|Rank||Provider||Avg. User Rating||WP User Reviews|
|2||A2 Hosting|| |
|5||InMotion Hosting|| |
|6||Web Hosting Hub|| |
|10||Media Temple|| |
WordPress is the single most dominant CMS today - and more so with business related sites than others, not to mention blogs themselves. A large number of people simply want web hosting in order to run one or more WordPress sites. As a result, you need to be able to select a hosting plan that furthers those goals. That includes purchasing one with the right technical specifications, making sure that your plan has dedicated WordPress support, and an easy installation process.
WordPress runs on the LAMP platform – Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP. But any environment that supports MySQL and PHP should get the job done. The specifics of how much disk space, bandwidth, and the number of users your site is expected to receive will determine the kind of plan you need to purchase.
It goes without saying that it really helps to be familiar with the WordPress interface itself as well as its structure. As your site grows bigger and more complex, you'll run into issues that require you to know what's going on behind the scenes.
If you're completely new to the WordPress environment or you simply want to get started as quickly as possible, certain WordPress hosting services like SiteGround give you the option to have it preinstalled on your account on creation. This will allow you to hit the ground running and completely abstract the messy details. As mentioned above however, this is merely a beginning. There's no way to avoid getting your hands dirty in the long run if you're truly keen on maintaining a WordPress blog.
Given that WordPress is so popular, just about every web hosting plan with cPanel includes a "One Click Installer". This includes plug-ins such as Fantastico and Softaculous which have prebuilt scripts allowing you to quickly install WordPress. All of the heavy lifting such as creating the necessary databases, downloading the latest files and configuring them is automated by the script.
The specific environment required for WordPress allows some hosts to optimize their web hosting plans and configurations. For example, certain directives like open_basedir negatively impact the speed of PHP execution and therefore WordPress. Server configurations that are optimized for WordPress hosting take into consideration all of the little factors that combine to retard performance.
In addition, they might also place a hard limit on the number of accounts residing on each server thereby freeing up additional resources for your site. But this is no different from any regular "Pro"web hosting plan which promises the same.
This is where you really start noticing the differences in performance. Managed WordPress hosting plans go beyond merely optimizing the server. They work to ensure the integrity of your entire WordPress installation itself including regular updates. They usually come bundled with a number of premium themes installed which are also kept up-to-date.
Managed WordPress hosting plans also tend to distinguish the various tiers based on the number of visitors your site receives. In addition, they perform a host of auxiliary services such as site caching, daily backups, one-click restore points, and security services that make your installation virtually hacker proof. These services cost a premium, but they allow you to dispense with most of the technical hassles of WordPress thereby freeing you up to focus on your business instead.
Any web hosting plan specializing in WordPress will also have a facility to transfer your existing site on to their servers. If you've ever done this manually by yourself, you know how much of a headache the entire process can be. Depending on which service you choose, a single migration can either be freely included with a plan or can cost extra.
All technical differences aside, this is where specialized WordPress hosting truly shines. On a regular hosting plan, customer representatives will only service your site in a very generalized way. They don't help you with specific platform issues and you can be left scrambling to solve a WordPress problem by yourself. But a web host which uniquely specialize in WordPress optimization can help you with things like a corrupted database, misconfigured .htaccess files, unexplained 503 page errors and more.
If you've accidentally messed up your installation with a bad plug-in, your web host specializing in WordPress will be able to help you out either by restoring your websites to an earlier version, disabling the plug-in, or taking other corrective action. Honestly, this is the single biggest differentiating factor between general hosting plans and those optimized for WordPress.