Who is Hosting Your WordPress Website?
Have you ever thought about who is hosting (or maintaining) your WordPress website?
You might not know this, but a WordPress website can only operate within a certain server environment (known as ‘web host’); outside of this environment, the site can malfunction. To ensure you are always experiencing a reliable experience when browsing online, you will need to match the environment of your website (i.e. its server platform/web host) with that of your hosting provider.
Matching these requirements is essential to creating a stable and efficient WordPress website. If your website is presently hosted on a host that cannot support the functionalities you need, it’s time for an upgrade!
There are four key points you need to consider when finding the right web host for your needs. We will discuss each one of them in detail, so you can find the best fit for your needs.
The performance of your website is essentially how smoothly the site loads when browsing. It’s a combination of several factors, including:
- The performance of your web host’s (i.e. your internet service provider’s) infrastructure
- The efficiency of your website’s software and designs (including hosting platform)
- Browser compatibility
- Walking speed from one end of your town to the other (seriously – if you live anywhere near a major city, this is an important one)
When choosing a web host, make sure that they offer a dedicated IP address. This is an IP address that is exclusively assigned to your website and cannot be reused by any other customer. This allows you to take advantage of a special feature known as “Dedicated Server”, which we’ll discuss next.
If you’re looking for a web host to assist with basic blogging tasks (e.g. setting up a blog, hosting images, etc.), then you may want to consider a shared hosting plan.
The main benefit of a shared hosting plan is that you can create as many websites as you like (within certain restrictions) on a single account. Another advantage is that you don’t have to worry about performance too much, as all the websites will share the same hosting environment.
Shared hosting plans come with a variety of features, such as:
- Free backups (protected by a premium account)
- Free domains (transferring your existing domain to the account becomes free)
- Free security certifications (protected by a paid account)
- Free dedicated IP addresses (protected by a paid account)
- Free spam filtering (protected by a paid account)
- Free parked domain (redirecting your domain to another website, e.g. parkmydomain.com)
- Free domain privacy (hide your domain name from public searches)
- Free domain security (secure your domain with a certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority)
- Free malware scanning (protected by a paid account)
- Free content delivery network (CDN, delivery of content from other servers to your site’s visitors)
- Free domain name registration
- Free content storage (hosting of all content, including images and blogs, within your account)
Depending on your needs, you may want to consider a premium (paid) hosting plan, which provides you with better performance and additional features.
3. Control Panel
A control panel is a web interface that provides you with easy access to server-level functions, such as creating new websites, changing the contents of existing sites, and managing your domain’s DNS settings. (If you are new to web hosting, this is where you will spend most of your time.)
When choosing a web host, make sure to look for a control panel that is user-friendly and has all the functions you need. The most popular control panels are Hepsia, cPanel, and Plesk.
Hepsia is a popular web hosting control panel created for people who want to manage their websites and hosting accounts easily. It is compatible with the most popular web browsers (including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari), and is also mobile-friendly.
cPanel is another popular web hosting control panel, and is one of the first panels you will see when you log in to your hosting account. Some of the functions provided by cPanel are: web server administration, domain management, account creation, and content delivery. Like Hepsyia, cPanel is also mobile-friendly and provides a clean display even on small screens.
Plesk is a free open-source web hosting control panel that is similar in function to cPanel. In fact, Plesk is based on cPanel and offers almost all the same features. The biggest difference between cPanel and Plesk is that the former is proprietary, while the latter is open source. This means you have access to more information about cPanel, while you don’t necessarily need to disclose your own information when using or contributing to the Plesk project.
No one is an island, and neither is a web host. You will need someone to help you when you have problems. This is where you should put your trust – make sure the host you choose is reputable and offers stellar customer support.
When choosing a web host, make sure that they offer 24/7/365 technical support via live chat or email. In the event you need to contact support during a time when the live chat is not available, then email is your only option.
In addition to offering live chat support, a web host should also provide email support for when you need to contact them. Providing email support indicates they take this aspect seriously and will respond promptly as long as you’re not expecting others to handle your problem for you. (This also means they will be somewhat less expensive than some of the other options we discussed above.)
Now that you have an understanding of what a web host is and what you should look for in one, let’s discuss a few things you might not know about WordPress.
5. What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free, open source content management system that allows you to build and manage a website using a simple drag-and-drop interface.
WordPress started as a simple blogging platform, but it has evolved into a full-fledged content management system that can be used to create and manage any type of website. (In fact, WordPress.com, the official WordPress platform, is a service that provides you with a free blog and a variety of paid plans that offer extended features.)
While there are dozens of content management systems out there, the most popular one (by far) is WordPress.
6. Why should you use WordPress?
There are a few popular reasons why you should use WordPress for your website.
- It’s free
- It’s open source
- It’s very extensible
- It comes with tons of plugins (extensions)
If you’re looking for a blogging platform, then you may want to consider several options, including WordPress.com and Blogger. However, if you’re looking for something more professional, then you may want to opt for a custom WordPress installation or a content management system that is specifically designed for websites.
7. Is WordPress safe?
WordPress is as safe as you make it – if you don’t trust anyone (i.e. third parties), then it’s best not to use it at all. WordPress takes security very seriously and actually encourages its users to take security seriously as well. This can be evidenced by the fact that the platform is very extensible and allows you to modify nearly every aspect of its appearance and functionality.
The only way you can be sure WordPress is safe for use is if you take the time to review the code individually, line by line. Many people forget about security after a while, so it’s worth taking the time to make sure everything is as safe as possible before deploying.
In addition, you should always use a reputable company to host your website, as it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re looking for a web host specifically designed for security, then you may want to consider checking out our review of the best SSL certificates, or reviewing the best Bitcoin wallets.