WordPress Hosting: Which Hosting Service Is Right For You & Your Personal Website?
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Last Updated on October 17, 2019
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Ready to launch your first blog but wondering where to start?
Maybe you’re inspired to share your expertise, promote a cause, make money online, or just have fun.
It all starts a domain and web hosting.
Once you have a web hosting account then you’ll be able to create a WordPress blog and publish your first post.
This review is about what to look for in a WordPress host and why WordPress is the preferred choice for beginner bloggers.
For those who are ready to start now though, let’s cut straight to the chase.
Here are our web hosting recommendations, based on the input of software engineers, veteran marketers, and, of course, professional bloggers.
Best WordPress Web Hosts
First-time bloggers can set up a WordPress blog today, with just a few clicks. For the following recommendations, we chose hosts that cater to WordPress and provide specialized support.
For Beginning Bloggers & New Websites
Our two winners are widely respected web hosts, with plans optimized for WordPress. These hosts make it easy for beginners to get started. And you’ll get 24/7 support.
#1 – Bluehost – Best Value for Beginners
- 24/7 Support
- Designed to be easy for beginners to use
- Starts at $2.95 /mo (with our discount link)
#2 – SiteGround – Best Support for Beginners
- 24/7 support from WordPress experts
- Starts at $3.95 /mo (with our discount link)
Established Sites With High Traffic: Best Picks
When we say “high traffic” we mean at least 100,000 visits a month. These sites may have higher performance requirements.
#1 – WP Engine – Fully Managed Enterprise-Grade Service
- Plugin and core updates handled for you, free hack fixes
- 24/7 support
- Starts at $35/mo (or save big with our exclusive discount link)
#2 – Liquid Web – High-End Performance and 100% Uptime
- For businesses that use blogs for promotional purposes
- Advanced technologies for complex sites
- Starts at $29/mo for your first 2 months (or save big with our exclusive discount link)
Insider Tip: How to Get the Best Deal
Both SiteGround and Bluehost — along with many other web hosts — offer discounted plans when you first start out. You’ll select the time period you want when you sign up. For example, 1 year, 2 years, or 3 years.
When your hosting term expires, your price will go up to the “regular” price listed on the host’s website.
The longer the term you sign up for, the lower the price you’ll get.
Many web hosts offer 30-day money-back guarantees, making this approach to getting a bargain, attractive. Be sure you know what your web host’s money-back policy is before signing up.
What is WordPress?
What do Beyoncé, Mercedes-Benz International, and Vogue magazine have in common?
Their websites were created with WordPress.
WordPress is the world’s most popular tool for creating websites and blogs. It powers over 75 million sites.
It’s the fastest-growing content management system (CMS), enjoying a market share of almost 60%. No other website platform comes close to its popularity.
WordPress is supported by a massive worldwide community of fans and developers. There are even “WordCamps” — conferences — in all major cities.
WordPress is open source software: it’s free, there are no licensing fees. The updates are free, too.
Anyone can view and obtain a copy of the software. Many do in order to create “plugins” — small software programs that you can add to your WordPress site to enable it to do new things.
Feeling social? WordCamps bring together individuals of all ages and backgrounds for a fun learning experience. (Images courtesy of WordCamp)
What is a CMS (Content Management System)?
You’ll often hear WordPress referred to as a “CMS” — a content management system. A CMS is a software application that makes it easy to create, manage, and organize digital content for a website.
The CMS provides a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to layout your content with photos, bolded text, embedded videos, and more. No coding knowledge is needed.
If you didn’t use a CMS you’d have to code everything. And that’s no fun.
- Other open source CMSs include Drupal and Joomla.
- Paid CMSs include Squarespace and Shopify.
Which would you rather work with: A or B? A is the WordPress CMS. B is the underlying code.
Get Creative With Plugins
You can expand the functionality of a basic WordPress site by using “plugins.” Plugins are software apps that can easily be added to your website with a few clicks.
Using them is as easy as snapping a LEGO brick onto a LEGO project.
There are over 55,000 plugins available via the WordPress organization website.
With plugins you can instantly:
- Add an online store to your blog
- Add games
- Add events and calendars
- Improve your SEO so more people can find your blog
- Add commenting functionality so people can comment on your blog posts
- Promote your blog
- And much more
If you already have a WordPress site, you can browse for plugins and install them directly from your dashboard.
WordPress is not just a blogging platform.
It can be used to create almost any kind of website from online stores to creative portfolios, to journalism sites.
Why Should I Use WordPress For My Blog?
- It’s Free: WordPress is free to use. And, there are thousands of free themes and plugins to extend the design and functionality of your website. You’ll need to pay for web hosting though.
- It’s Easy to Learn: Unlike some content management systems, WordPress is easy enough for novice website owners to learn, but extendable enough for even advanced developers to benefit from.
- It’s Easy to Get Help: Because WordPress is so widely used there are thousands of YouTube tutorials and other resources available. And web hosts offering WordPress offer their own step-by-step instructions and how-to videos. Some WordPress web hosts are available 24/7 to answer your questions.
- Community: There are “WordCamps” — conferences about WordPress — in all major cities of the world. These are a terrific opportunity to learn more, have fun, and meet other bloggers.
- Beautiful designs: There are over 3,000 free WordPress “themes” (pre-built designs) and tens of thousands of low-cost themes available. These are installed with a few clicks of a button.
- It is SEO-Optimized: You want your site to be found by others and do well in search engine results. That starts with built-in optimization. Note: We recommend you install the Yoast SEO plugin, which will help improve your SEO.
- Monetization: WordPress allows you to place as many ads on your site as you want. There are plugins that will add ads to your site. And by signing up for a service like Google AdSense, ads can run automatically and you get paid automatically. Also: creating an e-commerce shop is easy and free if you use a powerful WordPress plugin like WooCommerce.
- Security: The WordPress core is built with security in mind and is always undergoing fixes to make it even stronger. And, with the availability of security plugins, and a good web host, you can protect your site and it’s data against most security threats.
- Multimedia Capable. If you want to add images, YouTube videos, Tweets, and Soundcloud audio on your site you can with WordPress. This opens the platform up to many industries and helps people cater to their target audience.
Video: This video gives you a glimpse of what it’s like to create your WordPress blog on SiteGround.
What’s the Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
- WordPress.org. WordPress.org is the parent organization that develops the WordPress software, continuously improving it. You could download the software here, but the easiest way to proceed is to start by purchasing web hosting. Web hosts typically offer a one-click “instant” installation of WordPress. In less than 1 minute you’ll get a WordPress site.
- WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a one-stop-shop where you can get a WordPress website, theme, and hosting for a monthly fee. To get full access to all available plugins, though, you will need to choose their highest-level plan, called “Business” which is $300 per year. (WordPress.com is run by Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.org.)
My Recommendation: Select Your Own Web Host
My preference is to select my own web host because I get a better deal that way.
- If you select a vetted host like SiteGround, you’ll get all the benefits you would get at WordPress.com, at a lower cost, and your access to plugins won’t be restricted.
- If you select Bluehost, you’ll have to upgrade your own plugins and core WordPress software, but this is easy. (See our FAQ for how to do this.)
A Little About WordPress Hosting
To start your blog you need to first select a web host.
Determine your budget first.
A web host is a company that stores your website’s data in large computers called web servers. These are located in datacenters. The web hosts’ technology is used to publish your website to the web, so it’s “live” and people can see it.
There are thousands of WordPress web hosts out there.
That’s why it’s important to know:
- What kind of website you plan to build
- How much traffic you expect to get
- Your budget
- What hosting features are important to you
Let’s introduce you to some key features.
Killer Hosting Features to Look For
When it comes to choosing the right WordPress hosting provider, you need to have some idea what features to look for. That’s because not all hosting providers are reliable or worth your money.
Here’s a look at the most crucial features any reputable WordPress hosting provider will give its customers, regardless of which plan they use.
The speed and performance of your website not only affects your search engine rankings, and therefore how much traffic you get. Don’t frustrate site visitors with slow-loading pages. They may become impatient and leave your site quickly. Aim for site loading time under 2 seconds. The lower the better.
Speed and security are critical.
Select a web host that uses speed technologies like a CDN (content delivery network) HTTP/2 (a protocol that contributes to speed), SSDs (solid-state drives), fast web servers like NGINX or LiteSpeed, and “caching” technologies such as Varnish or Memcached.
Though the WordPress core is secure, it is not perfect. That’s why having a solid hosting provider that adds another layer of security onto your website is paramount to protecting your site’s data, your customers’ personal and financial information, and even the user experience.
Keeping Plugins and the WordPress “Core” Updated
If you fail to keep your WordPress core and plugins updated, your site may become vulnerable to hacks.
Some hosts, like SiteGround and WP Engine, update your plugins and core for you via their “managed” WordPress hosting options.
Be aware: Different hosts defined “managed WordPress hosting” differently. For example, while many include plugin and core updates with their “managed” hosting, Bluehost does not.
It’s easy to update your own. See our FAQ for more information on this.
If you run a WordPress site that is growing in popularity, you will need a hosting company that helps you scale and accommodate more traffic or sudden large spikes in traffic.
Spikes can occur when you run ads for your blog or appear in media. Sometimes it’s completely unexpected as when a popular blogger links to one of your posts. You should inquire whether a sudden spike could cause your site to go offline.
Most hosting providers have bandwidth or traffic limits on their plans and require you upgrade when you reach certain limits. Make sure your host can handle your growing website, without sacrificing speed and performance.
Find out whether the host offers backups, either for free or at a cost. This backup process should be simple and not require much action at all from you.
Modern web hosts should offer “one-click” restorations, which means your lost data can be restored easily by you with a click. SiteGround is a good example of a WordPress host that offers simple backup processes and restoration.
SiteGround offers daily backups of your website. But they also offer “on-demand” backups.
Every web host provider will have different plans available for different price points. Depending on the features you need, and type of hosting your site requires, you may spend as little as $2.50/month for hosting, or as much as a few hundred dollars a month or more.
And, if you are wondering, yes, there are free hosting services out there.
However, we recommend you stay away from those to avoid malware infections, gaudy advertisements, and unexpected website shutdowns. With hosting prices as low as they are, there is no reason not to invest in something more professional and secure.
The best WordPress hosts out there offer nearly 100% uptime guarantees to all of their customers. This is because any time your site experiences downtime because your host’s server or other hardware crashes, your site visitors cannot access your website.
If you have an online store, this can affect your revenue.
Datacenter Locations and CDNs
Datacenter location can be important. Generally, the closer the datacenter to your main target audience, the faster your website will load.
However, many web hosts boost their datacenter numbers by using what are called “CDNs” – or content delivery networks. CDNs are networks of as many as 150 or more “PoPs” — Points of Presence — around the world that store up-to-date copies of your website.
When a visitor clicks on your website’s URL, the PoP that is geographically closest to them will automatically “deliver” your website.
Think of your website as a pizza: if you order a Domino’s pizza, it’s delivered from the Domino’s nearest to you — not from another city or country.
Cloudflare is a popular CDN. This is a map of their global PoPs.
In addition to those main features, there are some bonus features that may interest you depending on the type of website you have:
- SSL certificates: Every website should have one. They provide an encrypted connection between your site and the web server, keeping any information you collect from visitors — such as email addresses for a newsletter — private. Google considers SSL certificates a “best practice.”
- Site migration: If you already have a blog, but want to move to a new host, find out if the new host will migrate (move) your site for you. This service may be free or come with a small fee.
- One-click WordPress installs so you can easily and quickly install WordPress onto your hosted site
- Tutorials and how-Tos: Before you sign up, find out if your host provides online resources for WordPress beginners. The best web hosts have clear step-by-step instructions on how to create a blog as well as tips for promoting it.
Video: This Bluehost video shares tips on how to promote your site.
What Are the Different Hosting Types Available?
There are several different types of hosting plans available for your WordPress website that will help you with site security, scalability, site management, and more.
Shared Hosting: Cheap and Good for Beginners
Shared hosting is for those just starting out. You share resources on one large web server with hundreds of other shared hosting users.
You are responsible for the maintenance of your WordPress website when it comes to updates, backups, and security, save for the very basic services your hosting providers gives you.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
With “managed” WordPress hosting, the hosting provider typically will handle common technical tasks for you, like creating regular backups of your site and data, and updating your site’s plugins and the WordPress software.
It’s important to know that each host defines what services are included in their “managed” hosting though. For example, SiteGround’s managed WordPress hosting includes software updates but Bluehost’s managed plan does not.
Managed plans also typically provide WordPress experts to help you with anything site-related. And they typically offer speed and security that’s better than what shared hosting provides.
Managed WordPress hosting usually provides the most hosting features for the best price and is good for most website sizes.
VPS – Virtual Private Server Hosting
One step up from shared hosting is VPS hosting in which your site’s data is still stored on one large server with others, but you are allotted a specific amount of resources that no one else can pull from.
Dedicated hosting is for large websites with large amounts of data. You rent an entire server all to yourself, which is very expensive, and store your website’s data on it.
You are responsible for all maintenance. If you are a blogger with millions of visitors you may want to consider VPS, dedicated, or advanced cloud hosting.
Cloud hosting is popular for those looking to scale endlessly. Multiple servers work together to store your site’s content and deliver it to site visitors immediately and you have unlimited use of resources.
Some cloud hosts enable “auto-scaling” — if you get an inundation of traffic the system will automatically divert more resources to your site to handle the crush of the crowd.
Now, some cloud hosts charge by the minute — or even by the second — which lowers costs. This is called a “pay as you go” or “pay for what you use approach.”
Our Best Recommendations for WordPress Hosting
We all know that WordPress is hands down the very best blogging platform… #2 isn’t even close.
But who’s the Best WordPress Host? That question can be hard to answer.
Lots of sites claim to be the best hosting for WordPress, but who is really the best? We compared the top 3 to see if we can find a clear winner.
We focused on features, reputation, dependability, customer service and price.
We’ve been running this WordPress review roundup since 2009 so you won’t find a more qualified source to help you make an informed decision.
#1. Bluehost: Best Value
Bluehost is one of the biggest names in the web hosting industry. Catering to beginning bloggers, this host offers plenty of exceptional features for an affordable price.
For example, they offer one-click WordPress installs; and unlimited storage, bandwidth, domains, and email accounts.
In addition, they offer site owners 24/7 expert support via phone, email, or chat for those times you need help.
You can get a free domain name, dedicated backup services, free SSL certificates, and secure SSH access — something geeks will care about.
Rated number one for new bloggers and small businesses, Bluehost is an attractive option because:
- It scales with your blog or business thanks to unmetered bandwidth and traffic
- Speed and performance are never an issue, despite being a shared hosting provider
- There is a free drag-and-drop site builder for those who don’t want to use WordPress
Note that Bluehost offers “WordPress Hosting” (their cheapest option) which starts at $2.95/month and “Optimized WordPress Hosting” which starts at $19.99/month.
- Starts at $2.95 /mo (with our discount link)
- Regular price $7.99 /mo
#2. SiteGround – Best Tech Support
SiteGround boasts being one of the most widely used hosting providers amongst WordPress website owners. They offer hosting plans to meet the needs of new bloggers, startup companies, and even businesses that have scaled to become enterprise level.
They offer everything a WordPress website owner might need to host their website, including built-in CDN services and speed-boosting technology, top-notch security, daily backups, and expert WordPress support available via phone, chat, or ticket. They are recommended by WordPress.org.
This hosting provider is considered one of the top contenders for these reasons:
- They have designed their technology platform for WordPress specifically. The results are optimal speed and security. SiteGround has also created custom artificial intelligence (AI) programs to keep your site safe from hacks.
- In addition to catering to bloggers and freelancers, it helps e-commerce sites with free SSL certificates, a free shopping cart install, and even PCI-compliant servers so customer data is never compromised
- It offers free site transfers and CMS installs for those that are moving hosting providers and need help setting up
- The datacenters span the globe and are located in the USA, Europe, and Asia to meet the needs of all customers, regardless of geography
- They are WooCommerce specialists
SiteGround does impose traffic limitations on each of their hosting plans but they offer a wide variety of plans so if you “outgrow” one plan, there’s a new one you can switch to, offering the resources your site needs.
- Starts at $3.95 /mo (with our discount link)
- Regular price $9.95 /mo
Performance and Testing: Bluehost vs. SiteGround
We tested the server response time and uptime for Bluehost and SiteGround over a 9-month period in 2018, using Pingdom site monitoring tools. We tested the two host’s cheapest shared hosting plans.
Here’s what we found:
|Average server response time||Average uptime|
#3. WP Engine – Fully Managed Enterprise-grade Service
Established bloggers with high traffic or small businesses often have a demand for higher performance hosting.
Leading the market in managed WordPress hosting, WP Engine offers plenty of bang for the price they charge hosting users. To start, they are managed WordPress hosting providers meaning they not only have expertise in how to use WordPress, and have the support to help users with any questions they have, they also manage hosting tasks for you so you don’t have to.
Plus, since they cater to WordPress developers as well, since they support Git and have extensive technology designed to help you build more in a highly secure environment.
The WP Engine team will automatically update your WordPress core, and any plugins or themes you have on your website.
They offer security updates and fixes, daily site backups with easy one-click restore options, automatic caching so you have no need to install a caching plugin on your site, and even have a staging area you can test new developments on before going live.
- Customer support that’s available 24/7/365, and includes WordPress help, free hack fixes, and fast response times
- Free MaxCDN services make site loading times faster
- Multiple datacenters to choose from in the United States, Tokyo, and London.
The biggest drawback to using WP Engine is that their prices are a bit steeper than most hosting providers, which can be tough on those with limited budgets. However, when you see what you get for those prices, it might sense for you.
- Starts at $35/mo (or save big with our exclusive discount link)
Other Hosts Worth Considering
Here are some additional options for you.
InMotion Hosting – Best for Speed
InMotion Hosting does a great job of giving WordPress bloggers a place to safely host their site’s data without fear of downtime, speed, or performance issues. InMotion Hosting offers hack and malware protection, automatic backups, and advanced caching technology, along with a 99.99% uptime guarantee.
You also receive a free domain name when you sign up for their hosting plan, have access to a staging environment, and even have free SSL certificates for those that have monetized their blog using e-commerce.
Here are some reasons bloggers may want to consider InMotion Hosting:
- Comprehensive WordPress support, complete with automatic backups, 24/7 access, and WordPress installs performed by technicians so your site is ready to go right away.
- You can create your first website in minutes using the built-in drag-and-drop page builder and free themes that are easily customizable.
- Scaling your blog or business is easy with unlimited bandwidth and plenty of SSD (solid-state drive) storage. If you need to upgrade there are no setup fees and the changes take place within one business day.
InMotion does not currently provide Windows hosting. They use Linux servers.
- Starts at $4.99 /mo (with our discount link)
- Regular price $7.99 /mo
Liquid Web – 100% Uptime Guarantee
For high-end businesses that need enterprise-grade managed WordPress hosting, Liquid Web is the best option. Professional web designers, mid- to large-sized businesses, and agencies will benefit from the services provided.
You can choose between VPS cloud hosting or dedicated hosting and maintain control over your site’s resources so that you never experience downtime.
Site migration services are available. Extensive security and monitoring systems and PCI compliance are emphasized.
Automatic backups and site restoration are also provided.
Some of the things that set Liquid Web apart from the other hosting providers include:
- Rather than using a cPanel like most web hosts do, Liquid Web employs the “Managed Portal,” stating it is better optimized for WordPress performance
- You can choose between Linux or Windows-based operating systems
- They offer 100% uptime guarantee
- PCI-compliant WooCommerce
Liquid Web’s pricing matches their enterprise-level services and market.
- Starts at $29/mo for your first 2 months (or save big with our exclusive discount link)
DreamHost – Great Features, Low Pricing
DreamHost is a feature-packed host at a budget-friendly price. They offer reliable servers that out-perform many budget hosts and outstanding support. Even their lowest-priced plans come with features you’d typically expect to pay more for. Any type of blogger can benefit from DreamHost’s services.
DreamHost offers WordPress hosting via shared unlimited hosting for first-time or experienced bloggers. They also have DreamPress plans which are managed WordPress plans that could work for any size website or blog.
All plans include a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, which is great for bloggers who aspire to have e-commerce aspirations.
DreamPress plans also include Jetpack’s Professional WordPress plugin for free, which helps with everything from your blog’s speed to increasing your site’s traffic with SEO.
DreamHost’s differentiators include:
- High performance servers on their DreamPress plans
- Automatic daily backups
- Automatic WordPress core updates
- Specialized WordPress support expertise on DreamPress plans
- They offer 100% uptime guarantee
- Free website builder
DreamHost’s in-house support via ticket, phone callbacks, and live chat has been consistently rated as outstanding, but they don’t offer email support.
- Starts at $5.95/mo for unlimited shared hosting – Just make sure to use our exclusive discount link!
WordPress.com – Fewer Frills, Less Complicated
We mentioned at the beginning of this article that there is a huge difference between running a self-hosted WordPress.org website and a WordPress.com website that is hosted for you.
And, while most people prefer the flexibility that a self-hosted WordPress site affords them, it is important to mention that WordPress.com hosting has plenty to offer those just starting out in the online world.
Receive a custom subdomain, 24/7 support, and plenty of built-in customization options to design a stunning website that is all your own. Pick from over 350 different themes to match any niche or industry, change elements such as fonts, colors, and logos to increase brand recognition amongst site visitors, and even manage your media in the backend of your site, without having to pay a separate hosting provider to store that data for you.
While not highly recommended for most website owners, check out why WordPress.com works for new bloggers, freelancers, and small business owners:
- Built-in social media tools and SEO optimization for expanding your brand and building a bigger audience
- Cost effective because the site is free, there is no domain name purchase, and no hosting provide services to invest in
- No maintenance since the company behind WordPress.com handles all site maintenance, updates, backups, and security
That said, WordPress.com does lack the ability to let you run an e-commerce shop, monetize your site with ads placed on your site, and extend the design and functionality through WordPress themes and plugins.
- Starts at $4/mo billed annually
WordPress is an infinitely flexible content management system that’s also newbie-friendly. So, no matter what kind of blogger you are — experienced hobbyist, small business, or ultra-newbie — it’s worthwhile to investigate hosts that offer WordPress as a CMS for your site and blog.
We’ve given you a head start by highlighting various hosts above that specialize in WordPress. But if you’re not sure, create a free blog on WordPress.com to give it a test run. If you like it (and we think you will), make sure you take advantage of the discounts we offer on our review pages.
Stumped? Here’s Our Recommendation . . .
Still not sure which WordPress host to choose? We think SiteGround is a solid choice for most beginners, and they’ve given us a special discount link for Blogging.com readers.
More Hosting Reviews on Blogging.com
Here are some common QAs on WordPress. Have more questions? Let us know in the comments below.
A WordPress site I visited is using a cool theme. I’d like to use the same one. How do I find out what theme they’re using?
Do a Google search for “What WordPress theme is that?” The search results will give you a few free tools you can use to discover the name of the theme in use.
My web host offers its own site builder. Should I use that or WordPress?
Bloggers can choose between these two options or other paid CMSs like Wix or Webydo. There are many site builders out there. However, one key benefit to WordPress is that your site will be portable. That means you can easily move it from one host to a new one.
Many other site builders are not portable: this means you cannot move your site to a new host. Some, like Webydo, may allow you to move the code, but you’ll lose the CMS, which will make it difficult for you to manage your site.
What do I need to know about plugin updates and WordPress core updates?
Every so often WordPress releases an updated version of their software, also called the “core.” It’s important to keep it updated. It’s also important to keep your “plugins” updated.
Plugins are software applications that are created by WordPress developers. They’re easy to “plug in” to your site via a few clicks. They add functionality to your site, like discussion forums, Facebook commenting; and event calendars.
When you sign in to your WordPress site dashboard, periodically you’ll see announcements that you need to update certain plugins or your core. Doing so is easy: you simply click on the link in the announcement.
If there are any updates you need to install, you’ll see a notice at the top of your WordPress dashboard. To execute an update, simply click on the hyperlink provided.
Contributing editors: Natalie Mootz, and Sherrie Gossett.
Disclosure: Some links on this page are affiliate links. If you visit a company through our affiliate links, we may receive compensation. See Disclosure Policy.
Brenda Barron is a writer from southern California. When not writing about blogging and business, she’s spending time with her family and knitting.