When choosing the type of WordPress hosting for your website, there are several popular options, but each come with their own set of cost/benefits. Important considerations include:
- maintenance difficulty
The lowest cost option may be the most costly in the long run. This short guide will examine the various options and help you make the best selection for your website.
Shared hosting is probably the most popular hosting option due to its ease of use and low cost. Most subscriptions cost around $5/month and come with the CPanel control panel to configure your account. When you host your account with this type of service, you share a single Linux installation on a single machine with a few hundred other accounts. Because each account is sharing the same OS installation, the software available and the version is entirely up to the hosting service. The advantages are the low cost and easy configuration. The disadvantages are extremely low performance, possible security risks due to sharing the same OS with hundred of other accounts, and limited application options.
Virtual Private Server
In a Virtual Private Server (VPS) account, you share a single Linux machine like you do with shared hosting, but you have your own OS installation. The host machine uses virtualization to provide multiple OS installations to clients. Most subscriptions cost anywhere from $15 on up and come with Linux pre-installed, but any further configuration must be done by the user. Clients enjoy complete and sole use of their own Linux OS. The advantages are higher performance (at a higher cost) than shared hosting and greater configuration options. Services are semi-managed, so it is a mid-way option between shared hosting and cloud hosting.
Cloud hosting is the new darling of hosting services. Costs can be very low and performance is high. You can choose your own cost/performance tradeoffs. With this type of service you get a virtual OS similar to that with VPS, but often with more options and a much lower cost. You can scale up (and sometimes down) as your site grows, and the reliability is unmatched. Both shared hosting and lower cost VPS options tend to be subject to somewhat frequent service outages.
Cloud hosting, on the other hand, enjoys anywhere from 99.9% to 100% uptimes. Failure of an individual computer has no effect on the virtual OSes. While costs may be higher than shared hosting, they are often less than VPS hosting. Performance is unmatched. The downside (for some) is that this type of hosting is completely un-managed. The client is responsible for complete configuration of a Linux server, and unless you have significant Linux experience, this type of task is beyond the abilities of most.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting comes in two forms – dedicated and multisite.
Dedicated WordPress hosting services manage your WordPress installation for you. You never touch the server configuration, and WordPress is kept up to date. Performance is usually excellent and reliable. The downside is, of course, a much higher cost than DIY options.
In contrast, WordPress Multisite hosting offers both high performance and lower cost. It is also completely managed and secure. It is the absolute simplest of all the options, low cost, and has performance similar to cloud hosting without the hassle. The disadvantage is the lack of configuration options. Unlike regular WordPress installations, you can’t add any custom programming and you are limited to the plugins offered.
While these limitations may seem like a showstopper, the convenience should not be overlooked either. People who manage their own WordPress installations experience problems from time to time. The majority of problems are plugin conflicts and upgrades. With WordPress being the most popular website software in the world, these sites are also at a high risk of being hacked. Despite these problems, sometimes a website may need more than what most multi-site hosts have to offer.
WP Thunder Hosting
Here at WP Thunder, we offer fully managed WordPress multi-site hosting. We believe our unique offering is superior to all the previous options mentioned, with none of the downsides. Here is a list of the advantages:
- Low cost – prices are similar to both shared hosting and other multi-site hosting services
- High performance – we use a major cloud hosting service with solid state drives for our backbone, and we provide automatic load balancing to scale your website as traffic demands
- Security – with one single WordPress installation to manage, we can devote all our resources to making it reliable and secure. We are security experts and the best protection possible for your website
- Reliability – by using cloud hosting for our backbone, we provide the same reliability and this type of service is renowned for.
- Fully managed – there is nothing to install, nothing to upgrade, nothing to maintain. You can concentrate on writing and promoting your blog or website
- Configurable – unlike most other multi-site hosting services, we provide the plugins you need to do almost any task a website requires
Although I am obviously biased in favor of WP Thunder Hosting, I still have some opinions are the other offerings. While shared hosting is and continues to be the most popular option, it is also the poorest. Performance is the worst of all the options and while management is simpler than VPS or cloud hosting, it still requires a fair amount of Linux knowledge and regular maintenance. If you have some of this knowledge, then cloud hosting is an excellent option. It is both low-cost and high performance.
For those who lack Linux expertise, a managed approach such as multisite hosting is the best bet. While somewhat limiting in configuration options, you can’t go wrong. For the best value and most configuration options, WP Thunder multi-site hosting can’t be beat.