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WordPress Hosting Explained

The creation of WordPress began in 2003 as an offshoot of a popular blogging application known as b2. WordPress was further developed as a blogging platform, and it soon overtook its predecessor. More recently, WordPress has expanded into a full-featured web content system for websites of all types, offering dynamic WordPress hosting options to the masses.

Today, over 68 million websites run on WordPress, and users cite several reasons for the award-winning platform's popularity. WordPress hosting software is free and open-source, which allows a multitude of developers to contribute unique themes, widgets and plug-in modules to customize websites and provide powerful yet easy-to-use administrative tools.

Understanding the Best WordPress Hosting Options

Understanding WordPress hosting first requires some general knowledge about web hosting. All of the websites on the Internet are operated from specialized computers known as servers. Although it is possible to own and operate a server, the cost, training and time commitment required make it prohibitive and inefficient for most individuals and many businesses. To mitigate these costs, companies known as web hosts operate dozens, hundreds or even thousands of servers from a central location. The web hosts then lease their servers and server resources to individuals and businesses at affordable rates.

WordPress hosting is very similar to Web hosting. The only difference is that the servers all meet the minimum hardware and software requirements to run the WordPress hosting platform. This allows the platform to integrate seamlessly into the server and process data requests through the Internet quickly and efficiently. Because the demand for WordPress hosting is so high, nearly every reputable web host offers WordPress hosting, and several options are available for a range of requirements and budgets. Someone who just wants to put a personal blog online may choose to go with a shared WordPress hosting plan while large businesses often opt to lease one or more entire servers.

WordPress Hosting Compatibility

To install and operate WordPress hosting, a host's servers must meet a few prerequisites. To run WordPress version 3.1, servers must meet the following software requirements: PHP version 4.3 or later and MySQL version 4.1.2 or later. For WordPress version 3.2, the requirements are PHP version 5.2.4 or later and MySQL version 5.0.15 or later.

In addition to the above software, WordPress experts recommend using either Apache or NGINX Web servers running the optional Apache mod_rewrite module.

How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting Provider for You 

Choosing a WordPress hosting provider is a big step because your Website will rely on and be restrained by the host's servers and service. Several factors can be evaluated and compared when choosing a host, including all of the following:

  • Reliability – Your WordPress host should guarantee at least 99.9 percent website uptime, and pages should load quickly on all browsers.
  • Ease of use – It should be a simple process to remotely access your website through a major control panel application.
  • Customer support – Your WordPress host should be available to answer your questions and solve hosting problems 24 hours per day via multiple channels, such as phone, email and online chat.
  • Hosting packages – A WordPress hosting package should be available that closely matches your specific requirements.
  • Price – The price of Web hosting can vary widely between different hosts. When determining which host is right for you, you will need to consider the features you require and your budget. Most hosts provide useful comparison tools that allow you to quickly evaluate each hosting package that is offered. Some of the common packages are explained below:
  • Shared hosting – Shared hosting is the lowest tier available, but for many WordPress users, it is all that is needed. In this package, a single server is partitioned for use by several clients who share the server's resources as they are needed. This type of hosting is the least secure and the least reliable, but it is also very affordable.
  • E-commerce hosting – E-commerce hosting is a specialized package developed for those who plan to conduct sales through a WordPress website. It includes several features, such as an electronic shopping cart and credit card processing.
  • VPS hosting – A virtual private server (VPS) is a shared server that has had its resources fully partitioned for two or more clients. This ensures that a pre-established amount of resources is always available for your use, and no crossover occurs between clients. VPS hosting is best for businesses, websites that experience heavy traffic and websites that require unique software installations.
  • Dedicated hosting – Dedicated hosting is on the top tier of hosting packages. With this package, you lease an entire server for your own use. The server may be managed by your own IT team, or it may be managed by the hosting provider for an additional fee. This type of hosting is the most expensive, but it also offers the most flexibility.