I’ve already bought a domain name from a particular hosting company. Do I need to buy my hosting from the same company?
Answer: The domain name is basically just a web address that can be easily directed to any web hosting service. When you buy a domain name, by default, it is almost always directed to point to hosting services offered by the company that sold it to you. However, redirecting it to another company’s hosting services is both common practice and something that’s relatively straightforward to do. Since each company does things a little differently, ask the company that sold you the domain for specific instructions.
How much does WordPress hosting cost?
Answer: Web hosting costs vary dramatically – from a few euros a month (some web hosts will even offer you free hosting – usually with the understanding that they can display various banners (advertisements) on your website to literally thousands of dollars a month (think websites with millions of visitors a day)! However, most privately-owned websites can get by with a web hosting package costing around 5€-10€ a month – although, generally speaking, with web hosting, you tend to get what you pay for. Depending on the importance of your website to the day-to-day running of your online business, it will be well worth it to pay a little more than the bare minimum and choose a web hosting company that cares about the reliability and performance of your website as much as you do!
I’ve also heard of cloud hosting. What is cloud hosting?
Answer: Cloud hosting uses servers that are basically decentralized virtual private servers (VPS) that can be dynamically changed on the fly in terms of memory and computational power. Cloud hosting is a variation on VPS hosting that gives providers a greater degree of flexibility when allocating resources to each user on the system.
Does the physical location of the server where my website will be hosted matter?
Answer: If you’re primarily targeting a particular demographic (if you’re a Spain-based company that only ever plans on selling products to customers within the Spain, for example), then, yes. It’s often worth considering the physical location of the server that hosts your website. Why? Because, although it’s by no means the most important factor in determining performance, the less the distance between your server and your website’s target audience, the faster your website will potentially be able to load on their computers. If you’re planning on targeting a largely global audience however, any advantage you stand to gain by choosing a server in a specific location is often largely (if not entirely) offset by prioritizing the overall quality and focus of the web hosting company you’ll be using instead! Incidentally, some companies, WPEngine, SiteGround and Host Koala will actually offer you a choice of different server locations (such as the US, Europe or Asia) — thereby giving you global access.
A final word on choosing the best WordPress hosting service/provider:
When you’re first starting out, choosing the best WordPress web hosting service/provider for a new website can be a bit confusing, especially so because of the many options available – some of the terminology involved is new to you. That said, one of the things you should be absolutely certain of when choosing a web host is that you’ll get excellent support. If you’re finding things tricky, or you’re simply still not sure where to start, choose one or two web hosts that seem like a good fit and put their support teams to the test. Ask them all the questions you have and see what you think of their replies and service.
Step 1. Finding a trustworthy hosting company
For newcomers, part of the problem with finding great WordPress hosting is knowing who to trust. There are so many companies out there trying to make a quick buck from would-be WordPress users who can’t yet tell an honest, reliable web-hosting provider from a cowboy hosting company. Luckily, we know from personal experience – backed up by the general WordPress community consensus – exactly which web hosts to trust.
Each of the web hosts we recommend operate exactly the way any good web host should: with the utmost integrity.
Step 2. Shared, VPS, dedicated or managed hosting?
When you go to sign-up for hosting, one of the first things you’ll be asked is whether you’d like to buy shared, VPS (which stands for Virtual Private Server), dedicated or managed hosting. Let’s take a look at what each of these terms means:
What is Managed Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is a relatively new concept, largely popularized by the current leaders in the managed WordPress-hosting field: WPEngine. It’s aimed at taking the hassle out of managing the technical details of your own WordPress installation (features like automatic backups, enhanced security, automatic updates, daily monitoring and free restoration should you ever be hacked) and providing highly-optimized server configurations (with features like built-in caching and the promise of infinite scalability at an added cost). Typical examples of the types of websites using managed hosting include a huge range of enterprises – from small, low-traffic blogs to large-scale online magazines with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month.
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is by far the cheapest and most popular option – and is generally a great place to start. With shared hosting, you’ll be sharing the resources of the server – the memory, computational power, etc – between you and the other customers using that same server. The advantage of this kind of setup is that it keeps costs low for both you and for the hosting provider. The main disadvantage is that you’ll be getting a relatively unrefined space, usually on a generic-type server with limited resources over which you’ll have very little control. This means that shared space on a server can and will only take your site so far; as your site grows and becomes more popular, it may start to require more resources than your shared-hosting setup can provide.
What is VPS Hosting?
With VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting, you’ll be allocated your own partition on a server with a protected and reserved amount of memory and computational power. Unlike shared hosting, there isn’t the potential for the performance of your website or data to be affected by any sudden demands placed on the server from other users. You’ll also usually be given full root access to the server should you ever need it and a lot more freedom to change certain performance-related aspects – like memory usage and power (at an additional cost) – as your business/website grows. This makes VPS hosting perfect for websites that grow relatively quickly.
What is Dedicated Hosting?
With dedicated hosting you’ll be assigned a physical server that’s solely dedicated to running your software/website – the full extent of the server’s memory and computational power will be at your disposal, ensuring consistently high performance. While that might seem great at first, dedicated servers usually cost hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars a month to operate, usually require relatively extensive knowledge to set up and can often be troublesome to scale since they usually operate with a predefined amount of physical memory and computational power. With that in mind, dedicated hosting is usually used by only already established large businesses and advanced users who run high traffic websites, CPU-intensive web applications or complex databases.
Step 3: Choosing one of the best WordPress hosting providers
Our winning recommendation for WordPress hosting – based on both our personal experience and the general consensus of the WordPress community is SiteGround.
Why? Because they’ve engineered their hosting specifically for WordPress; their SuperCacher makes your site load faster (as does the built-in Cloudflare CDN), their auto-updates keep your plugins up-to-date and your site backed up, plus they’re active in WordCamps and the WordPress community in general. SiteGround is well-respected in the WordPress community especially for their quick, helpful support. All hosting companies have good and bad customer experiences on Twitter, but if you look at SiteGround’s Twitter mentions, the majority of their feedback is positive.
Engineered For Speed
SiteGround shared hosting (3,95€/month) is good but their semi-dedicated (11,95€/month) and entry-level cloud hosting (64,00€/month) are much faster if you have the budget for it. The speed depends on which plan you choose but each one comes with top-notch hardware, CDN, SuperCacher, and software for it’s tier. SiteGround also makes constant updates to improve speed – allowing customer sites to load even faster.
Not only will your site be protected through autoupdates, daily backups and server protection, but SiteGround also releases their own patches when there’s a widespread security vulnerability (with WordPress, or even a specific WordPress plugin). They’re both proactive AND reactive which is good because WordPress sites have become prime targets.
SiteGround WordPress Hosting Plans
Whether you’re on a 3,95€/month budget or you need a 192,00€/month dedicated server, there’s a plan for everyone.
How to Use cPanel
Different cPanel installations include different features, but the good news is that it’s pretty easy to browse around and to get to know each of the different sections. When you first log in, you’ll usually see some metrics that log your resource usage (such as your CPU usage, your available storage space, and your memory usage). These can provide you with a useful way of keeping an eye on your website’s overall performance.
Once you’ve familiarised yourself with your website’s performance, it’s time to take a look at the different modules. We’ve provided an overview of the most typical cPanel modules below.
These modules allow you to directly upload and manage files from within cPanel without needing to use an FTP client. You can also specify privacy levels, make backups and more. Common modules include:
- Backup Wizard
- Directory Privacy
- Disk Usage
- File Manager
- FTP Accounts
- FTP Connections
- Web Disk
This is where you customize the layout of your cPanel installation to make it better fit your needs. Common modules include:
- Change Language
- Change Main Domain
- Getting Started Wizard
- Manage Resources
- Update Contact Info
- Video Tutorials
If your website uses a content management system (CMS) then it will use a database to store posts, settings and other information. This section, then, is all about managing those databases. Common modules include:
- MySQL Database Wizard
- MySQL Databases
- Remote MySQL
This is typically where your cPanel installation will allow you to install different types of software. It includes everything from blogs and portals to CMSs and forums. Common modules include:
It’s not uncommon for webmasters to use one hosting account for multiple sites or to set up subdomains and redirects. This is the section in which you can manage that. Common modules include:
- Addon Domains
- DNS Manager
- Preview Website
If you’re running a website then you’re going to want to keep an eye on its performance. That’s where the metrics modules come in. They’re all about giving you access to powerful insights that can help you to better make decisions about the way your website works. Common modules include:
- CPU and Concurrent Connection Usage
- Raw Access
- Webalizer FTP
Security is a big concern for most webmasters, especially if they’re storing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords or financial information. This module will help you to keep an eye on key security settings for your hosting account. Common modules include:
- Hotlink Protection
- IP Blocker
- Leech Protection
- SSH Access
These modules are largely about PHP and Perl and aren’t necessarily needed unless you’re a more advanced user. Common modules include:
- Softaculpis Apps Installer
- Optimize Website
- Perl Modules
- PHP PEAR Packages
- PHP Version Selector
As the title suggests, these settings are also more useful for advanced users. Common modules include:
- Apache Handlers
- Cron Jobs
- Error Pages
- MIME Types
- Track DNS
Not all web hosting packages include email, but if your package includes both email and cPanel then this is where you’ll administer all of those email accounts. Common modules include:
- Address Importer
- Apache SpamAssassin
- Default Address
- Email Wizard
- Global Filters
- MX Entry
- Track Delivery
- User Filters