WordPress Hosting: Which Company Is Right For You?
Which describes you best?
I’m a Blogger
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Money Back Guarantee
- Low Price — $2.95/month
I’m a Small Business
- Hassle-Free Hosting
- Hacker Proof*
- Mind-Blowing Tech/Customer Support
I’m New to WP
- WordPress Experts
- 24/7 Friendly Support
- Free Automatic Backups
These days everyone is building a website. Whether it’s to blog about a passion, open up an e-commerce shop filled with amazing products, or to promote a small business, websites are definitely required.
And, with WordPress reigning as the most dominant content management system to date, it is no wonder why WordPress hosting is such a hot topic.
Knowing which web host to go with when there are so many options to choose from can be difficult even for experienced website owners. After all, they all claim to be the best, offer the best, and come at the best price.
But how are you supposed to know which WordPress host is the right choice for you?
Luckily, we have experience helping bloggers grow their followings, create meaningful content, and sustain their success in the competitive online world.
And because of this, we know a thing or two about which WordPress hosts are the best on the market.
But before we get started, let’s take a deeper look at WordPress so that when we reference a WordPress host with specific features, you can understand better why those features might be important.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an online, open-source website creation tool written in PHP (which is a popular programming language). It serves as both a blogging platform and fully functioning content management system (CMS) for hosting websites of all kinds:
- Job Boards
- Portfolio and Resume
- And so much more
And, because it serves as a blogging platform first, you can utilize its blogging functionality on any website you run.
But WordPress is not just a blogging platform.
In fact, it helps people build fully functional websites and applications and should be used over any other CMS because it’s free to use, easy to learn, is highly customizable, and is search engine friendly meaning your website will get found by your target audience.
In addition, it is secure from outside attack, handles media types of all kinds, and can be used in a variety of ways, as seen above.
Why Use WordPress Over Other Platforms?
You might be asking yourself why WordPress is so popular. It does after all power nearly 30% of all websites in the world. But there has to be a reason why bloggers, small to medium businesses, and even enterprise agencies are using this content management system over others such as Drupal or Joomla.
More so, why do so many WordPress users rely solely in the WordPress platform, instead of investing in another solution for site creation such as Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix?
Well, take a look and see for yourself:
- It’s Free. Besides investing in a domain name and a hosting provider, which in total can cost you less than $100/year, the WordPress platform is free to use. It is open source meaning you can download, install, use, and modify it as you want. And, there are thousands of free themes and plugins to extend the design and functionality of your website.
- It’s Easy to Learn. Unlike some content management systems, WordPress is easy enough for novice website owners to learn, but extendable enough for even advanced developers to benefit from.
- It is SEO Optimized. Whether you are running an e-commerce shop, publishing blog content for readers, or promoting a large corporation using WordPress, you will want your site to get found in search engine results. With built-in SEO optimization, clean code, and the ability to boost SEO efforts using SEO friendly themes and helpful plugins, getting high search rankings is a cinch.
- Monetization. WordPress allows you to place as many ads on your site as you want. You can use any ad service you want and you get to keep all of the revenue you generate. Not to mention, creating an e-commerce shop is easy, and free, if you use a powerful WordPress plugin like WooCommerce.
- Security. The WordPress core is super secure and is always undergoing fixes to make it even stronger. And, with the availability of security plugins, you can protect your site and it’s data against most security threats.
- Multimedia Capable. If you want to add images, YouTube videos, Tweets, and Soundcloud audio on your site you can with WordPress. This opens the platform up to many industries and helps people cater to their target audience.
And that’s just the beginning. Though there are other helpful platforms that may get you want, the truth is, WordPress powers the most websites for a very real reason.
WordPress.com versus WordPress.org
When it comes to WordPress websites, there are two different kinds. And, knowing the difference between the two is crucial.
In fact, what it all boils down to is that the major difference between the two types of WordPress websites is who hosts the sites.
- WordPress.com. WordPress.com websites are free to use, and are hosting by WordPress itself. You don’t have to download any software to use it, manage a web server, or pay for a web host. There are lots of built-in customization options, though extending the design and functionality of your website is limited.
- WordPress.org. WordPress.org websites are also free to use, though they are self-hosted, meaning you host the site yourself and thus need to invest in a web hosting provider, which is not free. You also need to purchase a domain name, download the WordPress software to use on your own web server, and take over some control when it comes to your website. You have plenty of customization options, since WordPress.org websites are extendable with free and premium themes and plugin for changing the design and functionality of your site to meet your needs.
A Little About WordPress Hosting
WordPress.org websites are the most popular because they give you the most power to control how your website looks and acts for site visitors. But again, if you run a self-hosted WordPress website, you will need web hosting services.
A web host is a company that stores your website’s data in large computers called web servers that are stored in datacenters across the world. It is with the help of your web host that your website’s data is presented to site visitors when they click on your website to view it.
Without a host to store your site data for you, your website would not work and no one would see your content.
Hosting your WordPress website is easy because of the sheer number of hosting companies out there vying for your business. In fact, if you simply Google “WordPress hosting providers”, you will see thousands of results that relate to WordPress hosting.
That’s why it’s important to know what kind of website you plan to build, how big you anticipate your site to scale, what kind of budget you are, and what features are the most important to you in a hosting provider before you even think about choosing a host for your site.
Killer Hosting Features to Look For
When it comes to choosing the right WordPress hosting provider, you need to have some idea what features to look for. That’s because not all hosting providers are reliable or worth your money.
Here’s a look at the most crucial features any reputable WordPress hosting provider will give its customers, regardless of which plan they use.
The speed and performance of your website not only affects your search engine rankings, and thus affects who finds your website during searches, but also affects the user experience, which is the most important thing. Don’t frustrate site visitors with slow loading pages, delays in image uploads, or frozen animations.
Though the WordPress core is secure, it is not perfect. That’s why having a solid hosting provider that adds another layer of security onto your website is paramount to protecting your site’s data, your customers’ personal and financial information, and even the user experience.
After all, if someone, or something, hacks into your website, they can do a lot of damage to your site’s design and functionality, all of which can turn site visitors away.
If you run a WordPress site that is growing in popularity, you will need a hosting company that helps you scale and accommodate your growing need for more resources. Most hosting providers have bandwidth or traffic limits on their plans and require you upgrade when you reach certain limits. Making sure your host can handle your growing website, without sacrificing speed and performance is a must.
Though not all WordPress hosts will have backup services included in their hosting plans, it is something to think about if you don’t want to be responsible for manually backing up your site’s content on a regular basis. If something were to happen to your website, and all of your data was lost or ruined, you wouldn’t want to be caught without a recent backup of all that data.
Every web host provider will have different plans available for different price points. Depending on the features you needs, and type of hosting your site requires, you may spend as little as $2.99/month for hosting, or as much as a few hundred dollars a month or more.
And, if you are wondering, yes, there are free hosting services out there. However, we recommend you stay away from those to avoid malware infections, gaudy advertisements, and unexpected website shutdowns. With hosting prices as low as they are, there is no reason not to invest in something more professional and secure.
The best WordPress hosts out there offer nearly 100% uptime guarantees to all of their customers. This is because any time your site experiences downtime because your host’s server or other hardware crashes, your site visitors cannot access your website.
This not only results in a loss of revenue if your website relies on customer purchases, but harms your reputation as a website owner.
Every industry has a lot of competition and wants to encourage site visitors that they are the best website around. If site visitors cannot rely on your website to be up and running at all times, they will not return.
In addition to those main features, there are some bonus features that may interest you depending on the type of website you have:
- SSL certificates for websites that have user logins or accept credit cards should protect the data passing between the web browser and web server
- Free site migrations for those times you want to switch hosting providers but don’t want to move your entire site on your own, including your site’s plugins, themes, and content
- Exclusive caching systems for additional speed and performance
- SSH access for speeding up tasks and accessing information your host’s default cPanel will not allow you to access, which is especially helpful for advanced developers managing site’s for clients
- CDN services for increasing the delivery of site content to visitors when they request to see your website
- One-click WordPress installs so you can easily and quickly install WordPress onto your hosted site
- Free domain names so you don’t have to purchase them from a separate company or deal with connecting your domain name to your host’s domain name system (DNS)
In addition, you might want to consider where your hosting providers store their webs servers.
Remember, servers are large computers stored in datacenters across the world. You want to choose a web host that has a datacenter that is geographically located near your target audience so your site’s content is delivered as quickly as possible.
For instance, Asia is known for having some of the most successful small business communities in the world. And, they all have websites that are competing for the region’s business.
As a result, cloud hosting providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Rackspace, and Digital Ocean have been working hard towards building a presence in the China and India (Mumbai regions).
In addition, GoDaddy, one of the best WordPress hosting providers available to website owners of all sizes, has established a datacenter in Asia to accommodate both China and India’s growing need for nearby servers.
Good international hosting providers include cloud hosting providers Amazon Web Services (AWS), Digital Ocean, and Rackspace.
There are so many things to look for when it comes to choosing a good hosting provider. However, these features will give you a good starting point, especially if you building your first website.
What Are the Different Hosting Plans Available?
There are several different types of hosting plans available for your WordPress website that will help you with site security, scalability, site management, and more.
For instance, shared hosting is for those just starting out. You share resources on one large web server with hundreds of other shared hosting users. You are responsible for the maintenance of your WordPress website when it comes to updates, backups, and security, save for the very basic services your hosting providers gives you.
One step up from shared hosting is VPS hosting in which your site’s data is still stored on one large server with others, but you are allotted a specific amount of resources that no one else can pull from.
Dedicated hosting is for large websites with tons of data. You rent an entire server all to yourself, which is very expensive, and store your website’s data on it. You never share with anyone else, though you are responsible for all maintenance.
Cloud hosting is popular for those looking to scale endlessly. Multiple servers work together to store your site’s content and deliver it to site visitors immediately and you have unlimited use of resources.
Lastly, and most importantly, is managed WordPress hosting. With this type of hosting, your hosting provider takes on the administrative tasks such as site backups, security measures, updates, and more. They also have WordPress experts on hand to help you with anything site related. This option usually provides the most hosting features for the best price and is good for most website sizes, especially small businesses looking to scale that are still on limited budgets.
Our Best Recommendations for WordPress Hosting
We all know that WordPress is hands down the very best blogging platform… #2 isn’t even close.
But who’s the Best WordPress Host? That question can be hard to answer.
Lots of sites claim to be the best hosting for WordPress, but who is really the best? We compared the top 3 to see if we can find a clear winner.
Let’s focus on features, reputation, dependability, customer service and price.
We’ve been running this WordPress review roundup since 2009, so you won’t find a more qualified source to help you make an informed decision.
Bluehost – Best Value
Bluehost is one of the biggest names in the web hosting industry. Catering to those who are just starting out, or run simple websites such as personal blogs, this host offers plenty of exceptional features for an affordable price. For example, they offer unlimited one-click WordPress installs, storage, bandwidth, domains, and email accounts.
In addition, they offer site owners 24/7 expert support via phone, email, or chat for those times you need help. They also provide you with a free domain name, dedicated backup services, free SSL certificates, one-click WordPress installs, and secure SSH access.
Rated number one for new bloggers and small businesses, Bluehost is a great option because:
- It scales with your blog or business thanks to unmetered bandwidth and traffic
- Speed and performance are never an issue, despite being a shared hosting provider
- There is a free drag & drop site builder for easier site creation
That said, Bluehost is a shared hosting provider meaning your site’s data is at the mercy of other website data and has the potential to crash if another Bluehost customer’s website maxes out the available resources everyone is sharing.
SiteGround – Customer Support Experts
SiteGround boasts being one of the most widely used hosting provider amongst WordPress website owners. They offer hosting plans to meet the needs of new bloggers, startup companies, and even businesses that have scaled to become enterprise level.
They offer everything a WordPress website owner might need to host their website, including built-in CDN services and speed-boosting technology, top notch security, daily backups, and expert WordPress support available via phone, chat, or ticket. In fact, their support is so amazing, they are an official ‘WordPress’ recommended hosting provider.
This hosting provider is considered one of the top contenders for these reasons:
- In addition to catering to bloggers and freelancers, it helps e-commerce sites with free SSL certificates, a free shopping cart install, and even PCI compliant servers so customer data is never compromised
- It offers free site transfers and CMS installs for those that are moving hosting providers and need help setting up
- The datacenters span the globe and are located in the USA, Europe, and Asia to meet the needs of all customers, regardless if geography
SiteGround does impose traffic limitations on each of their hosting plans which makes things difficult for larger websites looking to scale. And, while these limits are only “approximations”, if your site scales quickly you will find yourself paying a lot more for hosting services than you may have initially thought you would.
InMotion – Best for Speed
InMotion does a great job of giving WordPress bloggers a place to safely host their site’s data without fear of downtime, speed, or performance issues. Offering hack and malware protection, automatic backups, and advanced caching technology, along with a 99.99% uptime guarantee, you can bet your WordPress blog will render as it should to site visitors.
You also receive a free domain name when you sign up for their hosting plan, have access to a staging environment, and even have free SSL certificates for those that have monetized their blog using e-commerce.
Here are just some of the reasons bloggers of all sizes love InMotion hosting:
- It offers superior WordPress support, complete with automatic backups, 24/7 access, and WordPress installs performed by technicians so your site is ready to go right away
- Create your first website in minutes using the built-in drag & drop page builder and free themes that are easily customizable from the backend of your site
- Scaling your blog or business is not an issue thanks to unlimited bandwidth and plenty of SSD storage, and of you need to upgrade there are no setup fees and the changes take place within one business day
Despite aiming to provide web hosting services to a wide range of WordPress users, InMotion does not currently provide Windows hosting. Rather, they host all of your site’s data on Linux servers instead, which leaves out a portion of website owners that prefer Windows hosting.
WP Engine – Enterprise-grade Service
Blogging sites don’t always require a lot by way of resources from their hosting providers, making inexpensive shared hosts perfect for them. However, those with startups businesses looking to grow, the demand for higher quality hosting is there.
Leading the market in managed WordPress hosting, WP Engine offers plenty of bang for the price they charge hosting users. To start, they are managed WordPress hosting providers meaning they not only have expertise in how to use WordPress, and have the support to help users with any questions they have, they also manage hosting tasks for you so you don’t have to. Plus, since they cater to WordPress developers as well, since they support Git and have extensive technology designed to help you build more in a highly secure environment.
For example, the WP Engine team will automatically update your WordPress core, and any plugins or themes you have on your website. In addition, they offer security updates and fixes, daily site backups with easy one click restore options, automatic caching so you have no need to install a caching plugin on your site, and even have a staging area you can test new developments on before going live.
What’s more, people who use WP Engine rave about:
- Exceptional customer support that’s available 24/7/365, and includes WordPress help, free hack fixes, and fast response times
- The ability to easily set up the free MaxCDN services that make site speeds even more reliable and fast
- Having multiple datacenters to choose from in the United States, Tokyo, and London.
The only real drawback to using WP Engine is the fact that their process are a bit steeper than most hosting providers, which can be tough on small businesses and freelancers with limited budgets. However, when you see what you get for those prices, it does make sense.
Liquid Web – 100% Uptime Guarantee
For high-end businesses that need top-notch managed WordPress hosting, Liquid Web is the best option. Professional web designers, enterprise businesses, and agencies will benefit from the services provided. For example, choose between VPS cloud hosting or dedicated hosting and maintain control over your site’s resources so that you never experience downtime because of someone else.
In addition, receive help migrating your site to Liquid Web Hosting, enjoy multiple monitoring systems and rest assured your site is always safe and secure, as well as the data being stored on Liquid Web’s servers, and even take advantage of the automatic backups in case something does happen to your website and you need to restore it.
Some of the things that set Liquid Web apart from the other hosting providers include:
- Rather than use a cPanel like most web hosts do, Liquid Web employs the Managed Portal, stating it is better optimized for WordPress performance
- There is the option to choose between Linux or Windows-based operating systems, which is seen in some other hosts, but not many
- They offer 100% uptime guarantees, which for most web hosts is impossible
Though Liquid Web offers large businesses exceptional web hosting services, it is good to keep in mind that they are one of the priciest web hosts around, which can play a major role in whether you decide to use them or not.
WordPress.com – Less Frills, Less Complicated
We mentioned at the beginning of this article that there is a huge difference between running a self-hosted WordPress.org website and a WordPress.com website that is hosted for you. And, while most people prefer the flexibility that a self-hosted WordPress site affords them, it is important to mention that WordPress.com hosting has plenty to offer those just starting out in the online world.
Receive a custom subdomain, 24/7 support, and plenty of built-in customization options to design a stunning website that is all your own. Pick from over 350 different themes to match any niche or industry, change elements such as fonts, colors, and logos to increase brand recognition amongst site visitors, and even manage your media in the backend of your site, without having to pay a separate hosting provider to store that data for you.
While not highly recommended for most website owners, check out why WordPress.com works for new bloggers, freelancers, and small business owners:
- Built-in social media tools and SEO optimization for expanding your brand and building a bigger audience
- Cost effective because the site is free, there is no domain name purchase, and no hosting provide services to invest in
- No maintenance since the company behind WordPress.com handles all site maintenance, updates, backups, and security
That said, WordPress.com does lack the ability to let you run an e-commerce shop, monetize your site with ads placed on your site, and extend the design and functionality through WordPress themes and plugins.
Altogether, choosing which WordPress hosting provider to go with can be overwhelming if you aren’t sure where to start. That’s why having a solid grasp on the kind of website you are running, and which type of hosting plan you’ll need is essential to getting started.
For instance, are you a blogger, a small business with an online shop, or a highly trafficked website needing a lot of resources? Will you need shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting services? Better yet, would you prefer managed WordPress hosting instead?
From there, it’s just a matter of figuring out which features – site security, uptime, scalability, support, and affordability to name a few – are the most important to you.
WordPress is an infinitely flexible content management system that’s also newbie-friendly. So, no matter what kind of blogger you are — experienced hobbyist, small business, or ultra-newbie — it’s worthwhile to investigate hosts that offer WordPress as a CMS for your site and blog.
We’ve given you a head start by highlighting various hosts above that specialize in WordPress. But if you’re not sure, create a free blog on WordPress.com to give it a test run. If you like it (and we think you will), make sure you take advantage of the discounts we offer on our review pages.
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*No website is 100% Hacker-Proof… But, on top of all of the crazy awesome security features WP Engine has, they also will fix your WordPress website for FREE if it ever is hacked! Talk about hassle-free hosting…