All You Need To Know About WordPress Hosting

16 Oct 2018 / Freeparking Team

WordPressHosting Explained

WordPress hosting is a type of shared hosting for people who want to run WordPress websites. Your website is pre-installed with specialised plugins for security and caching. It is also configured fully configured to WordPress best practice. The optimisation of your website for only WordPress ensures that it's faster and more efficient. The hosting plan includes  drag and drop page builders, themes and specific developer tools.

At its core, WordPress hosting is the easiest way to build and host a blog.  WordPress currently powers 29% of all websites; over one in four. As an open-source content management system, anyone can modify or use the software for free. The website building tool makes it easy for anyone who is a bit technical savvy to build a website.

In the past, WordPress was a tool for blogging. These days, changes to the core code, a massive number of themes, plugins and a community where you can get support for any issue means you can create any type of website with WordPress.

The two options for WordPress websites include  WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The first option is a self-hosted, open-source software. The second option is a paid service that is easy to use but doesn’t offer as much flexibility.

WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting Explained

Web hosting is an online service that helps website owners to publish a web application or website online. Think of it like renting a hotel room at a hotel or someone’s house. You pay for space and leave when your money expires. It’s the same with web hosting. You’re renting space on a server to store your data and files that you need for your website to work efficiently.

The server is a physical computer that ensures your website is available 24/7. The web host company keeps your website running and provides security against hackers and malicious attacks. It also transfers content you’ve uploaded from the server to your visitor’s browser.

Web hosting is usually some form of shared hosting where many websites share space on a server maintained by a web host. A WordPress site is just one of many on the shared server sharing bandwidth, memory and other resources.

Websites with high traffic and complex security needs use dedicated hosting where they’re the only one on the server. They also have more freedom to manage their site as they like, whilst enjoying 24/7 technical support from the web host company.

WordPress hosting is  a targeted solution for WordPress websites. Some of the support provided by hosting companies are not ideal for specific features on a WordPress website. With WordPress hosting, you get access to solutions that maximise the performance of your site.

It considers your hosting needs, environment and other unique features of your WordPress site. As your website evolves, you have access to a hosting plan that evolves with your website needs through each stage of development.

Most web hosting companies offer a WordPress only hosting plan for individuals who prefer a server dedicated to WordPress sites. Here, server resources are allotted with greater efficiency because there are not many websites competing for resources on a single server.

This ensures that the hosting environment is more stable and less likely to be overburdened. Hence, your website experiences less downtime than other websites on a basic service plan.

What is Managed WordPress hosting?

This is a premium type of WordPress hosting that combines the server architecture of a shared hosting plan with extra services and features for improved efficiency. The hosting environment is built to make your website more secure and faster.

The word “managed” it means the web host company  manages basic hosting admin tasks, such as daily backups, installing WordPress, providing server-level caching and core updates.

Think of it as a hands free service for those that don’t want to have to handle the security and administrative tasks of managing a WordPress website. Features include advanced security, free SSL certificates, optimal site speed, superior customer support, and managed updates.

Experts call it the middle ground between the performance and flexibility of dedicated hosting with the simplicity and cost of shared hosting. It’s an ideal solution for websites that do not want to handle technical affairs but require high performance.

What is a non-managed WordPress hosting?

A non-managed or unmanaged hosting option is a hosting plan with limited services. You get a server with the basic OS installed. You may need to install software, including base software, such as PHP or Apache on your own. What is on the server depends on the hosting environment that is set up as default. Your hosting company doesn’t carry out management tasks or provide services on your server.

You may have to add malware detection and removal tool, install monitoring services, create your own control panel and install software updates. In some cases you’re getting a  barebones server  with only the OS. The hosting company has nothing to do with your server. Everything is up to you.

Shared vs. Managed WordPress Hosting

Shared hosting

The debate on which WordPress hosting option is the right choice all comes down to the specific performance tweaks and services you get with managed WordPress hosting.

Think of managed hosting like a concierge service at the hotel and shared hosting as the second option that leaves you to carry your bag from the hotel doors all the way to your room. People hear the word “shared” and think “cheap”.

In a shared hosting environment, your website  shares resources with multiple sites  on a single server. It’s the ideal solution for websites who want to minimise cost by sharing a server.

A common problem with shared hosting is that everyone has a fixed amount of memory. If one website uses more than its share, every site on that server might either load slowly or not at all.  You’re also sharing processing power, bandwidth and storage with other accounts on the server. A good shared hosting provider ensures there is no server overload that happens when one website has a traffic spike, or many sites are competing for resources. Unfortunately, the reality is that sites are often affected when a sharing site grows too big for shared hosting, or too many accounts are set up on the same resources.

Managed WordPress hosting

This hosting environment is designed to cater only to WordPress sites. Unlike a shared host, you don’t have to worry about a slow-loading website as it’s incredibly fast. All aspects of the server are tweaked to enable quick loading time.

There is a  dedicated team of WordPress experts  on standby to provide tech support whenever you need it. They will help you solve hosting issues and troubleshoot problems with your WordPress site.

Other benefits of managed hosting include a content delivery network, daily website backup, enhanced security, transferable installs and  one central dashboard  to manage all your WordPress sites from one location.

You’re not sharing resources with as many websites in a shared hosting environment so there is less competition for resources. You have more uptime and a greater allocation of server resources.

However, it's not all sunshine and roses. Managed WordPress hosting companies limit what you can do to enable them offer a more secure service. For example, WP Engine has a list of  WordPress plugins customers can’t use. You might also need to modify themes on your website.

The choice of WordPress hosting depends on your needs. If you’re just starting out and you’re unsure of making a commitment, shared hosting is ideal. Traffic is low and you don’t require a lot of hosting resources or complex customisation.

As your hosting needs increase, or you have plans to grow your website in the future, it may be a good idea to opt for managed WordPress hosting. Shared hosting is simply not reliable. You don’t know if other websites on the server are using a properly coded theme or have the right security measures in place. What happens when one site experiences a surge in traffic? Remember that website loading time is a Google search engine ranking factor.

Features of Managed WordPress Hosting

Automated Backups

No one wants to wake up one morning and find that all their data has disappeared in the blink of an eye. The only solution is auto backups that backup your website every day. You have peace of mind and don’t have to worry about making regular backups on your own.

Automated backups aren’t all the same so ask your provider if the backup is stored on a separate server and if it  contains your database. It is crucial that backup is on a separate server. If the hardware has issues and has to be replaced, your backup is safe.

The database is integral to the operation of your website. You lose everything when you lose your database, including your comments, posts, users and more.

Premium DNS

With a shared hosting provider, you won’t get access to a premium DNS. It is offered as a separate service. The free DNS provided by most domain registrars are slow. A premium DNS provider protects you from DDoS attacks.

If you can afford it, get multiple DNS providers to avoid  the terrible incident  that happened to Dyn in October 2016. Websites that relied entirely on them, such as Spotify, Reddit and Twitter experienced downtime while the DNS was offline.

One-click staging environments

Testing is everything for a website that wants to succeed. Always test new changes in a staging environment to ensure it doesn’t lead to irreparable damage on your website. Many web host companies make the entire process complex. They require you to copy your site locally, test and migrate changes when you’re done.

With one-click staging, the process is easier and faster. You  clone your site  and you can test your URL and access via methods such as phpMyAdmin, SSH and FTP. When you’re done, push changes to production from the dashboard.

Security

In a shared hosting environment, you don’t enjoy support if you encounter malware or your website is hacked. Most managed hosts provide support for security issues and they have systems to protect you from malware. Some go further to provide a free malware removal and hack repair tool as well as a DDoS attack detection software.

The Advantages of Managed WordPress Hosting

Premium support

The major reason why many people prefer managed WordPress hosting is the high level of support. Support teams who focus on one platform are experts in that area because they aren’t splitting their attention on Magento, Cpanel, Drupal or any other software or platform. Most of them are developers who use WordPress daily. They are more knowledgeable and reliable than the average support team. When you have an issue with your site, there is  an entire tech team  to help you troubleshoot problems immediately.

Growth and Global Reach

The average hosting plan isn’t equipped for high traffic; it could crash your website. A managed hosting plan grows as your site grows so you can handle traffic.

They have a larger infrastructure designed for global reach. With a cloud platform in different regions of the world, your website is strategically placed in front of your visitors. This ensures faster page load times and reduced network latency.

Time-saving benefits

With managed WordPress hosting, you don’t have to spend days upon end trying to understand how a platform works.  All the technical aspects  are managed by your hosting provider. This ensures you have time to focus on creating valuable content for your visitors.

Developer-friendly

You have access to some features you wouldn’t get with shared hosting. This includes Composer, SSH access, Sequel Pro, HeidiSQL and Git. Without SSH access, you don’t enjoy many of the benefits we’ve mentioned. A DIY VPS might set it up for you but you’ll still have a lot of work to do.

Scalability

The only option with shared hosting is to upgrade when you need more resources (if they haven’t suspended your account, yet). DIY VPS is easier but requires knowledge about servers to expand disks.

Managed hosting providers take care of everything for you. You don’t have to worry about going over pre-set limits because they notify you and upgrade your resources without your intervention. Migrating to a dedicated server can be time-consuming. This amazing feature means your website scales according to your needs.

Disadvantages of Managed WordPress Hosting
Less Control

The goal of managed WordPress hosting is to offer a great hosting experience where most of the core tasks are performed by the hosting company. A technically-inclined site owner may be disappointed to find that some plugins are disallowed or there is limited access to advanced functionality.

You can still add new stuff to your dashboard but  updates and cache plugins  are taken care of by your hosting provider.

Costs more

A  managed WordPress hosting plan is more expensive  than a regular shared hosting plan. The cost goes up based on the level of service and your pricing term. Ensure you have the budget for extra costs. A basic package costs roughly $20-$30 with a fixed number of visitors each month. You pay more when your website exceeds the number.

Poor flexibility

You’re limited to WordPress only even if your plan allows for multiple website hosting. A VPS gives you the same level of security and performance at a similar cost. The difference? No dedicated support for the software. However, you’re able to build multiple sites with platforms other than WordPress.

Updates aren’t always smooth

Sometimes, an update might cause problems for your WordPress. Manual updates allow you to check for issues before installing the update.  Automatic updates  mean you can’t see if anything is broken. Thankfully, you can revert to the previous version using daily automated backups of your website, and a managed service will solve any problems.

How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting?

Speed

Speed is an important Google ranking factor. Without even considering, your site visitors will bounce quickly if your website doesn’t load quickly.  No hosting provider offers 100% uptime  but most promise 99.99%. Look for a WordPress hosting provider that backs up their claim with a refund policy in their service level agreement.

Security

Do not accept less than the absolute best where security is concerned. Modern server security involves working with  software and hardware components. Choose a hosting provider that protects the servers behind multiple layers of firewalls and access control systems.

Managed hosts keep your WordPress site up to date on your behalf. They also run regular checks for malicious themes, plugins or security holes and work to plug those holes before they affect your website.

Scalability

A 40-minute downtime cost Amazon $4.8 million. Granted, your WordPress site doesn’t have the popularity of Amazon but it loses credibility and vital traffic during a downtime. This usually happens when requests and traffic exceed available resources.

Look for a hosting company that offers scalable servers. They allocate additional resources when you experience a spike in traffic. This ensures your website doesn’t crash or go offline during increased loads periods.

Support

Support is one of the most crucial elements to consider. You do not have physical access to the location of your website server. When there is an issue, only the support engineers can help. Look for a hosting provider that provides support for both WP and hosting issues.

Automatic Updates and Nightly Backups

One of the best features of a managed WP hosting plan is that you don’t have to worry about backups or updates. The hosting provider covers all of that. If anything goes wrong, you restore your website to the last version with a few clicks. When a new version of WordPress is released, they update your site immediately.

WPEngine even goes as far as  testing your site  to ensure it’s working properly. You’ll be notified if there are no issues with the upgrades. Where there was an issue, they roll it back to the previous version while they investigate the problem.

WordPress Hosting Alternatives

DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean focuses on providing SSD-only cloud servers for customers. It might be scary as a first-time WordPress user but setting up a WP VPS on the platform is not difficult once you get the hang of it. Features include

•             An uptime guarantee of 99.99% and refunds for offline time

•             Droplets provide the highest levels of performance and security

•             With a single click, you can set up your WordPress site and deploy custom VP

•             Provide  access to management resources  by taking advantage of team accounts without sharing any sensitive credentials.

•             Unique billing on cost per hour, with different caps ranging from $5-$80 per month.

Page.ly

They promote themselves as the most scalable WordPress platform in the world. It's easy to see why with clients such as Twitter, Disney and Facebook. Page.ly uses Amazon Web Servers to power their hosting with  advanced performance and security systems. It's in the form of PressCACHE, PressCDN and PressARMOR.

Features include

A friendly support system secure website that prevents malware, backdoors and defacement

30-day money back guarantee

Top Managed WordPress Hosting Companies

1.            WPEngine

WPEngine hosting is hands down, the best managed-option available in the market. The price is higher when compared to others but you enjoy great value in the highly secured server, premium support and  fast loading times.

They have a team of WordPress experts who ensure your website is secure and fast all the time. Top brands using WPEngine include HTC, SoundCloud and Foursquare.

Features include

•             A staging area that replicates your live site. You can test themes and plugins before uploading it to your live site.

•             Website loads under 0.26 secs

•             A custom-built EverCache technology that eliminates the need for cache plugins

•             One click restore point in case anything happens to your plugins, themes or website

•             They fix your site for free if you get hacked.

2.            SiteGround

Highly recommended by many users who’ve reviewed managed web hosting companies. They provide a range of hosting services including cloud hosting, shared hosting and managed WordPress hosting services.

The support team is the best in the market.They reply to complaints within 10 minutes. There is no access to one-click staging, premium caching or priority support in the startup plan, only the GoGeek plan.

It is the unique balance of speed and efficiency for webmasters who want to save money on WordPress hosting. You enjoy all the features of shared hosting, such as a free domain name, free WordPress installation, support, email accounts and free WordPress migration, all at $3.95 a month.

Features include

•             Website loads under 4 seconds

•             5 free managed IPs

•             Full management of servers on a regular basis

•             Priced plans which include startup, GrowBig and GoGeek

•             Hardware located in the best data centre facilities

•             24/7 VIP support for GoGeek customers

3.           FlyWheel

Flywheel was created for creatives and designers. It goes beyond web hosting to focus on streamlining a web designer’s workflow. Experts have compared it to an online web design party.

They have a support team made up of WordPress experts who are also designers. Nifty features include billing transfers to your clients, ease of collaboration and staging sites.

They offer hosting solutions for all sorts of companies from Fortune 500s to freelancers who are just starting out. Compared to WPEngine, they are cheaper at $15 a month. You also get a free SSL certificate with your plan.

Key features include

•             Website loads under 1second

•            Data centres around the world  to ensure your website performs at peak speed no matter where your audience is located

•             Beginner-friendly interface that makes it easy to use

•             Automatic backups and built-in caching.

•             24/7 security. They monitor your website for hacking and malware attempts. They also fix any issues found.

•             Their SFTP is more intuitive

•             Ability to use any plugin you want

4.           Kinsta

A blazing fast WP managed hosting solution powered entirely by Google Cloud Platform. They provide users with a fully managed service that includes daily backups and a free migration. Your website is optimised for super-fast loading time and all-around mind-blowing speed.

They’ve only been in the game for a few years but they’ve quickly earned their spot as one of the best WordPress managed hosting solutions. Key features include

•             Quick SSD Storage

•             Free CDN

•             Automatic scaling

•             Free hack fixes and website migration

•             Cloning and staging environment

•             1440 daily uptime checks

•             Support for SSH, Git, Let’s Encrypt and more.

•             The fast customer support  response time of 2 minutes

5.            InMotion Hosting

Our list would be incomplete without mentioning InMotion. Plans range from $6.99-$12.99 a month. You get to choose which option fits your website needs and you can take advantage of a 90-day money back guarantee if it's not what you want.

With the WP1000-S plan, you’re not seeing Git but enjoying exclusive features such as BoldGrid, without any plugin restrictions. Their server stack is out of this world. It sets them apart from all other competitors. You enjoy speed that is 10 times faster than shared hosting.

Key features include

•             Built for speed combo of NGINX server, SSD and advanced server caching

•             Free site migration

•             No plugin restrictions

•             Support for PHP7

•             Secure server with hack protection

•             Integrations for Google apps

•             One-click installer

•             Free server management

•             Free data backups and access to SSH

•             Unlimited bandwidth

•             24/7 customer support via phone, live chat and email

Hosting Companies to Avoid

GoDaddy

One of the biggest web hosting companies in the world, GoDaddy offers a range of services from website builders, domain registration and web hosting. With the popularity of WordPress Hosting, they made a major push for their own WordPress Hosting product. There have been many complaints from users who say their website is 40 seconds slow in loading time.

They don’t offer full value for their pricing. There is a limit to the storage capacity and the number of websites you’re getting.  Shivarweb compared it to InMotion hosting  where they enjoyed more storage and websites for the same price. When you want to switch to another web host, the support team is helpful.

It’s a great option if you want to build a single site and only care about simplicity and results.

Bluehost

Bluehost comes recommended by the WordPress team but users have a lot of complaints about support services and speed issues. Users can’t host unlimited WordPress sites. It’s also not optimised for host-specific WordPress caching features.

Where other hosting companies offer more features, such as BoldGrid to make your WP environment more intuitive, you’ll have to buy it separately with Bluehost. It’s not ideal for anyone looking to manage multiple WordPress sites nor does it include free SSDs to optimise load times and speed.

HostGator

HostGator is one of the most popular hosting companies in the world. Similar to GoDaddy, the website speed is mediocre at first. The Time to First Byte takes a while. Think of it as the time it takes you to get to the door when you hear someone knocking at the door. But once you’re at the door, you’re responsive to whoever is on the other side.

When looking for a WordPress hosting company, choose one that specialises in WordPress hosting ONLY. A few other features you’ll notice with a bad WP hosting company include

•             Slow server response time. Companies like Bluehost and HostGator have a server response time of  700ms-1500ms, which is poor. Ideally, it should be 150-200ms.

•             Crawling problems

•             Broken themes

•             Bad reviews

Most of the complaints are towards hosting companies that are not entirely focused on WordPress hosting. Things might change in the near future as we hear that GoDaddy is close to making new upgrades that should make their WP hosting services better than it is right now.

FAQs
What is WordPress hosting?

This is a form of hosting that is optimised to meet WordPress’ security and performance needs. The two main types are managed and shared WordPress hosting.

Is managed WordPress hosting worth the extra cost?

Yes. Managed WordPress hosting offers more for WordPress sites. Security is better than a shared hosting environment. There is an automatic external backup of your site every day. A more efficient server-side caching is implemented to improve site speed and ensure pages are cached effectively.

The dashboard is more user-friendly to ensure that even a beginner can make changes to the site. You also have access to your account to check for outdated plugins, view usage statistics and visitor statistics.

How do I know if I need Managed WordPress Hosting?

You need managed WordPress hosting if you have an established blog that gets a ton of traffic. It becomes harder to operate your website as it expands. A managed WordPress hosting provider reduces the workload whilst maintaining your website on your behalf.

When Do You Really Need Managed WordPress Hosting?

A beginner who is just starting out doesn’t need managed WordPress hosting but should make do with regular hosting, which is more affordable. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your needs. Managed WordPress hosting is ideal for a high-traffic website that needs blazing speed, hassle-free browsing experience and premium support.

Can I switch from Managed WordPress Hosting to other types of hosting?

Yes. You can transfer your managed WP hosting account using the Managed WP Panel. Create a backup of your site first in case there are any migration problems.

How secure is Managed WordPress Hosting?

Managed WP hosting is very secure. In addition to basic security sweeps, they conduct daily malware scans to ward off cyber threats. They update your website with security fixes when it comes out. Your website runs on the latest version of WordPress to make it more secure and plug any holes in the system. It leads to fewer attacks and more uptime for your website.

What does WordPress hosting cost?

Shared hosting usually goes for less than $10 on companies such as SiteGround and Bluehost. Managed WordPress hosting is more expensive. Prices begin from $20 and up to $400 depending on the features you want.

How do I migrate my WordPress site to managed hosting?

Many hosting providers offer free site migration. You simply have to ask for it because they don’t usually list it as part of their services. A few providers charge a small fee to migrate your website. You can also do it on your own by importing your WordPress site to the new host.

I’m new to WordPress. Can I still use managed WordPress hosting?

It all depends on your hosting needs but yes, even new WordPress sites can opt for managed WordPress hosting. If you expect a huge influx of traffic even in the early days or require more security than a shared hosting plan can provide, opt for managed WP hosting.

Will WordPress be updated automatically?

On a shared hosting plan, only your core WordPress files are automatically updated. Your plugins and themes are not. However, you can set up automatic updates for WordPress Plugins or turn it on and off. With Managed WordPress hosting, your provider takes care of all updates on your behalf.

Why do I need Codeguard with WordPress hosting?

It’s an automatic database and website backup that monitors your databases and websites at regular intervals. You’re immediately notified when a change is detected. It allows you to restore your site to the previous version.

Why do I need SiteLock with my WordPress hosting plan?

SiteLock is a security solution that checks every area of your website daily. It attempts to identify threats and gaps in the security of your website in places such as spam filters, emails, search engine blacklists and your web server. Any security gap is immediately fixed in the background to keep your website secure.

Is an upgrade possible on any of the WordPress hosting plans?

There are free WP migration tools that help you move to a higher plan. You can upgrade the number of your RAM and CPU cores in your hosting plan from your WP hosting panel with a limit of 8GB RAM and 8 Cores.

Will I be able to add more websites to my existing plan for the future?

Yes, it depends on your hosting plan. If you currently use a basic plan, you’ll have to migrate to a new WP hosting plan to add more websites.

Can I use an external email service with my WordPress hosting plan?

G Suite by Google Cloud is the most comprehensive solution in the market right now. You can use an external 3rd party email with your WP hosting plan.

Do WordPress hosting plans have a money-back guarantee?

It depends on your hosting plan and hosting provider. Bluehost has a 30-day hosting money back guarantee that doesn’t apply to add-on products. SiteGround has a 30-day guarantee for all shared hosting plans and HostGator has a 45-day money back refund policy.

Do these WordPress hosting packages support WordPress Multisite?

Many host providers support multisite. Some provide support for up to ten WordPress websites directly from one container whilst others provided support for unlimited websites.

Can I access cPanel with my WordPress hosting plan?

You can access cPanel if you’re using a managed WordPress hosting plan.

Are SSL certificates included with the WordPress plans?

It depends on your hosting provider although many provide a free SSL certificate as part of the managed WordPress hosting plan.

Is the use of an existing SSL certificate with my website possible?

You can’t use an existing SSL certificate with another website. Your WP hosting panel requires a CSR to generate a certificate that can be installed from the panel.

Do the WordPress hosting plans include email hosting as well?

All WordPress hosting plans include email hosting. You can access it through the Webmail on the WordPress hosting admin panel.

Can I install plugins on my WordPress hosting order?

By default, the hosting provider can include performance enhancing plugins. However, you can also install plugins on your WP hosting order.

How do I customize my WordPress site?

Once you’ve successfully installed your WordPress site, you can customise your website from the Dashboard. You can change the fonts, colours and layout in the Appearance section. You can also customise Widgets, pages, users, menu and other parts of your website on the dashboard.

Why should I avoid free WordPress hosting?

Any serious website or blog should avoid free WordPress hosting. Common issues include delayed email confirmation that sometimes takes up to three days to reach your inbox. Frequent server error you won’t experience on a paid plan. Problems with WordPress plugins, menus and posts tabs. There are issues with receiving notifications for WordPress updates and issues searching for themes or plugin from the WP dashboard.

 

For more information about WordPress Hosting please visit:https://www.freeparking.co.nz/wordpress-hosting/


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