WordPress Hosting: Does it Really Matter Where You Host?| By |Cam Secore

There are a lot of articles and blog posts about the general question of what host do you need. Most of these articles address the needs of the common webmaster, regardless of what CMS he or she is going to use or what the users really wants to do with his or her website. But, there are fewer articles that concretely talk about what specifically the WordPress user needs. Does it really matter what host you use for WordPress? It’s such a common CMS, so every host should be able to host it, right? Not exactly. While nearly every host meets the minimum specifications, there are other things that you need to think about with this CMS. WordPress is easy to host, but you need the right host to make the most of your experience.

Minimum Requirements

WordPress has a very small list of minimum requirements. The host needs to have at least PHP 5.2.4 installed and they must use MySQL 5 databases (the version numbers might change in the future). PHP is required because this is the programming language that WordPress is built with, so it would be impossible to run the CMS without PHP. MySQL databases are needed because they hold the information, such as posts and account information, that blogs need. If you are comparing hosts, then I can guarantee you that at least 9 out of 10 will match these minimum requirements, so that doesn’t help answer our question.

Number of Databases

This is something that a lot of people don’t think about when it comes to WordPress. Unless you plan on just building one blog, the number of databases will be incredibly important. You’ll need at least one database for each WordPress installation. Not one per domain, but one per installation. Some people might have to install this CMS more than once on a domain. This is especially true if you have subdomains or just want different blogs on the same domain for some reason (rare, but it does happen). Most hosts offer multiple databases, but be sure to check what the host is offering before spending a dime. Make sure that you are getting enough databases for your needs. Automated

Installation

Installing WordPress by yourself is fairly difficult. Some would even consider it impossible if you aren’t tech savvy. You need to manually access the database, use shell coding, work with phpMyAdmin and so on. It’s a real pain, and it turns this simple CMS into a nightmare. So we can safely say that 99% of WordPress users will need automated installation. The good news is that this is easy to find. There are tons of hosts, like BlueHost, that advertise their “One-Click WordPress Installer!” There are also other hosts that market themselves specifically as WordPress hosts because they have the same technology. However, almost every host that uses cPanel (which is most of them) will have this same feature, but they often advertise it in different words.

For example, you might see that many of the best hosts offer Fantastico, SimpleScripts or Softaculous. All of these are automated script installers that can install scripts like WordPress, Drupal and ZenCart, just to name a few. While automated installation certainly isn’t a requirement, it’ll be a necessity if you don’t want to go through the trouble of a manual installation. However, once again, most good hosts are going to offer this feature because people love it and it’s standard with cPanel. Some other control panels have this as well, but it’s standard with cPanel hosting.

Resources

Do bandwidth and disk space matter? To the common webmaster they certainly do. However, we are talking specifically about the needs of the average WordPress user. You have probably seen a lot of blog posts and articles talking about the evils of unlimited bandwidth and disk space and how this is impossible and not worth the money. However, let’s take a step back and really examine the resources needed for this CMS. WordPress needs very little disk space, so much so that it’s not worth mentioning in the minimum requirements. The CMS just needs 4MB of space, and even active blogs (dozens or hundreds of 1,000-word posts) will just need about 50MB to 100MB of disk space. While unlimited disk space is vague, you can usually expect to get 1GB or more (usually more), which makes this more than enough. Unlimited bandwidth is another issue, but once again, the pages are very small. You normally get about 10GB of bandwidth from these hosts, which should be enough even if you get an active readership. So, even unlimited hosts will satisfy your blog, at least at first. While you might need to scale up, you can easily scrape by with even mediocre hosting like this.

Security

I’ll be honest right now: WordPress isn’t the most secure application. It’s hard to crack, but not so much that hackers can’t get into it. Obviously you don’t want hackers to break into your blog, but there’s only so much that you can do. You can use strong passwords, limit access and check access logs, but your host needs to help you out, too. A good WordPress host will do several things to help keep you safe. First of all, the host needs to have the latest version of this CMS because this program is constantly updated to fix existing security problems and exploits. The host should also be willing to help you if there is a problem (ask your host now or before buying hosting to see what they will do). Lastly, the host should also backup your data on a daily basis and help you recover your website so that any damage is reversed. While most hosts will backup the data and have the latest WordPress version, it’s a little harder to find hosts that will actively help you fix the website once it’s hacked.

Conclusion

So, does it really matter which host you use? Kind of, but not as much as you would think. While you need a host that will meet the minimum requirements, this describes most modern hosts. You should also get enough databases and resources, but once again, most modern hosts will offer more than enough for your needs if you are just starting out. Honestly, it’s best to just pick a good general host, be it shared, VPS or dedicated, to host your blog. Most hosts will give you everything you need, so just be sure to get enough resources and security so that you can comfortably operate your blog.

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