WordPress Hosting on a Budget
In this post, I will discuss different ways to set up a WordPress website in under 10 US Dollars a year. Learn why I decided to take this approach, and how you can find frugal web hosting for an entry level blog or portfolio site.
I had originally set out to discuss different ways to install WordPress. As I began writing it, it became evident that the LES readers might also be interested in learning about hosting a WordPress site in under 10 US dollars a year. We will cover that in Part II of this 2 post series.
What you can expect to read in Part I?
In this part, I have elaborated my reasons for doing so. For more discussions related to WordPress, you can visit the All Things WordPress Discussion in the LowEndSpirit Forum.
During the recently concluded Black Friday/ Cyber Monday 2020 (BFCM2020) deals on LowEnd Spirit and elsewhere, you may have picked up a VPS or two or a Shared Hosting Plan here and there. Which may have left you wondering, “What do I do with all these hosting plans?”
The more experienced hands may use their BFCM2020 purchase for specific projects such as Virtual Private Server for Plex server, a NAT for a VPN, shared hosting for parking domains, and so on.
In many cases, you, the buyer of these Black Friday deals would want to set up some soft of a website. Maybe you are not a beginner, but you might probably the ‘ go to ‘ person for friends, neighbours, relatives or significant others. They may often rely on for advise. Now lets’ say one or more of them want to set up a website.
A website in 2021 ? You must be joking!
In spite of the barrage of Social Media sites and apps, the number of websites has actually increased the over the years For those interested in numbers, this site has some facts and figures to peruse. Some of the data and the sources in such surveys or statistics might need a second look, but such information does offer a perspective.
The relative convenience of setting up a website these days seems to be a contributing factor for the increasing number of websites. The convenience could include:
- Beginner friendly Hosting, either through SAAS providers like Squarespace and Wix, or via shared or managed hosting that uses one click installers like Softaculous and Installtron.
- Less complexity of setting up a website due to ‘no code’ solutions
- Cost of hosting, if we exclude the recent cPanel hike and its coming impact.
- Tools for backup and updates
- Ability to host in multiple languages
Rather than pondering on these factors further, let us move on to our main discussion!
WordPress Hosting, the Frugal Way
To keep things simple, I have structured this post in two segments. In the first part, I will provide a quick overview of the ecosystem for WordPress hosting, and some of the providers in this space. Lets call this an appetizer for the main topic of discussion.
In the Part II we will look at the different ways of setting up WordPress under different hosting configurations. This is the most important segment, where we will talk about how to host a WordPress site for under 10 US Dollars a year. Our aim is not to go cheap, but to do so in a frugal manner. If you are starting out today, or are migrating a low traffic website, this is the section you should pay close attention to. I will talk about issues like traffic, load testing, basic configurations (or the “stack” of themes and plugins used by me. Also find included some links, resources and takeaways from my testing.
The Mad Rush for WordPress Hosting
Depending on which source you look up, the marketshare of WordPress in the web hosting space is on the rise. The numbers quoted often are: “WordPress occupies 40 % marketshare of all websites” to “more than 50% of all websites that use a content management system, use WordPress.” W3techs also reflects on this trend.
Without flying the flag on behalf of Automattic, the company behind WordPress, let us look at the Universe of WordPress Hosting. This is a complex system with hosts, plugin and theme developers, website designers, social media and security consultants, content specialists, marketers, e and woo commerce specialists, and so forth. WordPress is open source and basic hosting and some themes and plugins are available at little to no cost. But the professional services (content, search engine optimization, security, etc..) might cost you a lot. So is the case with managed or specialized hosting.
Our focus is on WordPress Hosting, so let us take a look at it closely. This pricing for WordPress hosting is a very interesting area where you have WordPress VIP from automatic themselves, which exceeds US dollars 5,000 a month. In the mid range, there are pricing plans from a whole array of providers that can run into hundreds of US dollars a year.
If you look up managed WordPress hosting plans typically start at 10 to 15 US dollars a month at entry level, but the median price or most providers start their plans at 30 or 35 US dollars. Annually, the might run into excess of $300. If you look at the specifications that they provide, you would notice that the specifications or page views are not very high. Many of the providers offer similar set of features as this list shows .
This may include CDN or content delivery network, image optimization etc. The key reason for pricing is because of support. But evaluating support is akin to wading through tricky waters. In recent weeks I have spent quite a bit of time reading up on customer service issues and overall service levels of some of these providers. Siteground in particular seems to be the most talked about (and often maligned) provider, largely because of their ‘bait and switch’ pricing and recent decision to limit WordPress support requests.
Pricing plan for WP Optim, used for illustration
Not everyone needs Feature-Rich Hosting
A typical user may have a question like
“I am looking at hosting a simple website which will have about 50 posts and around 200 images. Do I really need to spend over 200 dollars a year on hosting?”
If such a question is posed in the webhosting groups on Facebook or other sites, you will receive a list of provider recommendations that may look like the below table.
Before answering a yes or no, to the above question, I usually ask a set of qualifier questions myself. Many of which seem logical (atleast to me). For purpose of our discussion,
- We will focus on a blog or image / portfolio site only.
- Deeply discounted shared hosting plans from the likes of Hostinger and EIG companies are excluded.
Sample Checklist of questions for WordPress Hosting selection
- What kind of site do you have? (i.e.) Is it a Blog, portfolio, membership site, store with woo commerce etc..?
- Do you plan to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)? Or, do you have one currently?
- If you are looking to move hosts, what are the current (shared) hosting specifications?
- Where is your hosting located, and where do the maximum visitors come from?
- Do you use a monitoring service like Hetrix tools or Uptime Robot to monitor the website uptime?
- What is the current hosting plan fees and what is your appetite for a higher plan/ upgrade?
- Are you comfortable with a DIY setup, or do you need handholding? (i.e for an existing site, do you need help with migration, or for a new site do you need help with setting up the site ? )
Keeping those questions in focus, we will ddress some of these qustions in the second part of this post. Till then. I leave you with the screenshot of a sample website creted for this blog post.
Blocksy theme on ClassicPress: giving a Frugal WordPress Website with a modern look.
- You may also want to read my accompanying post o NAll Things WordPress discussion in the LES Forum. Downside of Expensive WordPress Hosting Plans
- Prices for “premium” or “Managed” WordPress Hosting Providers
- 10 Web
- Rocket Web Hosting
- WordPress Premium
- WP Engine
For any feedback and suggestions about this post, please leave a comment below or contact @vyas in the LES forum. All screenshots are taken from websites of respective providers. All other images are created by A Vyas, December 2020.