Plain and simple if you’re going to have a website you need a host. The cost of website hosting can range widely depending on several factors like the type of website, backups, speed, security, number of visitors, code language, and other factors are all things that are considered when choosing a host. Because I primarily focus on WordPress sites, most of this article will be directed at WordPress hosting.
What is Hosting?
To understand why you have to pay for hosting you probably want to know what it actually is. Basically, no matter the programing language your website is built on, a website is essentially just a collection of files. Those files need to be stored on a server, connected to the internet, and in an environment that can run your programs language. This is the basic function of a host. Without one your visitors wont be able to access your site.
So before we get into the options with dollars and cents let’s talk about the free options. Typically when it comes to “free” there is always a catch. I’m going to look at two really good options though for a free web host.
GitHub pages allows you to have completely free web hosting with no ads. Not only are there no ads you can use your own custom domain, something that isn’t available with all free host options. There are some file size limits and usage limits with GitHub pages, also you can’t run a database based site or a site that needs a programming language like php. If you have a simple site though, that isn’t updated often, and can be run simply with HTML, CSS, and JS GitHub pages a great option.
With WordPress.com you can have a free website and a free domain but you’ll be using their subdomain, be limited to their themes and plugins, and running their ads. It’s a good option for getting started with a basic site.
Ok, lets get into some real hosting talk. WordPress is by far the most popular CMS (content management system) today. Because of the popularity of WordPress there are a multitude of options to host it. It should be quickly noted that there is a difference in WordPress.com and a WordPress site on your own personal host, you can read more about that here.
There are a few requirements a host must meet to run a WordPress site and they can be seen on the WordPress requirements page. Many hosts though meet these requirements and even offer one click installs of WordPress. Other hosts are built specifically to run only WordPress based sites. If you review the WordPress site you’ll see they have a list of possible host options. The companies on that list sometimes change, but they include the basic needs for your WordPress site. They may not always be the best hosts but they will work. So with that lets look at some basic hosting options.
Basic WordPress Hosting Costs
Some basic WordPress hosts include:
Those typically run in the neighborhood of $3-$30 a month with a variety of service. Typically if I’m picking a host from this group I like to go with Siteground.
A managed host comes with several more bells and whistles than some of your basic hosting options. The ones listed below are built and tuned to specifically run a WordPress site. They typically cost somewhere between $20-$300+ a month.
- WP Engine
If your website makes it big and needs a lot of resources to handle a lot of visitors you’ll quickly be looking at spending $100s-$1000s a month. Typically hosts will quote you on this scenario depending on your needs. Several of the hosts listed above have enterprise options, WordPress also offers a VIP hosting service for when your site is getting really serious.
Other Hosting Costs
There can be additional costs for backups, security, and a laundry list of other options, it just depends on your sites needs. If you look carefully at your host options you will see that many times if you go with a cheap host you’ll find yourself eventually adding services on that would have made getting a managed host make more sense.
If you need help choosing a host or would like an evaluation of your current host send me a message!