Whether you’re starting a blog or any other website, choosing a hosting provider is an essential part of getting started. And if you’re using the WordPress CMS then you might want to look for a WordPress hosting provider.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the vast amount of WordPress hosting providers on the market. What if you choose a provider you’ll later regret choosing? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through:
- 5 things to look for in a WordPress hosting provider
- Shared hosting vs managed WordPress hosting
- My 5 favorite WordPress hosting providers
Without further ado, let's dive in.
5 things to look for in a WordPress hosting provider
When choosing a WordPress hosting provider you want to look for a few things to ensure that you won’t later regret your purchase – which I’ve done like a gazillion times. The things you want to look for are performance, security, features, price, and support.
Now, there are lots of other things you could be looking at when choosing a WordPress hosting provider but if you’re a beginner it probably won’t be of any importance to you.
Let’s dive into the 5 different things you want to be looking for when selecting a WordPress hosting provider, shall we?
The quickest way to discourage site visitors is with a website that doesn’t load fast enough. In fact, 1 in 4 visitors would abandon a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load. Think about it. You’d lose 25% of your readers based on bad performance alone.
It also affects the bounce rate according to Website Builder Expert.
Websites that take 1-2 second to load have an average bounce rate of 6% while websites that take 4-5 seconds have an average bounce rate of 38%.
A high bounce rate and a low dwell time can really hurt your Google rankings, so investing in a faster hosting provider might not even be such a bad idea.
Hosting providers such as WP Engine offer what is called “managed WordPress hosting” which is optimized with WordPress users in mind. I’ll get into shared hosting vs managed WordPress hosting later in this post.
It’s definitely something you want to consider. However, know that you’re going to pay a lot more for a managed WordPress hosting plan rather than just sticking to e.g. Bluehost.
I’ve used WP Engine for a few of my projects and it’s obvious that it’s faster than a shared hosting plan from Bluehost. But it’s $20+ more a month.
Whether you’re a blogger or a multimillion dollar company it’s vital that your website stays safe and won’t suddenly be victim to a DDoS attack or data leak.
On average, 30.000 websites are getting hacked every single day. It’s absolutely vital that you find a hosting provider that knows what they’re doing when it comes to securing your website from potential hacks.
You want to find a hosting provider that has the least amount of downtime as possible and include an SSL certificate (which is often an extra charge if you choose the cheap hosting providers).
With managed WordPress hosting you’re practically hacker-proof. They usually come with malware scanners built-in and you’ll have access to expert support which can quickly help you out should you experience any issues.
Different hosting providers come with different features. Most of them are completely unnecessary if you’re just starting out so I made a little list of the most important features you should look for when finding a hosting provider.
- Free domain
- 1-click WordPress installer
- SSL certificate
- Storage & bandwidth
I’d highly suggest you to look for hosting providers that allow for 1-click WordPress installation. Most providers obviously offer it since WordPress is the most used CMS.
As I previously mentioned, most of the features are completely necessary. Let’s say you’re looking for a hosting provider for your personal website that sees a few hundred unique visitors per month.
It may seem tempting to go with the flashy hosting provider that allows for 1TB of storage and millions of unique visitors, but is that something you really need?
I bet your answer is No.
Lots of hosting providers will try to trick you into buying their product because they have a gazillion different features. Don’t fall for it. Please.
Consider your site’s needs and base your decision on what makes the most sense for you. The things on the list above should be your go-to features to look for.
Price is another extremely important factor to consider when finding the best hosting provider for you. And, depending on your needs, you can really make it cheap.
Take a look at how cheap these 5 hosting providers are:
You can get a very decent hosting provider for as little as $2.59/mo. That’s ridiculously cheap compared to the prices of managed WordPress hosting. Let’s have a look at the price of 5 managed WordPress hosting providers:
While you generally get what you pay for when it comes to providers, that doesn’t mean you have to shell out your life savings to get your website started. Not everyone is in a position to throw out big bucks on a hosting provider.
Basic packages with shared hosting providers can start as low as $3-5. On the flip side, you probably won’t find a basic package with a managed hosting provider that starts under $10-30.
Then, of course, there’s always the option of free WordPress hosting.
Free WordPress hosting providers aren’t terrible options for beginners, but you will grow out of them and wind up needing a provider that can offer more reliability, higher performance, and a more user-friendly interface.
Personally, I’d prefer to just skip that step altogether and go with Bluehost.
A hosting provider is only as good as their customer service. Check the company’s reviews before making any decisions. You don’t want to risk regretting your purchase.
I’ve tried a bunch of different hosting providers and I can say for sure that my favorite hosting provider is Bluehost. Their customer service is top-notch. You’ll be able to get in touch with them within a minute.
Some of the questions you might want to consider is:
- Do the reviews mention positive customer service experiences?
- Do they offer a live chat function? (a must-have in my opinion)
- Is their customer service team available to assist you 24/7?
These are all really important questions to consider when deciding on the best WordPress hosting provider for you.
It’s pretty much a guarantee that at some point, you will need the help of customer service. When the time comes, you’ll be thanking your lucky stars that you chose a hosting provider you can count on to resolve your issues.
Shared hosting vs managed WordPress hosting
So, the real question is whether you should spend the extra money on a more complete WordPress hosting solution or you should go for the cheap shared hosting option.
Before you decide, let’s quickly run over the main differences and I’ll give you my personal opinion on what I think you should consider choosing.
What is shared hosting?
Two years ago, 37.64% of all websites run on a shared hosting plan. Over a third of the web wouldn’t use shared hosting if it didn’t work.
It’s the cheapest form of hosting you can lay your hands on and usually costs around $3-5/mo. It includes everything you need to set up a fully functional WordPress website.
This is a type of hosting that involves sharing a server with hundreds, or even thousands, of other accounts, and the server usually has a fixed amount of storage, bandwidth, and memory space.
This can result in issues like resource restrictions and slow or improper loading.
So, why do so many people turn to shared hosting providers?
In short: money.
Shared hosting providers are far cheaper than their counterparts. This is what makes them such a popular option for users.
What is managed WordPress hosting?
Think of managed hosting as more of a concierge-style hosting experience.
It’s actually just a shared hosting plan but with a bunch of different features such like automatic updates, support teams made up of WordPress experts, and dedicated infrastructures. All in all, managed WordPress hosting providers offer users a more optimal hosting experience.
You get what you pay for.
Managed hosting providers are always more expensive than shared hosting providers. If you want multiple sites, you’ll have to purchase a new hosting plan – compared to shared hosting where you can often have multiple site on a single hosting plan.
Managed WordPress hosting is great if you don’t really care what your hosting plan costs. It comes with a bunch of different cool features – some more useful than others.
Which one should you buy?
To be honest, it’s pretty much up to you. As I previously mentioned, managed WordPress hosting is usually a tad faster than shared hosting but comes at a greater price point.
I’ve been hosting this website on a Bluehost shared hosting plan for a long time and I have no complaints. It just works.
My 5 favorite WordPress hosting providers
You should have a somewhat idea of what the difference between shared hosting and managed WordPress hosting is.
Now it’s time to find out which WordPress hosting provider you should go with. Let’s start with my absolute favorite hosting provider, Bluehost.
First up on the list and my personal favorite is Bluehost. This has been my go-to WordPress hosting provider for years and it hasn’t steered me wrong yet.
Recommended by WordPress since 2005 and consistently rated as the best WordPress hosting provider for small businesses, Bluehost is one of the most popular hosting providers on the market. Rates start as low as $2.75 USD per month and customer service is available 24/7 by email, phone, or live chat. I speak from personal experience when I say that their customer support team is seriously next-level.
With the most basic Bluehost plan, you get a free domain, free SSL certificate, automatic WordPress updates, and 50GB storage space. You also get access to customer support and the site’s many custom themes. Bluehost offers both shared WordPress hosting and managed WordPress hosting, with the latter starting at $14.95 USD per month. With six unique hosting packages to choose from between shared and managed hosting, Bluehost gives users the power to decide what they need.
Downside? There are no monthly packages. When you sign up with Bluehost, you’re committing to a 12-month minimum. However, there is a money-back guarantee to ensure that you aren’t forced into sticking with a host you aren’t happy with.
Like Bluehost, SiteGround is officially recommended by WordPress. With their most basic package starting at $6.99 USD per month, SiteGround is another budget-friendly option. Ranked high among users for their quick speeds and stellar customer support (they boast 24/7 assistance from WordPress experts), SiteGround is both popular and efficient.
SiteGround offers its users high security, free WordPress installation, automatic WordPress updates, free SSL and CDN, daily backups, and advanced developer tools. Their StartUp package, which is the cheapest option, allows for one website with 10GB storage space. SiteGround is well-known among the hosting community for having the best support around, which is consistently noted in the customer reviews.
Downside? As a new user, you get to enjoy the perks of hefty price cuts in your first year. However, that wonderful $6.99 USD price tag for the StartUp package turns into $14.99 USD per month once you’ve surpassed your first subscription year. It’s not the end of the world, but definitely something to keep in mind.
Founded in 2013, Kinsta is a boutique WordPress hosting provider and the newest one on this list. With a starting price point of $30 USD per month for their lowest plan, Kinsta is one of the pricier hosting providers you’ll find. What do you get in return? The full power of the Google Cloud Platform, for starters. Because they use the Google Cloud, Kinsta is able to offer its users 24 server locations around the world to host your website.
Kinsta users get access to premium migrations, WordPress installation, 24/7 support, daily backups, SSL certificates, backup retention, Google Cloud, performance monitoring, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Some of Kinsta’s most notable clients include TripAdvisor, Intuit, and Buffer. Rather than using the traditional cPanel UI, Kinsta provides its users with a custom panel that only shows you the functions you need.
Downside? With premium service, you can expect a premium price tag. The monthly fees are pretty steep, especially when you compare them to other WordPress hosting providers. Kinsta also doesn’t offer the option of phone support for its users, so if you are someone who likes to talk through issues out loud, you won’t get that here.
4. WP Engine
WP Engine is easily one of the most popular WordPress hosting providers on this list. They boast popular clients like National Geographic, MyFitnessPal, Pandora, and Yelp. Through partnerships with Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, WP Engine is able to provide users with incredible speed, availability, security, and scalability. This is a more VIP-style WordPress hosting provider, with the prices to match.
Because they only offer managed WordPress hosting plans, WP Engine’s most basic plan starts at $25 USD per month for a 1-year commitment. Users get access to daily backups, 24/7 support, automated migrations, SSL and SSH, advanced security, premium themes, and a one-click staging site. WP Engine is perfect for someone who runs an online business and doesn’t want to worry about the technical side of their website.
Downside? The only real downside to WP Engine is the cost. Consider your needs before deciding on WP Engine, because if you’re running a small personal blog then chances are this isn’t the hosting provider for you. Not only is the starting cost more than the other WordPress hosting providers on this list, but exceeding your set number of visitors and storage space will result in additional charges.
DreamHost is yet another WordPress-recommended hosting provider. With their most basic package starting at just $2.59 USD per month, this independently owned and operated company is a budget-friendly option. The 97-day money-back guarantee is definitely a perk as well, especially since most hosting providers only offer a 30-day guarantee.
When you sign up with DreamHost, you get a free domain, WordPress pre-installed, automated WordPress migrations, unlimited bandwidth and storage, and a free SSL certificate. Between Dreamhost’s comprehensive FAQ archive and their 24/7 in-house customer support team (available by email or chat), you should always be able to find the answer to your questions. Between low prices and high quality, DreamHost is a solid choice for a WordPress hosting provider.
Downside? While their lowest rate is for $2.59 USD per month, this low pricing structure requires a 3-year commitment. If you’re looking for a 1-year commitment for the same plan it’s going to run you $3.95 USD per month, while a month-to-month commitment will run you $4.95 USD per month. Their 24/7 support is also only applicable to their email function. Live chat is only available between the hours of 5:30 AM and 9:30 PM PST.
That’s really all I’ve got to say about choosing the right WordPress hosting provider. To be honest, it’s mostly about personal preferences.
Here’s what to look for when choosing a provider:
Keep those 5 things in the back of your head when selecting a WordPress hosting provider. Also, know that shared hosting is far cheaper than managed WordPress hosting but that the managed plan comes with lots of features to speed up your site.