WordPress Hosting Options and Costs

WordPress Hosting Options and Costs

WordPress has the ideal combination of power, simplicity and value, but there are some things to be aware of when choosing it as a platform for your website. Below is a summary of the costs and options for setting up a self hosted WordPress website. The information is geared primarily towards small business owners. It’s intended as a simplified overview, but there are links to more in depth discussions for those more curious.

Click the following link for more information about WordPress:
https://www.fox4online.com/wordpress-cms-platform/

1. WORDPRESS.COM VS WORDPRESS.ORG
2. DOMAIN NAMES VS HOSTING
3. DOMAIN NAMES
4. HOSTING PROVIDERS
5. SSL CERTIFICATES
6. SECURITY ADD ONS
7. JETPACK AND BACKUPS

WORDPRESS.COM VS WORDPRESS.ORG

This article will focus on self hosted WordPress.org installations. WordPress.com installations are free (premium upgrades available) and simpler with most things taken care of by the host (WordPress.com) but with limited flexibility. It includes no access to plugins (other than pre-installed plugins) which are one of the most powerful aspects of WordPress as well as limited themes and no ability to work with any of the PHP or other coding files. The WordPress.org option requires purchasing a domain name and hosting but gives you access to countless themes and plugins and is much more flexible. The WordPress.com sign up is guided so the focus of this information is to assist you in planning a WordPress.org setup.

Click the following links for more information:
https://wordpress.com/com-vs-org
https://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org
https://ithemes.com/tutorials/wordpress-com-vs-wordpress-org

DOMAIN NAMES VS HOSTING

A domain name and hosting are both required for all websites. The domain name is what goes in the URL bar at the top of your browser (i.e. google.com or bing.com). The hosting is where your website is stored on the internet and Domain Name Servers (DNS) are used to point the domain names to hosting locations. If it helps you can think of the domain name like your phone number, the DNS as the phone company and your phone as the hosting. The actual process is a lot more sophisticated but that’s enough for the average user to understand what’s necessary. WordPress.com installations provide free domain names and hosting, but includes the wordpress.com domain in the title (unless you choose a paid option).

DOMAIN NAMES

Domain names can usually be purchased through the hosting provider you choose but can be purchased anywhere. Be aware that prices listed to purchase domain names usually don’t include privacy protection which keeps your contact information private. In most cases that must be purchased separately and can cost as much as the domain name itself. However, if you don’t pay the additional cost to hide your contact information you will quickly be deluged with spam emails. Two common options are https://domains.google (privacy is currently included) and https://www.namecheap.com but there are countless places that sell them including most hosting providers. Unless you are a non-profit, charity or some group like that which uses .org, it’s usually best to select the .com domain for most businesses but there are many options available. There are a now a large number of specialty domain endings like .photography and .properties. See the links below for a listing of some of the endings available but not all endings will be available at all providers and price will vary by endings chosen.

COST ESTIMATE: $1 – $60 / YEAR (USUALLY AROUND $12 – $30 / YEAR)

Click the links below for additional information:
https://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/resources/whats-the-best-place-to-purchase-your-domain-name-from
https://www.key-systems.net/en/blog/list-of-domain-extensions
https://www.name.com/domains
https://support.google.com/domains

TIP: Try to make your domain name as easy to spell as possible without being excessively long. Also consider buying common misspellings of your domain name, if any, and set them to forward to your actual domain name.

The Wise Fox

The Wise Fox

HOSTING PROVIDERS

There are various hybrid combinations, but the six main kinds of hosting you can purchase are: Shared Hosting, Cloud Hosting, Managed Hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS), Cloud VPS, and Dedicated Server. These are in general order of cost and performance with shared hosting being the cheapest and a dedicated server being most expensive option although each has strengths and weaknesses. Among the best hosting providers are HostGator, Bluehost, Inmotion and the one I usually recommend, SiteGround, which has excellent technical support. For the average small business, shared hosting will probably be adequate but large ecommerce, image/video intensive and high traffic websites will require the higher end options. I always recommend, regardless of host, the WordPress specific option as it provides many advantages including speed. Security and performance will both be optimized for WordPress making the relatively small price difference more than worth it. WordPress managed hosting also usually means fewer accounts will be sharing your server. Take into account everything that is included in the hosting (SSL certificate, backup storage, staging site, etc.) to more accurately compare value. The hostingadvice.com links below are paid reviews so be aware of that when considering their recommendations. I included them as a reference because they still provide a good overview of all kinds of hosting along with discounts.

COST ESTIMATE: $4 – $80 / MONTH (USUALLY AROUND $7 – $30 / MONTH)

Click the following links for more information:
http://www.hostingadvice.com/reviews/
http://www.hostingadvice.com/reviews/cloud/
http://www.wpbeginner.com/wordpress-hosting/
https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/cloud-hosting-wordpress/

SSL CERTIFICATES

An SSL Certificate is necessary for the encryption which allows browsers to communicate securely with your website. With a properly configured SSL Certificate, your website URL will show as secure with a padlock in the browser bar. It’s essential for any e-commerce transactions but all websites should have one. Not only does it give visitors confidence in your website, any user information transmission can result in warnings to the user that your site isn’t secure. It can also affect your search rankings. Fortunately, many host providers offer a free SSL certificate with hosting. Paid SSL certificates provide advantages such as identity validation which provide greater confidence to your websites visitors. Blogs can get away with free certificates usually but businesses should consider paying for a higher level SSL certificate if possible. See the links below for more information on the different kinds of certificates.

COST ESTIMATE: $0 TO $200+ / YEAR

Click the following links for more information:
https://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/website/ssl/free-ssl-vs-paid-ssl-certificate
https://www.namecheap.com/../why-paid-certificates-are-better
https://ssl.comodo.com/

SECURITY ADD ONS

In addition to proper setup and good practices, there are number of free and paid security add-ons to further harden your website against malicious attacks. One of the best security plugins is WordFence. The free version is very powerful but the paid version provides additional protection including real time threat updates as opposed to the free version which is updated every 30 days. WPMU Defender and iThemes Security are also excellent plugins with free versions and subscription versions. The free versions all provide very good protection but the subscription options offer very good features that are worth considering. In addition to plugins, there are cloud based security services which also offer a Content Delivery Network (CDN) which improves the speed for your customers by using servers close to their locations. Sucuri is one of the best web based security platforms which also provides a small CDN benefit. Cloudflare is another top service which emphasizes the CDN more than the security. These security add ons give added protection against zero day threats (vulnerabilities that have not yet been patched or updated).

COST ESTIMATE: $0 TO $50+ / MONTH

Click the following links for more information:
WordFence Plugin
iThemes Security
WPMU Defender
https://sucuri.net/
https://www.cloudflare.com/

JETPACK AND BACKUPS

Jetpack is a plugin by Automattic which owns and manages WordPress. It has a free version as well as paid tiers. The paid version can provide backups as well as image compression and video storage. It provides many other functions including social sharing. Updraft Plus is another excellent plugin with both free and paid options. The free version will be adequate for many users and there are many other backup plugins available. Regardless of which option you choose, a regular backup of your website is essential. Ideally, you would make a backup before every change or update. It is sometimes necessary to undo updates if conflicts or unpredictable behavior occurs. It’s important that you, or whoever manages your account, make regular backups in addition to updating WordPress and it’s plugins.

COST ESTIMATE: $0 TO $10 / MONTH

Click the following links for more information:
Jetpack
Updraft Plus

Email Marketing

Email Marketing

How any business can increase revenue and profits with a simple email list


An email list of customers and potential customers can boost the sales and profits of any business because it is a highly targeted list that you can contact on a regular basis, month after month, at a very low cost.

Your emails are sent to your entire list at the press of a button

and help to increase your reputation and credibility as an expert in your field.

The emails can include details of new products or services, they could look at a featured product or maybe a product of the month that you want to tell your customers about.

You could tell them about a special event that you are holding

You could tell them the latest news about your company, your staff and your products.

All of these help to keep your business at the front of the customer’s mind so that they always think of you before your competitors!

Your email list can boost your profits in more direct ways too…

You could send a special offer, a discount or a coupon to your list.

This could be to promote a specific product or service, or to increase business at times when you’re normally quieter.

For example, a discount for a restaurant on normally quieter midweek nights.

A discount can be time-sensitive too, to encourage rapid action… so it could be valid for just 3 or 4 days for example.

As well as increasing your revenue, an email list can also help to reduce your expenses…

Many businesses find that once they have a responsive email list, they are able to drastically reduce their existing ad and marketing spend.

All in all, an email list of customers and potential customers will quickly become a valuable asset for your business that will boost your revenue and increase your profits for months and years to come.

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