WordPress is by far my favorite open source CMS. Many years ago I tried Joomla! I was pretty good at it but it was so unintuitive that when you came back to it, it took forever to figure out what you did. It’s true. That’s why I don’t even link to it here. I love WordPress. Eventually I will learn how to code my own theme.
WordPress.org lists only three preferred hosts on this page, where this excerpt is from: There are hundreds of thousands of web hosts out there, the vast majority of which meet the WordPress minimum requirements, and choosing one from the crowd can be a chore. Just like flowers need the right environment to grow, WordPress works best when it’s in a rich hosting environment. We’ve dealt with more hosts than you can imagine; in our opinion, the hosts below represent some of the best and brightest of the hosting world. If you do decide to go with one of the hosts below and click through from this page, some will donate a portion of your fee back—so you can have a great host and support WordPress.org at the same time. If you don’t need the flexibility of a full web host, you may consider getting a free blog on WordPress.com.”
I have included more recommendations on this site (just look under the category “web” and you will find them) from various colleagues and alumni. I have used Dreamhost for years as do many people I know—they’re reliable and the user interface is intuitive. If you’re a student starting out, they don’t necessarily have the best deals ($120/year) although they sometimes have specials.
Dreamhost offers one click installs for WordPress and other open source software apps. Also, one free domain registration with your account. You can host unlimited domains on your account as well. What’s not to like?
Bluehost is another host at roughly $7/month and frequently has specials. Although one should always read the fine print. Michael Hyaat has a free screencast to set up WordPress on Bluehost. However, I found that on Dreamhost it was intuitive and I’ve set up over 10 WordPress sites.
You may consider WordPress Multisite, a special “mode” built into WordPress, which allows you to create a network of multiple websites, all running on a single installation of WordPress. Mashable has a good tutorial here. Their examples of when not to use it include:
- Portfolio Website: Showcasing your work with images, categories, case studies, and contact info can all be handled within a single WordPress site.
- Personal Blog: If it’s one blog, use regular WordPress. Even if you have multiple categories, multiple authors, or a magazine-style blog with multiple topics, as long as it’s all under one site name your best bet is to stick with WordPress
- Managing Many Websites: Maybe but probably not. If we’re talking about just a few websites, each with completely different purposes, functions, and goals, it might be best to run them on separate installations of a single WordPress. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as you keep them all up to date.