How to Choose a Hosting Provider for Your WordPress Site

If you’re looking for a free hosting provider for your WordPress site, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll run down the essential elements you need to know before making a decision.

Features

As the name implies, free hosting is actually very affordable. However, there are a few features you should look for to ensure you get the most from your investment.

  • Free features. These are great if you’re looking for a free host. However, if you’ve got a sizable budget, you should consider paying for some of the premium features.
  • Fully managed. This includes features such as cPanel or DirectAdmin, which make managing your website much easier. If you’re not familiar with these terms, don’t worry — all you really need to know is that they make managing your website much easier. You don’t have to be an expert to use them.
  • Scalable. This basically means the host can increase or decrease the amount of resources — such as RAM or storage space — as necessary. If your site starts to get a lot of traffic and starts using more resources, the host will be able to handle this. Otherwise, they may be forced to shut down your account.
  • Secure. This basically means your site’s files are hidden from public view. Most hosts provide this feature for free, but you should still consider paying for it if you’re running an eCommerce store or a business website that deals with sensitive information.
  • 24/7 Support. This just means the host is available to help you 24/7 via live chat or by email.
  • Reliability. This is all about experiencing outages/errors/downtime that prevent you from delivering on your promises or goals.

Prices

Apart from the free features, one of the things you should look out for when comparing hosting providers is pricing. There are a few tips and tricks you can use to find the best possible price, so read on.

  • Look for a coupon. Most hosting providers offer special deals and discounts for signing up for a paid account. A lot of them also offer free trials, so you can test out their services before committing to a paid account. Most coupon codes are not cumulative, so make sure you use them before they expire.
  • Join a mailing list. Some hosts will email you discounts or give you access to special offers if you sign up for their mailing list.
  • Pay attention to pricing. This is the most important tip. As previously stated, most web hosts are very affordable, but you still need to be on the lookout for cheap hosts that will leave you stranded if something goes wrong. Also, look for a coupon or discount if you’ve joined a mailing list.

Performance

Once you’ve chosen your hosting provider, the next step is to check out their performance. Performance is a little tricky to quantify, but you can get an idea of how well a host deals with traffic by looking at their server’s performance metrics. Some key measures to check out are:

  • Response time. The time it takes for a server to respond to a request. Faster response times are ideal. However, if you’re not doing anything on the site that’s going to tax the server’s resources, a slow response time may be perfectly fine. Just make sure you’re prepared for occasional slowdowns.
  • Connections. This measures the number of connections the server can handle. Ideally, you want to see a lot of connections. Some good hosts will allow you to specify how many connections you need. For example, you might want to set the connections to values such as 1000, 2000 or 3000 to ensure you receive a reliable service regardless of how many people are using the website at the same time.
  • Uptime. This simply measures the time the server has been up and running without any downtime. In order to have an uptime of at least 99.9%, the server must be online 100% of the time. Even small amounts of downtime can have serious repercussions. For example, if your site suffers from a downtime of just a few minutes once or twice a week, you’re going to have a hard time establishing yourself as a reliable provider. This is why it’s critical to keep an eye on your host’s uptime.
  • Scalability. As previously stated, a scalable host is one that can increase and decrease the amount of resources (such as RAM or storage space) as necessary. If your site starts to get a lot of traffic and starts using more resources, the host will be able to handle this. Otherwise, they may be forced to shut down your account.
  • Reliability. This is all about experiencing outages/errors/downtime that prevent you from delivering on your promises or goals.

Features & Accessibility

One of the things you should check out when choosing a hosting provider is not only their performance, but also how easy it is to use their services. If you’re looking for a free host, you don’t necessarily need to go overboard and choose a complex one that’s difficult to use. There are a lot of decent hosts out there that offer a simple, clean interface and don’t require a designer to figure out how to use them. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best free hosts that don’t take up a lot of CSS knowledge:

  • Shinyweb.com. This is a simple, no frills free host that doesn’t require a lot of coding knowledge to use. The interface is clean and uncluttered which makes it easy to use. Additionally, they offer one of the best, if not the best free SSL certificate out there. All you have to do is click on the padlock in the URL bar to view the certificate. With this host, you can rest assured that your website’s information is secure.
  • 1and1.com. This is another simple, no frills, free host that doesn’t require a lot of knowledge to use. It’s interface is clean, which makes it easy for anyone to figure out how to use it. Additionally, they offer one of the best free SSL certificate out there. All you have to do is click on the padlock in the URL bar to view the certificate. With this host, you can rest assured that your website’s information is secure.
  • SquareSpace.com. This is a popular, free drag and drop site builder. It’s interface is clean and uncluttered, which makes it easy for anyone to figure out how to use it. Additionally, they offer one of the best free SSL certificate out there. All you have to do is click on the padlock in the URL bar to view the certificate. With this host, you can rest assured that your website’s information is secure.
  • Wix.com. This is a free drag and drop website builder that’s extremely popular with designers and developers. It’s interface is clean and uncluttered, which makes it easy for anyone to use. Additionally, they offer one of the best free SSL certificate out there. All you have to do is click on the padlock in the URL bar to view the certificate. With this host, you can rest assured that your website’s information is secure.
  • Weebly.com. This is a very popular tool for creating websites. It’s interface is clean and uncluttered, which makes it easy for anyone to use. Additionally, they offer one of the best free SSL certificate out there. All you have to do is click on the padlock in the URL bar to view the certificate. With this host, you can rest assured that your website’s information is secure.
  • Bluehost.com. This is a popular web host that provides an incredibly simple and clean interface for users to explore. They offer one of the best free SSL certificate out there. All you have to do is click on the padlock in the URL bar to view the certificate. With this host, you can rest assured that your website’s information is secure.

Overall

As you can see, not all free hosts are created equal. Some are simply looking for your personal information while others are providing a valuable service. Therefore, it’s important to do your research and choose a hosting provider that meets your needs.