WordPress is a free and open source content management system, usually used for managing a blog, but also used to power large publications (including HowToGeek). While the software itself is free, you’ll still need web hosting so your audience can visit the site. These hosting providers run WordPress on their servers and often manage most (if not all) of the technical work for you.
While you can set up a basic site at wordpress.com, the default one has ads, you can’t put your own ads on their regular plans, and they offer much less flexibility and freedom than a paid hosting provider. Most of them have plans for only a couple bucks a month, so if you’re serious about starting a website, it’s best to look for actual hosting.
What to Look For
Web hosting generally falls into two categories:
Managed hosting is when the hosting provider sets up WordPress (or whatever service) for you and handles all the behind-the-scenes IT stuff. If you’re just getting started setting up a website, it’s best to look for managed hosting.
Shared hosting is when the hosting provider runs your site on the same physical server as other sites and is generally much cheaper than having a dedicated server for your site. Unless you’re expecting millions of visitors to your site, shared hosting is often a cheaper and simple option.
Hosting providers often separate their services into different tiers and offer different products for more money. Usually, they’ll limit how many different WordPress sites you can have, limit your storage space for pictures and videos, and sometimes limit how much traffic your site can get. Be realistic about how much you need, as you can always upgrade to a better plan if the need arises.
What Providers to Consider
There’s no shortage of hosting providers out there, and many of them look pretty similar (and all claim to offer the same services). We’ve put together a list of the industry-leading providers to help you choose the one right for you.