WordPress is a great content management system to work with. Using WordPress as your CMS will help you create, build, and grow your website relatively easily — without needing to know code. But an important question is: do you need a host for your WordPress site?
What Is Web Hosting?
First of all, before you determine if you need a host for your WordPress site, it’s important to understand what web hosting is. Basically, using a web hosting service buys yourself space to store your website’s files. Your website can then be a part of the internet.
You need a certain technology (and a server) to store your site’s files. A server is a computer that is alway running, allowing your site’s files to be accessed at all times. There are many service providers with that technology who will do that for you. This is what web hosting is.
The web host manages server maintenance, software, security, accessibility, and more.
To answer the question of whether or not you need a host for your WordPress site, it’s helpful to understand the difference between WordPress.Com and WordPress.org. With WordPress.com, your website is supported and hosted for free. That means updates, backups, and security are all managed by WordPress.com.
Free does not necessarily mean better as it does come with some restrictions. The major downside is that the website is really not your own. It’s more like you’re renting space.
You’ll be limited in your choice of themes and integrations, and you’ll be provided with a subdomain from WordPress.com, meaning your website’s address will look like this: yourname.wordpress.com. This can make growth for your site or business more difficult and limit your options.
With WordPress.org, you self-host your website. That means you will install WordPress.org on your own server, but to do that you’ll need web hosting services. You might be asking why anyone would choose this more complicated process over the free WordPress.com hosting? It’s a good question, and each person will place a different level of importance on the pros and cons.
With a self-hosted website through WordPress.org, though, you have more control to make your site exactly how you want it. You can upload plugins and themes, edit themes and templates, include advertising and affiliate links, and handle ecommerce transactions more easily.
Benefits of Using a Host for Your WordPress Site
As mentioned earlier, you’ll have more control over how your site looks and functions when you choose to use a host for your WordPress site. You’ll find countless themes and plugins available to you, both free and for purchase.
You’ll also have improved website performance because you won’t be using a subdomain, and you can use plugins that will optimize load time and more.
Making money is easier when you choose a host for your WordPress site because you won’t be limited in your monetization options. With WordPress.com, you have to have a certain level to qualify to use their integrated advertising platform. Using a host also allows you to use plugins that help sell affiliate products, and you can use any ad network you choose.
How to Choose a Host for Your WordPress Site
If you decide to get a host for your WordPress website, keep these factors in mind:
- Cost: While cost should never be the most important factor, do your research to find the best price for your needs. Some hosts may have great introductory prices that jump significantly after a period of time.
- Compatibility: Make sure the host can run WordPress. Most can.
- Performance: You need a host that has a high uptime (the amount of time the server stays up and running) and a host that has a fast load time.
- Customer Service: You’ll need help at some point. Your hosting company should have a support team that has your best interests in mind. They should be friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.
Get a comparison of some of the most popular WordPress hosting sites here.