It is a matter of time till you realize a simple but important fact, your blog needs to be hosted. Your blog hosting is not optional, if you are using WordPress.com or not, it is hosted. So, hosting is the first thing you need, in order to run your blog.
You may think that creating an account on WordPress.com and start blogging in a few minutes, is everything you need to run a great blog. Believe me this is not enough.
From my perspective, wordpress.com is for entry-level bloggers “no offense”. If the people in Automattic the creator of WordPress believed that wordpress.com is enough they wouldn’t create the self-hosted version on WordPress.org. With a self-hosted version you can download WordPress and host it anywhere you want with full control on every aspect of your blog.
Simply, you can’t use your WordPress.com blog for any commercial activities like Google AdSense or paid posts, you can’t upload plugins or themes and your account will be suspended anytime if you violate their terms of service.
I will focus here on WordPress as the most popular blogging software, and will help you decide which alternative to go for, when it comes to hosting your WordPress blog.
Shared Hosting for your WordPress blog
Most WordPress sites are hosted on shared hosting platforms. Shared hosting is nothing beyond what its name declares, you are sharing the hosting with many others.
Every online application or website is hosted on a computer, we call it a server. The server is a computer with high recourses in terms of memory, disk space and processing power. It can be divided into partitions and rented to customers. This applies to shared hosting and VPS which we will discuss below.
Because you are sharing all server resources with many others, you can’t control your hosting account in a way which affects other accounts. Accordingly, you have almost no control on important areas of your account like running certain scripts or adjusting server settings. You will need to ask your hosting provider to make the required task for you if applicable.
Your hosting provider is also responsible for the fair share of resources, which means if your neighbor used too much resources of the server and slowed down other sites including yours, the provider will be responsible for limiting that neighbor’s resources or suspending his account.
If you use too much resources, your account might be the one suspended. But, if you are the low usage account, you might be still pressured by other high consuming neighbors. You almost pay the same cost for the same memory and processing power as other sites on the same server, why should your neighbors use more resources than you and slow down your site?
Did you run a background check on every hosting neighbor in your shared hosting server? Don’t get angry, I know you didn’t. So, if your neighbors are running illegal sites, doing email spam or publishing adult content, the IP that your site is sharing with them will get blocked by Google. So, your blog will not show on the search engine, which is a disaster. And will get blocked by countries that don’t allow adult contents. Do you provide adult contents? No, your neighbors do and you pay the cost!
VPS is the direct upgrade path for your WordPress
VPS or “virtual private server” has the same concept of a dedicated server. You have full control on your virtual server with full root or administrator access to your account and no one is competing to use the memory and processing power guaranteed to you.
The most important thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word VPS “Oh my god, I am not a tech expert”. Actually, this thought became a history. With the rise of VPS providers who add full management service for your VPS as a free compliment with every package, you need not to worry about any technical skills. Fully managed VPS is exactly the same as shared hosting in terms of easy usage and flexibility. And at the same time you get much more benefits than a shared hosting account.
You don’t have to worry about bigger neighbors, no one will affect your blog. Your WordPress blog can be auto-installed when you order your VPS or you can install or add more blogs later using your easy to use control panel, which is also included in your VPS package.
What about the shared IP issue we mentioned earlier? Your VPS normally comes with its own dedicated IP. No one can cause a block on your IP other than you. Don’t host adult contents, don’t SPAM and don’t run any illegal website and you are safe.
WordPress.org has published an important document on WordPress optimization, they clearly say that shared hosting is more limited in terms of performance optimization for your WordPress self-hosted blog. With virtual server “VPS” you can have more control on components like Web Server, PHP and MySQL database engine that you can adjust to greatly boost the performance of your blog. Of course, if you are on a fully managed VPS you can ask your hosting provider to optimize it for you and don’t get your hands dirty.
Should you start with shared hosting or VPS?
If you are currently on WordPress.com or just starting out, you need to ask yourself one question. What do I need from my blog?
You may say I need to create a great blog with lots of visitors and readers, I need to make a lot of money from Google AdSense or I need a simple blog to share my thoughts but also make money from Google AdSense … etc. The solution to any of those answers is: Go with a Fully Managed VPS plan.
If you start on shared hosting and grow quickly it will be “a must” to move to VPS. Actually, it will be a hassle! However, some hosts can move your blog for you for free.
VPS pricing became almost similar to shared hosting plans offered by reliable providers. So, it is better to start with a VPS for your WordPress. Fully managed VPS is as easy as shared hosting, where you don’t face the disadvantages of unmanaged VPS plans and at the same time you gain all the benefits of a VPS that we listed above.
Then, the answer to the question “When to move your WordPress to a VPS?” is, Right Now!
Are you currently on a shared hosting account or VPS? Are you still starting on WordPress.com? Let’s discuss the problems you face or believe you may face in the comments area below.