Web hosting is a crucial component often overlooked by many people when starting their websites. Your hosting provider can have such a big impact on the performance of your website.
With that said, picking a hosting company can be a confusing and daunting task. There are many web hosting services out there, so which ones are the best?
Before we delve into the best WordPress hosting companies, let’s have a look at some features that every good web hosting company should have.
Hosting sites will try to convince you to join based on large price reductions for first-time customers, but don’t be distracted by this.
If you want to compare plans in a useful way, look at these main features:
Load time - This is the amount of time it takes your website to load. Put simply, it’s the speed of your website. There are many factors that affect the load time of your website and one of them is the hosting provider you use.
Your WordPress hosting provider should offer quick load times. Their plans should be configured to work best with WordPress websites.
Load time is important for both a good user experience and as an essential element of SEO.
Customer support - Unfortunately, website problems don’t just occur during business hours. Your hosting company needs to have 24 hour support that’s easy to reach.
There should be more than one method for reaching support, including a phone number. When you have a serious issue with your site, speed of service is the most valuable resource a hosting company can provide.
Hosting companies should also be familiar with WordPress, so they can provide useful answers when you have problems.
No matter how easy it is to reach the customer support, it won’t do any good if they are not familiar enough with WordPress.
Uptime - Uptime is the amount of time that your website is actively available online versus the time it’s down. You want to find a company that offers around 99.95% uptime, because this ensures your site will be up and accessible to viewers almost all the time.
No site can offer 100% uptime, but getting the highest uptime possible is vital to your site’s overall performance. Even slight reductions in uptime can hurt your site.
For example, at 99.95% uptime, your site will only be down for an average of around 21 minutes per month. At only 99% uptime, that increases to 7.2 hours per month.
Performance matters, so you can’t accept low uptime measures.
Security - No matter how large or small your website is, security matters. Hosts cannot guarantee your site’s security, but they can take steps to help make sure you’re doing what you need to in order to secure your site.
This includes providing tools like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates and alerting you about potential vulnerabilities in your site.
Google may penalize your site if you do not have an SSL certificate. If you’ll be dealing with user data, especially payment or identity-related data, stronger security measures need to be taken to protect your users against information theft.
Let's delve into the hosting plans you’ll encounter when researching hosting companies. This section is aimed for the beginners, users with no experience about the various hosting plans on offer.
If you’re familiar with the types of hosting plans, feel free to skip ahead.
This is considered the entry point. The way this plan works is the hosting company divides the servers among many sites. All sites on a shared hosting plan run side by side on the same server.
This plan is the cheapest of all plans offered and maintenance (updating PHP and MySQL) is handled by the hosting company. It does have its downsides like performance issues.
This type of plan is not the best for when your site starts to gain more traffic.
You also lack control of the server with this plan. You’re not allowed to make any serious changes to your server. This isn’t a problem for many beginners as you’ll rarely ever need to mess with server settings.
This plan is considered the middle ground between dedicated and shared hosting. It works best for sites that have grown too big or are too resource intensive for a shared hosting plan, but not big enough to justify having their own server.
With this plan, you have more control of your server configuration and its cost effective when compared to having your own dedicated server.
It’s important that you know how to set up your server with a VPS plan as all server related issues will be handled by you.
This plan is at the top of the chain. You can’t go any higher than dedicated hosting.
With this plan, you own and setup your own physical server. Dedicated hosting is the most expensive plan available. It doesn’t come cheap. Plus, you’re going to need knowledge on system administration to use this plan.
With that said, the best part is you have total control over your server. You can change and alter configurations and settings like hardware and operating systems as you wish.
Don’t go for a dedicated hosting plan when starting out as a beginner, that’s overkill! Instead, you can upgrade slowly to this plan as your site gains a high amount of traffic.
Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s have a look at some of the best WordPress hosting services available.
One of the most well-known hosting companies, BlueHost has a good reputation for a mix of service and site performance. WordPress has officially recommended BlueHost as a hosting service provider for many years.
They offer an average of around 99.97% uptime in the cloud hosting service as well as short load times averaging around 475ms. Their 24/7 support is easy to reach when you need them, and they are helpful enough to assist you in solving website setup issues and basic WordPress problems.
For all hosting plans, BlueHost gives a free SSL certificate to meet security requirements.
First-time users starting a plan on BlueHost will receive a free domain name. This is a good option for small to medium-sized websites, and it’s a reliable option for businesses.
BlueHost Cloud is an unmanaged hosting plan, but there are other advanced hosting options with BlueHost for site owners that have higher traffic or want more features. Managed hosting plans are available for a higher price point.
Another web hosting service that WordPress officially recommends, Siteground is an impressive candidate to consider. It has uptime on the high end, averaging about 99.98%. This rate rivals most of the best WordPress hosting companies, making Siteground one of the standout services.
Siteground also has an average load speed of about 505ms, which is competitive among other top hosting sites. Overall, their performance is great for WordPress sites.
Conveniently, Siteground gives users a free SSL certificate to help secure the site. They also give one free site migration to get users started with their service. However, the hosting plan itself is a bit pricey when compared to similar companies.
Customer support is another shining spot on Siteground’s features because their service is helpful at solving site-related issues and WordPress problems as well. They can be reached easily, 24/7 and will respond quickly.
One of the lesser-known hosting companies that’s started to stand out recently, A2 Hosting is a great option for WordPress users.
It has one of the fastest website load times, with an average of around 475ms, and fantastic customer support. Support is reachable through live chat, email, phone, and through ticketing.
No matter which method you use, you should get a response back extremely quickly from a knowledgeable support staff that will walk through your issue with you.
The hosting plans are all optimized to work seamlessly with WordPress, making it easy even for those without much experience running a WordPress site.
The unfortunate part about A2 hosting is the uptime, which sits at a low 99.90%. This is below the recommendation of 99.95%+, meaning you can expect more downtime with this host than with most other WordPress hosts.
For many website owners, this is a deal breaker for A2, but it may still be a good option if you have a smaller site that won’t be impacted as highly by downtime. However, due to the importance of high uptime, this is something you should take into consideration before signing up with A2 Hosting.
Priced well to compete with average hosting plans, Inmotion’s basic hosting plan offers a good 99.96% uptime with load times averaging around 689ms.
While this is noticeably slower than some of the top service providers, it’s still a commendable speed that beats out a lot of low-end hosting services.
Inmotion has decent performance that shouldn’t interfere with your site throughout the year. Customer service for Inmotion is also quite good, with quick response times and easy access for people around the world.
To help you save time during installation, Inmotion also lets you pre-install WordPress as an option when you’re setting up your account.
The biggest downside for Inmotion is that they don’t offer instant activation when you sign up for a new account.
Users located within the US will have the option for instant activation, but all users outside the US won’t be able to instantly activate their accounts with Inmotion.
While it can be pretty inconvenient while you’re setting up your account, it’s only a one-time problem that won’t affect you later on.
Owned by the same company that owns BlueHost, Hostgator is a great option for an individual or a business owner who wants a bit more than the basics.
It offers a few more convenience features for site owners, as well as stronger performance statistics.
The average uptime for Hostgator comes in at an impressive 99.99%, which is as high as any hosting site can be. This means you will experience almost no downtime throughout the entire year, something that’s especially useful for money-making sites.
Load time is fast at close to 580 ms. Customer support at Hostgator is exceptional, with multiple options for contacting them and a quick response time to solve your issues. If you run into problems while using Hostgator, you shouldn’t have trouble getting them resolved.
WordPress users will easily be able to get started on Hostgator Cloud because of the option for one-click WordPress installation and the availability of one free site transfer for new users. It’s a safe, reliable, and convenient option for most websites.
Hostgator offers other plans, such as their budget shared hosting plan and more extensive managed hosting plans.
Dreamhost’s reputation was somewhat damaged by a 2017 DDOS attack that has ruined their uptime statistics and caused site owners to be wary. Uptime statistics, including the time period when the DDOS attack happened, sit at a low 99.13%. This is not the usual uptime though, because it was highly affected by the attack.
It would be reasonable to assume their uptime is more competitive during normal operational times. However, website load times are also unusually slow for Dreamhost, averaging around 1,085ms. This is slower than most other WordPress hosting companies, and it may cause problems for you.
Even with these undesirable traits, Dreamhost does offer some features to try to compensate for what they’re lacking. One great feature is unlimited bandwidth for websites, which is something very few WordPress hosting services offer in their regular hosting plans.
The other thing they do is credit your account for any downtime your site experiences due to their hosting. This is their strategy for regaining trust with customers, and it’s an effective way of making sure you’re getting exactly what you pay for. Customer support for Dreamhost is active and helpful.
Despite the balance of problems and extra features, Dreamhost is actually one of the most expensive basic WordPress hosting companies. They are more expensive than some of the more popular and well-known services, making them a less attractive option for those with a lower budget.
If you’re looking for a better option on a budget, iPage can fit your needs well. For first-time users, huge discounts are available, although those discounts do not stick upon renewal of the hosting plan.
However, with the discounted price comes a decrease in reliability and website performance. The average uptime for iPage is 99.95%, which is the lowest you really want to go for a hosting service. It’s not bad, but it’s also not as good as what’s offered by many other companies.
Website load time is also lower than most of the competition at an average of 910 ms. While this is technically still fast to the viewer, it may hurt you if you’re in a competitive industry online.
Customer support at iPage does not have a great reputation online. While they are generally familiar with their own hosting features, they may be unable to help you out with anything more than basic issues, especially in regards to WordPress. This can be a bit of a disadvantage if you run into a tricky problem and you need help.
Although it’s not the best hosting service available, iPage does offer a price advantage over many other WordPress hosting companies, which can be useful for first-time site owners or those looking to launch a simple website.
This is a managed WordPress hosting plan, so it’s not your average shared or cloud hosting plan that works on a budget.
Kinsta Managed Hosting starts out more than 10 times higher in price than most average cloud hosting plans, which is to be expected with a managed hosting plan.
All this is not meant to scare you away from the service, but to let you know that Kinsta is geared more towards higher traffic sites, larger sites, and medium-large businesses. It’s probably much more than you need for a simple WordPress site, especially if you’re only a beginner or you have a small site.
Users can expect fantastic site performance when working with Kinsta. Site load times are as low as 465ms, which is faster than most other hosting services out there. It also offers supreme uptime, with some tests showing 100% uptime over 30-day time periods. You can expect consistently fantastic uptime and speed when using Kinsta.
In terms of customer service, Kinsta also ranks very well. They are very knowledgeable in WordPress. You can reach their customer service easily, and they will respond within a few short minutes to help you as well as possible.
As a premium managed hosting site, Kinsta is a fantastic choice for larger sites or businesses and it's a best WordPress hosting provider if you have a big budget.
Another managed WordPress hosting service, Flywheel is not a premium hosting plan. However, it’s still pricier than most of the other hosts on this list. But, it does make up for that in great features for businesses and excellent performance.
Website load speed is pretty good, clocking in at an average of 611ms. Uptime is great, with an average of 99.99%. This is one of the best performances of any of the hosts listed here, and it’s hard to beat. The combination of quick loading speeds and high uptime is great for most business websites.
Flywheel’s customer service is not always as fast as other companies, but they make up for it by providing very informative answers to questions. Support staff are very knowledgeable in both their own site and also WordPress, so you can get help with a lot of different problems quick easily.
Little pricier but does provide service on that level, so makes the cut in the best WordPress hosting list.
One of the unique things that Green Geeks offers is included in their name. They are a green web hosting company, meaning they try to offset their carbon production through use of green energy sources and eco-friendly business practices.
If you’re someone who cares about environmental issues, this could be an important thing to consider. Unfortunately, they don’t offer as good of performance as some of the other hosting companies on this list.
Uptime is at an impressive average of 99.97%, which does compete with many of the larger hosting companies, but the load time for web sites is noticeably slower at around 914ms. This is slower than most other WordPress hosting companies listed here.
There are no extra features of exceptional services offered to help offset the disappointing load times. Customer support for Green Geeks is very useful, and they are easy to reach.
The hosting service is US-based and reachable through phone, email, or the live chat option on their website. If you have issues with the host or with WordPress, they should be knowledgeable and helpful to you.
First-time users on Green Geeks will receive free website migration, a free domain registration, and free data transfers to help you get fully set up.
The data in this long review was obtained via the use of tools like Pingdom to test website speed and Bitcatcha to test server response time. Our review is based on experience running sites on these hosting platforms and data that we obtained by using the tools mentioned above.
The best WordPress hosting provider is one that provides fast loading times and a high uptime rate as well. No hosting company can guarantee a 100% uptime, so stay away from any that does. With that said, an average uptime of 99.95% should be the benchmark you look at.
The hosting plan you’ll choose to get will mostly depend on your needs. For instance, we found Bluehost cloud to be great for large wordpress websites, Siteground for great customer support, and A2 hosting to be best for users that need quick load times. Different hosting plans meet different needs.
Hopefully this guide has made it easier for you to pick a hosting plan. Purchase a hosting plan now! And get your site up and running.