How to blog series is great going, and I always make my utmost effort to get the best information about creating a new blog. Till post #8, you learned the different conceptual and practical aspects of technology required to run your blog.
In my previous post, I pointed out some of the best domain registrars so that you can pick up the best domain name for your blog. I believe, you chose one from GoDaddy or NameCheap. They are the top 2 domain providers on my list. If you bought it from Name.com or Network Solutions, it's fine. They are not less than the #1 domain registrar!
Okay, let's start today’s topic. As we planned, it’s the turn to learn about hosting and its types.
What is Web Hosting?
Nothing much complicated. Here, by web hosting, I simply mean the online service that offers you the facility to make your website available to the world.
In our post #4 of this series, you’ve installed web servers in your local computer and made it a local web server. Once you make it web server, you can host the websites and blogs. Only the problem is that it was accessible locally only. We need a web server that is available worldwide!
There are many companies involved in web hosting and each of them will offer you some space on their computer so that you can upload your website and publish it to the world!
When you buy hosting package, you get some storage space on your host’s server machines and a number of other value-added services based on the package you purchase.
When you have domain name and hosting you should:
- Configure your domain to point it to the hosting account (set the name servers)
- Add your purchased domain name to your hosting account (point to the correct folder)
- upload your website to the designated folder
But, don’t worry about these steps right now. I’ll be explaining every detail when required. For today, let's look at different kinds of hosting available for WordPress websites and try to decide which one best suits your need.
Types of Web Hosts
Before we discuss different features of hosts and other value added services, let's see the types of web hosts. Learning the different types of web hosts and knowing what exactly you need, can save you hundreds of dollars.
And because we are learning to build new WordPress blog, I’ll be more concerned with the features required and suitable for WordPress.
There is numerous type of web hosting services available for WordPress including Free, Shared, VPS, Dedicated, and Managed. Let’s take a look at each of these individually to decide which one is more suitable for you.
#1. Free WordPress Hosting
There, obviously are many friends who need free hosting. If you are very new to blogging and these website sorts of things are not yet familiar, you’d like to do a lot of experiments and won’t want to spend money from the very beginning.
So these free hosting can be used to taste, test and do different experiments. However, for serious blogging, I’ll never recommend relying on free hosting for long. Try to switch to premium hosting as soon as possible.
Why? Because almost all of them have some sort of catch:
- Some ask you to put their banner ads on your site
- Some force for a text link in the footer
- There are some free hosting providers who require you posting in their forum regularly to keep up your hosting. Once your points are negative, your site is down
- Those ask for nothing will display their own bar at the top of your blog and there’s no way to remove it
- They are unreliable. You never know when the person will stop offering the service
- There's very limited support and worst in bad time
Though they call it free, nothing is free in this world. It only differs on what you pay. You will pay money or you’ll pay with banners, links or your time or something else. They make money through any of these methods and the worst thing is that they can leave you hanging at any time.
#2. Shared WordPress Hosting
Shared hosting is probably the most popular type of hosting used by WordPress beginners. It is popular because it’s the most affordable and quite frankly a good starting point for new users.
It's called shared hosting because you share a large server with a lot of sites. Because the same server is shared by many blogs or multiple users, it allows the host to offer the service at a much affordable rate.
Examples: HostGator, BlueHost, CheapHost,
Once you grow or you start to have a huge traffic, you’ll feel it necessary to quit shared hosting and upgrade.
Why? Because there’s a catch with shared hosting too!
- Though they claim unlimited resource, you still have usage restrictions.
- When your site takes up substantial server load, they will politely force you to upgrade your account.
- Smaller websites are always affected by the server resources consumed by bigger ones
- Because a number of users are sharing a single server, there is always a risk of the bad neighborhood.
#3. WordPress VPS Hosting
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server which is a virtual machine. Rather than allowing a number of users to play on a common ground, VPS is a method of partitioning a physical server into a number of virtual servers according to the individual customer’s need.
In VPS system, even though, you are sharing the server with a handful others, this gives you almost as much control as a dedicated server.
You can configure and run any specific server software as you need. It also has the privacy of a separate physical computer, and thus, free from the bad neighborhood.
VPS are more suitable for developers, intermediate users, and medium-sized bloggers to scale their websites. However, if you don’t have much technical knowledge, you need to go for a managed VPS. This will offer you the host’s assistance and they will manage all system upgrades.
#4. WordPress Dedicated Server
You can lease a physical server from your hosting provider which is known as a dedicated server. This offers you to have full control over the server including the choice of operating system, hardware etc.
As a beginner, you won’t need a dedicated server to start with. Only when your site is receiving a really huge amount of traffic, and the shared hosting or VPS hosting facilities are not sufficient, then you should consider upgrading to a dedicated server.
In the case of dedicated servers too, you can purchase managed dedicated server if you don’t have experience with servers or system administrators.
The system administrators from hosting providers will be doing software updates, server monitoring for managed dedicated hosting. It will be suitable for large and established websites.
#5. Managed WordPress Hosting
WordPress users are growing every day and it is becoming the defacto standard for the blogging platform. Looking at the growing popularity of WordPress and the increasing WP users, some web hosts have chosen to offer managed WordPress hosting.
Managed WordPress hosting account will allow you to host WordPress based sites and nothing else. However, the benefits of such hosting and be startling:
You do not have to worry about ANYTHING:
- Your host optimizes your site for performance
- They make sure that your site is secure
- They make regular backups for you
- They advise you if a specific plugin that you are running is having a negative impact
- They automatically scan your site on a regular basis to monitor any hacking attempts of your site
Doesn’t it sound amazing? Then why would anyone choose different plans? The price for Managed WordPress hosting is usually on the higher end of the scale.
A beginning blogger won’t be able to afford the hosting costs, but once your revenue is much high to justify the costs, it is definitely for you. Managed WordPress Hosting is for the people who do not have the skills or time to deal with the technical side of things but can best blog and make good money out of it.
#6. Cloud Hosting
Cloud Hosting is a new type of hosting platform. It allows powerful, scalable and reliable hosting based on clustered load-balanced servers.
A cloud hosted website may be more reliable than others because other computers in the cloud can compensate when a single piece of hardware goes down.
Cloud hosting is decentralized and thus, local power disruptions or even natural disasters are less problematic for cloud hosted sites. Cloud hosting also allows providers to charge users only for resources consumed by the user, rather than a flat fee for the amount the user expects they will use, or a fixed cost upfront hardware investment.
Alternatively, the lack of centralization may give users less control on where their data is located which could be a problem for users with data security or privacy concerns. [Source: Wikipedia] Though cloud hosting appears more promising, they are still too expensive and we won’t be talking about Cloud Hosting in this series much.
Examples: DigitalOcean, Linode
So, these were the six different types of hosting available for WordPress hosting. We will talk about some popular shared WordPress hosting in coming post. Till then, happy blogging!