Confused by all the different types of WordPress hosting you see on the Internet? Do not worry. We are here for you.
Because WordPress is so popular, it has spawned a massive industry of hosts offering all types of plans, from an affordable $3 per month shared plans to business-focused $700+ per month dedicated plans.
While that is generally a good thing because it means you have plenty of choices, it can also be confusing to beginners who are just getting started with WordPress hosting.
To help you pick the type of WordPress hosting that’s right for you, I’m going to spend this post looking at five types of WordPress hosting that you can use for your WordPress site.
5 Different Types Of WordPress Hosting Compared
When you choose a specific type of WordPress hosting, you’re generally engaging in a balancing act between three core concepts:
- Ease of use, both in terms of helpful WordPress features and technical knowledge
- Performance, both in terms of page load times and ability to handle lots of traffic
Of course, there are always smaller individual features that differ between specific hosting providers, as well.
As I go through the following five options for WordPress hosting, you should see how these three concepts connect.
This type of hosting is best for…beginner bloggers or people who have low-traffic websites and don’t want to spend a fortune on hosting.
Let’s start with shared hosting. This is the cheapest type of WordPress hosting and what I usually recommend to bloggers who are just getting started with their first WordPress site.
When you use shared hosting, you’re essentially sharing a web server with a bunch of the host’s other customers (hence it is called “shared” hosting).
Why would you want to share space? Well, the only reason is it turns out to be economical. By pooling resources, you pay very little, sometimes as low as a few dollars a month.
For example, Bluehost, something I usually recommend for beginners, starts at just $2.95 per month.
In addition, because shared WordPress hosting is often targeted towards beginners, it’s also fairly easy to use. That is, most shared hosts make it very easy for you to install WordPress and complete other basic actions, though they usually don’t offer many advanced features.
So if shared WordPress hosting is cheap and easy to use, what’s the downside?
Because multiple sites/people share the same server, your host limits the resources you can use, to create an environment that’s fair to everyone on the server.
So while shared hosting is perfectly fine for low-traffic sites, once your site starts to increase in traffic, you will naturally begin to outgrow the limits of your shared environment.
When that happens, you might want to upgrade to one of the other options on this list.
If you’re interested in shared WordPress hosting, here are some good hosts to get you started:
Managed WordPress Hosting – Lots Of Helpful WordPress Features
This type of hosting is best for…WordPress users who are willing to spend a little more for features like automatic updates, backups, security, and expert WordPress support.
Managed WordPress hosting is a sort of catch-all phrase for hosting built on a variety of underlying technologies.
That is, you’ll find managed WordPress hosts using:
- Shared hosting
- VPS hosting
- Cloud hosting
- Dedicated servers
But because managed WordPress hosting is so popular in the WordPress community, I thought it still deserved its own category on this list.
While most managed WordPress hosts have good performances, the main draw of managed WordPress hosting is that it is already optimized for WordPress, which means you can just focus on creating content and marketing your site. Check the list of best-managed WordPress hosting here.
Managed WordPress hosts will usually take care of:
- Updating your WordPress software
- Backing up your site every day
- Configuring performance-boosting technology like server-side caching and CDNs
- Securing your site with things like WordPress-specific firewalls and other security measures
And, they will also often give you other helpful features like staging sites, along with expert WordPress support.
If you’re interested in managed WordPress hosting, here are some good hosts to get you started:
Also see: Best Managed WordPress Hosting providers
This type of hosting is best for…people who need more power than shared hosting can offer but still want to keep things fairly economical.
A virtual private server, also known by the abbreviation VPS, sits somewhere between shared hosting and a dedicated server.
With a virtual private server, you’re still technically sharing space on a server with other users. But here’s how it is different from shared hosting:
You get a certain allotment of space all to yourself. That’s the “virtual private” in the name.
As a result, your plan is entirely isolated from other sites on the same server, which has a few benefits:
- No need to share resources. Your site gets its own allotment of resources no matter what other sites are doing on your server.
- More control over your server. Because your “virtual” space is private, rather than shared, you have more control over things like configuration and software.
Many hosting providers offer two types of virtual private servers:
- Unmanaged – requires some networking knowledge because you’re responsible for configuring and managing your server.
- Managed – your host “manages” the server for you, which eliminates the need for you to have technical knowledge.
Unless you know your way around running a web server, you should definitely go with Managed VPS hosting.
If you’re interested in VPS WordPress hosting, here are some good hosts to get you started:
Cloud Hosting Hosting – Plans To Fit All Sizes
This type of hosting is best for…all types of users because it’s easy to scale the resources (and prices). Some cloud hosting providers require technical knowledge, though.
Cloud hosting is a new type of hosting where your site is hosted on cloud architecture, rather than a specific physical server.
One of the big benefits is scalability. Because of the underlying technology, you can quickly add or remove resources. For example, if your site receives a sudden traffic spike, you could quickly scale its resources during that spike and then go back to normal after the traffic spike finished.
While some of the previously mentioned hosts, like Kinsta, are actually built on cloud hosting technology, you can also find unmanaged cloud hosting providers.
With these providers, you’ll be responsible for:
- Managing your server
- Optimizing performance and resource usage
But if you’re technically sound, the upside is that you can get cheap, scalable and a high-performing WordPress hosting.
If you’re interested in cloud WordPress hosting, here are some good hosts to get you started:
- DigitalOcean – affordable but requires technical knowledge to use.
- Cloudways – helps make cloud WordPress hosting much more beginner-friendly and lets you choose from multiple cloud hosting providers.
Dedicated Server – Expensive But Good For Performance
This type of hosting is best for…users with high-traffic sites in need of great performance with a big budget.
With dedicated WordPress hosting, you get an entire server to yourself. You don’t need to share resources (like shared hosting) or limit yourself to a virtual partition (like a VPS). You get 100% of the server to yourself.
The benefits of this are:
- Performance – a powerful dedicated server is going to be able to deliver fast page load times even under high traffic.
- Control – because you have the entire server, you’re free to customize your server as needed.
Like a VPS, you can find dedicated servers that are both:
Obviously, the major drawback of a dedicated server is its cost. Even cheap dedicated servers cost somewhere around $100 a month while a more powerful dedicated server can easily put you back by $300+ per month (or more).
If you’re interested in dedicated WordPress hosting, most popular WordPress hosts offer dedicated options. Here are some to get you started:
Final Thoughts On WordPress Hosting
By now, I hope you have a good understanding of the different types of WordPress hosting that are available to you.
If you’re just getting started with WordPress, I recommend sticking with cheap shared hosting until your site starts to get a good amount of traffic.
Once that happens, you can consider upgrading to one of the more expensive options.
And if you want the simplest, most hands-off approach to hosting your WordPress site, paying for managed WordPress hosting is a good idea because your host will handle many of the technical details for you.
What type of WordPress hosting do you use? Let us know in the comments!
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- Installing WordPress on Sub-Domain with Kinsta Hosting: Tutorial
- The 3 Fastest WordPress Hosting Providers + Which One You Should Pick