Now in Step 2, you’ll see why choosing the right web host is so critically important, and I’ll tell you which two web hosting companies you should seriously consider for hosting your site.
And that home on the internet is your web host or hosting provider. If you want to create a web site you can be proud of, one that helps you share with the world what you or your business is all about, then you can’t underestimate the importance of partnering with a good web host.
The right web hosting company can mean the difference between having a web site that puts a smile on your face, and one that makes you curse the day you ever thought, “Hmmm… I think I’ll start a blog!”
Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way. There are only two requirements a server must meet in order to host a WordPress site:
Really, that’s it. But don’t worry, you don’t need to know what those things are. All you need to know is that just about any web host can host your blog.
But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carefully consider who you give your business to. Just the opposite. I’ve tried a dozen or more different web hosting services in the past 18 years, with most of them over-promising and under-delivering like UPS the week before Christmas.
Fortunately, I’ve learned who to avoid, as well as who I can trust to help keep my business (and my clients’ web sites) humming along. But before I recommend any web hosts to you, let me first share with you a few important things I’ve learned about web hosting during my nearly two decades of doing business online…
When it comes to hosting your blog, there are five different kinds of web hosting services to consider. Here’s a brief summary…
Ooohhh… “Free” sounds nice, right? Wrong… at least when it comes to web hosting.
Reiterating what I said moments ago: you tend to get what you pay for. Where does the money come from for free hosting solutions? Ads, and lots of ‘em. That’s why sites hosted on free servers usually suffer from:
Free isn’t an attractive hosting solution if you value your time, reputation and sanity. Pros: Price
Cons: Everything else
Bottom Line: Avoid free WordPress hosting unless you want to look like an amateur, or you enjoy pulling out your own hair.
This is the most popular type of WordPress hosting for beginners. “Shared” means that many customers’ websites reside on a single web server, and the server’s resources (e.g., CPU and RAM) are shared by all the customers on the same machine.
Sounds good in theory. But if you plan to play the blogging game for a while, you’ll find shared hosting to be a temporary solution to a long-term problem. Eventually, you’ll abandon your shared host because you will:
Shared hosting summarized: A popular, cheap, and temporary hosting solution adequate for most beginners and amateurs.
Pros: Price; Good for hobbyists
Cons: Limited control over the server (none, actually). Expect downtime due to heavy traffic on other sites on the server. Your web site will occasionally be slower than mud.
Bottom Line: A reasonable starting point if you’re on a budget and you’re not overly concerned about your site’s performance.
VPS hosting is a special setup where websites are hosted on the same physical machine, but VPS allows each website to be fully independent as if each were on its own separate machine.
It is similar to shared hosting in that you share the server with others, but what makes it different is that there are usually fewer customers on one machine, and you have much more control over the server and your site.
Pros: Offers more control and better performance than basic shared hosting.
Cons: More expensive than shared hosting. Some experience required.
Bottom Line: A better option for those with experience and traffic. Not a good starting point for beginners, unless you select a “managed” server (see below).
A dedicated server is an actual physical server that you rent from a hosting provider. It’s all yours, and yours alone. They plug it in and set it up, and then you’re on your own. I’ve been running my own dedicated servers for the past ten years. Trust me, it’s not for the faint of heart.
Pros: Total control
Cons: Total control; Expensive
Bottom Line: This is an option to consider once your traffic and experience grows. Until then, pretend you never heard the term.
Ahhh… now we’re talking.
Managed WordPress hosting is a niche segment of the web hosting industry that sprung up in the past few years due to the exploding popularity of WordPress, which now powers more than 75 million blogs worldwide.
The main difference between “normal” web hosting services and managed WordPress hosting services is that those offering managed services focus on optimizing servers and sites for the best possible WordPress experience — for both the blog owner and the blog visitor.
With a managed plan, you give up a few options and some control (e.g., you can only run a WordPress site, you can’t tinker with the server). But in exchange, with a good managed WordPress blog hosting company, you’ll enjoy fewer headaches, superior performance and killer customer service.
The term “managed WordPress hosting” can roughly be translated as letting someone else worry about and take care of hassles such as:
Although I’ve been building web sites for eighteen years, and running my own dedicated servers for nearly ten, I’ve decided to start moving my WordPress sites, and those of my clients, to the managed WordPress host below.
A few extra bucks a month is a small price to pay for the amount of time they help you save, not to mention the peace of mind you get from knowing your site is professionally optimized to run like a finely tuned engine. It’s a good feeling knowing someone’s always got your back.
Pros: Faster site, fewer problems. You’ll sleep better and will spend less money on Motrin.
Cons: You give up some control (not always a bad thing). More expensive than shared hosting.
Bottom Line: Perfect for anyone (from beginners to pros) looking to have a fast-loading, smooth running web site.
So now that you know more about WordPress blog hosting than 99.9% of the population, you’re probably wondering to yourself…
Based on my own personal experience, as well as suggestions from colleagues and third party reviews, I recommend either of the two web hosting services below. They are both highly-rated, well-established companies offering:
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