Web hosting is a big yawn, I know. It’s about as exciting as waiting in line (where? anywhere!). But the right WordPress hosting provider can make or break your website.

If you base your decision on a hosting provider purely on cost, you are going to get what you pay for. If you’re paying three dollars a month for hosting, you’re going to get a hosting solution that’s worth that three dollars and not a penny more, plus deal with any downtime and site failures yourself—or paying someone else to fix them.

If you’re serious about your WordPress website, your WordPress hosting should be serious, too.

Below are five benchmarks you should use to compare WordPress hosting providers. Each one is important, but arguably, the last one is the most important: time. We recommend working with a managed WordPress hosting provider because you will save time handling the technical details of your website. Upgrades, security, migrations, etc., are all done for you. You can use that time for a better purpose, such as developing content for your site or running your business.

1. Reliability

When your site is slow or not working, it directly impacts your business and costs you money. Check to see if your provider offers dedicated resources or shared hosting. Shared hosting means your website is tied to a pool of other websites and can be affected by any one of them. For example, if another site on that shared server suddenly receives a lot of traffic, your site could go down. Dedicated resources means your website is on a dedicated VPS. A VPS is a virtual private server, isolating and protecting your website from other websites (though they may be on the same physical machine). Your website isn’t affected by what happens to other websites.

2. Speed

People don’t have a lot of patience with slow websites. Slow load times on your site will make them go somewhere else. Very slow-loading sites, especially on mobile, may also be penalized in Google search results, impacting your SEO. Check that your hosting provider has fine-tuned their servers for optimal WordPress performance and configured all the caching, especially for plugins, which can really slow down your site speed.

3. Security

To keep your site secure, you will need to ensure it’s protected from the latest malware or hacking attempts. A good managed hosting provider will be on top of the latest security vulnerabilities and proactively block them whenever they can. This cuts down on the possibility your website will be compromised and, if it is, that it can be fixed quickly (preferably for free).

4. Backups

Why back up your website? If you’ve ever lost work due to a computer crash or a virus, you know the pain. Imagine losing your entire website due to malware or hacking.

Backing up your WordPress site every day is a drag. Why not have your hosting provider do it? Select a host that provides daily backups and the ability to restore your website as soon as possible. Also, find out if the backups are stored off-site, meaning in a different place than your server is located. That’s an industry best practice, and your hosting provider should be doing it.

5. Time

Time, as you’re aware, is the one resource you cannot create, reuse, or recycle. You have better things to do with your time than dealing with your web hosting.

Some people enjoy being more hands-on with their web hosting, finding satisfaction in dealing with support, malware, and downtime, managing plugins and updates, and grappling with server optimization. If you truly enjoy this kind of work and it doesn’t distract you from more important work in your business, then managed hosting isn’t for you.

But if you’d rather take those precious hours and use them to run your business, learn a new skill, or spend time with family and friends, then managed hosting is for you. With managed hosting, you’re paying for a hassle-free hosting solution that’s managed for you. All of the performance, speed, and security concerns are taken care of for you, so you never have to think about them and can get back to the things you love.

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