How To Choose A WordPress Host For Scalability
WordPress is one of the most popular and widely used Content Management Systems (CMS) today. It is free, open source, easy to use, and allows users to create custom websites with ease. However, what many WordPress users don’t know is that it can also be quite demanding on server resources if it is not optimally configured. This applies particularly when you are just starting out as a new website owner or blogger.
But how do you choose the right WordPress host? What important considerations should you be aware of? Let’s find out more!
1: Know your needs and requirements
You may have a general idea of what kind of hosting your site will require but in order for you to choose the right one for your specific needs, you’ll have to do some research first.
Consider factors such as
the expected number of daily visitors and page views;
the size of your website (if it is small or large);
the type of content that is being published on your site; and so on.
Keep in mind that hosts charge based on these factors alone so do not be surprised if a shared hosting plan may not work for you even though it can accommodate a few thousands visitors per day since it also has other websites hosted with them which are using up a significant amount of server resources. This goes to say that although shared hosting plans are affordable, they are generally slower and less scalable than dedicated or managed WordPress hosting plans.
For example, if you are running a single blog (with little to no images on it) that has fewer than 10,000 visitors per day and you prefer regular backups of your site as well as easy control over caching and security features, then shared hosting will not be the best type of plan for you. In this case, a better option is to look into VPS or managed WordPress hosting.
2: Compare different types of hosts
Once you have determined your exact needs and requirements in terms of speed, reliability, support options and so on, it’s time to compare different types of web hosts. This includes comparing free hosting providers with paid ones. Generally speaking, paid hosting offers better performance and support as compared to free hosts even though the latter may appear more attractive.
In general, you can choose from three different types of hosting solutions for WordPress sites: shared hosting, VPS hosting and managed or dedicated hosting. Here’s a breakdown of each:
Shared Hosting – this is the most affordable option for those who are just starting their website out. This type of plan generally provides unlimited disk space and bandwidth but it comes with certain restrictions such as only one domain is allowed to be hosted per account, limited features in its control panel (if any at all), less flexibility in terms of administration options, etc. However if your site has moderate traffic and requires little to no advanced technical configuration, this is one of the best plans for you.
VPS Hosting – also known as Virtual Private Server hosting, this type of plan is better than shared hosting in terms of performance and security but it can also be comparable to dedicated hosting options which are more expensive. It is better than shared hosting because users get root access to their own virtual space, with all required resources being placed inside a single server. However, it has lots of restrictions in the form of limitations on bandwidth or disk space (you will have to pay extra if you need additional features) and its control panel configuration may not be user-friendly (but again, you can always install other control panels). With VPS Hosting, you can create multiple websites on a single server and each site will not be affected by the other if problems arise.
Dedicated Hosting – this is where you get your own private server for your website (or websites). It allows for better control over how resources are allocated to sites as well as more flexibility in terms of software configurations, security enhancements and so on. You can also expect faster loading times but it comes with a much higher cost than shared or VPS hosting plans. Note that dedicated servers are usually provided by managed WordPress hosting companies who set up the whole thing and handle maintenance issues too. This means they have really good uptime and great performance which is what you want most when choosing a host anyway!
3: Choose between managed WordPress hosting providers or not
Now that you know what are the different types of web hosting solutions, it’s time to choose a plan between managed or unmanaged WordPress hosting. In general, managed hosts are good for beginners and those who don’t have any experience managing their own server because they provide a lot in terms of their control panel configuration and basic features. However if you have resources, time and money on your hands, then an unmanaged host will allow you much more flexibility in terms of installing custom software (like additional scripts or languages) which is not allowed with fully-managed hosts.
For example, at this point in time if I were choosing hosting providers for my own website (www.gamezplayonline.com), I would have to choose between Siteground (managed WordPress host) and Digital Ocean (unmanaged VPS). Although I can’t comment on the exact performance of either service, I am inclined towards having full control at this point in time since my bandwidth requirements are moderate and I don’t need a lot of support from the hosting company.
To sum up this section, it is important to carefully assess your needs first before choosing a web host. Are you looking for an affordable solution so that you can start off easily? Or do you prefer greater flexibility and freedom with more features but higher costs? If you prefer the latter then go ahead with unmanaged hosting plans like Digital Ocean, otherwise stick to managed hosts if speed and reliability are a high priority for you.
4: How to choose the right host – a few things to keep in mind
Factor 1: Storage space and bandwidth requirements are important!
As mentioned earlier, storage space is an important aspect that should be taken into consideration when choosing hosting providers. This is because if the amount of storage or bandwidth included in your plan are not sufficient to handle future growth, then you will have to pay extra. What happens here is that ‘unused’ resources from your plan such as disk space and bandwidth transfer limits (in GBs) will be added onto your monthly bill since more RAM/CPU power may be required for all those extra visitors/text on your site. So, it makes sense to pick a plan that gives you a good amount of storage space with sufficient bandwidth for your needs.
Factor 2: Choosing the best plan for WordPress platform users
If you are going to use WordPress (and most people do!), then having W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache installed is really important in terms of providing better performance and page loading times. What this means is that if you have enough disk space, additional caching services can be easily installed without necessitating an upgrade. However, as mentioned earlier, managed hosts usually take care of this process so whether or not you need it would depend on the host’s control panel configuration and extra features provided in your chosen plan. In fact, some website owners prefer not to have caching installed in the first place as it might affect the functionality of their website.
Factor 3: ‘Unlimited’ plans are often a problem!
I remember reading on some websites that hosting providers offer ‘unlimited’ data transfer and storage space for sites like WordPress. However, this isn’t entirely true because unlimited plans can actually have limitations when dozens or hundreds of people are accessing your site at the same time. In fact, there is often a fair usage policy which limits how many resources you can use per month before any additional charges will incur (depending on the amount). For example, if there are only 2-3 people visiting your site throughout the day but they come back everyday to visit your site, then the average amount of traffic each month might not be that high. However, you must remember that it could increase and in this situation you will have to pay for more storage space or bandwidth transfer. Furthermore, many web hosts allow the creation of multiple accounts which means that if your site is suddenly getting a lot of popularity (like Friendster/Myspace), then some companies will cut off your account altogether (since they may not be able to handle all those simultaneous requests).
Factor 4: Security features help defend against malicious attacks!
When choosing hosting providers, security features like SSL certificate should also be taken into consideration because they are necessary to protect sensitive information such as credit card details when people buy things online. In fact, a secure website is essential because if something like this happens, people will be very reluctant in purchasing anything from you again. What’s more, hackers can also get your personal information and send spam email messages to everyone in your contact list!
You should try choosing hosting providers which have good security features (i.e SSL certificates) and don’t provide unlimited plans that restrict the amount resources you may use per month. Furthermore, make sure that there aren’t any fair usage policies which might limit the amount of data transfer or storage space that you can access without paying extra fees!