Choosing a good web host is CRUCIAL to the success of your WordPress website, yet so many people overlook the importance of it.
Web hosting is like the land your house is built on. If that land is breaking and moving, as expected, your house will fall down.
The same concept applies to your website. A bad web host with crappy support and a slow overloaded server that frequently goes offline will have a detrimental effect on user experience, SEO, and sales.
But with so many hosting companies available, all offering different types of WordPress hosting options such as shared, VPS, dedicated, and managed, knowing which one to choose is confusing for a lot of people.
In this guide, I will help you choose the best WordPress hosting for your website. I will explain the difference between the different types of hosting and recommend the best web hosting companies that I have personally used to host my own website and websites belonging to clients that I work with.
What Makes a Good Web Host
When choosing the best WordPress hosting for your website, other than the cost, there are six important things to look for. You need ALL of them.
- Responsive 24/7 Support
- 99.9% Guaranteed Uptime
- cPanel Access
- SSL Certificate
- Latest PHP Version
- Latest MySQL Version
24/7 support with a fast response time is an absolute must. If your website goes offline or breaks due to a hosting related issue, then you want peace of mind knowing there is someone around to fix it for you quickly.
99.9% Guaranteed Uptime
A good web hosting company can and will guarantee that your website will be available online for your readers 99.9% of the time. The remaining 1% of downtime is unavoidable due to server updates.
cPanel stands for control panel and it makes it easy for you to manage your own server space without any technical skills, web server experience, or the expense of hiring a developer.
All websites must now be served over a secure HTTPS connection and to do that you need an SSL certificate. Since Google made HTTPS a requirement, many web hosts including the ones I am going to recommend in this guide will give you a free SSL certificate. Others will sell premium certificates. Either way, a good web hosting company will support HTTPS.
Latest PHP and MySQL Version
If you’ve never used WordPress before, PHP and MySQL likely sound alien to you, and that’s okay. You don’t need to understand the technical ins and outs to choose a good web host. You just need to know if they run the latest version of PHP and MySQL on their servers, which are currently PHP 7.4 and MySQL 5.6, according to WordPress.
Different Types of WordPress Hosting
There are hundreds of web hosting companies to choose from and as I have mentioned above, they all offer different types of hosting accounts which makes things even more confusing for beginners.
Below is a brief overview of the most common types to help you determine which on is right for you.
Shared WordPress Hosting
Shared hosting is the most popular type of WordPress hosting because it is affordable and easy to use for beginners.
As the name suggests, with shared hosting you share the same server with lots of other websites. That’s how so many web hosting companies are able to offer the service at such low prices.
For new bloggers and small website owners, shared hosting is a good starting point since new and small websites don’t need a ton of resources. Then, as your website grows, you can upgrade to a bigger plan.
Of course, there are downsides to shared hosting including the risk of your website performance being negatively affected by the actions of other server users. The risk is very small though. Shared hosting comes with limitations to prevent such things from happening.
VPS WordPress Hosting
VPS stands for virtual private server. With VPS WordPress hosting, web hosting companies divide a server into partitions with allocated resources (space, memory, etc ), and each partition is used by one customer only.
This means you have more control (more than shared hosting but less than dedicated) of the server environment where your website is hosted and there is zero risk of your website being negatively affected by others users. It is also more secure than shared hosting.
VPS WordPress hosting is best suited to bloggers or website owners with a growing audience who have outgrown shared hosting but do not yet need the resources (or the cost) of a dedicated server.
The downside of VPS hosting for some people is that you will need technical skills to manage and maintain your hosting account. If you don’t have the technical skills to manage it yourself you will need to purchase managed VPS hosting or hire a developer.
Dedicated WordPress Hosting
With dedicated hosting, you get an entire server all to yourself. You have full control (100%) of the server environment and its settings. You are free to install and run any operating system, hardware, software, etc. There are no limitations.
If you’re a new blogger or you have a small business website with low to medium-level traffic, you DO NOT need dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting is best suited to very high traffic websites and requires extremely advanced technical skills.
If you do opt for dedicated hosting and you do not have the necessary technical skills, just like VPS hosting, I strongly recommend hiring a developer, or purchasing a managed dedicated WordPress hosting account.
Managed WordPress Hosting
You do not need any technical skills to use Managed WordPress hosting.
EVERYTHING is done for you from updates, backups, security, and site speed optimization to detecting problematic plugins and fixing hacked websites. You also get fast responsive support from experienced WordPress experts.
But if you’re just starting out on a budget, managed WordPress hosting plans are costly. For example, a starter plan at Kinsta where I host my website now costs $30/month and you can only host 1 website, receive a maximum of 25,000 visits, and disk space is limited to 10GB. The next plan up increases to $60 a month and even that is limited to two websites.
For most people, managed hosting is the best type of WordPress hosing in my opinion because you do not have to worry about ANY of the technical stuff needed to keep your website fast, secure, and functional – which is important for user experience, SEO, and the conversion rate of subscribers and sales.
But if you can’t justify the cost of managed hosting right now, start with shared hosting and upgrade when you are able. You can still build a successful website on a shared hosting account.
Recommended Web Hosting
Now that you know what to look for in a good web hosting company and you know the difference between the most common types of web hosting accounts, it’s time to make a decision.
Over the years I have used many top web hosting companies to host my own website and websites belonging to clients that I work with.
Below are my top picks for beginners and small business owners. Each of them provides a quality service with exceptional support.
A2 Hosting has been around for 20 years and is well-known for its blazing fast servers with load times of up to 20X faster than competing web hosting providers, so you never have to worry about your website being slow.
They provide cPanel access, 1-click WordPress install and website staging, 99.9% uptime guarantee, excellent 24/7 support (via chat, email, and phone), a free SSL certificate, and the latest version of PHP and MySQL.
On top of all that, they give new customers as much as a 72% off discount to help reduce the cost of starting a website. I consider A2 Hosting to be the best WordPress hosting for beginners and anyone looking to move to a more affordable web hosting provider.
Bluehost is another good choice for beginners starting a new website on a budget. They have been around since 1996 and are an official ‘WordPress’ recommended web hosting provider. They are also one of the most popular and most recognized hosting companies for good reason.
They provide excellent 24/7 live chat and phone support, cPanel access, 1 click WordPress install, website staging, a free SSL certificate, and even though there’s no mention of an uptime guarantee on their website, I can tell you from experience that they deliver on the 99.9% requirement.
And on top of all that, you get a free domain name for the 1st year, a free CDN, and a generous 64% off discount until it is time to renew your account.
SiteGround is another official WordPress recommended hosting provider, likely because they have won two ‘customer service of the year awards’ and their servers are powered by Google Cloud to make your website blazing fast, and as secure as possible.
Hosting accounts at SiteGround are managed for you. Features include daily backups, automated WordPress core and plugin updates, free SSL certificate, free CDN, 1 click WordPress install and website staging with GIT integration.
Also, they offer a 60% off discount to new customers, making it possible for you to start a new website on a managed WordPress hosting account for just a few dollars more than the cost of shared hosting.
However, be aware that the cost increases significantly when it’s time to renew, so if you’re going to use SiteGround, I recommend choosing the 36 month billing cycle.