How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting Plan (October 2020 Update)

How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting Plan (October 2020 Update)

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How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting Plan (October 2020 Update)

Intro

Choosing the right hosting for your WordPress website is very important. Your WordPress site’s health will rely on the hosting provider you use.

But how do you know which one is the best WordPress host?

There’s so many to choose from: Bluehost, SiteGround, HostGator… etc.

Whichever host you’re going to choose, keep in mind the 3 most important factors of a WordPress hosting provider:

  • Speed – also known as “load time”.
  • Uptime – needs to be at least 99.94%.
  • Customer Support – they should help you with WordPress related questions.

We can’t guarantee you will have similar uptime or speed results to your website as this varies on several different factors, such as your chosen hosting plan, your website size, and the number of visitors your website gets.

Getting started with WordPress web hosting doesn’t have to be expensive, because after all, WordPress itself is free (and open-source). Even the cheapest shared hosting plan usually comes with a one-click WordPress installer, allowing the greenest of blogging newbies to have their first post ready in less than 60 seconds (we timed this, in fact).

Going forward, however, managing a blog over time is much more challenging. You’ll need to find your own themes and plugins, not to mention also keeping them, plus WordPress itself, up-to-date (although you can even get that done automatically).

Blogs are often targeted by malware, so it’s important you have some way to detect and remove any threats, and you’ll want regular backups to help get a broken blog working again.

Often overlooked, web hosting is one of the key components of every successful website. Choosing the best WordPress hosting for your needs can improve your SEO and increase sales. There are various different types of WordPress hosting options available such as Free, Shared, VPS, Dedicated, and managed WordPress hosting. In this guide, we will help you choose the best WordPress hosting for your website.

WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress resource site that receives millions of page views per month. Having helped 200,000+ users and years of experience with WordPress hosting companies, we know the importance of choosing the best WordPress hosting company.

Our goal with this guide is to share our 12+ years of experience and insights on things you need to consider when choosing a hosting company for your business.

To help you make the right decision, we have also done a side-by-side comparison of the top WordPress hosting companies including speed tests, uptime tests, and reliability tests (scroll to see the full comparison).

If you’re in a rush, then you can simply see the table below with our hand-picked list of best WordPress hosting companies. These companies are consistently the top WordPress hosting companies in the industry when it comes to quality and service.

What are the WordPress Hosting Requirements?

 WordPress Hosting Requirements

You will be surprised to hear that WordPress is a very light-weight script, and it is compatible with almost all good web hosting companies. The simple requirements that WordPress put forth are:

  • PHP version 7 or greater
  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.1 or greater
  • HTTPS support (SSL)

Due to the popularity of WordPress, all best web hosting companies come with easy 1-click install options for WordPress. All WordPress hosting companies that we have listed in this guide offer full support for running a WordPress site.

Things to Consider when Choosing a WordPress Hosting Provider

Speed, security, and reliability are all important factors that you need to consider when choosing your WordPress hosting. However, the most important factor that you should consider is “Your Needs”. Evaluating your needs before purchasing your WordPress hosting can save you hundreds of dollars.

Evaluating Your WordPress Hosting Needs

As we have mentioned above, there are different types of web hosting services available such as Free, Shared, VPS, Dedicated, and Managed. Let’s take a look at each of these options to determine which is the best solution for you.

Free WordPress Hosting

There are free web hosting available, but almost all of them have some sort of catch. Usually, you can find free WordPress hosting being offered in online forums or small groups. 

In most cases, these are managed by an individual who is reselling a small part of his server space to cover up some revenue. Often the catch is that you have to put their banner ads on the site. Some may ask you to put a text link in the footer of your site. 

These folks will sell that banner ad or text link to cover up the cost of your free space along with pocketing the profits. The biggest downside of having a free host aside from the ads is that they are unreliable. 

You never know when this person will stop offering free service. They can leave you hanging at any time. If you are serious about your website or business, then avoid Free WordPress hosting at all costs.

Shared WordPress Hosting

Shared hosting is by far the most popular type of WordPress hosting used by beginners. It is the most affordable and quite frankly a good starting point for new users. Shared hosting is where you share a large server with a lot of sites. 

By having multiple sites on the same server, hosting providers can offer the service at a more affordable rate. The biggest catch that we see with shared hosting across all providers (including the ones we recommend below) is the unlimited resources. 

There is no such thing as unlimited. While it says unlimited, you still have usage restrictions. If your site starts to take up a substantial server load, they will politely force you to upgrade your account. If they don’t take this action, then it can have a negative effect on the overall performance of other sites hosted on the same server. It gets back to conventional wisdom. As your business grows, so will your overhead cost.

Shared web hosting is the best solution for small businesses and starting bloggers.

WordPress VPS Hosting

Virtual Private Server (VPS) refers to a virtual machine. It is a method of partitioning a physical server computer into multiple servers with respect to the individual customer’s need. Even though you are sharing the server with a handful of others, this gives you almost as much control as a dedicated server. It also has the privacy of a separate physical computer and can be configured to run specific server software. 

Often developers, intermediate users, and medium-sized bloggers utilize VPS to scale their websites. If you do NOT have any technical knowledge, then you need to make sure that you purchase a managed VPS. This means that the WordPress hosting provider manages all system upgrades, and they are available to assist you if needed.

VPS hosting is best for medium-sized businesses, high traffic blogs, and aspiring designers/developers.

WordPress Dedicated Server Hosting

A dedicated server is a physical server that you can lease from the hosting provider. This allows you to have full control over the server including the choice of an operating system, hardware, etc. You DO NOT need a dedicated server if you are just starting out. Once your site is receiving a significant amount of traffic, only then you should consider upgrading to a dedicated server. 

WPBeginner runs on a dedicated server network by SiteGround. If you do not employ a system administrator or have no experience with servers, then we recommend that you get a managed dedicated server. WordPress hosting providers who offer managed dedicated servers employ full-time system administrators that maintain your servers. Along with doing software updates, they also do server monitoring, offer phone support, etc. Most top websites use clusters of dedicated servers.

WordPress Dedicated Servers are best for extremely high traffic blogs.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Due to a large number of users using WordPress, several web hosting providers have chosen to offer managed WordPress hosting. An account with one of these providers only allows you to host WordPress based sites and nothing else. 

The benefit of managed WordPress hosting is that you do not have to worry about ANYTHING. They optimize your site for performance, make sure that your site is secure, and keep regular backups. On top of that, they advise you if a specific plugin is having a negative impact.

The bottom line managed WordPress hosting is hassle-free fast WordPress hosting with high-quality support from staff with lots of WordPress experience. While all this sounds amazing, the plans for managed WordPress hosting is usually on the higher end of the scale. 

For example, a personal account with a popular managed WordPress hosting provider costs $29/month where you can only host 1 site (getting a maximum of 25,000 visitors per month). The next level higher where you are allowed multiple domains will cost you $99/month. A person starting out a blog cannot afford this.

Managed WordPress hosting is great for established bloggers who can justify the expense with their revenue. It is for people who do not have the skills/time to deal with the technical side of things. We recommend WP Engine for managed WordPress hosting.

Comparing WordPress Hosting Providers

Siteground (We Strongly Recommend)

Best overall WordPress host ($6.99/mo)

SiteGround is one of the most popular and highest rated hosting providers in the WordPress community. They provide unique in-house WordPress speed and security solutions to make your site as fast and secure as possible. They are known for the best 24/7 support in the industry which is why they’re an official ‘WordPress’ recommended hosting provider. 

This is also why we use SiteGround for hosting the WPBeginner website. SiteGround features include automatic upgrades, built-in WP caching, CDN, one-click staging, and GIT version control. They are also one of the few companies offering location-specific hosting with 6 data centers in the USA, Europe, Asia, and Australia. On top of all this, they have а special 63% discount for WPBeginner readers.

No list of best WordPress hosting could be complete without SiteGround playing a prominent role. The company has been making a name for themselves in the WordPress community for a while now. And not without a reason. Their hosting platform is strong when it comes to for-WordPress optimized servers, plus they offer managed WordPress hosting at price points that are unheard of (read: you won’t find a cheaper managed host of the same quality anywhere else).

What’s also worth pointing out is that SiteGround is one of the few officially recommended hosts by WordPress.org.

For the tests, we went for the StartUp package. Although for a generally more WordPress-optimized package, we’d recommend the GrowBig or GoGeek plan. They are a tad more expensive, but come with additional perks such as advanced caching (custom-built by SiteGround), staging, premium wildcard SSL certificates, and free PCI compliance – should you want to run an e-commerce store.

SiteGround is one of the most popular and highest rated hosting providers in the WordPress community. They offer premium hosting plans that are specifically optimized for WordPress with unique in-house speed and security solutions. That’s why they’re an official WordPress recommended hosting provider.

Note: WPBeginner website is also hosted on SiteGround Enterprise servers, and we love their support.

Here are the results from our SiteGround performance tests:

WordPress installation

Getting WordPress up and running with the built-in installer took just a few clicks. There really isn’t anything more to say here … the installation process really was as seamless as possible.

During this setup process, you also get to choose your server location. There are five data centers available – in the USA, Asia, and Europe.

Customer support

SiteGround offers what they call “unmatched” support (via chat, phone, tickets, social media), and it’s hard to argue with that, honestly. Apart from being able to access your account and fix any issues, the support agents are also knowledgeable about WordPress and WordPress hosting and can help you out with a range of other issues that might not be strictly hosting-related.

In our little test, the SiteGround customer support was able to help us get a temporary URL working quickly and efficiently.

Special mention has to go out to the slickness of their customer support software and the extra mile the staff were prepared to go in offering detailed account advice and providing screenshots. (This makes it a great HostGator alternative, for instance, if you want a more refined support environment.)

Uptime and response times

It’s hard to say anything bad about SiteGround’s response times or uptime, really.

Responses in the range of 850ms (over a three-month period) are more than you can hope for with many of the other hosts in the market, and the uptime record is nothing short of great.

  • PROS: Best WordPress support, good uptime, fast speed, and free SSL.
  • PROS: Multiple data centers across the world (USA, Europe, Asia, and Australia)
  • PROS: Free Site Migration
  • PROS: WPBeginner site is hosted on SiteGround servers.
  • CONS: No free domain and pricing are a bit higher since it’s premium hosting.


GoDaddy

Deciding your business is ready for a web presence is easy; choosing the right web hosting service is not. GoDaddy is well known as a seller of domain names, and it’s also excellent for personal and commercial web hosting purposes. GoDaddy’s well-rounded packages fall just shy of those offered by our Editors’ Choice picks, but it has many attractive and useful elements that many prospective customers are sure to find worthwhile.

WordPress Web Hosting

GoDaddy has multiple tiers of unmanaged and managed WordPress hosting. The unmanaged plans have the same prices and specs as GoDaddy’s shared plans.

The managed variety the white-glove treatment with four tiers of Linux-based WordPress hosting. Signing up has its advantages. GoDaddy has thousands of WordPress themes and plug-ins, and it offers nightly backups and automatic WordPress software updates. Like other managed WordPress hosts, GoDaddy doesn’t require you to install the CMS, as it comes preinstalled. Once you’re logged into WordPress, you can create posts, pages, and galleries as you would with any other self-hosted WordPress site.

The Pro 5 plan (starts at $24.99 per month) comes with five domains, 50GB of storage, five staging areas, site backup (for up to 90 days), and a free SSL certificate. Pro 10 (starts at $49.99 per month) ups the domains to 10, storage to 80GB, and staging areas to 10. Pro 25 (starts at $89.99 per month) builds on Pro 10 by offering 25 domains, 25 staging areas, and 100GB of storage. Pro 50 (starts at $169 per month) serves up 50 domains, 200GB of storage, and 50 staging areas. Please note that the renewal prices are the same as the starting prices.

That’s a good offering, but A2(3.92 Per Month at A2 Hosting) reigns as the Editors’ Choice for WordPress hosting. A2 has plans starting as low as $7.99 per month (for unlimited storage, unlimited monthly data transfers, and free SSL certificate) and as high as $24.46 per month (which adds unlimited sites and unlimited databases).

Setting Up a GoDaddy-Hosted Site

GoDaddy’s free website builder is called GoCentral. It’s a completely responsive-design tool, which means you get a good-looking and functional mobile website alongside the desktop website you build. The drag-and-drop functionality makes page building a breeze. For $29.99 per month, you can add a capable web store.

GoDaddy has many business- and consumer-friendly options, a reliable Microsoft-based hosted email service and quality 24/7 customer service. Note, however, that GoDaddy lacks cloud hosting plans, and has a skimpy number of default email accounts. Still, if you’re looking to quickly set up a website, GoDaddy has the tools you’ll need for a successful launch.

  • PROS: Excellent 24/7 customer support.
  • PROS: Windows- and Linux-based servers.
  • PROS: Managed WordPress hosting.
  • PROS: Email tightly integrated into Microsoft apps
  • CONS: Skimpy default email plans.
  • CONS: No cloud hosting.

BlueHost

One of the oldest web hosts started in 1996, Bluehost has become the largest brand name when it comes to WordPress hosting. They are an official ‘WordPress’ recommended hosting provider. With Bluehost, you never have to worry about your website being slow even when there is a lot of traffic. Their 24/7 expert support is always there to help when you need it by phone, email, or live chat. They are rated #1 in web hosting for small businesses. On top of that, they are offering WPBeginner users an exclusive 63% off discount, a Free Domain, Free SSL, and a free Site Builder with templates.

Bluehost is one of the largest hosting companies on the planet, and they are an official WordPress recommended hosting provider. Their hosting packages come pre-installed with WordPress by default.

Here are the results of our Bluehost performance tests:

As you can see, our test site loaded in less than two seconds. That’s faster than 85% of all tested websites. Considering the fact that our sample website wasn’t using any caching plugins or speed optimization tips, this result is very good.

After the speed test, we ran the Load Impact test on Bluehost servers. We gradually built up to 100 unique visitors at once to see how the server would handle increased requests from multiple connections at once.

  • PROS: 63% off hosting + Free Domain + Free SSL (https://) included
  • PROS: Officially recommended by WordPress
  • PROS: Free Staging Site
  • CONS: Sometimes support can be slow

HostGator

HostGator hosts over 8 million domains and is one of the most popular web hosts in the industry. With 1-click WordPress installation, 99.9% uptime guarantee, and 24/7 support, it’s a smart choice for every website owner. We consider them one of the best web hosting for businesses. They’re offering our readers an exclusive 62% off discount, a free domain name, and a free SSL certificate.

HostGator is a popular web hosting company that hosts over 8 million domains. Similar to Bluehost, they offer specialized WordPress hosting services.

Here are the results from our HostGator performance tests:

As you can see, our test site loaded in just under a second for a server in Dallas, Texas. That’s faster than 94% of all tested sites. Considering the fact that our sample website wasn’t using any caching plugins or speed optimization tips, the loading speed is amazing.

  • PROS: Fast and Reliable Hosting with good 24/7 support
  • PROS: WPBeginner website is hosted with HostGator
  • PROS: Cheap Intro Prices and Free Site Migration
  • CONS: Renewal fees are higher

DreamHost

DreamHost has been around for 18 years and is known for making web hosting easy. You get a custom dashboard, 1-click WordPress install, automatic WordPress updates, unlimited space, unlimited bandwidth, and free SSDs which makes your site 200% faster. DreamHost powers over 600,000 WordPress blogs and websites. There are no setup fees, and you also get a free domain.

DreamHost has been around for 18 years and is known for its reliable web hosting. They offer a one-click install for WordPress, and they are also an official WordPress.org recommended hosting providers.

Here are the results of our DreamHost performance tests:

As you can see our test site loaded in just under a second for a server in New York City. That’s faster than 93% of all tested sites.

  • PROS: Good speed free SSL, free domain with privacy protection, and 1-click WordPress install.
  • PROS: Officially recommended by WordPress
  • PROS: Free Web Application Firewall Included
  • CONS: The hosting control panel is a bit outdated.

Best WordPress Hosting Comparison Q&A’s

Now after browsing through the top WordPress hosting companies listed above, you might still be wondering which one is best for your business?

Our goal is to help you make the right decision because choosing the wrong provider can have a negative impact on your website SEO, speed, and sales. Reach out to us to speak with a certified website hosting technician. 

How should you choose a WordPress hosting provider?

If you don’t have the time or technical experience to handle all the technical ins-and-outs of running your WordPress operation, you might prefer to buy a managed WordPress hosting plan, and have the hosting company handle things for you.

The host will often import your previous WordPress blog if you have one. Usually, you’ll get some preinstalled themes and plugins to simplify customization. 

There should at least be an option to automatically update the site, a security service like SiteLock will be on hand to keep your blog malware-free, and we would expect 24/7 support from a team with real WordPress knowledge.

The best hosts go even further, optimizing their servers to boost WordPress performance, and sometimes throwing in extras like a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver great speeds worldwide (or that’s the idea, anyway).

WordPress Hosting FAQs

Having helped over 100,000+ users start their website, we have answered quite a lot of questions. Below are some of the answers to the most frequently asked questions about WordPress hosting.

Do I need WordPress hosting to start a website?

If you want to build a WordPress website, then you need web hosting. Your hosting server is where your website files are stored. Every website that you see online uses a web hosting provider.

Are there any free WordPress hosting providers?

Yes, there are several free website hosting companies out there, but we highly recommend that you stay away from them. In most cases, free WordPress hosting providers put advertisements on your website. They may even distribute malware to your users. Last but not least, they can shut down your website at any time without any notification. Avoid anyone who offers to give you free WordPress hosting, especially if you are serious about your site. Here are 36 reasons why having a “free website” is a bad idea.

How much does it cost to build a WordPress site?

The cost to build a WordPress website varies based on your needs. It can range from $100 to as high as $30,000. We have created a detailed guide explaining how much does it really cost to build a WordPress website.

Do I need to have my domain and WordPress hosting from the same provider?

No. You can purchase your domain from a domain name registrar like Domain.com, GoDaddy, etc, and use one of the WordPress hosting providers listed above. However, if you don’t have a domain already, then it’s easier to use the same provider (especially since many are offering a free domain with hosting).

Can I use these WordPress hosting providers for an eCommerce site?

Yes, you absolutely can. All WordPress hosting companies that we recommend above offer SSL certificates which is what you need for running an eCommerce website. If you’re looking for specialized eCommerce web hosting, then you may want to look at our comparison of the best WooCommerce hosting.

How to secure my WordPress hosting account?

Your web hosting account is where your website files are stored. So it’s very important that you secure it. The best way to secure your WordPress hosting account is to use a strong password and avoid logging in from public locations (unless you’re using a VPN). We also recommend that you follow our ultimate WordPress security guide to protect your site.

How do I install WordPress on my WordPress hosting account?

Every WordPress hosting provider that we recommend comes with a 1-click WordPress install. You can follow our step by step guide on how to install WordPress on your host.

Do I need a cPanel WordPress hosting?

cPanel is a type of control panel that a lot of WordPress hosting companies use. No you do not need cPanel, but it does make things easier in terms of installation, managing email accounts, etc.

How much traffic can these WordPress hosting companies handle?

These WordPress hosting companies handle billions of impressions a month.

The amount of traffic your website can handle really depends on the WordPress hosting plan that you’re on. Most shared hosting plans can comfortably handle 1000 to 2000 visitors per day as long as your website is optimized for performance.

As your website grows, your WordPress hosting provider may ask you to upgrade to either VPS hosting or managed WordPress hosting plans.

Can I switch my WordPress hosting provider later?

Yes, you can absolutely switch if you’re unhappy with your WordPress hosting company. Most WordPress hosting companies offer free migration services which make the process fairly smooth. However, if you want to do the migration yourself, then you can follow our step by step guide on how to move WordPress to a new host with no downtime.

Does my WordPress hosting datacenter location matter?

Some of the WordPress hosting companies that we recommend give you an option to choose your data center. The location of your data center does make a difference on your website performance for a specific geographic location.

If the majority of your audience is in the United States, then you want to choose a data center in the U.S. If a large portion of your audience is in Europe, then you should choose a data center in Europe.

If you are not sure, then just choose the U.S for now. You can always use a WordPress CDN to speed up your site for various geographic locations.

Should I purchase monthly WordPress hosting plans or commit long-term?

You will notice that almost every WordPress hosting company offers a huge discount for choosing long-term plans. If you are serious about your website, then you will likely keep it for more than a month.

We always recommend against choosing monthly WordPress hosting plans because they cost almost twice as much. It’s a better deal if you choose 12-month or 24-month plan.

Do I need any WordPress hosting addons?

Often WordPress hosting companies will try to upsell you on a wide variety of services. You really don’t need these services when you’re starting out.

We recommend that you uncheck everything in the order process and only purchase what you really need: WordPress hosting.

You can buy WordPress hosting addons if you need them in the future.

Do WordPress hosting companies offer professional branded email address?

Yes, most WordPress hosting companies will give you the ability to create a free business email address. However, we recommend that you use Google Apps (also known as GSuite) because it’s more reliable. See our step-by-step guide on how to set up a professional email address with Google apps.

Do these WordPress hosting companies offer website backups?

Yes, every WordPress hosting company claims to keep daily backups of your website. However, from our experience, we advise our users to install a WordPress backup plugin to keep their own backups because you can never be too safe.

Are there other WordPress hosting providers that are not listed here?

Yes, there are literally thousands of WordPress hosting companies out there, and we simply can’t list them all here because that would create more confusion and cause choice paralysis for non-techy readers.

We have tried every major WordPress hosting company in the market including many that are not in our list above such as: WP Engine, Flywheel, Kinsta, Cloudways, GoDaddy, LiquidWeb, InMotion Hosting A2 hosting, iPage, Site5, Arvixe, Pantheon, Hostinger, JustHost, HostPapa, NameCheap, and more.

The top WordPress hosting companies that we have chosen to include in our list provides the best features for the best price.

Which are the best WordPress hosting companies in your opinion?

Our top 3 choices for the best WordPress hosting companies are:

  1. SiteGround – Best WordPress support in the industry (premium hosting).
  2. Bluehost – Best overall WordPress hosting (great value).
  3. HostGator – Best WordPress hosting for small businesses.

No, this last question is not a joke. We seriously get this question even after referring people to this guide.

We hope that this guide helped you choose the best WordPress hosting for your website. If you have a WordPress hosting question that we didn’t cover, then please send us a message using our contact form. One of our team members will respond back within 24 hours.

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