If you are still a beginner in the realm of webmastering, deciding on a web hosting service for a WordPress site could be more stressful and time-consuming than you’d expect it to be. You keep jumping from one website to another and from one review to another while your list of choices keeps getting longer and more confusing, instead of the opposite.
But just before you get to comparing individual providers, you first need to determine what type of hosting you are exactly looking for. Shared hosting is the most common type that most new websites use. WordPress hosting usually comes with additional features and resources intended to provide better performance for WP sites than common shared hosting.
The following is a summary of the main pros and cons of each of these two types of hosting:
Shared Hosting: Pros & Cons
In a shared hosting environment, many different user accounts and websites share the same physical server. Each account gets allocated a small fraction of the server’s resources like CPU, RAM, disk space, bandwidth, etc. This is the cheapest type of hosting since the cost of the server is split or “shared” between all of the users using it.
The main advantage of shared hosting is its low cost, which allows anyone to launch and host a new website at a very reasonable monthly or yearly fee. However, that comes with some considerable disadvantages.
Most shared hosting plans include minimal server resources that may be okay when working with a small WordPress site or a simple one without any complex plugins. However, if you have a large site or one that uses advanced plugins, then a shared plan will probably not cut it. For instance, an e-commerce website running on WordPress and WooCommerce can be very resource demanding beyond the capacity of what most shared plans can handle.
Another big issue with shared hosting is that it’s usually not very reliable in terms of performance. Since the server’s resources are used by many websites, any website that is suddenly consuming too much of a certain resource (e.g. CPU or RAM) can potentially slow down all other websites residing on the same server. Hosts usually have some checks and balances in place to avoid such incidents from happening, but they do frequently happen.
Security is also a main concern with shared environments, because if one website on the server gets hacked, it may affect all other websites. So even if you do everything you can to keep your WordPress site secure and up-to-date, it may still be vulnerably to attacks targeting other websites that share the same server.
WordPress Hosting: Pros & Cons
The term “WordPress hosting” can be generally used to refer to any type of hosting service that is suitable for a WP website. Such hosting services can include different features that vary from one company to another.
A lot of times, WordPress hosting is basically the same as shared hosting with the same amount of resources, features and prices — so it may just be used for marketing purposes. But some hosts offer optimized plans for WordPress that come with more server resources providing improved performance and speed.
And then there are the fully managed WordPress hosting services, which usually provide premium features at a premium price. Some of the common advantages of this type of managed hosting include automatic installation and updates, security enhancements, staging environment, pre-configured caching systems, WordPress CDN, expert support, and others.
On the downside, managed WordPress hosting usually costs significantly more than regular shared hosting. It is often geared toward beginners who have little technical knowledge or small business owners who have little time to do all of the maintenance tasks and fix any arising technical issues, which would be handled by the provider’s support team instead.
But again, WordPress hosting plans can greatly vary in what they include and how much they cost, so do examine the full feature list to get a clear idea of what’s included, and if not sure, ask the provider how their WordPress plans are different from their shared web hosting plans.