What Is WordPress Hosting (+ The Type You Should Use)

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Website hosting, including WordPress website hosting, is one of the most important aspects of building and managing an online business. By simply choosing an inferior web hosting solution, for example, you can tarnish your brand’s online presence due to resulting factors like slow loading times, high bounce rates, and poor customer experiences.

Therefore, in addition to understanding what WordPress hosting is, it’s also important to know which type of WordPress hosting you should use to get the most out of your site.

What is Web Hosting?

Before diving into WordPress-specific website hosting, it’s essential to know the fundamentals of web hosting itself. In short, it is the process of housing website files on a server so that the site and its pages can be viewed by any user who decides to visit them. Web hosting may also refer to a service like Bluehost that stores your website and enables you to publish it online.

A web server is a collection of computer hardware and software that stores your website’s assets (like source code, images, and videos). As long as there’s a viable internet connection, web servers work by receiving and processing requests via either HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) or its more recent and safer variant called HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure).

A URL (uniform resource locator) is more commonly known as a web address—it references the location of a website and provides the means to retrieve it. In other words, without a URL, your website can’t be found. 

Ultimately, if you’re considering building an online business or creating an online presence for an existing organization, remember that the internet is saturated with web hosting providers who offer a variety of different packages—and if you’re not careful, you may encounter some that are questionable, unreliable, or even predatory in how they charge for their services. This is why it’s so important to pick a good one. 

What Is WordPress Hosting?

WordPress (WP) is a comprehensive web publishing platform and the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). It supports a variety of plugins, add-ons, and third-party web development tools, making it the dominant choice for many of today’s online brands, publishers, and bloggers.

It follows, then, that WordPress hosting is a web hosting service that’s specifically developed for websites created with and/or on the WordPress platform. And while it’s not absolutely necessary to use a hosting service that is optimized for WordPress, your site will likely miss out on the increased performance, security, and specialized support that comes with those that are. 

Can WordPress Hosting Work With Websites Outside of the Platform?

Technically speaking, the answer is yes. To do so, you can either:

  • Go through the paid WordPress plan and use its managed hosting platform
  • Use other hosting platforms that WordPress works with or recommends on its main WP hosting page.

If you’re new to the WordPress environment, you may want to familiarize yourself with the main similarities and differences between the open-source platform and its hosting counterpart, vs.

Both the and websites are powered by the same WordPress software. If you’re already using or planning to use WordPress, the main difference boils down to how you choose to host your site. homepage

The first thing you should know about is that it’s an online resource where you can download the latest WordPress build. This means you can combine it with a hosting service of your choosing, and the WP source code is completely free. 

If you decide to take this route, you’ll be actively engaging in what’s known as self-hosting a WordPress site. This means that everything you do—from picking a hosting provider and building the URL hierarchy to writing and uploading content—will be yours or your admin’s responsibility. homepage

On the flip side, offers managed WordPress hosting services. With it, the platform automatically assumes many of the technical responsibilities that would otherwise fall onto your or your admin’s shoulders. These include managing things like search engine optimization (SEO), site performance, load speed, and security. 

Keep in mind that these services are not free, but depending on your budget, offers a variety of different plans with powerful features and site types.

Who owns and operates and

WordPress is a free and open-source platform used to build websites and manage content on the internet. Its code is supported by thousands of individual volunteers and WP enthusiasts who continuously improve its features to make the platform more reliable, faster, safer, and easier to use. The WordPress source code is housed on the website and can be downloaded for free.

On the other hand, is a commercial organization owned and operated by Automattic. Automattic is a for-profit company created by one of the original WordPress founders, and it employs full-time web developers, designers, support staff, and engineers. Additionally, Automattic employees are allowed to (and often do) make regular contributions to the free WordPress software to improve it for all users.

What are some of the most popular hosting platforms outside of WordPress?

Two of the biggest ducks on the website hosting pond are Bluehost and DreamHost. Both providers offer plans dedicated to users building WordPress-specific websites. 


bluehost homepage screenshot

Bluehost is one of the most popular and reliable web hosting providers worldwide. It provides excellent performance, a variety of modern site management tools, and strong security features for a reasonable price. More specifically, Bluehost offers a combination of native tools called My Sites, which—when combined with the proven web hosting dashboard, cPanel—makes for a highly streamlined site management experience.

For WordPress hosting, Bluehost is one of the best providers on the market. It offers one free WordPress site migration to bring your site over to Bluehost from a different provider without losing any pre-existing website assets. This site migration is usually pretty easy to implement because the Bluehost Site Migrator does most of it (if not all of it) automatically. Furthermore, Bluehost also offers a one-click WordPress installation as soon as you purchase a paid hosting plan.

If you want to build your website from scratch, you can use Bluehost’s website builder. It comes with a number of unique and modern website templates, featuring helpful prompts that ask you about the purpose of your future project—like whether your site will take the form of a blog, an online portfolio, or an ecommerce shop.

In terms of Bluehost cons, you may experience a non-trivial price increase in your hosting plan if you decide to renew it for another cycle, which usually covers a full year. Also, the Bluehost Site Migration plugin is not very popular among WordPress users, scoring 1.4/5 stars out of 28 reviews at the time of writing. Finally, Bluehost’s entry-level plans don’t come with a backup solution and are usually limited in what users can customize and monitor on their sites.


Screenshot of the DreamHost Homepage

If you want to create reliable, fast, and responsive websites, DreamHost should be one of the first hosting providers you visit. This service offers a wide range of web solutions, including virtual private servers (VPSs) in addition to WordPress-specific, shared, and dedicated hosting plans. Notably, DreamHost features many quality website management and performance analytics tools that earn it a spot on our list of best WordPress hosting providers in the industry.

When it comes to dashboards, DreamHost has completely ditched cPanel in favor of a custom-built control panel intended for easier navigation and more intuitive use. The control panel can also be used to manage your email accounts, sort your website databases, and keep track of your multimedia files, such as images and video content. In terms of security, the panel currently supports IP blocking and SSL certificates.

Like many of its peers, DreamHost offers three distinct WordPress hosting plans of its own: WordPress Basic, VPS WordPress, and DreamPress (including the basic DreamPress option, DreamPress Plus and DreamPress Pro). Once you subscribe to a plan, you can easily install WordPress after a few clicks in the native DreamHost control panel. 

To improve your website’s experience, DreamHost also provides the option to play around with additional WordPress plugins. Of course, whether or not you’ll end up using them is up to you, but it’s a nice extra feature to have in the case that you do. 

If you initiate DreamHost’s one-click WordPress installation, keep in mind that it can take up to 20 minutes or more until it’s completed. This shouldn’t be a big deal for most users, but you might want to look elsewhere if you’re in a real hurry. 

As for more significant downsides to the platform, its basic shared plan lacks email, and the server locations leave a lot to be desired. That said, DreamHost is still worth a look, as it’s a reliable and relatively affordable hosting provider that keeps getting better with every new iteration of its offerings.

Are BlueHost and DreamHost good picks for sites using non-WordPress content management systems?

Technically speaking, most providers that openly support WordPress hosting can also support websites outside the popular platform. So yes, both Bluehost and DreamHost offer general web hosting services for websites powered by any content management system, not just WordPress. 

What Type of WordPress Hosting Should You Use?

After considering all of your options, you will eventually have to choose the type of WordPress hosting and provider you’ll use. We recommend the following two types. 

Managed cloud hosting

In this type of hosting, the host takes care of all the technical aspects of your site infrastructure, including server setup and maintenance, performance monitoring, site maintenance, security, and customer support. In unmanaged hosting, all of these things are strictly the user’s responsibility.

Beyond that, managed cloud hosting is an excellent choice for bigger organizations that want to delegate their IT needs to outside professionals and focus instead on growing their business. If your in-house team doesn’t have the skills to manage a complex IT infrastructure, for example, a managed cloud service with a proven track record can do it for you.

Some of the advantages of managed cloud hosting include better site speeds, robust security features like SSL certificates and malware detection, automatic backups, up to 99% guaranteed site uptime, item caching for improved performance, professional technical support, and—of course—WordPress compatibility.

Still, managed cloud hosting isn’t without its fair share of cons. Since the provider manages most of the cloud hosting environment, the user has less control compared to unmanaged hosting. Also, managed hosting is typically more expensive than similar unmanaged hosting plans because the provider is responsible for keeping the site running at all times. 

Virtual private server (VPS) hosting

Virtual private server (VPS) hosting splits up the physical server into multiple virtual servers so that individual sites can have a dedicated section that’s exclusive to them. VPS achieves this thanks to the latest virtualization technology, which allows it to run multiple virtual environments while sharing the same physical space—but with dedicated computing power for each user.

Moreover, despite sharing the physical server with multiple users, VPS is considered private since you exercise 100% control over your place within it. In fact, each plan is separated from the others on the operating system (OS) level, similar to how you can create different partitions on a single hard drive with multiple operating systems like Windows, Linux, and Mac. 

In general, the most advantageous aspect of VPS is that it is much cheaper than renting out an entire server. However, VPS servers are also faster, more reliable, and easier to scale than your typical shared servers and hosting plans. For instance, if your site’s traffic grows unexpectedly, you can easily purchase more disk space, increase your bandwidth, and upgrade your CPU power. 

Another advantage of VPS hosting is that it guarantees a minimally allocated processing power with each plan, so there’s less room for fluctuation in site performance and speed. 

That said, all of this comes at a cost. And while VPS hosting is cheaper than renting an entire server, most VPS plans are more expensive than shared hosting plans. 

Similarly, it also requires greater technical expertise to set up a new VPS account, and VPS management is more complex than shared or managed cloud hosting services. Nevertheless, VPS hosting remains a logical next step for online brands that have grown out of the resource limitations of their existing plans.

Final Thoughts

When deciding what type of WordPress hosting to get, you can either opt for managed hosting with or self-hosting after downloading the free open-source WP software from Remember that managed cloud hosting comes with pre-installed tools and other performance monitoring plugins while self-hosting essentially allows you to start from a blank slate.

WordPress recommends Bluehost and Dreamhost, as they are two of the most popular web hosting platforms. They offer a wide range of different WordPress hosting plans as well as services for sites outside of the WP ecosystem.

Finally, WordPress is also supported by virtual private server hosting, which is more expensive than a managed plan—but it provides the autonomy, hardware, and CPU power for an optimized hosting experience.

If you’re interested in more WordPress resources, check out our beginner’s guide to WordPress pricing.

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