If you’re planning to build a WordPress website, you’ll need to choose an appropriate web hosting service.

All websites require hosting so that they can be accessed on the internet.

Since WordPress uses a different architecture than that of conventional static websites, however, it’s not supported by all web hosting services.

By choosing a WordPress-friendly web hosting service, you can effortlessly launch your website using the world’s most popular content management system (CMS).

Want to skip the research and see our top picks? Check out our hosting recommendations here. 👈

Avoid WordPress.com’s Hosting Service

WordPress offers its own hosting service at WordPress.com, with plans ranging in price from free to over $1,700 per month.

Unfortunately, none of these plans work with the self-hosted version of WordPress. WordPress.com offers a distinct hosted version of WordPress, which is more restrictive and provides fewer features than its self-hosted counterpart.

To take advantage of WordPress’s deep level of customization, you must use the self-hosted version from WordPress.org.

Assuming you take this path with your website, WordPress’s hosting service won’t work. You’ll need to choose a traditional web hosting service offered by a third-party provider, instead.

MySQL Support

You should choose a web hosting service that supports MySQL databases. Otherwise, you’ll only be able to build static websites and not dynamic websites, such as WordPress websites.

A MySQL database is an integral part of all WordPress websites. WordPress websites still contain traditional HTML pages, but most of their content is stored in a MySQL database.

From usernames and passwords to posts and visitor comments, your website’s MySQL database will contain most of its content. If a web hosting service doesn’t support MySQL databases, you won’t be able to use or even install WordPress with it.

WordPress developers recommend using a hosting service with MySQL version 5.6 or newer.

Alternatively, you can choose a hosting service with MariaDB version 10.1 or newer, which is a similar but less-popular database management system based on MySQL that’s compatible with WordPress.

PHP Support

In addition to MySQL, you should choose a web hosting service that supports PHP.

PHP is a general-purpose scripting language that is embedded in WordPress’s architecture. You can only develop a WordPress website if your web hosting service supports both MySQL and PHP.

While WordPress websites use a MySQL database to store most of their content, they use PHP to retrieve this content.

WordPress websites are considered “dynamic” because they produce web pages in real time as requested. Whenever a visitor or crawler attempts to access a page on your WordPress website, PHP will retrieve the necessary content from your site’s MySQL database, allowing the page to be built in real time.

WordPress developers recommend using a hosting service with PHP version 7.3 or newer. If a web hosting service only supports an older version of PHP, or if it doesn’t support PHP at all, you should look elsewhere for your website’s hosting needs.

You might be able to install a legacy version of WordPress on a server that runs an outdated version of PHP, but it will leave your website vulnerable to cyber threats. Legacy versions are older versions of WordPress that are no longer maintained by developers. As a result, many of them contain bugs or vulnerabilities.

SSL Offerings

Check to see what SSL certificates, if any, the web hosting service offers.

While not a prerequisite for installing or using WordPress, an SSL certificate will enable your website to be delivered over the secure HTTPS protocol.

This means that communications between your website and its visitors will be encrypted. Your website will also display the comforting padlock icon next to its address, providing visitors with peace of mind knowing that their data is secure.

Many web hosting services offer free SSL certificates, while others will still want to charge you. There’s no reason to pay for an SSL certificate these days—find a reputable host like SiteGround that will provide one for free.

Consider Managed Hosting

If you want the power and performance of a dedicated web hosting service but aren’t comfortable configuring the server yourself, you may want to choose a managed hosting service.

A dedicated hosting service means you’ll be given complete and exclusive access to all of a server’s resources. While typically faster than shared hosting services, dedicated hosting services require more work to configure and maintain. You must install software, perform updates, monitor traffic, create backups and more.

A managed hosting service takes care of all these tasks so that you can focus on developing your website. Some managed hosting services, such as Kinsta, even specialize in WordPress. They’ll handle everything from configuring the server to installing and maintaining WordPress.

Customer Support

What type of customer support does the hosting provider offer?

Servers are nothing more than computers that run specialized server software. Like all computers, they can fail. Maybe the storage drive becomes corrupted, or perhaps there’s a conflict with its installed software.

When a problem arises that prevents your WordPress website from functioning properly, you’ll need to contact your hosting provider for assistance.

Because WordPress is so popular, many hosting providers offer specialized assistance with it. If you run into a problem when installing WordPress, you can contact them for support.

The hosting provider may not be able to answer questions related to your website’s theme or plugins, but they should help you troubleshoot common WordPress-related problems.

Hosting providers with excellent customer support typically offer multiple methods of contact. Along with email, many allow their customers to receive support by phone, live chat, social media and an online ticket system. With so many methods of contact, you can easily reach the provider for assistance with your WordPress website.

Final Thoughts

You can always move your WordPress website to a different web hosting service later, but migrations can be complex. If you make a mistake, you could permanently lose some or all of your site’s data.

Choosing the right WordPress-friendly web hosting service will help you to avoid future problems by building your website on a concrete foundation.

Want to see our top picks based on the criteria above? Check out our WordPress hosting recommendations here. 👈

If you have any questions about choosing a WordPress-friendly web host, please feel free to leave a comment below!