The Ultimate Crash Course Guide to WordPress Hosting

Affordable WordPress hosting

Here are the cheapest WordPress hosting providers in our database:

WordPress is one of the most popular website content management systems (CMS) available today because it is easy to use and maintain. WordPress started out as a platform for bloggers, but has grown to support a variety of other types of websites, including eCommerce. WordPress web hosting can refer to Managed WordPress Hosting, hosting your site on wordpress.com, or making sure a web host (or server) can be used to host a WordPress-based site.

What do I get with Managed WordPress Hosting?

WordPress is already easy to use and maintain on your own. However if you do not want to worry about any of the technical aspects of running a website, the benefits of a Managed WordPress Hosting account include:

  • Frequent WordPress Updates
  • Ensures Plugin Compatibility With WordPress
  • Fast Web Page Load Times
  • Consistent Uptime
  • Regular Website Backups and Enhanced Security

Since Managed WordPress hosting is a more expensive than other forms of WordPress Hosting, it is mostly recommended for businesses rather than individual bloggers. With all of the back-end operations off of your plate, you are able to dedicate more time to the actual content of your site.

Managed WordPress plans usually have WordPress pre-installed on your control panel. Even if it doesn’t come pre-installed, WordPress is known for their quick and easy, five-minute installation process. The links below provide added information on Managed WordPress Hosting.

What is WordPress.com?

WordPress can be used to host your blog, forum, resume, portfolio, eCommerce, informational, business, or news website. Using WordPress is convenient whether you have HTML and CSS coding experience or not.

WordPress is an open source software, and wordpress.com is the hosted version of that software. WordPress.com is co-run by the company Automattic, and it allows you to build and run your site for free. Hosting your site with WordPress.com is like having a Managed WordPress Hosting account in that all of the back-end, technical features of a website will be taken care of for you. However, there are several limitations that come with the free, basic WordPress.com account:

  • Your free domain name will end in “.wordpress.com.” For example, if this site used the free wordpress.com as its host, the domain name would be whdb.wordpress.com.
  • You can’t upload plugins of any kind (free or paid). Plugins allow you to make the most out of WordPress as a CMS and can enhance your site’s overall performance.
  • You can’t track your site’s analytics or advertise your site using third party tools like GoogleAnalytics and GoogleAdsense.
  • You can only use free WordPress themes for your site, and you can’t customize the CSS codes.
  • You can only run your blog for free with WordPress.com (not eCommerce or any other type of site), but it comes with ads and only 3GB of storage.
  • You can get more from WordPress.com by paying to upgrade to thier “Business” or “Premium” plans.

WordPress-cost-comparison

WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com

WordPress.com is free, but has limited storage space and gives you less control over design and domain name. WordPress.org is what you get with a web hosting provider, and allows you to have more control over your web page. Your storage space and bandwidth will vary depending upon your web host provider. To learn more, check out these resources below:

  • WordPress.org vs WordPress.com (pictured) – This blog post defines and breaks down the differences between what you get with the “.org” and “.com” versions of WordPress
  • Self Hosted WordPress.org vs. Free WordPress.com (Infograph) – You’ll find a large, thorough infographic-style chart here that outlines exactly what you get with each type of WordPress and how much it could potentially cost you.

What do I need to run WordPress.org on my server?

WordPress.com allows you to host your website yourself. With WordPress.org you’ll need a separate web host that can support all facets of the WordPress software. WordPress.org has virtually no limitations, and (depending on your web hosting provider) is cheaper than upgrading your account with WordPress.com. Running your site with WordPress.org allows you to have full control over your website’s:

  • Files
  • Database
  • Domain
  • Themes (you will have access to both free and premium themes, and you will be able to customize the CSS)
  • Plugins
  • You can use any advertising (and keep 100% of the profits) or web analytical service of your choosing.

PHP Apache MySQL Logos

Before you pick a web host provider, it is important to make sure that they meet these minimum requirements:

  • PHP version 5.6 or greater
  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.0 or greater
  • Apache or Nginx servers (WordPress runs best on these servers, but it will run on any server that supports the first two points)

WordPress can run on the older versions of PHP and MySQL, but your site may not be as secure or perform as well as it would with the most up-to-date versions. If you are unsure if the web host provider you have or are interested in can run this CMS, WordPress.org suggests contacting the company and asking them directly. They have even written out a letter for you to copy, paste, and send to the web host company.

Tutorials and Guides for WordPress Users

There’s a lot of information on the Web about WordPress and WordPress hosting and how to use it, which is why we’ve sorted through many of those resources for you. You can click on the links below to jump to a detailed list of resources to help you the support you need.

Getting Started with WordPress

  • WordPress 101 Tutorial (pdf) – Unlike like previous link, this manual is meant to be used as a supplementary learning tool, and is filled with WordPress screenshots and descriptions of how to navigate each page.
  • Introduction to WordPress (video) – This is actually a playlist consisting of 17 videos created by LearnWebCode that take you through the basics of WordPress (like what it is and how to install) to adding/customizing CSS code to your WordPress theme.
  • Beginner’s Guide for WordPress – Here you’ll find over 200 tips that will guide you through any WordPress troubleshooting that you may encounter.

WordPress Vs. Other CMSs- What’s the difference?

WordPress is not the only CMS on the scene. There are plenty of other CMSs out there for you to choose from, but the top rivals of WordPress are Joomla and Drupal. Beginners tend to gravitate towards WordPress due to its ease of use and simple installation process. Drupal is designed more for web developers, and Joomla is right in the middle of the two. For an in-depth look at the differences between WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and other CMSs, check out these resources:

Screenshot CMS Comparison Infographic Header

Plugins and eCommerce with WordPress

Just like you can install an app on your smartphone, you can also install plugins on your WordPress site. Plugins allow you to get even more functionality out of your site than WordPress alone can offer.

  • WordPress Plugin Directory – If you’re looking for a WordPress plugin, the directory at WordPress.org lists all the plugins that are guaranteed to work with the WordPress software.
  • Top 7 Must Have WordPress Plugins – Killer! (video) – A brief video on some of the most popular WordPress plugins that are designed to increase your site’s SEO and marketing, resulting in more new and repeat visitors to your site.

WordPress Support Resources

Your first stop for WordPress help should be the WordPress.org websites. To make it easier for you, we have provided direct links to their tutorials and forums. We have also included additional resources outside of the WordPress.org website.

  • WordPress Lessons – This is the WordPress.org tutorial directory page where you can find plenty of information on troubleshooting techniques, basic navigation, and web design and development.
  • WordPress Cheat Sheet for Developers – This cheat sheet contains CSS, PHP, and HTML code for creating or altering themes and a link to a pdf download of the cheat sheet.
  • Troubleshooting WordPress in 60 Seconds – If you are having issues with your WordPress site, chances are it’s an easy fix. This video gives some quick pointers on where to look for common problems.

  • WordPress.org Forums – Get tips, tricks, and advice straight from the WordPress community.
  • Learning WordPress: Most Useful Tips and Tutorials – A link to all of Smashing Magazine’s articles about WordPress, which include WordPress tricks, security improvements, as well as a plethora of other articles for beginners to advanced WordPress users.