All you need to know about WordPress hosting :)
All you need to know about WordPress hosting :)
Like any application out there, WordPress's performance is tied with its hosting service.
There are many hosting options for WordPress. Which makes it hard to confidently pick one, especially if you are new to the platform.
The choice base is usually tied to the following:
Other parameters might be added to the mix. But these two criteria would be the decisive ones most of the time.
The best way to pick a WordPress is to better understand the types of hosting offered, and what will suit best the type of WordPress project you have.
We explore here all WordPress hosting types, pros, and cons, and hint about the best use cases for them.
WordPress competition is very aggressive. Don't fall for marketing stunts :) If it's too good to be true, then it's probably is ;)
To ensure that your site uses the right hosting service and plan, you might:
Without further ado, I will leave you to it :)
Your WordPress hosting quest starts here!
The most reliable and affordable hosting you could hope for is wordpress.com Automattic is technically the company behind WordPress (even if they don’t say so), and they happen to provide WordPress as a service. Getting your hosting from Automattic is like buying an Echo from Amazon, or a Pixel phone from Google. You get to experience WordPress to its fullest in term of performance, and the pricing is quite reasonable. A note, though! WordPress.com is not the open source version of WordPress that you can fully control. Using WordPress.com means that you’ll have to comply with their limits. Is it worth it? Let’s find out! I’m Adame, an experienced WordPress freelancer, and I’m here to help you decide whether or not hosting your website at wordpress.com is worth it.
You create an account, eventually, link your custom domain, and pick a plan, and you are ready to go! You don’t have to setup a server, install WordPress, secure it, or maintain it.
You picked wordpress.com hosting because:
Again, this is not the open source version of WordPress.
Your website is hosted, protected, managed by Automattic. You are there to ‘use it’ for an affordable price. You don’t deal with any install, securing, optimizing your WordPress website. Everything is already been taken care of. Recap.
WordPress.com has a pricey hosting plan designed for large content-driven companies called WordPress VIP. It starts at $5000 (said to be for company blogs), and they charge $15000 as set up fee per site. Other plans are even more expensive:
WordPress VIP service is the only way to ran the open source version of WordPress on their server. It means you can use any custom theme, plugins you want, as long as it’s reviewed by their team and approved. They are pretty picky about who get’s to opt for this service, and have a set of requirements to be considered. They require an in-house developer or high profile, partner to handle the development. It’s probably the most expensive hosting plan you can find for WordPress.
WordPress.com is a great option for beginners and less demanding businesses. I actually recommend it over shared hosting. It’s the most reliable and secure hosting platform for WordPress available for an affordable price.
Cheap, easy to use, reliable a are few words most reviewers would describe WordPress shared hosting plans.
Is it truly the real deal?
Instead of renting a full server you are ‘sharing’ the resources of one server to lower costs.
Sounds like a fair trade. But in reality, it isn’t.
Back in the days, in early 2000, servers were outrageously expensive. If you were a blogger, you just can’t afford to get a dedicated server to put your website live. Getting a shared hosting made sense at the time.
As of 2017, things are a bit different.
You picked the shared hosting because:
A side note: I’ll be a bit rude, but, whoever sent you to buy a shared hosting, they are probably selling your ass off to get an affiliate commission. You can start hating them like RIGHT NOW. I use affiliate links too, but only for things that I use, tried and fully trust on its value and price/quality.
So, for some reason, you thought that shared hosting services like Godaddy, Bluehost, OVH, or Hostgator, were your hosting salvation. Sorry to bring the bad news for ya. It will probably turn into your worst nightmare.
The following is a common attribute between all low-end shared hosting services:
They overcrowd servers to get more money rolling. Performance is their last concern.
Shockingly for some of you, shared hosting pays off more the higher-end hosting plans. Why? ‘Cause hosting service will host thousands or tens of thousands. Sometimes hundreds of thousands of websites on the same server. They aim for the masses.
From my calculations, they get x10 out of whatever shared hosting plan they sell. Meaning, you get a plan for $8/m, it’s real worth is less than a dollar per month.
Beginners can never suspect these practices.
I’m not saying that shared hosting is all crap. If there is a reasonable amount of sites on the same server, balanced in a way that won’t hurt the server’s good running and each website’s individual performance, it can actually be a great option.
That’s one of my services that provide for select customers of mine. I build performing servers where I host a handful of websites.
For a $800/y server, where I put a small number of sites, I get a decent return. But still, I take care of building, securing, keeping an edgy setup (PHP7, Nginx, MariaDB, Redis, and Varnish), and make sure that every single site of the tens hosted performances at its best. The server can get away like a champ hosting something like a thousand sites, but it would be unfair to my guaranteed performance promise.
You see, I add real value to my servers and play fair for all.
So, basically, a fair share will work great, well, as long as it’s fair When you opt for managing 10k to 100k website on the same server, no matter what you use as setup, it will never give the best value for the money invested by customers.
As the web evolves, it’s all about performance and speed now. If you don’t know about this particular detail and get a shared hosting, you are starting your marathon to build an online business/presence with a bullet in your foot
Shared hosting is a highly competitive segment. You will recognize the most active competitors by big marketing investment, both online, on TV and Radio. Yeah, surprisingly, they take war outside the Internet realm too.
As we all know, we, the end user, are paying for the marketing budget of the service provider. So, when you purchase a shared hosting, a good chunk of what you paid goes to ads and not in performance and a highly reliable service as you would expect. If there weren’t real money on it, they wouldn’t bother investing that much on marketing. And they happen to spend on ads, heavily.
The most aggressive ones are:
And you guessed it right. These are the top providers to avoid.
Price is one of the most attractive features of shared hosting, particularly for beginners. As you can imagine, shared hosting has the lowest pricing policy you could ever find. It also has the best retention pay off. Meaning, if you try to opt-out, you will always get more discounts (25% to 75%) to keep you as a customer. Yes, at 75% less, you are still profitable to the company
Add up the unlimited everything strategy which includes the number of websites hosted, storage, bandwidth.
Performance is on the top of the list. If you take into consideration the humongous ad budgets, and servers’ overcrowding strategy, you literally get what you pay for.
Shared hosting services are known to deliver the poorest performance in the hosting industry.
As you get to experience shared hosting and get to know more the hosting world, you will realize that signing up for it was your biggest beginner mistake.
A good example of that is the unlimited everything, which turns in reality quite the opposite. If you push the resources to the limit by having a RAM or CPU eating website (forums for example), the hosting service will ask you to lower your load or upgrade to a ‘dedicated server,’ and eventually turn off your account if you don’t comply.
Another example is if you try to how lots of images or videos and make your hosting plan as a media server, they will cut you off too.
They won’t bother giving you a refund since you’ll be taking more than what they expected. When they can’t make a profit out of you, they will kick your ass out.
The server itself is not built for performance. And that’s a shame.
The setup they use is said to improve stability and performance. No sir, it’s not the case. Most of the shared hosting use:
Without any additional performance boosts like Varnish (caching), Redis (object caching), a native CDN (some pricey shared hosting include that, though), and other cool and fresh web hosting technologies.
Security is the worst. As part of my activities, I secure, clean up WordPress sites and recover them from hacks. And shared hosting is the most aggressive hacks I’ve seen to date.
Despite their ‘hack proof system’ promise, and their random checks, it’s just unreasonable to monitor 10k – 100k efficiently. Algorithms are not enough to keep a website secure.
I never recommend shared hosting. It’s my very last resort.
I always recommend at least starting with the hosted version of WordPress (wordpress.com), and take the leap of faith and get a low-end VPS.
In a more geeky approach, I consider hosting a website on a nanocomputer at home ($20 for a Pi + use you home Internet) is a better option than getting a shared hosting.
Shared hosting is designed to look awesome, but in reality, it’s an unreliable service. At the end of the day, you just can’t get a solid return on your investment, and it ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS fails to deliver.
As a proof, I usually use affiliate links on things that I believe are a worthy asset for you guys. I ain’t getting any dime from crappy stuff.
Do yourself a favor and get anything for your WordPress website BUT the damn shared hosting.
WordPress managed hosting is the step away from the shared hosting trap. How good the service is will depend on the budget and the service provider.
I’m Adame, an experienced WordPress freelancer, and I’m here to help you decide whether or not WordPress managed hosting is worth your money.
It’s ambiguous how service providers define a managed WordPress hosting nowadays. Here are a couple of features that could mean you are getting a managed WP hosting:
And a lot of fancy words to convince you to pay more, and more, and more.
The thing is, the real managed WP hosting should be more of a dedicated service than just giving you some tools to handle your WordPress easily.
For me, and for anyone actually, a managed WP hosting should have the following components (all of them):
Anything other than the above shouldn’t qualify as a managed WordPress hosting. I’m saying that because some service providers are using Managed WordPress Hosting as a fancy appellation for either an enhanced shared hosting or an optimized hosting for WordPress.
On managed hosting, the human factor is the key. Without it, you are just dealing with an automation that can go wrong any given time without warning.
You can find these standards on one particular type of managed hosting. A quick tip: They are not the cheapest around
You picked, or are looking for a WordPress managed hosting for:
A note about how shared hosting service can force your hand to upgrade to a fake managed hosting service.
As you know by now, after reading my guide covering shared hosting, one of the most attractive features/sales pitch of shared hosting is the unlimited everything. So, basically, it’s okay to load as many sites as you want, BUT, and this is what they don’t tell about, once you reach a specific performance cap, they will shut you down.
In other words, it’s okay to underuse your account. But you are not allowed to overuse it. So, basically, it’s an unlimited service, but with a given limit, which is as it sounds.
And this is where things get ugly. Some service provider won’t let get your site back unless you pay at least one month of managed hosting.
A typical loser behavior!
WordPress managed hosting range will depend on how much features you are getting. There are three possibilities:
You can easily recognize it with the close pricing scheme as shared hosting. You give away the unlimited everything and concentrate more on one or a handful websites.
Compared to shared hosting, you get access to more features that can help you manage your WP website.
Keep in mind that you are still in a shared hosting environment.
All shared hosting service provide a managed hosting upgrade.
I stick with the same listing as mentioned before:
And you guessed it right, again. These are the top providers to avoid.
There is a bit of good on it…
Pricing is still affordable. It starts from $3 up to $15 per month, depending on how many websites you need to host and how much storage you need.
Performance is slightly enhanced. You usually get more CPU cycles that will help extend the limit of your performance cap, and a defined burstable/dedicated RAM (256/512MB) that might help run features-rich WordPress setup more smoothly.
This is theoretical. In real-world, we rarely find a dedicated resource on this kind of hosting. It’s more of a reserved resource, that might or might not be available when you request it.
You get a couple of additional useful features like an enhanced security protocol, a staging environment to experiment and a backup system to keep things under control if the worst happens.
Using a low-end WP managed hosting means that you are still on the bottom tier of shared environment. The only different is instead of being “total crap”, it’s just “crap”.
So, you suffer from all the inconsistencies, overcrowding, and unfair resources sharing you would experience on any shared hosting setup. But a bit less, though.
You will be billed per website this time around. If you have one website, that will sound fair, but when your folio has tens of websites, things will start to be pricey compared to your regular shared hosting plan.
Remember, you are still not getting the right performance for your money.
You are also billed by a monthly visits cap. Meaning that a successful or a high-traffic site might have to pay upgrade they don’t really need in term of performance.
Mid-range is what I would define as where the real entry-level managed WP hosting starts from the service side.
You get a slightly faster performance, with a bit more assistance to handle some aspects of your WordPress site.
Here is a list of providers with a clean reputation and providing mid-range managed WP hosting plans:
The significantly enhanced performance is a noticeable characteristic.
You will probably find Nginx as a web server, PHP 7, and MariaDB combo. You also get an in-house caching protocol and a CDN.
These details can help considerably boost the website’s loading speed and performance.
It’s still a shared hosting environment, but built-in with a fairer resource share in mind, and scalable if needed to make sure all websites perform well.
The proprietary dashboard is another great feature. It’s not overloaded with features that the customer won’t need like Cpanel and similar commercial hosting management platforms. Fewer features mean that it’s focusing on the important ones, and it does them efficiently.
Updates and upgrades are niftier and efficient. It’s either a better automation or a prominent human monitoring helping things go smoothly. In both cases, you are unlikely to break the website while performing an update.
More serious security protocols kill the easy hacks before they happen.
The pricing is a bit expensive especially if there is no performance boosts.
The low monthly visit cap is probably the deal breaker for many of you. It will give you the feeling that you are paying more than what it should be, which is true.
Technically, you are buying a shared hosting with a fairer usage policy, but you pay a premium price for it.
The pro league.
You deal with people breathing WordPress and know every single way to make a superhero out of it: Fast, Secure, and can handle picks like a champ.
The pricing is outrageously expensive.
Here is a list of providers with a clean reputation and providing high-end managed WP hosting plans:
The best performance you could get.
Servers are top notch and scalable. High-end managed WP service providers will rely on Amazon AWS or Google Cloud Engine. It’s not the cheapest ones, but in term of performance, reliability, and scalability, it’s hard to find any close competition to these.
You get access to a fancy setup too! Nginx as a web server, PHP 7 or HHMV, and MariaDB plus a high performance caching architecture are common components of the web server.
The server administration always feels ahead of its time. Both non-developers and developer will rejoice using it. We are talking about one-click staging/testing environments, a Git integration, WP-CLI and other fancy tools that make people do things right and fast.
It’s almost a hands-free hosting, as the support team will handle most of the tasks and willing to help on the most complex ones. La creme de la creme in term of support service.
Security is the toughest at there. It’s not only something impenetrable but in case the worst happens, most of these top service providers will fix hacked website on their watch for free.
Price is the only downfall of these high-end WP hosting services. But you get real value, and significant performance while using their services.
We are talking about something at least around $100 per website/month.
One other disadvantage can be the quick upsell caps. For example, some providers will offer a 5Gb – 10Gb storage on their cheapest plan, which can really be quickly filled if you have a fast-growing content driven website.
The best in term of WP managed hosting. This is how good hosting a WordPress website could get.
I won’t bet on the low-end service providers. The gain in performance compared to the pricing isn’t worth the shot. Just totally forget about it.Mid-range providers can be a good starting point for serious projects. You are still paying more than what you get, but at least, the performance and convenience are there. And to be fair, you are not paying billions :) You will get used to the slightly higher charge.
The high-end hosting platform is for established companies and web properties. Beginners can’t afford the $1k – $3k per year only for web hosting. That would be suicide But in term of hosting, performance, and service, it’s the pinnacle of the industry.
WordPress VPS hosting is probably the most affordable performance you can get for the price.
Is it something that you can consider to host your website?
VPS is a smaller share on a dedicated server or a cloud server. Instead of having to rent the whole server, hosting companies use virtualization to run separate instances with a fully fledged operating system and control over the instance.
The difference between shared hosting and VPS is that on a VPS you have:
Using these kinds of environment help have control over the web server, what kind of software and optimizations you need to have, and have a full access to logs to debug whenever it’s needed.
You picked, or are looking for a WordPress VPS hosting for:
The management level will determine both the price and your ability to handle the VPS on your own.
Unmanaged VPSs are for tech/experienced users, or if you intend to hire someone to do the job for you.
You get the lowest price with the highest specs possible. But managing the VPS will be your responsibility.
There are two types of VPS management. It’s either:
On both cases, you will enjoy a worry-free VPS usage as the technical part will be fully handled either by the VPS provider if they offer a managed-VPS service, or by the contracted 3rd party, like Cloudways.
A container-based virtualization with no control over the kernel. Known to be used by cheap VPS service providers with extensively shared resources.
Lightweight hypervisor with a small footprint. The oldest and more stable virtualization available on the market. It allows hosting unconstrained virtual hosts with their own kernel.
Backed by Redhat. Has a better performance on Linux OSs (most used to host WP), and to building dynamic fair resources sharing.
On any virtualization environment, your CPU and RAM has different degrees of sharing.
Virtualization use virtual cores (vCores). Meaning when you read on your VPS specs that you have a 4-core CPU, it means you have 4-vcores linked to your VPS. And here’s how it works.
When you need CPU power, your vCores will reach out for hardware resources depending on their availability. Same goes for RAM. Generally speaking, resources are shared in different ways between a dedicated amount, guaranteed amount that your VPS actually gets, and burstable amount, that your VPS might get if it’s available when it’s requested.
We will see how each virtualization/service provider business model generally manages the shared resources.
So, you never get your fully dedicated CPU power or RAM unless it’s clearly stated on the service offer you purchase.
WordPress VPS hosting range will depend on different factors:
Low-end VPS use the OpenVZ virtualization. It gives less performance and less control compared to KVM or XEN counterparts.
It’s the cheapest, but the lowest performing VPS you could get.
Both resources are fully shared between the neighboring VPSs.
Meaning, you have to wait for your turn to use CPU power and RAM. Your VPS performance will depend on how saturated the main server is, and how busy are the neighboring nodes.
Here are a couple of the best-known ones:
The pricing and having more control over building your WordPress server are the main advantages when you opt for a low-end VPS hosting for WP.
If you happen to have the skills to build and maintain a web server, getting a low-end VPS can be a good replacement for any shared hosting plan.
As an example, for $5 budget, you can get a 1core CPU, 1Gb of RAM and +40Gb SSD storage.
The type of virtualization used might cause some issues. Low-end setups don’t use a full virtualization, are usually overcrowded, and use unfairly shared resources policies (for both CPU and RAM).
Meaning if any website on your VPS is a heavy resource eater, your website’s performance won’t be the best. Same goes when you are on a server with lots of heavy resource eaters.
You get a fairer share of your allocated “resources” and have better control over your operating system.
You are free to optimize every single detail of your VPS, get fewer nudges about your resource use, and can cope better with heavy traffic or extensive use.
You have a fairer share of your resources. Depending on your service provider, it can be:
Here is a list of providers with a clean reputation and providing mid-range WP VPS hosting plans:
A better more stable visualization mainly (KVM or XEN) and a better hardware generally speaking. But it’s really about the additional control over the operating system you get.
You get to pick the OS from a larger list of options, or even ask/upload your own if needed.
Picking the OS will tremendously help get the best out of your hosting environment. It can be:
I personally rely on ArchLinux! I know its inside-out, and love using edgy setups that are only possible using this specific Operating system.
The fair resources sharing is the hidden truth about those mid-range VPS services. Unless you totally understand the concept, you might feel deceived because, at the end of the day, you are not getting fully dedicated resources as you probably thought the first place.
You get a more reliable and fair access to your shared resources instead.
The network can be a huge downfall if you blindly follow specs rather than the service provider’s reputation.
The best you can get as a VPS. It comes with at least a dedicated CPU resource.
You get a dedicated/guaranteed amount of CPU and RAM. Sometimes, it’s only the CPU that is guaranteed, with a moderately burstable amount of RAM.
Here is a list of providers with a clean reputation and providing high-end WP VPS hosting plans:
You get a 100% dedicated CPU to use as you please. No fair usage policy that applies, as you have the right to fully use your resources with no risks of disturbing the neighboring servers.
As on anything great, the price usually is the only downfall.
Pricing won’t be outrageously different from a mid-range VPS, but for the resource allocated, it usually around 30 to 50% more expensive.
The CPU count is lower than a regular VPS. For example, $20 can get you either:
Great if you want to evolve in an unrestricted environment.
Low-end service providers is still a viable option as an entry point away from shared hosting.
Mid-range providers are for me the standard for regular projects. The performance is there and the price is sweet and affordable.
The high-end hosting platform can be an option for serious projects where the resources matter. It will spare you from any shut-down due to CPU overuse.
Again, bear in mind that there is a technical level that you either need to have or get a skilled worker to regular help you with it. Otherwise, you will run into lots of trouble, and that might make all the great things that a VPS brings to the table spoiled.
Serverless hosting is one possible future hosting option for WordPress. Here is what we know about serverless WP hosting.
Well, that’s a new thing that even the most advanced users don’t know about and it’s quite interesting though. Serverless setups are a bit of a new architecture that allows dynamic applications to be served as a static website:
Shifter.io – one of the few WP serverless hosting providers – uses S3 to host the resulting static files and relies on CloudFront to distribute them. The same thing would work using different cloud storage and CDN providers too.
You are interested in serverless hosting because:
So far, there is only a few companies are providing the service:
We will probably see more WordPress serverless hosting providers once the technology proves to be reliable.
Serverless hosting is only at its debut. If done right, it can give a lot of benefits to WordPress. Hiding the administration to the public will help secure WordPress in an unprecedented way. It’s only the static version of the website that accessible. There is no database or programming language to exploit and hack in order to gain access to the backend and eventually the server itself. Sending static files through a CDN helps dramatically increase the performance. We know that for sure as most WordPress properties managers rely on caching systems paired with CDNs. The response time dramatically decreases when a request hits a cached asset and it’s even faster if delivered from a CDN. So, how about if everything was waiting for your visitors’ requests on a CDN, ready to ship? There won’t be any cache hit test, processing or database search in order to find the right content or build the right resulting page. And how about if it uses a 99.99% uptime and worldwide availability storage and delivery service like AWS? The answer is: the faster that a website could be! Recap.
The architecture behind serverless WordPress hosting is still in the development phase. No one can risk using it for production yet. Plus it’s still only good for “static website”. It won’t work for ecommerce, dynamic websites, or restricted content websites. But things are evolving steadily to the right direction. The pricing can be an issue too. It is indeed a bit exaggerated for a new concept or technology compared to a fully managed WordPress hosting with a server-side caching boost known to work and perform well. Or even when compared to WP static generators like WP2Static which work in a similar way. Serverless WP hosting will need to be more demonstrative about the reliability of the technology. That’s the key, in my opinion, to nullify any misconception or restraint to use that type of hosting. Recap.
As any technology, it needs to be thoroughly tested before using it for production. But for now, it’s too risky to bet on it. It doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on it. Serverless hosting is one of the possible future hosting options for WordPress after all