Over the years, countless people have asked me what I think is the best hosting service for WordPress. My answer? It depends.
There’s no one-size-fits-all web hosting company.
Your decision should depend on where you are in your blogger journey.
If you’re just starting out with zero visitors, you have different hosting needs than a blogger who gets more than 500,000 unique visitors per month.
You might be thinking, why should I listen to this no-name Larry guy? He has no experience with web hosting. He’s just another blogger writing a “best of” hosting article for the affiliate commissions.
If so, you’d be wrong.
I successfully built a web hosting company from scratch and ran it for more than two decades. And in my years of helping clients, I have worked with more than fifty other hosting providers. I know the industry and all of the major players intimately.
So you could say I might know a thing or two about hosting.
Choose Your Web Hosting… Wisely
One thing is for sure: Not all web hosting providers are created equal.
Your WordPress host is a critical part of your business. So choose carefully.
The right host can make blogging such a joy. The wrong one can make your life a living hell.
Web hosting is one of those services that you don’t think about when everything is working, but quickly notice when something goes wrong.
This list of recommended WordPress providers isn’t meant to be a comprehensive comparison of every single web hosting provider. There are way too many hosting providers to review and compare. I created this list simply to help you decide where to host your WordPress blog.
One more thing I should mention — pretty much every hosting provider has an affiliate program. In fact, web hosting is the most popular category for affiliate marketing. However, I chose the services on this list because I truly believe they represent the best WordPress hosts.
The Three Factors for Choosing a WordPress Host
From my experience, there are three critical factors to check out when picking the best WordPress host:
- Speed – How quickly does your website load? A slow host can not only affect SEO but cause lost revenue as well.
- Customer Support – How quickly does customer service respond to you and — more importantly — how quickly does the team resolve your problem?
- Reliability – If your website isn’t available for visitors, it can cost you hundreds, if not thousands, in lost revenue. Does the hosting provider have an uptime guarantee?
Notice something missing? I didn’t mention price. Especially in today’s hyper-competitive market, web hosting is a commodity. The price of hosting is very cheap, compared with the level of service you get. In some cases, monthly service costs less than one cup of Starbucks coffee.
If you can’t afford a costlier web hosting service, cut out a few Starbucks coffees. The Latte Factor applies when starting a blog.
A Dirty Little Web Hosting Secret
Psst… I’ll let you in on a little-known web hosting secret.
Web hosting is a super-competitive business. It’s practically an arms race, with hosting providers trying to outdo each other.
The margins are razor-thin, and hosting is a commodity. So marketing is sometimes based on gimmicks. Keep this in mind when deciding which hosting provider to sign up with.
For example, you’ll see offers for “unlimited” this or “unlimited” that.
There’s no such thing as unlimited disk space. All shared hosting services (which is what most of the companies on this list are) oversubscribe the hardware they manage. While they may offer unlimited or large amounts of resources, this space is not exclusive to you.
This is neither new nor uncommon. Nor is it limited to web hosting. For example, cellphone services companies do it all the time. After all, if everyone jumped on and made a phone call at the same time, the systems would never support it.
So make sure you understand the provider’s definition of “unlimited” before you sign up.
What should you look for instead? Simply put, you want a fast-loading blog.
Faster loading means more sales. So much so that Google counts page load time as a key metric. Therefore, make sure you’re getting the fastest possible host for the price you pay.
A simple rule of thumb: The more you pay, the more dedicated server resources you get.
Beginner bloggers don’t need much in terms of resources, but a popular website certainly does and should pay more for it.
Best Beginner Host – Bluehost
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- A free domain name for the first year
- SSL certificate to secure your website
- 1-click install of WordPress
- 50GB of disk space for the lowest plan
So you’ve decided to become a blogger. Congrats! It’s a rewarding business that can easily be done as a part-time side hustle.
I detail the steps required to begin in my article on how to start a blog.
If you’re just starting out, I recommend creating your blog on WordPress. It’s the most popular blogging platform and gives you many options for creating a great-looking and robust website.
From my experience, the best WordPress hosting company for beginners is Bluehost.
Bluehost’s pricing starts at $3.95 per month. The company hosts more than 2 million accounts, making it one of the largest web hosting companies around. Bluehost is owned by a conglomerate called Endurance Intl., the same company that owns more than 83 other companies, such as HostGator, Domain.com, and BuyDomains.
If you are currently using one of Endurance’s other companies, don’t expect your service to be much different at Bluehost. That said, Endurance is a large company with large amounts of resources to dedicate to Bluehost.
Best Intermediate Host – WP Engine
- Designed specifically for WordPress hosting
- Never lose a file with nightly backups
- More than 35 free SEO-friendly WordPress themes (StudioPress Genesis)
- A development, staging, and production environment you can use to avoid going down for an update
- Free SSL certificate included
- 60-day money-back guarantee
If you’re a blogger who has been around the block, you’re ready to upgrade from the basics. You are making money at blogging and take downtime seriously. You want a web hosting company that specializes in WordPress.
WP Engine is easily my recommended choice. In my opinion, it’s the best-managed WordPress hosting company.
While WP Engine’s pricing might be higher than some other web hosting options, there are a number of key features built into the service. WP Engine includes nightly backups, CDN, WordPress themes, and environments to test out new plugins. If you’re using a cheaper provider, adding on these features can really add up.
Best Advanced Host – Linode
- NodeBalancer lets you handle more visitors to your WordPress site
- Block storage that can move from one VPS to another with ease
- Free DNS included, so there’s no need for a third-party service
If you’re like me and you dream in PHP code and eat shell scripting for breakfast, then your most obvious choice would be a good cloud hosting provider.
That choice is Linode, which runs this very website.
Believe it or not, while I have some services at Amazon’s AWS, I cannot recommend it for a WordPress blogger. AWS can be pricey, and to be honest, the service can be quite confusing to use.
I like a cloud hosting option that has direct and straightforward options. Linode fits that bill and is the best VPS hosting provider. The service isn’t a newcomer, either – it’s been around since 2003.
The advantage of going with a cloud hosting service is you can roll your own setup. So you have the advantage of building your infrastructure for speed. For example, I recommend and use the webserver LiteSpeed. Not only is it the fastest web server, but it understands Apache configuration files and has a built-in caching server.
Unfortunately, most WordPress hosts don’t use it.
Linode has all of the services a blogger needs to scale their website. The service has pre-built images of all your favorite Linux distributions and can be up in running within minutes.
Linode offers load balancers, block storage, monitoring, and backup options. In addition, Linode has data centers around the world, including centers in Texas, New Jersey, Georgia, California, Germany, Singapore, England, and Japan.
WordPress Hosting FAQs
I’m just starting out. What do you recommend?
What is the purpose of an SSL certificate?
When should you switch from Bluehost to WP Engine?
However, here’s a rule of thumb: Switch when your site gets more than 20,000 unique visitors and/or makes over a few thousand dollars a month in revenue. In other words, switch to WP Engine when you can justify the higher fees.
If you’re just starting out, Bluehost is the perfect WordPress blogging platform. However, as you progress and make more money, you should eventually move on to WP Engine. For the more advanced, high-volume blogger who hosts multiple websites, Linode is the best option.
Readers: Please comment below if you have any web hosting questions.