Best WordPress Hosting Providers
Before you buy WordPress hosting, you need to have a solid understanding of the difference between managed and non-managed plans. Otherwise, you stand to make the wrong selection at the outset and be stuck with a hosting plan that’s time-consuming to maintain.
We’ve put together a comprehensive breakdown of what WordPress hosting is, who needs it, and what features managed WordPress hosting offers that standard hosts don’t provide.
| Free domain name included|
SiteLock security & advanced CDN
Migrate & manage multiple sites & backups
30-day money back guarantee
More features at bluehost.com
|From 12.49 /mo||61% score|| Visit website
| Free WordPress site migration|
VMAN cloud server deployment
Click&Go console, 1-click operations
Free 30 day trial
More features at cloudways.com
|From 5.00 /mo||77% score|| Visit website
| Free WordPress site migration|
Managed WordPress updates & backups
Built-in caching & staging sites
Free 30 day trial
Endorsed by WordPress
More features at flywheel.com
|From 14.00 /mo||70% score|| Visit website
| WordPress comes pre-installed & ready|
Free domain name included
SSD storage for 20x faster hosting
Free 90 day trial
More features at inmotionhosting.com
|From 4.89 /mo||70% score|| Visit website
| WordPress-certified 24/7 support|
30 day file backup & restore
Automatic WP core updates
30-day money back guarantee
More features at mediatemple.net
|From 20.00 /mo||78% score|| Visit website
| Free WordPress site migration|
Fully managed updates & security
PressCDN, PressCache, PressDNS & PressArmor
Free 30 day trial
More features at pagely.com
|From 64.00 /mo||50% score|| Visit website
| Automatic WordPress updates & backups|
Automatic nightly backups
Premium CDN included
Free 15 day trial
More features at pressable.com
|From 20.83 /mo||57% score|| Visit website
| Full server management & DevOps|
Managed WordPress auto updates
Staging sites & automated backups
Free 60 day trial
More features at pressidium.com
|From 17.90 /mo||71% score|| Visit website
| Free SSD, Free SSL & HTTP/2, Free domain|
Automatic updates & daily backups
SuperCacher caching & CloudFlare
Free 30 day trial
Endorsed by WordPress
More features at siteground.com
|From 3.95 /mo||90% score|| Visit website
| Free "white glove" site migration included|
Free SSL certificate included
On-site "heroic" support team
Free 30-day trial & 100% uptime guarantee
More features at liquidweb.com
|From 89.00 /mo||80% score|| Visit website
| Premium managed WordPress hosting|
Staging sites & in-house caching technology
Free automated site migration
Free 60-day trial & SLA credits.
More features at wpengine.com
|From 35.00 /mo||93% score|| Visit website
What is WordPress Hosting?
WordPress hosting comes in two variants: managed WordPress hosting, and unmanaged WordPress hosting.
Managed vs Non-Managed
Managed WordPress hosting is a specialized service where all the technical aspects of running your WordPress site are managed by the web host. This includes installation, security, updates, and backups.
If you opt for a non-managed WordPress hosting plan, it’s essentially just regular hosting. So you would have full control of your hosting services, and all of the technical management would be your responsibility.
For instance, with non-managed WordPress, you would have to configure daily backups to ensure that your website is protected against data loss.
Regular hosting is ideal for more technical people because you’re in control of everything. But if you don’t have the time or skills, managed WordPress hosting could be ideal for your business.
It lets you focus on your day-to-day business, not whether or not your website is up to date.
That being said, many developers do like managed WordPress hosting, since it helps to ensure their clients’ websites aren’t having problems.
A Degree of Trust is Essential
Managed WordPress hosting is a relatively new form of web hosting. And whether you’re running a blog, an e-commerce site, or a business page, you need to trust your web host to provide a reliable service.
Managed WordPress hosting tends to be more expensive than non-managed, so checking out reviews is important.
WordPress Hosting Explained
WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system or CMS. It lets anyone create a site from scratch.
You have the option of customizing files and modifying the code, but users without coding experience also have the opportunity to build beautiful websites. We have broken down the steps of
Picking a Template and Getting Started
With a non-managed WordPress hosting plan, you’ll need to install the free software on a hosting account. Then you pick out a WordPress template, which is basically a pre-formed design for making the front end of your site look nice.
A selection of popular free themes from WordPress.org. Screenshot via Digital.com
After that, you can write your content, create blog posts, develop static pages, upload images, and add video or audio. Although it may take a few hours to get accustomed to the interface, WordPress is ideal for newbies.
Managed WordPress hosting includes WordPress management and hosting as a single package. So with this option, you’re passing over all of the responsibilities to the hosting company. It’s a clean process that should include full support. So if you have questions about accessing your website files or notice that your site is running slower than usual, a team of support representatives is a phone call away.
Great Value at a Fractionate Cost
Whichever option you choose, WordPress allows for users of all experience levels to take advantage of a powerful CMS at a low price.
WordPress is open source and free, and there’s an entire community of people online making improvements and giving advice on how to get set up and running. You’ll find blogs, forums, and plugins to make your site the best it can be. In fact, a quick Google search is generally all you need in terms of support.
Although WordPress is free, you will find that some services, like premium plugins and themes, need to be paid for. You can absolutely find free themes and plugins, but the premium ones are often more powerful.
Do You Need Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed hosting looks enticing for just about anyone utilizing the WordPress platform. You don’t have to think about what’s going on behind the scenes. Hosting companies have developed technologies and scripts that will automate management and make the experience as straightforward as possible for you.
It’s prudent to figure in the additional cost of managed hosting and see if it makes sense for your budget. That extra cost could be worth it if it means you don’t have to put lots of time into fixing problems.
Comparing Managed Hosting to Non-Managed Hosting
|Managed Hosting||Fully managed by host||Fully managed by host||Included||Considerable premium|
|Non-Managed Hosting||Fully managed by the host, depending on the plan||Completely up to you as a webmaster||Not included||Much cheaper than managed hosting, although extra costs may be incurred upon hiring a developer|
You should think about trying managed WordPress hosting if you have the cash, want to spend less time worrying about hosting, and want to ensure that your site is secure and reliable.
Who Uses Managed Hosting?
Whether you’re a startup or run a mid-sized business, managed hosting may provide faster site speeds, easier scaling, and less downtime.
This isn’t a guarantee, but the fact that managed WordPress hosting is optimized means that there’s a good chance everything will run smoothly.
Potential Downsides of Managed Hosting
There are a few potential downsides to managed WordPress hosting, and it’s only fair to mention them here so that you can make a full and honest evaluation:
- Email services may not be included. If you want business email at your domain, you may need to purchase separate email hosting elsewhere. You could use something like G-Suite, or buy an email hosting plan from a regular web hosting company.
- Your host may restrict plugins. Hosts do this because they’ve identified certain plugins that result in poor performance or security risks.
- If you try to use a prohibited plugin, the host may remove it, rendering parts of your site inaccessible.
- It’s not always easy to migrate away from a managed WordPress host. Technically, you can export your content at any time, but creating an exact website clone could be more difficult.
- You will not always get a free domain, though some hosting providers give customers a free domain registration for the first year of service.
- It costs more than “unmanaged” hosting.
- You may not have granular control over your server. This depends on the hosting company. If you want full control of every technical detail, in order to experiment and tweak, you may want to widen your search.
- Automated updates may on occasion result in a glitch on your website. (But reverting to a previous version of your site can be done at a click, and the host will take responsibility to sort out the bugs in an update.)
- Waste of time is a risk, due to an attempt to set up the environment with little knowledge or developer resource.
These caveats don’t apply to every managed WordPress hosting company, and the benefits often outweigh them.
But keep your eyes peeled for missing features that your business may need in the future.
Features and Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting
Here’s a breakdown of some of the features that come standard on most managed hosting plans.
- Hosting optimized for WordPress
- Less crowded servers
- Content delivery networks (CDNs)
- Optimized speed
- High security
- Automated updates
- Automated backups
- Customer service and technical support
- How-to resources and community
- Saves you time
Let’s look at these benefits in greater detail.
Hosting Optimized for WordPress
Managed WordPress hosts have calibrated their technology — from operating systems to server technology and more — to provide an optimal environment for WordPress.
Plus you’ll be interacting with specialists who have expertise in WordPress.
Less Crowded Servers
With a managed WordPress account, you are very likely to share your server with fewer hosting customers, compared to a shared hosting account.
Many Hosts Use Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
The VPS provides resources to your website only. Remember, though, that most managed WordPress plans don’t include any root server access to the VPN itself, and you won’t be able to install anything else.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Your managed WordPress account will likely come with a CDN (content delivery network). The CDN speeds up the delivery of your WordPress site since it utilizes an entire network of servers located all over the world.
Since content delivery depends on the proximity of the server to the end user, someone living in India would see your site faster since it would be delivered for a server closest to India, regardless of the location of your host.
A fast website is essential in business. The longer a site takes to load, the more people will leave. So a fast website will increase conversions and improve the user experience.
Managed WordPress hosting uses software and hardware optimized to run WordPress as fast as possible.
That said, there are some things that will affect the speed and performance of your website, even if you’re using managed WordPress hosting:
- Third-party advertisement systems
- Too many widgets and plugins
- Multipurpose WordPress themes with too much functionality
- Images that aren’t optimized or are large files
- Not using a CDN to deliver content faster
- Failure to use a caching solution.
Additional Measures for Speed
Just because you have a reliable web host doesn’t mean your site is optimized to run at its fastest. You need to take care to manage the speed and performance of your website on a regular basis to make sure your visitors are getting the best experience possible.
Security, Backups, and Updates
A hack or data breach can lead to business disaster. You could lose data, expose customer details, or accidentally infect others with malware. You’re responsible for keeping your website secure, and if it’s not, you may face penalties or the collapse of your company.
On any hosting platform, WordPress is secure. And with a managed WordPress host, your site is scanned for security holes constantly.
The host will fix any issues before you know it. And if you are compromised, they’ll quickly revert your site back to how it was before the breach.
Your host will take care of updating the WordPress core and all of your plug-ins. This saves you time and boosts your security since hackers often gain control of WordPress sites via outdated plugins.
With managed WordPress hosting, backups are almost always taken care of for you. Check the exact provision with your host, but you can expect daily restore points at a minimum.
Customer Service and Tech Support
Despite all the above-mentioned features you should look for in a hosting provider, there is on a crucial feature that you cannot afford to overlook: customer service and tech support. After all, even if you have an affordable and reliable hosting company, if there is no support team on hand to help you, your website could be in trouble if something breaks or a server crashes.
Running a business website is a lot of work. And the larger your website grows, the potential for problems to occur will grow with it.
Even if you’re tech-savvy, problems related to your website and its hosting services can easily surpass your technical knowledge. And since your revenue relies on your website’s uptime, it’s important you have a capable team on standby at all times to help you in the case something happens.
How-to Resources and Community
WordPress-specific managed hosts often offer a rich selection of good how-tos in the form of text and video tutorials and topic-based forums.
Some hosts, like SiteGround, have community-focused mentors on staff. They are there to help you get the most out of your WordPress experience. They often travel to WordCamps around the world to meet with their customers and share site ideas.
Saves You Time
Tasks like updating your plug-ins are so critical that if not done right can result in your site being hacked and penalized by Google.
If your site is slow this can also get you penalized, given the 2018 Google “Speed Update.”
Choosing managed hosting can save you countless hours of teaching yourself what you need to know to secure your WP site and get it served at an optimal speed.
What to Look for in WordPress Hosting Customer Support
Here’s what to look for when it comes to your web host’s customer service and support:
- Response Time
- Contact Methods
Make sure the support team can answer your questions quickly and efficiently, especially if they say they are available 24/7/365.
Email, a ticket system, live chat, and phone access are all important ways to contact your support team. You need to know your hosting provider has a method you’re comfortable with. Also, make sure the host has support available in your language.
Your site’s problems won’t take the weekend or holidays off so look for a support team that won’t either.
Understanding your CMS is a must. That’s why using managed WordPress hosting is a good idea. Hosting companies that offer managed WordPress hosting will have the knowledge to help you with your website’s issues and have the right solutions to fix them.
Do I Need Premium Support?
Some web hosts offer tiered support services. Whether you pay more for web hosting support will largely depend on your individual needs.
For example, if you are running a large, highly-trafficked site, a more expensive plan might be worth considering.
After all, some of the services provided in higher support tiers will prioritize your issues over other, smaller issues. This can make a huge difference in how much revenue your business loses should your site crash and customers not be able to access it.
However, for most websites, the amount of customer service and tech support that comes with the hosting plan you choose is usually enough, so long as the features you require are included.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
When it comes to using the WordPress CMS, you have two choices.
You can use WordPress.org or WordPress.com.
Unfortunately, many beginner business owners get the two platforms confused. And, while neither is a bad choice, the one you choose to use to build your business website will have an effect on your company’s success.
WordPress.org is an open source platform that is 100% free to use. All you need is a web host to host your site’s data, and a domain name, which you can sometimes get through your web hosting provider.
Because you need the services of a hosting company, this platform is considered self-hosted.
What are the Benefits of Using WordPress.org?
Here are some of the main benefits of using the self-hosted WordPress.org platform:
- It’s free and simple to use
- You own your website and data
- You can extend its design and functionality
- You can run a business and start a blog on the same platform
- You can monetize your website using your own ads and collect 100% of the revenue
- You can tap use metric tools like Google Analytics
- There are “loads” of third-party integrations and plug-ins to boost your online conversions.
- It’s supported by a large community, so is continuing to be developed and improved
- There are a large number of forums where you can get your questions answered easily
In addition, using the WordPress.org platform gives you the freedom to brand your company as you want, provides many opportunities for SEO optimization so your site gets found in search results, and comes with full theme support, meaning you can customize your free and premium themes in any way you want.
Are There Any Downsides to Using WordPress.org
That said, there are a few downsides to using WordPress.org:
- You’ll need to pay for web hosting and a domain name
- You’ll be responsible for all updates unless you use managed WordPress hosting
- Backups of your site’s data will be your responsibility
- Investing in premium themes and plugins can become costly.
What About WordPress.com?
WordPress.com is a hosted solution created by the co-founder of WordPress itself, Matt Mullenweg.
Its most basic plan is free to use, you don’t need a web host, because this platform hosts your site’s data for you, and you don’t need a domain name either.
Lastly, there is no need to perform updates or backups because WordPress handles this for you
Are There Downsides to Using WordPress.com?
Though WordPress.com is free to use, there are several downsides to consider before signing up to use it:
- Ads – They place ads on all websites that you don’t make money from and can make you appear less than professional.
- Monetization – You are not allowed to monetize your website with your own ads, though you can use their specific advertising program WordAds and share revenue with them.
- Plugins – You cannot add plugins or themes to your site and are limited to the customization options built into the platform.
- Analytics – You can only use their built-in analytics, meaning you cannot access Google Analytics.
- Impermanence – Your site can be deleted at any time.
- Watermark – Your site will display a “Powered by WordPress.com” link.
- E-commerce – There are no e-commerce features available.
As you can see, though WordPress.com is free to use and doesn’t require a premium domain name or web hosting services, there are many disadvantages that can hinder the success of your business website.
WordPress.com Downsides Explained
After all, business owners want to be able to create online stores or membership sites, monetize their blog using adverts they can collect revenue on, and don’t want to be at the mercy of Terms of Service, worrying that their entire business can be shut down at any moment.
Using WordPress.com offers business owners very little room to grow and succeed. And while there are some initial costs associated with using the self-hosted WordPress.org platform, you have room to make enough money to more than cover those costs.
Personal Hosting vs. Business Hosting
Running a personal website is a lot different than running a business site. After all, personal sites are great for starting a blog and fulfilling a hobby. They don’t typically attract a lot of visitors or offer products or services.
Because of this, using a hosted platform such as WordPress.com, Blogger, Contentful, or Tumblr may be just what you need in terms of design and functionality.
However, if you are looking to start a business site, you’ll need to invest some money into a self-hosted platform such as WordPress.org to maximize your site’s potential in terms of design and functionality.
If you don’t want to use WordPress.org, there are other options, known as website builders, that can help you create a business website from the ground up.
They offer easy to use drag-and-drop technology, pre-designed templates to choose from, advertising options, e-commerce capability, social sharing capability, and SEO optimization.
E-Commerce Builders for Small Business Sites
Here are some of the best website builders on the market today. Keep in mind, some website builders come with hosting plans, and others are standalone solutions that can be added to WordPress or work on their own.
Wix is a cloud-based website builder that’s fully hosted comes with hundreds of templates, an SSL certificate, and lots of apps to extend the functionality. It does not come with a domain name and has limited bandwidth and storage.
BoldGrid was built on top of WordPress, you can choose from themes to create your site on, using their staging environment, and create a WooCommerce shop.
Shopify has been designed specifically for e-commerce websites, Shopify is fully hosted, managed, and feature-rich so running your business is easy.
Fully hosted, Weebly is with built-in contact forms, photo galleries, sliders, and more, this website builder also supports e-commerce stores.
Squarespace not only does this hosted platform have a website builder for creating an e-commerce site, it makes adding blog content easy using the drag-and-drop system.
How to Install WordPress: Step-by-Step
Whether you decide to use a non-managed or managed WordPress hosting provider, installing WordPress after getting a web host is easy to do.
In fact, most hosting companies provide one-click WordPress installs from their cPanel, which is the section in your user account that lets you manage all things related to your website and hosting services.
You do this using any number of apps, such as QuickInstall or Softaculous, depending on what your hosting company uses.
Web Hosts Will Also Have You Covered
Adding to that, some of the very best hosting providers on the market have easy to follow setup wizards so you know your WordPress install is done correctly.
Since every web host has their own steps for installing WordPress onto your website, you’ll need to consult with your specific hosting provider for exact steps.
However, in an effort to give you an idea how easy it is, we’ll show you how to install WordPress onto your site using QuickInstall.
Step 1: Find the QuickInstall Icon on cPanel
First you’ll need to log into your hosting account and navigate to the cPanel dashboard. Next, scroll down to the Software and Services section and click on the QuickInstall icon.
Note that this process will be slightly different if your host uses Softaculous or another installer instead of QuickInstall. However, the basic concepts and steps still apply.
Step 2: Find the WordPress Installer
You’ll then be taken to the one-click installers page on QuickInstall. Click on the WordPress link to launch the WordPress Installer.
Step 3: Install WordPress
Now you’ll be taken to the WordPress Installer where you’ll see an overview of the WordPress software. Simply click on the ‘Install WordPress’ button to continue.
Step 4: Configure WordPress
From there, you’ll need to configure the WordPress Install settings.
- First, enter your site’s domain name.
- Then, add an admin email where information regarding your website will be sent.
- Next, give your site a title, which you can easily change later.
- Lastly, fill in a username, first, and last name.
When you use the self-hosted WordPress.org platform for your business site, you have thousands of free and premium themes to choose from.
The WordPress theme is what gives your site its front-end styling design. In other words, the theme is what people visiting your website see.
Front-End Styling WordPress Themes
Most WordPress themes provide the following front-end styling elements:
- Overall style
- Different homepage style options
- Font styles
- Color options
- Widget sections
- Page layouts
- Styles for blogs and blog archives
- Social media sharing buttons
- Several options for navigation styles
- Any other style details.
How Do I Get a WordPress Theme?
You can get your WordPress themes from a variety of sources. For example, sometimes your hosting provider will set you up with their exclusive theme to get you started. Other times they have a whole host of themes to choose from based on the kind of website you’re creating.
This makes setting up WordPress even easier because as you sign up for hosting services, choose your domain name, and install WordPress, you can usually select a theme and have it automatically installed and activated on your site.
Where to Get WordPress Themes
However, there are also other places you can get themes, whether you want to pay for them or not:
- WordPress Theme Directory – This is one of the best places to get free WordPress themes. The themes are versatile so any kind of website you are building is covered. In addition, themes go through a strict inspection to make sure there is no bad code in them.
- Marketplaces – There are large marketplaces that sell thousands of WordPress themes. Some of the most popular themes on the market are found in these marketplaces. You can get detailed descriptions of the theme’s features, find out about theme support, and even read reviews so you can see what other people think about the theme you’re interested in.
- Theme Companies – There are also smaller companies in the WordPress community that dedicate themselves to building both free and premium themes, such as Envato or Themify.
Free vs Premium Themes
You might be wondering whether it’s better to use a free or premium theme on your website.
Let’s take a look at each so you can make a better decision when it comes to choosing the right theme for your website.
Free WordPress Themes
The biggest benefit of using a free WordPress theme is that it’s free. And, when you are just starting out with your business website, it can be easy to decide to use a free theme over a paid one.
However, if you get your theme from the official WordPress Theme Directory, you’ll be happy to know that it has undergone a thorough review, meaning it has standard, compliant code, fully supports WordPress features and plugins, has quality HTML and CSS, and is as secure as it can be.
Downsides of Using Free Themes
The downsides to using a free theme include:
- Limited support options
- Limited features and functionality
- A lack of uniqueness for making your business stand out
- No warranties or guarantees, which is no good if it breaks your site completely,
On the other hand, paid themes do come at a cost, though the benefits often outweigh the costs. For example, premium themes come with plenty of features and customizations for creating a standout website.
This is especially helpful for those running business sites that need features such as drag-and-drop page building, multiple layout options, color schemes for proper branding, and e-commerce support.
Support and WordPress Updates
In addition, paid themes to come with support and regular updates. This is great for any time you run into any problems using your theme. It also ensures your theme is always up to date and working with the most recent version of WordPress.
Downsides to Premium Themes
The downsides to using a premium theme include:
- Less than stellar code since anyone can create and sell a premium theme
- Too many features dragging down your site’s speed and performance
- A higher learning curve because of the number of features
- Features that mimic plugins are included, which disappear if you change the theme and change your entire website.
To install and activate a theme on your WordPress website, all you need to do is navigate to Appearance > Themes in your WordPress dashboard.
Then, select the theme you want to activate on your website and click ‘Activate’. You’ll then be able to customize your theme as you see fit.
WordPress Hosting Alternatives
If you enjoy using WordPress, but managed hosting isn’t right for you, there are other options:
- Shared Hosting
This is great for low traffic websites, those on a budget, and those who don’t want a lot of control. You share a part of the host’s server with other website owners and draw your resources from the same place.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
Using a VPS plan, you get your own portion of the server to draw resources from so no other sites can affect them. It’s easy to scale and you have more control over your part of the server since you don’t share it.
Cloud hosting uses multiple servers that all act as one. There is no sharing of resources, and if one server goes down, another one steps in and takes over. It’s super easy to scale because there are unlimited resources available.
For those who want more control and an entire server to themselves, this option is perfect. It’s good for very large, highly-trafficked websites.
In the end, managed hosting is ideal for many businesses, but an expensive waste for others.
If you’re a busy entrepreneur, and you’re not interested in getting technical, it’s likely the perfect choice for your website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below we’ve answered a few common questions about WordPress and hosting.
I’m new to WordPress. How do I find out how to use it?
WordPress.org is full of tutorials and how-to information. But a good host will often have all the information you need as well. Hosts like SiteGround and WP Engine offer step-by-step, easy to understand instructions. This enables you to pick a host first, then get all the help you need to create and launch your site — all in one location.
Who offers managed WordPress hosting?
Our expert reviewers recommend a variety of tested and high-quality managed hosts. Some of the better-known ones are SiteGround, Bluehost, WP Engine, LiquidWeb and Pressidium. By reading the reviews you’ll discover the standout features of each. That will better enable you to choose a managed host that suits your objectives. Search our site for “managed WordPress hosting.”
How do I migrate my WordPress site to managed hosting?
When you choose a new host for an existing website, that site must be “transferred” or “migrated” to the new host. There are a number of steps involved in this process, including migrating databases, files, and configuring your new hosting environment.
Many managed hosts offer migration. Be sure to inquire as to whether there’s an additional fee for this or whether it’s included in your hosting package.
I’m new to WordPress. Can I still use managed WordPress hosting?
Yes! Managed hosting is an excellent choice if you are new to WordPress or to websites in general. Your managed host will take on all technical tasks. This will relieve you of having to learn many tasks. It’ll free you up to focus on what you want to accomplish with your WordPress blog, hobby site, e-commerce, or business services site.
Gutenberg is a new version of WordPress set to roll out later in 2018. This WP Engine post offers links and information for learning about Gutenberg.
What are WordPress frameworks and should you consider one?