When you are just starting a blog you have to decide how you are going host your website. So how do you choose the right hosting package for your new WordPress blog?
There are three main options for hosting your new WordPress blog. These are WordPress.com, managed WordPress hosting packages, or a shared hosting package. Each option has pro’s and con’s depending on where you want to go with your blog and your blogging career in the future.
WordPress.com vs Self Hosting
This is one of the first choices bloggers must make when they are starting their first blog. WordPress.com is a huge platform, but it is different from WordPress.org.
What is WordPress.com?
WordPress.com allows you to set up your own WordPress site on their platform, plans start at no cost and go up from there.
But there are limitations to what you can do and you usually end up having to pay more than self hosting if you go beyond their free plan.
Pros of Using WordPress.com
This is only a pro if you are using the free version, since it won’t cost you anything.
No Technical Skills Needed
Since WordPress.com takes care of all the technical aspects of hosting your site, you don’t need to be technically inclined to use this platform.
Good for Personal Blogs
If you are not trying to start a money making blog then a free WordPress.com site might be a good fit for you.
Cons of Using WordPress.com
Even with their cheapest package, WordPress.com still comes in above managed WP hosting. So it will cost you more in the long run to stay with WordPress.com. And the price is really high compared to paying in advanced for shared hosting.
If you are wanting to sell anything or have the ability to do customization beyond the basic presets that’s going to be at least $25 a month. You can get a whole year of shared hosting from NameCheap for around that price.
And if you want your own personalized domain name you have to pay for WordPress.com hosting, you cannot use the free hosting.
You are very limited to themes and plugins, and on the free plan you are very limited on the amount of space you get for your blog. You only get 3GB of data on the free plan, and if you want to install your own plugins or themes you have to upgrade to a business plan.
You Have to Play By Their Rules
WordPress.com can tell you how and what you can put on your site. Who you can use for advertisements on your site, and even what affiliate programs you can use. While they have lightened up on the affiliate marketing end of things, they can change their minds and you have to go along with it when you are using their platform.
They also have policies on sponsored posts. So that is up to them too. At this time they do allow some sponsored posts, but again just like with affiliate links this can change.
Selling Your Own Products
In order to sell your own products with WordPress.com you have to upgrade at least to the business plan, again this will be at least $25 a month.
When Should You Choose WordPress.com?
If you are just wanting a personal blog with very limited customization and not wanting to have a money making blog, WordPress.com might be the route for you. Otherwise I would recommend going with one of the other two hosting options outlined below.
WordPress.org is different from WordPress.com. WordPress.org is the software that is WordPress itself.
When you use WordPress.org, you are getting your own hosting from a web host company and installing WordPress on that server with your web host.
If you want full control over your website and your data, WordPress.org is the way to go.
There are several cost effective options available for new bloggers just starting out, managed WordPress hosting and shared hosting.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Most hosting companies now offer managed WordPress hosting. With this type of hosting you are getting a WordPress website on a server that is specifically configured to run only WordPress.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is a hosting package that you can purchase from a hosting company where all the technical aspects of running a WordPress website is managed by the hosting company themselves.
The server that your blog will be on is specifically configured to be used for WordPress and only WordPress. No one else is installing other types of software.
This has become popular with hosting companies because of the popularity of WordPress. And this is great for those less tech savvy or who don’t want access to anything more than their WordPress admin when it comes to their website hosting.
With managed WordPress hosting, the hosting company will take care of things like security, speed, WordPress updates, backups and scalability of your blog.
What are the Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting?
Super Fast and Easy Installation
With managed WordPress hosting, your site will be up and running in minutes. Since you don’t have to worry about anything beyond just your blog installation of your WordPress blog is as easy as pressing one button after you have purchased the hosting.
No Technical Skills Needed
Just like with WordPress.com, managed WordPress hosting has the hosting company dealing with all the technical aspects of hosting your WordPress site.
Since the server is designed for just WordPress, this allows configurations on the back-end to be made to help WordPress perform better.
With everything being managed by the web host, and only WordPress sites being on the servers this means you get better up-time since there is less that can cause the server to crash.
With managed WP hosting usually you are provided with a way to have a once click backup, or the host does automatic backups for you. This takes out the need to search around for how you are going to backup your blog and which service you should choose for backups.
With NameCheap they have an easy way to create a backup, and you can download the files and database so you can keep a copy for yourself.
Just like with self hosting, with managed WordPress hosting you are using the WordPress.org customization. This means you are not limited to any restrictions of the WordPress.com platform. You own your website, and you can use the themes and plugins that you choose.
There are some exceptions however. Any plugins that have been found to create problems or be a security risk will not be allowed by the host. This is not a bad thing, you are just being protected.
Also caching is already taken care of so no caching plugins are allowed on most managed WordPress hosting plans.
You Own Your Data
With managed WordPress hosting, you own your data and site. This means you can keep a copy of everything so you won’t loose your site if something bad were to happen.
Because you have a server that is optimized for WordPress, the host can be sure any vulnerabilities are closed down. Also users don’t have as much access on the server side of things to be able to accidentally leave anything open and susceptible to cyber attacks such as downloading a risky plugin on a blog.
What are the Cons of Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is more expensive than a shared hosting plan.
The cost however isn’t that bad, especially for new sites. NameCheap’s starter plan for managed WordPress hosting cost less than a Starbucks latte per month.
You are limited somewhat on plugins. If the plugin is a security risk you won’t be able to use it. Not quite a con, but just be aware you will be limited to what plugins the host says you can use.
You are also limited to WordPress only on these packages. There is no other platform options if you decide to go with managed WordPress hosting.
Limited Number of Sites
With managed WordPress hosting you are limited on the number of sites you can have per hosting package.
This is my main complaint with managed WordPress hosting as I have many sites. So in the long run if you are like me with the amount of sites you have, you might be better off going with a shared hosting package.
Why Should You Choose Managed WordPress Hosting?
If you don’t want to have to deal with the technical side of things and just want your blog to run fast while not worrying about all the extras this is a great hosting option to go with.
I have one of my blogs on NameCheap.com’s managed WordPress packages and I have no complaints. The site loads fast, it was super easy to set up and quick to get it going. Backups and updates are taken care of, I never have to think about those little details.
I have yet to run into any plugin limitations, the ones that are needed for blogging so far seem to be able to be used.
I only use the starter package at this point, but that package is up to 50,000 page views per month. And when you are just starting out with a blog that is more than enough for awhile. The next step up if you need more than 50,000 is 200,000 page views per month for $4 more.
My one recommendation is that if you go with managed WP hosting through NameCheap, get your domain through them also. It makes the process much easier on you. I use NameCheap for all my new domains now, and wouldn’t use another domain registrar at this time.
Shared Hosting Plans
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is one of the cheapest ways to host a website.
This type of hosting is made to meet the needs of a huge variety of websites, not just WordPress websites.
When you get a shared hosting package, what you are getting essentially is a portion of a server to use for your website needs. Other people also use the same server, and they are hosting their sites on the server.
Benefits of Shared Hosting
Shared hosting will give you the biggest value when it comes to hosting for new blogs. You can have more than just one site in your hosting plan if you would like. And trust me, these blogs and sites get addictive so you might want to go this route.
Even with shared hosting, fast installation of WordPress is still available form most hosts, you might just have to press your mouse button a few more times.
Both NameCheap and HostGator have very fast installation for the WordPress.org software.
You Own Your Site
Just like with managed WordPress packages, with shared hosting you also own your site and your data. As long as you kept a backup, if anything bad were to happen you can restore or move your site somewhere else without any hassles.
With shared hosting, on most of the second tiered plans you can get unlimited sites. Even on the bottom tiered plans you usually are able to have around 3 sites.
This is great for those who want to have multiple sites. As they become popular they might outgrow the server you are on and will need to be upgraded, but that will be awhile down the road for new bloggers and not something to worry about right away.
Your hosting provider will be able to scale your plan for your website needs as your blog grows.
Sites are easy to move if that is needed. Most web hosts have a process that is easy to follow if this is needed and their support will work with you.
Cons of Shared Hosting
You are in charge of your data
This means you need to make sure you have found a way to backup your data for your site. You can either purchase an extra backup addon through your host or find another way to keep your data.
If you go with shared hosting I recommend getting an external hard drive so you are sure that you have a copy of your data on you and not stored in another location.
With shared hosting you are sharing a server with other individuals. Sometimes this can be hundreds of other people, and even sometimes thousands of others.
Due to the number of people using a server you can sometimes run into what is called the “bad neighbor effect”.
Servers are just like computers, they have a fixed amount of memory and processing power. So if someone else on the server bogs it down with whatever they are doing, they could just bring down the entire server.
If you have shared hosting and have gotten a 503 error for a few minutes, you might have been a victim of the “bad neighbor effect”.
Taking down the whole server is the worst case scenario. Other things can happen too, like slow load times.
So with shared hosting you are at the mercy of your server neighbors. But many times if it is a repeat offender the host will shut that person down until the issue is fixed. HostGator on one occasion had this happen on a shared account I had, they shut down the offender within 5 minutes.
Yes this is a con as well as a pro of shared hosting. While the cost per month can be cheap, usually to get these rates you do have to pay well in advanced.
For example with NameCheap you have to pay a year upfront for the cheaper rates. And really for your first year with them it isn’t an issue when you can get the standard shared hosting plan for around $25 for an entire year.
With HostGator, to get the cheapest rates you have to pay for 3 years of hosting upfront.
As you can see you are making a commitment to get the best prices with shared hosting.
Not Optimized for WordPress
Since shared hosting has to be able to run a number of different website software and house just about anything anyone throws at it, the server is not specifically optimized for WordPress like it is with managed WordPress hosting.
Why Should You Choose Shared Hosting?
If you want the best bang for your buck and want to have the option for multiple websites while not being limited to just WordPress, then shared hosting is a great choice.
- Free if you choose to go with the free plan.
- No technical skills needed.
- Good for Personal Blogs.
- The cost can be one of the more expensive options for hosting of a blog.
- You are very limited to themes and plugins unless you go with the $25 per month plan or higher.
- You are at the mercy of WordPress if you can continue to monetize your blog.
- In order to sell your own products you have to choose a business plan.
- Not the best option if you are wanting a money making blog.
Managed WordPress Hosting
- Faster website.
- Easy installation.
- No technical skills needed.
- Better Up-time.
- Easy Backups.
- Customization of your site.
- You own your site and data.
- Better security.
- Scalable as your blog grows.
- Higher cost than shared hosting.
- Limits on plugins to avoid security risks.
- You are limited to the number of sites per hosting plan.
- Shared hosting is one of the cheapest options for hosting.
- Fast installation of WordPress.
- You own your site and your data
- You can have multiple sites on your hosting plan.
- Scalability as your site grows.
- Other peoples actions that share the server with you can affect your site.
- In order to get the cheaper cost you have to pay at least a year in advanced.
- You are in charge of making sure your site is backed up
I have used both of these hosts and would recommend them to anyone looking to get hosting for their WordPress site:
- NameCheap.com Managed WordPress Hosting
- NameCheap.com Shared Hosting (Currently 50% off your first Year)
- HostGator.com Managed WordPress Hosting
- HostGator.com Shared Hosting
One Final Hosting Recommendation
One of the most recommended places to get hosting and get great support for your blog is SiteGround. SiteGround offers superb hosting for blogs, their servers are made to make WordPress work lightning fast, and they even have full support to move your blog over to them.