With so many different web hosts and types of hosting out there, it can be hard to figure out what is what to the uninitiated. Here’s a brief rundown of the different types of web hosting that are available for your WordPress site. I’ve listed them in the order of what I would recommend for a small to medium sized business.
Virtual private servers use one server, but allow each VPS client a specific private fraction of that server’s resources. VPS is the next best thing to a Private Server, and doesn’t have the drawbacks of Managed Hosting.
WordPress Managed Hosting is specifically tailored to run your WordPress website. In that sense, this service can be great. A drawback of Managed Hosting is that these platforms often have a long list of disallowed Plugins. If you’ve tried other options and have special site needs or you are relatively non-technical, a Managed solution can be great.
Typically, a Managed platform will use server-side caching which means that you can’t specifically control how the site is cached for speed performance. WT3 and other caching Plugins aren’t typically allowed in these types of environments. The good news is that their caching is awesome, so you it’s plug and play for most site types.
Private (Dedicated) Server
A Dedicated server is just that. You rent the entire server and don’t share it with any other sites. This is the most expensive hosting option and should only be considered for site’s with a vast amount of traffic. Not only is the monthly cost prohibitive for most businesses, a dedicated system administrator will also need to be on staff in your internal team to manage the server.
Shared hosting is just that. If web properties were real estate (which they are, in a sense), shared hosting would be an apartment in a large and cramped apartment complex. If you are just getting started with your online presence and this is what your budget will allow, go for it. Just be aware that you will get what you pay for when it comes to hosting.
I don’t recommend shared hosting to my clients because things like slow server speeds can become an issue quickly. That being said, if you decide to go the shared hosting route, BlueHost, DreamHost, SiteGround and FatCow can be decent options.
Some web developers offer web hosting as resellers. It’s basically just a shared hosting package repackaged under their private label. I’m not a fan as I have seen plenty of people get hacked in this type of environment, either because their web developer was unscrupulous or didn’t have the proper knowledge to run the hosting service. Plus, if you break up with your web developer (it happens), moving to a new host can be a tricky process, especially if they don’t want you to go.
If you are a business considering running your own reseller affiliate program through one of the big boys, I encourage you to think twice. Proper web hosting requires a level of care that may just pull you away from you actual development job.
There are a few other types of hosting for serious users like Cloud Hosting, Co-Location, and DIY Servers, but those options are not for the faint of heart, the non-supertechnical, or your average business owner.
I hope that helps clear up what kinds of options their are out there for your site. Be sure to check out my top picks for Best WordPress Webhosts for 2017.