“Who should I host with?”
We get that question a lot! And the answer?
- What kind of site are you running?
- What’s your budget?
- Will intermittent downtime be a problem for you?
It can become quite a back-and-forth discussion. 🙂
So we’ve gone ahead and put this post together, recommending companies that we use ourselves, or companies that are strongly favoured by the people we know and trust.
You can jump straight to the recommendations or read on to learn how we’ve grouped them.
Disclosure: We’re using affiliate links in this post. Clicking through to these hosts and making a purchase will give us a small referral commission in return.
Understanding the Options
There are many kinds of web hosts, so we’re focusing on three levels: Managed WordPress Hosts, Upper-Level Shared Hosts, and Entry-Level Shared Hoss.
Managed WordPress Hosts specialize (obviously enough) in WordPress.
These companies only host WordPress sites. Their systems are configured to optimize WordPress performance for speed and security.
Their support teams are also much more helpful in troubleshooting WordPress-related problems.
The tradeoff is that managed hosts do not provide other services (like email*), and they’re a bit more expensive month-to-month. But, as they say, you get what you pay for!
Managed hosts are a great choice for medium-large company websites, online businesses, and publishers who can’t risk slow sites or downtime.
*If you choose to go with a managed WordPress host, you should consider using a service like Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365 to handle your email.
Upper-Level Shared Hosts are the comfortable middle ground.
They offer better performance and customer support than their entry-level counterparts, but provide more flexibility than managed WordPress hosts.
You can host multiple WordPress installations on a single account, along with other applications, and services like email.
They’re less expensive than managed WordPress hosts, but more expensive than entry-level shared hosting.
Entry-Level Shared Hosts are inexpensive, good for getting started.
Decent entry-level shared hosts will give you plenty of features at a low monthly price. This is a great option if you’re just getting started with WordPress or are working with a tight budget.
They’ll let you host multiple sites on a single account, along with other web apps, and services like email.
The tradeoff is that your sites may not be as fast, and support will not be as good, as the other hosting options. This is because you’re sharing resources with many thousands of other websites.
If your site becomes more popular, and starts drawing in more traffic, you’ll need to upgrade to a more expensive plan.
Managed WordPress Hosting: WP Engine
We’re big fans of WP Engine, to the point that we’ve moved all of our client websites over to them! They’re the the forerunners of managed WordPress hosting.
WP Engine provides live chat support, managed updates, enhanced security, amazing speed, and a bunch of other awesome features.
Plans start at $29 USD per month.
Upper-Level Shared Hosting: SiteGround
While we’re not SiteGround customers, we’ve heard nothing but good things about them from our network.
Their GrowBig plan ($8 USD/month) includes security backups and WordPress caching.
Kick things up a notch with their GoGeek plan ($15 USD/month) for faster speeds, PCI compliance, and staging tools. (Bam!)
Entry-Level Shared Hosting: Bluehost
Bluehost has been a recommended hosting provider by WordPress.org for quite a while. They offer a smorgasbord of features at a very reasonable rate of $5 USD/month.
If you’re just getting started with WordPress, this is the way to go!
Image credit: Sarah Reid on Flickr