The Best WordPress Web Hosting Companies
If you're running a WordPress-powered site and want the most optimized experience possible, you'll want a managed WordPress web host. To find the best, we started by looking at what makes any web host great: Near 100% third-party verified average uptimes, quality customer service, and affordable plans that can easily be upgraded. Then, we assessed the features that make WordPress web hosts unique, including their WordPress-specific hardware and software, as well as their security and e-commerce tools.
99.97% uptime, unparalleled WordPress tools, and easy setup.
99.95% uptime with low-cost, unlimited plans.
There’s a reason more than 60 million sites run on WordPress. It’s simple, attractive, and comes with hundreds of themes and plugins. It’s also a lot easier than learning an entire programming language from scratch. WordPress isn’t just for personal blogs or small businesses either — companies like the Chicago Sun-Times and Walt Disney use it, too.
To find the best web hosting for WordPress, we looked for companies that feature hardware and software built specifically for WordPress websites, along with 24/7 customer support and super-reliable, third-party verified uptime (at least 99.95 percent). Many shared web hosts are inexpensive and fully compatible with WordPress, but moving your site to a managed WordPress host offers faster speeds, enhanced security, and more reliability — all important assets if you’re trying to run an online business, or even a personal site.
Our top pick, HostGator, is going to be the best option for most people. It had the easiest setup process of all the companies we tested, offers an impressive average uptime of 99.97 percent, and has the best WordPress-specific software available, in addition to excellent customer service. It’s also designed to easily and quickly grow along with your site’s traffic needs, with three plans starting at a reasonable $5.95 per month, each with increasing levels of storage and bandwidth. If your site has high traffic volume, with hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors, however, 1&1 will be a better fit. While it doesn’t have the same level of customer service as HostGator, all of its plans (starting at $14.95 per month) offer unlimited email, WordPress projects, SSD storage, and there’s no cap on your number of monthly visitors. Its’ 99.95 percent average uptime is notable, too; just not quite as good as HostGator’s.
WordPress is a content management system (CMS, for short). It allows you to build a website without needing to understand HTML or any other type of advanced programming language. In order to use WordPress, however, you’ll need a web hosting account on which to install it. Web hosts provide space on a server to store all of your site’s files, allowing visitors to access them 24/7.
How We Found the Best WordPress Web Hosting Companies
Our Best Overall Web Host review proved to be a great place to start our search for the best WordPress web hosts. We used the same results from our initial uptime tests, which required a minimum 99.95 percent third-party verified average uptime to determine the reliability of each host’s servers, and then retested our final contenders’ customer service departments, calling, emailing, and live-chatting each again to see how quickly (and usefully) they could answer our questions. After that, we took a closer look at the web host attributes that matter most to WordPress users.
We verified server uptime. If your website is down for even a few minutes per week, visitors (and potential customers) may be forced to look elsewhere. That’s why all of our final contenders had to have a third-party verified average server uptime of at least 99.5 percent. The two sites we used to generate our averages were Webhostingstuff.net and Uptime.besthostratings.com. Included among the standouts were GoDaddy at 99.98 percent, and HostGator at 99.97 percent.
Trying to Sell? You’ll need SSL. An SSL certificate encrypts the sensitive financial information that transfers between your website and customers’ browsers, ensuring that payments and customer data stay secure. 1&1 makes a big deal of highlighting their SSL certificates, and they should — oftentimes, these are what stand between your customers and third-party hackers.
We also looked for WordPress-specific features. A great WordPress host shouldn’t make you go looking for essential features like automatic account setup, a migration tool, or a one-click restore. That’s why we only considered hosts that offer managed plans optimized to run WordPress. Generally speaking, this means they must meet the WordPress minimum requirements and support the latest versions of PHP and MySQL. But we also looked for managed WordPress plans that offer helpful, user-friendly features such as one-click restores and simple tutorials that make building a website easy.
Security and e-commerce tools were important, too. Some folks may associate WordPress with personal blogs, but businesses both large and small also rely on the popular CMS for their websites. This means that a great WordPress host should come with all the features necessary to help those businesses thrive in the online marketplace. First and foremost among these features are security tools. HostGator’s Optimized WordPress hosting platform, for example, is bolstered by Sitelock automatic malware scanning and removal, which ensures that your site stays safe even without you lifting a finger. This comprehensive tool includes a daily scan that examines your website inside-out and outside-in; if it finds anything suspicious, it will automatically remove it to give you peace of mind. Another great tool to look for is an automatic backup solution like CodeGuard, which frequently backs up your site and keeps you informed of any changes in case you want to restore a previous version.
Our Picks for the Best WordPress Web Hosting Companies
With three tiers of WordPress hosting plans starting as low as $5.95 per month, HostGator is a flexible web host designed to grow with your business. Once you reach the maximum limit of traffic on your current server, you’ll be able to upgrade to a bigger server with just a few clicks from the login portal, ensuring a smooth experience for your site’s visitors. HostGator is also extremely reliable, with an average third-party verified server uptime of 99.97 percent and 24/7 customer support that includes live chat and consultations with WordPress experts.
The company’s Starter plan (starting at $14.95 per month) is ideal for small to mid-sized businesses testing the WordPress waters for the first time, ensuring optimum performance for 25,000 monthly visitors with 5GB of storage and unlimited email. If you need more space from there, you’ll be able to upgrade to a bigger plan with just a few clicks via your login portal. While not quite as impressive as 1&1’s unlimited plan – which beats all comers with features like unlimited WordPress projects and unlimited monthly data transfers – the Business plan offers unlimited storage and five WordPress sites to accommodate 500,000 monthly visits.
Each of these plans comes with HostGator’s optimized WordPress hosting environment, which the company has built specifically to ensure a smooth WordPress experience for users. Optimized WordPress hosting plans come pre-loaded with the most recent PHP offered, and HostGator automatically handles all updates — including updating themes or plugins you’ve installed from WordPress.org. This removes the hassle of logging in separately to your WP-Admin panel to handle updates and gives you one less thing to worry about. HostGator also automatically removes malware and offers SSL certificates to keep your ecommerce business safe and humming.
Another great thing to note about HostGator: even if you don’t end up getting a managed WordPress plan, the company’s other hosting plans offer an impressive amount of support for WordPress sites. You’ll be able to download WordPress with just a couple of clicks through the Quick Install option in the login portal, then get started setting up your website. We obviously recommend a WordPress hosting plan if you’re running exclusively WordPress-powered websites, but it’s nice to see a host that makes WordPress easy for everyone.
Keep in mind that HostGator’s pricing model rewards loyalty by offering steep discounts on longer-term packages. Oftentimes, these discounts can mean the difference between a great deal and a so-so value. Purchase a 36-month Standard plan (2GB backups, 150GB storage) for $7.95 per month, and you’ll be getting more than half off the one-month price of $20.95. Considering that most websites are a long-term commitment, we recommend going with the long-term plan. You can always take advantage of HostGator’s 45-day money-back guarantee if you don’t absolutely love it, so there’s little to lose.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line unlimited WordPress hosting plan, it’s hard to beat 1&1. For an entirely reasonable price starting at $14.99, you’ll get access to one of the most flexible and feature-packed managed WordPress hosts on the market. It’s not as straightforward to use as HostGator, but if you’re already running a high traffic site, you’ll probably be just fine with that.
Each 1&1 plan comes with unlimited email, unlimited WordPress projects, unlimited SSD storage, and support for an unlimited number of monthly visitors. You’ll also get all of the automated tools that make running a WordPress site easy, including automatic malware removal and automatic updates that keep you current with the latest version of WordPress.
1&1 also offers some features you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. For example, it’s one of a relatively small number of WordPress hosts to offer both Linux- and Windows-based servers, the latter of which are necessary if you’re using ASP or ASP.NET to build your website and need an environment that’s compatible with Microsoft tools.
How Do I Build a Website with WordPress?
WordPress is an amazing tool that can help you build pretty much any website you can dream up — but it still comes with a bit of a learning curve. HostGator offers a great series of video tutorials to help get you started designing a website, but don’t expect to learn everything in one day. If this is your first time making a website, you’ll also want to dive into the quick start guide and other educational resources at WordPress.com.
What’s the Difference Between Shared and Managed Hosting?
Some WordPress hosts run on shared servers – but they run a lot better than most. Some of the entry-level managed WordPress plans do technically run on shared servers, but these are lower-density servers that cater exclusively to WordPress sites, and thus don’t affect uptime or speed in unpredictable ways.
Shared hosting may be the least expensive way to host your website, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option. It’s helpful to think of shared hosting as a “one size fits all” solution — albeit one that doesn’t fit some websites particularly well. With a shared hosting plan, you’ll share a server’s storage and processing power with hundreds of other websites. The problem with this is that most shared hosts work on a “first come, first served” model, in which whoever gets to the memory first gets to suck up as much as they want. If just a few of the other websites on your server start picking up more traffic, it could make your site run significantly slower. While shared hosts aren’t specifically optimized for WordPress, many meet the WordPress minimum requirements and will allow you to run a WordPress site without much problem. If you run a personal WordPress blog and don’t need to worry about your site slowing down from time to time, a shared host is a fine way to go.
If you happen to be running a growing business and can afford to pay at least $15 to $30 per month, a managed WordPress host should be a no-brainer, though. These hosts cater specifically to clients who run exclusively WordPress sites, offering a highly tuned server that’s always running the most optimal versions of PHY and MySQL (and automatically updating them as needed). The best web hosts for WordPress also offer enhanced security features such as automatic malware scans and included SSL certificates to ward off cyber threats. All of that optimization leads to faster speeds and more peace of mind for you and your site’s visitors.
Should You Buy a Top-of-the-Line Plan Right Away?
The best WordPress web hosts make scaling up a cinch, so there’s no need to splurge on an expensive plan that you’re not sure you need. We recommend starting with a more affordable option like HostGator’s Standard plan (2GB backups, 150GB storage) and then upgrade to the Business plan (3GB backups, unlimited storage) if you end up needing more power. Upgrading can be done in just a few clicks through your user portal, although 24/7 customer support can always help with the upgrade process as well.
What’s the Deal With Blacklisted Plugins?
Many managed WordPress hosts don’t allow users to install a number of plugins that may result in poorer performance or increased vulnerability to cyber threats. Not all plugins are harmful; some are restricted simply because the server already handles the same task (caching, for example) and thus renders them unnecessary. If you aren’t using a managed WordPress host and still want to run a WordPress-powered site, it’s important to know which plugins are okay to install and which may do damage to your site. GoDaddy has a helpful list of blacklisted plugins that serves as a good reference.