… is that there’s no such thing as best WordPress hosting.
WordPress.com (the site where you build and host your site for free) and WordPress.org (the system/app you use to build a site) is one of the most popular blogging platforms out there – and for good reason. Its existing templates are so easy to use that even the most novice website architect can navigate them to create a beautiful, professional website – not to mention that for the seasoned developer, the site is highly customizable. There are thousands of plug-ins, it’s free, and has built-in metrics. What’s not to love?
Well, for starters, you need a reliable, quality way to host your site if you want it to go live.
Think of the blogging platform as the paper you draw on – you can complete the drawing and color in all of the finishes, but you also want a quality place to display your finished artwork. Hosting is the piece that you need to go on display.
This is one of the biggest problems with WordPress.com: the integrated hosting is quite flawed.
For many writers, their blog is their business – meaning they need to monetize it, but WordPress.com does not allow bloggers to monetize their sites.
Additionally, the built-in hosting in WordPress.com provides site owners with a partially selected domain – meaning that they can select their domain name, but that the system adds on an additional string to the end of it; the result is a long URL (something like myblog.wordpress.com) that is not only difficult for potential visitors to remember, but it does not provide a professional image.
Finally, paid hosting provides far more flexibility for things like storage, owning your ad space, security, and site portability.
“Jerry, Who Has the Best Hosting for My WordPress Site?”
One of the most popular questions I receive from WordPress users is which hosting option is best; my answer to this question is consistently (and always will be), “It depends.”
As with anything in life, there is no one size fits all solution – every blog is different and each organization has its own unique sets of needs and preferences. Not to go to apple and oranges references, but it’s like a fruit basket – if you ask which one is best, you’re likely to get weird looks (one, because you’re asking about the quality of fruit baskets and, two, because it’s so largely based on opinion and need).
Best WordPress Hosting, according to WordPress
Thankfully, there is no shortage of options out there through external sites to host your WordPress site. WordPress itself offers hosting recommendations, including BlueHost, Dream Host, and Laughing Squid.
According to WordPress, these hosting providers are:
…in our opinion, the hosts below represent some of the best and brightest of the hosting world.
But are these hosting providers “the” best WordPress hosting for real? We will see.
BlueHost promises several great benefits, such as unlimited disk storage and monthly data transfers and to make WordPress updates within 24 hours of rollout. On paper, it looks great. However, they are known for CPU throttling and are typically not suitable for WordPress sites with lots of traffic. You can read my BlueHost review here.
DreamHost offers 97 days money back trial and 100% uptime guarantee at very reasonable pricing – which sounds awesome. But DreamHost isn’t totally perfect too. Some users take issue with how the dashboard is laid out (confusing and ugly) and there’s no discount for repeat customers (detail DreamHost review here).
This provider can be a good option if you are well versed in code, open source, and programming. Many things need to be done manually, including the initial WordPress installation – definitely not the best WordPress hosting for non-techy or beginners.
The best WordPress Hosting?
So these are out there, but the question remains – are they the best hosting options for WordPress sites?
That is really up to you to determine as, in truth, there is (again) no such thing as best WordPress hosting.
The best hosting option for your site depends on your need – perhaps you’re on a shoestring budget or need integrated email hosting. The best hosting for your WordPress site really depends on your needs – and only you know what that means for your site and business.
My Choice of WordPress Hosting
Me personally? I prefer WP Engine because it supports high Web website traffic volume while maintaining a very high level of security.
However, the downside of WP Engine is that it does not provide email hosting and pricing is not as low as some of the competitors – it charges $29 per month for an entry-level Web developer as an individual, though plans do go all the way up to $249 per month for a business. Plan pricing varies based on the number of WordPress installs, visits per month, and local storage volume needs. One of the beautiful things about WP Engine, though, is that all plans include unlimited data transfers.
For more details, read my WP Engine review.
One man’s meat is another man’s poison
That said, what works for me may not work for you.
Often times, we think we know what we want only to find ourselves second guessing when it comes time to actually make the purchase. Make your purchasing process a smooth one by knowing exactly what you want – and the first step toward that is to know your needs. As you look to decide which hosting option is best for you, consider the following:
- Do you need email hosting?
- Do you need a decent mount of storage that can accommodate large media files?
- How many visitors does your site receive each month?
- Is your visitor traffic fairly steady, or do you expect to see traffic grow fairly quickly? Some hosting companies offer scalable plans that are on par with your initial pricing (per storage unit) whereas with others, costs rise quite quickly.
- What additional services do you need beyond the basic hosting?
- Do you require backups? And, how often?
- What level of customer support do you require? Are you fairly self-sufficient or will you want a phone number with a person waiting on the other end who can answer your questions directly and provide support as needed?
- Are you able to tweak and secure your WordPress site yourself as needed or will you need technical support to make your site function?
- Is your site fairly established? What is your contingency plan in case your site fails? Some hosting companies require term contracts, so if your site fails, you would – in case of a contract – still be required to pay for hosting.
- What level of security do you require for your site? Is your site an attraction for hackers or of little interest? Make sure that the hosting company that you select has security protocols, firewalls, etc. in place that are in line with your needs.
- Where is the data center located? Though it is not always true, typically internationally located data centers can cause slower site load times. InMotion Hosting, for your reference, allows users to choose their server location. Hence it could be a good choice if server location is your concern.
- Is public relations a concern for your organization? If so, make sure to work only with hosting companies that also have spotless records.
Do User Reviews Matter?
One of the beautiful things about living in the world today is the wide wealth of knowledge available at our fingertips. And, as with most things, knowledge is power.
Hosting company reviews are a bit different as, typically, the people leaving the reviews are people who are in the technical know and really know what they are talking about from a capabilities and functionality standpoint. Sour grapes are always sour grapes – but sour tones in hosting company reviews tend to have a bit more merit than some of the restaurant reviews floating around the Web.
Keep in mind that consumers are much more likely to leave a review to voice a bad experience – the web can be a great outlet to vent frustration – than a good or average one. Bad experiences tend to leave a mark and people are quite eager to talk about them. That said, the reviews that you see are most likely from people who are either very upset or extremely happy with the service – you will seldom see reviews about mediocre service and experiences.
All of this said, despite passion that may be in play, hosting reviews can be a great tool for vetting potential hosting companies. Remember – when you read the hosting company’s website, you are reading only what they want you to read. You will undoubtedly have to do a bit more digging to find out the full scoop about their services and specifics about how their offerings work – and reviews can be a great place to start.
Pay special attention to feedback in comparison to provider service claims – do they deliver? Do their services match up to their claims from their website? How was their customer service? Policies? Etc. Do a thorough vetting before you sign on.
At the end of the day, provided that you have done your research, trust your gut instinct to decide which hosting company is best for your own WordPress site.