If you’re considering starting or migrating your website to WordPress, one of your primary concerns would be cost. WordPress offers many different functionalities and services, and how much you spend on your site depends on a variety of factors. One of the biggest cost-related decisions you’ll make with your WordPress site is choosing a hosting arrangement.

The cost of WordPress sites depends on how you decide to host it, and your hosting choice should depend on your website’s needs. Making the wrong hosting decision could be disastrous to your site, especially if your website is a source of income. Here are a few different types of hosting options available to users, and what each costs and means for your website.

Managed WordPress Site

If you don’t need all the nuts and bolts, you can host your WordPress site for free. The caveats are that there are limited functionalities, and you don’t get to use your own domain name (your domain name will look something like: www.mywebsite.wordpress.com. However, if your goal is to just have a solid, reliable place where people can look at your resume or get quick information, this could be a viable option.

Virtual Private Server

There are many benefits of virtual private servers. A virtual private server provides users with unlimited bandwidth and and domains. Though there’s only one physical server, it behaves like multiple, separate servers. It’s a step up from shared hosting, and not as expensive as dedicated servers.

A virtual private server offers more stability for basic hosting needs, complete root access, and makes it easy for users to scale their hosting resources. Additionally, this hosting option allows you to make changes to the site (such as adding custom software) without having to wait for support from a hosting provider. A VPS costs anywhere from $100 – $200 per year.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is when your website is hosted on the same server as many others. This is a very common type of hosting. If you don’t use many resources, this could be a great starter option, however, if other sites on the platform take up too much server space, it could adversely affect your site performance. For example, if a site like Airbnb were to use shared hosting, their site would likely crash within minutes. Shared hosted typically costs anywhere from $120 to $240 per year.

Cloud-based Hosting

This is a fairly new type of web hosting that’s becoming increasingly popular.  Because it’s still gaining traction, many people don’t fully understand how cloud-based hosting works. It allows hundreds of servers to work together as a single, cooperative server. For users that expect their traffic to fluctuate (such as if you have a seasonal business), this could be a good option because it enforces usage-based operations, where you pay for what you need and use. Amazon Web Services is one of many companies that offer cloud-based hosting. Costs typically start at around $80 – $160 annually, however, the price would be higher for high-volume sites.

Dedicated Server

A dedicated web server is when an individual rents a single physical server from a hosting company and has full control over that server. This is the most expensive option, but often necessary for high-profile and high-traffic sites. With this type of hosting, you never have to worry about your website slowing down or being dependent on the resources of other sites. In light of our earlier example, sites like Airbnb require dedicated servers to be able to operate on a day to day basis. Annual pricing ranges anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000. Usually, the longer the contract, the lower the final cost and monthly breakdown is.

Lastly, there are some hosting companies that offer premium hosting services for higher rates. These premium packages are geared towards customers who operate high-performance WordPress websites but don’t require a dedicated server. Typically, they have a high volume of traffic and/or they only want to focus on content and would prefer to have a team taking care of site logistics on their behalf.

In addition to considering your budget for your WordPress site, you should anticipate the amount of traffic you’ll have coming in and whether your hosting choice can support your long-term goals. If you’re unsure about the type of hosting you’ll need, reach out to different hosting companies and explain the purpose of your website and what you expect from both your site and your host.