, you will be responsible for a set of other things, including:
- Setting up your hosting access.
- Installing WordPress or later on migrating your old site to WordPress.
- Managing updates relating to WordPress software and plugins.
- Handling regular backups of your site.
- Dealing with any security breaches that the hosting service is not responsible for.
- Controlling traffic ups and downs.
Are there any free WordPress hosting providers?
The simple answer is yes; there are some free WordPress hosting providers. However, although the temptation might be high, you should stay away from them. The fact of the matter is that most free WordPress service providers will put ads on your website –after all, they still need to make some money. Instead, choose a solid WordPress host like Bluehost. Bluehost is even recommended by WordPress themselves.
While you may understand this technique and can’t fault them for it, malware is likely to travel, potentially affecting your customers and doing more harm in the long run. Additionally, free hosting providers have the ability to shut down any of their websites without any prior notice, which is not a position you want to be in.
How complicated is the WordPress installation?
Although some brands still have a complicated and long-winded way of installing WordPress, others offer a convenient and accessible 1-click install, and frankly, you should choose them over others due to saving you both time and stress.
Moreover, don’t underestimate the importance of having a cPanel. Although it’s not essential that you have it, it will make your life easier when it comes to installation, keeping up with future upgrades, managing email accounts, and many others.
Can I secure my WordPress hosting account?
Due to the fact that your web hosting account holds all the information (personal and that of customers), it’s crucial to secure your WordPress account. One excellent way to this is by using a secure password that contains letters, numbers, and symbols –all while avoiding logging in from public locations.
An alternative is investing in managed WordPress services, as they will handle all your security and data integrity needs, sometimes offering free backups and lost file restoration options.
Does my domain and WordPress hosting have to come from the same provider?
This is a great question that not a lot of people ask themselves, and the answer is no. In reality, you are free to purchase your domain from any provider (i.e., GoDaddy, SiteGround), and then use the WordPress services of another brand (i.e., BlueHost). This option is more convenient if you already have a domain, but if you are starting from scratch, some companies offer generous discounts and even free domains –provided you use them for more than one service.
How much should I invest in a WordPress site?
As with anything in life, costs differ according to your unique set of needs and preferences. Unmanaged services will ultimately be more budget-friendly, provided that you have both the time and knowledge to be self-involved in the handling of your website.
Alternatively, services can range from $30 up to $20.000. Yes, you did read that right. However, you need to bear in mind how much traffic you’d like your website to withstand, how many monthly visitors you require, and a million other factors. Just make sure you manage your site with Google Suite and you’ll most likely get your overall cost down.
Consider your traffic needs
Just because you have made the begun the journey of purchasing WordPress hosting does not mean that you need to go all-in. While it’s true that some companies invest hundreds and thousands in their hosting, they also handle billions of dollars and customers per month.
This means that the amount of traffic your website can handle will depend on your hosting plan, and even shared plans can comfortably handle around 1500 visitors per day –as long as you continually optimise the system regarding performance.
You might also find that as your business and market exposure has grown, you will want to upgrade to another plan, which is another option you have. Many companies offer generous migration services, sometimes even free-of-charge and with no downtime.
Does my hosting datacentre location matter?
As a general rule of thumb, the location of your datacentre does have a bearing on website performance, depending on where you are in the world. For example, if the bulk of your audience and clients are from Europe, then you are better off choosing a data center in Europe. Alternatively, if North America is whom you are targeting, opt for one nearer to you.
In case you are unsure about what to pick, ask the hosting provider you are considering. This way you can also check out their customer service skill –which is undoubtedly one of the essential factors to count in your decision.
Monthly WordPress hosting plans or should I commit long-term?
It’s easy to spot that most WordPress hosting plans offer unbeatable discounts when choosing long-term plans. While this is attractive for those with a secured and regular customer base, start-ups could struggle to envision their future and might opt for a month-to-month contract.
For the sanity of your wallet, we’d recommend choosing a 12-month or a 24-month plan, but be sure not to let this money go to waste.