Choosing the ideal web hosting for your WordPress website essentially comes down to a handful of factors. Those are Your technical savvy, your website size, and your budget. These are all you really need to be concerned about, and we will discuss them individually.
First, let’s talk about technical know-how. Some people say that they are not computer people. The fact is, we are all computer people. Some say that they are not car people. Yet, day in and day out, they drive an automobile. Shocking, no? So, even though you may be one of those who thinks that the CD player is a cup holder, the fact remains that somehow you manage to turn on your computer every day and at a minimum send an email or two. But how much do you need to know about a website in order to run WordPress? Let’s drop back a notch and ask, are you going to be the one running it at all? If no, then you don’t need to worry about this section. Your webmaster or “web guy” should know all of this already. If you are going to be the one running the show, then there are only a few things you need to know.
Web hosting is essentially another computer somewhere out on the web that holds all of the files for your website and shows them properly to the world of web surfers. If you buy hosting from a company, you get a file space on their server which provides you with access through a password and username. Where do you enter this login information? In a special little software program which is accessed through a link on your desktop, called an FTP program. When you want to maintain your website, you click the link and enter your login. Voila, you see your files and folders sitting on that remote computer. That is what is called your website’s “back end.” It’s the garage. What you see on the web when you put your web address in your browser can be thought of as the car. See, now you are a computer person and a car person.
But how does the WordPress get in there? WordPress is simply a copyrighted and trademarked set of website program files that were designed to make running a website online easier. If you go to wordpress.org, they offer you the option to download all the files and folders that you need. Once on your desktop, you would then open your FTP and upload all those files. Then, when you visit your website, there should be a very generic WordPress front page, with a link to log in as Administrator. That’s you. The first time you log in with the generic credentials, it is suggested that you change them to something more secure. WordPress sites are the favorite targets of hackers right now, sad to say.
Then, WordPress has all the visual navigation that you need to make it look like you want, add photos, type content, and so on; until it is the website that you envisioned. WordPress, the company, also offers paid plans for you to simply rent their server space, so your WordPress is running on, well… WordPress. This is in lieu of you running it on a separate paid hosting plan like we have already discussed. With the overwhelming growth in popularity of WordPress driven websites, many hosting companies have developed what is called “push-button” WordPress; which simply put, means that you don’t have to look at files and folders and all the backend of their web server. You can login to your hosting plan, push their WordPress button, and magically all the files are installed on the server for you. Then you can go to your website address, better known as the domain name that you first selected for your website, and log in as the WordPress administrator.
So, we have tackled all the technical aspects of WordPress. Now let’s talk about performance and price. WordPress is a behemoth of bandwidth. Translation: It tends to load and run slowly, as compared to a normal website. This can be bad for business. Hosting companies that sell super cheap plans notoriously cram as many website customers onto one server and internet connection as they can to maximize profit. What does this mean for you and your business? It means having customers calling you all the time saying that your website is down when most likely, it is just loading super slow. It means you calling your hosting company all the time asking how you can speed up the site, and having them try to sell you some super dedicated server that costs hundreds of dollars per month while you figure out how to run it. Don’t do it.
Here’s the simple solution: Google “WordPress hosting” and look for customer reviews. Look for hosting company websites that say they specialize in hosting and serving WordPress. This means that your site is going to load smoothly, every time, all the time, making for happy customers and visitors. That means more happiness, and hopefully money, for you. So, that is where the size of your website that we were talking about factors in. If you are just running Bob’s Basement Blog or some simple site that does not use a lot of bandwidth or get a lot of traffic, then $1.99 hosting with some fly by night place is probably fine. But there are just as many $5 per month gigs that will give you blazing fast speed.
This brings us around the bases to home, which is budget. You get what you pay for in hosting, just like anything else. Spend a few minutes on the web shopping around. Remember, customers, do not lie. You will be able to tell very quickly where your money is best spent on the reviews. WordPress hosting should be a quick, easy, fun, and cheap process for you. Keep it that way. Look for the icing on the cake in companies that offer free themes and tech support. Good luck.