WordPress is one of the most common applications installed on hosting accounts, with shared hosting being ideal for novice WordPress users.

Many major hosts have partnered with Automattic, the makers of WordPress, to promote its blogging software.

But what do you really need out of a host to run WordPress?

Starting a WordPress Blog

WordPress is very lightweight and easy to install. If you want to start a blog, it’s harder to find a host that doesn’t support WordPress than one that does.

But while the requirements of WordPress are simple, some extra features are ‘nice to have’ and will improve your WordPress hosting experience as your knowledge deepens.

Likewise, some hosts are less suitable for WordPress for a variety of reasons.

Official Requirements

Note: This information was correct when this blog was first published (August 2010).

According to, there are only three actual requirements for running WordPress:

Mod_rewrite is used for the Permalinks feature in WordPress, which is used by nearly all blogs, but could be omitted if you were really stuck. It’s very unlikely that your host won’t offer it, so we’ll bundle it in as a requirement regardless.

PHP 4.3 was released in late 2002 and MySQL 4.1.2 was released in May of 2004, so compatibility is very unlikely to be an issue either.

But you’ll need other features for the best experience.

Features That Make WordPress Better

In addition to the official requirements, there are a few things we’d recommend you look out for.

WordPress hosts are so common that none of these features are likely to be an issue, with the possible exception of FTP access. If your host doesn’t let you log in via FTP, it’s probably best to shop around for another that will.

Special Requirements

What else should you look for? Here are a few miscellaneous caveats for specific circumstances.

Time to Choose a WordPress Host?

WordPress is fairly easy to install and use. That’s why it’s so popular. It doesn’t require lots of power, and most hosts provide affordable packages that meet its minimum requirements.

If your site is likely to need something quirky, that’s when you need to take care. Ask the host’s sales team what’s possible.

Finally, don’t forget to read hosting reviews to see how others have fared when using WordPress with your chosen hosting provider.