To millions of website owners around the world, WordPress is the go-to platform to turning a dream website into a reality. The popular content management system simplifies the process of designing and publishing content online.
But still, taking those first steps online can be extremely daunting to the uninitiated. No matter how helpful and powerful WordPress is, the platform still gets knocked for not being as simple for beginners as a drag-and-drop website builder.
Never fear — we’re here to explain what you need to get started, from hosting and installation to choosing a theme and uploading images. We’ll cover everything we look at when evaluating the top hosts, and what features you should zero in on when reading reviews in quest of the best WordPress web hosting.
WordPress hosting just refers to the hosting for a site whose content is managed via WordPress. If you sign up with a web host, log into your hosting control panel, and install WordPress to start adding content to your new site — voila! You have WordPress website hosting.
Self-Hosted WordPress vs. WordPress.com
It’s important to note that there are two subgenres of WP hosting: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The latter is a free, fully-hosted site that allows you to build and host basic website with the people who created the platform. Although the WordPress hosting platform is on its way up, it’s not yet the ideal option for folks who are looking to run a business site or aspire to grow a substantial web presence. If you’re doing anything more than posting your resume or blogging your ideas, you want WordPress.org hosting.
WordPress.org references the open-source (free) software that can be downloaded and installed pretty easily, particularly if you have a web host that makes this process a breeze. Self-hosted WordPress allows you to capitalize on the robust offerings of the established content management system, plus the potential for more features, such as a free domain, unlimited email accounts, marketing credits, and expert support).
What Makes a Good WordPress Host
To be clear, any host could be a WordPress host. But that’s not to say that all WordPress hosts are created equal. Some do it better than others — way better.
The best WordPress hosting plans include one-click WordPress installs (or have the software pre-installed for you), tools for optimizing speed and performance, and a team of experts well-versed in the platform and its maintenance requirements on hand to assist you.
Ideally, the teams that tout WordPress-specific packages should make migrating or transferring from another provider painless, as well. If you snag an awesome managed hosting deal, the experts might even handle updates to the WordPress core and plugins.
All in all, we deem hosts worthy of recognition based on feedback from end users, our team, and the WordPress community. BlueHost WordPress hosting plans have even been endorsed by the WordPress team itself!
The WordPress user demographics vary wildly from a first-time site owner to an enterprise-grade business owner. The former end of the spectrum will probably opt for shared WordPress hosting, while the enterprise folks may need dedicated resources to support their organization’s WordPress site. Here, we compare factors that make for the best hosting for shared, virtual, and dedicated servers using WordPress.
Shared WordPress Hosting
The vast majority of WordPress users fall into the shared hosting pool. Shared hosting just means that you are sharing space on a server with other customers. Naturally, this saves you tremendous money and time setting up and managing a server. InMotion Hosting, SiteGround, and Bluehost WordPress hosting are among the most popular offerings for this market.
Shared WordPress hosting plans usually offer unlimited email, domains, storage, and site traffic, along with a free domain name registration and often a boat-load of search engine advertising credits. Of course, one-click installation for WordPress is a must.
WordPress VPS Hosting
Once your WordPress site has outgrown the shared hosting environment, VPS hosting may be the route to take. A VPS, or virtual private server, gains you access to all the resources of the cloud, with the ability to scale up and down as needed — only paying for what you need, when you need it.
Our favorite WordPress cloud hosting providers tout highly-available virtual servers, free SSD storage, and a seamless migration process. InMotion Hosting and BlueHost WordPress hosting plans lead the VPS market for WordPress.
Dedicated WordPress Hosting
For folks in need of high-powered hardware with resources solely dedicated to keeping your popular site up and running quickly and smoothly, dedicated hosting for WordPress is your solution. Dedicated customers get tons of RAM, storage, and CPU, and typically a higher echelon of technical support to meet the needs of maintaining their highly-trafficked site.
Ideally, your dedicated WordPress server will be configured with multi-layer caching and SSDs for added speed, with premium service providers managing the updates to the core and keeping your plugins optimized for you. For all things dedicated hosting — WordPress and beyond — Liquid Web hosting is king.
The key component to getting WordPress hosting is the software. This can be found, downloaded, and installed via WordPress.org, but if you find the right hosting provider, they’ll streamline this process for you in one of two ways: one-click installs or pre-installation.
Blog Hosts Often Offer 1-Click WordPress Installations
If you poke around the reviews on our site, you’ll quickly find that the top hosts out there offer what are known as one-click installs. This just means that they allow you to download and install popular apps with the click of a button found in your control panel.
For example, A2 Hosting comes with the web’s #1 control panel, cPanel, included on all shared hosting plans. Customers can log into their cPanel dashboard and choose from one of hundreds of apps and scripts, including content management systems like Drupal, Joomla, and the CMS of the hour: WordPress.
Users looking to start an ecommerce site may opt for one-click installation of PrestaShop or Magento, but you can also use WordPress and WooCommerce for your content, install shopping carts, and integrate PayPal to collect your profits. The best hosts make this easily doable for even the most novice of customers.
The Best WP Hosts Have WordPress Pre-Installed
What could be better than installation with a single click? Providers like InMotion Hosting pre-install WordPress at checkout, so you’re ready to get rolling with your new WordPress site instantly.
As you’re reading over the reviews on this page, you’ll notice some recurring features are offered by the top providers. In the next section, we’ll go through the key facets of an offering we look for when weeding out the average from the very best hosts on the market.
Our top WordPress hosting reviews reveal that the best host for WordPress includes the software pre-installed, a free domain name, your choice of datacenter locations, and the ability to host an unlimited number of WordPress sites on a single account. Transferring your site to InMotion Hosting is done for you for free, and the company’s team will regularly back up your data, as well.
Ideally, we like to see the inclusion of a free domain name in hosts’ packages, particularly for those strictly looking for domain hosting. Many of the top providers of WordPress domain hosting will allow you to host an unlimited number of domains, and they often chip in on the registration cost of one domain for at least the first year of service. Give BlueHost a try if you want to pair custom domains with top-tier WordPress hosting.
It’s no secret that WordPress is one of the most well-known blogging platforms on the web. A huge chunk of WordPress hosting customers are interested in blogging features. Users love it for how easy the platform is to just start writing, how many theme options are available to match your blog’s personality, as well as the huge community behind the platform.
If you’re looking for WordPress blog hosting, dial in on the one-click CMS installations, free domains, and free marketing credits offered by the providers above.
Once you have your domain, chances are you’ll want email addresses that reflect that custom branding. Many of our WordPress email hosting providers will allow you to create an unlimited number of email accounts, so you can have branded communication within and outside of your team.
These email accounts can be set up via your control panel, with options to access webmail and marketing tools via leading business mail apps, such as MailChimp, SquirrelMail, or RoundCube.
Storage and Bandwidth
Another recurring theme in our reviews is the talk of unlimited hosting — domains, storage, email, bandwidth, databases, and other tools. The truth is, however, when a host boasts unlimited storage or site traffic, they really mean they’ll allow you to use as much as you want — to a point. Yes, there are limits to unlimited, but chances are you’ll never get anywhere near that ceiling. Furthermore, the most reliable web hosts will give you a heads up when you’re approaching the maximum and start talking to you about your options for scaling.
Secure WordPress Hosting
Whether you’re building a personal site to share your mad poetry skills or launching an online business, security for your WordPress site should be of utmost importance to you. There are all sorts of ways a host can help you secure your website: keeping software up to date, security monitoring, DDoS protection, and free SSL certificates, among others.
To maintain secure WordPress hosting, it’s important to keep your WP software version up to date, install and update plugins with caution, and use some form of site encryption service. Some hosts will include basic SSL certificates in certain plans, or you can sign up for the level of security you’d like with services like Symantec or The SSL Store.
Fast WordPress Hosting
If you’re looking for the fastest WordPress hosting option, you don’t have to scan very far down this page. InMotion Hosting includes free solid-state disks for up to 20 times greater page loading speed. SiteGround and Bluehost include a free content delivery network, which distributes your site around the world to servers that can reach visitors quicker. For ecommerce sites, in particular, stronger user experiences mean you run less risk of losing customers (and thus, revenue).
The phrase managed hosting gets tossed around in the web hosting world quite a bit, and then there are the distinctions between fully-managed, self-managed, and semi-managed hosting. The definitions of and parameters associated with all of these phrases can vary widely from provider to provider.
Simply put, self-managed hosting is essentially just hosting — you’re responsible for managing your server. On the flip side, fully-managed hosting providers may take care of everything except your code and your content. Somewhere in the middle, semi-managed services involve your web host helping you out with some — but not all — that goes into monitoring your server infrastructure.
If you’re looking for WordPress managed hosting, you’ll need to hone in on what is included in a prospective host’s managed services. Keep in mind that shared hosting is essentially managed by default, as hosts are not going to expect beginners to handle security patches, bug fixes, and server monitoring.
Managed services may cost you a bit of a premium, but the best managed WordPress hosting providers are worth every penny. You won’t realize how much you want that extra level of support until something goes wrong. If your site going down due to expected or unexpected reasons would be detrimental, and if you don’t have the technical expertise to get things back on track, I’d highly recommend looking into managed hosting. Consider it an investment in peace of mind.
We’ve covered the features, the potential needs and use cases, and what makes a WordPress host stand out in our expert eyes — but how much does WordPress hosting cost? After comparing the plans on this list, you’ll see pricing ranges from a couple bucks to upwards of $25 a month.
Cheap WordPress Hosting
$2 to $5 a month — need I say more? The WordPress hosting plans listed above are proof that quality, affordable WordPress hosting exists. All you have to do is figure out which features are your must-haves for the few dollars you’re spending monthly.
Free WordPress Hosting
Are any WordPress hosting providers free? Sure, if you’re determined enough, you can find a free option for just about any product or service in the world. The problem tends to be: You get what you pay for — and a truer statement couldn’t be made for WordPress hosting.
Hopefully, if you or a friend are considering creating a WordPress website, it doesn’t seem like such a daunting task anymore. Remember: With the right host, it can be as simple as a few dollars at signup, one-click installation, and a few minutes of customizing your choice of theme and adding some content before pressing publish. Now you know what we were thinking when we declared the best WordPress host on the market — so, who’s the best WP host for you?