Dedicated, VPS, Shared, or Cloud Hosting -Which is the Best Hosting for Your WordPress Site?
Choosing the right hosting for your WordPress site can boost user experience and increase your leads/sales dramatically. With variety of hosting solutions available now, you have the opportunity to figure out which one might be best for you and choose the perfect fit for your business needs.
Picking the right type of hosting is crucial as Hosting is the underlying reason behind a successful website. Often overlooked, the hosting that you choose to back up your site with, can either make it or break it. However, based on their personal experience, people usually consider Linux server as their best bet, although this is no longer the best option to choose for several other reasons. But what happens when you don’t have the right expertise to build that setup or if you want to go for a more accessible option?
You choose to go with a hosting plan!
And for that, you have the following options at your disposal;
- Shared Hosting
- VPS - virtual private server
- Dedicated Hosting
- Cloud hosting or a CDN – content delivery network!
Although a WordPress site works with all of these hosting plans, keeping a particular project or requirement in mind, some may work better than the others. However, before you choose a hosting plan, you must know their differences regarding their strengths and weaknesses, including the overall performance parameters. For your better understanding, let us just discuss each one of these hosting plans in detail below so that you can find the option that is the right choice for your site’s particular needs.
The hosting plan in which the hosting company usually sets up the server, adds an account to it (one for every customer) while also trying to pack a server with as many customer accounts as possible, is known as Shared Hosting. In shared hosting, every customer manages all of their sites on their accounts. Also, every customer gets a tiny portion of the server to use and is supposed to share the resources and space with others. Also, the part you get access to will also be limited.
With this hosting plan, you don’t need to be a technical expert regarding site or system admin, because if you face any trouble on shared hosting, you can quickly get the help of the hosting plan’s professional team and they are proficient enough to handle just about any problem you may face.
The strong points of choosing shared hosting include the following;
- It is highly affordable, as low as $5/month
- The server maintenance and security is already managed for you
- Majority of the required tools are already installed
- In comparison to other options, it is easier to use and quick to start with.
Shared hosting is more straightforward, but there are still some downsides to it. These disadvantages include the following;
- You get limited access to settings: Shard hosting offers no root access. Hence, you fail to access advanced settings or view hidden files. For instance, if you wish to test the site’s performance for traffic spikes or it runs out of memory (PHP), you cannot resolve this on your own.
- The crucial resources are shared: In this hosting plan, since you share the server with many customers, you also share the resources with all of them. This includes the bandwidth. Thus, if the traffic on all sites of the server booms, this will create a bottleneck and consume the available bandwidth easily – causing your site to become unavailable for the visitors intermittently.
- It’s not unlimited: Similar to other hosting plans, which offer unrestricted use of resources apparently but put a cap on resources utilization; shared hosting also provides limited use of resources.
This is similar to the situation where many friends share a single house and its space and amenities. It is excellent and affordable while you are still studying. However, at some point in time, you will outgrow it and would need to find your separate place.
When to Choose Shared Hosting
Even though shared hosting is not convincing for many WordPress site owners due to its limited features, in some cases, you might find it to be the best option for your site. When your site requires only a few plugins and pages, and expects no heavy traffic shortly, then shared hosting is your best bet. For instance, if you have a blog and want to share updates with only family and friends.
VPS – Virtual Private Servers
When you choose to go with VPS, you share a server. However, the number of customers allocated to the server is very low in this plan. In other words, when you share a space or resources, everyone eventually gets a bigger slice of the pie. This is similar to renting an apartment for yourself rather than living in a friend’s house. You get your private space into a building, just as you get to a VPS hosting server.
The reasons to choose a VPS hosting plan include the following;
- You get sufficient allocated resources: This is because you rent a significant portion of the server and eventually get access to more server resources than you would get with shared hosting.
- You get access to settings: Majority of the times, you already get root access, i.e. you can view the hidden files and get access to the settings. However, if you do not get access to something, your hosting company adjusts to support you with that further.
- It is more scalable: Most of the times, you can just upgrade the plan if you require additional resources and that too, without actually migrating the site to a new server, unlike other hosting plans which only offer a set limit.
- VPS hosting is quite affordable: Although it is not as inexpensive as shared hosting, commonly, you can see a plan for about $100/month on an average.
Even though you get a lot more freedom of choice with VPS hosting, there are still some necessary steps that you must consider before directly jumping in. These factors include;
- You are nevertheless sharing a server: Although you are now sharing the server with far fewer people; you still share, and this means that you might not get access to all the resources you need, like extra bandwidth.
- Not enough technical support: In this hosting plan; you will not be getting enough technical support, especially when you choose an unmanaged plan.
Mainly, there are two types of VPS hosting;
Managed VPS hosting allows you to stay care free as the hosting company looks after a lot of the tasks that come with server maintenance, such as security concerns or setting up other services or tools that you need to keep your site running. Whereas, in un-managed VPS hosting, you are the one who is solely responsible for managing all these areas and without getting any possible help from the technical support of the hosting site, in the case that you run into trouble.
When to Choose VPS Hosting
VPS hosting is your best bet when you aim to run more than one site and that too, with multiple pages and installed plugins. Moreover, choose VPS when you plan to get massive traffic on your site, as VPS offers more magnificent room for multisite.
Here are a few examples of the WordPress sites that you can quickly set up with VPS hosting.
- A company that needs a complicated site but has no expectation for rapid growth
- A blog or site related to photography which will be posting tons of pictures daily
- A site that must run plugins or custom scripts.
All in all, VPS is the best option if a handful of people are coming to your site as it tends to handle much more traffic than shared hosting plans.
Signing up for a dedicated server means renting a whole server for yourself. You don’t share it, and you get complete access to all the resources of the server. Moreover, you can make as many changes to the server as you like. This is similar to living in a house alone and decorating it as per your choice, but when it comes to repairs, you are solely responsible too.
However, just as with VPS, some hosting companies offer both managed and unmanaged dedicated servers.
Following are the reasons for you to choose dedicated servers.
- No sharing of the server: All the resources are for you. You may let any number of people be the admins of your server or may create a reseller account, and ask others to host their sites on your server.
- All settings accessible: You get full control over the server and website, and nothing holds you back. You get the root access and can view and access the hidden files and advanced settings respectively.
- A lot more secured: While you cannot completely guarantee security, but you remain stress-free as your site cannot be compromised due to the acts of some other customer sharing the server. Hence, you can run a tight ship and implement all security measures unless the security gets compromised due to some uncontrollable external influence.
While you get complete freedom to a dedicated server, there are still a few things to consider before choosing this hosting plan.
- The responsibility of the server: You have the sole responsibility of the server, and if something happens, it’s on you, and you will have to fix it too.
- It’s not scalable: Unless you migrate the site to a more significant server, your resources remain the same, i.e. you cannot suddenly create more bandwidth, space or other resources.
- It’s not an inexpensive option: Unlike VPS, dedicated servers are not inexpensive. You should prepare yourself to spend a lot more than $100/month as it can go up to $500/month in the case of larger servers.
When to choose dedicated servers
Choose dedicated server for sites which require more security and are complex with multiple plugins and pages. For instance; if you run a social media site, with bbPress or BuddyPress. Moreover, you can smoothly run Multisite too.Ultimately, everything depends on the server size. While they are pretty large usually, if the price is low, you might get the resources and space similar to that of VPS.
In addition to that, you must consider that you cannot add additional resources later on, in the case you consistently grow in traffic and become more popular – causing your site to go down eventually. Similarly, if you upload great plugins and content, you will have to delete it or shift to another hosting service to meet the space requirements.Indeed, dedicated servers are an excellent option for developers aiming to host their personal client’s site and for sites and companies which have outgrown VPS hosting. Similarly, it’s the best option if you will host thousands of blogs through Multisite or if you have the same number of followers on a social media site through BuddyPress.
CDN and Cloud Solutions
Cloud hosting is a cluster of servers and is different from all the above-discussed hosting plans. Moreover, the content is stored redundantly.
This means that if you need more resources, the site will migrate automatically to allow the additional resources. Similarly, in the case of a spike in traffic, the site remains stable as it automatically receives the resources necessary. Alternatively, a CDN uses the servers located around the globe to store your site’s cached versions so that it quickly loads for everyone around the world. This is opposed to a single server that is optimized to support the site in the best manner in some specific country, in which the server is located.
While both use multiple servers, cloud hosting stores and serves up the most dynamic version of the site. While you may need to share the resources just like in shared or VPS hosting, cloud hosting has multiple servers, so it means a lot more resources for everyone around.
This is similar to living in a house but visiting the summer home occasionally for a break. And CDN is like having your house’s photo album in the summer home so you can peruse it in your free time.
CDNs and cloud hosting are becoming the norm for many reasons such as;
- Scalable – You can automatically get more access to bandwidth and resources when needed.
- Flexible Pricing – In cloud hosting, you pay for the usage only, and a lot of CDN companies work in the same way.
- Rapid Deployment and Redundancy – The site loads much faster and is least likely to go down since it automatically migrates in need of additional resources. Moreover, in cloud hosting, you can avail the redundancy feature by cloning your site on different environments to further reduce downtime.
While it may vary, most companies grant full access to server settings. However, it depends on your provided plan, such as in CDN, firewall and several other security features are included to enhance the overall security of SSL certificates.
The commonly observed downsides of CDN and cloud hosting include the following;
- CDNs display static sites only – Many WordPress sites are usually dynamic so a CDN cannot help much in speeding up the front end of your site. However, the back end’s speed is commonly improved up to a significant level.
- Learning curve – Cloud hosting can be difficult to handle even for technically-gifted developers – especially beginners. However, CDN is commonly easy to set up, but the navigation of options may be a bit more challenging to get a fine balance for dynamic WordPress sites.
When to choose CDN and Cloud Hosting
Every WordPress site can benefit from using a CDN hosting, other than the sites with fewer audiences. However, the larger networks of WordPress sites can get great benefits from using cloud hosting, especially when they are capable of boasting tonnes of traffic and content.
To give you an example, institutions and companies like Airbnb, NASDAQ and Netflix use cloud hosting. If you too are as big as any of these companies, then cloud hosting is the best option to go for.
If you have a small site, which will remain small indefinitely, you must choose VPS hosting for your small business or startup. However, for larger networks, companies and social media sites, cloud hosting or dedicated server is the better fit. If you have just started your site, don’t consider the most prominent or smallest option. If you go with low servers, you will face trouble in upgrading it later, but if you go with the most significant choice, you might get stuck with the resources’ hefty bill that will not be used for quite some time.
No matter what you choose, the better approach is to plan a scalability route. As your blog or site grows, and you have a scalability plan prepared, i.e. how to avail the additional resources, the transition would be much easier, without facing any downtime.Similarly, you must know that every CDN and hosting company may offer their customized hosting plans, so the best option is to check with your hosting company and fully explore the one you are getting, at the time of signing up!