Who is the best WordPress hosting provider? Ask a dozen people and you'll get as many answers, based on personal experiences, anecdote, and perceptions based on 'what I've heard'. This can lead to bad choices based on misguided advice from inexperienced webmasters.
We take a different approach, basing our recommendations on real world performance testing as well price, service and support comparisons. We want to provide a true comparison and recommendation based on data, in addition to our years of experience in the trenches.
If you have any questions or thoughts you'd like to share please comment below.
Full Disclosure – This page contains affiliate links which means we earn a commission if you click through and signup. This is at no extra cost to you and helps us maintain this resource for all webmasters' benefit. We own and pay for all the hosting accounts we use in our reviews and performance testing. Read our full disclosure statement here. Thanks for your support.
These are the 12 best shared hosting companies for WordPress users, ranked according to our own in-house performance testing. These rankings are also weighted in consideration of each hosts overall service offering, support and pricing.
Click the View Plans link to see the full range of plans available for that host, or Full Review to see the full and comprehensive details of our expert review and performance testing, as well as reviews from other users of that host.
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|2||From $2.95/mth||View Plans / Full Review|
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|4||From $7.00/mth||View Plans / Full Review|
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|6||From $1.99/mth||View Plans / Full Review|
|7||From $3.92/mth||View Plans / Full Review|
|8||From $7.95/mth||View Plans / Full Review|
|9||From $3.82/mth||View Plans / Full Review|
|10||From $2.49/mth||View Plans / Full Review|
|11||From $4.99/mth||View Plans / Full Review|
|12||From $4.99/mth||View Plans / Full Review|
Best WordPress hosting for bloggers and small business
We update our recommendations based on regular testing, and thanks to consistently good technical performance, fair pricing and an outstanding reputation for support Siteground, Bluehost and GreenGeeks all remain in our top 3. Our rankings are heavily influenced by the relative performance metrics in our very comprehensive testing (more on this below).
We think these three companies are the best WordPress hosting providers for bloggers and small business in particular.
We make these recommendations based on their entry level shared hosting plans which are ideal for small to medium sized WordPress websites. If you are a bigger site or company that attracts a large volume of traffic then you should be looking at a managed WordPress hosting service...
Best WordPress hosting for bigger sites with more traffic
For the longest time we used WP Engine for this website, but a few months ago we decided to make the switch to WPX Hosting. We couldn't be happier with the results. WP Engine is a good host, but has become relatively expensive for what you get. We've more than halved our hosting bill for WP Dev Shed without compromising our performance or capacity. If anything I think the site is now running better than it was on WP Engine.
Here's the key reasons we switched and why we think that WPX Hosting is the best choice for larger sites with more traffic:
- Superb support. We've never waited more than a couple of minutes to get a thorough and useful reply from support....none of those stock standard copy/paste answers, WPX support is provided by people who really know what they are doing and are empowered to actually help.
- Awesome control panel for super easy deployment of your staging site, and management of automated backups and restores. In fairness WP Engine has this too, but we now pay less than half the price.
- Super fast SSD servers with the WPX CDN. Again SSD and CDNs are not unique to WPX, but their service does genuinely run fast and is super well priced.
- Really easy and fast deployment of Google sponsored SSL certs. So handy when every site these days MUST have a security certificate.
Managed WordPress hosting of this kind isn’t for everyone, but if you are a business and you are prepared to spend a bit more for the best WordPress hosting then WPX Hosting is definitely the place to go. Highly recommended.
Detailed WordPress Hosting Reviews
Our hosting company reviews offer a very comprehensive overview and comparison of the best WordPress hosting providers. To ensure a fair comparison we have taken a very standardized approach to our performance comparisons. Watch the video to learn how we conducted our performance testing.
How to Choose The Best WordPress Hosting For Your Site
In this video we explain the difference between the various types of hosting and the key dimensions on which to compare hosting companies. At the end of this video you will understand the different types of hosting available for your WordPress website and will be able to make an educated comparison of different hosting plans.
Comparing WordPress Web Hosting Providers
Even when you've chosen a web host you'll have to choose a plan, so it pays to understand the differentiating factors, and importantly what actually matters and what doesn't so you can make a fair comparison.
Of course you should also start with a good understanding of what you need:
- Will your site be a standard business website with a few pages describing your business, or will it have 1000's of pages?
- Will you need lots of storage for many large files, and will your storage requirements grow over time?
- Will your site consist of static content or does it provide some kind of interactive application? An application or script with lots of database calls will require more processing power.
- How many concurrent visitors do you need to cater for? Again, this will determine how much processing power you need.
Once you have a firm idea of your own requirements you'll need to consider the following parameters when comparing the best WordPress hosting providers...
What Are The Key Differences Between the WordPress Hosting Plans?
- Diskspace: If you are starting a new blog or planning to run a simple website this is unlikely to be a major factor. You'll only really need to think about this if you are running a very large site, uploading lots of media files or running an app that stores more and more data over time.
- Bandwith: Large media files, especially video, are what will use up the most bandwidth, but this can be mitigated to some extent by using a 3rd party Content Distribution network like Amazon Cloudfront or MaxCDN. A CDN will carry the bandwidth of delivered files rather than your host with the added benefit of better performance. If you will be hosting your own media you'll need to think about how much bandwidth this is likely to consume. This calculator might be handy. All that said, if you are running a regular blog or a small business site with relatively few visitors (<1000/day) this isn't likely to be a limiting factor.
- Processing Power: For most people this will be the most important differentiating factor. Assuming you have enough diskspace and bandwidth, it is the processing power your site has that will determine how many concurrent users it can handle and how fast it will respond when the number of concurrent users grows. It can be hard to determine how much processing power a shared WordPress hosting plan offers, so if the ability to grow and handle larger volumes of traffic is important to you then we'd recommend you look at a VPS or managed host with dedicated processing power.
- Drive Type: There is no doubt that the future is solid state drives. With no moving parts it is no surprise they are faster than regular hard drives with spinning disks.This is why we really like these companies which all offer SSDs. Here's why you should choose SSD hosting.
We've taken all these factors into consideration in making our recommendations, as well as a great deal of experience with all the top WordPress hosting companies so we also have a good sense of the more qualitative factors such as customer support. We've also written more generally about choosing the best web hosting company.
Web hosting requirements for WordPress
If you are still shopping around for the best hosting for WordPress you just need to keep in mind the requirements for running WordPress. Thankfully WordPress has very simple requirements and will run on just about any standard linux based hosting service.
Indeed a hosting company would be mad not to support WordPress given it is used on around 20% of all websites. That said, it pays to be aware of the specific requirements, namely:
- PHP version 7 (or higher)
- MySQL version 5.6 (or higher) or MariaDB version 10.0 (or higher)
- HTTPS Support - This is why we always recommend a host that supports free shared SSL certificates at a minimum. Any new site these days should go all HTTPS from the outset.
And that's it! If you have these two then the latest version of WordPress will run great. Of course GreenGeeks and Siteground are all good to go. Any web server that supports PHP and MySQL is good, but our recommendation is always to seek out a host that uses the Apache or NGinx web server technology, and specifically can enable the a rewrite module as you will need this to enable the friendly URL features of WordPress.
As long as you use a reputable and experienced company then the chances are that this will be the case. If you are unsure we suggest asking them if they do enable the mod_rewrite module in Apache by default before signing up.
We recommend you use hosts that run Apache only because along with Linux, PHP and MySQL It really is the most commonly used platform so you can always find people who can help either professionally or via the support forums.
Types of Web Hosting Available
Making sure you sign up for a service that caters for WordPress is actually pretty easy (almost everyone covers the basic hosting requirements), but still there are various levels of service that you can opt for, and you choice will depend on your needs...
Free WordPress Hosting
There is really only one option if you want free hosting, and that is to go with WordPress.com. You can sign up and have your own site hosted at yourname.wordpress.com in a matter of minutes. If you are not sure if you are ready to commit to a running your own site on a dedicated domain then this is a great first step.
The downside is that you don't have your own dedicated domain, and for many people that is a big downside...having your own domain means you can brand yourself (and have a branded email address) rather than being a subdomain on WordPress.com. Check out our recent post on the problem with free hosting.
There are other services like WordPress.com that offer a very similar free hosted service, but WordPress.com is run by Automattic, the company behind the platform, so it stands to reason that they know it best.
It's also worth noting that Automatic are very well funded so there is no chance that they are going to close up shop or disappear for any reason, and that WordPress.com does actually have a paid upgrade option which allows you to host with your own domain...so that might be a good upgrade path for the first time webmaster.
That said, even if you pay to use your own domain on WordPress.com you still get the same WordPress hosting platform which does have some limitations, principally in terms of the plugins and theme customization options. It is these limitations that lead us to ultimately recommend you go for a self-hosted installation which will give you the ultimately flexibility...
This is where we recommend most new webmasters start out when they want to create their first blog. Shared hosting means you will be on a server with hundreds of sites so you share the resources and costs of the server. It is a great option because it is affordable (starting at $5-7/mth) and you still get most of the features of a more powerful set up.
Shared plans are often sold as 'unlimited' bandwidth and storage which is a bit of a misdirection in a way because the performance bottle neck isn't going to be bandwidth or storage, it's going to be processing power.
A shared server will provide your site with plenty of processing power for a few thousand visitors a day, but if your site grows to an extent that it has many concurrent users then you are going to want to upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server...and for this reason we do recommend you go with a shared WordPress hosting provider who offers a good upgrade path.
Shared WordPress hosting accounts always provide you with a web based interface like cPanel to manage the various elements of your site, including email setup, databases and typically offer easy installation tools for all the popular web site software packages.
WordPress isn't actually hard to install manually in any event, but the 1-click installers do make it faster and ensure that all the file permissions are set right so that future updates to themes and plugins are all easily performed via the WP control panel. As above, we think that GreenGeeks, Bluehost and Hostgator offer the best shared service.
WordPress VPS Hosting
A VPS server is a great next step up from shared hosting. It is also shared in the sense that your VPS will run on a physical server with other clients, but the server will typically host much fewer clients and you also get low level access to the server administration functions.
It runs in effect like your own dedicated server, but on a server with other users. VPS plans will typically come equipped with a control panel like WHM which allows even non-technical users to manage the various server functions via a web interface.
For this reason a VPS is a great option if you are a designer/developer who wants to offer hosting to your clients, but doesn't want to mess with technical system administration. We use a VPS to host many of our own sites and client sites.
Managed WordPress Web Hosting
If your site has grown increasingly popular, and you need the additional capacity, but you do not have the time, know-how, or the staff on hand to deal with server operations then managed hosting might be a great option for you. Once applicable only to dedicated plans, managed services can now be had for VPS, cloud or co-location hosting as well. It's an option to consider if you:
- Lack sufficient expertise to properly administer the space.
- Are long on skills but short on time to manage a server yourself.
- Can justify the extra expense.
With managed plans, you are renting not only the server but also its support team. Costs can vary. Depending on your choice of host, your benefits will include:
- Trouble-shooting and maintenance.
- Software installations and upgrades.
- Hardware repairs and server monitoring.
- Greater security and peace of mind.
- Built in Content Distribution Network (CDN)
- Built in caching layer for improved site performance
Dedicated support staff and faster problem resolution could provide the biggest benefit. A crashed website equals money lost.
The dedicated knowledge and experience of the web host's staff can get you back in action in a hurry. In spite of the extra fees, managed hosting solutions can still save you money. Under these plans, you will likely pay less for such essentials as software, hardware, server space and bandwidth.
In addition, its relatively low cost is certain to trump the expense of hiring even one technology expert. This is why we host this site with the world's biggest managed WordPress hosting provider, WP Engine.
Dedicated WordPress Hosting
If your site is a huge success then you will ultimately want to get your own dedicated server hosting (though for 98% of all business sites and blogs a shared server or VPS is more than enough). This means you'll have your own physical server hosted in the providers location, dedicated to just you.
There are of course many levels of server you can lease, from smaller cheaper servers right up to very powerful servers with a huge amount of processing power.
The important difference from shared and VPS type offerings is that you will have complete control over your WordPress hosting environment. If you get to this level you probably have your own system administration resource, though most dedicated server providers can also provide a managed solution (which of course costs more).
Hosting companies to avoid
If you spend enough time looking around at the various offers out there you will come across plenty of cheap WordPress hosting offers of $1/mth. Sounds pretty good right? $12/yr...I mean, what could go wrong?
In our experience these 'too good to be true' deals always end badly. The companies providing this type of service might have the best intentions, but the fact is they can't possibly provide the level of support you want for that kind of money. They can only hope to make money by doing serious volume and keeping their costs low.
In the hosting game the biggest cost is people so that means less support. The few dollars you might save per year will not seem worthwhile the first time you have an outage and can't reach anyone for days.
Our advice is always to stick to reputable companies with a real track record and real support. No host is perfect, and from time to time you are going to need some support, so best to go with a WordPress host that you know will always be there when you need them. Your time and peace of mind is worth more than a few dollars a month. If you are on a budget there are some great options.
WordPress Hosting FAQs
Quick answers to your burning questions...
What is WordPress Hosting?
When people refer to WordPress hosting they are talking about any web hosting service that supports the open source WordPress content management system. In other words, WordPress is a platform for managing the content on your website, but your website (and WordPress) needs to be hosted on a web server connected to the internet. The specific hosting requirements for WordPress are covered here, and our recommendations for WordPress host are listed here.
What is Managed WordPress hosting?
The term "managed WordPress hosting" is used to describe the new breed of hosting companies and services which are focused purely on WordPress. Unlike a traditional hosting company these services don't allow you to run just any CMS, they only support WordPress which will typically come pre-installed and tuned for performance. For example WPX Hosting. These new WordPress specialists only run the one CMS and arguably provide a better more specialist service as a result.
What is Word Press Engine?
"Word Press engine" is long hand for 'WP Engine' which is the largest and best known managed WordPress hosting provider. Based in Austin, Texas, WP Engine were one of the earliest to recognize the accelerating demand for specialist WordPress hosting services and support.
WP Engine's plans are more expensive that your standard shared plans, so are typically used by larger, more established sites and businesses with more budget. We use WP Engine to host this site because we are happy to pay the extra cost to rest easy knowing our site is in really good hands at all times.
Why WordPress hosting?
Why use WordPress hosting? Managed WordPress hosting plans are typically more expensive, but they offer a few extras which are worth the expense...First, they deal in nothing but WordPress so you know all the staff and support are experts. They live and breathe it day in and day out. Second, they will usually offer advanced services standard, including automated backups and updates for the core CMS, themes and plugins. And lastly, their platform is optimized to run WordPress fast and securely.
What is the best WordPress hosting?
The answer to this question must be based on a balanced view of performance, service, price and reputation. We've done the testing and in our opinion Siteground is the best shared provider while we recommend WPX Hosting as the best managed option. If you are still keen to shop around check out our reviews here.
How to choose WordPress web hosting?
We've tried to answer this in the section above on comparing the best WordPress hosting providers. You can also watch the Beginners Guide to WordPress Hosting video above too.
Is there any SEO benefit to hosting on WordPress.com?
In short, no. If you use WordPress.com you'll have a domain like mysite.wordpress.com and that doesn't infer any benefit from the undoubted strength of the WordPress.com domain, as it is technically a different domain.
If the parent domain did pass on benefit then all free hosted domains would rank like crazy (they don't). And if you use the paid option from WordPress.com, with your own domain (mysite.com) then there is no more or less SEO benefit compared to any other host.
Which host is good for a blog with up to 1000 daily visitors?
Any of the shared hosting plans ranked above will comfortably handle 1000, or even 2000 visitors a day as long as your site is well optimized. Where things get tricky is if all those visitors arrive at the same time. If you expect big spikes in traffic then you would be well advised to go with a managed service capable of handling more concurrent traffic.
How much does WP hosting cost?
Good quality hosting starts around USD$5/mth, though you can sometimes get better pricing when the big hosts are offering special deals.
This price level is for a standard shared plan. Do not be tempted by the $1/mth hosts, you get what you pay for. Pricing for managed services usually start around $20/mth for the entry level plans. $25-30 is pretty typical.
From there you start getting into VPS and dedicated server territory and here the price really depends on how much capacity you need. We're on the $99/mth Professional Plan with WP Engine, but we also have a dedicated server for other projects which costs us $165/mth.
How to secure WordPress web hosting?
This is a great question and we could write alot more on this than we have space for here, indeed we already have. Check out these articles from the blog on essential WordPress security.
How to install WordPress?
If you are using a regular shared WordPress hosting provider they will almost certainly provide a website control panel with one of the popular script installers such as Installatron, Fantastico, Scriptaculous or possibly the newer Mojo Marketplace option which seems to be increasingly popular.
Each of these options works in much the same way...login to your control panel and locate the installer tool. Click on the icon and follow the prompts to install WordPress. These tools all let you install a wide variety of web applications, but WordPress will always be top of the list as the most popular of all.
You'll be asked a few questions such as what directory you want to install in (usually it should go in the root directory, i.e yourdomain.com/) and what title to give your site, but once you have answered these you literally click install and wait a few minutes for the tool to do it's job once installed you will be able to login and start managing your themes, plugins and content.
I'm assuming here of course that you have already configured your domain name to point to your account.
Check out our post on domains and DNS basics if you need help with this.
Which hosting is best for WordPress, Linux or Windows?
Linux is the best hosting for WordPress. You can install WordPress on a Windows server, but it usually requires additional configuration and in our experience is usually a bit of a hassle. We always recommend hosting your sites on a Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP set up, commonly known as a LAMP stack.
Web hosts offering a PHP and MySQL service will usually have simple one click installations of WordPress as well which makes life much easier.
How to upload WordPress to your host?
Long gone are the days of having to manually upload and install WordPress on your hosting account. WordPress was famous for it's 5min install, but these days it can be done in less than a minute using one of the common installers as described above.
Don't bother with a hosting provider that doesn't take care of this for you...unless of course you are managing your own dedicated server, in which case you don't need our help 🙂
Do I need CPanel to host WordPress
No, but it sure makes everything a lot easier in terms of installation and then managing email accounts on your domain etc. If you are looking at a shared hosting plan for your site I would go with a host that offers CPanel.