What is WordPress hosting? Learn more about the world's most popular CMS

What is WordPress hosting

WordPress has been around since 2003 and is the most popular blogging software on the market, powering over a third of the known web. It has also now established itself as the content management system (CMS) of choice.

Its professional-grade software, combined with its flexibility and ease of use has made it popular with web developers and complete beginners alike.

A CMS is the user interface application used to upload, edit and manage all content on a website without having to learn code. This lead to the gradual decline of web design software like Dreamweaver. In other words, if you wanted to add a new page to your website, this is where you would log in and follow a few simple steps to do that.

Wordpress is already powering 37% of all websites and we predict no end to its popularity and have explored some of the issues around Wordpress hosting.

  • It is reasonably easy for beginners
  • It is widely supported
  • It is great for learning 
  • It is fully Open Source
  • It is extremely flexible
  • It has a vast plugins infrastructure
  • It is as powerful as enterprise grade CMSes

When it comes to choosing the perfect web hosting to host your future WordPress website, other than finding a reputable, reliable and responsive web hosting provider, make sure that your web hosting package has the following:

Linux server:  Most hosting companies will allow you to choose between Linux and Windows. We’d advise you to go for Linux. Linux is compatible with several development languages. Unless of course, you plan to use Windows-specific applications, in which case, Windows hosting is likely to be the best choice.

PHP support: PHP is a server-side scripting language for web development, although it is also used as a general purpose programming language.

MySQL databases: MySQL is an open source relational database system that is a central component of the LAMP open source web application software stack.

Apache web server: One of the oldest cross-platform and open source web servers that together with Linux, MySQL and PHP has given rise to the LAMP platform, which is considered to be the ideal platform for building and hosting dynamic websites.

A good control panel such as cPanel or Plesk:  Without a control panel, you’ll have to rely on the web hosting company for even the most basic changes. This is not ideal. cPanel, for example, is an easy-to-use system that even non-professionals can use to customize their sites.

2. Shared hosting, dedicated server and VPS for WordPress

Unless you need a private, dedicated server for hosting your web site, we recommend choosing a website hosting package to start with. This keeps costs low and will be adequate for most small business sites and blogs.

However, if you have a high-traffic website, then a shared hosting plan might not be right for you. Traffic spikes can quickly overload a shared hosting account’s capacity, especially if your site has a lot of plugins or a badly designed theme.

If your blog has a moderate to high amount of traffic and gets periodical spikes in traffic, then you should strongly consider a VPS.

Additionally, if you are running a site for business purposes – entrepreneurial bloggers, small businesses and eCommerce sites – then it is important to have a “well-oiled machine” that is always up and running smoothly.

If your site crashes periodically or doesn’t load quickly, then you could be losing money as visitors move along to other websites with better performance.

3. Managed hosting for WordPress

If you are considering a VPS, then we highly recommend a managed WordPress hosting provider, as they specialize in WordPress and can deliver even better performance than any VPS.

Running a serious business with lots of traffic? You’ll probably want a managed hosting package for that. When you choose a managed WordPress hosting company, they will handle all of the backend tasks associated with your WordPress-powered website.

They focus on what they do best so you can focus on what you do best. In addition to hosting your site, they provide WordPress-specific knowledge and expertise.

This specialty service allows them to focus on such things as WordPress performance, security, optimization and other necessary services specific to WordPress. Having people who know the ins-and-outs of WordPress and all of its features will ensure that your website gets the best care possible.

Try WordPress.com

Don’t confuse WordPress.com with WordPress.org. The latter is where the development of the open source WordPress CMS takes place. You can download the software, read its documentation and ask for help from its helpful community via the forum boards hosted here.

On the other hand, WordPress.com is a platform for publishing that runs on WordPress. It offers several types of accounts, including a Free one that’ll help you set up a fully functional website. This is a good option for exploring WordPress. If you want more features and functionality, you’ll have to subscribe to one of its paid plans.

Although there are many options of hosting plans for your WordPress website, the best plan for you is ultimately reliant on what your specific needs are. Take a deep dive into the analytics of your website to determine where you are now and where you would like to be in a year. From there you will be able to create a better understanding of which hosting plan is best aligned toward your needs.

  • This is an adapted excerpt from an eBook called "The ultimate guide to web hosting", published by TechRadar Pro in association with Planet Hippo
Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.