How To Choose The Best WordPress Hosting Service (2017 edition)

A beginner's guide to choosing the best WordPress web hosting service!

Welcome to your one-stop beginner’s resource on choosing the best WordPress hosting!

Choosing the best WordPress hosting service for your site isn’t always as easy as it should be – and if you’re not sure where to start it can seem a pretty daunting task. It doesn’t have to be. In this short guide, we’ll detail the four main types of hosting available, recommend a few of the best WordPress hosting providers in the industry and finish up by putting you on the path to learning the ins-and-outs of using WordPress!

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FAQ #1: I’ve already bought a domain name from a particular hosting company. Do I need to buy my hosting from the same company?

Answer: The domain name is basically just a web address that can be easily directed to any web hosting service. When you buy a domain name, it’s by default almost always directed to point to hosting services offered by the company that sold it to you. However, redirecting it to another company’s hosting services is both common practice and something that’s relatively straightforward to do. Since each company does things a little differently, ask the company that sold you the domain for specific instructions.

Step 1. Finding a trustworthy hosting company

For newcomers, part of the problem with finding great WordPress hosting is knowing who to trust. There are so many companies out there trying to make a quick buck from would-be WordPress users who can’t yet tell an honest, reliable web-hosting provider from a cowboy hosting company. Luckily, we know from personal experience – backed up by the general WordPress community consensus – exactly which web hosts to trust. Every one of the web hosts mentioned in this guide operates exactly the way any good web host should: with the utmost integrity and your best interests at heart!

If you’re looking for the best WordPress web hosting provider for your WordPress-driven enterprise, choosing one of the providers listed in this guide will both set you off on the right foot and give you the freedom to customize your services at a later date (for example, upgrading servers specs etc as your business grows/expands) with relative ease. We’re not at all keen on web hosting companies that try to lock you into particular services with technical tricks! It will also connect you with the services of some of the very best, most-trustworthy WordPress-web-hosting hands in the industry.

FAQ #2: How much does WordPress hosting cost?

Answer: Web hosting costs vary dramatically – from as little as just a few dollars a month (some web hosts will even offer you free hosting – usually under the proviso that they can display various different adverts on your website) to literally thousands of dollars a month (think websites with millions of visitors a day)! However, most privately-owned websites will usually be able to get by with a web hosting package costing somewhere in the region of about $5-10 a month – although, generally speaking, with web hosting you tend to get what you pay for. Depending on the importance of your website to the day-to-day running of your online business, it may well prove shrewd to pay a little more than the bare minimum and choose a web hosting company that cares about the reliability and performance of your website as much as you do!

Step 2. Shared, VPS, dedicated or managed hosting?

When you go to sign-up for hosting, one of the first things you’ll be asked is whether you’d like to buy shared, VPS (which stands for Virtual Private Server), dedicated or managed hosting. Let’s take a look at what each of these terms means:

FAQ #3: I’ve also heard of cloud hosting. What is cloud hosting?

Answer: Cloud hosting uses servers that are basically decentralized virtual private servers (VPS) that can be dynamically changed on the fly in terms of memory and computational power. In essence, cloud hosting is a variation on VPS hosting that gives providers a greater degree of flexibility when allocating resources to each user on the system.

Step 3: Choosing one of the best WordPress hosting providers

Our winning recommendations for each type of WordPress hosting – based on both our personal experience and the general consensus of the WordPress community – with a brief summary of what makes each company special:

Recommended Managed WordPress Hosting:

WPEngine Screenshot

WPEngine

… Hassle-free, fully-managed premium WordPress hosting!

WPEngine pride themselves on providing super-fast servers (not only making users happier but also improving your site’s SEO), excellent up-time and outstanding customer support. On top of which, they also offer a 60-day money back guarantee and claim to be the most secure WordPress hosting service available – with free automatic daily backups and malware scanning. In short, WPEngine is currently about the best in the WordPress-hosting business. The only downside to all this awesomeness? Prices start from $29 a month for a single WordPress site, which, if you’re just starting out, may seem a little expensive compared to regular-old shared hosting. Nevertheless, if you’re serious about finding the very best managed WordPress hosting for your enterprise (which will presumably cover the costs of hosting many times over) and are willing to pay a premium to get it, hosting your website with WPEngine will almost certainly set you off to a flying start!

- Managed WordPress hosting from $29/month.

Choose WPEngine(see deals)

Recommended Dedicated WordPress Hosting:

None Listed!

… Because, honestly, we don’t think that a beginner’s guide is a good place to go diving into the depths necessary to properly recommend specific dedicated hosting providers. Furthermore, when you're just starting out, your website isn’t really all that likely to warrant the considerable effort and expense (usually hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars per month) of a dedicated server. Add to that the fact that dedicated hosting can often be hard to scale since you’ve usually got a predefined, possibly very large amount of physical memory and computing power built into the server/s, which usually take quite a bit of specialist knowledge to set up and optimize. There are, of course, plenty of people and companies out there with websites that really are big enough (usually with hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of unique visitors a month) to require the effort and expense of opting for dedicated hosting. If you’re reading this guide, you probably don’t fall into this category – at least not yet! To find out more about dedicated hosting, check out this helpful Wikipedia article and/or contact a hosting company that really knows their stuff on the subject, such as Media Temple (also mentioned below).

- Dedicated WordPress hosting can be seriously pricey – $$$!

Recommended VPS WordPress Hosting:

Media Temple

… Powering designers and developers since 1998.

Media Temple focuses on providing web hosting for web designers and developers, digital entrepreneurs and innovators, providing well over a hundred thousand users with reliable, high-performance, scalable servers at a competitive price, including exemplary 24/7 customer support. With 200 dedicated U.S.-based employees, Media Temple not only offers VPS hosting second to none, but they’ve also been repeatedly recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in North America, powering some extremely well-known brands including Starbucks, Adidas, Samsung and Toyota.

- VPS WordPress hosting from $30/month.

Media Temple Screenshot

Recommended Shared WordPress Hosting:

SiteGround

… Great value-for-money WordPress hosting laden with extras!

SiteGround pride themselves on being at the forefront of technology. An officially WordPress-approved web hosting company, they constantly update their servers and software to the latest models/versions for added reliability, speed, and security – plus they also offer free daily backups, free setup and site transfer, a free domain name, one-click installs, a 30-day money back guarantee and some of the most easily accessible technical support in the industry including 24/7 help via both telephone and instant-chat services. If you’re looking for shared hosting packed with extras, SiteGround may well have the offering you’re after!

- Shared WordPress hosting from $9.95/month.

SiteGround Screenshot

DreamHost

...Happily hosting all kinds of sites since 1997!

DreamHost is an extremely well-known, WordPress-approved hosting provider that’s been around for quite a while now – since 1997 to be exact. They specialize in shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, cloud storage and cloud computing – and are, of course, experts in all-things WordPress-hosting related. They have an especially useful custom-built control panel that consistently receives rave reviews, an extremely helpful wiki, an entertaining monthly newsletter and a friendly, highly-knowledgeable customer support team. Additionally, they also offer a free domain name, one-click installs and a 97-day money-back guarantee.

- Shared WordPress hosting from $8.95/month.

DreamHost Screenshot

Bluehost

… Affordable, reliable, professional web hosting solutions.

Founded in 1996, Bluehost is one of the largest and most-popular hosting companies specializing in professional-yet-affordable shared hosting. They offer one-click installs, a free domain name, automated backups, 24/7 support and a 30-day money back guarantee. Similar to both SiteGround and DreamHost (above), Bluehost is another officially WordPress-approved hosting provider. If you’re looking for professional, dependable, affordable, straight-up middle-of-the-road WordPress hosting, then Bluehost is another pretty solid bet.

- Shared WordPress hosting from $4.95/month.

Bluehost Screenshot

Note: other hosting companies we've heard good things about (but haven't yet used personally) include Pagely (aimed at folk looking for an extremely-scalable, fully-managed, enterprise-level service for big-business websites) and Digital Ocean (great for savvy web developers able to navigate and install their own server software).

FAQ #4: Does the physical location of the server on which my website will be hosted matter?

Answer: If you're primarily targeting a particular demographic (if you're a UK-based company that only ever plans on selling products to customers within the UK, for example), then, yes. It’s often worth considering the physical location of the server that hosts your website. Why? Because, although it’s by no means the most important factor in determining performance, the less the distance between your server and your website's target audience, the faster your website will potentially be able to load on their computers. If you're planning on targeting a largely global audience however, any advantage you stand to gain by choosing a server in a specific location is often largely (if not entirely) offset by prioritizing the overall quality and focus of the web hosting company you'll be using instead! Incidentally, some companies, WPEngine and SiteGround (both mentioned above), will actually offer you a choice of different server locations (such as the US, Europe or Asia) — thereby giving you the best of both worlds anyway!

Step 4: Signing up for hosting and building your WordPress website

Assuming you’re super-confident in your idea and feel ready to start putting your plans into action, then seriously – what are you waiting for?! Get hosted, get up and running and move on to learning the ins and outs of using WordPress!

Top tip: Taking advantage of free trial periods:

Most hosting companies offer either a free trial period or a money back guarantee (usually valid for a certain number of days) – effectively enabling (sometimes even encouraging) you to take their hosting services for a free no-strings-attached spin. In the case that you're looking to move a pre-existing website from one host to another for example, you could set up a brand new WordPress site on a trial account with each of the hosting providers you're considering to test the usability, reliability and performance of each one before going through the hassle of actually transferring all your files across and committing to any one particular company.

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A final word on choosing the best WordPress hosting service/provider:

When you’re first starting out, choosing the best WordPress web hosting service/provider for a new website can admittedly be a bit confusing, with so many options available – especially if some of the terminology involved is new to you (see the shared, VPS, dedicated and managed hosting section above). That said, one of the things you should be absolutely certain of when choosing a web host is that you’ll get excellent support. If you’re finding things tricky, or you’re simply still not sure where to start, choose one or two web hosts from the above list that seem like a good fit and put their support teams to the test. Ask them all the questions you have and see what you think of their replies and service – thereby killing a handful of birds with just one stone, if you will. We doubt you'll be disappointed.

Good luck!

***Last updated 1st January 2017***