How to Choose a WordPress Hosting Plan for Your Online Shop

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by options when you’re researching a WordPress hosting plan for your first online shop. This beginner’s guide will help!

Looking to start an online shop? Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the hosting options in front of you? It’s a position we’ve all found ourselves in while scouting for our first WordPress hosting plan!

Popping “WordPress hosting” into Google gives you pages on pages of results. Tons of hosting companies, tons of hosting plans. Which one is the right call for you?

What’s the difference between all the different kinds of plans? Shared, dedicated, managed WordPress hosting… what does it all mean?

Is it ok to go with a cheaper one, or do I need an expensive plan?

It can look like major headache to sort through all the options. While it’s no doubt an important decision, focusing in on the right questions to ask yourself makes it a lot easier.

Here’s what you should focus on in your search.

Finding the WordPress hosting plan that’s right for you gets a lot easier once you know what you’re looking for. Here are some basic questions that will help you nail that down.

  1. How much traffic am I expecting?
  2. What can I afford?
  3. Does your potential host offer key features that you need?

Let’s unpack these one by one.

1. How much traffic am I expecting?

Building an online shop to sell products you’ve created? Making a home on the web to promote a service you offer? Setting up a website for your small group/church/organization to raise money?

As long as you aren’t expecting a huge amount of traffic early on (less than 25k or so visitors a month), your needs are going to be similar. A basic shared WordPress hosting plan may work fine for you in the beginning. With a shared plan, your website and others will be sharing common resources on the same server. That has its pros and cons, but with a low traffic expectation in the beginning and a limited budget, it’s sometimes a perfect place to start.

Know you’re going to be generating a decent amount of traffic from the beginning? Need greater consistency than what a baisic shared plan will offer? There are starter plans out there that will meet those needs while remaining very affordable. We’ll discuss below!

2. Will this fit my budget?

A basic shared WordPress hosting plan is by far and away the most economical option. First year deals that many mainstream WordPress hosts offer can have your site taken live for anywhere from $5 to $10 a month if you’re willing to pay for a 2-3 year package.

A step up into a higher performance plan for your online shop doesn’t have to break the bank. They often run in the range of $30 to $40 a month, sometimes much less if you’re willing to pay a year in advance. While shared hosting is still the norm for these plans, they offer beefier and more consistent performance plus additional features.

Look for examples that fit both these needs further down the page!

Don’t forget to include the cost of domain registration and renewal in your calculations. Many WordPress hosts offer a domain free when you sign up. Renewal typically only costs around $15 a month. Fairly trivial, but something to consider on a shoestring budget!

3. Does this host offer key features that I need? (for that matter what key features should I expect?)

Getting WordPress up and running should be a breeze with whatever hosting plan you choose. WordPress powers more than 30% of websites worldwide. Most major hosts now offer automated WordPress installation. Getting WordPress installed should be a matter of simply running an automated or “managed” setup tool before you get down to the real work of choosing your theme and plugins.

In addition to just getting set up, below are basic but critical features you should expect and that your host should provide.

SFTP or SSH access

For anytime you need to access or edit your site’s files. SFTP as opposed to FTP is important for a secure connection.

SSL/HTTPS

Whenever you’re going to be collecting personal information or payments, this is a basic security requirement. Running SSL/HTTPS also increases your site’s visibility in Google.

Check to see if your prospective host offers a hassle-free and affordable way to get HTTPS in place. Usually, higher perfrmance starter plans will include this free of charge.

Backup and restore features

For when disaster strikes (it happens!). These should either be provided, or installing reputable WordPress backup/restore plugins should at the very least be allowed.

Staging site/environment

Bringing your site down due to an update gone wrong or experiments in file editing sucks. But it happens, and it will cost you sales. Having a staging environment is an important safeguard against this. Run updates here first, and tinker to your heart’s content. If you crash your staging site it won’t cost you a dime.

Support

Things break. Problems arise. You will need help or have questions eventually. Almost every host offers support of some kind, but do some due diligence into what level of support they offer before you commit. Nothing’s worse than something breaking in your online shop and not having a hand to help fix it.

An easy and affordable upgrade path when the time comes

As your traffic grows, you’re not going to want to stay on your starter WordPress hosting plan forever. Many hosts offer free or low-cost migrations to an upgraded plan when you’re ready to move up.

So… which host will work best for my online shop?

We can give you the tools to help, but we can’t pick your host 🙂 Following the steps above should help you narrow it down. What we can do is give some examples that line up with what we’ve been talking about, though!

The list that follows are purely examples of what we’ve been discussing above. While we may have business relationships with some of them, they certainly aren’t all affiliates. Use this to jumpstart your selection process, and by all means expand your search to others if you don’t see one you love!

We can’t tell you who the perfect fit for you will be, but with the steps above you can find them!

WordPress has tons of fantastic plugins and theme to choose from for an online shop, and we’re fortunate to have the same diversity in great WordPress hosts. So many that no article is going to lead you to the perfect host for your website. These steps should help put you in a good place to make the pick that’s right for you, though!

Comments are below! Please share… have you found a host you love?

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