How-to choose a WordPress Hosting Provider

If you’re using the popular blog tool WordPress, you’re probably looking for the best possible WordPress hosting provider. Choosing a host might be hard because the are a lot of them. I advise you to take your time and make sure you’re choosing the best option. WordPress doesn’t require a lot of “special” server features, one reason more why most hosting provider will offer to host your blog. You don’t need one at the top-of-the-line and don’t go for the cheapest plan you can find.
WordPress Hosting
For the beginning blog a shared hosting plan should be enough, be sure an account upgrade is possible at any time. This is because you never know how fast your site is going to grow or how big it is going to get, and it’s always better to be well prepared. Check also the possibilities to move your account from a shared hosting plan to a VPS or dedicated server. You also want to avoid the smaller, lesser-known hosts. Go for the companies where a lot of people talk about, don’t host by some new company from a guy you met on forum for example.

Don’t forget, if you blog has frequent reader and traffic a hosting failure can ruin your blog site.

User and file permissions

WordPress has great features to maintain the core system, any plugins and your WordPress themes. While for the download and update from external files an build-in FTP function act as a kind of fall-back feature, you need the ability to edit your files right on the server. The last one requires some permissions to edit files thought the WordPress backend.

A normal webserver is configured that files have a 0644 permission and directories have a 0755 permission. Most PHP/Apache powered webserver using one user ID to process the PHP files. This permission is okay for most PHP functions but not for file based functions used to edit template or plugin files. A few hosting provider offer services where PHP scripts are executed with user ID from the web hosting account. Providing hosting accounts this way is more secure than raising the values for the file/directory permissions to 666/777. If the PHP scripts are executed by the host account user WordPress doesn’t need the FTP fallback feature and all updates and downloads are served much faster. The file upload tool from WordPress back-end works without any problems if PHP scripts are executed with user permissions.

Important features you need

  • Your host has to provide daily backups, ask them how long each backup is stored (several days are a must to have feature, more than a week is nice)
  • Host your blog in the country where you except to have the most visitors. This way most of your visitors will see your site very fast.
  • Check if the database and mail service is not hosted on the same machine as the website service. Most of the the mail server can slow down a server if mail related service have to fight back a lot of spam.

PHP related requirements

These features are not required by the WordPress core system but many plugins: cURL, safe_mode=off, simpleXML, Socket support

WebFaction, smarter web hosting

Now that you know what to look for in a host, it shouldn’t be too hard to make a decision. If you’d like to go the fast way and skip researching, I recommend webfaction.com hosting, we use it for this blog site. WebFaction fits all of the discussed requirements, and it’s very affordable overall. It’s literally perfect for hosting WordPress sites, and if you know for a fact you are going to be a webmaster for a while, you can save a significant amount of money by pre-paying for 2-5 years. WebFaction has hosting plans ranging from 10GB to 60GB, and from $5.50 to $34.50 per month. There’s a great selection, so you can find a plan that’s perfect for your budget and your wallet.

7 thoughts on “How-to choose a WordPress Hosting Provider

  1. I couldn’t agree more with your statement- “You don’t need one at the top-of-the-line and don’t go for the cheapest plan you can find.” With the cheapest plan you never know how many sites are on a server and the type of sites they may be hosting. Also, if they’re not making money of the hosting, they may make money off selling information.

    I’d love to have you check out page.ly. Only WordPress sites are hosted and there’s auto WordPress core updates as well as nightly backups. Some tech industry leaders have called page.ly the easiest and fastest way to create a website. Hope you like it. =)

    • hello Sally,

      Thanks for stopping by, I checked page.ly before, but for people with 5 or more blogs it might be a little bit to expensive (for $75 I get a strong VPS with more than 1GB of memory)
      I’m sure your service is great for WordPress sites, but a hosting account from providers like webfaction, gives the user much more freedom. They offer guaranteed memory for each Linux user account, SSH access and much more.
      page.ly is a great upgrade for people moving away from the (free) hosted wordpress account (wordpress.com account). The “mature” webmaster will choose a regular hosting account ;)

      EDIT: People should find a provider between high-end and cheap offers. Most blogs don’t need a HUGE dedicated server and people should be careful with any offer like “unlimited sites, unlimited bandwidth”.

  2. The main key thing that many hosts dont provide, and comes in handy when working with WP is SSH – thats what I look for when i need a WP host.

    • For what do you use SSH? I think most WP user looking to handle all content and functions with the CMS.

  3. Hi Jackie,
    since your WordPress blog is hosted @hostgator, how are possibilities? Do you need to use your FTP details to download plugins, themes or updates?
    Is it possible to edit theme files without changing the file permissions to 0666 or 0777?

  4. Very interesting read. Once again I could not agree more. I would always suggest starting a blog on the cheapest plan. Unlimited data storage is standard now so unless you have a larger number of blogs or your blog is already well established, the basic plan will always suffice. Upgrades work fantastically well you can increase your hosting package in line with your blogs growth and only pay the difference between the teo plans.

    • Hello Daniel,
      I don’t think it’s so easy, if your blog has more than 500 daily visitors, most shared hosting platform is not the plasce where you should host your blog. The problem is that a more popular blog is also a standard victim for spammer and bots. These “evils” use bad scripts and your host need be fine tuned for wordpress or your site get down ;)
      I don’t think that “wordpress hosting” provied by most hosting provder is different from the “regular” hosting.

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