Where Should I Host My WordPress Site?
If you didn’t already know, now you do: WordPress is free. However, while the WordPress core itself is free and open source, there are costs you need to consider if you want to make the most out of your WordPress website.
One of the costs you’ll need to budget for when building your WordPress site is web hosting.
What is Web Hosting?
Simply put, web hosting is the location where all your website files live. A website is made up of files containing code, text, images, and other content, and in order for those files to show up outside of your personal computer, they need to be on a web server that communicates with the World Wide Web.
WPBeginner offers a really great analogy to put hosting into layman’s terms: if your domain name is the address of your house, your web hosting is the actual house the address points to. You could actually take it a step further and say what your website visitors see is your house and your website hosting is the plot of land your house sits on.
When someone enters your domain name into a browser (your address), your browser calls your website’s IP address which is connected to your hosting provider’s server (your plot of land), then your browser shows your visitor your website (your house).
Now that you have a basic understanding of website hosting, how do you actually host your website?
Where Should I Host My WordPress Site?
Our Top Choice: DreamHost
Over the years, we’ve used a bunch of different hosting providers, and DreamHost is definitely our favorite. DreamHost is easy to use, has a knowledgeable and responsive support team, is fast and reliable, and to top it all off, it’s the cheapest paid option we’ve come across. Starting at just $2.59 per month, the WordPress Starter plan includes 1 website, a free domain for 1 year, a free SSL certificate, and complete access to a file manager through a user-friendly interface. Additionally, DreamHost is one of just three hosting providers recommended by WordPress.org.
Our Runner Up: GoDaddy
GoDaddy is a household name and one of the most popular website hosting providers on the market. For what you get with their basic plan, GoDaddy is a bit more expensive than some providers, but their customer service team is typically highly knowledgeable and, in our experience, has been willing to go above and beyond to help troubleshoot issues we’ve run into. GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting starts at $9.99 per month, although you can usually get it on sale for about $6.99 per month. The Basic plan includes 1 website, a free domain for 1 year, a free SSL certificate, and free business email for 1 year. The biggest challenge we’ve found using GoDaddy Managed WordPress is the limited access they give you to your files.
Completely Free Option: WordPress.com
WordPress offers free website hosting through WordPress.com, and while that option might sound nice at first glance, the free version tremendously limits your freedom. On the .com version, you can’t collect payments or sell advertising, severely limiting small business’ ability to make money online. Additionally, the free version does not allow you to create a custom domain, so your website will have the URL yourbusiness.wordpress.com, although you can pay to upgrade to a custom domain. Another major blocker in using WordPress.com is that you can’t install any plugins or themes to enhance the user experience or functionality of your website. The final major challenge of the .com version is the lack of third-party or native SEO tools to help enhance your site’s content to get better results on search engines like Google.
However, it’s not all bad. The WordPress.com version is great for personal blogs or business websites that just need a literal presence online without much (or any) customization.
Coming Soon: Bluehost, WPEngine, Liquid Web, SiteGround, AWS
We’re working with a few clients now who will be hosting their sites on a variety of different hosting providers, so we plan on updating this blog once we dive deeper into those WordPress hosting options.
Are you ready to design, develop, and host a WordPress website? If you schedule a free 15-30 minute strategy session with us, we can give you some hosting recommendations for your specific needs.
*This blog post contains an affiliate link to DreamHost