When it comes to running a successful WordPress website, web hosting is one of the most important aspects. If your web hosting plan is not sufficient, you just might end up seeing your website go down the drain. On the other hand, if your web hosting plan is more than what you need, you just might end up paying extremely high amount of money for no reason. Lastly, what if your plan is sufficient for today, but has no room for growth? [Web Hosting Website Templates]
Obviously, neither of these scenarios are pleasant to have. If your website is too small and shared hosting is enough for your needs, you have nothing much to think about. However, what if when you outgrow shared web hosting? What route should you take? Should you follow the stepwise upgrade model, and get a VPS? Or should you have your own dedicated server? Does Amazon live up to its name? [5 Tips to Make Your Website Invincible From Hackers]
If you have any of the above questions, you have come to the right place!
Virtual Private Servers, commonly called VPS, as the name suggests, are virtual private spaces that are offered to you. Essentially, your VPS is yours to run and manage: you can choose with software to install, which scripts to run, and so on. Apache does not work for you? Yes, you can have nginX on your VPS! Note that WordPress does run faster on nginX as compared to Apache.
Quite naturally, with great power comes great responsibility, and a Virtual Private Servers also needs special security measures. You will have to harden and secure your VPS, all by yourself. Upgrades, bug fixes, everything — you install it! If, however, you do not have the time or skills to do so, you can go the managed route, and purchase a managed VPS for an extra price (in general, if your unmanaged VPS costs x per month, a managed VPS of the same specifications would cost anywhere between 2x and 3x).
A VPS is recommended for you if your website has outgrown shared hosting, but you do not wish to spend good money for a dedicated server, or you wish to run your own custom software that might not be available on a shared web hosting package.
A dedicated server is what it is: a server dedicated entirely to your website, nothing else. In general, if your website gets millions of hits, or if you are running a big WordPress Multisite installation, a dedicated server is what you need.
Dedicated servers cost more than VPS, and the better hardware you opt for, the higher the price. Once again, you can go for the self-managed route, or have an enterprise solution with management of the server included for an extra price.
Note that if bandwidth or CPU usage is the bottleneck of your website (say, you are getting less traffic but are hitting I/O limits due to a certain plugin), you might be better off on a semi-dedicated platform. A semi-dedicated server is similar to shared web hosting: you do not get to run custom scripts, but your website is allotted a higher share of resources, allowing your WordPress plugins to run smoothly. In other words, semi-dedicated solutions are something that you more RAM and extra CPU, but for a fraction of the price of dedicated servers.
For many years, Amazon Web Services, or AWS, have been the industry leaders when it comes to enterprise level web hosting. If you need a small shared hosting package, this is not meant for you. But if you wish to have a cloud based solution that can overpower even the best of dedicated servers, AWS is exactly what you are looking for!
Essentially, AWS offers dedicated services meant for a special niche: mobile app hosting, database hosting, and so on. Since WordPress too is a database-driven software, AWS can boost up your website by means of its cloud infrastructure.
AWS also have a free tier that you can use to test its features. However, for all practical purposes, unless your website has an enterprise bend to it, AWS might seem overkill for a WordPress site.
Which of the above services do you use for your WordPress site? Share it with us in the comments below!