Sometimes we’re asked for recommendations for hosting, plugins and WordPress-related services. These are services and products that we use or have good reason to trust. By good reason we mean that they are recommended by people we trust or have a generally good reputation. None of them are required.
This is a service we are involved with so we can confirm that it is ideal for our themes and plugins. Hassle-free WordPress hosting for churches is the idea. You get managed WordPress hosting at a price of about half what you’d normally pay.
- Choose a host whose support covers WordPress issues. Typical shared hosts usually don’t.
- Be careful not to get locked into a host that only offers annual payment terms. Consider paying monthly at first. You can see if the service is worthwhile before switching to an annual term (usually discounted).
- Find out what the cost is to renew for additional years. Many hosts offer a discounted rate for the first year. Know what the regular price is so you can be prepared for a possible increase on renewal.
- Be aware that hosting “review” sites in general are commission-driven and usually favor hosts who will pay them more. Read our Church Web Hosting Rated and Ranked article.
- If you’re looking for hosting, you may also be about to pick a domain name. Read How to Pick a Domain Name for Your Church Website for our tips.
You can search thousands of WordPress plugins in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory. Commercial plugins are not found in the directory. For those, try Pro Plugin Directory or give Google a search. Here are some plugins that we use on a regular basis.
- Contact Form 7 or Ninja Forms for building contact forms
- Antispam Bee for protecting comments from automated spam
- Yoast SEO for search engine optimization
- Jetpack Carousel for lightbox image display
- Jetpack Publicize for automatically sharing posts, sermons and events on social media
- Jetpack Protect for securing your login form against automated password attempts
- Jetpack Sharing for showing social share buttons on your posts (also see JP Sharing)
- Simple Page Sidebars for showing custom sidebars on specific pages
- WP Updates Notifier to get email when WordPress and your plugins have updates
- Kebo Twitter Feed provides a widget showing your latest tweets
- Google Analytics for WordPress for automatically embedding your analytics code
- WP Rocket is a premium caching plugin that helps increase your site’s speed
- Compress PNG & JPEG Images is another plugin that automates quicker loading
We very much recommend having a backup solution in place.
Recommended: If you’re hosted with WP Church Host, your website is backed up automatically every night at no extra charge. Free website migration is offered to new customers to make switching hosts easy.
- VaultPress – A very good, automated backup service for $3.50/month.
- BackUpWordPress – A free backup plugin with a good ratings.
- UpdraftPlus – Another highly rated free plugin with optional paid add-ons.
- BackupBuddy – A popular paid backup plugin.
You can do manual backups of WordPress as well. Read WordPress Backups on the WordPress Codex. Many web hosts provide general website backups as part of their service. See Best Backup WordPress Plugins According to 21 Pros for other options.
Here are places you can obtain photos for your church website. We recommend using photos taken at your church whenever possible. In some cases, it may be appropriate to use professional stock photos.
- Lightstock provides church-oriented photos. We use them ourselves and highly recommend them.
- Unsplash provides a growing selection of free photos. We curate a collection of Christian-themed photos there.
- PhotoDune is a low-cost stock photo provider. We look here before iStock.
- iStock is a good place to look for higher quality stock photos. We look here when PhotoDune disappoints.
- The Creative Pastor published The Ultimate List of Free Stock Photo Resources
- See 31 Sites to Find Free Stock Photos for Your Church (and 33 More) by Darrel Girardier
Our theme demos use stock photography to show how a real site might look. These photos are not included with the theme. If you see a photo used in a demo that you want to use, you can find its source in Specific Themes.
Some of our themes feature video backgrounds. It can be economical to buy a stock video shot and edited by a professional instead of using a video of your own.
- Lightstock has church-centric stock video footage
- VideoHive has a wide selection of lower priced videos
- Dissolve has moderately prices videos of high quality
- iStock has higher quality videos at a higher price
- Shutterstock is another source worth considering
Important: Videos should not be used on the web without first converting and compressing them. Read our Video Backgrounds guide for how to prepare your video.
Read our How can we handle giving? article for several options for online giving.