Web hosting vs WordPress hosting: Which is best? – Tom's Guide

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By Kristen Hicks published 20 July 21
Comparing and contrasting the two types of hosting
Building a website may be easier now than it’s ever been, particularly with the best website builders, but new website owners still face a lot of different decisions in the process. One of the most important decisions you have to make early on is figuring out which of the best web hosting services are ideal for your website. 
You’ll find a lot of different terms and categories in your research about web hosts—It’s a lot to navigate. A question you’ll want to understand early on is how web hosting and the best WordPress hosting compare, and here we pit web hosting vs WordPress hosting to help you make a choice between the two.
Web hosting is an essential service for every website. Every website is essentially a collection of files. When you’re in the designing phase, those files might all live on your personal computer or in the software you’re using to design your website. But when you’re ready for them to be published to the web, they need to be stored on a physical server that can serve them up to each person that comes to your website.
Web hosting providers own and maintain physical servers for this purpose, and most website owners rent out space on those servers to host their websites.
WordPress hosting is a subset of web hosting services focused on websites built on the content management system (CMS) WordPress. WordPress hosting plans include features and services that ensure the web hosting works seamlessly with any WordPress website.
The particulars of a WordPress hosting plan will vary depending on the web hosting provider you go with, but they’ll typically make it easy to install WordPress with your web host, offer security features specific to WordPress vulnerabilities, and ensure your website stays up-to-date with each WordPress update.
WordPress hosting isn’t required for a website that uses WordPress, but in many cases it will be the best choice. Learn more about WordPress in our WordPress review, or check out our step-by-step guide on how to build a website with WordPress.

The difference between web hosting and WordPress hosting is that web hosting refers to a broad category of services of which WordPress hosting is one specific type. The term web hosting describes a variety of types of web hosting plans, with a range of costs and features. WordPress hosting is a specialized type of web hosting for people with websites built on WordPress. 
All WordPress hosting plans count as a form of web hosting, but only some web hosting plans are WordPress hosting.
WordPress logo
WordPress has its own category of web hosting services because of its immense popularity. Around 42% of all websites are built using WordPress. That means there’s enough of a market of WordPress users for web hosting companies to offer plans specifically optimized for WordPress websites. 
WordPress hosting plans vary based on the plan and provider, but the best WordPress hosting plans will include some key benefits.
WordPress hosting makes sense for a lot of websites, but it’s not necessarily for everyone.
computer screen with web hosting graphics
Web hosting is a necessary expense for every website, but web hosting plans vary considerably in terms of type, cost, and the features and benefits they provide. The main factor that determines the cost and value of a web hosting plan is what type of plan it is. The main categories you’ll see are:
WordPress hosting isn’t a different type of plan from these, rather it’s a category that can fall under any one of them. Depending on the plan you go with, it could be shared WordPress hosting, cloud WordPress hosting, etc, so you’ll want to check before signing up for a WordPress hosting plan to learn which type it is. 
The difference with WordPress hosting is less about the server it’s on, and more about the additional features that come with it.
If you have a WordPress website, managed WordPress hosting is a good choice if you want a web hosting plan that will make your life a little easier, since you won’t have to worry as much about updates and security. It can also be a smart choice if you aren’t particularly tech savvy, and want the convenience of having expert WordPress support on hand. 
But if you either don’t have a WordPress website, or if your priority is choosing the most affordable option, then another web hosting plan may make more sense.
Kristen Hicks is a freelance content marketing writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things.  She uses that curiosity, combined with years of experience researching and writing, to cover tech topics for Tom’s Guide. She has five furry co-workers, an ever-growing book collection, and a (usually) well-stocked wine rack. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.
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