October 31, 2014

How to Choose a Hosting Company for Your WordPress Site

choose a web hosting company

WordPress is arguably the most popular web software on the market, powering more than 60 million websites. The benefits of building your site with WordPress are numerous: A rich and full-featured platform, powerful CRM (customer relationship management) tools and thousands of plugins to enhance the experience.

Best of all, it’s free—a great price for any small business.

Your website is essential to your business and it has to look professional, with a private domain name. That means you have to choose a hosting company for your WordPress site. These tips will help you narrow it down from the endless choices, to choose a web hosting company that’s right for your small business.

Hosting Requirements for WordPress

The WordPress platform runs on a lightweight script that’s compatible with nearly all quality web hosting companies. The only requirements are:

  • MySQL version 5.0 or greater
  • PHP version 5.2.4 or greater

Because WordPress is so widely used, many hosting companies offer one-click WordPress installation.

What to Consider When Choosing a Web Hosting Company

There are tens of thousands of web hosting companies out there, and they’re not all created equally. The most important issues to think about when you’re choosing a web hosting provider for your WordPress site include:

Storage and Bandwidth Allowance

In many cases, this is not an issue. The major hosting companies generally offer unlimited storage for your content and unlimited bandwidth to handle any levels of traffic.However, it’s still a good idea to check the fine print in the hosting plan, especially if you’re being offered a discount, and make sure the one you choose offers sufficient resources for your business website.

Customer Support

Reliable customer service is a must for your web hosting company. If something goes wrong with your website (and it’s practically a guarantee that something will), you’ll need a host that can handle the issue right away, so you’re not stuck with a non-functioning website that’s losing you business and harming your reputation.

Look for a hosting company that offers 24/7 support by phone, email and live chat. Make sure to test the support features before committing to a web hosting contract, and ensure that they suit your needs.

User Reviews

Reading reviews from web hosting customers is a great way to make sure the company is stable, well-regarded, and apt to be around for a long time. Unfortunately, it’s easy for a brand new, inexperienced business to put up a professional-looking sales page that looks a lot more reputable than it is.

Look for generally positive customer reviews, preferably a mixture of older and newer entries that establish both the longevity and the quality of the hosting company.

Cost

Money isn’t everything, but when it comes to a web hosting company, paying a little more is often worth it. When considering the cost to host your WordPress site, expect to pay between $4 and $7 per month for a good quality provider with strong customer service. Often, lower priced hosting services come with limitations, poor customer service, and an increased risk of server downtime.

You should also avoid “free” website hosting altogether because most of these services are subsidized by advertisements that run on your site.

A Quick Selection of Great Choices for WordPress Hosting

The web hosting companies below offer a one-click WordPress platform installation, reasonably priced plans, unlimited hosting and responsive customer service:

BlueHost: Plans starting at $4.95 per month, with 50% off for the first month.

HostGator: Annual plans starting at $3.96 per month.

HostMonster: Plans start at $4.95 per month.

What tips do you have to choose a web hosting company for your WordPress site?

Choice Photo via Shutterstock

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Megan Totka


Megan Totka Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for Chamber of Commerce. Chamber specializes in helping SMB's grow their business on the Web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources and provides advice through her column on the Chamber blog.

24 Reactions

  1. Hosting is very important. After all, you don’t want to suddenly change hosting servers all of the sudden. Trust me. There is nothing more irritating than transferring a blog. Not only do you have to transfer your databases, you also run the risk of losing your data. So it is better to choose the right hosting early on.

  2. A good way to choose a hosting company is to seek out honest customer reviews. I have had experience using a one hosting company initially for several years and then when a particular malicious script was planted on the server, it took 4 weeks before this was resolved! At the end, I changed to another reliable hosting company.

  3. I have been using Go Daddy and have been very happy with them. If I ever have an issue, I just call them up and someone is always willing to help me out.

  4. I would also take a look at WestHost as well.

  5. Hi Megan, great post. I love wordpress and have been using it since I first heard of it back in 2006 or so. When it comes to hosting, though, “unlimited bandwidth” is kind of misleading. There is that nasty issue of ‘system resources allocation’ you get hit with on every budget shared hosting account. These types of accounts simply don’t have the resources to handle a WordPress-powered website adequately (if you pay $5 a month, you’ll get what you pay for.) Fortunately some companies have introduced managed hosting on virtual private servers for a fraction of the cost of having a dedicated server.

  6. The 3 hosts you listed are all owned by the global equity firm EIG (Endurance International Group). They are essentially all the same company. You can Google “EIG Hosting” to see their track record.

    If you’re serious about your WordPress site, and you are a small business, I’d steer *very* clear of any EIG brand. Their concern is purely one of shareholder profits, cutting corners, outsourcing support, and jamming thousands of websites on each server all to pad the bottom line.

    MySQL performance is often abysmal at best, and their cpu limits often kick in for any modest traffic for a dynamic site like WordPress.

    Kick your budget up in the $20 – $50 per month range, look at stable hosting such as Pair.com and the likes (i.e. hosting companies that cater to small businesses and actually offer personalized in-house support), and your headaches will be much less. The money you’ll save in downtime and site issues will more than make up for the higher monthly bill.

  7. Great article, choosing a web hosting company can be very crucial. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Web hosting is one of those hidden items in a business that isn’t thought of until something goes wrong. Great referrals come from other businesses. Ask them if they like their hosting company then ask them why they have that opinion. If they’ve had an issue, how was it resolved? Great article, Megan.

  9. There are quite a few things that were highlighted in this article and I think that the if you are a serious business you will want to focus on one of the most important aspects is the care and support you receive from your hosting provider.

    You have to remember that your hosting provider is essentially the backbone of your web presence, no matter what CMS application you use it doesn’t matter if it’s not reliably up and serviced well.

    One of the things that I always stress when speaking with my customers is that sometimes you need to look past the cheap $5/month plans (which by the way are almost always not $5/month after you sign up with them) and look to the providers that specialize in providing hosting services with a managed approach. While these types of hosts can appear to be more expensive. Often times they aren’t much more than what your paying now.

    Whats even better is if you can get a host that does all this but also is a specialty CMS host that supports your particular App as well. In most cases you will find the two aspects very complimentary to your business.

    [Edited by Editor]

    • Yes, a reliable host is critical to a website’s success. I agree, you get what you pay for. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  10. Megan,

    I have tried dozens of hosting and the best of all so far is WP Engine. I’m not affiliated whatsoever with them, but their service is top-notch – page loading time is very fast, staffs are WP experts and the reliability is excellent.

    The only drawback is the pricing. But if you have the budget, it’s well worth it.

    It’s important to host your WP-powered websites with WP-compatible server and WP-savvy support.

  11. My blog partner and web master decided on Host Gator for the sites using the WordPress platform. I know that the owner of the template we are using (Genesis) has a specialized service for WordPress users called Synthesis.

    If you don’t want the hassle with picking a web host, I would recommend you to look into Squarespace’s service that is web platform and hosting in one.

  12. If you are building a do-it-yourself website share hosting might be a good solution, but if you are working with a web development company you should be looking for a hosting company that will give you root access to the server. Which usually you will want to be around $70/per month for hosting cost.

    One of the most important reasons you want root access to the server is to install GIT (the version control system of choice for WordPress & Drupal). GIT will allow you test you code on a local test site and push the production site with out anything issue. If you are just using FTP you the potential of conflicts on the production server and the test site which can cause downtime. Granted this is a bit more enterprise approach to web development, but if you are paying a company for development you should at least be aware of the best practice.

    Brandon one of our developer wrote an easy to understand blog that goes into a little more depth on how shared hosting isn’t always budget friendly.

  13. Hostgator is good, They are not the cheapest but very good support

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