How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting?

Keelan Balderson
Keelan Balderson

Updated · Sep 05, 2022

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If you’re wondering how to choose the best WordPress hosting, we’ve got you covered. Today, we’ll explore the unique requirements to host a site on WordPress and some of the best providers on the market.

What is WordPress Hosting?

WordPress website hosting is specialized hosting for the WordPress platform. Once thought of as just a blogging solution, WordPress has become one of the most powerful and popular content management systems on the web. It can serve as the basis for any type of website, from a standard blog to a large ecommerce store and everything in between. 

If you’ve ever asked the question: Do I need web hosting for WordPress, the short answer is yes. However, WordPress.com does have its own hosting plans and an option to start out with free access. 

The free version has limited functionality and is not the best choice for a branded site with growth in mind.

Regardless of the provider, WordPress hosting must meet certain requirements for the platform to run smoothly. Many hosts cover these by default, while others tailor special plans for WordPress, making it as easy as possible.

A lot of the things you should look out for when choosing a typical hosting solution apply to WordPress too. 

So, here’s what to consider before parting with your cash.

How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting?

When choosing the best web hosting for WordPress, you need space, speed, and technical backend features like databases and PHP support. 

Storage Space

Whether you’re looking for WordPress hosting solutions or hosting in general, storage space is always an important factor to consider. This is how much disk space you get on the server or through pooled resources. It’s essentially your personal hard drive for hosting and is where it stores all your pages, images, videos, scripts, and every other aspect of the site.  

Fortunately, web hosts are now very generous in the space department. But WordPress installations can quickly grow if you need a lot of plugins and like to try different themes. 

To leave room for multiple themes, plugins, and general site growth, WordPress recommends at least 1GB of space to start.

The exact amount you need will depend entirely on your current requirements and future goals. A simple text-focused blog will need far less than a large corporate enterprise, multimedia platform, or site that’ll be capturing a lot of data every day. 

Bandwidth

Reliable WordPress hosting requires sufficient bandwidth. While storage space is literally how much you can store on your hosting plan, bandwidth is how much data your visitors can download each month.

Think of it like your smartphone data plan. Your phone can hold a certain amount of data before you must perform a cleanup, but your plan will also only let you download a certain amount of data per month. 

It’s the same for websites. Whenever visitors access your site and browse around, they download the images and pages.

This data is bandwidth. 

So, if you have hundreds of thousands of visitors each month, you’ll need a lot of it. If you only have a few hundred, bandwidth is not a major concern.

E.g., if a page and all its contents is 3MB, each time the page is loaded, it’ll generate 3MB in bandwidth. So, 100 visits a day would require 300MB daily and roughly 9GB monthly. If you have many pages with many visitors, it all adds up.

Note: Many web hosts promote unlimited and unmetered bandwidth. This generally means it doesn’t matter how many visitors you have. However, there may be a “fair usage policy” in the fine print.

Furthermore, having many visitors load pages simultaneously can create a heavy load on the web host’s servers. That’s why larger sites shouldn’t use cheap shared hosting plans.  

Speed

Web hosting for WordPress also needs to be fast. This is how quickly a typical page will load. Of course, the more content on a page, the longer it’ll take. 

The web hosting industry measures global average speed in milliseconds (ms). The best hosts can consistently generate speeds of just over 100ms. Anything up to 500ms is good, as long as everything else meets your requirements.

To put this into perspective, Google recommends a load time of under two seconds. That’s 2,000ms. Anything longer, and visitors are likely to get frustrated and leave. Furthermore, your site could be penalized in the search rankings if it’s too slow. 

A lot of web hosts will make their average speed available. Sites also regularly rank web host speeds, and you can do your own tests by loading your page in Pingdom or Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

Uptime

All web hosting has an underlying hardware architecture, whether you pay for your own server, shared hosting, or a modern cloud setup. Sometimes, things go wrong, or the host needs to perform maintenance or upgrades.

Uptime is a host’s guarantee of how long your site will remain online with no problems. The industry standard is 99.5%, and you’ll commonly see 99% and even 100%.

Ultimately, it’s rare for a web host to experience regular outages that impact your business. However, it’s still wise to look for these percentages and read reviews on uptime. 

Below you’ll find our picks for reliable WordPress hosting.

Databases and PHP

When looking where to host a WordPress site, there are some technical requirements, especially for hosts that don’t promote WordPress plans. 

The backend of WordPress uses MySQL databases to store and fetch your blog data when a page loads. Your chosen host must offer MySQL to successfully install WordPress.

Furthermore, if you plan to have more than one site, you’ll need a new database for every installation. 

Also, WordPress is written in the coding language PHP. This helps it perform its tasks and allows plugins to pull off their features. So, the web host also needs to support PHP.

Fortunately, this is now common, even on shared hosting plans. 

Automatic WordPress Installation

When choosing WP hosting, the easiest choice is one that provides one-click installation. This is an option within your hosting control panel that generates a new WordPress site without having to upload the installation files or configure the database yourself.

There will still be various settings to configure within the admin area of the site itself. However, one-click installs save time and help those without technical knowledge of web hosting.

Depending on the host, you may get various other perks like automatic updates and speed optimization.

Fully Managed WordPress Hosting

Top WordPress hosting providers offer what is called managed WordPress hosting. Such plans are designed specifically for WordPress or provide all the necessary features but also let you host other types of sites.

Managed hosting offers one-click installation, speed optimization, security, and numerous backend tweaks to make sure WordPress runs perfectly. You’ll also get automatic updates and often free or discounted access to premium themes, plugins, and other WordPress-related perks. You can rest assured that support staff are experts in WordPress.

The obvious benefit is you don’t have to worry about the technical side of things, and you will always be able to get your site up and running quickly.

A drawback is managed WordPress plans can be comparatively more expensive than regular hosting that supports WordPress anyway. So, if you’re familiar with web hosting and find a provider that meets all WordPress requirements, it might not be worth going for managed WordPress hosting.

On the other hand, it’s the perfect WordPress solution if you’re a beginner or have the budget.

Domain Names

All professional sites should have their own domain name. This is its web address. E.g., mywebsite.com. While there’s no such thing as the best domain hosting for WordPress, you’ll certainly need a hosting plan that supports your unique domain.

The good news is all premium hosts have that. On the other hand, free hosting plans often force you to use a subdomain like mysite.webhost.com. This might be ok for a small personal blog, but not if you wish to build a brand. 

FTP and Backend Access

Whatever host you choose, you’ll want the technical freedom to easily upload files and configure backend features. While you might not understand things like FTP access, PHP, MySQL, cron jobs, or setting up a .htaccess file, most webmasters will learn at some point.

For example:

FTP is a protocol that allows you to easily upload and download your site files from a server to a client on a computer. This is important for WordPress hosting, which doesn’t offer one-click installation. 

PHP is a programming language used by WordPress and other types of websites that you sometimes need to configure. PHP functionality might need updating or configuring, which is impossible without a good hosting control panel like CPanel.

MySQL is how many sites, including WordPress, store their databases. Without backend access and tools like phpMyAdmin, you cannot manage your databases effectively.

Email

When choosing WP hosting, you’ll also need a good email service. You should be able to create multiple accounts under your site’s domain. E.g., info@mysite.com or sales@mysite.com. 

You should be able to access this from anywhere and set up forwarding to your other email accounts. Support for auto responding and email newsletters is also worth considering.

Customer Service

Customer support is paramount when running a website. If you can’t get answers to technical questions, time and money are on the line. An email contact form is not enough, especially if you’re not guaranteed a fast response or help you can understand.

Ideally, you want 24/7 support options with a good ticketing system that tracks the conversation and response times. It should also let you attach screenshots and extra information so difficult issues can be properly assessed.

A live web chat is also a must, but this should be a genuine chat, not a confusing AI bot that takes time to put you through to a staff member.

Of course, not all queries are urgent. Is there a knowledge base, FAQ page, or guides? What about a community forum where other webmasters can share support and experiences?

All of this is worth considering because there’s nothing worse than your site going offline and having no way to fix it without considerable effort.

Security and Backups

WordPress hosting sites should offer regular backups in case something goes wrong and you need to restore your site to its previous state. Likewise, full backups are useful in case you decide to move to a new web host in the future.

Web security is also more important than ever. Your site should be protected by firewalls, denial of service attacks, and malware. Poor security could expose your site and visitors to threats, ruining your reputation and damaging your search results ranking.

SSL

By now, you’ll have noticed most websites have the prefix HTTPS instead of HTTP in front of the domain name in your address bar. This means they’re using a form of encryption called SSL to protect data sent to and from the site via the web browser.

Google now even warns users against visiting sites that don’t have SSL certificates.

You don’t want this interfering with your WordPress site.

While some WordPress plugins can secure your site in this manner, it’s better to find a host that configures this by default.

Shared, VPS, Dedicated, or Managed Hosting?

There are many WordPress hosting options out there. Even hosts that don’t explicitly promote WordPress will usually be able to support manual WordPress installation. However, there are different types of web hosting you’ll run into, including shared, VPS, and dedicated servers. 

What Is Shared Hosting?

As the name suggests, shared hosting is when the underlying server and resources are shared between different customers

This is the cheapest form of hosting aimed at newcomers who don’t have a lot of visitors. You’re likely to have disk space and bandwidth limits and fewer features than other types of hosting.

It’s more than acceptable for small sites; however, you’ll soon run into issues if your traffic picks up or too many sites have been crammed into the same pool. This could result in slow speeds and downtime. 

In some rare cases, you could even share negative consequences if other sites get blacklisted, as Google may decide you’re somehow related.

Getting shared hosting for WordPress sites is generally not advised, especially if you intend to grow.

What Is VPS Hosting?

The best hosting company for WordPress will offer a range of plans, including VPSes. 

This stands for Virtual Private Server. Unlike shared hosting, a VPS represents a pool of resources from several different servers to ensure good speeds and lots of space and bandwidth options.

Moreover, the resources you get are yours, and no other site hosted by the company can influence them.

The backend control panel is usually set up just like a dedicated server’s, with all the same features and freedom to configure settings to your liking.  

A VPS is an excellent choice for a WordPress site for your medium-sized business or a high-traffic blog.

What Is Dedicated Hosting?

If you’re looking for the best hosting platform for WordPress, you should consider dedicated hosting. That’s where you get one or more servers in a network dedicated just to you. In other words, the physical hardware is sat in a data center with your name on it, and you rent it from the company.

You get even more control over the backend hosting settings and can configure the server exactly to your liking. For beginners, the technical aspect of this might be overwhelming. However, most hosting companies will do the base level of configuration for you.

Depending on the host, you can also pay for a higher level of management if you aren’t very tech-savvy. On the flipside, dedicated hosting is perfect for those familiar with server settings or companies with their own IT admins.

You usually get some choice over your server’s hardware, operating system, and other features.

This is the best choice for very high-traffic blogs and larger enterprises.

What Is Managed Hosting?

As noted, managed WordPress hosting is specifically designed for WordPress with all the bells and whistles. This can fall into any of the previous categories when it comes to the backend resources. I.e., Shared, VPS, or dedicated.

Now, let’s look at our top WordPress host recommendations

WordPress.com

When it comes to WordPress hosting providers, the obvious choice is WordPress itself. You can start right away with a free blog hosted on a WordPress.com subdomain. I.e., YourSite.WordPress.com.

You get a generous 1GB of storage space, SSL and security, and dozens of themes to choose from. What’s more, WordPress has its own experts on hand should you need support.

The downside is the free plan doesn’t allow your own domain, and you must display WordPress.com banners and advertising. 

If you’re new to WordPress and just want to familiarize yourself with the platform, this is a great place to try it out. It provides seamless upgrades to paid plans if you’re ready to get serious.

  • For $4/mo billed annually, you get a personal domain name, 6GB of space, and no WordPress advertising.
  • For $8/mo billed annually, you get access to premium themes, design customization, 13GB of space, PayPal checkout for ecommerce, Google Analytics integration, and the freedom to monetize your site.
  • For $25/mo billed annually, you get 200GB of space, SEO tools, third-party themes support, automated backups & restoration, and access to your backend databases.

WPEngine

WPEngine is one of the best dedicated WordPress hosting providers. It’s officially endorsed by WordPress itself and takes all the hard work out of running your own website. As soon as you’ve chosen your plan, you get the login credentials to the fully installed site. Furthermore, it’s fast and guarantees 99% uptime.

There are plans for all sizes of sites, starting from $20/mo, billed annually. Plans are also customizable, with the ability to add multiple WordPress installations if you want more than one site.

WPEngine is a great choice for ecommerce businesses, with special plans for the WordPress shop platform WooCommerce. Its range of plans makes it our pick for the best WordPress hosting for small business users.

Bluehost

The next option in this WordPress hosting comparison is Bluehost. This provider has great all-round hosting plans for any site. However, it also specializes in WordPress and WooCommerce, with one-click installation, automatic updates, and a helpful admin control panel.

You can get a WordPress site on its entry-level shared “Basic” plan from $4.95/mo billed annually. 

It also offers a range of VPS and dedicated server plans.

SiteGround

SiteGround stands out with plans designed specifically for WordPress and WooCommerce. 

Its recommended GrowBig WordPress plan is available for as little as $4.99/mo billed annually. It gets you unlimited WordPress installations, 20GB of space, and 100,000 monthly visitors. 

All plans include one-click installation, a starter wizard, auto updates, and knowledgeable support. You can also create unlimited email accounts under your own domain.

DreamHost

DreamHost’s WordPress hosting starts from $2.95, billed annually. This nets you fast SSD storage, automatic installation and updates, and a free domain. For one more dollar a month, you can have unlimited WordPress installations. 

Meanwhile, those with a lot of traffic can guarantee resources with the $27.50/mo VPS WordPress plan.

Hostinger

Hostinger is among our recommended WordPress hosts because of its optimized speed and in-house WordPress experts.

Plans start as low as $1.99/mo for 50GB of SSD storage and 10,000 monthly visitors. Business users get an $11.59/mo plan with 200GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, and up to 300 WordPress installations.

It also offers a selection of handy marketing tools. 

HostGator

HostGator is a long-running name in the web hosting world, offering everything you could expect for sites small and large. Its finely tuned WordPress plans start from $5.95/mo. Meanwhile, business users can get 3 installations and 500,000 visitors a month for $9.95/mo.

All WordPress plans get advanced security features, a simplified control panel, 99.9% uptime, and 24/7 support.

Kinsta

Like WPEngine, Kinsta puts all its energy into WordPress. While its introductory pricing is higher than most ($35/mo), its speed and performance are hard to beat. Moreover, enterprise customers are guaranteed support for millions of visitors a month.

Notable features include 24/7 WordPress expert support, daily automatic backups, and malware removal.  

FlyWheel

When making WordPress hosting comparisons, you cannot ignore FlyWheel. It takes a unique approach, aiming its services at web design agencies that manage WordPress sites for multiple clients.

Apart from the features you’d expect from WordPress specialists, you also get a personalized dashboard, client reports, a billing and subscription system, and easy bulk site management. 

InMotion

InMotion’s WordPress hosting starts at $3.99/mo billed bi-annually, while you get unlimited installations and bandwidth from $7.99/mo. There’s also a VPS option to ring-fence resources.

It has several tools and tweaks to boost WordPress speed and performance. Moreover, you get WooCommerce, unlimited professional emails, and access to lots of premium WordPress themes.

Wrap Up

So, what is the best WordPress hosting

That depends on your needs. 

However, we hope this page and suggestions have shown you how to choose the best WordPress hosting.

Whether you want to stick to a small blog or have sites with high levels of traffic, you can definitely find a solution. There’s a reason why so many sites are now using WordPress.

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Keelan Balderson

Keelan Balderson

A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.

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