Finding best WordPress hosting can be a painful process. You need a solution that will do justice to your content, offer rock-solid reliability and hopefully not break the bank.
An Overview of WordPress Hosting and Server Types
Managed vs. Unmanaged WordPress Hosting
Our Seven WordPress Hosting Companies
The Verdict: Best WordPress Hosting
The good news is that the hosting market has never been more competitive. A new generation of WordPress-focused companies have emerged whove raised the bar considerably in terms of price and performance.
Thebadnews is that its still tricky wading through the forest of features and packages in order to work out whats right for your site.
In this article weve set out to simplify matters for you by running the rule overseven of the best hosting companiesout there:WP EngineSiteGroundBluehostPage.lyFlywheelDreamhostHostgator, andInMotion.
Update: Here is the short version of our WordPress Hosting case study, if youre in a hurry. Feel free to scroll down to read the complete post (including methodology / data).
Our findings reveal thatSiteGround and WP Engine are the clear winners for WordPress users (last updated May
SiteGround offers unmatched pricesfor their WordPress hosting services, which was enough to put them on our radar. However, it was their WordPress-friendly features that sealed the deal, such as a free wildcard Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, fast support, and daily backups with up to 30 copies in storage on theirGrowBig plan(which we consider to be their best feature).In short, Siteground is perfect for bloggers & small business owners.
WPEngineis one of the most expensive WordPress hosting providers on the market, but its quality more than makes up for the high cost. This WordPress-centric web host is especially well-suited to rapidly growing sites. In addition, they offer enterprise-grade security features, albeit at a cost of disallowinga few popular pluginsdue to security vulnerabilities. You can get started with theircheapest plan, then upgrade as necessary.
Best WordPress Hosting Comparison for 2018
Well cover speed, performance and price to help you narrow things down. Before we get into the nitty-gritty though, lets discuss what you should be looking for in a hosting partner generally.
Hosting is not everybodys area of expertise or favorite subject in the world so its important to have a clear picture of what you should expect as standard from the outset.
Well kick things off here with a look at features that should simply be non-negotiable in any solid WordPress hosting setup.
(If youd rather cut straight to the chase and dive into ourWordPress hosting comparison, go for it!)
Web users arenotoriously impatientso speed is vital. Google are alsocracking down on slow sitesso you really cant afford to be slack in this area. This is especially the case when it comes to WordPress hosting. Left unoptimized, WordPress can be a resource-heavy application so you need top-notch hardware in place to get the most bang for your buck.
This isnt specific to WordPress hosting of course but it should go without saying that your hosting provider offers email accounts and forwarding, appropriate server access and excellent tooling on the admin side.
Nothing ruins a day quicker than discovering your site has beenpawned by script kiddies. Your host should have verifiably secure systems in place to deter common attacks.
Excellent support is essential in a hosting provider. You should be able to reach friendly and knowledgeable support people at any hour of the day or night. Waiting around on email tickets isnt good enough if theres a real problem.
WordPress has its ownspecific requirementsandpeculiaritiesand not every host is set up to handle it optimally. Right now, WordPress ideally needs to be running on PHP 5.6 (or greater) and MySQL 5.5 (or greater) to avoid security vulnerabilities and potentially broken features. Look for a host with a strong track record in dealing with WordPress sites.
Its all very well having a super-fast, super-secure server, and an awesome site, but if youre spending ten times as much on it as you can ever hope to get back, all that effort is in vain.
Well be going over a lot of ground in the remainder of this piece so feel free to hit us up in the comments if anything is unclear along the way.
Unlike many other hosting guides which are biased in favor of one particular provider from the get go, weve reviewed each of the hosts totally independently and are happy to answer any questions you might have.
Lets start drilling into detail and look at the different types of WordPress hosting that are actually available for your site.
Hosting options run the gamut from very basic shared hosting all the way up to having your websites very own dedicated server. The hosts well be looking at later each offer pretty much the full range via their various packages.
In this section, were going to take a whirlwind tour through some key differences between basic types of hosting to make sure you have some background context for later on. If youre relatively experienced in this area already, feel free to skip ahead.
Managed WordPress hostingis where everything regarding your site is taken care of for you by the hosting company. You dont need to worry about server configuration or security settings and uptime should be pretty much bulletproof.
With unmanaged hosting, you are given space on a server and what happens next is essentially up to you.
Although its more than possible to set up, run and maintain an installation with an unmanaged host, there are a number of obvious reasons why a managed option makes an awful lot of sense:
If anything goes wrong, you have people on hand to help and its their problem as well as yours.
Youre not forced to carry the burden of system administration for your site. Running a successful WordPress site is hard enough without constantly fretting over ports, proxies and potential server meltdowns.
Managed hosting options will almost certainly have better security systems in place than anything you can hack together and your WordPress installs will be automatically upgraded with each new release.
The plans well be testing in our roundup are all managed, but its still useful to have an idea of the different options available to you. Well quickly run over the main pros and cons of each alternative before getting down to business.
Shared hosting is the common entry-level point for those new to WordPress. Its where a single host parcels up sections of its servers to multiple websites. Everything runs side-by-side and each site can only access its own segment of the server.
There are of course pros and cons to this arrangement. Lets start with the plus points:
Shared hosting is typically the cheapest way of hosting a site. Deals as low as$2.95 a monthare available.
Youre limited in how much access you have to the actual server youre on, but the host will take care of installing and updating services such as PHP and MySQL.
If your site starts to pick up steam, most shared hosting providers will provide easy migration tools to one of their more advanced hosting packages.
It isnt all peaches and cream with shared hosting, however. There are also a number of disadvantages to consider:
If you want to configure advanced server options, you probably wont be able to on a shared hosting package. This isnt always a deal-breaker but it can throw a serious spanner in the works if youre not aware of it in advance.
Shared hosting packages have come on in leaps and bounds over the years but most will still struggle if you start to experience high traffic. Youre also vulnerable to sluggishness caused by issues with other sites on the machine you happen to be hosted on.
Many sites on one machine means many more ways for bad guys to potentially get at your site. Though most shared hosting providers are pretty rigorous with server-wide security, there is still a risk there so make sure yourebacking up sensibly.
WordPress Hosting: Virtual Private Server (VPS)
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a great in-between solution for sites that are too big or resource-heavy to really work well on a shared hosting account but that maybe dont justify having their own server.
Through the miracle ofvirtualization, Virtual Private Servers parcel up server space in such a way that you are effectively running your own machine in isolation. Again, there are pros and cons to this. Here are the main advantages:
Outside of the basic hardware at your disposal, youre in total command of your own resources with a VPS and free to configure it however you want, within reason.
VPS is more expensive than shared hosting, but you typically have access to considerably more power and flexibility. A well-tuned, low-cost VPS can potentially deliver somequite astonishing WordPress performance.
Your site lives in its own little world on a standard VPS setup so youre not at risk from noisy neighbors or vulnerabilities nearby.
As with anything, there are cons to consider when looking at running a VPS:
Youre free to tinker with configuration and settings, but the hardware itself is still outside your area of control. For most people, this wont be an issue but the fact remains that you are renting a room rather than buying the deeds to the property.
Maintaining a server on a business-critical, public-facing site is not for the faint-hearted. With a VPS, every aspect of your sites technical setup is
so you either need the technical chops to handle that with confidence or someone on your team who can take care of things.
Dedicated WordPress hosting is pretty much the top of the hosting tree. Its the next logical step up from running a VPS when you want full control over your own physical machine.
If youre at or near this stage its likely that you already know more than you ever wanted to about server setups in general so we wont be spending any time on it in this article.
To put things in a nutshell with this option, the plus points are total control and the downside is often prohibitive pricing and a heavy system administration burden.
For a pithy summary of the three main options we summarized below, look no further than the illustrated video below.
With all that introductory information behind us, lets move on to the hosting companies well actually be reviewing.
Were going to be running the rule over Seven hosting providers in particular, each offering packages specifically tailored for WordPress users. Lets meet the candidates!
Our first candidate is not shy about coming forward. WP Engine describes its product as simplythe best WordPress hosting
The company sells itself on robust infrastructure, site speed and security along with exceptional support. With over 220,000 currently active WordPress installations and serious funding behind it, WP Engine is very much one of the big beasts in the WordPress hosting space.
WP Engine offer a number of standard packages split out by traffic, storage and number of sites that can be hosted. These range in price from $29 to $249 per month. For our tests, we ran on the entry-level Personal package.
SiteGrounds shared hosting packages are suitable for sites of all manner of sites but they also provide WordPress-specific options which include one-click installs and auto-updates.
SiteGround offer daily backups, server isolation and 24/7 support on all three WordPress packages with pricing ranging from $9.95 per month to $29.95 per month. Specialist features such as one-click WordPress Staging and GIT support are available on the higher-tiered packages.
Update (Nov 2015): According to many of the comments below, it seems BlueHost isnt the best in terms of custom service and uptime. People are having really bad overall experience see the comments section below for more information.
Update 2 (Dec 2015): Id definitely advice against using Bluehost. They had some major outages in last few days, also according to our customer analysis, their live chat support takes at least 35-40 minutes.
Bluehost has been on the official WordPress hosting page for many years and offer some prettyspecialized optionsfor the platform these days and include support for the handy site management toolManageWP. Their managed WordPress hosting packages range from $24.99 to $169.99 per month depending on traffic and number of sites hosted.
Bluehost offer server setups specifically optimized for WordPress withNGINX and custom PHP-FPM configurationsunder the hood.
Security is also stressed with Sitelock Security and advanced CDN options in place.
Page.ly doesnt beat around the bush with its marketing claims, billing itself as the most scalable WordPress platform in the world. They boast an enviable roster of clients including giants such as Disney, Twitter and Facebook.
We used their entry-level Business hosting package for the purposes of this article but a suite of other options are on offer ranging from $99 per month all the way up to a whopping $1799 per month.
Page.ly make use of Amazon Web Servers (AWS) to power their hosting with advanced security and performance systems in place in the form of PressARMOR, PressCDN, and PressCACHE.
WordPress-related tasks can be carried out from Page.lys Atomic Core control panel.
Signup for the most scalable Hosting
Flywheel have pitched their services firmly at designers and creative agencies and offer advanced site collaboration tools and reseller options.
Flywheel offer a range of pricing options to cater for various scenarios along with WordPress-tuned servers, staging site options and easy transfer billing to clients. On a pay-per-site basis, pricing ranges from $15 per month to $75 per month. Bulk plans covering 10 and 30 sites are available at $100 and $250 per month respectively.
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DreamHost is unique in the WordPress hosting world. They offer both a shared plan and a managed one both aimed towards WordPress users with a single payment structure for each. Both plans enable you to host unlimited sites, as well as all the space and bandwidth youll need.
It could be said that most hosts offering one-size-fits-all plans tend to provide a service thats less focused, but DreamHost manages to keep their standards high.
Their shared plan costs $7.95 per month, while their managed alternative costs $16.95 for the same period.
Quick Note: HostGator is owned and managed by same company EIG, who runs Bluehost. Before HostGator cloud, we were on their shared hosting environment and didnt had a pleasant experience, but it seems they are working hard to build their image.
HostGator is a renowned name in the web hosting world, but not a beloved one. Lots of experienced users tend to look down on their hosting plans, but theyve now come out swinging with a strong offering for WordPress users their WordPress Cloud Hosting plans.
Their basic plan obtained decent results during our tests (more of which later), and they start at a reasonable $7.96 per month, going up to $14.36 per month.
InMotion is one of the biggest names in hosting. Their WordPress plans are particularly attractive due to budget-friendly prices.
While InMotion doesnt excel in any particular area, it offers an overall decent WordPress experience. Loading speeds arent exceptional, but arent too bad either. Their support team is friendly and knowledgeable, but often take ages to answer. If we had to sum up InMotion in a single word, it would be average.
Their cheapest plan comes in at a surprisingly low $2.95 per month. For the features they offer, thats one of the best prices around. As long as you dont expect exceptional performance, then youll be happy with them.
So, weve met our competitors and covered some of their standout features. Lets briefly review how we went about the actual tests before getting on to how the hosts performed.
At this point, we have the tricky job of choosing a favorite from the excellent list of hosts weve reviewed and tested here. Its a tough choice.
If youre looking at hosting a site for a client, the toolsFlywheel provide are massively useful.It didnt perform that well against the other candidates in our tests, however.
SiteGround is one of the cheapest providerson the listwhich will be a big factor for many and may suit smaller sites just starting out. However,InMotion beats it by a small margin, which makes it the frontrunner for budget WordPress users.
If youre planning on scaling a site the whole way up from small beginnings to a truly massive affair,Page.ly has a lot to recommend it.Their prices arent cheap, but youre getting value for money great service and support and plenty of room to scale. Their Atomic Core admin is particularly impressive.
DreamHosts modest selectionof plans are powerful enough to support growing websites, and provide WordPress users with a smooth experience at reasonable prices.
HostGator has made tremendous stridesin the world of WordPress hosting thanks to their new WordPress Cloud Hosting plans, but its still too early to say whether theyll maintain this new level of quality over time. If they do, their service will surely become a top contender.
Bluehosts suiteof options represent an excellent compromisebetween quality and price and should be able to handle successive waves of traffic increases elegantly. They also have over a decade of WordPress hosting experience behind them and continue to be recommended on . The inclusion of ManageWP is a nice additional bonus.
On balance though, for their combination of cost, ease of use, performance, security and feature set,weve plumped forWP Engine as the overall winner.They have options right down to $29 per month for smaller sites and a 60-day money back guarantee so you can kick the tires with confidence. WPEngines backend was a breeze to use and the range of developer features on offer are impressive.
We ran all tests with a basic WordPress site installed from the hosting providers control and performed the following steps:
Each sites performance was tested usingLoadImpact. In our graphs, green represents the response time while blue is the number of requests.
We usedChrome developer toolsandPingdoms website speed testto find out how long our page takes to load.
We checked the averageDNS response timefor each host throughUltraTools.
Bear in mind that were working with averages here and performance is bound to vary across time and due to circumstances on any given day. Nevertheless, our results should give you a ballpark set of figures for each host.
With only a couple of blips, our WP Engine WordPress hosting loaded at around
The 290kB page loaded in just350mson Pingdom, earning a performance grade of75%.
Its marked as faster than 99% of other sites tested with the same tool. With developer tools, a full page load took just269ms.
The DNS response time averaged out at4ms.
Variable is probably the word to describe this somewhat disappointing graph from the LoadImpact tests.
Peaking at nearly three seconds, results tended to stay in or around the one-second mark.
Our 189kB page came in with a load speed of942ms, and scored75%on Pingdoms performance grade. It took638msto load with Developer Tools.
The average DNS response time meanwhile came in at17ms.
Bluehosts results with LoadImpact stuck at aroundeven as requests increased. Alas, the good performance did not last.
Bluehost delivered a not-so-wonderful set of results on Pingdom, taking2794msto serve the content although still managing75%on the performance grade.
With Developer Tools, results were somewhat better (if still not stunning), taking1150msto serve the page. DNS average response time was78ms, way out compared to all the other hosts.
There was a slight trend upwards for Page.ly on LoadImpact in response time as more requests were sent and a couple of big jumps along the way.
Response times tended to stick in a range between80msand115msoverall.
Our 291kB page loaded in731ms. This earned it a performance grade of75%, better than 94% sites tested with Pingdom.459mswas the result with Developer Tools.
The average DNS response time meanwhile, was20ms.
The response speed on LoadImpact was a little unstable for Flywheel and tended to increase with more requests.
Overall, it stayed around the1000msmark.
The 290kB page took1580msto load up, scoring86%in Pingdoms performance ratings. It was faster than 66% of websites testing on the site.
It took2776mswith Developer Tools, however. Flywheels average DNS response time came in at a speedy4ms.
Our Load Impact test returned concerning results for DreamHost, with an average request response time of nearly three seconds way above the norm compared to the other hosts in this list.
Over at Pingdom, our findings were a little better. Dreamhost scored a performance grade of 77 (which is solid), and the page loaded in 1.25 seconds. On the other hand, a quick test using the Developer Tools took 1.95 seconds a small but significant increase.
As far as DNS response times go, DreamHost came in at an average of 37 milliseconds.
HostGator didnt fare that well either during the Load Impact test, with an approximate average of 1.3 seconds throughout.
As for Pingdom, our test site scored a performance grade of 63 and loaded in 1.64 seconds. Meanwhile, the Developer Tools caused our site to load in 1.83 seconds.
Finally, HostGators average DNS response time came out at 40ms. Its not stellar, but definitely not the worst weve seen thus far.
InMotion came out looking decent during the Load Impact test, with an approximate average of 0.8 seconds and a couple of moderate spikes above the 1 second range. Pretty good for a budget WordPress web host.
As is to be expected, those times came down during the Pingdom test. Our website took 0.48 seconds to load and scored a modest 63 on their performance grade.
Meanwhile, Chrome Developer tools clocked its loading time at approximately one second. Thats a wide variance, but still within the range of our tests.
InMotions DNS response time clocked in at a respectable (but not blazing fast) 32ms.
Speed and cost arent the only metrics that matter when it comes to determining a good WordPress hosting provider. In fact, we would argue that customer support is just as important as any other metric when looking for a suitable host.
To determine how each provider fared in this criterion, we went ahead and asked each one a simple question via live chat: How do I install a new plugin on my WordPress site? Once we received their replies, each provider was scored according to their response time and how many responses it took them to guide us through the process. Finally, we gave each host a subjective score out of five. Lets see how they fared:
Needless to say, this test provided us with some surprising results. For one,SiteGround absolutely blew away the competitionby responding in less than half a minute, and promptly answering our question. Secondly,HostGator offered a quality of supportthat was unexpected considering their reputation.
Moving on,DreamHost and Pagely scored highly overall, with decent response times and knowledgeable support staff. WP Engine and Flywheel fell behind a little, but its worth noting that their response times were still acceptable. Considering how many queries these hosts deal with, its a testament to their dedication that they respond in a matter of minutes.
That being said, one host in particulardisappointed us in terms of response times and quality Bluehost. Although the support agent who chatted with us did resolve our query eventually, their responses were generally insufficient and curt, which led to us spending more time than necessary rephrasing our request.
Weve summarized the results of our tests in the following table with leading results highlighted in green and lower-ranking results in red.
Some of the results here are obviously better than others, but we should point out that were looking at a very strong set of hosting options in general.
So, if one host looks to have done badly here, that doesnt mean you should necessarily ignore it completely.
Though its a key factor, speed isnt everything when it comes to hosting. Factors such as price, support and feature set all come into play as well.
Differences are on display in terms of traffic allowances as well. As an example, on their cheapest packages, Bluehost includes 100,000,000 visits per month, SiteGround around 10,000, WPEngine about 25,000, FlyWheel 5,000, while Pagely is unlimited.
Pricing will also obviously be a consideration. Each provider breaks their services out differently, but SiteGround and Flywheel offer the cheapest packages overall with Page.ly topping the charts as the most expensive.
The managed packages we tested break out their entry-level plans by traffic, storage space and number of sites supported rather than our test criteria of performance. Youll need to consider your own anticipated traffic requirements when weighing up the exact package to suit your business.
Factors such as built-in support for ManageWP with Bluehost or Pagelys Atomic Core admin could also swing certain users. Flywheels strong set of tools specifically aimed at creative agencies might sway others.
The point were making is that its important to scope out the requirements that your business truly needs before you begin your search.
WP Engine came out on top in the end for us(for managed hosting) but, having kicked the tires of all eight providers, we were pleasantly surprised at the overall quality of offerings on display.
If you are looking for a more reasonable option,SiteGround is the 2nd best choice. They have almost same features as WPEngine and comes up with super fast support.
Compared to the dark days of even five or six years ago, it really is remarkable how much better options for simply and affordably hosting a WordPress site have gotten.
As we mentioned at the top of the article,managed WordPress hostingreally is the way to go unless youre bringing considerable server-level expertise to the table. All eight hosting providers surveyed performed admirably in their respective ways.
Were curious to hear your thoughts on the matter. Have you tried one of our providers and got useful information to share? Or is there another contender out there we should have included? Get in touch via the comments and let us know.
I think one more point to consider would be whether the host would do all the initial wordpress installations. This changes the whole equation as a user need not bother about the hard stuff (installing the blog, setting up email ids etc).
I agree with some of what you said. I believe the only real WordPress host or whoso would ever recommend to a friend if they said you know of any good WordPress hosts? would be WP engine I am hosting my site right now its lightning fast on it outstanding support and if youre paying $50 or more for a host as you are with host gator you should clearly look at how little $50 extra dollars a month is for your business and put it on the pro plan on WP engin