Building a fantastic website is essential, no one’s denying that.
But people tend to neglect the importance of choosing the right hosting.
The thing is, the health of your website relies on the hosting provider that you opt for.
Now there are three unofficial “tiers” of website hosting for WordPress: free, cheap, and paid hosting.
On top of that, there are also specialized needs such as WordPress hosting for education.
Depending on which category you go with, you’ll get different hosting quality. So, it all depends on your needs.
With this in mind, let’s dig deeper into the best WordPress hosting options.
- Best WordPress Hosting (Overview)
- Free WordPress Hosting
- Cheap WordPress Hosting
- How to Choose a Web Host: 8 Factors
- Various WordPress Hosting Options
Best WordPress Hosting (Overview)
We’ve included an overview of our top picks below. For detailed information on each pick, scroll down.
- AccuWeb Hosting
- WP Engine
Free WordPress Hosting
Free WordPress hosting is generally used for those learning about WordPress and for various website tests.
Naturally, you don’t pay anything for it, but, in turn, you can’t expect impeccable service.
Below, we’ve outlined a few free WordPress hosting options.
WordPress.org is the official WordPress website.
This is not to be confused with WordPress.com, which is a for-profit website dedicated to the implementation of the software found at the WordPress official website.
WordPress.com offers you a simple way to create a WordPress site and launch it.
All you need to do is make a WordPress.com account.
Yes, WordPress.com is free.
But you don’t get to experience its actual values and benefits until you pay for full access.
Still, this service is very user-friendly.
It features an easy-to-use custom dashboard for WordPress.
You get 3GB of storage space, unlimited bandwidth, and access to hundreds of WordPress themes that are open to the public.
On top of that, you get a free SSL certificate.
- Straightforward setup
- Quick website load times
- Custom WordPress dashboard
- Can’t install personal themes and plugins with a free plan
- Have to pay if you want to use your custom domain
- No option to manage your database or connect using FTP
AccuWeb is a WordPress hosting option that has free as well as premium hosting plans.
It’s been around for quite some time (more than 15 years), so they know what they’re doing.
AccuWeb has one of the best free plans when it comes to bandwidth, storage, and email limits.
There’s also the cPanel, new PHP versions, and there are no ads involved.
You get up to 2GB of SSD storage and a bandwidth of 30GB.
The platform offers a full database and server access on its free plan, and you get a one-click installer for WordPress.
AccuWeb also supports custom domain names on its free plan and offers basic backup support.
Overall, they do bundle up a lot for their free plan.
- Solid bandwidth limit on free plan – as many as 5,000 monthly visitors
- 25 free email accounts
- Database and cPanel access
- Custom domain names on the free plan
- Can host more than one website per account
- The only server is located in Montreal
- You can’t get a free subdomain
This WordPress web hosting service comes from Germany and is suitable for as many as 5,000 monthly visits.
But what’s truly special about AwardSpace, is that it offers a unique upgrade path.
As your site grows, you can make gradual upgrades as the needs arise.
These won’t set you to back too much.
On a free account, you get to host a maximum of four websites.
You don’t need to bother with WordPress installation – there’s a one-click installer integrated into the platform.
AwardSpace is also widely renowned for its full MySQL database support on its free plan.
Apart from that, you get 1GB of free storage and a 5GB bandwidth.
Oh, and you don’t have to worry about ads.
- Four websites on the free plan
- Allows you to use your personalized email account
- Complete server file and database access
- Bandwidth isn’t exactly great
- Only one of the four websites on the free plan is the top-level domain
Cheap WordPress Hosting
“Cheap” often has negative connotations.
In terms of web hosting, though, cheap is often the best option.
This is because you don’t get a whole lot from an expensive plan.
Generally, a cheap WordPress hosting option means a shared plan with solid max storage and bandwidth.
The vast majority of people don’t need more than an affordable WordPress hosting option.
The prices are also dirt-cheap because there’s a lot of competition in this market.
The overall standard at present is that you’ll have to pay yearly for cheaper plans.
If you want to pay monthly, you’re going to have to upgrade.
There are exceptions, of course.
Here are some of the best WordPress hosting options that are very affordable.
There are two types of hosting – shared and dedicated.
In both cases, the data is held on a single server.
However, with shared hosting, your website is on a server with several others, which makes you open to potential cyberattacks.
Shared hosting is, of course, cheaper than dedicated hosting.
With Bluehost, the basic plan is at less than $3 per month.
You only get one website, but you get 50GB of SSD storage, which is quite something.
Bluehost offers unmetered bandwidth, which means that you can transfer unlimited amounts of data.
However, the maximum server speed is still limited.
You also get a free SSL certificate, as well as free domain registration.
Although Bluehost’s more expensive plans aren’t the best on the market, they’re still solid, in case you want to upgrade at some point.
However, when we’re talking about cheap plans, there’s no better
WordPress hosting around.
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Free SSL certificate and free domain registration
- Less than $3 per month
More expensive plans mean less upgrading wiggle room
No free plan
You may be deterred by the $7-mark, but this monthly price is still pretty cheap (cheaper than your Spotify subscription).
SiteGround offers managed plans, but more on that later.
Managed prices rarely come at rates that are this low.
You also get daily backups, automatic WordPress updates, as well as integration to Cloudflare CDN, one of the most popular free content delivery networks around.
- Free SSL certificate
- 10,000 visits per month
- Automatic updates
- Management tools
- After the first contract, it’s $14.99 per month.
The cool thing about DreamHost is that it’s a very pragmatic hosting service.
Whether you like it or not.
DreamHost allows you to choose between two options that have obvious differences.
The WordPress Starter plan is $2.59 per month if you pay for it on a tri-yearly basis.
The WordPress Unlimited plan is $4.95 per month, paid every three years.
There’s a one-year option that goes for $3.95 per month for the Starter pack and $4.95/month for the Unlimited option.
Finally, the monthly plans are $4.95 and $10.95, respectively.
What DreamHost brings to the table, however, is a relatively low price for an Unlimited plan, if you pay on a 3-year basis.
- Free domain registration for the cheapest plan
- Unmetered bandwidth and SSD storage
- Free SSL certification and domain registration
- Have to bind yourself to a three-year contract
- Monthly payments don’t have the most affordable options
HostGator has been around for quite some time now, but make no mistake, it’s still very much in the game.
It boasts a 99.98% uptime (time the servers are live and working, as opposed to being down) within the past two years. This is quite a feat that not many servers boast.
With their most basic plans, you get unmetered bandwidth and storage, free domain during the first year, and many other benefits.
- 99.98% uptime
- Unmetered bandwidth and storage
- A free SSL certificate and a free domain within the first year
- Slow page loading speed.
- Extra fees for various features such as Gmail
GoDaddy offers a lot of hosting stability and is fairly fast, at a 554ms average.
You get 100GB of storage and unmetered bandwidth with their base plan.
What you also get are more than 125 services that you can install simply.
A lot of these services, however, will cost you.
Migrations cost $99 per site, backups are $2.99 per month, while the SSL certificates cost $63.99 per year.
- Impressive uptime of 99.97%
- 554ms average page loading time
- There are many app options included
- You have to pay for advanced options and apps
- Customer support isn’t ideal
- Paid WordPress Hosting
Let’s talk about top-tier hosting for WordPress.
We’re talking expensive WordPress hosting options with base plans that are still pricey.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed hosting means that you get various convenient features that make securing, managing, and boosting your site much easier.
This is, of course, a feature reserved for top hosting plans and providers.
The cheapest Flywheel plan is $15 per month, while the most expensive one will set you back $290 per month.
It boasts an optimized dashboard, nightly backups, quality security options, automatic installations, one-click staging sites, and various other options.
Support-wise, you get their full attention.
You can contact the support via email, phone, social media, even a live chat.
- A wide variety of brilliant features
- Fantastic support options
- Powerful infrastructure
- Top-tier plans are very expensive
The “WP” in WP Engine does, indeed, stand for “WordPress.”
So, what you get with WP Engine is a WordPress-dedicated service that does wonders for your hosting.
The cheapest plan is $25 per month, which isn’t ideal for a single user.
But that’s okay since WP Engine is aimed at companies.
Its cheapest plan is even called “Startup.”
- A wide variety of premium features
- Excellent support
- Automated plugin imports
- Pricey for single users
- A bit intimidating for newbies
How to Choose a Web Host: 8 Factors
1. Reliability And Availability
Unreliable or dated hardware and weak connections can cause your website to be offline more often.
Not only does the loss of access mean inevitable loss of readership and/or sales, but it also leads to a decline in search engine ratings.
A great way to gauge a company’s ability to keep your website indefinitely up and running is by looking at its historical uptime scores.
Companies that have reported annual scores of 99.5% or more are often worth considering. It’s always recommended to avoid companies with scores below 99%.
Even though price is high up on our list, try hard to not make it a deciding factor, or a deal-breaker. It’s highly likely that you will observe huge differences in prices offered by various vendors.
Going for the cheapest solution isn’t always the best idea, especially not for the long-term. When reviewing potential choices, just remember that maintaining a skilled and resourceful workforce, state-of-the-art hardware and a stable network connection costs a significant amount of money; thus, a company offering you a $1.59 subscription might not have any of these.
It’s vital to search for the greatest bang for the buck while remembering the age-old proverb you get what you pay for.
A sometimes-overlooked factor while choosing a web hosting provider is the server security.
Symantec reports that 1 out of every 13 web requests lead to malware and that’s why it’s imperative that you choose a solution that protects your website from cyber attacks.
Even though website security has a lot to do with the way you build and develop your website, a secure web hosting can also go a long way in keeping potential hackers at bay.
Modern hosting service providers like Hostinger implement firewall rules and network monitoring processes which ensure that no harmful traffic makes its way to your web application.
Besides this, make sure that the vendor keeps their machines updated at all times and that antivirus and anti-malware scanning also takes place periodically.
Lastly, user access control should also be provided by your hosting provider; it should allow only authorized people to access the administrative features of your website.
4. Competitive Advantage/Features Offered
This part deals with figuring out the list of features or the competitive advantage that a shortlisted company has, over its counterparts.
A majority of the service providers offer sufficient disk storage and a sustainable network connection, but only a handful offer supplementary features that can come in handy later on.
One such feature is an email service which allows you to set up email accounts using your domain name.
A drag-and-drop website builder is another excellent feature provided by some top hosting providers.
These easy-to-use applications allow you to design and develop your own website, without having to hire a technical professional
Other features include providing access to website tools like Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Moodle, and shopping carts, etc.
Some companies also provide you direct access to ecommerce tools like OpenCart and Magento, etc.
5. Customer Service
As a novice website owner, you are likely to hit a brick wall, especially during the early days of managing a hosted website.
So having access to a high response, friendly and well-trained customer service team is of primary importance.
It’s recommended to look for a company that provides 24/7 customer service, and that too, of a high quality.
That said, a lot of companies advertise 24/7 support, but their agents take hours (sometimes even days) to get back to you, regarding a query.
A good way to filter out providers that are likely to keep their word is by searching for any customer reviews or testimonials available online.
Lastly, ensure that technical support is offered via multiple channels e.g. live chat, email, and landline, etc.
Cyber attacks like ransomware are no longer restricted to financial websites as reported by Symantec.
An unprecedented number of general websites are being targeted every day since they are often easier targets.
These attacks are notorious for leaving irreversible damage on the files of a website, making it virtually impossible to restore it to its original form, in the absence of a backup.
Owing to these circumstances, it’s necessary you choose a web hosting provider that creates multiple backups of your website’s files on its server.
A backup can also come in handy in case a hard disk fails or becomes corrupted.
7. Control Panel
As you start your life as a website owner, you should be ready to learn and perform tasks (like installing a new content management system, creating a new email account and installing a new plugin) yourself, regardless of how little you may know about technology.
To do this without having to pull your hair out, you would need access to a control panel like Plesk or cPanel.
These well-designed web applications give you access to some of the most important website management features, via a simplistic interface.
Don’t choose a service provider that doesn’t offer you a user-friendly control panel.
Last on our list of the most important factors to consider whilst choosing a web hosting provider is scalability.
As your traffic increases, or as your sales rise, your initially chosen hosting plan might no longer sustain your needs.
So, if a hosting provider cannot accommodate you as you grow, then this can be a serious problem.
- Do they provide you with the flexibility to upgrade your subscription whenever you want?
- Do they allow you to shift from a VPS hosting to a completely dedicated one easily?
Remember that changing your hosting service is a costly and time-consuming ordeal, so to avoid doing that in the future, only join hands with a company that enables you to grow as you please.
Various WordPress Hosting Options
Every mentioned WordPress hosting service could be a great fit for you.
However, your choice shouldn’t boil down to getting the cheapest or the most expensive option.
There’s a lot more to it, as you can see.
Choose your WordPress hosting service carefully – do thorough research before diving in.