If you’re thinking of starting a site, and decided that WordPress is for you, then the next step is deciding on how to host it.
Probably the most popular, and definitely the cheapest option, is shared hosting. It’s the cheapest because there are generally no set resources allocated per site, allowing hosts to put hundreds or thousands of sites on a server. There is more than just one server(hopefully), but there’s a really high website to server ratio, which can be problematic. If you’re just starting out, then shared hosting is great because they often bundle domain names with the cost. But, if one or more websites get hit with a lot of traffic, your speed can suffer. The higher end shared hosting providers add more resources during peak traffic, but the really cheap hosting will likely just crash. You also can’t really customize your server config, which will not likely be a problem if your host is using the Apache web server with
.htaccess enabled(or LiteSpeed). Most providers also give you access to a control panel, such as cPanel, which is where you can manage your website, install WordPress, and do everything else your host provides.
Once your site outgrows shared hosting, VPS hosting is the next step, then dedicated, then a cluster. VPS hosting is in between shared hosting and dedicated hosting: your site gets allocated resources and is separated from the other sites, but still runs on the same server as other websites. The separation means that even if one site gets a lot of traffic, and their VPS crashes(which will probably not happen on Linux), yours will not be affected. This is more expensive than shared hosting, but you will likely still get a control panel, and be able to customize your server a bit, if you’re a techy person.
Once your site gets too big for VPS hosting, the next step up is dedicated hosting. Dedicated generally means that you’re the only one with access to the server hardware, although there is likely still virtualization going on. Dedicated servers are similar to VPS hosting, and you will probably get a control panel, and also near full access to modify anything on the server. This does increase the risk of breaking something, so only modify server files if you’re comfortable with troubleshooting. However, dedicated servers can deal with significantly more traffic than shared hosting, and there is a near-zero chance of one website’s traffic affecting yours(ok, technically, the network can get congested, but I doubt that will happen).
Managed hosting is hosting where someone else manages the server, and sometimes even your site, for you. You just work on creating content, and someone else does all the work of keeping your site up do date and online. Of course, this makes managed hosting much more expensive, but in return you don’t need to worry about your site. While this is the most beginner friendly because it requires the least maintenance, it is rather expensive, with plans starting at $30+ for the lowest plans.