The sheer number of hosting providers can make it difficult for users to choose the right one according to their needs. Add technical jargon to the equation and it becomes clear why someone looking to start an online business may feel overwhelmed. The web hosting needs grow with the business, making it important to choose a provider that offers scalability and flexibility.
WordPress has evolved into much more than just a blogging platform and has become the CMS (Content Management System) of choice for businesses, especially small and medium businesses. The CMS allows businesses to get started in very little time and makes it easier for them to build fully-functional sites and mobile apps. It’s easy-to-use and allows even non-technical users to manage their websites.
Add thousands of ready-made themes, plugins and templates to the equation and you get a powerful platform to manage almost any kind of website. The platform itself is open source and free (different than WordPress hosting plans) and enables users to customize almost everything according to their heart’s desire.
Free vs. Paid WordPress Hosting
Businesses need a reliable web hosting provider for mission critical websites and with so many providers out there each claiming to be the best, it becomes difficult to choose the right vendor. There is always a catch with all the free web hosting providers. Sometimes it’s annoying ads that customers have to bear while in other cases it’s the sluggish and non-responsive websites.
While free web hosting might work for personal blogs and micro sites (still not recommended), they are not good enough for businesses. Let’s start with the list of some of the best and most popular WordPress providers that have been carefully selected keeping cost vs. value ratio in mind.
Although there are a number of free web hosting services available, we strongly recommend businesses to go the paid route, even if they have to choose the most basic plans. That’s mainly because free hosting services are sluggish and your customers won’t recognize you as an established brand.
Top 10 WordPress Hosting Providers
Quick and reliable support, excellent performance, free site migration, malware scanning and unlimited SSL certificates make WPX hosting one of the fastest growing WP hosting providers. The plans are also reasonably priced and don’t increase on plan renewal. WPX Hosting supports PayPal and staging areas, while businesses in the USA, UK and AU can opt for the location option so their customers/visitors can enjoy faster page loading.
- Unlimited SSLs and site migrations
- Custom CDN
- 24/7 support
- Staging environment
- DDoS protection
- Malware scanning
- USA, UK and Australia location options
Suitable for small businesses and bloggers, SiteGround offers reliable and fast services and shared hosting plans with added benefits. Many of the features are usually found in managed hosting plans, including SSD storage, server-side caching, auto updates and backups. Its most affordable plans are suitable for sites than get 10K-25K visitors each month, while high volume traffic sites can opt for better plans featuring managed services.
The subscription plans might seem a little expensive considering the limited bandwidth and disk space, but the performance and reliability you get in return makes the plans worth considering. Another thing to consider is that the provider is developer-oriented, which might be a pro for developers but a con for non-technical users. SiteGround also uses a slightly customized WordPress installation, which can be a problem for those who want to a vanilla WordPress installation.
- All plans come with SSD hosting
- WordPress preinstalled
- Auto updates and backups
- Free site migration
- Quick support, 24/7
- Server-side caching for better performance
- Intuitive and easy-to-use interface
With a focus on managed WordPress hosting services, WP Engine was the first provider to offer managed hosting and claims to be the best WP hosting provider. Its performance and security optimized hosting services and advanced features such as staging sites and CDN integrations make it a great choice for larger, established businesses.
Free SSL certificates, daily backups and good monthly transfer quotas make WP Engine a great option for businesses who are willing to spend some extra amount for quality services. The cons of the provider include no email and domain names, cap on the number of visitors and comparatively expensive hosting plans.
- Focused on performance and uptime
- Excellent customer support
- Free SSL certificates and daily backups
- Malware protection
- Automated and free migration from other providers
- CDN integrations
- Site staging
FlyWheel is a managed WP hosting provider that offers tools and plans targeted at designers and creative agencies. However, this does not mean that other users cannot benefit from the services as they also work well for other niches. The interface is elegantly designed for a great first impression, while still being highly functional. FlyWheel also supports some advanced WordPress features and comes with a dashboard that makes it easier to manage multiple sites from one place.
The cons include lack of support for certain plugins due to security concerns, lack of integrated Git development and support for SSH. The quota for storage space and monthly visitors is also rather limited.
- Clean, elegantly designed interface
- Designer, creative professionals focused services
- Free SSL certificates
- Advanced WP feature support
- One-stop Dashboard
- Automatic backups
- Site staging
- Dedicated IP addresses
- Excellent pre-loading speeds
BlueHost is a WordPress.org recommended host and offers affordable plans in comparison to other providers. New users also get a free domain, while support options include 24/7 phone, email and live chat support. However, many users have reported long wait times in online forums so that might be something to consider if you think you’ll be contacting support on a regular basis.
The hosting services work great for bloggers, startups and small businesses on a tight budget. The plans are even more affordable if you buy on a 36-month basis. The cons include slow customer support, separate charges for migration, more-than-usual downtimes and no Windows-based servers. These limitations make the service more suitable for SMBs than large businesses.
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Dedicated, shared, managed WP and VPS hosting plans
- Support for a variety of platforms such as Drupal and Joomla
- Even the shared hosting plans come with a free domain
- Free SSL certificate
- Support advanced WP features and other systems
- Enhanced cPanel
MediaTemple offers a variety of hosting services including AWS cloud hosting for enterprises and large businesses, VPS, managed WP and shared hosting for SMBs. Deep knowledgebase and excellent customer support along with competitively priced plans make MT an option worth considering, provided you are OK with the rather limited bandwidth and storage space per dollar.
Power users might notice that some advanced features are missing. However, considering the shared hosting plans include DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-service Attacks) protection, SSD storage and app catalog (managed, limited apps for shared users), things start to look better. All security packs include SSL, WAF and CDN, but lack malware scanning.
- Scalable, fast servers
- User friendly interface
- Excellent customer support
- Plenty of optional add-ons
- Resourceful knowledge base
In addition to comparatively affordable hosting plans, InMotion hosting also offers its own drag-and-drop site builder, which is a plus for beginners and users who want to design simple sites in less time. The provider offers a variety of services, including dedicated servers, reseller hosting, business hosting and VPS.
Its Pro plans are recommended for the value the offer and include better customer services. Other plans are suitable for users who don’t have high performance requirements, but still want the features good service providers have to offer. However, some plans require one-year commitment so users should get in touch with the provider to avoid any inconvenience in the future.
- Free domain
- Offers a variety of hosting services
- Google App integration
- SSD storage
- Unlimited email accounts
- Built-in web builder (Drag-and-drop)
- Staging environment
- SSH access
- Seamless, quick onboarding
- Data backups
- 90-day money back guarantee
- Includes many premium WP plugins and themes
- Support for PostgreSQL, Ruby and more systems
The managed WP hosting provider runs on Rackspace hardware and offers competitively priced plans for businesses of all sizes. It allows scaling web traffic up to 20 times, which is a big plus for businesses that experience unusually high traffic during peak seasons. Built-in caching, auto backups and updates, staging environment and 24/7 support are also part of the package. But businesses need to buy a domain separately, while the basic plans don’t have the kind of support higher-priced plans come with.
- Out-of-the-box SFTP and SSL
- CDN services
- Auto backups and updates
- Site cloning and staging
- Dedicated WP support
- Personalized onboarding
- Automated migration
- 24/7 support
WordPress.com is different than WordPress, which is an open source CMS platform. The provider offers plans for all kinds of users, including bloggers, SMBs and e-commerce sites. The provider allows users to export all their data at any time, providing them with complete control over their content. Built-in social sharing and SEO tools make the job easier for site owners, while the huge community is always there to help when you need it. However, community-based help is not an alternative to official support channels as you cannot rely on unpaid individuals to solve your issues.
- Intuitive editor
- Jetpack essential features, including basic SEO, site stats and social media sharing
- Desktop and mobile apps
- Custom CSS
- Built-in support for Google Analytics
- Ecommerce Stores
- Affordable business plan for small businesses
- Email forwarding
- Huge online community
The hosting provider offers affordable hosting plans that include $100 AdWords and $1000 Bing credits. Discounts are also offered every now and then, allowing SMBs on a tight budget to save more on web hosting. Custom domain option is not included in all the plans, while shared hosting plans don’t come with SSD storage.
Free domains are only available with certain plans and when commit with the provider for at least 12 months. Hostgator is recommended for users who already have some experience with cPanel as the onboarding experience is not as smooth as with other providers covered before.
- Unmetered bandwidth even for shared plans
- Free SSL certificates with all plans
- Free domain with at least a 12-month commitment
- 1-click WP install, free WP/cPanel transfer
- Unlimited email/FTP accounts and sub domains
- Website builder
- Programming modules
- RoundCube/Horde webmail access
- IMAP support
- Spam prevention
- Off-site data backups
- 24/7 support
- Support for 75+ open source scripts
- Joomla, Drupal, Magento and Wiki hosting