Once you’ve chosen and registered the domain name for your site, the next step is to choose a web host. As the web host will provide the server space that will allow your website to go online and be accessible over the internet, picking the right one is very important.
A bad web host can result in a slow loading website, periods of downtime where your website cannot be visited, or a whole host of other issues including poor customer support and suffocating terms and conditions.
So to help you find the best web host for your needs and those of your website, here is the Get Web Tips guide to who offers the best WordPress hosting.
So Who is the Best WordPress Web Host?
While I’d love to give you the answer to this question so you can go off and get your site online, and publish your first blog post, unfortunately there is no one size fits all answer.
However, if you are raring to go and just want a low cost entry level web host to get your site online as soon as possible, then I recommend HostGator for their ease of use and unbeatable rates.
If you want a more in-depth answer to the question of which web host you should entrust your website to, then this articles contains my advice based on hosting many websites with many different hosts, and reviewing countless of those services for other blogs and online publications.
Just as there are many car manufacturers, each targeting different groups of drivers, there are many web hosts going after different groups of website owners.
So in order to find the right choice amongst the 100s, if not 1,000s of options out there, we first need to take a look at the different types of website owners, to see which one you fall into:
- Budget Conscious New Starter
- Ambitious Blogger with high expectations for their site
- Power User with a need for speed
Let’s take a look at the different options in more detail to help you make the right hosting decision.
Budget Conscious New Starter
If you are the budget conscious new starter then you are probably in the market for your first web host. You just want to get your WordPress site online as quickly as possible and with minimal financial outlay.
Perhaps you are not entirely sure which direction your site will go in and how popular it will become, and the thought of stumping up the cash for high-end hosting doesn’t really fit in with your current plans.
You also value your time and want to get your new site online with as little effort as possible, so you can publish your first post and put your current levels of enthusiasm to good use straightaway before they start to wane.
If the above rings true then you want a web host that makes it as easy as possible to install WordPress and give you access to your new site, all for a low monthly fee.
If the following criteria appeals to you then stand by for some great WordPress hosting recommendations, just for you:
- Looking to keep costs down
- Want your site online ASAP
- Unsure of how fast your site will grow
If the above applies to you then these three shared web hosting providers offer great WordPress-friendly packages all at unbeatable monthly prices:
To give you a good overview of the relevant hosting plans available from these three companies, let’s take a look at each of them in more detail.
SiteGround are relative newcomers to the web hosting space, but they were quick to adopt the practice of offering specialised WordPress hosting at a very competitive price. If you choose SiteGround, they will even install WordPress on your behalf as part of the account setup.
This means once your payment has gone through, and your account is live, you will have a brand new WordPress website up and running and ready for your first post.
If you want affordable hosting optimized for WordPress then SiteGround should definitely not be overlooked.
HostGator offer unbeatable rates on their entry level shared hosting packages. Their control panel makes installing WordPress very easy and takes just a click or two. I’ve used them for many years, to host many sites, all without any problems.
However, they have been prone to some downtime in recent times. This means that if you are running a website that must be online at all costs, as close to 100% of the time as possible, then you might be better off elsewhere, perhaps with a managed WordPress host.
But when it comes to service, features, and cost, HostGator can’t be beaten.
Bluehost are phenomenally popular in the entry level, shared hosting space. But I must confess I am yet to try their services. However, I’ve included them in this WordPress hosting guide due to the large numbers of their happy customers who swear by their service.
So although I’ve yet to use Bluehost, their reputation is impeccable and on paper at least, their hosting plans rival any other entry level packages out there.
What is Shared Web Hosting?
You might have noticed that the hosting plans in this category are offering what is called shared web hosting. This basically means that you are sharing a server with other customers, with each customer being allocated a portion of that server’s resources.
Share and Share Alike
While this is great at keeping costs down, hence the low monthly rates, it does have its downsides. As you are sharing the processing power and the disk space of the hosting server with other customers and their websites, if one website starts consuming an above average amount of resources, due to a surge in traffic, you could find your website suffering.
As the newly popular website places more demands on the server, your website will find there are less resources available to it, either forcing it offline or causing it to run at an unusably slow speed.
A good shared web host will have steps in place to minimize the impact of one website becoming a resource hog. This could include placing temporary restrictions on the amount of resources that website can consume, or even taking it offline. However the flipside of this is that should your website be the one to experience a spike in traffic, due to a mention on a popular site, or your content going viral, it could be your website that is taken offline as a preventative measure.
Are You Ready to Level Up?
If this doesn’t sound appealing to you, no matter how low the monthly costs of shared hosting are, our next set of web hosts might be more to your liking.
The Next Category of Web Host
So that about sums up the Get Web Tips recommendations for those who are on a budget and want to get started with their new website straightaway.
Now on to the next category of WordPress users and the higher performance web hosts that cater to them.
Ambitious Blogger with High Expectations for their Site
While the budget blogger friendly, entry level shared hosting packages above are ideal for those want to get started ASAP and aren’t expecting torrents of visitors from the outset, some bloggers just know even before they get started that their site will be popular.
Popular websites that are created to make money for their owners, either in product sales or by landing new clients, require higher performance hosting and a team of dedicated WordPress experts on hand to tend to their needs.
If that sounds like you and you have big plans for your site and want to start off with high performance hosting from the outset, then these managed WordPress hosting providers are the best option for you:
Although there are now many managed WordPress hosts out there, I’ve only chosen the two I am most familiar with, and who are widely regarded as the market leaders in this field.
I probably should disclose that I write for the Pagely blog, but apart from that I have no vested interest in this WordPress managed hosting company. However, their pricing plans are appealing and the fact that they charge along more traditional lines of usage make them a good choice.
The Pagely hosting plans are spread over four tiers, ranging from personal through to ultimate, with each tier having multiple levels. This makes it a very scalable service that allows you to move up through their places as your site increases in popularity.
WP Engine is a fast growing company that is expanding rapidly, offering managed WordPress hosting to sites of all sizes from single author blogs, through to massive multisite networks, with the appropriate hosting plan tiers on offer.
Their plans are spread across four tiers ranging from personal through to premium, with each one being offered with a 60-day money back guarantee.
Pagely vs. WP Engine
Obviously there are plenty of differences between these services that make them unique in their own individual ways.
However, the biggest different that will jump out at you when comparing their hosting plans is how their plans charge for usage:
- Pagely charges by how much bandwidth or server resources your site consumes
- WP Engine charges by how many visors your site receives
The Pagely approach is more common in the world of web hosting, while the WP Engine of charging according to visitor number is less widely seen. Both options have their pros and cons and personally I don’t think it’s possible to saw one approach is better than the other, and it will be up to you to decide which one best suits the type of website you .
If you are planning on using a lot of large files on your site, such as high quality images and videos, then you might be better off on a plan that monitors your visitors, rather than how much bandwidth or server resources your site uses (WP Engine).
On the other hand, those publishing more traditional content such, as text and image based pages, might find they get better value from service that charges against how much bandwidth is used to serve their website (Pagely).
Personally I prefer the more traditional pay per resources used and would therefore choose Pagely over WP Engine, but at the end of the day, is up to you to weigh up the different features on offer and the constraints of the services to help you make the right choice for you and your website.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is a relatively recent addition to the different types of web hosting available. Pagely were the first to offer this service, opening for business in 2006, and since then many other managed WordPress hosting companies have joined the fray. In addition to these specialist hosting companies, many regular web hosts have now started offering WordPress specific hosting, alongside their more generic packages.
Optimized Servers for Faster Loading Websites
Managed WordPress hosting services allow customers to host their websites on servers that have been configured and optimized especially to meet the demands of the WordPress software. This means that your website will load faster and be more robust when it’s experiencing heavy usage, compared to more generic hosting plans.
With site speed being one of the key factors visitors take into consideration when making a first impression of your website, the negative impact of a slow loading website cannot be overlooked.
Expert Support Staff
As well as ensuring the web hosting servers are setup in the optimal configuring for the WordPress software and its database, the staff at a good managed WordPress host will be able to provide knowledgeable support should you need it.
They will be working diligently in the background to ensure your site is performing as it should, while also nipping any issues in the bud before they become apparent to you or your visitors.
Managed Updates and Backups
Another big bonus of managed WordPress hosting is that the team looking after your site will take care of all the updates and upgrades that are released for the WordPress software and the themes and plugin you have installed on your site.
Once you start using your WordPress site, you will notice that updates for the core WordPress software and any other software you have installed will come thick and fast. Keeping them up to date is essential to ensure your website remains secure and is running efficiently.
Outsourcing these tasks to your web host is one less thing to worry about, especially if the type of website you are building doesn’t require you to login in on a regular to add new content.
The Downsides of Managed Hosting
When looking at this type of web host, especially in comparison to the entry level shared hosting packages on offer, the main objection you might have is the cost. With prices five to six times higher per month, coupled with the fact that you might’ve been expecting to use WordPress for free, it can be one expense that is hard to justify.
However, when you take into account the main benefits of managed WordPress hosting:
- Faster loading website
- More secure hosting environment
- Expert support staff looking after your site
- Hands-off management of updates and updates
You may find paying that bit extra for the extra performance and peace of mind that comes with managed hosting makes it a worthwhile expenditure.
So Which Host Will You Chose?
With WordPress powering over 20% of the websites that make up the top 500,000 sites on the internet, it’s easy to see the why so many hosts are now catering exclusively to WordPress users, or offering specialised services alongside their generic hosting plans.
Now has never been a better time to be in the market for a WordPress web host, with the prices of entry level shared hosting at an all-time low, and the competition between premium managed WordPress hosts forcing the main players to offer more affordable packages, higher levels of service, and a growing number of features.
So to summarise, if you are just getting started and want to spent the least and get the most, an entry level shared hosting package from the likes of HostGator will do you well.
However, if you don’t mind spending a bit more in order to get a more robust and faster website, a managed WordPress host such as Pagely is well worth considering.
If you’ve gotten this far in this guide to choosing a web host and are still none the wiser, please drop me a line or leave a comment below to discuss your individual needs.