WordPress is one of the most popular CMS (content management software) currently available. It makes whole design much easier than it used to be. But in order to run all those UI and extra features, it requires far more resource than it used to. A very simply way to compare this is your desktop Notepad and MS Word. If you ever run Notepad and MS Word side by side, you know without a doubt that Notepad is so much faster every time. But it also lacks features or UI friendliness that MS Word can offer. It’s the same way with traditional html design and WordPress. Therefore, choosing right WP hosting is an important part of process.
So how much more is it?
This is NOT a simple question to answer but let’s start with simple size. To do this, I dug into my old project folder from 2005 to find a html and flash based project.
HTML & FLASH site size: 15MB
WordPress installation with only security plugin: 61MB
WordPress site with 5 pages with few pictures: 125MB
WordPress site’s pure storage size alone is 8 times bigger than traditional HTML & Flash site. Plus you must remember that every WP sites require SQL database which adds far more connectivity & resource.
It is believed that minimum you need to run a WordPress site is 2GB of dedicated RAM.
When I used to work with traditional html and flash based sites, I used to have a shared hosting from Godaddy with 1GB RAM. And for years, this server was more than plenty for 10+ sites I operated including oscommerce and other somewhat heavy php based programs. But everything changed on the day that I installed my first WP site on to my server. On my first call to Godaddy they upgraded my server to 2GB RAM + gave me cPanel based server that’s supposed to run things better. And I was able to start building with WordPress. But very shortly, I realized that as soon as you add few plugins into your WordPress installation, things are no longer running smoothly. From there, I upgraded to Godaddy VPS to another VPS. And then eventually got myself a dedicated server.
In search of choosing right WP hosting, I saw and evaluated many different services and servers and here are my findings.
Bluehost is middle ground when it comes to WordPress shared hosting. Their starter package starts at $24.99/month with guaranteed 2GB ram you need.
Godaddy or Hostgator who offers WP hosting for $9~15/month does not even mention how much RAM you have access to.
WP engine represents high end WP hosting with price tag starting at $29/m.
Eventually, I ended up finding a fully managed VPS company called TMZ VPS. They offer complete management (not just pre-configuration) + free migration of all our sites which I loved! (Disclaimer: TMZ link contain my referral code if you end up going with them)
Fyi, I intentionally did not link Godaddy or Hostgator because I do not want to share link to a service that I cannot recommend. Most people don’t realize that hosting is one of the most important and crucial part of your website. This is where your website live, much like your home. So think of this as choice of living between apartment, condo, or a house.
When it comes to WordPress, there is two routes you can take. WP hosting route OR server route. And Godaddy actually isn’t bad when it comes to their VPS and Dedicated server. In fact their 3GB RAM VPS came with 24 core hyperthreading server. And this thing had the fastest processing time I’ve ever seen in real life. Unfortunately, their ‘Managed VPS’ only covers initial installation and none of actual management or maintenance afterwards unless you’re willing to pay high price for it.
What’s the verdict? What should a person look for choosing right WP hosting?
Regardless of any advice, you need to go with what you can afford. But keep in mind that if you start at low end server, you’ll notice either a lot of limitations or increased loading time as you continue to build your site. And while you may be happy with a small apartment in the beginning, you’d eventually want more room, more resource for your site. And if you really want my opinion, follow links I provided in this post.
If you think I’m evading the answer, here’s simple answer: ‘Get the BEST host/server you can afford’
Remember, you get what you pay for and if you’re serious about your website, you need to be serious about where it lives.