WordPress hosting is a subsection of web hosting which essentially gives individuals and businesses that use WordPress “a home” to store their files that makeup their website or blog.
WordPress hosting packages can vary greatly depending on the amount of resources (storage, bandwidth, CPU, etc.) needed to power the website. In addition, the cost can range from a couple dollars a month to several thousand.
In this post, I’ll navigate through this large market, to empower you to make an educated decision what is best for your website, WordPress hosting vs. web hosting.
- What is WordPress?
- WordPress Hosting
- Shared WordPress Hosting
- Cloud WordPress Hosting
- WordPress Hosting Limits
- WordPress Hosting Packages
- Enterprise WordPress Hosting VPS
- So How Do I Know Which Is Right For Me?
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free and open source content management system (a/k/a CMS). As of 2023, it powers over 40%+ of all the websites on the Internet.
WordPress is coded in PHP, which powers the core files, plugins, and themes. It is paired with a mySQL or MariaDB database to store all of the content, settings, and user-data.
This allows for heavy customization and gives it the ability to scale nicely. A perfect solution for individuals, small business, and even large Fortune 500 companies.
WordPress is available for free on their official website.
Large corporations such as CNN, Sony, Disney, and even Microsoft use WordPress to power portions of their websites.
You can also learn how to setup WordPress after you buy hosting at NameHero with one of our guides.
While WordPress is free, a web host is needed to run PHP files, and to create the mySQL or MariaDB (to store all of the data).
This is where things can become confusing, especially for those just getting started.
For example, how much storage do I need? What about bandwidth? Do I need shared hosting? What about a VPS? Is it managed hosting or non-managed?
Things can get complicated and it can become very overwhelming on deciding what is needed / what is overkill / and what to best for my budget.
I like to keep things simple… So I like to first start with two very basic questions and then go from there in order to figure out which is the best type of hosting for your website:
1. How am I using WordPress?
There are two main types of websites:
- Informational – A blog about a specific topic or website about your small business. Where visitors are primarily there to read and share information. This blog is an informational WordPress website.
- Fully Functional – A website where users are going to be registering for an account, searching for product/services, and entering information. This can be to make purchases / facilitate credit card transactions. An example of this would be an e-commerce based WordPress website.
An informational based WordPress website is going to require less resources than that of a fully functional website. Visitors are not going to be interacting as heavily since they’re not going to be entering information into a database.
Some WordPress websites are a combination of informational and fully functional.
For example, my first online business was a professional wrestling website that started purely informational. I later added a ‘premium section’ where visitors could subscribe to a membership to read special ‘backstage news.’ This involved accepting payments, managing memberships, and etc. See the difference?
2. How many visitors are going to my WordPress website?
I either have an existing WordPress website or I don’t. If you aren’t sure if you are using WordPress for your website, you probably aren’t. You can also use a theme detector site that will tell you whether or not you are using WordPress, like this one.
By using Google Analytics, I can clearly see my daily and monthly unique visitors/page views.
If I’m just starting my WordPress website, I don’t have any visitors, so my hosting decision is mostly going to be based on how using WordPress (informational / fully functional/ both).
Remember, informational based WordPress websites are going to require less resources than fully functional based WordPress websites.
It’s also important to consider future marketing plans. What will traffic to the website be in 30, 60, and 90 days from launch?
Shared WordPress Hosting
Shared WordPress hosting is a term that frequently comes up when searching for WordPress hosting.
During the first decade of the 2000’s, shared web hosting, was a term used by cost-effective (or discount) based web hosts. A package would be placed on a dedicated server that was shared by other customers. This is also referred to as multi-tenant.
Most of these packages started as low as a couple dollars a month and normally cap out around $10 – $15.
These packages quickly grew in popularity, especially for WordPress hosting, as they were a cost-effective way for individuals and small business that had a limited budget, to get their WordPress website online with little downside.
Unfortunately as WordPress websites grew, and the demand for dynamic content exploded, shared WordPress hosting started to experience ‘bottle necks.’ This led to the underlying dedicated servers having delayed response times, creating regular outages and pro-longed downtime.
With WordPress being free and open source, this also brought along malicious actors, who examine this free source code, and look for ways to exploit it – injecting malware agents into the PHP core files and databases, with the goal of ‘root compromising’ the underlying dedicated server.
Performance bottle necks and malware injections presented two major problems that web hosts had to battle, greatly damaging the reputation and reliability of shared WordPress hosting.
Cloud WordPress Hosting
Following the first decade of the 2000’s, the problems presented by shared WordPress hosting became solvable with the evolution of virtualization, most-often referred to as cloud hosting:
- Traditional hosting is reliant upon a single physical machine.
- Cloud hosting is distributed across multiple physical machines, eliminating the bottle necks described above under shared WordPress hosting.
This how we entered the WordPress hosting market in 2015 at NameHero.
Unlike our competitor’s, we deployed our entire infrastructure in the cloud, where we were not bound to single dedicated servers.
Cloud WordPress hosting can be deployed in a multi-tenant (shared WordPress hosting) or single-tenant (virtual private server or VPS) instance allowing for scalability.
This gives individuals and small businesses the ability to host their WordPress website in a manner that is very cost effective and flexible when it comes to traffic and overall database growth.
WordPress Hosting Limits
These vary by provider but the most common are:
- Number of WordPress websites – Most people are starting with a single website, but for those with a small business, it’s likely an additional website will be needed for a specific promotion / product.
- Amount of RAM (memory) – Just like a computer, WordPress needs memory to process the visitors and data. The more ‘fully functional’ a WordPress website is or the more visitors, the more RAM (or memory) needed.
- Disk Space / Storage – For an informational WordPress website, the amount of disk space is going to depend on how many posts or pages make up the website. For a ‘fully functional’ WordPress website with products, room will need to be allocated to store the information.
- Bandwidth – This the amount of data transferred in and out of the account. For example, when a WordPress website page is accessed by a visitor, elements that makeup the page must be downloaded to the user, using up bandwidth. Nowadays with the evolution of content delivery networks (CDNs) – bandwidth isn’t near as expensive – and mostly isn’t a concern when selecting a WordPress hosting package.
- Number of email accounts / inboxes – Especially for those running a business, it’s common to offer employees their own email inbox @yourdomain.com. When shopping for WordPress hosting, it’s important to look at these, as some providers only offer hosting for your WordPress instance.
You may be wondering what to look for across each of these specs, and I’ll explain more about that in next section. However, I would strongly recommend for the best combination of speed and power, to always opt for at least 3GB RAM and try to find unlimited storage, which normally means ~500,000 files.
WordPress Hosting Packages
Check out the WordPress web hosting packages at NameHero:
These are cloud web hosting packages on a multi-tenant (shared hosting) environment. Ideal for individuals and small business with new or existing websites.
Based on experience, these packages are what I suggest for 90% of our audience.
We specifically built these packages to allow for easy growth. Upgrade to the next tier as your WordPress website/business grows.
These WordPress hosting packages are very cost efficient, with little risk.
Number of Visitors per WordPress hosting package
Starter Cloud – Best for those who need web hosting for 1 website that reaches 10,000 visitors or less per month. Our Starter Cloud allows for unlimited disk space, 250,000 inodes (or files), and 1 GB of physical memory. We recommend those shopping on a budget, such as a startup or new blog, select this package. It’s a very affordable way to get your website online and you can scale as your website grows.
Plus Cloud – The Plus package allows 7 websites or up to 25,000 visitors a month. Disk space (or storage) is also unlimited but allows for 250,000 inodes (or files) with 2GB of physical memory. This package is recommended for small-businesses/entrepreneurs that are growing and need some flexibility.
Turbo Cloud – Built to handle up to 50,000 monthly unique visitors. Host unlimited websites with unlimited disk space and up to 500,000 inodes (or files). With 3GB of physical memory, it allows fulfills the needs of a demanding e-commerce website. This package is recommended for websites that are established along with online stores.
Business Cloud – Best for websites reaching upwards of 100,000 monthly visitors. Unlimited disk space and up to 500,00 inodes (or files). With 4GB of RAM, you’ll have improved performance for those high traffic days (such as the holiday shopping season). I recommend this package for websites with high traffic needs.
Enterprise WordPress Hosting VPS
There does come a time when you need to deploy your WordPress website on a single-tenant virtual private server (VPS).
Unlike a shared environment, a cloud VPS has dedicated resources. Full root access, a dedicated amount of RAM, CPU, and disk space.
Once again, let’s use NameHero’s cloud VPS WordPress hosting packages as an example:
The main difference between them are the actual storage drives / RAM (memory) / and CPU cores.
I talked about disk space / RAM above, but unlike a shared environment, VPS hosting has dedicated processing power.
I like to relate these to horsepower in an automobile. The more you have under the hood, the faster acceleration you have.
Using cloud-virtualization technology, a VPS can easily ‘re-size’ or ‘scale up’ to the next tier in real-time without pro-longed downtime.
This is perfect for those large WordPress e-commerce websites that hold ‘big sales’ (i.e.Black Friday).
While outside the scope of this tutorial, I can also setup a VPS cluster for ultra availability.
By using a VPS, I have my own server with the ability to customize everything from the operating system up.
So How Do I Know Which Is Right For Me?
Unfortunately there isn’t a one size fits all approach for all websites, regardless of whether you are using WordPress or not as your website platform. The good news is, with NameHero hosting plans, as well as many others, you are able to upgrade your hosting to higher tiers or packages seamlessly. Hopefully your website will grow as fast as you dream and that will be a good problem to have!
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.
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