What is WordPress hosting?

WordPress landing page displayed on a smartphone device
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Grey82)

Whether you’ve been thinking about pouring your creativity into a personal blog, kicking off an online start-up, or upgrading your business with a professional website, you’ve probably heard about WordPress - and if you’ve heard about WordPress you’ve uncovered WordPress hosting as well.

WordPress hosting is a sort of web hosting service that’s created with WordPress in mind, which means its packages are pre-configured to magnify its power. While there isn’t an industry standard for WordPress hosting and packages can differ from one provider to another, they all share a core purpose - to make using WordPress simple, swift, and secure.

While you don’t need to purchase a WordPress-specific package to utilize WordPress, by picking up a prime WordPress host, you’ll boost your website with superior performance, stronger security, and some time-saving features such as a one-click WordPress install (or have it pre-installed) and automatic updates for WordPress.    

So, if you’re considering picking up WordPress hosting and would like to find out more about it - you came to the right place. 

We’re going to look into the inner workings of WordPress, its overall cost, the advantages of making it your site-building tool of choice, as well as tackle the curious confusion people have about different types of hosting that embrace the most popular content management system (CMS) under the digital sun.

How does WordPress hosting work? 

Although you can create a successful WordPress site without purchasing a WordPress-specific hosting solution, these are often packed with handy features that’ll support your site’s performance in the long run.

In simple terms, the WordPress hosting solution is a similar to standard shared hosting package but powered with a couple of WordPress-specific features such as superior security (since WordPress as an open-source software needs it), swift setup, speedy performance, automatic updates, improved plugin functionality, simple-to-add SSL certificates, and competent customer support specialize in WordPress.

However, sooner or later you’re going to stumble upon a web hosting provider that markets its shared hosting packages as WordPress hosting but offers nothing WordPress-specific beyond one-click installation. And since most popular hosts offer cPanel which comes with a one-click WordPress installer, this is nothing but an unfortunate upsell.

The cost of WordPress hosting 

While WordPress itself is a free-of-charge, open-source software, you’ll have to spend a couple of bucks on a domain name and web hosting service.

Fortunately, there are plenty of pocket-friendly, entry-level hosting services on the market that aren’t short on features or make compromises on performance.

For instance, Bluehost’s entry-level, WordPress-specific hosting plan starts at $2.75 per month and comes with a free domain for one year, a free SSL certificate, a free CDN, and round-the-clock customer support – all of which are important to have at the start.

With HostGator, you can start at $3.98, with Hostinger at $3.99, and with InMotion Hosting at a slightly pricier $4.99 per month - and all these hosts provide a superb value for money.  

WordPress hosting vs web hosting 

The core difference between these two is that web hosting is a more general term than WordPress hosting, as it refers to any type of hosting service that rents a part of the company’s server space to store the site’s files and allows it to live on the internet.

On the other hand, WordPress hosting refers to a specialized service created for WordPress sites. While it can also utilize a shared server to host several sites at once, unlike with standard web hosting, each site on this server is created with WordPress.

Also, WordPress hosting comes with resources that are optimized for the CMS (such as increased PHP memory), access to themes, extensions, and plugins, as well as additional services that seek to simplify the process of creating and running a WordPress site.


(Image credit: Pixabay)

WordPress hosting benefits 

While the advantages of WordPress hosting will slightly vary depending on which provider you opt for, those that we almost always see are lightning-fast speed, superior level of WordPress-specific security, and up-to-date software. 

Also, if you’re not particularly tech-savvy you’ll appreciate the simplicity of the setup, specialized customer support, and the overall user-friendliness of such a solution. 

 Who should use WordPress hosting 

Since WordPress was created with all sorts of users in mind, non-techiest and tech-wizards alike, even if you had little to no experience with it you’ll figure out how everything works in no time. Simply check out a couple of step-by-guides and don’t forget to contact the support staff if you get stuck in the process.

However, if you don’t have time to handle everything on your own, a WordPress-specific hosting solution can take some of this burden, saving you both time and trouble – and for a couple of bucks per month.

And if you’d like to avoid managing your site altogether, you can go with a fully managed WordPress hosting - however, be prepared to pay a pretty penny. 

Do you need WordPress hosting to run WordPress? 

No, you don’t need WordPress-specific hosting to run WordPress - you can install WordPress from a cPanel or do it manually via FTP by downloading its latest version from Wordpress.org and following an official how-to guide.

However, there are a couple of recommendations for a WordPress server you should look for when choosing your web hosting provider. These include support for PHP version 7.4 or above, MySQL version 5.7 or greater (or MariaDB version 10.2 or greater), HTTPS support, and Nginx or Apache with mod_rewrite module.

Also, make sure that storage space is 1GB at a minimum, that you have 512MB of RAM at least, and that the processor is 1.0GHz or higher.

Shared WordPress hosting vs Managed WordPress hosting 

While these two are the most popular options for WordPress sites, if you’re new to building a WordPress site you might get confused about them - so, let’s clear this up.

As its name suggests, managed WordPress hosting includes a set of services that free users from the never-ending task of site maintenance giving them the freedom to focus on other tasks. However, this form of freedom comes with a hefty price tag.

At a minimum, a managed WordPress solution should cover installations, updates, security checks, and regular backups of your site. 

Apart from being considerably cheaper, standard shared WordPress hosting comes short in comparison to its managed counterpart - that is, unless you enjoy tackling the technical stuff. 

Is WordPress hosting for you?

Since WordPress hosting is customized to simplify site creation, step up the security, and speed up a WordPress site, if you’re considering creating one you should check out the top WordPress hosting solution currently on the market. 

If you’re just starting out, one of the unmanaged WordPress hosting solutions should be just what you need - and it’s as cheap as some of the shared hosting packages. 

If you already own a business site and want to free yourself from site maintenance and focus on growing your business - managed WordPress hosting might be your safest bet. 

Mirza Bahic is a freelance tech journalist and blogger from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the past four years, Mirza has been ghostwriting for a number of tech start-ups from various industries, including cloud, retail and B2B technology.