This post is a part of a series Simplify Your Online Presence. We’ll walk you through the steps to create a useful website for yourself or your business using WordPress. In this article we’ll talk about laying the foundation for your WordPress based business, and choosing a WordPress hosting company based on your individual needs.
The easiest way to put yourself on the digital map using WordPress is to sign up for a WordPress.com account. But, easiest doesn’t necessarily mean the best way, as a self-hosted website gives you many benefits over the free WordPress.com alternative. With your own self-hosted site you can:
- Implement any premium WordPress theme
- Perform on-site modifications using child themes
- Extend functionality with any plugin
- And you’re in control of your site’s content and value
WordPress has grown into a platform that can satisfy many needs; from simple blogging websites to large brands. With such a powerful website resource at your fingertips, what’s stopping you from getting started?
Simplifying Your Online Presence
Simplifying is knowing what you want your personal or business online presence to be and how to pull this off using the optimal route, focusing on the important things while carrying as little ballast as possible in the process. You don’t necessarily need a freighter if you’re traveling light or don’t want to spend too much money.
Every online presence starts with a hosting company. After all, you need hosting to start your own self-hosted website. There are tons of them, all claiming to be cheap and high quality. These two often don’t go hand in hand, so we’ll focus on some of the affordable WordPress hosting solutions that should easily satisfy your present and future needs.
Hosting is the foundation of you online presence you should take seriously. Most hosting companies allow you to change plans or do this automatically once you exceed a plan’s limit. You should get informed about their scalability and WordPress support beforehand, so you don’t leave room for any surprises.
What Are the Requirements for Running WordPress
To run the most recent version of WordPress (v4.0), your host just needs to support just a couple of things listed below. If you can’t find the information on the company’s website, make sure to send a pre-purchase question to your hosting company of choice asking in your plan supports:
- PHP 5.2.4
- MySQL 5.0
If your preferred hosting company runs on Apache servers and Linux you could ask if it supports mod_rewrite, which will give you extra access for making your website more secure. Note that WordPress managed hosting solutions don’t offer this feature, because they take care of this for you (which is much easier, especially if you’re new to building/running a website).
WordPress Hosting Plans
Before selecting a hosting company, know that most common plans hosts provide include:
- Shared hosting
- Virtual Private Server or VPS
- Dedicated Server Hosting
- WordPress Managed Hosting
If you’re serious about your online presence, I wouldn’t consider free hosting solutions, because “ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”. Use one of the paid hosting services, even if the price is symbolical, you’ll still get basic support which will be needed, trust me.
Shared WordPress Hosting
One of the more popular plans for startups and bloggers, WordPress shared hosting is always affordable. If you’re looking to start your online presence and don’t want to devote a lot of resources, this is a way to go. You’ll be sharing the server your website is hosted on with other websites. Shared hosting prices are for the masses and plans start at $3 to $10 per month. If you want to start your first WordPress website, then shared hosting is a good option. I recommend you try BlueHost’s shared hosting service, which is one of the WordPress.org preferred choices when it comes to hosting companies.
There are two major disadvantages of shared hosting services: questionable security and server load issues. Both of the issues are due to other websites you’ll share your space with. You can’t know whether they’re secure or expect large traffic any time soon. WordPress is a secure platform, but sharing a toothbrush is never a good practice, well at least when it comes to safety. Besides BlueHost, another good providers for shared hosting are BlueHost and HostMonster.
WordPress VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
VPS is the abbreviation for Virtual Private Server. VPS gives you access to a physical server, partitioned into multiple virtual ones. If you’re a WordPress oriented business and you have a lot of clients you should use VPS. This way you’re creating a new control panel for each of your clients and they act as several physically separate computers. VPS Hosting can be costly, but for what you’re getting it’s very affordable. If you plan on running a theme shop, expect a lot of traffic, or you maintain many of your client’s websites, VPS is a great choice.
One disadvantage to VPS hosting is that you need to have knowledge on running servers. Some hosts provide managed VPS hosting for those less tech-savvy admins, but you’re looking at a higher of the 20-1000+ dollar range. Best VPS hosting companies for running your WordPress websites are Media Temple or BlueHost.
WordPress Managed Hosting
This hosting plan will allow you to focus on what you do best: content creation, promotion, writing, selling and building your brand. Without having to worry about technicalities, you’ll be most productive. This is the best gift you can give yourself – no need to install cache plugins, tweak performance modules or worry about security. With WordPress managed hosting usually comes great support, should you ever need it.
Some of the best WordPress managed hosting companies are WPEngine, BlueHost, GoDaddy and MediaTemple. A provider that works exclusively with WordPress is SiteGround. Pricing goes from $30 to $100 per month.
Dedicated Server Hosting
The best gift you can buy for your new WordPress website comes wrapped in a box that says – Dedicated Server. Your site will occupy one whole server. You’ll be in control of what operating system the server runs on, its hardware and you’ll have full access to it. This is an overkill for anyone who doesn’t have huge amount of traffic.
Dedicated Server Hosting is meant for very large companies that don’t want any downtime due to server overloads or security breaches. Plans start at $100 and go up to $2000 monthly on MediaTemple for premium features, such as root access, choice of operating system, cutting edge hardware, etc. And you can also get a custom Enterprise plan from WPEngine that includes a dedicated server, so you’ll get the benefits for managed WordPress hosting with a server that’s completely your own. On the affordable side, you could also go through BlueHost to keep your budget in check.
Simplifying your online presence by focusing on the things that matter most will save you plenty of time in the long run. By crating a stable, secure and fast environment for your online presence, you’re laying solid foundation your brand can grow on top of.
HostGator and BlueHost are great for shared hosting, but also large domains, not necessarily built on top of WordPress. Media Temple plans start at a slightly higher price, but you’ll most certainly get amazing customer support. If you don’t want to think about hosting at all and you’re prepared to pay a little more, then hosting from SiteGround and WPEngine are both great choices.
Figuring out which hosting solution works best for you is the first part of simplifying; attending to the essentials and growing your business (and the required resources) once you feel the need, but not before. In the next part we’ll talk about finding those perfect WordPress products, themes and plugins that will help you run your online presence with very little maintenance and distractions, so stay tuned.