2017 Best WordPress Hosting compared
Best WordPress Hosting Compared
Selecting the best WordPress hosting for your website can be a frustrating task. And especially if you don’t want to get your hands dirty testing out 3-5 hosts yourself before settling on one.When it comes to choosing the best WordPress Hosting, I’m bound and determined to find out which company is providing the most value. There are three major components that make up a great host in my opinion, and those are 1) Performance, 2) Knowledge, Speed, and Reliability of Support, and 3) Pricing and the overall product offering. So this is where the resource you’re reading right now comes into play
What makes a host great + why
Basically, the web is chock full of hosting recommendations and glowing reviews proclaiming this company or the other to be the best WordPress hosting around. But how do you really know who’s 100% honest with their recommendations, and why Company A is higher rated than Company B by some reviewer?
Well, you don’t.
So if you really wanted to find out where specific web hosting companies come in the race, you would have to do two things:
- Ask the actual users of some popular hosting platforms what their experiences are.
- Do some testing yourself on multiple hosts and measure the performance you’re getting.
Most popular / top WordPress hosting package components
Aka. what you get when you buy WordPress hosting + what matters and what doesn’t.
Like their cousins in the ISP and mobile phone provider space, even the best web hosting sites are often far too fond of blind-siding consumers with an overload of options and information in the hopes of forcing a sale.
In an attempt to keep things manageable, we’ve highlighted the following most important areas for our overall package comparisons:
- Cost per month: Even the best hosting companies have a nasty habit of quoting the cheapest of all possible prices as the standard monthly price. To simplify matters, we’re taking the bare-bones, entry-level package from each provider and listing monthly fees at 12-month and 36-month contract durations, so you can compare like with like.
- Space: The amount of physical storage space listed as being available on the server.
- Bandwidth: The amount of traffic it can handle per month. Be aware from the outset that “Unlimited” will nearly always mean “Unlimited subject to certain terms and conditions”; just as with space, check your provider’s terms.
- Sites: The number of websites you are allowed to run on the package.
- Domains: Any free domain registrations on offer.
- Marketing options: Any significant marketing incentives, such as free Google Adwords or Facebook advertising vouchers.
As we walk through each package, we’ll point out other relevant features on offer on a case by case basis.
Now let’s look at the providers individually. The following is our full review of the best WordPress hosting companies out there. The list covers both affordable shared hosts, best hosts for small business, plus those little more pricey managed WordPress web hosting packages, and the best web hosting for WordPress overall.
No list of best WordPress hosting could be complete without SiteGround playing a prominent role. The company has been making a name for themselves in the WordPress community for a while now. And not without a reason. Their hosting platform is strong when it comes to for-WordPress optimized servers, plus they offer managed WordPress hosting at price points that are unheard of (read: you won’t find a cheaper managed host of the same quality anywhere else).What’s also worth pointing out is that SiteGround is one of the few officially recommended hosts by WordPress.org.
For the tests, we went for the StartUp package. Although for a generally more WordPress-optimized package, we’d recommend the GrowBig or GoGeek plan. They are a tad more expensive, but come with additional perks such as advanced caching (custom-built by SiteGround), staging, premium wildcard SSL certificates, and free PCI compliance – should you want to run an e-commerce store.
The initial signup with this WordPress hosting plan was simple and to the point. The backend impressed as well, with its presentation of a carefully considered initial set of options.
Getting WordPress up and running with the built-in installer took just a few clicks. There really isn’t anything more to say here … the installation process really was as seamless as possible.
SiteGround offers what they call “unmatched” support, and it’s hard to argue with that, honestly. Apart from being able to access your account and fix any issues, the support agents are also knowledgeable about WordPress and can help you out with a range of other issues that might not be strictly hosting-related.
In our little test, the SiteGround customer support was able to help us get a temporary URL working quickly and efficiently.
Special mention has to go out to the slickness of their customer support software and the extra mile the staff were prepared to go in offering detailed account advice and providing screenshots. (This makes it a great HostGator alternative, for instance, if you want a more refined support environment.)
SiteGround was one of our top performers, and is especially impressive considering the $3.95 price point for their StartUp hosting tier. It does have a limitation of one website at that price point, but considering the average response time was ~700ms all the way to 50 concurrent users with no real hiccups, SiteGround offers a great value.
Testing Server Location: Dallas, TX
SiteGround Server Location: Chicago, IL
Max Response Time: 1.79 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 669.9 milliseconds
- SiteGround rated 4.6 / 5 by users in our hosting survey.
- 93% of users will extend their hosting subscription when it’s up for renewal.
- SiteGround support rated 4.7 / 5 by users.
A2 Hosting is a relatively new player for us when looking for the best WordPress hosting. The company has been making a name for themselves in the WordPress space lately thanks to their affordable prices and very good performance (compared to other similarly priced hosts).The company has more than 10 years of experience in the hosting world, and seems to know a thing or two on how to deliver a high-quality product. Their WordPress web hosting offering is set on a couple of principles: being developer friendly, offering high security, good performance, and a WordPress-optimized environment.
All WordPress hosting accounts with A2 Hosting come with WordPress preinstalled. You can also install new instances of WordPress through Softaculous’ one-click installer.
A2 Hosting prides itself on giving you access to “24/7/365 Guru Crew Support.” They claim to hand-pick their support team and only work with the most knowledgeable technicians.
When contacting the support, you can use live chat, email or even phone. The agents don’t disappoint when it comes to basic WordPress knowledge and, based on our quick test, they are ready to recommend some solutions even if the question you have for them isn’t entirely hosting-related.
A2 Hosting makes some pretty bold claims on their website, claiming 300% faster load times with WordPress. So do the results match the claim? A2 did pretty well overall, but definitely not 300% faster than the competition. Many of the hosts listed here which don’t even make claims to be WordPress hosts performed better. Their minimum load time of 455ms is definitely impressive, and it was only slightly higher than that when the test ended. Overall they had a strong showing.
Testing Server Location: Ashburn, VA
A2 Server Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Max Response Time: 1.12 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 455.17ms
We went for the basic package here. As you can see, a very cheap WordPress hosting option – a shared WordPress hosting plan, to be exact.One immediate point to note is that Bluehost is the only alternative on the list that doesn’t offer a monthly package. Twelve month commitments are the minimum, though that is offset somewhat by a strong money back guarantee policy that I have personally invoked without issue.
In addition to the standard cPanel options in place, Bluehost’s one-click WordPress installations are handled by a service called MojoMarketplace.
The MojoMarketplace interface for installing WordPress left a lot to be desired. It was possible to install multiple instances accidentally, and overall feedback on what was happening at any given point was inconsistent and confusing. (For instance, when we look at Bluehost vs SiteGround, the latter gives you WordPress installs in just a few clicks.)
On the plus side, this gave us an instant opportunity to talk to support!
Service via chat support was fast and friendly and helped us with clearing up the initial WordPress installation problems and setting up a temporary URL to view our site.
Bluehost’s performance was lackluster. As traffic increased so did response time, almost following the same steep climb. Even at lower user counts the response time jumped around quite a bit, ranging anywhere from 1 to 3.5 seconds with only 10 active users. As Bluehost approached the 20 user mark load times skyrocketed to over 10 seconds. They did come back down, but performance was still highly inconsistent with huge variances from one second to the next.
Testing Server Location: Ashburn, VA
Bluehost Server Location: Provo, UT
Max Response Time: 10.64 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 915.53 milliseconds
- Bluehost reliability ranked 3.9 / 5 by users.
- 23.7% of Bluehost’s customers are first-timers to web hosting.
- Bluehost is the first hosting platform ever recommended by WordPress.org.
The overall verdict
Based strictly on the performance data from each webhost, there were three hosts that really stood out in the group. Each of the following hosts had an average page load time of below one second throughout the entire course of the test, all the way to 50 concurrent users. Stay tuned for the next update where we re-evaluate all of these options and add many more.
We’d like to stress that none of the WordPress hosting providers here failed any test. The overall standard was refreshingly high. Furthermore, all providers also offer a full range of more advanced hosting options if you start to outgrow the entry-level packages.
March 31, 2017