Best WordPress Hosting – How To Choose The Right One?
2019 November 7th at 4:48
In this article, I will overview some of the best WordPress hosting options out there, as well as give you some insights on how to distinguish a bad WordPress hosting provider from a good one.
So you decided to use WordPress as a content management system for a website? Kudos to you! Time to choose a hosting provider for that WordPress site.
Having managed a number of WordPress websites, I can assure you that WordPress optimized hosting made my life so much easier.
Well, WordPress hosting is a bit different from general web hosting and those differences make managing a site so much easier.
There are a few features that WordPress hosting offers that ordinary hosting doesn't. For example, one-click WordPress install, faster servers, trained support and scheduled automatic updates.
Those features save time and money - I don't have to worry if my platform is updated because it is. Trained support also answers your questions and helps you solve occurring problems. Fast servers secure my website's loading speed. What else to wish for?
The problem is that there are so many hosting companies that claim to have WordPress-optimized services. And definitely not all of them can really offer that.
That's why for this article, I've collected a list of personally tested hosting companies that truly provide great WordPress experience.
Best WordPress Hosting Providers
A good WordPress provider should be great at a number of things - keeping the software up to date, making it easy to install and manage WordPress as well as optimizing servers so the site runs fast.
To find the best WordPress hosting providers, we've tested the performance, pricing, user-friendliness, and features of dozens of web hosts.
So here are our 7 best WordPress hosting providers:
1. Bluehost - best WordPress hosting for simplicity.
2. WP Engine - best professional WordPress hosting.
3. Hostinger - cheap and user-friendly hosting.
4. DreamHost - best WordPress hosting for scalability.
5. HostGator - the best WordPress hosting for security.
6. A2 Hosting - premium WordPress hosting performance features.
7. Kinsta - premium WordPress hosting solution.
Let's take a look at how each of them did and see which one is the best for your website.
1. Bluehost - Fully-Optimized WordPress Hosting
Bluehost is a clear leader when it comes to WordPress-optimized hosting. Providing hosting services for over 2 million sites, this host is one of the biggest players in the industry. Bluehost is also one of the few WordPress recommended hosts.
And it's endorsed for a good reason: Bluehost offers easy-to-use and up-to-date platform with excellent performance.
The best part is - you can easily afford Bluehost. Its pricing starts at $2.95/month and only goes up to $5.45/mo if you choose the most expensive option. But you're not limited to just WordPress web hosting. You can scale up with the fully managed WP Pro plans starting at $19.95/mo.
All of the plans include essentials like a domain name, SSL certificate, and automatic WordPress updates. But it also includes premium features like a staging environment and marketing credits.
So no matter what you need - fast hosting for WordPress blog or scalable solution for WordPress-based eCommerce - you can have it with Bluehost.
Solid WordPress Server Performance
Over the years of testing Bluehost, it has kept a great performance history. Its response time is way above average - 299ms. Considering that the majority of good hosts score above 500ms, the Bluehost result is great.
To add, Bluehost claims to resolve any server issue within 15 minutes or, in the worst-case scenario - a day. That shows that Bluehost servers are not only optimized for speed but are also constantly monitored to avoid downtime.
Intuitive User Interface
Being a big provider, Bluehost aims to serve a variety of different users. You'll find WordPress hosting options fit for personal use or a couple of low-traffic websites, enterprise-level solutions, and everything in between.
But no matter which of the plans you choose, you'll get access to the user-friendly dashboard.
WordPress comes pre-installed so all you'll need to do is think of a password, a website title, connect your domain, and start building.
For the building process, Bluehost even has a guide and a checklist - so you won't get lost.
More advanced users can also use the regular cPanel - access file manager, SSL settings, connect to GitHub, etc. So all in all, all users no matter the experience and knowledge level will be able to build and develop a website with Bluehost.
Bluehost offers powerful hosting for both individuals and businesses that need top-level yet affordable solution for WordPress hosting.
2. WP Engine - Dynamic and Powerful WordPress Hosting
WP Engine is a WordPress-only hosting provider focusing on delivering exceptional user experience and a powerful hosting environment for industry professionals.
That being said, WP Engine is definitely not the cheapest option on our list, starting at $31/mo (our blog readers get 3 months free). But with all that you get, it's a provider definitely worth considering if you need truly powerful hosting.
WP Engine uses a Cloud hosting environment powered by Amazon Web Services servers. This ensures you get all scalability options and top-level reliable server performance even for the heaviest websites.
Apart from powerful hardware, you also get an all-inclusive package: 18 server locations, GeoTarget services for better international outreach, as well as 3 environments for developing, staging, and production. It also includes a CDN if you are expecting global audiences.
And we are not even started talking about the essentials like SSL certificates, daily backups, and 24/7 support that are all included.
WP Engine Servers are Fast
WP Engine is one of the fastest WordPress hosting providers. Through several months of testing its WordPress servers, the response time evened out at around 266ms.
The uptime of WP Engine is also great. It guarantees to be up for 99.95% of the time. That is one of the most generous guarantees in the industry. 99.95% equals just around 43 seconds of downtime daily.
Our results show, that it exceeds the guarantee and averages at 100%.
Managed Global Content Delivery Network
WP Engine manages to deliver excellent results thanks to Global CDN that is included with all of its plans.
The content delivery network works by delivering pages from a server that is closest to your visitor. And this results in shorter response times.
CDN can also help you prevent some downtimes and tackle DDoS attacks. In case one server is down, another can step in and deliver your website's content without any downtime. CDN also ensures your site is running smoothly in case you're experiencing huge peaks of traffic.
It also masks the actual server IP, adding an extra security layer to your website.
All of those CDN benefits will be useful for any website. It doesn't matter if you have an online store and need it to be up and running smoothly through Black Friday, or you want your business website to perform fast around the globe - CDN can add some value to the package.
WP Engine is a premium WordPress hosting platform that's powerful enough to host even the biggest websites seeking to reach global audiences.
3. Hostinger - Cheap and Powerful WordPress Hosting
Hostinger is the cheapest WordPress hosting option with the pricing starting at $0.99/mo ($0.80 if you'll hurry up and catch the best Black Friday hosting deal). But the price alone won't put any provider in our best WordPress hosting list.
To begin with, it makes it simple to install WordPress and if you want to - enable automatic updates. And if you host your WordPress site elsewhere, Hostinger 24/7 support team will transfer the site for free.
The support team is always there to help you with any questions you may have. The best part, they are friendly and professional, so you won't ever feel that your question is not important.
The host is not lacking in the performance as well. As a matter of fact, Hostinger is one of the fastest providers on the list that can power both the smallest portfolio and large business websites.
Hostinger's Server Performance
When it comes to server speed, every millisecond matters - and it quickly adds up to the overall page loading time. Fortunately, Hostinger keeps it to the minimum, averaging the response time at 233ms.
The uptime is also a non-issue. Throughout the month of WordPress server testing, Hostinger was up and running at all times with no downtime recorded.
Comparing Hostinger to others, it performs better than other fast-performing providers.
Hostinger Beginner-Friendly User Interface
Hostinger equips all of its hosting packages with custom easy to use control panel. It makes it easy to find auto-installers for WordPress or other software. You can also enable automatic WordPress updates from the same user-friendly panel.
The support team is available 24/7 and from what we saw during our Hostinger review, it is well-trained to explain how to solve both simple and complex. Unfortunately, there's one drawback - Hostinger doesn't have phone support.
On the other hand, if you are a complete beginner, an agent will gladly step in and fix a problem for you via live chat.
Considering an affordable price and great performance, you get a really fast and reliable hosting for your WordPress website.
4. DreamHost - Scalable and Reliable WordPress Hosting
DreamHost offers incredibly scalable hosting that's suitable for both small personal websites as well as huge business projects. Best of all, it guarantees 100% uptime making it a unicorn in the hosting industry. But that's only a benefit for your site that should be available at all times.
Starting at $2.59/mo you get shared WordPress hosting for smaller websites. $16.95/mo gets you fully managed WordPress cloud hosting. And starting at $27.50/mo you can start your own enterprise with high-performance VPS hosting.
So when your website grows in traffic-levels, you can go from cheap WordPress hosting, all the way to premium service without switching the provider.
With any of the shared plans, you will also get one of the longest in the industry, 97-day money-back guarantee (oddly specific). So if you're still skeptical about choosing DreamHost it's nice to know that there's an easy opt-out.
So let's see what DreamHost has going for performance.
Fast and Reliable WordPress Servers
You are guaranteed that your website will be up 100% of the time.
And what we saw while monitoring DreamHost, it manages to keep its promises. For several months now, the provider has not gone down even for a minute. It also has kept a pretty great response time - 419ms on average.
While it's still a little bit behind our best providers, the servers won't slow your site down by any means.
Taking the results into consideration, we can say that DreamHost is one of the most reliable hosts on our list. But not just that. The performance will ensure that your site is loading in no time.
Fully Powered with Jetpack Pro
Starting with the second-tier DreamPress plan, you get a pre-installed Jetpack Professional plugin (worth $299 if purchased separately). It's a tool made by the WordPress team that can improve the site's security, performance, and make it easier managing the website.
Jetpack provides access to a massive library of features, such as:
- Content delivery network (CDN) (to load content quicker to visitors all over the world);
- Plenty of safety add-ons (such as identifying malicious IPs, automatic plugin updates);
- Website analytics tools (such as traffic statistics, bounce rates, sessions per visit);
- Search engine optimization extras (content, title, and meta description optimization);
- And so much more.
Jetpack Professional is more or less all a WordPress website would ever need. And it's great seeing DreamHost making this decision and pairing up with one of the most powerful plugins available.
DreamHost is a super reliable WordPress hosting provider offering a very nice 100% uptime guarantee. Not only that, it's an amazingly scalable business solution to start small and grow big.
5. HostGator - WordPress Hosting With Premium Security Features
If you're looking for unlimited WordPress hosting packed with features for security and performance, HostGator is the right choice for you.
Starting at $5.95/mo, you already get a feature-packed plan. That includes hosting for 1 site, tens of thousands of site visits per month, free site migration, automated daily backups and restore, malware removal, SSL, and even unlimited storage space.
And that's not even the end to the list.
HostGator also uses a user-friendly control panel, updates WordPress automatically, and has a friendly 24/7 customer support.
So if you need something that can power your business or personal website, HostGator is definitely worth consideration.
HostGator Keeps Top Performance
HostGator promises fast performance thanks to cloud server architecture, low-density servers, CDN, and multi-layer caching. However, it's not our fastest host on the list. Hostgator has an average 371ms response time.
That is a great result, making your site faster than the average hosting provider would. However, HostGator's bold claims might be just a little bit overblown.
The uptime, on the other hand, is impeccable. While HostGator has a 99.9% uptime guarantee, our WordPress site has not gone down even for a minute during the testing.
All in all, we don't have a bad word to say about HostGator's performance - it is fast and reliable.
Enhanced Security for Your Website Protection
Because WordPress is open-source, it is vulnerable to security threats. And HostGator has taken that into the consideration with several features that will make sure your site is secure.
That includes daily backups, restore function, and automatic malware removal. You also get an SSL included for free to protect your visitors' data.
So how do these work and why should you care?
- Daily backups and restore will make sure that you have a fresh copy of your website's data should something happen. This protects you if there's a security issue that shut your site down or you simply messed up in the backend. You'll be able to restore a functioning site from a backup and continue working.
- Automatic malware removal/SiteLock protection monitors your site at all times and mitigates any security threat automatically. This way, you can sleep calmly knowing that your site is protected 24/7.
- SSL certificate is used to encrypt data that's sent between servers and browsers of your visitors. It puts a small lock icon in the URL field showing your visitors that they are protected. That's also one of the requirements helping you to rank better in the search engine rankings.
So using HostGator, you are protected from all sides. Any risk is mitigated, you have a copy of a functioning site, and your visitors' data is securely transferred. That's all you might need to avoid losing your site or its data.
It is nice to see that HostGator takes care not only of the performance of websites but also security. Especially for an affordable price and cloud hosting infrastructure.
HostGator is an affordable WordPress hosting provider offering the best security features there are. So if you are expecting high-traffic levels and make online sales - HostGator is one of the best platforms to get started with.
6. A2 Hosting - Fully-Featured Hosting for WordPress
A2 Hosting promises the fastest performance, the easiest platform to use, and the highest reliability. That's 3 bold claims in the industry filled with tons of great hosting providers.
But as far as we are concerned, A2 Hosting is one of the best WordPress hosting providers offering great performance features, intuitive control panel, and other WordPress hosting essentials.
Our personal favorite? Unlimited hosting even with the cheapest plan starting at $2.96/mo. The Lite plan features unlimited storage, bandwidth, 25 professional email accounts, and an SSL certificate. To get automated backups you can choose the Swift plan for $3.70/mo. To boost the performance up to 20 times, there's Turbo for $7.03/mo.
But that's not all. A2 Hosting also has a managed WordPress hosting platform starting at $9.78/mo that already includes turbo servers, staging, automated backups, and much much more.
So, let's see if A2 Hosting fulfills its claims about performance.
A2 Hosting Performance Results are Great
Although A2 Hosting has pretty bold claims about its performance, it is not our fastest and most reliable provider. It scores 494ms average response time - it's faster than the industry average, but doesn't fulfill the claims.
The reliability is also good but not the best on this list. A2 Hosting actually outperforms itself - it has a 99.9% uptime guarantee but manages to score 99.98% with only 2 minutes of downtime.
So while A2 Hosting is fast, it is not the fastest. Nonetheless, it won't slow your site down.
Turbo Speed Servers
All plans starting with the shared Turbo and the managed 1-Site include Turbo web hosting features that include everything you may need to boost the performance. In fact, A2 claims you'll have 20 times better performance as compared to regular hosting.
So what does that include?
- A2 Site Accelerator includes a pre-configured 3-layer site caching. It makes website load significantly faster for the returning users as most of the site's data is saved to the visitor's browser. This way, the website loads from the browser's cache rather than the server making load speed increase significantly.
- WordPress LiteSpeed Cache caches dynamic WordPress websites specifically and reduces their load time.
- Lower density servers ensure that each user, including you, get more server resources. The more resources you can use, the more powerful your website is when comparing load times, bandwidth, and more.
- Cloudflare Railgun is one more caching service allowing dynamic page elements such as HTML to be cached. That minimizes your bandwidth use and reduces page loading times.
So from the features list, we can see, that A2 Hosting has included all that's best for the Turbo and managed plan users. And as it claims, you can potentially get 20 times better performance.
While A2 Hosting claims to be the fastest and the most reliable, it does not fully achieve it. However, it is still one of the best providers for WordPress hosting including a ton of useful features to make a website fast.
7. Kinsta - Premium WordPress Hosting for Business
Kinsta provides a premium managed WordPress hosting for those looking for advanced tools to manage their site. Kinsta is perfect for business growth providing not only all-inclusive packages but also advanced analytics tools to track your success.
And even though its basic plan starts at a steep $30/month, it does offer the features to justify it.
Hosting features include all you may need for building and scaling successful business: a bunch of premium and essential features like backups, site migrations, CDN, multi-user environment, staging, and others.
But more importantly, Kinsta operates on a fast and powerful Google Cloud Platform and has 20 data center locations so you can choose the one closest to your target audience.
This makes Kinsta the fastest WordPress hosting provider on our list.
Kinsta Performance is Exceptional
Kinsta's performance is as good as it gets. In our Kinsta review, we've got response time results of less than 150ms across multiple worldwide servers.
The provider also guarantees 99.9% uptime. But in reality, it actually lives up to the golden standard of 100% - which is the best you can get.
Streamlined and Dynamic Hosting Dashboard
Kinsta makes it easy not only to manage your hosting account but to track the website's success as well.
In a well-designed and intuitive dashboard, you can see all the settings like DNS and site migration. But the provided statistics is where Kinsta really hits the spot.
You'll find a detailed graph for every aspect of your website - performance, visits, resource usage, and even security.
Using the live statistics, you can track all the most important metrics of your website. For example, resource usage, visitor count, site performance and more.
And while this might seem complicated, Kinsta actually displays all data in an easy to understand way. Even the more complicated data, such as CDN usage or response times, is depicted in a user-friendly and easily understandable way.
Kinsta is the fastest and the most advanced provider on our list that will fit the needs of all business websites.
How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting Provider?
When it comes to WordPress hosting, it can get complicated. On our list, you can find both - regular web hosts offering WordPress hosting and premium WordPress-only solutions for the biggest fishes in the market.
So how do you know which provider is right for you?
We prepared a simple 3 step guide to help you out. Answer yourself these 3 questions and you'll know for a fact which is the best WordPress hosting provider for you:
1. How Much Can You Spend on WordPress Hosting?
You can put all hosting services in around 3 pricing ranges - cheap, mid-tier, and premium. And in our list pricing ranges from $0.99 with Hostinger to over a thousand dollars with Kinsta, monthly. And both of them offer WordPress hosting that can power your blog, business site, eCommerce, portfolio, or even a multisite.
This is where you should answer yourself what is your budget.
Even a small blog can benefit from a fancy powerful server. Similarly, a business website can also run smoothly on a simple yet well-optimized WordPress server.
So here are the guidelines:
- Choose cheap hosting ($1-$5/mo) for the basics - you'll get all the essential features but not so much of the premium ones. You can expect an SSL, domain name, and tools for an easy WordPress installation.
- Choose mid-tier hosting ($5-$20/mo) if you want to get not only the basics but also some extra tools. That may include extra security features, tools for performance, and excellent support.
- Choose premium hosting (>$20/mo) if you want an all-inclusive managed package. These usually include not only the essentials and premium tools but also an expert WordPress tech support. This way both hardware and software are updated and pro developers are ensuring you get the best security and performance at all times.
All in all, for small projects like blogs, portfolios, and small business websites you won't need anything above $5/mo - Hostinger, Bluehost, and DreamHost are great examples. But if you're planning to run a high-traffic website, both mid-tier and premium hosting options are worth considering.
2. How Big is Your WordPress Site Going to Be?
For an average WordPress site like a blog, portfolio or small business website, you'll need around 1GB of storage. All of our recommended WordPress hosts offer at least 5GB of storage space with the cheapest plans. Considering that, you can simply choose the cheapest shared hosting option.
But not all websites are average.
It would be a struggle to fit the Commerce store into 1GB storage space. And the same goes for highly visual, video-background, fancy-scroll-effects websites.
If that's you - we recommend you skip shared WordPress hosting all along and go straight to Cloud or VPS services like WP Engine, DreamHost's DreamPress solutions, and Kinsta that can offer high scalability.
3. How Much Guidance Do You Need?
Installing WordPress is easy and especially so with all of our top providers. You'll get the software already pre-installed or will be able to do it through a 1-click installation process.
But that's about it. You'll then need to connect your own domain, install SSL on WordPress, and most importantly - build your own website.
Some hosting providers are aiming towards the beginner users that want to create a small business website, a blog, or portfolio. Others are trying to attract developers and eCommerce platforms for their projects.
This is where you need to look at customer support and all the options that can make everything easier.
- Customer support - it's especially important for you to reach support at any time quickly. Good customer support not only will answer your questions gladly but will also step in to fix any issue that might feel too complicated for you.
- Website builder - if you're building a site yourself, WordPress-integrated website builders can help you a bunch. Some providers include premium website builders in their WordPress hosting packages. For example, DreamHost includes a drag-and-drop builder so you can easily customize the website.
- Theme packages - the platform itself has thousands of themes, but to get the best WordPress themes, you usually need to pay. And WordPress themes are not cheap. Some of the hosts like WP Engine include premium themes with their plans so you get both hosting and premium design options together.
- Dashboard - hosting dashboard can help you in a number of ways: configure SSL settings, domain names, manage multiple WordPress sites, etc. Some dashboards are more useful than others. Take Bluehost as an example - for beginner users, everything's put in a guide-like list. At the same time, more advanced users can use cPanel.
So depending on what you need, take a good look at what each host can offer and pick the closest match.
Best WordPress Hosting FAQ
We answered the most commonly asked questions to shed some light on WordPress hosting.
Here's what you might want to know:
Can I Host My WordPress Site For Free?
There's a number of free WordPress hosting providers so you sure can host your WordPress site for free.
But we won't recommend it.
All free hosting comes with certain risks and limitations. First of all, you probably won't get such essentials like SSL certificate, domain name, and customer support. Some providers won't even let you connect your own domain. And there are security and performance issues as well.
As you don't pay for your WordPress site hosting, you'll never be sure if the software is updated - hence secure. Also, the host can go down bringing your website together.
So the only reason when we can recommend free hosting is for learning purposes - you can create a site, publish it online, and customize it all you want.
How Much Does It Cost to Host a WordPress Site?
Costs for WordPress hosting can range from around $1 to a couple of thousands of dollars per month.
If you need hosting for a small website - a blog, a small business website, your portfolio, or something similar, you don't need to spend more than $5/mo.
For more complex sites like a small online store or high-traffic blog, you can end up paying up to $20/mo. This should include SSL, some caching tool, and CDN.
Everything above $20/mo will get you hosting for a high-traffic heavy website like eCommerce stores or news outlets. The price should include premium features like a powerful caching tool, CDN, globalization, dedicated support, and other tools.
Can I Use WordPress For an Online Store?
You can definitely use WordPress for an online store. In fact, WordPress has one of the best eCommerce solutions available to install as a plugin for free.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform that can compete with such industry giants like Shopify or BigCommerce. And it turns your WordPress site into an online store as simple as installing an app on your phone.
It also comes with a bunch of recommended themes and other plugins that can add drag-and-drop functionality or automate the shipping process.
Of course, there are plenty of other eCommerce plugins you can use. So yeah, it's pretty simple to turn a simple WordPress website into a fully functional online store.
What's the Difference Between Web hosting and WordPress Hosting?
Web hosting gives you the flexibility to choose any platform to run your website on, WordPress included. WordPress hosting is designed to make the platform as powerful as it can be.
Because a big part of websites run on WordPress, some hosting providers have decided to specialize in WordPress and WordPress only. It gives you the advantage of better performing WP websites.
But that's not all that's different.
With WordPress hosting you also usually get automatic software updates, premium tools designed for the CMS, and often - a WordPress expert support team. With web hosting, you'll need to take care of this stuff yourself.
What's The Difference Between Managed and Unmanaged WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is a better fit for bigger websites like business, enterprise or eCommerce and hence more expensive. With that, you get an all-inclusive service - superior support, automatic updates, optimal performance, and security. Unmanaged WP hosting is your regular hosting with servers optimized to run the software best.
So, managed hosting will best fit those who have big websites and want to focus on their content rather than technical stuff.
Unmanaged WordPress hosting will be best for smaller websites that don't require as much technical knowledge to run or you enjoy playing with settings and can update the software yourself.
Best WordPress Hosting - the Verdict
Looking at our list, it looks easy finding good hosting for your WordPress site. But then again - it all depends on your needs.
So here's what each of our 7 best WordPress hosting providers is best at:
- Bluehost is the user-friendly all-rounder for both small and big sites.
- WP Engine can offer the most powerful professional WordPress hosting.
- Hostinger is the cheapest host offering a beginner-friendly user interface.
- DreamHost has solutions for both beginners and professionals with its scalable hosting plans.
- HostGator is powerful and very secure cloud hosting for WordPress provider for an affordable price.
- A2 Hosting takes care that you have every tool to boost your website's performance.
- Kinsta is a premium solution for all business needs.
What do you think? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section down below!