Factors to Look for When Choosing the Best WordPress Hosting Plan

Creating an online business starts with having a plan. You have to know what you’re trying to achieve, or your purpose, before you can start to make an impact online. Whenever I start an online business, I’ll focus on a niche, explore my passion, choose a domain, and then search for hosting. The other factors are pretty simple to figure out, but the hosting, you need to be careful about. You have so many companies to choose from all providing different options. For example, you’ll find hosting companies with different:

  • Pricing
  • Advertising credits
  • Storage
  • Bandwidth
  • Memory
  • Applications
  • FTP accounts
  • Email options
  • And many more

Keep in mind, some hosting providers will give more options than others, which is why you should be very selective when making your choice. I often get asked this question: What options are MOST important when choosing a hosting plan for your business?

From my experience many people are designing websites using WordPress because of the easy customization. What once use to take 3 months can now be done within 4 minutes thanks to WordPress. This CMS platform is completely plug n ‘play, and you can drop a theme, plugins, forms, and applications into place with a click. Next,

The popularity of WordPress has changed the way we host websites. You now want a more customized plan that fits perfectly with our CMS application. For this reason, many people have switched to WordPress hosting. Personally, ever since I created my first website on WordPress, I haven’t thought of using any other platform.

Today, I’ll be discussing the different WordPress hosting plans available, and how to choose the right one to fit your requirements. Let’s get started:

Storage Space

When choosing the right WordPress Hosting plan, you want to make sure you have enough storage space. Many people don’t opt for a plan with a lot of storage because they simply don’t know what it means to have adequate storage. Storage space is the total amount of space on your server. This space can be used to upload files, databases, images, videos, scripts, HTML files, etc. Next,

You need calculate storage space by figuring out the cost difference between plans A and B. For example, if you are getting way more storage for a few extra bucks then it’s definitely worth it because your business will increase in size overtime. However, I always recommend my clients to determine storage space by first figuring out their needs. It’s also a good idea to look at your current financial situation. Many people choose a “basic” plan because they can’t afford the level up right now.

WPEngine.com has built a great reputation over the years, and is one of the MOST popular WordPress Hosting providers. They offer the following storage space levels: 10GB, 20GB, 30GB, and for a custom plan with 1TB.

When choosing the right WordPress Hosting plan, consider the following:

  • What is your budget?
  • How big is your current website?
  • What is the rate of growth?
  • What is the price difference between Plan A and B?
  • The current price of plan? (without trial)
  • Your monthly budget

Hosting Speed

It’s very important you choose a WordPress hosting plan which gives you the minimum speed requirements. Google has made it clear that website load time is factor they take into consideration when ranking your website in the search engines. In the end, it’s all about the user experience, and a slow loading site will decrease their overall experience.

Depending on the type of business your involved in, you can have a website which is very large. Some clients I have worked with in the pasthave enormous sites, and with a slow hosting plan it just causes an environment which is very slow to load. Trust me when I say people when searching for information will NOT stick around waiting for a website to load. They have other options available to find the information they are looking for.

Look for a WordPress hosting provider which can provide speeds of 3.75 or below. This means it should take no more than 3.75 seconds to load your website or page.

Monthly Visits

It’s hard to find solid hosting providers which give you an enormous bang for your buck. For example, the last thing you want to do is spend $50.00/month, then have to worry about the added costs if you go above the visitor threshold. I encourage all of you to focus on getting an unlimited monthly visitor package so no matter how fast your traffic grows you won’t be penalized. Next, I’ll admit it’s hard to find an unlimited package so look for what makes sense. I hope by now you have analytics installed on your website so you can track visitor data. Purchase a package which is affordable, and give enough monthly visitor room just in case you have a dramatic increase in traffic quickly.

On the other hand, if you have a flexible budget, then you always have the option to level up to another plan.

Managed vs. Unmanaged

The WordPress environment can be tricky once you start hosting a large site. These days many people prefer a completely managed hosting solution. What’s the difference?

Managed – Everything is taken care of for you by the hosting company. You don’t have to worry about uptime, security, configuration, hackers, etc.

Unmanaged – You have complete control which means you need experience with configuration, uptime, security patches, etc. If you purchase un-managed, then it’s important you have experience with managing the server environment, or have someone on your team which can.

Fortunately, the best WordPress hosting plans offer a fully-managed environment.

The Type of Plan:

Shared Hosting

Very low cost, but limited on the resources available to you because it’s being shared with others. A great plan for someone starting out online, and very little maintenance. Important to pay close attention to what’s included with the price you’re paying because as mentioned, you are limited on the control, and resources.

VPS (Virtual Private Server)

The cost tends to increase in this type of plan, but you have more resources available to you. You need experience when running a VPS because of the open interface within this type of hosting plan. I would encourage you to ask yourself some critical questions before purchasing so you make an informed decision. For example,

  • Can shared hosting provide what you need or is VPS critical?
  • Can you afford monthly cost?
  • Do you have the experience to run a VPS?
  • Anyone on your team know what they are doing with VPS?

Dedicated Hosting

Higher cost, and fully-managed by you so you need experience handling servers. No interference by the hosting admin. The cost is much higher however the options are endless. If you opt to choose a dedicated hosting plan, then you’re probably running a massive website with several customers.

  • Higher cost
  • You need to have high levels of experience
  • Unlimited resources
  • You need a high monthly budget for dedicated hosting plans

The Hosting Security

It’s important your site always stays secure because one small breach can destroy your credibility. This is especially important when you are keeping a customer’s personal data on file i.e. name, email, payment info, etc. Since the internet is accessible by everyone, it just increases the chances of even more hacks going forward. Now the question is: What are the most important security measures to take?

Here are the common security features I pay close attention to when choosing the right WordPress Hosting Provider.

First, it’s important they regularly update their servers installing the right security patches. Secondly, make sure the hosting provider makes continual backups of their system. You don’t want their servers to fail or they’ll lose everything, and this ultimately means you have lost your website. Third, I make sure the hosting company is up-to-date with the changing trends in technology. For example, I want to make sure they are adding or using the best technology because this just makes their platform more enticing for customers. The older the technology, the higher chances they can be breached or something can fail.

SSL (secure sockets layer) is very important because it encrypts the data being transferred from point A to point B. If the hosting provider is using SSL you can find out in two ways. First, they’ll have a certificate on their homepage, and throughout the website. Next, look at the top for the “HTTPS” in the URL address because this stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).

The Interface

One thing I’ve always hated is a hosting control panel which is hard to navigate. I believe in simplicity, and as someone running a business, the last thing you want to do is waste time with the back end. As a matter of fact, the only backend you should be worried about is your actual website customization. For example, if you’re running the WordPress platform, then you want to quickly control plugins, theme, meta tags, content, etc. Next,

As mentioned, many of the WordPress plans will be fully-managed, however you want to make sure you can view analytics, and data with NO problem. It’s also important your able to find all the information you’re looking for quickly so the rest of the time is spent managing your website.

The Support

I’ll admit you’re paying a higher rate for a WordPress hosted plan compared to regular shared hosting provided by GoDaddy.com or another provider. This is why it’s even more important to me that I get the best customer support when I need it. Even though much of the hosting will be managed by the provider, it’s still expected that when I call in that someone is available to answer my questions.  In the end,

To me it’s all about having excellent support available when you need it. You’re paying for the best user experience, and paying above the average price so you don’t have to deal with unwanted headaches. When you call, you should be able to reach friendly, and knowledgeable staff no matter what time of the day you need them. It’s that simple!

Final Thoughts

The WordPress platform has changed the way we create websites, and interact with people all over the world. The simplicity when designing a website has allowed people to quickly get started online with very little programming knowledge. We have now taken another huge leap forward with companies providing WordPress hosting packages catered to their platform users. However, just like with anything else you purchase, it’s important you make sure they meet your requirements. For example, even when choosing a WordPress hosting provider, you have several options available. Take your time and go through each one finding a plan which is right for you. Above I went over some of the important things to pay close attention to, and here they are again:

  • Your budget
  • Hosting speed
  • Hosting storage
  • The interface
  • The security options
  • Customer support

Again, these are just a few, and it’s important you think about the options important to you so you can find a custom plan right for you. I believe each business, and niche will be different in their requirements.