How to Choose Managed WordPress Hosting
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS. Whether you are a blogger, a journalist or a content creator, there is a WordPress account for you. It’s a great option for those looking for a free blogging platform and looking for the convenience of a managed host.
Now, let’s explore how to choose managed WordPress hosting, what features you should look out for and what to consider before signing up.
Features To Look Out For
There are several features you should consider before signing up for a managed WordPress hosting plan. We will cover three categories – Performance, Security and Technical Support.
Performance – How fast does the host’s website load? This is a critical factor, especially if you are a blogger who relies on user engagement and content to draw in traffic. You don’t want to host your site on a sluggish web host – especially since you are paying for the service. If you are getting the bare minimum out of Free hosting, consider upgrading to a higher plan. The more resources a web host has, the faster your website will load.
Security – Is the host’s network secure? A safe and private network is a must if you are accepting payments or storing any significant amounts of data. The level of encryption varies by plan, but generally speaking, the more resources a web host has, the more secure it is. You also need to look for SSL certificates, which we will discuss in more detail below. Look for providers that are fully compatible with the most popular security plugins such as WordPress AV.
Technical Support – How responsive is the web host’s support team? A responsive support team is willing to help you with any issues you might encounter, regardless of how experienced you are. You can’t expect a professional help desk when you are just starting out, so it’s important to look for a web host that offers live chat, email and phone support. The more resources a web host has, the more likely it is to have a responsive support team.
Now that you have an idea of what to look out for, let’s explore the various features a managed WordPress host provides.
Features Of A Managed WordPress Hosting Plan
When it comes to choosing a hosting plan, you have three options – shared hosting, VPS hosting and dedicated hosting.
With shared hosting, your website’s files are kept on a single server and multiple sites share the same server. In most cases, you get access to a limited amount of storage space and maybe one or two MySQL databases. The upside is simplicity – all you need is a domain name and you can start blogging immediately. The downside is speed – depending on the plan you choose, it can be painfully slow.
With virtual private servers (VPS), you get access to a dedicated server with a large amount of storage space and a minimum of two CPU cores. The upside is speed – VPS hosting is generally a good option for those looking for a quick and easy way to get their site up and running. The downside is flexibility – with a VPS, you have only what resources the provider grants you, which can be frustrating if you are looking for more flexibility especially if you are on a limited budget.
Dedicated hosting is the gold standard when it comes to speed and flexibility. With dedicated hosting, you get access to a physical server with a minimum of four CPU cores, a large amount of storage space and a private network. The upside is that it is very flexible – you get access to all the resources you need, with no restrictions. The downside is the cost – dedicated hosting is generally more expensive than shared or VPS hosting.
Regardless of the hosting plan you choose, you need to decide on what type of storage to go with. Do you want to use an external storage solution (hard drives, solid-state drives or RAM disks) or a cloud-based storage solution (S3, Google Drive or similar services)? Each option has its perks and drawbacks. Here are a few things to consider before making a decision.
- Performance – How much performance do you need? Think about the type of content you are storing and how much you are using the service – if you are just starting out, go with an external storage solution that offers fast and easy access to your files – preferably one that is reliable, high-performance and cost-effective. As your storage needs increase, consider moving to a cloud-based storage solution.
- Security – You need to decide if you want to use an external storage solution or a cloud-based storage solution. An external storage solution gives you better control over your data, but it also puts your data at risk – if you lose your external storage solution, you lose your data. With a cloud-based storage solution, you lose some local control over your data, but you also gain the benefits of scalability and reliability. Most importantly, if you use a secure cloud-based storage solution, like Bitbucket, AWS or Google Cloud Storage, your data is absolutely safe – even if your external storage solution is compromised, the hacker would have to gain access to your account on the cloud service to steal your data.
- Cost – How much are you willing to spend? With external storage solutions, you have more control over your data and can choose the drive that suits your needs. However, you must consider the cost – if you are on a budget, opt for a cloud-based storage solution, as they are generally the most cost-effective option. As for the type of drive you need, it depends on your performance needs – if you are looking for very fast storage, go with a RAM disk. If you need to store a lot of data, opt for a hard drive. Finally, if you are on a tight budget, consider using a solid-state drive, as they are much more affordable than hard drives.
- Flexibility – You get what you pay for – the more resources a web host has, the more flexibility it has. With dedicated hosting, you get access to all the resources you need – the downside is that it is very expensive. With VPS hosting, you get access to a physical server with a minimum of four CPU cores, a large amount of storage space and a private network. The downside is that you are not guaranteed the level of service you pay for – with VPS hosting, you are dependent on the provider you choose. With shared hosting, you share the resources of a single server with multiple sites – the upside is that you get to choose the amount of resources you need and the server speed is usually very fast.
- Design – Are you planning on using a theme or building from scratch? When it comes to building a website, you have two options – use a theme or hire a professional to build it for you. Each option has its perks and drawbacks. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to get a website up and running, go with a theme – they make setting up a website much simpler. The downside is that once you use a theme, you are locked into using their designs for all your future projects. If you hire a professional to build your website for you, you have the advantage of choosing an expert team that has experience in building websites of all shapes and sizes. The downside is the cost – hiring a professional to build your website can cost you a fortune if you are not on a budget.
Every website that accepts payments or handles any sensitive data needs to have an SSL certificate – this is a special type of security measure that encrypts all the information you input and transmits it securely via an encrypted connection.
There are several types of SSL certificates – the most common ones are basic SSL certificates, which allow you to have an encrypted connection but do not offer any additional features; and enterprise SSL certificates, which are more expensive but offer better security and transport layer protection, as well as additional features, including email authentication, message signing, secure ordering and more.
If you are just getting started and have limited funds, go with a basic SSL certificate. These are the most common types of SSL certificates and allow you to have an encrypted connection, but that is about it – they do not offer any additional features. If you have the budget, go with an enterprise SSL certificate.
Planning To Generate Revenue From Your Blog?
If you are planning to monetize your blog – whether you are looking for affiliate revenue, sponsorships, or just want to make a few extra bucks from your content – there are several options available to you. First, consider using a free blogging platform like WordPress, which we just mentioned. Second, you can use a small affiliate program to generate revenue from your blog posts – the most popular affiliate programs are Amazon Associates, eBay Partner Network, and Bluehost affiliate program.
The last alternative is to look for sponsorships – all you need is a dedicated blog somewhere and you can begin pitching sponsorships for financial support. Just remember, the process can be time-consuming so be patient.