Looking for the best WordPress hosting for your site? We present to you a human-readable post on how to choose the best WordPress hosting.
If you search with the phrase “best WordPress hosting” on the internet, you’ll get a lot of results. You might be puzzled by the overwhelming number of suggestions. So we’ve prepared this post to help you choose the best WordPress hosting service.
Most importantly, this post is human readable. Compared to many other hosting-related articles, you’ll find this one easier to scan. After reading this post, we believe, you’ll be able to choose the best WordPress hosting service all by yourself.
So, what’s the magic inside? In fact, we’ve taken the natural approach. We’ll introduce you to the commonly available hosting types. From this entire discussion, you’ll be able to define your needs and suitable option.
Types of hosting services you can choose from
There are basically 4 types of hosting services. These differ in pricing, features, load tolerance, support, and so on. Let’s know them in more detail.
Shared hosting for WordPress
It’s the cheapest and probably the most popular type of website hosting service. The naming tells the inside story of shared hosting services. In this type of hosting, your site will share computing resources with lots of other websites.
You may notice that many shared hosting companies offer “unmetered” space and bandwidth. Some of them also use the term “unlimited”. Many also offer email account configuration services.
However, there is no such thing as unmetered or unlimited, at least in shared hosting services. Shared hosting plans can start around $2 per month. If you are just starting your website and don’t expect more than a few hundred pageviews per day, a shared hosting plan should be enough for you.
This way, you really don’t need to think about the bandwidth (how much data you’re allowed to transfer to and from your site per month). And, a standard WordPress site doesn’t take much space.
But, when your usage and traffic will increase, the shared web hosting company will put restrictions on your website. The site will have an increased page load time. Your visitors may face different errors while visiting your site, etc.
Takeaway: Small WordPress blogs, low-traffic personal, or small business sites may fit here.
A shared hosting package is like an incubator. You can start from here. But when you grow, you will need to upgrade to a better plan. Or even consider moving to the other hosting options discussed below.
VPS hosting for WordPress
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. It’s like a virtual computer. If you purchase a VPS plan, you’ll get a virtual computer on the web. The service provider uses virtualization technology to create several virtual servers in their physical servers.
The VPSs are independent of each other. This solves the major problem of shared hosting. You can use the full capacity of your VPS without hampering other VPSs. Technically, VPSs share physical servers in data centers, but they have their own allocated resources.
Virtual private servers are a good option for medium-sized businesses. If you have a blog, a $5 VPS can handle 3-5 thousand (or more if you are an optimization expert) visitors per day.
But the main challenge with a VPS is the technical aspect. Unmanaged VPSs are the cheapest options out there. To use an unmanaged VPS, you will need to know how to manage a server.
Although there are some one-click WordPress installers for VPSs, these still need some maintenance and tweaks.
Some companies also offer managed VPSs. That means, they will do the technical work for you. You don’t worry about handling most of the server related technical stuff.
For example, if you need to upgrade the server’s PHP version, just contacting the support team will work. For an unmanaged VPS, you’ll have to do these server tweaks by yourself (or your own team).
Understandably, these perks in managed hosting servers come at a cost. While a standard unmanaged VPS costs about $5 per month, a managed counterpart would go at least $15 a month.
Takeaway: If you manage a medium-sized business, or a high-traffic content site (e.g. blog), VPS hosting can be a great option for you.
WordPress dedicated server hosting
As the name suggests, dedicated hosting gives you exclusive access to a physical server. Unlike VPSs, a dedicated server is not shared by anyone else. You can use the hardware and software of your dedicated server the way you want.
Dedicated servers are significantly expensive compared to shared and VPS hosting plans. If you outgrow your VPS plans and/or need a dedicated server to store sensitive data, then you should consider a dedicated hosting plan.
A dedicated server cost may start at $80 per month. Based on your resource requirements, this cost will increase.
You may get several support options with dedicated servers. Since you will be given access to a physical server, you need the technical expertise for the best use of its hardware and software.
There are managed, semi-managed, and unmanaged plans. If you get a managed package, the web hosting company's support team will work with you to administer, maintain, and manage your server.
For example, in a managed package, you can get WordPress installed on the server by the provider. The server provider will install the underlying software stack like LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), etc.
The semi-managed plan will offer limited technical support.
An unmanaged dedicated server leaves almost all of the administration and maintenance to you. The hosting provider will do some basic maintenance tasks to keep the server running.
If you use an unmanaged dedicated server, you’ll need to install the server operating system (e.g. Ubuntu, Windows, etc.). Web app stacks like LAMP also needed to be installed. You’ll be doing all of these.
Takeaway: You can get the ultimate site speed, privacy, and security from a dedicated server. If your WordPress website receives about 500,000 visitors per month, that’s a good point to get a WordPress dedicated server.
Managed WordPress hosting
Due to the huge popularity of WordPress, several hosting providers are offering managed WordPress hosting. They manage the web server side, which means you don’t need to worry about the server operating system, HTTP server, database server, web server software, etc.
Managed WordPress hosting providers offer site-level optimization facility. You don’t need to touch the database or command line console. They provide a user dashboard, and you can create your WordPress site by following their on-screen instructions.
If you want to handle the minimum amount of technical aspects, a managed WordPress hosting plan will be helpful. But please note that, managed WordPress hosting services are more expensive compared to VPS and shared (of course) plans.
However, it makes sense. If you use a managed hosting plan, you will get a high-speed WordPress site.
The provider optimizes its speed, security, and performance. They will recommend you the plugins to use/avoid as well. You got a technical team should you need any help.
You can get 24/7 support via these web hosting services' live chat, or web-based customer support portal. Phone support may also be an option.
Given all of these benefits, a managed WordPress hosting plan price may start at $29/month. At this cost, your site will be eligible for 25,000 visits per month.
Considering the cost, you can easily understand, managed WordPress hosting is not for all. Only established bloggers or businesses with sufficient budgets can afford it.
Takeaway: As you can see, a managed WordPress plan (e.g. WP Engine) can offer the most hassle-free WordPress hosting experience. But only if you can justify its cost, then you can go for it. Otherwise, see the other options!
So, how to choose the best WordPress hosting?
From the above discussion, we hope now you can decide which type of hosting service you need. Just think about your requirements and budget. Crazy Egg also did some great hosting speed comparisons to help you decide.
Also, consider how much technical work you want to do. Then compare all these options. You’ll get the right hosting category that would serve your purpose.
After you decide on the hosting category, then it comes to the hosting brand. Many companies are offering hosting services. Which one to choose?
Well, based on our experience here we’re recommending a few hosting companies that you can try. Please note, we may earn a little commission if you choose to use their service following these links.
- Bluehost – Shared, managed, VPS, dedicated, and more.
- WPEngine – Managed WordPress hosting.
- SiteGround – Shared, managed, and more.
- Flywheel – Managed WordPress hosting.
- Pagely – Managed WordPress hosting.
- Kinsta – Managed WordPress hosting.
- HostGator – Shared, managed, VPS, dedicated, and more.
How to choose the best WordPress hosting: More questions
Ask questions on the following topics to the shortlisted hosting companies before making a final choice.
- Whether they have a way to interact with humans (not just knowledge base articles).
- Ask about uptime. Do they have any backup plan to keep your site online even they face a data center issue?
- Can they migrate your existing site from somewhere else if you need to?
- Their security measures to keep your site safe.
- Availability of their support team. Check if it meets your expectation.
- Ask whether you can upgrade your plan easily when you outgrow your current plan.
- Do they keep regular backups of your site? What’s the backup policy? Are they GDPR (and similar laws) ready?
- Will you be able to add eCommerce functionalities to your site? What are the limitations (if any, like PCI compatibility)?
- Know the extent of technical support you will get from them.
- The underlying software and stack versions. Are they compatible with the current standards?
- Do they have a way to know if a site is running slow or has been hacked? Ask this question too!
Whatever WordPress web hosting service you may use, there are some best practices to run a WordPress site smoothly. Here we’ve mentioned some of them:
- Avoid using “admin” as an admin username. Don’t let your users register using the word “admin”.
- Use strong passwords for all types of users.
- Keep the WordPress core up-to-date. All plugins and themes also should be updated regularly.
- Keep backups regularly. Take a full-site or server-level backup before any major operation like WordPress core update.
- Having SSH/FTP access is helpful if you are an advanced user.
- If you use more than one security plugin, ensure that they don’t conflict.
- In the case of using a caching plugin, consulting with the hosting support would be helpful. Some hosting providers don’t allow some particular caching plugins. The same thing applies to security plugins as well.
- Use a CDN. If you don’t have a budget for a paid CDN, use a free plan from Cloudflare.
Now that you know about all the standard hosting options for your WordPress site. Just take some time to evaluate your requirements and choose a plan accordingly. You're welcome to share your thoughts via comments. We would love to hear from you.