Today, WordPress is one of the most popular blogging engines on the internet. It has become so widely used that some of the world’s largest hosting providers like GoDaddy have an especially dedicated service that caters to WordPress users alone.
One of the things that makes WordPress popular with bloggers (individual and corporate) across the world is the fact that it is very easy to use. The interface and features of the engine are pretty straight forward and anyone, having spent just a couple of hours reading about it, can successfully navigate a basic blog’s configuration and have their first blog post up in a matter of minutes.
For those that need to extend the basic engine, WordPress offers “little bits” of software called plug-ins. Plug-ins allow blog owners to add features that are not offered by default. If, for example, a blogger wanted to implement an SEO (search engine optimization) strategy to drive more traffic and increase readability, they could simply add one of the many WordPress plug-ins that make it easy to create content that will rank high on search engines result pages.
Any serious blogger will want to make sure that as many plug-ins as possible are made available to them. As a result, WordPress bloggers need to look for other hosting providers that will allow them as much control over their plug-in choices as possible. Therefore, the question needs to be asked: “What are the best hosting providers for WordPress plug-ins?”
Well, to answer that question, we will need to have a look at 6 key features that can help with arriving at a decision:
1. How Many Plug-ins are Available? – This is a no-brainer, especially if no payment is required to install and use them (open source plug-ins). A great example can, again, be GoDaddy – which promises to let its clients have their choice from 1000s of themes and plug-ins which are made available in all their hosting plans.
2. Are Third-Party Plug-ins Allowed? – As mentioned earlier, some hosting providers do not like the idea of having their clients install and use plug-ins that they haven’t personally endorsed for use on their sites. Quite frankly, it really does make sense if the hosting providers take it upon themselves to make as many plug-ins as possible available to their clients and then take extra caution about letting their clients run external software on their servers as they might pose a security threat. So, this point needs to be considered with care: Is it better to work with a provider that offers relatively fewer plug-ins (but is more security conscious) or work with one that allows full freedom of the entire range of plug-ins (but exposes itself to a much larger threat)?
As an alternative, one can always opt for the likes of 1&1 WordPress Hosting which not only offers a list of recommended plug-ins (and themes) that clients can install “with one click”, but also the fact that they have an “Easy Assistant” plug-in which they claim takes the guesswork out of setting up WordPress design and plug-ins. This way, 1&1 Hosting will serve as the guide for the selection and installation of plug-ins.
3. Do It Offer Help and Support? – Plug-ins work just like any other software. They need to be downloaded and installed properly. There should be a well-defined and easily-accessible set of instructions on how to install and use them securely and efficiently. A great example can be Just Host which has a help section that shows its clients how to do everything from logging in and using WordPress to installing plug-ins in great detail. In the case of IX Web Hosting, it offers 24/7 support from WordPress trained staff – none of that “well-rounded professional” stuff with these guys.
4. How Quickly Can You Recover From A Crash? – Not all plug-ins are as wonderful as advertised. Due to a technical glitch, some installations might go awry and end up bringing the whole blog or site down. In this case, the time in which a complete recovery can be made by the hosting provider is critical. Admitted, there are workarounds where the blog’s owner can log in via FTP and remove the trouble-causing plug-in (or its update) but not everyone is a tech guru. For most of us [normal people], the best option would be to ask the hosting providers to restore a backup of the blog. The sooner they can do it, the better.
5. How Often Do They Backup? – In relation to the above point, how often a web hosting provider runs backups of its clients’ sites is an important point to look into. WordPress sites make more use of external software than any “normal” website usually does. The more plug-ins that are used the more care that needs be taken to ensure that nothing goes wrong – hence the need for regular backups. In case of a crash, it would be much better to restore a day-old backup than one that was weeks old.
6. Are Alternate Versions of WordPress Allowed? – One thing about plug-ins, like most software, is that they are created to run on a specific – or a limited range of – versions of WordPress. Although bloggers now have the choice of selecting from any number of plug-ins that can do one specific task, there might come a time when they really want to work with just a specific one that serves the exact purpose they are looking for. A problem arises when the plug-in can only run on one version of WordPress while, unfortunately, the hosting provider offers another version. Will they allow for the installation of an alternate version (older or newer) of WordPress or will they simply ask the bloggers to look for another provider? Similarly, what if it (the plug-in) doesn’t work with a particular theme or conflicts with another plug-in? Will they allow for the installation of other versions?
If WordPress is the way to go for you, it’s important that you take the above notes into consideration when finding the best hosting provider for plug-in capability. We hope we’ve helped narrow down your list by offering some of our favorite integrated WordPress providers.