Hosting for WordPress in UK: The Details
Individuals and businesses alike have discovered the ease and beauty of using WordPress for their websites and blogs. Its versatility and quality have made it ideal, whether for individuals who just want to keep their own blog and improve their personal brand, or for even medium sized businesses doing e-commerce.
If you are an individual or business looking to get your own website, you might currently be overwhelmed by all of the options out there and may not understand the difference between a website creation tool and a website host. However, it is incredibly important to not only understand the difference, but know what to look for in a good host, since poor web hosting can nullify the snappiest of websites
Here, we will review WordPress and WordPress hosting, ultimately with the goal of helping you find the best UK web hosting for WP.
What is WordPress?
First of all, if you are really new to tech talk, it would be beneficial to explain what WordPress is.
WordPress is an open source (free) Content Management System (CMS) software that you can use to create websites. Simply stated – it is a tool that helps you make your own website or blog.
Whether tech geek or not, it is one of the best CMSs you could choose to use to create your website. It is known to be the easiest to use, making it perfect for beginners, but it also has the power and flexibility to serve someone who is more tech savvy and/or who has a more complicated business to run through the website.
If you are looking to start a website or blog, you cannot really go wrong by choosing to use WordPress. It is reportedly the most used CMS out there with over 60,000 million websites. It is also the choice of more than 25% of the top ten million websites out on the web currently.
But, as hinted at above, just choosing your CMS and making an attractive and efficient website isn’t enough. You need to also choose how you want to host your website. This decision needs to be educated, as a bad hosting choice could truly make your beautiful website run poorly and cause issues.
So, on that note…
What is WordPress Hosting?
First, what we don’t mean by WordPress Hosting: WordPress.com offers users free hosting to extremely simplistic WordPress websites. This is not recommended, as it does not provide the features or expertise you need to have a professional website that provides excellent service and strong web presence. So, unless you are just blogging for kicks and giggles, do not use wordpress.com for hosting.
What we do mean by WordPress hosting is rather simple: it means finding your own hosting service and having them host your WordPress site for you. Really, all hosting services are capable of hosting a WordPress website, so you won’t necessarily find hosting services saying that they only host WordPress, or services saying they don’t have the capabilities for WordPress.
However, while all services can pretty much host a WordPress site, some are most certainly better at it than others. When looking for a hosting service, it is certainly worth your time and effort to find one of these, as they will have WordPress specific assistance that can truly make a difference. They can offer anything from super easy installation to WordPress specific tech support, tools, etc. But more on that later.
A final note about what WordPress hosting is: while you can get hosting for WordPress on shared, dedicated, and/or VPS servers (also don’t forget about the more expensive managed WordPress hosting), for our current purposes, we will stick to discussing the ins and outs of good shared hosting services for WordPress.
Shared hosting is by and large the most common for folks using WordPress, and something as complex and costly as a dedicated server or even VPS servers are most relevant to those with large corporations. Shared hosting simply means that you are sharing a server with other websites, which will cut down on the cost.
A good hosting service will know how to limit the number of sites on one server so that you should not experience any negative consequences for using a shared server.
Why Would You Need WordPress Hosting?
So why, if really all hosting services are capable of hosting a WordPress, is it important to find a service that specializes in WordPress or is more WordPress “friendly”? Some of the reasons why have been hinted at above already, but we will elaborate on them a bit more.
Without skipping ahead too much and discussing key features to look for, generally speaking, WordPress hosting means a host who is going to make installing WordPress extremely easy or who will do it for you when you purchase their services. They also make transferring your WordPress site from one host to the other much easier with a more pleasant and seamless transition.
Furthermore, the control panel that you get will more likely include tools and methods for improving the speed and functionality of your WordPress site if the host touts itself as a WordPress host. Finally, you will also be much more likely to have tech support who are well-versed experts in handling the WordPress platform specifically, which we guarantee you will be grateful for the first time you need to call them up (and it will happen).
So, why find a WordPress hosting service? To make the experience a whole lot easier, pleasanter and less confusing. This, of course, will also mean that your site is up faster and running better than otherwise, which will of course only bode well for your business.
Pros & Cons of Shared WordPress Hosting
When weighing your options for the type of hosting to pursue, you, of course, want to know what the pros and cons are. As mentioned above, we have decided to focus on shared hosting for WordPress here, but there are certainly a variety of other types.
So, what are the pros and cons specifically of shared WordPress hosting?
- Very affordable/cheap
- Perfect for small to medium sized businesses
- Perfect for those new to creating and managing a website
- A shared host is not limited to only WordPress
- Limitless plugins
- Super easy installation and customization with the cPanel
- A shared server does mean sharing resources with other websites on that server
- If other websites on the server hog all the resources, it could make your site slow
- You may have less specialized tech support (however, as hinted at above, if you search right, this shouldn’t be a problem)
All of that said, if you know how to search for and identify a quality host, then even a shared hosting plan can be free of some of the cons listed above.
So, how do you identify the best WordPress hosting UK? Well…
WordPress Hosting Features to Look Out For
If you insist on waiting to find a hosting service with the fallowing key features, then you should be well on your way to a very satisfactory experience with a shared hosting service for WordPress.
While it should be remembered that you will get what you pay for, we also want to encourage you that you can still find quality hosting with these features without breaking the bank. On that note, here are the features you absolutely need to look into to find the right host:
Single-click or Pre-install WordPress option
The best WordPress hosting services will absolutely have either single-click installation of WordPress available through the cPanel or will offer pre-installation of WordPress when you purchase their services.
There are too many great hosting services out there that offer this option, so you should absolutely not settle for anything less than single-click install. It will make the process much easier for you, and mean you are pretty much ready to start making your website immediately upon purchasing the service.
Often too easy to overlook, but vitally important is customer support. Especially if this is your first time making a website, you will need the support. Even if it is not your first time, because errors and downtime could mean customers (and thus revenue) lost, you don’t want to be left to figure out kinks yourself.
Good hosting services will offer 24/7 support, often through multiple avenues such as online chat as well as phone support. Don’t settle for anything less. You will also want to, of course, find a hosting service that mentions it offers WordPress specific expertise. Check out reviews of the services you are considering to make sure their customers can attest to their quality of customer support.
Server Location / Data Center Location
It is important to the speed and quality of your website that your host server is located somewhere near your location. We don’t mean in the same city or even in the UK, necessarily, but it does need to be on this side of the world, and the nearer, the better your WordPress site will work. So avoid hosting services that are across the ocean, such as the United States, for example.
One caveat to this, though, is that you could find a hosting service who has multiple data centres across the country and/or globe. If that is the case, check to make sure you can choose the data center closest to you.
The speed (or lack of it) will play a huge role in your users’ satisfaction with the site and can impact how well your site does and thus revenue you make. So speed is obviously important. Many hosting services offer things like SSDs (solid state disks) and/or CDN (content delivery network), which can significantly improve loading speed, for free. It is worth looking for a service that offers these.
There is no reason to settle for a hosting service with a server uptime record of less than 99.9%. All of the best ones can offer that while still being incredibly economical. The best way to really check their track record is going through Google to look up the stats on companies; don’t just take their word for it.
Bandwidth & Data Transfer
Many hosting services will claim to offer unlimited bandwidth or storage. While this is attractive, it could mean that they are overloading their servers, so the quality and speed may be poor. Really, 2Gb should be sufficient for most, and most servers will be able to provide more than you could want. Again, this would be a good thing to focus on when reading customer reviews. Additionally, if you plan to have a lot of site downloads for your site visitors (mp3, pdfs, etc), it is important for you to keep an eye on data transfer limits as well.
All good hosting services will provide you with a domain for free as part of your package, so definitely do not settle for less. Furthermore, though you will not likely need it as you begin your online business or website, in the future you may want multiple domains and sites. It is good to check to see if you are allowed to have more than one WordPress site per account. Many offer multiple and even unlimited domains.
Similarly, you should expect at least one free email account @yourdomainname. Many services allow for multiples, which can be set up through the cPanel. Again, you shouldn’t have to settle for less than that.
Backups are extremely important and will save you a lot of heartache (no one wants to lose hours’ worth of effort). Check to see if the service offers automatic backups and how frequently (daily, weekly, monthly, etc).
Finally, whether blogging or running an online shop, you want secure WordPress site. To ensure this, look for services that promise frequent software updates and who may even offer 24/7 security monitoring. Some hosts include intense levels of security while others allow you to choose varying levels.
Pick a host from our top 5