Web Host Basics for Your WordPress Blog

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

When you have registered your domain for your WordPress blog, you need to find a place for it to live: a web host. Web hosting is the second piece of the puzzle that you need before you begin working with WordPress.org.

A web host is a business, group, or individual that provides web server space and bandwidth for file transfer to website owners who don’t have it. Usually, web-hosting services charge a monthly or annual fee — unless you’re fortunate enough to know someone who’s willing to give you server space for free. The cost varies from host to host, but you can obtain quality web-hosting services starting at $3 to $10/month.

Web hosts consider WordPress to be a third-party application. What this means to you is that the host typically won’t provide technical support on the use of WordPress (or any other software application) because support isn’t included in your hosting package. To find out whether your chosen host supports WordPress, always ask first. As a WordPress user, you can find WordPress support in the official forums at http://wordpress.org/support.

Several web-hosting providers also have WordPress-related services available for additional fees. These services can include technical support, plugin installation and configuration, and theme design services.

Web-hosting providers generally provide (at least) these services with your account:

  • Hard drive space

  • Bandwidth (transfer)

  • Domain e-mail with web mail access

  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP) access

  • Comprehensive website statistics

  • MySQL database(s)

  • PHP

Because you intend to run WordPress on your web server, you need to look for a host that provides the minimum requirements needed to run the software on your hosting account, which are

  • PHP version 5.2.4 (or greater)

  • MySQL version 5.0 (or greater)

The easiest way to find out whether a host meets the minimum requirements for running the WordPress software is to check the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section of the host’s website, if it has one. If not, find the contact information for the hosting company and fire off an e-mail requesting information on exactly what it supports.