Find the Best WordPress Hosting

Last updated on 16 February 2017

One of the keys to a successful website is choosing the best hosting company possible. When it comes to WordPress hosting, there are some unique factors to look at to ensure you are getting the best service possible.

TL;DR: What’s in this guide

Common WordPress Hosting Choices

WP Host Managed? Highlights Price Visit
BlueHost No Recommended by WordPress.org, powering over 2 million websites. $2.95/mo bluehost.com
DreamHost Yes 100% network uptime guarantee, 97 day money back guarantee. $7.95/mo dreamhost.com
eHost No Good budget choice. $2.75/mo ehost.com
FlyWheel Yes Tuned for WordPress, staging sites, nightly backups, built for designers and agencies (easy collaboration and resell). $15.00/mo getflywheel.com
LiquidWeb Yes Custom WordPress dashboard, staging sites, iThemes Sync Pro, 59-second guarantee response time. $119.00/mo liquidweb.com
Pressidium Yes Pinnacle – special built security platform with bad bots filtering, malware monitoring, and end-to-end managed security; staging sites, fully burstable elastic cloud, and dynamic load balancing. $49.90/mo pressidium.com
SiteGround Yes Recommended by WordPress.org, staging sites, Git pre-installed, WP-CLI ready, and WP expert support. $7.95/mo siteground.com
WP Engine Yes Server built for WordPress only, trusted by more than 50,000 users including SoundCloud, National Geographic, and Yelp; WP expert support. $29.00/mo wpengine.com

 

What is WordPress Hosting?

WordPress hosting refers a web hosting platform made specifically for a site running on the content management system WordPress.

  • WordPress is a lightweight script that runs on PHP 5.2.4 or higher.
  • It is compatible with nearly all web hosting services.
  • Some hosting companies specialize in WordPress hosting with unique capabilities that work best with this platform.

WordPress can run on a regular shared hosting platform.

If you understand basic database management and PHP coding, then you’ll probably prefer a regular shared hosting plan with the ability to install WordPress as your CMS.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

You have two options for types of WordPress hosting. Which option you choose will depend upon the different features you need for your site.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com Homepage
WordPress.com Homepage

WordPress.com hosts basic WP sites on their servers. You will set up an account and have a name assigned to you. So, your address for your website on WordPress.com might be something along the lines of myname.wordpress.com.

While it is free to set up a site on WordPress.com, you will have a lot of limitations if you choose this type. For example, you won’t be able to install plugins. WordPress.com will also display ads on your blog but you will not earn any money from those ads.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org homepage.
WordPress.org homepage.

If you choose to download the program files from WordPress.org, you’ll need your own web hosting account so you can install the program.

Some web hosting packages come with features in the control panel that allow you to install WP with a single click or two of the mouse.

The benefits of using WordPress.org files on your own server is that you can completely customize your site, add advertising to create a revenue stream, and install as many plugins as you’d like. However, this won’t come free. You’ll have to pay for the website hosting and to register a domain name. Expect to pay at least $70-$100/year for these services.

What Makes for Good WordPress Hosting?

Any host can be turned into a WordPress host if they have two basic requirements. You will want to make sure that the host offers PHP 5.2.4 or greater and MySQL 5.0 or greater. However, just because a hosting company has PHP and MySQL does not mean it is the right hosting company for you. Not all WordPress hosts are created equal.

Good WordPress hosting should include:

Factor #1: Easy (1-click) WordPress Installs

Most web hosting companies today provide this service via the control panel or will offer to install WordPress for you. This saves you having to set up a database from scratch as the process is automated.

Factor #2: Special Setup and Tools

A good hosting company for a WP site will offer tools that will allow you to secure and optimize website performance on the WP platform.

SiteGround is a good example here. They offer custom-built tools and allow you to customize your site to boost WordPress site performance. Some of the tools include 3 levels of caching, WordPress staging, auto updates, and constant monitoring for WP related vulnerabilities and WAF rules.

siteground-wordpress-tool

Factor #3: Team of WordPress Experts

The best hosting companies for WP websites offer a team of experts who can answer your questions about WordPress, how it runs, and how to fix bugs in the programming.

As you begin to customize your site, for example, you might run into errors that need trouble shooting. Will your hosting company help you? Is it free or is there a small fee? A good example here is WP Engine. The company was started by WP expert Jason Cohen. Their support team consists of about 100 full-time WP experts who can assist users.

WP Engineers: Engineers and WordPress experts in WP Engine support team.
WP Engineers: Engineers and WordPress experts in WP Engine support team.

So, who has the best WordPress hosting?

The truth is that there’s no one-web host-fits-all answer to this question. What is right for you might not be right for other website owners. However, there are some hosts that seem to go above and beyond when it comes to catering to WordPress users.

Official recommendations (by WordPress.org) include:

SiteGround

sg-wordpress-hosting

SiteGround also costs a bit more, but you get what you pay for when it comes to web hosting. This company offers a premium WP hosting platform and tons of handy custom-built tools.

Although the startup plan is only $3.95/month, that is for a mere 10 GB, which likely won’t last you long. A better, mid-sized plan is the GoGeek plan at $14.95/month. With that plan, you’ll get 30 GB of space and as many as 100,000 visitors a month. You can also host multiple websites if needed. You’ll gain the premium and geeky WordPress features lacking in the StartUp package. All accounts come with free CDN.

URL: https://www.siteground.com/wordpress-hosting.htm

BlueHost

bluehost-wp-hosting

BlueHost is a popular WordPress hosting provider. They host more than 2 million sites at the time of this writing. They are extremely affordable, with plans starting as low as $2.95 per month.

BlueHost offers site builders, 1-Click WP install, and 24/7 customer support. However, they also had several major outages in 2014/2015. If you choose to go with this hosting company, monitor uptime to be sure the outage problems have been resolved and be prepared with a backup plan.

URL: https://www.bluehost.com/

DreamHost

dreamhost-hosting

DreamHost is a good, middle of the road WordPress hosting company.

They are not extremely expensive, but not cheap at about $7.95/month. However, with the slightly higher price tag comes some added capabilities, such as support for both WP-CLI and Git, which is convenient for WP site development and customizations. They state that they have 100% server uptime and no limitations on bandwidth (although there are always some limitations on bandwidth). Overall, this is a good hosting company if you’re looking to grow your WP site.

URL: https://www.dreamhost.com/

FlyWheel

flywheel-wp-hosting

FlyWheel is quite a bit pricier than the other two mentioned above. A site with about 5,000 monthly visits (250 GB bandwidth usage) will run around $15/month.

The plans go up in price from there, depending upon how much traffic your site gets and how much storage you need. CDN can be added on and is included with their highest level plan. You’ll gain access to demo sites, malware monitoring, and auto backups.

URL: https://getflywheel.com/

 

More: WordPress-Managed Hosting

Shoppers who have a bit of extra padding in their budgets should look at WordPress-managed hosting.

One of the best things about managed hosting is that you will receive all the technical support you might need. If you wish to install a plugin but aren’t sure how to do it, the hosting company will take care of this for you. If you are trying to customize a theme and you mess something up, managed hosting will save you.

Because of market demands, managed WordPress Hosting started about 5 to 7 years ago.

Popular WordPress-managed Hosting

Some examples of managed hosting can be found by providers such as: WP EnginePressidium, and FlyWheel.

These hosting companies specialize only in WordPress. Their severs are specifically calibrated for WP sites. All the technical aspects of your site are managed by the hosting company, including security, speed, WP updates, daily backups, and scalability. The experience should be simple for the website owner so you can focus on building traffic to your site and adding new content.

Managed WordPress Hosting - End-to-end
Some of the perks with managed WordPress hosting – End-to-end server security, full chroot environment, managed auto-updates, better site loading speed, expert supports, etc. Source: Pressidium.

A drawback to using a managed hosting solution for your WP site will be that you will likely be limited to using only the WP platform. However, managed WP sites tend to be more secure and load faster, so may well be worth the extra price tag.

The Best WordPress Hosting Should Suit Your Needs

There isn’t much difference between choosing a WordPress host and choosing a normal shared or VPS hosting.

wpengine feb 2016 uptime
Server uptime and response time of our test site hosted at WP Engine (managed WP hosting) in February 2016: 99.97%.

No matter which WordPress hosting solution you choose, hosting server uptime and speed are still the two most important elements to a successful site.

Next in line, you should look at the customer support of the hosting company and whether they provide specific support for WordPress. Finally, look compare the costs with the features to find the best host for you.

Questions to ask…

To pick the right WP hosting, you will first need to understand your hosting needs. Ask yourself the following questions to figure out exactly what you need in a host:

  • Do you plan to only run WordPress on your site or will you have other features now or in the future? This can mean the difference between choosing a package that is exclusively WP related or one that has a bit more flexibility as your company grows.
  • How much space do you need? If you’ve not yet built your site, how much space are similar sites using?
  • Will the site be image heavy or mainly text?
  • How much traffic do you think your site has the potential to hit? All of this will factor into which hosting plan you can most easily afford?
  • Can you save more money by signing a longer contract? For example, some companies offer a huge discount for signing up for two or three years upfront. However, the drawback to this is that if you don’t like the hosting company you will either be out the money or stuck with them until the contract is up.
  • Does the hosting company offer caching services to help your pages load faster? The average site visitor gives a site a short amount of time to load and then bounces away from that page. You want your pages to load as quickly as possible.
  • What type of tech support does the hosting company offer and when? If you work on your website during off hours and run into a problem, will there be someone available to help you?
  • What add-on services are available? Can you pay extra for CDN? Does the server offer tech support for WordPress in addition to typical customer support?
  • What are other users saying about each hosting company? Take the time to read testimonials. Then, type the host’s name and the word “complaint” into a search engine and read through any complaints about the hosting company. Are the complaints legitimate? Were they resolved?

These are just a few of the things to take into consideration when choosing a hosting company. By better understanding your own brand, you can more easily choose a hosting solution that will work best for you.

Quick tip:  Still can’t get decided? Check our list of recommended WordPress hosting at top.

Why Is WordPress so Popular?

More than
Over 240,000 sites (>25%) in BuiltWith’s list of Top Million, including ibm.com, people.com, and rollingstones.com, are built with WordPress. Source: BuiltWith WordPress usage statistics.

Out of all the blogging platforms available, WordPress is one of the more popular ones. The ability to add plugins, unique themes, and completely customize the platform can make your site stand out from the millions of others on the Web today. Choosing the right hosting company can give you a vital partner in building your online business.