A WordPress powered website can be a potentially lucrative business tool if you know what you’re doing. Online businesses have several facets to consider after all — search optimisation, ads, content strategy, and others. But just like putting up a physical brick and mortar store, you need a solid foundation first, and how successful your store becomes depends on this foundation.
Your website’s foundation is its WordPress website hosting provider. If the provider can deliver reliable, quality, and consistent service, your website will likewise be reliable, high-quality, and consistent for your target market. This is why choosing a WordPress website hosting service, though somewhat taken for granted given the plethora of qualified options out there, is quite significant.
WordPress Website Hosting Requirements
The requirements to host WordPress are quite straightforward. Minimum requirements are that the host can support:
- At least MySQL 4.1.2
- At least PHP 4.3
- Mod_Rewrite module for Apache
That’s it. Because it’s so simple, it’ll be very challenging to find a hosting provider that does NOT meet these requirements. But the real problem isn’t in finding providers that meet these requirements, but finding the right one among the thousands of them — because as mentioned earlier, your WordPress website hosting is the foundation of your business website.
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And if you’re wondering if there are specific operating systems (OS) that WordPress works better on — open source Linux is probably the best choice. Windows is the most popular and widely used software out there, and PHP, Apache, and MySQL works brilliantly with it too, but Linux is more cost-effective for dedicated server machines. That is to say, if you plan on using a single machine to work on your website out of, the best OS is Linux because it’s cost-efficient and open source — even without coding knowledge a quick Google search can provide you with the information you need to perform a tweak.
What sort of Host Does Your Website Require?
Now, here’s a technical part of the process. There are a few types of hosting you can choose from, and the larger providers offer several options when you first sign up. The most important thing to remember is that you should keep in mind what your business needs might demand from your hosting provider. Your business needs dictate what sort of hosting you should avail of, and your business limitations (i.e. budget) should dictate what you can and cannot purchase.
- Shared host — Shared hosting is the most popular form of hosting, and it’s also the cheapest (free hosting isn’t cheap, it’s free). Shared hosting basically means you share hosting resources with other websites out there in the Internet, so in essence, you all share the bills too. The problem is, you also share bandwidth and other resources (with each website in the group having a limited maximum resource share), and you also share downtime. If something happens with the server, all websites sharing that server go down with it. Great for starting up a blog or personal website, it might not be the best choice for small startups wanting to engage in serious business.
- VPS — Virtual private server hosting means you rely on your own private server, but a virtual one. A physical server is split into virtual partitions, each with its set of resources allotted to only one website. If you get a piece of the physical server, you get what is called a VPS. It’s a step above shared hosting because your get your own server, but you still essentially “share” a physical server with other websites. Keep in mind that each VPS is fully functional server in and of itself, however.
- Dedicated server — A step above VPS is getting your own physical server. The typical business deal is that you lease a physical server from a provider (because setting one up and maintaining it is way too costly). You have full — albeit remote — control over this server and its capabilities; you can even split it up into different VPS for several websites that you own. Mid-sized businesses often rely on their own physical servers leased from providers. This means that for startups, this is probably the next step. Be warned, however: if you know nothing about servers and how to maintain one you’d want the next hosting type.
- Managed hosting — Managed hosting is not really a hosting type; it basically means that you avail of managed services, and the service you employ is server host management and maintenance. You can have your VPS or physical dedicated server managed, and often it is in your best interests to do so, because it is fairly easy to do something that can unintentionally mess things up for your website/s. And if you do something wrong with the foundations of your website, it can be pretty costly to correct it. Worse still is that you can’t get back what you lost during the downtime.
WordPress Website Hosting Support
On a final note, remember to research how effective a hosting provider’s support is. It’s practically the same thing as with any other service you plan to use for a long time — you’d want to ensure that you get top-notch support for it if anything goes wrong that you might not be able to handle on your own. Some things to research about support include:
- Types of support – do they offer in-depth and tiered customer and technical support?
- Response time – do they respond fast enough to fix potential emergencies?
- Accommodations – are they easy to work with and a pleasure to talk to?
- Accessibility – do they offer multiple ways to be contacted? Email? Phone number? Live chat? Forums? Support tickets?
The larger hosting providers typically offer better support, but if you perform sufficient research you might just find a smaller provider that fits the bill for your needs.
These are just some of the rudimentary stuff you need to be acquainted with it you’re serious about launching a business online. Your website is your virtual business, and your WordPress website hosting is your quintessential foundation. Make sure you choose the right hosting provider.