If you’re moving from Blogger to WordPress or just considering changing hosts, it’s important to carefully consider your host before choosing.
Web hosts are generally split into two categories.
There are a lot more than two categories if you want to get super specific, but for the sake of this post, let’s highlight two of them:
- Budget hosts
- Premium hosts
Just like with anything in life, you get what you pay for.
The “budget hosts” are the ones you see for like $3 to $10 per month. A lot of new WordPress bloggers go with these hosts because they’re super cheap and they don’t understand the difference. Budget hosting does have its place in the world, you just need to understand what you’re getting.
Because budget hosts are cheap, you need to expect a lower quality of service.
With a budget host, you’ll be crammed onto an unoptimised server with hundreds (or thousands) of other people.
These are the two big things.
If you’re on a budget host that isn’t specific to WordPress, then the server is going to be built for generic web projects. That means it may not be set up to run with WordPress in the best way possible because the host needs to cater to people who may not be using WordPress at all.
And secondly, budget hosts are all about maximizing profits. In order to do that, they put as many people on a server as possible.
Let’s compare this to a real life situation. Imagine two different buildings that are exactly the same size. One has 10 large, spacious suits. The other has 300 small, closet-sized rooms.
- Which one will feel crowded?
- Which one will be noisier?
- Which one will be budget friendly?
Those two buildings will have two very different price-points, but they’ll also have two very different levels of comfort and service.
Hosting works the same way.
With budget hosting, you can expect:
- A slower website.
- A ton more people on the same server. That means it’s more likely one of those people will start hogging resources.
- Possibly more frequent downtime/problems.
- Possibly a lower level of customer service (less knowledgeable/helpful staff).
Now despite these downsides, you don’t ALWAYS need to go for the more expensive hosting.
Budget hosting is a decent option for you if…
- You’re just starting out.
- You don’t make any money from your website (it’s just a hobby).
Here are a few examples of budget hosts:
- BlueHost (from $3.95 per month)
- GoDaddy (but please, for the love of god, do not choose GoDaddy)
- HostGator (from $5.56 per month)
Let’s look at the other end of the scale: premium hosting.
There are many different levels inside premium hosting… there are Virtual Private Servers, dedicated servers, managed shared servers… so many different levels! I have another post that explains the differences between those but for the sake of this post, I’m going to use “managed WordPress hosting” for our “premium hosting” label.
What is “managed WordPress hosting”?
With this level of hosting you should expect to pay between $15 and $50 per month (or more if you get a large number of page views).
Different managed hosts have different features, but most of them generally have these awesome things in common:
- Fewer people on each server.
- The servers are optimised to work for WordPress specifically. This will make your site BLAZINGLY FAST and possibly more secure!
- The host handles all WordPress updates for you.
- Their customer support staff is usually knowledgeable in WordPress and more likely to help you out with WordPress related problems.
And most managed hosts have these more negative things in common:
- You only get one website for each plan. If you want at second one, you have to buy a second package.
- The pricing tiers are built according to page views. So if you get a lot of page views each month you may be forced into a higher tier.
- Some managed hosts do not allow multisite installations or require that you be on a higher package.
- Certain plugins may be prohibited (but ultimately these are disallowed for your own good!).
- Email is usually not included. You’re often encouraged to go with a dedicated email provider like Google Apps.
Managed WordPress hosting is a good option for you if…
- You don’t want to deal with installing WordPress or handling updates. The host will probably take care of that.
- You want someone else to handle all the techy stuff.
- You make money from your website. Site speed and reliability are incredibly important for e-commerce/profit websites because every extra second of load time means a drop in revenue.
- You want a support team you can get some WordPress help from.
Here are a few examples of managed WordPress hosts:
Do your research and know what’s best FOR YOU. But also understand what you’re getting.
Budget hosting is a good option for hobbyists who don’t want to pour a lot of money into their site. Just understand that the lower price point does come with lower quality/optimisation and a lower level of service.
Premium, managed WordPress hosting will give you a speedy, kick-ass site. But there can be some extra limits (which are ultimately for your own good though) and you have to pay for each individual site. These are things you need to be prepared for before you dive in.
Quick hosting comparison table.
|Budget Hosting||Premium Hosting|
|Monthly price||$3 – $10||$15 – $50+|
|Number of sites allowed.||Unlimited (within reason)||1 (more costs extra)|
|Optimised for WordPress||No||Yes|
|Tech set up||Usually basic, using Apache and lower-cost servers.||More advanced, premium hardware (like SSDs), and typically more WordPress-friendly Nginx/HHVM/Varnish combos.|
|Typical support level||Varies. Support may be good, but usually not knowledgeable with WordPress.||Excellent. Support is usually trained in WordPress specifically.|
|Set up difficulty||You have to take care of it yourself, including installing WordPress.||Easy—WordPress is usually installed for you.|
|Email service||Included||Not provided|
|Recommended for||Hobbyists||Businesses, e-commerce shops, and for-profit websites.|