WordPress is an amazingly versatile content management system (CRM) utilized to create web sites and blogs. As of August 2011 WordPress is is the most popular CMS, used by 22% of all new websites. An estimated 50,000 new blogs and sites are created from WordPress every day.
With it’s flexible plug-in architecture and template system WordPress can handle nearly anything that you’d normally pay a developer to build. In our opinion, the days of paying developers to custom code each web site are history.
Obviously one key to success for any web site is that it needs to be easily found in search engines. WordPress includes numerous search engine-friendly features including integrated link management, permalink structure, multiple, nested categories and support for tagging. WordPress also supports the Trackback and Pingback standards for displaying links to other sites that have themselves linked to a post or article.
As the WordPress source code is freely available, there are many options for hosting when considering a new WordPress site. However it is important to understand the costs and benefits of each as it can be challenging to move WordPress from one hosting provider to another. Many times you’ll need to pay a WordPress guru to help move your site as it includes your WordPress themes, plugins, data and images.
Below are a few popular WordPress hosting options that you might want to consider when choosing your hosting solution.
1. WordPress.com is the most popular option with millions of free WordPress blogs hosted. It is owned and operated by Automattic, the leading developer of the WordPress software. It is probably the easiest and fastest solution to get your WordPress site started today. The service is also geared more towards personal bloggers than businesses so there are some limitations such as disk space, themes, plugin support and the few options for advertising or ecommerce. If you are interested in operating a business with your WordPress then WordPress.com is not a good option. WordPress also run their own advertisements on your site to offset their hosting costs.
2. Popular web site hosts such as GoDaddy, HostGator and BlueHost all provide various levels of WordPress hosting for minimal costs. Typically they operate in a shared hosting environment where your WordPress site is hosted on the same machine as thousands of other sites. Many times other sites may “hog” resources and leave your site crawling. These companies generally have little WordPress expertise so they are unable to optimize their hosting environment for it. However, these can be a good option if you need to start building your WordPress business site inexpensively as they can start around $5/mo.
3. Another option is managed WordPress hosting companies such as Page.ly and WPEngine. These guys are clearly the WordPress experts as they focus solely on building hosting systems that are flexible, robust and optimized for WordPress. The include services such as WordPress core software, plugin and theme updates as well as backups and optimization. They can be expensive, starting at around $30/mo, however they’ll be there to help if anything goes wrong. This is an important consideration if your web site is a critical component to your business.
4. Recently, a new set of companies focused on hosting WordPress on the Cloud have started to crop up. This is likely where much of the growth will be focused in the future as the cost for hosting simple apps such as WordPress on the cloud can be relatively inexpensive yet very robust. When hosting on the cloud there are several options from creating your own Amazon cloud EC2 instance then choosing a WordPress AMI or using a company that simply leverages the cloud to create a WordPress virtual appliance.
You may want to consider consulting with an experienced WordPress developer or designer to get their recommendation for WordPress hosting solution.