Updated: Jan. 23, 2023
Originally Published: Jan. 14, 2021
Hosting a WordPress website should be simple, right? You just find a company with the best price and click to purchase. Easy enough.
Not so fast!
There are dozens of WordPress web hosting companies out there, and it can be hard to know what to look for. Have no fear – we’ve done the work for you.
Take these six things into consideration as you narrow down your WordPress website hosting options.
1) Daily Backups
A backup of your WordPress website will help you recover after a security incident or when you unintentionally break something. Having a WordPress website host with regular website backups is critical and is the best insurance plan to prevent a website disaster.
Look for a WordPress website hosting plan that offers both automated daily backups and the ability for you to run a backup on-demand. Make sure you know how long the hosting company will retain backups. Most will retain 30-60 backups on their servers.
Before committing to a web hosting plan, research what kind of support the host offers:
- Does the hosting company provide a documentation library or forum?
- Does the WordPress host offer 24/7 live support via chat or phone?
- When you need support, will you have to fill out a form and wait for someone to email you back?
My favorite website hosting companies have robust support offerings that are easy to access. If you have a critical issue, you'll want to connect with a live human as quickly as possible. It's also important to make sure your host is experienced in troubleshooting issues that are unique to WordPress.
When you first launch your WordPress website, you’ll be looking for a web hosting package that offers what you need right now. Do your research to ensure that the same host offers multiple packages to meet your needs as your business grows. While it's possible to migrate your site to a new hosting service later on, it can be a hassle.
Most of our clients start out with a basic website hosting package. When they need to add additional sites, or their traffic and storage needs change, they can easily move to another plan with the same host.
You’ll probably start out with a shared web hosting plan, and as your business grows, you can move to a dedicated server.
4) Multiple Environments
A good web hosting company will include multiple environments for your website. At a minimum, look for a host that offers both production and staging environments. Some WordPress web hosting companies will even include three environments – production, staging and development – as part of your hosting agreement.
Make sure you know whether your host will offer separate development, staging and production environments. In these environments, you can work on your website without affecting what the public sees. When our team takes care of monthly WordPress maintenance for clients, we install and test all updates in a staging or development environment. Once we’re done testing and have verified that everything is running smoothly, we can push the staging environment to production with one click and with no interruption in service to our clients' website visitors.
Believe it or not, there are some website hosting companies that will charge extra for basic website security features.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates place a layer of security between your WordPress website and visitors. Many web hosting companies will include free Let’s Encrypt certificate installation as part of a basic plan. Others will charge extra for this basic feature.
Research the web host’s reputation for security to make sure you’ll be in good hands.
When it comes to hosting a WordPress website, you get what you pay for. A host that costs less than $10 a month may not provide good support or security. On the other hand, you don’t want to buy the biggest or most expensive plan the host offers until you need it.
While a more cost-effective host will save you money right now, when a problem arises, you may end up paying in lost revenue and possibly in time for your development partner or the host company to fix the issues.
The company you choose to host your WordPress website should be forthcoming in addressing each of these six considerations. If they aren’t, you should keep looking.
If you need help selecting a WordPress website host, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to help!
Northwoods is an Agency Partner of WP Engine.