When it comes to building a WordPress(.org) website, figuring out how website hosting works is one of the most difficult things you’ll need to accomplish. At this point it’s important that you fully understand the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. If you haven’t yet vaulted over that hurdle, this article isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense.
You see, how website hosting works has A LOT to do with the type of website you’re building. If you’ve chosen to go with Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, WordPress.com or any of the other comprehensive website builders out there, you don’t actually need to know anything about how website hosting works. That’s because those plans all include hosting within the platform, to save you the trouble of figuring out all this back end stuff.
Sure — it can be helpful to have some of that stuff taken care of — but to me and my clients it is not worth the customization that you’re giving up. WordPress websites (built with the open source WordPress.org content management system) are fully customizable — really, the sky is the limit. If you can dream it, it can be built.
So where does website hosting fit into all of this?
How website hosting works is this: your website needs to live on a server. In theory you could build and create your own server, but they take up a lot of space and energy resources. So instead, hosting companies have banks of servers around the world where they do exactly what it sounds like they do — they host your website on their server space.
Think of it like a long term rental — you’re paying for your website to occupy space (both literally and digitally). And in many ways, your host is just like a landlord (for better or for worse). Either your host or your landlord will have a direct effect on the experience you have as a renter. If their communication sucks or they’re difficult to get ahold of when something goes wrong — that’s not the host for you.
So how do I choose?
Choosing the right host for your growing brand is SO, SO important. I cannot state this enough. Whether you are building your website yourself or having a designer do it for you your hosting will play a big role in how you interact with the back end of your website, and how potential clients interact with the front end of your website. I’ve gathered together three key tips to help you choose a host that works best for you.
- Know Your Goals
Going into a new web design blind or simply because you “want a website” is not an effective way to build something that works strategically for growing your business. Clearly mapping out your goals before hand will allow you to ask the right questions — of both your designer and any potential hosting providers — so that you purchase a plan that will grow with you.
- You Get What You Pay For
There are hosting providers out there who charge $2.99 a month and offer minimal support. And I honestly wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. To me it’s all about finding the sweet spot between speed, price, length of service, communication and support.
- User Experience is Key
When I first started building websites I didn’t understand all the alphabet soup that is web design. Nor did I understand how website hosting works or what I could do to better serve my clients. Choosing a host whose user experience met me where I was and allowed me to explore without feeling like I would mess things up made a HUGE difference in my confidence levels and ability to deliver successful results to my clients every time.
I’m a Siteground girl, through and through. I got lucky by starting my WordPress.org web design journey with Siteground and I could not be more thrilled with the service they provide. Not only was Siteground instrumental in helping me learn exactly how website hosting works, their support team is unrivaled and their price is reasonable. I’ve never been left in the dark about what’s going on with one of my sites, nor have I ever had to wait long for a resolution to a problem I might be having with this or that.
The best part is, Siteground is extremely easy to navigate. Everything from website files to WordPress installations to installing an SSL (which is included free for ever site) to staging environments and subdomains. I’m always able to find what I need, and if I can’t Siteground usually has documentation that can point me in the correct direction.
Long story short, if you’re just dipping your toes into the pond of WordPress.org, or don’t yet fully understand how website hosting works, Siteground is the best place to get started on your journey.
Want to read more about what hosts offer what services, check out this article!
Does making decisions like this one make you cringe?
Starting October 1st, you won’t have to make WordPress, website or business questions along again. If you like the way I explain things and know you need a helping hand to get your website and business off the ground don’t forget to sign up for the waitlist to Wandersoul Website Society – it’s a new membership launching for Q3 that is unlike anything you’ve been a part of before that breaks down the design and systems strategies I use with my own clients to help them streamline and scale WITHOUT working on the weekends. You in?