How to Shop for a Hosting Plan for a WordPress site

One of the first things to consider when creating a new website is where you’re going to host your WordPress website. Before I go into the details of what makes a good choice for a website host, you may want to read this article that explains the difference between buying a hosting plan and buying a domain name.

It’s important to know that you don’t have to buy your hosting plan and domain name from the same company. I buy most of our domains from GoDaddy – but I do NOT recommend hosting with them. We’ve hosted our websites with Lunarpages for over 10 years with little complaint.

How do I choose the right hosting plan for my WordPress site?

There are a lot of factors to consider in making the decision about buying your website hosting plan. First, if you want to run a WordPress website, it’s important that you purchase a hosting plan that works with WordPress! WordPress uses the PHP programming language. When choosing a host for your WordPress site, you want to go with a host that offers “LAMP“, which stands for ‘Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP’. You can theoretically run WordPress on a Windows server, but I don’t recommend it and don’t generally take on projects where a client wants me to install WP on a windows server. It’s like, you CAN make hamburgers with tofu, but it’s not really meant to be that way.

What stats should I look for when shopping for a hosting plan for my WordPress website?

We all want a fast website, because every second a person has to wait for your site to load is a second they might choose to hit that back button. Site speed is a big selling point when shopping for a host, but my biggest concern has always been security.

I encourage clients who ask my advice about hosting to stay away from Godaddy hosting. While I think they are great for buying (cheap) domain names, their reputation for falling victim to security breaches and DOS attacks is probably one of the worst. Maybe they’ve improved that over the last year or so, but their name is still in my “little black book”.

After security, ‘up-time’ is very important. Servers go down for various reasons. When the server is down, your site is down. It’s unrealistic to expect a server to be up 100% of the time, but you want to make sure the history of the server uptime is above 98%.

Time to first byte, or ‘site speed’, is also key. Try bytecheck to see how fast the host website comes up. Naturally they’ll be running on the fastest box they own (dress to impress), so it will return much faster than sites hosted with them, but you can get an idea of their server speeds. I’d look for a number under .5 seconds.

Last but definitely not least is customer service. If you plan on maintaining your own website, you’ll no doubt need to be in touch with your hosts customer service. I’ve had experiences with a number of host service centers, from “good grief, absolutely horrible” to “wow, I’m impressed!”.

The bottom line…

The formula for choosing a good host for your WordPress site is a combination of all of the factors we listed above. Not every host is going to excel in everything. In my experience, rated from most to least important the qualities you want to look for in a hosting company are security first, uptime second, and customer service and site speed taking third place.

If you Google ‘WordPress host’ you’ll find blog articles recommending hosts – along with an affiliate link. Make sure you understand what the author’s MO is before trusting the source. My MO? Sure, I’d love you to experience a TrekVisual custom website design and monthly website plan that includes hosting – but we’ll work with you no matter who built your site, and no matter where you host. TrekVisual is more interested in building your trust for a long-term working relationship than making a quick buck.

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