When it comes to security, choosing a good web host is 90% of the battle. The old saying, you get what you pay for, has never been more true. In this article, we'll look at some of the various types of hosting and what to look for when choosing a good web host and then we'll wrap things up with my personal collection of reputable and reliable hosts.
The first, most ubiquitous type of hosting is referred to as shared hosting. With shared hosting, you get lower-cost but greater risk because typically multiple sites are hosted on the same server. Sure, you get the most commonly required features, such as PHP, MySQL, and so forth, but you have limited flexibility and control. Basically shared hosting is best for blogs and smaller websites.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
And then there's VPS hosting which generally costs more than shared hosting, but there's less risk because each site or account is hosted in its own virtual container. Virtual hosting typically provides root access and greater control and there are more flexibility and better performance than shared hosting. In general, VPS is good for larger sites where more control is desired.
Next up the ladder is dedicated hosting which provides complete control over the webserver and the entire server is dedicated to your websites. Of course, this means it's more expensive than other options, plus it requires a solid understanding of server software. Dedicated hosting is best for larger sites with custom builds.
Last but not least, there's cloud hosting. Cloud hosting is nice because it's infinitely scalable and typically costs must less than other hosting options. It does, however, require a good understanding of cloud software and is ideal for sites with lots of traffic or traffic spikes.
The first step in choosing a good host is determining your needs. Blogs and lower traffic sites are probably fine with shared hosting. Larger sites, needing more control and better performance should look at VPS hosting. Sites that want full control over everything should check out dedicated, and sites handling massive traffic spikes and surges for less cost should look at cloud hosting.
Things to Look For
Next, there are several important things to look for when choosing a good host. First and foremost, consider the host's reputation, then make sure it supports all WordPress requirements. Look for hosts that run current versions of key software, and especially for beginners, look for solid, 24/7 support as a must. Other things to look for include good documentation, and of course, the terms like cost, limits, fees, and so forth.
And of course, there are myriad technical details that should be considered. Consider managed versus unmanaged hosting. Check out the available resources such as RAM, CPU, storage, and so on. Check for SSL support, check for HTTP 1.1 support or even better, HTTP 2.0, make sure SFTP is supported for secure file transfers. You may also want to check for full root access to the server if it's needed and doesn't forget to check the control panel. Is it cPanel or Plesk or something else?
Finding Good Reviews
Now a good way to get the scoop on a potential web host is to hit the search engines. Google around for stuff like “web hostname review”, “web hostname downtime”, “web hostname WordPress”, and so forth until you get an idea based on actual user feedback. As you search, look for hosting forums where real people are sharing their experiences. You can learn much about a host by reading the good and bad experiences of others. Be aware though, a lot of so-called hosting reviews are nothing more than paid endorsements and advertisements.
Also, check out review sites such as WebHostingTalk.com. With a little time and research, you should be able to dial in some trustworthy, authentic sources of information to help you find the best host for your needs.
As I work online, I maintain a web host shortlist, a go-to collection of hosting services that I found to be pretty great and worth checking out.
First up are the WordPress specific hosts such as Kinsta, Pagely, Presslabs, WP Engine, and WordPress VIP. Of course, managed WordPress hosting tends to be more expensive with varying degrees of support so do your research and ask for deals. Most of these guys will pretty much fight for your business.
General Web Hosting
Then there is general web hosting which is great for WordPress without being limited to WordPress. My shortlist for general web hosts include Cloudways, GreenGeeks, InMotion, Linode, Liquid Web, Media Temple, and VPS.net. These hosts vary in terms of cost, types of hosting, support, and other details. They're all solid, reputable hosts that you may want to check out.
And of course, there are some great cloud hosting services out there including Amazon Web Services, DigitalOcean, and Google Cloud Platform. Cloud hosting tends to be more cost-effective with unit-based pricing by the gigabyte. In most cases with cloud, you get unmanaged hosting with a forum or ticket-based support at best so be advised.
One more thing: keep in mind that the details mention in this article is subject to change. This is just a summary to get you going in the right direction. In this video, we've explored the different types of web hosting and what to look for when choosing a quality, an affordable web host. Once you know what you're looking for, this information will help you find the best possible host for your site.