So you’ve seen WordPress mentioned everywhere these days, but you’re not quite sure what it is and what is it used for? Is it software, or is it hosting? In reality – it can be both :).
Primarily, WordPress started as a blogging software written in PHP language that grew so much in the past several years that it now powers 30% of the top websites on the Internet and is a powerful publishing platform.
People now build full-fledged websites using it, because you don’t need advanced coding knowledge to get it up and running.
This ‘democratized’ websites and now just about every single person is getting a website or thinking of getting one, many of them with WordPress.
What is common for people to ask is “so if I have WordPress, do I have hosting?” and better yet “What is hosting anyway?”
Good question., Let’s see what hosting is, really.
Web hosting is a service that enables you (the end customer) to get your website on the Internet. A web host (hosting service provider) is a company that offers its technology and services that are needed to get your website online.
Think of it this way, If you were an artist that had an idea for a painting, this would be your ‘website’ in a sense. But you need a canvas to bring the painting to life, a web host would be your canvas!
When you have your own domain name and a website (created by yourself or web developer), you can purchase a hosting plan from a web host to serve that website to everyone on the Internet.
Type Of Hosting
There are many different hosting options to choose from, but if you want to run WordPress as a platform for your website, here are the most popular choices:
- Shared Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
- WordPress Hosting
Shared Hosting is almost always the cheaper option, as your website is crammed on a server with hundreds, and sometimes thousands of websites. That way, hosting companies can cut costs and afford to lower the prices of their hosting plans. Since you share resources with hundreds of other customers, you’ll likely see either performance or speed issues. Shared hosting is fine for personal, smaller websites, but we don’t recommend it if it’s your business or earns money.
VPS Hosting is a more advanced solution that uses virtualization technology to provide you dedicated resources on a server with several users. This means that your website is still hosted on the same server with several other people, but you have dedicated (isolated) resources that are guaranteed to you. Your VPS is separated from other users on the OS level, so you have complete privacy and security. It is like having a dedicated server for a fraction of the price. The drawback here is that usually, you need to know how to maintain your server to keep it stable and updated unless you purchase a Managed VPS package (which is more expensive).
Cloud Hosting is also an advanced type of hosting which uses multiple servers to balance the load and increase uptime. As opposed to running on a single server (like in a shared hosting example), your website is hosted on a cluster that taps into resources of a centralized pool. That means that one server can fail, but your site will still be up and running due to other servers in the pool. The most significant benefits of cloud hosting are isolated resources, better uptime, and effortless scaling.
WordPress Hosting is a concierge service, where your web host manages all critical aspects (security, speed, WordPress updates, uptime, daily backups, scalability). This way, the only thing you need to focus on is running your website/business. Also, one of the best aspects of WordPress hosting is premium support. This type of hosting is also tailored for WordPress software specifically, so you get automatic updates, one-click installers, staging environment, optimized and secured servers, pre-installed caching mechanisms, and so on. If your website is essential for you, and you run it on WordPress software – we recommend choosing the WordPress hosting type if you’re serious about optimizing your WordPress website.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
Now, if you remember – I previously said that WordPress could also be hosting? There are two separate WordPress services that Automattic (WordPress parent company) offers:
WordPress.org is home to WordPress, the open-source blogging software, and this is where you can download it for free. Since it’s open-source, anyone can contribute to it, use it, copy it, and redistribute it without any restrictions.
WordPress.com is a proprietary blogging service that Automattic offers that comes with several limitations. This means that you don’t have any access to the server or the backend. This platform still runs WordPress software at its core, but you can’t upload any custom themes or plugins to it, unless you pay the premium price.
This is a bit confusing since both websites/services have the same name, but these are not related at all. All you need to remember is that WordPress.org is home to the open-source version of WordPress, while WordPress.com is a service built on the WordPress core.
Both companies are owned by the co-founder of WordPress (Matt Mullenweg) but are entirely separate entities with different purposes.
What’s most important to remember is that when you want to get a website online using WordPress, you’re going to also need a hosting service to get it online – a painter is nothing without its canvas!
Hopefully, we were able to clear up confusion and teach you a bit about hosting and WordPress in this article 🙂