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The Best WordPress Hosting Providers in 2021 (And How to Choose!)

14 Mins read

You’re excited to launch a website, either for your current business or a brand-new one – maybe even for an affiliate marketing blog. That’s great!

But this one decision opens up a ton of new tasks to complete. There’s a crazy long list of things you have to do, from picking up the website domain on a domain registrar to finding an email marketing solution you can stick with. You’ll also have to think about which WordPress theme is right for your website!

Beyond all of these, there’s another consequential decision: finding the best WordPress hosting for your new website. It’s more important than you might think to get the right host, especially if you’re launching a money-making blog or website that requires reliable uptime and solid performance. 

The good news is, we’re here to help! In this post, we break down the different types of hosting and reveal the top WordPress hosting providers on the market right now. 

Ready? Let’s take a look!

What is WordPress Web Hosting?

I’m sure you already have a good idea of what “web hosting” is, but just in case you need a refresher, web hosts are services that make it possible to have your website live on the internet. Hosts sell space on servers (or rent out entire servers) that can host websites just like yours!

There are a number of different types of hosting, but here are the main ones you should know about.

Shared (or managed) hosting

Let’s be real – most people should find WordPress hosting services and plans at this level. Shared hosting is just what it sounds like: renting space on a server that’s shared with others.

This is perfect for an entry-level site, because you won’t really need more than that for a while, say until you’re hitting 10K viewers per month. The main downside to shared hosting is that the usage of other sites on the same server can impact your own site’s performance.

But until you have enough traffic to justify higher quality hosting, shared hosting is a good choice!

Typical Cost: $2-10 USD/month ($5 average)

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting

A step up from shared hosting is virtual private server (VPS) hosting. VPS means you are given dedicated space on a server, which gives you more control. It also provides you with more storage space, though your site is still susceptible to spikes in usage and high traffic by other sites on the same physical server.

This level is good for you if you want the benefits of a dedicated server, but don’t have the technical know-how or resources to manage it yourself. Make no mistake: VPS is for more advanced site owners.

Typical Cost: $20-100 USD/month ($40 average)

Dedicated Server hosting

If you want total control (without necessarily buying your own server), then you can look at dedicated server hosting. This doesn’t come cheap, because you’re literally renting an entire server for just your website. You have full root and admin access on this server, which means you have total control over what’s running on the server.

The downside is, you need to know what you’re doing (or hire someone else who does), since you’re fully in charge of managing the server. Also, you’ll be paying significantly more for hosting at this level – but if your site is big enough to need a dedicated server, it’s probably worth the cost. 

Typical Cost: $80-1000 USD/month ($150 average)

Cloud hosting

Cloud hosting is a different approach than traditional hosting options. With cloud hosting, you only pay for what you use, which could allow you to save money during slow times and scale up to handle higher traffic in peak times.

Because it’s in the cloud, this means many different computers are working together and pooling their resources, which makes the solution more like a network than an individual server or space on a server. 

The best thing about cloud hosting is that it’s scalable. You’ll pay more as you use more, but you don’t have to worry about whether your hosting plan will support your growth.

Typical Cost: $5-300 USD/month ($10 average)

WordPress hosting

And what about WordPress hosting? You should know that most web hosting plans work just fine with WordPress, but some providers offer hosting that’s specifically intended for WordPress websites.

With a dedicated WordPress hosting plan, you get the benefit of better performance and improved compatibility. If you plan to have a WordPress, then opting for WordPress hosting can result in a better user experience – and give you greater value for the money you’re spending on hosting overall!

WordPress plans can be any of the above categories, from shared to cloud, but we’ll be focusing on the shared hosting options in this guide.

Typical Cost: $3-25 USD/month ($8 average)

The Best WordPress Hosting Providers

Now that we’ve covered the different types of hosting out there, we’ll look at some of the best WordPress hosting providers. This will give you the ability to choose a reliable and trusted host for your WordPress site based on the factors that are most important to you!

SiteGround: Best Overall

SiteGround is one of the best-known WordPress web hosts, with more than 2 million domains hosted worldwide. This is for good reason: SiteGround does a great job getting you started, even if you’re not an expert in website management or coding. And a lot of that is due to truly excellent customer service!

The thing about web hosts is, you don’t want to need customer support – but when you do need help, it’s usually in a time of crisis. That’s when a host like SiteGround really shines. The company offers support through tickets, live chat, and even 24/7 telephone calls!

Are other aspects of SiteGround the best you can get? Not necessarily – it doesn’t include a free domain name, overall storage starts at just 10GB, and its plans are noticeably more expensive than other shared hosting providers.

But if you want a reliable host and the confidence that you can get help when you need it, SiteGround is unbeatable.

PROS: 

  • Excellent overall value for the money – a great starter host for beginners. 
  • Includes a free SSL certificate with all plans.
  • Famous in the industry for its great customer service.
  • Highly optimised for WordPress hosting.

CONS: 

  • Storage is lower than with other hosting providers.
  • Expensive shared WordPress hosting plans, starting at $9.95 per month.

Bluehost: Most Affordable

Founded in 1996, Bluehost has been around the block and built a name as a trusted web host. What’s more, Bluehost is an official WordPress recommended hosting provider (and has been since 2005).

This company is a great pick for small businesses or website owners who don’t expect a massive amount of traffic, and their plans are incredibly affordable.

I personally use a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for one of my affiliate sites. Bluehost is a solid offering with good performance, and it actually comes with WordPress pre-installed by default.

I’d say Bluehost is a perfect choice if you’re budget-conscious and have at least a little confidence in your ability to troubleshoot any problems you’re having (because Bluehost’s support isn’t the greatest). If you run a small WordPress website, blog, or e-commerce store, Bluehost is a great choice.

PROS: 

  • Very affordable plans, starting as low as $3.95 with an affiliate link (though they renew at higher rates).
  • One of the first and most enduring names in dedicated WordPress hosting.
  • Includes a free domain name for a year and a free SSL certificate.
  • Generous storage and solid uptime.

CONS: 

  • I’ve rarely had a problem that required Bluehost support, but I’ve found their customer support to be slow in response and not always the most helpful.
  • Because of the low-priced plans, you’ll get hit with a lot of upsells to wade through.
  • The site speed is average – not terrible, but not great either.

DreamHost: Best Bang for the Buck 

DreamHost is almost as well known as SiteGround and Bluehost, but may fly under the radar for the average internet user. This host has been around just as long as Bluehost, founded in 1996, and they host more than 1.5 million websites today!

So, how does DreamHost compare to our other options? It’s another great WordPress hosting provider with an affordable shared plan starting at $3.95 per month. It also edges out most of the competition when it comes to uptime and speed.

I would also point out that the user experience is nicer, without a ton of aggressive upsells like you may see with other hosts (*cough* Bluehost *cough*). It also has an unusually long 97-day money back guarantee, which is a nice touch (and a lot more generous than the typical 30-day money back guarantee.

But it’s not all roses with DreamHost. Their servers are located in the US, which means it’s just not a great choice for anyone in Europe or Asia. It also has more limited customer support of live chat available from 5:30 AM to 9:30 PM Pacific time, which again isn’t great for anyone who doesn’t live on the west coast in the United States.

However, if you do live in the US (or you’re mostly targeting US audiences), DreamHost offers great pricing, excellent performance, and decent support.

PROS: 

  • Great performance and 99.99% uptime (a lot of value for your money).
  • Offers 1-click installation for WordPress.
  • Unlimited bandwidth and generous storage.
  • A unique 97-day moneyback guarantee to ensure you’re satisfied.

CONS: 

  • Customer support isn’t as generous as SiteGround’s, but it’s still fairly solid.
  • Limited advanced features that other hosts offer, such as built-in caching or backups.
  • Due to its servers, really only a good option for US-based businesses and site owners

A2 Hosting: Best Advanced Features

A2 Hosting is solid enough to be a top 5 hosting provider, but is there anything about it that would make it rise to the top of the list? 

This host offers several shared web hosting plans, including Startup at just $2.99 per month with a robust WordPress hosting plan to match. (According to the company, its WordPress optimised plan is up to 6X speedier than regular shared hosting). 

Other features that give the nod to A2 include its superb uptime, above-average customer service, and bonuses like high-speed SSD storage and server-side caching. A2 Hosting has really upped their game when it comes to worthwhile features, especially for a WordPress site host.

If you consider yourself a little more knowledgeable and you require some extra oomph from your host, A2 Hosting is a good way to go!

PROS: 

  • WordPress hosting packages are some of the best we’ve seen.
  • Superb uptime and blazing fast speeds.
  • Packed with advanced features for more sophisticated users.
  • Unlimited bandwidth, solid storage, and quality customer service.

CONS: 

  • Somewhat expensive relative to other shared hosting options.
  • Many features are only available as add-ons (such as their backup system). 

GreenGeeks: Most Eco-Friendly

Let’s be totally upfront on this one: the main reason to get hosting from GreenGeeks is that it’s eco-friendly. Right now, there are data centers all over the world using electricity and contributing pollution – and GreenGeeks set out to change that.

The promise here is that you’ll get hosting from a company that’s committed to renewable energy – specifically, every amp of energy that GreenGeeks uses to power your site is matched 3X through wind power credits. The pricing is similar to other hosts, but in terms of the features you’ll get, you’re paying a premium to invest in a socially responsible web host. 

Fortunately, it’s a solid hosting provider. The company has been in business since 2008 and currently hosts more than 600 thousand websites. But even though GreenGeeks supports WordPress sites (like most hosts do), it’s not really optimised for WordPress in any special way. 

GreenGeeks is ultimately more of a niche host. If you believe in having a positive energy footprint or are in a business that demands eco-friendliness, you’ll be very happy with GreenGeeks!

PROS: 

  • 300% renewable energy match to reduce carbon emissions and conserve the environment.
  • Priced competitively with other shared hosting providers.
  • Offers fast site speeds with a free CDN integration and optimised web servers.
  • Free SSL certificate and website migration.

CONS: 

  • Only has data servers in North America and Europe.
  • Customer support is passable, but there’s better out there.
  • Doesn’t offer higher-level cloud or dedicated hosting plans.

Kinsta: Fastest Performance 

Kinsta is a newer player in the web hosting space, founded in 2013. It also bills itself as the best WordPress hosting platform in the world, which makes it an attractive bet for you if you know your site will be based in WordPress. In fact, it’s only WordPress – so you know they’re serious about it. 

However, Kinsta offers a different level of quality, which makes direct comparisons to our other top options a little difficult. Its cheapest plan starts at $30, and it offers solutions up to $1500 per month – a pretty big disparity that reveals just how many different types of customers Kinsta can support.

The reason to go with Kinsta, hands down, is speed. It relies on some powerful features like a content delivery network (CDN) and optimised servers. There’s no question that Kinsta is built for large e-commerce sites and online businesses that require lightning fast site speed.

That’s honestly the main pro and con of Kinsta – it’s almost a no-brainer if you’re all about performance, but if you can get by with slightly lower speed, there are more affordable options for sure. Kinsta is a great choice for serious business owners who depend on their websites to make money (especially e-commerce and affiliate marketing).

PROS: 

  • Top-notch site speed and performance (virtually the best in the business).
  • Uptime is also excellent at near 100%, with a promise that you’ll get some money back if it ever drops below 99.9%.
  • Easy to use, with great customer support.
  • Includes automatic site backups and other extra features.

CONS: 

  • Starting at $30 per month, it’s far from cheap, so you should make sure you really need the performance you’re paying for.
  • It’s not the most friendly when it comes to limits, so if you use too much storage, bandwidth, or monthly visits, expect to be charged extra for it.
  • It only works with WordPress, which isn’t an issue for die-hard WordPress fans, but it’s worth noting if you want to have a more flexible host. 

WP Engine: Best for Pros

Comparable to Kinsta, WP Engine is a premier WordPress-only host with plans optimised specifically for everyone’s favorite CMS. Like Kinsta, the plans aren’t cheap, but you’re going to have some great performance from WP Engine. It includes a free CDN with all plans, as well as a Page Performance feature that will test your site and make it easier to optimise it for higher speeds.

WP Engine is also notable for a robust customer support 

The problem is, you’re paying a lot more for it and it’s not the same 1-click install you might expect from places like Bluehost. You’ll probably know if you’re at the level where you need WP Engine, but just be aware that it’s a better choice for active profitable sites with owners who have some site-building and site maintenance chops.

This is one of those cases where you get what you pay for – you just need to make sure you need what you’re paying for! WP Engine is perfect for e-commerce stores, affiliate sites, and business sites that get a lot of traffic.

PROS: 

  • Optimized specifically for WordPress websites.
  • Automated daily backups, free CDN, and other advanced features for pro users.
  • No hidden costs or fees, and no add-ons are selected by default in checkout.
  • Great performance and stellar customer support. 

CONS: 

  • With its entry-level plan at $30 per month, this is an expensive option.
  • Its uptime is about 99.95%, which is lower than some of the other top choices.
  • It only works with WordPress, which may be an issue for some down the road.

WordPress Hosts – Honorable Mentions

Now that we’ve shared our list of top hosts, we want to point out a handful of other hosts that didn’t make the cut. None of these are bad choices, but they just weren’t the very highest for one reason or another.

Feel free to check these out for yourself to see if one of them may be a good fit for you:

  • HostGator
  • GoDaddy
  • Media Temple
  • Manage WP
  • Perfect Dashboard
  • CloudLinux
  • Interserver
  • BuyShared
  • RamNode

Key Features to Watch for

We’ve looked at a lot of different hosting solutions now, and talked about a lot of different pros and cons. But if we had to narrow it down, which features are the most important to look for?

These are the ones you should never compromise on.

Uptime

Uptime simply refers to the amount of time that a site is “up,” or accessible online. We’ve thrown around numbers like 99.9%, but what does this all really mean?

If you think about the amount of time in a year, a 99.9% uptime translates to a downtime of 8.77 hours. Yes, that’s over the course of a year, but for some bigger businesses, that’s cutting out 9 total hours of store orders or affiliate commissions – in other words, real revenue is at stake. 

In most service-level agreements (SLAs), the host will include a guaranteed uptime you can count on. Pay close attention to uptime numbers, and base your decisions on actual user reviews and recommendations, not just promises from a company.

Site speed

Three seconds. That’s the magic number where people will start to abandon a site if it hasn’t loaded by then.

Site speed is probably one of the most important factors in ranking these days, both because of Google’s algorithm and because of user experience. In a nutshell, if people don’t stick around to wait for your site to load, then metrics like time on page will suffer.

I recommend you focus on getting a host that offers consistent high performance.

Backup and caching

It’s always nice when your web host does automatic backups and caching for you, but don’t worry if your host doesn’t include this. In the WordPress environment, there are simple plugins you can install – such as W3 Total Cache or WP Rocket – that allow you to do them for yourself.

Ideally, you have a host that backs up your site, and you do it too!

Customer support

The importance of customer support is hard to overstate. If you’re serious about your business, you need a website that’s reliable – and help you can turn to if something ever goes wrong. 

For example, imagine if your site goes down during an important product launch. You’ve got a new press release out, paid promotions, and a broadcast email to your list all pointing to pages on your website – which is currently offline.

That could mean tens of thousands of dollars at risk if you can’t get your site back up immediately, not to mention the hit to your reputation when all of those people can’t actually load your site! It just doesn’t make a good impression.

With some hosts, you’re lucky to catch someone on live chat or over the phone. If you have to submit a ticket to support and wait for them to get back to you, it could cost you a lot – so don’t discount the importance of quality customer support in your chosen WordPress host.

FAQ

What’s the difference between normal web hosting and WordPress hosting?

Often, there isn’t really a difference. Many web hosts just rebrand their usual shared hosting plans as WordPress plans. That’s why you have to pay close attention – because there ARE some hosts that deliberately optimise their plans for WordPress, such as SiteGround. And others, like Kinsta and WP Engine, only support WordPress.

All this means is that if you’re confident you want to stick with WordPress, then a dedicated best WordPress hosting plan is worth it.

Should you purchase monthly or make a long-term commitment?

Your best bet for favorable pricing with web hosts is by making an upfront commitment. I recommend doing your homework first, and then making a long-term commitment of two or three years upfront.

Do WordPress hosting companies offer website backups?

Many of them do. If this is a priority for you, then you should check the fine print on any plan you’re considering to make sure.

How much does it cost to build a WordPress site?

If you’re wondering how much it costs to start a blog, feel free to check out our in-depth post all about it! But you could easily get started with just a few hundred dollars.

Is it easy to switch to a new WordPress host later?

It’s relatively easy, especially if you choose hosts with great customer service. Site migration can be a headache, but new hosts are usually motivated to win your business, so don’t let the transition stop you from making the right decision for your WordPress web host.

How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting Provider For You

With all of these options, your head might be spinning a little bit! But there’s no reason to feel too overwhelmed. When I first started creating my own websites, I just went for it with Hostgator, and then Bluehost – mostly based on price, but also reputation. And I survived!

The point is, you’ll be fine with pretty much any host you decide to try, especially any of the top ones we listed in this guide. And if you ever change your mind, many hosts also include free site migrations so you can make the switch without reservations! 

I hope this guide has helped you pick the best WordPress hosting provider for your blog, website, or online store. Best of luck! 

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