Choosing the best hosting provider for your WordPress blog or website is one of the early and crucial decisions you have to make as a WordPress owner. The performance and service of your hosting provider has a direct impact on your sales, SEO, website’s performance and uptime. And since you cannot simply change the hosting provider every week or so, might as well make the best possible decision the first time round.
The fact that there is a lot competition amongst hosting providers, especially those who provide WordPress hosting services does not make this decision an easy one. Therefore whether you are new to WordPress hosting or an experienced WordPress administrator who is looking to migrate his website to a new host, you must do your homework before you make your final decision.
WordPress Managed Hosting, Self-Managed Hosting or VPS?
Before you start looking at what every hosting provider has to offer, you have to decide what type of WordPress web host you need for your website.
WordPress Managed Hosting
Some hosting providers such as Kinsta and WP Engine provide WordPress managed hosting services. This means that their infrastructure is specifically built to host WordPress websites and blogs. Therefore it will be fairly easy to setup your WordPress website with them. They also have a dedicated WordPress support team, so should you encounter any issues with your WordPress website they will look into them and help you solve them.
Many managed WordPress hosting providers also have additional services that improve your WordPress website out of the box such as caching systems, CDNs, WordPress auto updates, WordPress backups etc. Another out of the box feature most WordPress managed hosting providers have is the staging site. Staging environments allow you to make changes to a staging WordPress website so you can preview them before migrating them to the live website.
Self-managed hosting is a different kind of animal. You rent the server or hosting space and everything else has to be done and managed by you. You have to configure the web server, MySQL database, mail server, FTP, SSH and all the other services you require. You also have to take care of the server’s operating system and its updates. Once you are done with all of this you can start installing WordPress and setting up your website.
And if you have issues with your WordPress website your hosting provider will not help you. Their support only caters for problems related to the server you are renting from them, and its connection.
Why Self-Managed Hosting?
Although self-managed hosting sounds like a crazy thing to do, it is not. Self-managed hosting provides you with all the flexibility you need, and this is something many businesses look for. For example even though at SiteGround you have everything setup for you, you are limited to what caching services or web server software you can use. You are limited to which type of TLS certificate you can install, or which web server modules you can enable.
Though with such type of flexibility comes responsibility, therefore unless you are an experienced web master or systems engineer, self-managed hosting is not for you.
Shared or Dedicated WordPress Hosting?
Another decision you have to make before diving into researching which is the best hosting provider for your WordPress is whether you’d need shared or dedicated hosting.
What is Shared Hosting?
In a shared hosting environment your website will be running alongside other websites on the same server. I only recommend shared hosting to those who are still trialing the idea of having a website, because the performance of shared hosting services is typically very limited and you cannot really scale up a website on shared hosting.
Also, your website’s performance can be impacted by other websites. For example if one of the websites running on the same shared hosting as yours is consuming a lot of resources, your website will also be slowed down.
Shared Hosting and WordPress Security
Then there is security. The security of your WordPress website depends on the security of other websites running on the same server. If a website running on the same server as yours is hacked, probably your website will be hacked as well even if you install all the necessary WordPress security plugins and harden the security WordPress.
Dedicated WordPress Hosting
In a dedicated hosting environment you will have a dedicated server for your website, therefore the hardware resources available to your website won’t be shared with others. In a dedicated hosting environment you typically have much more control of your server and website and have the flexibility to install things that typically are not allowed in shared hosting, such as TLS certificates to run your WordPress on HTTPS.
Which type of WordPress web host do you need?
Every type of WordPress web host has its pros and cons and there is on one-fits-all solution. If you are still unsure on what you need refer to our article on the different types of WordPress web hosts services and their pros and cons.
Other WordPress Hosting Provider Features
Once you decide on the type of hosting that suits your requirements, you can start comparing hosting providers that fall under that criteria. Here are a few other things that you need to seek out for when choosing your hosting provider, irrelevant if it is WordPress managed hosting or self-hosting.
Hosting Provider Support
Support is one of the most important factors. Your website will be running on a server which is installed somewhere in a datacentre, to which you do not have physical access to. Therefore when something goes haywire, or you cannot connect to your server anymore, the hosting provider’s support engineers are the only people who can save your day. So a very good response time is a must and the team should be technical enough to understand any or your queries.
If you are new to website hosting and WordPress look for a hosting provider whose support can help you troubleshoot both hosting and WordPress issues. There are quite a few hosting providers that provide very good WordPress support. For example SiteGround, Kinsta and WP Engine do provide WordPress support, and I am not just saying it because I read it on their website. As you can see from our SiteGround review, they also helped us solve some development issues we had with WP Security Audit Log, a WordPress audit trail plugin we develop.
Test the Quality of the Hosting Provider Support
You can read user reviews / ratings and what users are saying on forums etc. Though always give it a shot yourself. During your evaluation process go ahead and ask any type of pre-sale question. Also, there is no harm in asking for a free trial, which you can use to run a test website. If you are happy with the response time and the quality of the answers during the pre-sales phase, then most probably the after sales support will be good as well. If the pre-sales is not good, move on to another hosting provider.
Hosting Provider Performance / Speed
Your website should load as fast as possible because Google considers a website’s speed as ranking factor. But it is not just about a Google, no one likes a slow website since it averts users.
Hosting Provider Uptime
The uptime of your website should be close to 100%, though no hosting provider will ever give you 100% uptime, and that’s ok. Problems do happen and achieving a 100% uptime is nearly impossible. Many hosting providers promise a 99.9% uptime and while some of them stick to their promise, many others don’t.
Good hosting providers back their uptime claim with a reimbursement policy in their service level agreement (SLA). For example they would be willing to refund you for any downtime your website encountered which accounts for more than that 0.1% expected downtime. Many hosting providers also have a status page on their website, from where you can see the status of their network, connections, servers’ health etc. Use it to test the quality of their support, ask the hosting provider for such statistics during the pre-sales stage.
Hosting Provider Pricing
The idiom you get what you pay for applies to hosting providers as well. The cheaper the service is, most probably the worse the service is. You have to pay well for a good service, though I did notice several hosting providers who overcharge. So how much are you expected to pay?
If you are looking for a shared and managed WordPress hosting service for a single website expect to pay something between $5 and $10 a month. The prices of dedicated server hosting vary a lot though, but for just $20 a month you can get a dedicated server from Digital Ocean. Many hosting providers also have long terms plans allowing you to pay upfront for a year and get a decent discount.
Additional Services from WordPress Hosting Providers
Once you decide on all of the above criteria, you’re ready to choose the hosting provider for your WordPress website. What follows is a list of additional services which are not mandatory, and are typically provided by hosting providers who specialize in WordPress hosting.
One Click WordPress Install: You can manually install WordPress yourself within just a few minutes. Though for those who are new, this one click WordPress installation service can be handy. I would not recommend seasoned users to use it since such installations can contain customizations or additional plugins which do not apply to seasoned users.
WordPress backups: As a security and operational precaution, I would recommend you to segregate your backups from your hosting provider. We recommend a WordPress online backup service called BlogVualt, though if the backup service is included in the price use it as well. There is no harm in having two backups.
Staging Website: A staging website is a copy of your live website but only accessible to you. The staging website allows you to preview changes before launching them live. If you go for a non-managed WordPress hosting service, you can still manually create your own staging website, but having it available at a click of a button is convenient.
What Does WP White Security.com Recommend?
We only recommend what we use and what we have tried. In fact you will never find affiliate links on this website to services or software that we do not actively use or endorse.
Throughout the years we have used several hosting providers. If you are looking for a good deal on managed WordPress hosting with excellent support, we recommend both Kinsta and WP Engine. We really believe that both web hosts are ideal hosting providers for both start-ups and established businesses.
If you would like a dedicated server with no strings attached at an unbeatable price, go for Digital Ocean. At this stage we host some of our websites on both Digital Ocean and A2 Hosting.
Do Your Homework – You Should Choose the Hosting Provider for your WordPress
Every business and website owner has their unique list of requirements, so what works for us will not necessarily work for you and vice versa. Do your homework properly; read our recommendations, see what others are saying on websites such as Hosting Review, do some research and ask for opinions. Get in touch with the hosting providers and ask any question you have. In such business no question is a stupid question.
At the end of the month you will have to pay your own bills, so you have decide with which hosting provider you are going to host your WordPress website or blog.