In order for your website to be accessed via the internet, it must reside on a computer, also known as a server. And while it is possible to host a website on your own personal home computer, most websites are hosted on a dedicated computer or server operated by a company or non-profit organization.
There are several options for having your WordPress site hosted on a server. If one machine is used solely to host your website, this is known as dedicated hosting, but this is an expensive option that’s only suitable for very high-traffic websites. In most cases, a shared hosting option is much more suitable as well as being the most affordable type of third-party hosting available.
Shared hosting, just as the name implies, involves one server simultaneously hosting multiple, different websites. In some cases, a single server may be hosting hundreds if not thousands of different websites.
The benefits of using shared hosting are its low cost and ease of use. If you’re just starting out with your first WordPress site, you’re probably better off choosing a shared hosting plan. Prices vary but are usually less than $10 a month. Shared hosting plans are also designed to be easy to use as they are the most popular hosting plans for the majority of websites on the internet.
The downside of using a shared hosting plan is that one machine is tasked with delivering all of the data from the different websites that it hosts. In some cases, this can result in slower speeds or congestion during periods of high traffic.
If your website begins to grow more popular, you may need to consider upgrading to a dedicated hosting plan, but keep in mind that the costs are between 10 and 20 times higher than for a shared hosting plan.
For more information on hosting, check out our best wordpress hosting guide.