Opinions here are
- Based on personal experience, let me know in comments if you have a different experience
- For a small website/blog, things are completely different for a high traffic, scalable and highly available website.
- Not an exhaustive list. Just the things I have experimented with. I understand that there are lot of other ways out there to host a WordPress site.
- Most of the opinion here are for a person small scale website/blog where the objective is to have a low cost simple WordPress installation. Things are completely different for a high traffic, highly scalable, highly available sites.
In my opinion, the easiest and most straightforward way to host a WordPress blog is to host on wordpress.com. You don’t have to maintain any server and you can focus on building content. But it is a bit pricey in my opinion. Just for mapping custom domain it costs $4 (a few years back when I used this it was $13). There are other limitations also, like availability of custom themes, not being able to remove WordPress branding and not being able to monetize(run ads) unless you upgrade to premium plans.For full comparison check out https://wordpress.com/pricing/
The next choice is to use something like Lightsail. Many of the configurations and pre-baked. All you have to do is configure using a nice administration tool. You also get ssh access and database access if you want to configure stuff on the backend.
If you want more control and choice in terms of infrastructure then consider using self-hosting. I have used DigitalOcean in the past and currently I am using a t2micro EC2 instance.
I have started this blog back in 2004-2005. It was originally on blogspot. Later, in 2006/2007 I discovered wordpress.com and moved my blog to parasjain01.wordpress.com. A few years later I purchased my custom domain parasjain.net and used custom domain with wordpress.com platform. Since then, I have experimented with self hosting then back to wordpress.com and then back to self hosting. There are some limitations on wordpress.com platform, I didn’t like therefore I was experimenting with self hosting. But it consumes a lot of time and energy.
Last year, in 2019, I have moved my person blog from Digital Ocean to AWS EC2 and my domain from GoDaddy to AWS Route 53.
Even though this option worked very well for me, recently when one of my friend asked me to host a site for him, I considered using Amazon Lightsail.
It was surprisingly easy and quick to set it up. As of now the $3.50 plan is working well for our purposes. If the traffic increases, and generates revenue, upgrading to higher plans shouldn’t be a problem. I will write my experiences with it in other blog post.