I remember the first time I thought of creating my own WordPress website. Unbeknownst about the whole thing, I turned to my friends and colleagues to learn how I can get started. Their responses encouraged me, and I started believing that it should be a simple process. Boy, was I wrong? While making a WordPress website is not rocket science, it can take some time to figure out how to get things done. If you’re a novice like me, then the amount of information out there can make you feel overwhelmed.
After reading multiple articles, watching a frustrating number of videos, I was successful in figuring out how the whole process works out. Creating a WordPress website is the final step. Before that it’s important to understand what web hosting is. Because unless you choose an effective website hosting service provider, your website will not be stable. Moreover, you also have to understand the difference between web hosting and WordPress hosting. Knowing that will help you figure out what will work best for you.
What is a website?
Yes, you have seen websites before. Many of them. In fact, you’re reading this blog on a website right now. But, there’s a reason why I have added this section. Understanding how a website works has got more to do than only visiting a bunch of websites. On that note, let’s go over the definition first.
Techopedia puts the definition of a website as, “a collection of publicly accessible Web pages that share a single domain name.”
So, in a nutshell, a website is made up of multiple pages called the Webpages. Like a book. However, a book has to be printed first to make it saleable. Therefore, you need a website builder like WordPress to make a website.
Moving on. A book is also bound in a cover, right? The role of the cover is to hold the pages together. Without a cover, the pages will fall apart. In addition to this, every book has a title. A title is useful to identify a book and remember its name.
Just like a book needs a cover, a website needs a hosting platform to hold the development that you make to your website. Without a hosting platform, your website will not be able to store the information. Similarly, you also need to register the title of the website, which is referred to as the domain name of your website.
We will go deeper into each of these sections, as they are very important to understand while creating your own website.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open source content management platform that has all the ingredients that you need to build a website. It’s like a supermarket where you can choose the different elements that you need to construct your website. The only difference is that WordPress is absolutely free. You don’t have to pay anything upfront. So if you want to start a personal website or a blog you only need to sign up by creating an account.
What makes WordPress a go-to choice for so many individuals and companies is that it makes the task of building a website very convenient. You don’t have to hire a developer or understand the technicalities behind making a website. It’s all packaged and served to you by WordPress. Also, being an open-source platform, you get access to the new additions made by other users without any restrictions.
Once you have a domain name and web hosting account, which we will cover in the next part of this blog, you can install WordPress and start using it. There are a lot of things that you can do in WordPress. First, you need to know how to use WordPress. But, as starters here are the most essential things to do while building your website.
Theme: You design your website. You decide what has to be shown in the header and footer, and everything that you see in your website
Plug-ins: Plug-ins are extra resources that you can add to your website in simple steps. Plug-ins help you add new information to your website without spending a lot of time on it. Here is an example of adding the HubSpot WordPress plug-in. With this plug-in you can capture visitor information using web forms and live chat, and use it for email marketing.
Templates: Templates make your job easier. Templates are pre-defined designs which you can use to make your Web page look in a particular way. There are many templates which are specific to industries like e-commerce. So, if you’re building an ecommerce website on WordPress, this one can be very useful.
Google Analytics: WordPress websites allow you to add Google Analytics plug-in to your website. With Google Analytics you can track how many visitors your website is getting and how they’re behaving in your website. There are many ways you can add Google Analytics, but the simplest way would be by adding the Google site kit plug-in.
Mobile optimization: Mobile devices account for half of the web traffic worldwide. You can check how your website looks on a mobile. Also, you can compare it with the web version to identify gaps and anomalies
What is a domain name?
Along with the title of your WordPress website, a domain name is like the address to your website. Unless your website has a domain name, no one will visit your website ever. If you do not share your home address with anyone, you will never have any visitors. As simple as that.
When someone has the domain name to your website, they can type it in their website URL, and visit your website easily. So, the number one thing that you want to do when you’re creating a website is to register your domain name. It’s not free, but it also doesn’t cost a fortune.
Now that you have the domain name of your WordPress website, you have a registered address. In the next part, you will see how hosting is different from domain name and why it’s important to have a reliable website hosting platform.
What is Web hosting?
When you create your website, you would want to add more Web pages to it. Insert images, screen recordings and other multimedia content to make it look more appealing to the visitors. Where do you think your website will store this information? There has to be some place where all the data gets stored, and when someone visits your website, all this information gets displayed to them just like you planted it in your WordPress website.
This place, where all the website data is stored is called a Server. When someone types your domain name in their browser address bar, the server gets a message that the data has to be fetched and shown it to the human sitting in front of the computer.
A server is a huge computer that can share a massive amount of information. It can store the data of a single website or many websites. If you want to create a website for individual requirements, and do not have demands for very high storage capacity, then you can go for shared web hosting.
In shared web hosting, your website occupies only a specific part of the server. It’s like your website is only an apartment in a skyscraper. Just like there are many apartments in buildings, the server hosts many websites like yours. But, each of them are secure, and do not pose any security threat to each other.
Now that you don’t own a server and require only a small part of it, you need to pay a subscription fee to companies that own these servers. Think of it as rent payment for your website. There are many hosting companies that are popular for hosting WordPress websites, here are some popular names:
What is WordPress hosting?
A word of caution: things are going to get a little confusing from here. However, I will do my best in explaining what WordPress hosting is and how it’s different.
First, WordPress hosting is not very different from Web hosting. I know, I just contradicted myself, but hear me out. The underlying concept of WordPress hosting remains the same – you host your WordPress website on a server to store the website information. The only difference is that WordPress hosting is more customized to the requirements of a WordPress website.
It’s like a host that prefers WordPress websites. Websites that are built on WordPress require a special set of resources. While any other web hosting service provides that, a WordPress hosting service will be able to provide, support, and run those resources more efficiently.
Here’s an example that will help you relate to the difference more clearly.
You want to repaint your old Mercedes. It’s been 5 years since you bought the car, and you want to try something new. You have the choice of going to your local car painting center, and get it done. Or, you can go to a service center that specializes in repainting premium cars like Mercedes. They specialize in it because they have a better understanding of the aesthetics and design of a Mercedes car.
Both the service centers can get the job done for you, but the latter is more attuned to your car requirements. WordPress hosting is like the service center that specializes in repainting Mercedes cars.
What is Managed WordPress hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is a more advanced form of hosting. So, you not only get a host that is more acclimated to the WordPress website, but also specialized service for managing the installs, speed and security of your website.
So, in exchange for a premium amount, you get a bundle of services that are meant for you. You don’t have to worry about looking for plug-ins or themes. The WordPress hosting service company has already done that for you. This is a popular choice with companies that get a lot of traffic to their website, and storage space. Since managed WordPress hosting also comes with premium support, they always have a team at their disposal in case of special requirements.
Do you need a managed WordPress hosting? Well, the answer to that is, it depends. If you don’t want a personalized support team, and you want to experiment ideas on your website in your own way, then managed WordPress hosting is not for you. You can keep it simple and pay less by going for shared WordPress hosting.
Advantages of WordPress hosting
WordPress hosting, although not very different from web hosting, does have a few advantages over web hosting. Here are a few points to consider while choosing the hosting service for your website –
One of the biggest advantages that WordPress hosting has over Web hosting is that it can download and set-up the updates at a lower span of time. This happens because the server that is allocated to your website hosts other WordPress websites only. So, any server level changes can be executed quickly
Rest assured, your WordPress website will be more safe when it’s mapped to a WordPress hosting service provider. The reason is similar. The server is trained in fighting WordPress website threats. Also, you have less threat from other websites hosted in the same server.
Adding a SSL certificate
An SSL certificate adds more authenticity to your website and enables encrypted connection. You can add an SSL certificate to your WordPress hosting website in a few clicks without paying extra. You can add a SSL certificate with web hosting too, however, it requires many steps.
Better issue resolution
While there are lesser chances of issues cropping up in case of WordPress hosting, they can still occur. Having said that, the issues can be resolved quickly in WordPress hosting because the resources can be allocated in a better way. A team of WordPress experts can issue the resolve and get things up and running at a much quicker rate.
As the server gets updated automatically, your WordPress website always runs in the latest version. This ensures that your visitors will probably never face downtime, and have no issues in accessing your website
What you should look for in a WordPress hosting providers
There are many WordPress hosting providers. Unless you know a WordPress expert who can assist you with choosing the best WordPress hosting provider for your website, you need to figure it out on your own. To help you with that, here are a few pointers –
Price is the most important factor while choosing a WordPress hosting provider. You don’t want to end up paying extra for poor quality hosting service. At the same time, you don’t want to save money in return for poor service quality. To avoid these scenarios, do a thorough background search on the provider’s security and hardware services. If you go for shared website hosting, which is usually cheaper, check their long-term pricing plans too.
Security threats can be detrimental to your website longevity. A lot of security threats get nullified if you’re more vigilant while building your website. However, security concerns also rest on the shoulders of the WordPress hosting provider. A good hosting provider will have cyber security software to fight threats and also take regular backups of your website data to avoid loss of data
It’s natural to get stuck when you’re building and running your own website. If you choose a WordPress hosting provider that has a stellar support team, you have nothing to worry about. A good customer support team will always hear your questions and will be available to answer your concerns. It’s advisable to check the customer service rating and reviews of the WordPress hosting provider before you commit.
At the initial phase, your website may grow slowly. But, as it gains pace, you might need to upgrade to avail more features and benefits for your website. Therefore, it’s important that your hosting provider supports this requirement. If there is no scope of upgrading the services, then you’re stuck. Migrating your website is an option, however, that’s unnecessary hassle, and needless to say, a waste of time.
A high uptime percentage almost guarantees that your website will always be accessible for your visitors. But, this can be achieved only by high quality WordPress hosting providers. So, make sure that you have done a thorough analysis on the hardware and network connections of the website. It makes a lot of sense to pay extra for higher uptime because any delay due to bad server network can prove costly later on.
Summing it up
Starting a WordPress website might sound easy, but it can be complicated as there are a lot of underlying layers to it. A website heavily relies on a good hosting service provider for its sustenance. Unless you have figured that out, there’s no point in making a website. WordPress website creators have an option of choosing between web hosting and WordPress hosting. While both are great, WordPress hosting does have a couple of strengths on its side. In spite of that, choosing a WordPress hosting provider with careful analysis is pertinent.