Shared Hosting vs WordPress Hosting: Which Should You Choose?
Published on August 15, 2022 by Simon Wright
Life is full of challenges. Unfortunately, the digital age has introduced plenty more for both new and experienced website owners. One of the first big decisions people need to make when setting up a new website or migrating an existing one centers around hosting. To help you find the best solution to that dilemma, in this article, we will be pitching shared hosting vs. WordPress hosting.
Why Should You Choose WordPress To Build Your Website?
For many years, WordPress has been the most popular website platform. In fact, according to WordPress itself, it currently powers more than 43% of the worldwide web.
The platform initially appeared in 2003, starting life purely as a CMS (content management system) aimed at bloggers. However, being free and open source, developers soon began tinkering with it and adapting it for other uses.
Fast forward to today, and a dizzying range of plugins and themes is now available, allowing anyone to customize the platform and create virtually any kind of website imaginable. As a result, WordPress is no longer the domain of nerdy bloggers; large multinational organizations now use it, too. Here are some examples of great websites that use WordPress:
Since its inception, WordPress has evolved to become more user-friendly, and even relative beginners can quickly knock out a decent site using just the software, a theme, and maybe a plugin or two. More advanced users can easily take their sites to the next level with more sophisticated features. At the same time, those with coding knowledge can dig deep into the system’s inner workings to create all singing all dancing sites. Furthermore, the system is scalable and is suitable for anyone from individual bloggers to global corporations.
Do You Need Hosting?
Yes, you do!
Many novices fall into the trap of thinking they only need the WordPress software to build a website. That is only true if you use WordPress.com, an all-in-one WordPress-based hosted solution from Automattic.
While that offers a fast way of setting up a site, unfortunately, the free version of WordPress.com has too many restrictions, not even allowing you to have your own domain name. Furthermore, the paid plans can work out expensive, especially if you wish to run an eCommerce store, which costs $45 per month. Besides, WordPress.com simply is not as flexible or versatile as WordPress.org.
WordPress.org provides only the CMS platform software, which is free. To launch a site, you will need somewhere to host that software. As there are tons of hosting providers trying to entice you to choose them, things can get bewildering for beginners.
However, before looking for a provider, you must choose the winner of a fundamental battle: shared hosting vs. WordPress hosting. We’ll now go through the nuances of that to help you make the right choice.
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is where many websites – often several hundred or even thousands – reside on one web server connected to the Internet.
The server’s resources, such as memory, bandwidth, processing power, etc., are shared by those websites. That minimizes the cost of providing and maintaining the service, as each website owner pays a share of those costs. It’s like car-pooling, where several people share a single car in return for a contribution towards the purchase and running costs.
As with everything in life, shared hosting has advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of Shared Hosting
There are many shared hosting providers, such as GoDaddy, Bluehost, GreenGeeks, etc. Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword, as, on the one hand, you can shop around to find the best deal for you, while on the other, choosing a shared host can be overwhelming if you are new to the WordPress scene.
When choosing, be sure to shop around and carefully compare the features offered by each hosting provider. Be aware that most providers will offer super-low introductory prices for the first year, but what will the costs be for subsequent years? Also, use third-party reviews to see what other people say about each host.
As already mentioned, shared hosting means many websites share the servers. That means prices are generally lower than other hosting types. Typically, shared hosting can be found for just a few dollars per month, making it ideal for those on a tight budget. Moreover, most shared hosting providers will offer a range of subscription tiers with different features, so you can easily upgrade as your site scales.
Cons of Shared Hosting
Complex setup for novices
Users are responsible for installing the WordPress software onto the host server, configuring, and maintaining it. While this is not too difficult, it can be daunting for beginners.
To make things easier, most hosting companies will provide a control panel such as cPanel for managing your websites, plus some may also offer WordPress pre-installed. Furthermore, many web hosts will, to varying degrees, help you install the software should you run into problems. However, overall, you remain responsible for the installation, and if you run into problems, you may need the services of someone more knowledgeable to help you out.
The host company is responsible for protecting its servers and hosted websites from hackers and malware. However, having numerous domains sitting on a single server makes it less secure than if it were hosting only a single website. Therefore, an attack on one website will probably see all others attacked also.
As many websites share the same server resources, it figures that if one drains those resources, for example, following a massive traffic surge, it will hurt the performance of all the other websites.
Suited to smaller, low-traffic websites
Where a website on a shared server is heavily trafficked and therefore consistently hogging the server’s shared resources, the hosting provider may suspend or even terminate the service to that site, which could be detrimental to the site owner.
Should anything go wrong with the WordPress installation, getting support may be difficult as you are responsible for the core software, not the hosting provider. That said, most will help as far as they can to maintain a good customer relationship.
What is WordPress Hosting?
WordPress hosting is where the servers are built specifically for WordPress websites. That makes life easier, as you won’t need to mess around installing or maintaining the WordPress software on the server as its hosting provider does it for you.
However, if choosing between shared and WordPress hosting is not challenging enough, the fact that different types of the latter exist makes things even more difficult.
The most common types of WordPress hosting are managed and VPS.
1. Managed WordPress Hosting
This type of WordPress hosting also uses shared hosting, but only for WordPress sites. The large providers in this space include WP Engine, Kinsta, and others include Flywheel and WPX Hosting. That means the host servers are built and optimized purely for sites using WordPress and no other platform.
Pros of Managed WordPress Hosting
With this type of hosting, the WordPress software is already pre-installed on the server. Furthermore, the hosting provider usually provides a dedicated backend panel (as opposed to a generic one like cPanel) which makes setup much easier than with shared hosting.
Optimized for WordPress
The servers are fully optimized for WordPress, meaning the hosted sites will perform better than with shared servers. Furthermore, the core software will be updated regularly by the host.
As the websites hosted by the server share a common CMS platform, problems such as conflicts are less likely to occur.
While managed WordPress hosting is not so widely available as shared hosting, most larger hosting companies such as GreenGeeks, SiteGround, and Bluehost now offer it.
The hosts’ support teams will be experts in WordPress and, therefore, able to quickly correct issues or assist with setting up your installation.
Cons of Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting plans from most providers start at around $29 per month, approximately double the price of the entry-level plan from WP Bolt.
While the servers are optimized for WordPress, numerous other websites share them. Unfortunately, that means heavy traffic loads imposed on the server by those other sites may impact yours.
The same security issues affecting shared hosting can also plague managed WordPress hosts.
2. Virtual Private Server (VPS) WordPress Hosting
VPS WordPress hosting, such as that provided by WP Bolt and Cloudways, provides you with your own virtual private server, just for your site(s). In effect, you have your very own server, that only hosts your WordPress site.
VPS WordPress hosting shares many advantages with managed WordPress hosting but overcomes most of the disadvantages.
Pros of VPS WordPress Hosting
As all users are kept entirely separate from one another, sites using VPS WordPress hosting are not susceptible to other websites hogging server resources.
VPS WordPress hosting is much more secure than shared hosting as all users are separated. Therefore, a malware attack on another user will not impact your site.
Unlike shared hosting, which uses pooled resources, VPS WordPress hosting has allocated resources. That makes it easier to scale your site in the future by adjusting the resource allocation.
Greater control over the server environment
As you effectively have your very own share of the server, you have greater control over your site’s hosting environment.
Cons of VPS WordPress Hosting
As there are no other customers to share the server costs, VPS WordPress hosting is generally pricier than shared hosting, but less than managed WordPress Hosting.
Very few companies offer VPS WordPress hosting, limiting available choices. However, some companies, WP Bolt, for example, specialize in it.
Note that dedicated hosting is another option. In this case, you have an entire physical server installation all to yourself. However, this option is considerably more expensive than any of the others discussed here and requires more technical expertise. We can help you with that too, if your site outgrows all of our VPS hosting plans.
Choosing Between Shared Hosting vs. WordPress Hosting
Choosing between shared vs. WordPress hosting comes down to a few key factors:
How experienced you are at creating websites with WordPress
A managed WordPress hosting plan would be a good fit for inexperienced users looking to create a simple blog or website with WordPress. However, if you are more tech-savvy and don’t mind ‘having a go,’ then shared hosting would suffice. VPS WordPress hosting would probably be overkill, at least until your site traffic increases significantly.
The budget you have available
Shared hosting is the cheapest option and may be the only one that fits your budget. That said, WordPress VPS hosting, like we offer, does not cost much more and may be the better option once you have considered the other factors in this list.
Expected website traffic
If you expect your site to have heavy traffic, it may be better to opt for VPS WordPress hosting as the server resources won’t get swamped so easily, unlike shared or managed WordPress hosting. Furthermore, a dedicated server might be the only sensible option for sites with masses of traffic.
If you expect your website to experience significant growth in the future, it may be sensible to choose a more flexible hosting solution now rather than run into problems that force you to migrate to another provider later.
For example, if you are starting an eCommerce store, hosting it using shared hosting is fine. However, if sales snowball, you may run into serious problems. Therefore, if that is a scenario you are likely to encounter, it may be worth considering VPS WordPress hosting from the start to avoid problems later.
Sadly, no ‘one cap fits all’ WordPress hosting solution exists.
To decide between shared vs. WordPress hosting, you must carefully consider several factors, such as how much you are willing to spend, the level of support you want from the hosting provider, and how much traffic your site will likely have.
Given that WP Bolt is only a few dollars more per month than a shared hosting account and a lot less expensive than Managed WordPress hosting plans, we hope you decide to sign up for one of our plans.
I’m a former construction industry professional who came out of the writer’s closet and am now totally comfortable with my creative side. My pronouns are smart, creative, witty, and dependable. I have written content in a number of niches including WordPress, plus I’m a blogger and affiliate marketer. If you’d like to know more about how I can help you, please head over to my website.