In order to run a self-hosted WordPress website you need to purchase some web space from a hosting company. This web space needs to meet the minimum requirements needed to run WordPress.
Choosing the right web host can be a confusing process. Most hosts are likely to meet these minimum requirements which means that a basic package purchased from nearly all hosting providers will be capable of running a WordPress website. So your choice of potential web host is very large.
In making your choice you will need to consider the level of performance you require from your host (larger and more popular websites will need a more robust technical infrastructure), how easy the set up will be and how much you want to manage the installation yourself, and what level of support you think you will need. You should also consider whether you need any additional services alongside the web hosting — such as email addresses or back up services.
Basic Web Hosting
If you are looking to host a simple personal website or one for a small business or organisation then a basic package from most hosting providers will be enough. I’d suggest you make your choice based on reputation and the availability of support, rather than technical specifications. Although, I’d also recommended choosing the package with the best specification you feel you can afford rather than automatically going for the cheapest.
If you are looking for a UK based hosting company these are some options:
I have only used one of these companies myself — so their inclusion here is for information only and shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement.
Managed WordPress Hosting
As the popularity of WordPress has grown a number of companies have emerged offering services that specialise in hosting WordPress based websites. These services carry out aspects of the “management” of the installation, such as updates and security, for you and have optimised their servers to better run WordPress.
Managed WordPress hosting is suitable for organisations that have larger and more popular websites but do not have the technical skills to be comfortable in managing them. However, this “hassle free” approach comes at a cost. Managed WordPress hosting is more expensive.
Two of the leading companies providing managed WordPress hosting are as follows, although other providers are available:
I also provide managed WordPress hosting for those who want a website for their business or organisation as part of my GritHost.net service. GritHost provides individually tailored WordPress powered websites for small to medium sized organisations and businesses.
Alternatives to Self-Hosted WordPress
Note that if all you want to do is run a personal blog, and so you don’t need the full flexibility of a website running the self-hosted version of WordPress, you might want to consider getting a blog from WordPress.com. Whilst the basic service is free you can get extra features, such as using your own domain name, by purchasing upgrades.
Sharing some similarities with WordPress.com is my own GritPress.net service. GritPress is a WordPress powered publishing and social media management service for professionals, freelancers, campaigners and bloggers designed to make it easy for individuals to make a good impression in the digital world.