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Once you’ve built your WordPress site, you have to host it online.

People can make the mistake of believing that all hosting services are much the same and that any differences are just minutiae they don’t need to worry about. It would be a mistake to think that, however. Your choice of a host can make a difference as to the quality of your site’s performance, its potential for growth, and much more.

Google are now using site speed and page load times as a ranking factor so if you want your website on page 1 you can’t simply go for the cheap option! We recommend using WP Engine. Whether you are setting up a personal blog or an intricate and complex multi-site for your brand, WP Engine makes managed WordPress hosting easy. They also provide free SSL certificates so that your website is secure for both your staff and customers.

Toast is a reseller for WP Engine’s hosting services so if you want us to manage the hosting for you we can do and at a slightly cheaper price!

What should I look for in a WordPress host?

The differences between hosts can largely be difficult to understand. However, there are a few criteria you should make sure that any option satisfies before you go with them.

Page speed

The first criteria should be a demonstrable quality in page speed; i.e., the time it takes a page to load. Nowadays, internet users expect a page to load in 2 seconds unless they’re expecting it to be particularly demanding. Even an extra second of waiting can mean a 7% drop in conversions.

Uptime

Secondly, is the important uptime rate. This is how much of its time the host spends operational. Few hosts go under the 99% rate, but the difference in 0.1 can mean a lot if you plan to run a heavily-traffic e-commerce site. Consider eBay, which uses WordPress. If they used a host that was 0.1% slower than its competitor, they would lose 8 hours a year. That’s 88 million searches and potential sales they would lose.

Security

You want your site to be secure, too. There’s a lot you can do to make your site secure, such as keeping it updated and protecting your login details. But the host will have their own security measures, too. When you’re choosing a host, ask about how many times sites they own have been hacked. If they can’t provide any numbers or they’re stating figures higher than their competitors, it gives you an idea of how secure your site will be on their web hosting space.

Extra services your WordPress host can offer you

Competitive hosting services know that they have a lot of rivals, so many of them are willing to offer extra services. For instance, some will offer in-house caching that improves your site’s load times. Some offer automatic backups of your website, so if your site is hacked or undergoes an update that causes irreversible damage, you can just back to a previous version. Some offer a choice of different physical locations, putting your site geographically closer to your visitors which is improves its chances to get spotted in search engines, for instance.

Consider your WordPress hosting needs

Mostly, it depends on what you want from your website. A little hobby blog might do just fine with shared hosting, the more crowded, sluggish of hosting options, for instance. But beyond that, you have to ask if the provider offers the flexibility that allows you to scale the website up as time goes on. How much traffic do you expect and how much demand will your site have to cope with? If you’re new to WordPress, how much support will you need? Part of answering that means figuring out which kind of hosting works best for you.

The different kinds of hosting

There are roughly four different kinds of hosting options you can go for. First among them is shared hosting. It’s the cheapest option, but as it suggests, it means you’re sharing a space with other websites. In fact, you might be sharing a server with thousands of other users. For low-demand websites and hobby blogs, it’s an easy way to get online, but it is often slower with much less support on offer. However, technical problems with one site can migrate across the server to your own site. A bit of faulty code in a “neighbour’s” site can drastically increase your page load time.

VPS hosting, or virtual private server hosting, is still shared. However, it’s shared amongst a much smaller group, rarely more than 20. It’s also shared much more responsibly. Every site has its own allocation of data. If one runs out, it doesn’t mean that everyone runs out like they might on a shared host. Hostwinds is an example of a host that offers VPS hosting.

If you have a much bigger budget, the dedicated hosting offers space for your website and your website alone. Your site will never slow down thanks to a bad neighbour and tends to have a much bigger share of data. They are truly expensive, however. Your site would only need dedicated hosting options if your site is taking on truly huge amounts of traffic.

Finally, the choice that we would recommend for WordPress users is the aptly named managed WordPress hosting. Providers like WP Engine and FlyWheel take care of the technical side of the website entirely and offer a lot of support. Caching regularly, scanning for malware, backing up your site, updating your plugins. They can take a lot of work out of running your site and they also provide a lot of scalability. If you’re not tech savvy, then managed hosting might be for you.

Choosing the right host is all about better understanding your needs as a customer. Hopefully, the points above help you do just that.

Still need help with your WordPress hosting?

If you now understand how hosting works but still want someone to help out and manage everything for you then please feel free to get in touch. Hosting starts at £300 per year but can vary depending on the type of site you have.

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Posted by Kelly and categorised in Maintaining WordPress.

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