The Best Hosting for WordPress to Build Your Brand & Succeed

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If you’re seeking out the best WordPress hosting then you and I have something in common.

Our website is really important to us.

I don’t know about you but my site needs the best WordPress hosting available. This is because I’m serious about growing it and that takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication. Poor performance such as slow page-loading, or worse, is unthinkable after heavily investing in my website’s success.

Great hosting maximises your chances of growth; cheap and nasty hosting means no chance at all.

The thing is so many people fall into a trap with hosting. They buy on price not on value, in part due to awful hosting companies promising the world for peanuts. Unless your site is nothing more than a passing interest you must see web hosting as an investment.

After this post, I want you to know what great hosting is, why my choice makes so much sense and how to get set up with them easily.

There’s quite a lot to cover, so stick with me.

Table of Contents

  1. The #1 Choice
  2. Reviews
  3. Setting Up A WordPress Website with Cloudways
  4. Hosting Providers To Avoid
  5. Criteria for the Best WordPress Hosting
  6. WordPress Hosting FAQs

Disclosure: This site is a free resource that is supported entirely by its visitors. If you purchase a product or service here a referral fee may be received. This comes at no extra cost to you and helps create lots more useful content. Thank you.

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1. What is the Best WordPress Hosting?

Cloudways.

It’s that simple. Here’s why…

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Cloudways – The #1 Choice

Best for Performance, Value & Simplicity

wordpress hosting best

I’ll start with the basics so everyone is on the same song sheet, then show you why this is the case using real-world insights and social proof.

What is Cloudways?

In short, it is a managed hosting provider in the form of the Cloudways platform. This enables people like you and me to get a world-class cloud hosting service for WordPress without any technical knowledge of web servers.

wordpress for hosting

Through their platform, Cloudways acts as a ‘technical middle man’ allowing easy use of the best cloud hosting infrastructures in the world, specifically:

  • Digital Ocean
  • Vultr
  • Linode
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Google Cloud

The beauty of this is that they have specifically aimed their service at non-technical customers. A lot of effort has been put into the user experience.

It’s an intuitive control panel involving a few clicks to carry out most activities, including hosting sign-up and installing WordPress.

Main Features

Standard support is available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. It’s live chat and, in my experience, is snappy, effective and reliable.

Bascially, experienced cloud engineers enable you to fix any issues. If progress isn’t made within 15 minutes a support ticket is raised to elevate the issue for resolution which is then taken care of.

best wordpress hosting

Not sure if Live Chat Support is enough? You can add either ‘advanced’ or ‘premium’ support on to your Cloudways plan but it costs a lot of money. Honestly, I wouldn’t and this is why.

All the web professionals I know, me included, continually learn ‘on-the-job’. Facing issues is not the problem, provided you approach everything with unrelenting enthusiasm and a can-do attitude. Add to this top quality live chat support from Cloudways and you should get on just fine.

Performance

There is a tonne of feedback about Cloudways on Trustpilot (see below). Many reviewers mention how cloud engineers go the extra mile to make sure all issues are resolved.

I host this blog with Cloudways and couldn’t be happier. Set up was dead easy and I’ve had zero issues since. Better still, the page speed is still the best as Tom, over at Online Media Masters, showed recently in his detailed speed test.

Here’s a speed test of this page:

cloudways

Super simple, totally affordable and supremely powerful cloud hosting doesn’t get better than this – there is literally no one to touch them. But, don’t just take my word for it.

Social Proof – what do other people think?

Cloudways service and support is proven to be ‘Excellent’:

Best wordpress hosting
managed wordpress hosting
best wordpress hosting site
Best wordpress hosting 2020

I couldn’t help but notice that Cloudways invites feedback whether positive or negative. I think this shows they take customer care very seriously:

wordpress hosting best

They’ve also started to top some Facebook polls as shown in my Google search for ‘cloud hosting recommendations facebook polls’:

wordpress hosting plans
Pricing

And, the cherry on top of the cake… Cloudways pricing is totally flexible.

Cloudways price

There are no annual contracts; instead, they charge a monthly fee on a pay-as-you-go basis for the resources you’re using. No contracts mean there’s nothing to tie you into and no complicated feature lists about what different plans include and so on.

Everything is intelligent, logical and simple. It all just works.

Conclusion

Hopefully, by now, you can understand why my answer above was so bold and confident.

Let’s recap…

Cloudways are offering highly affordable, user-friendly, super-fast cloud hosting, that can scale (up or down) with your needs.

And, the best bit? There is no financial risk.

[Click here to scroll down to my set up walkthrough]

2. Reviews – The Best of the Rest

Here you’ll find a deep investigation of the other WordPress hosting providers which underpin my choice (above), as well as highlighting their key differentiators.

For example, if you feel less confident with ‘all this tech stuff’, you might opt for SiteGround because their customer support is the best in the world. I can vouch for it first hand.

Moreover, Hostinger is a different proposition again. Their performance will not be anything like as good as Cloudways, but then the cost is a lot lower. Customer reviews are really positive on Trustpilot, making them the cheap and cheerful option for lower budgets.

The rest of them are all very decent web hosts and, should you choose them, will look after you just fine. It’s just when it really gets down to performance versus value versus customer focus, my top three are the winners in their class.

Get comfy, grab a nice drink and see for yourself.

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#2. SiteGround

Best for Customer Support & Lower Confidence Users

SiteGround is as close to the perfect hosting provider I’ve found for anyone making a website for the first time, bar none. Why? Because their customer support is the best in the world, and I’m speaking from years of professional experience. There is no better place for total beginners.

Not only that, but speed, uptime, new features, and their super user-friendly client interface (including easy WordPress installs) are all superb as well. If you’re anything like me though, you won’t just take my word for it. 

SiteGround service and support is proven to be exceptional, even after nearly 6,000 Trustpilot reviews:

siteground reviews

Simple, powerful, and affordable are some of the words that perfectly describe SiteGround’s hosting services. What’s more, they’re environmentally focused and powered by Google Cloud, meaning they offset all of their carbon emissions.

Plans come with a complimentary Content Delivery Network (CDN), highly intuitive client dashboard, back ups, and the SG Optimizer plugin for efficient caching.

A recent addition allows collaborators to be added with varying levels of authorization. You can smoothly switch permissions or give access to others, such as a freelance web designer.

As I’d expect from any top host, SiteGround handles updates, security and daily backups in the background so you don’t have to worry about them. They can also provide specialist hosting for online stores with the WooCommerce plugin for WordPress.

Whilst it’s possible to purchase a 1-month trial, the best value is in the ‘StartUp’ and ‘GrowBig’ plans which are billed annually like many other proper hosting providers who are confident in the service they offer. 

The longer you commit the more value you get from these prices, which are as good as it gets for top quality hosting and supreme customer support.

After your introductory price-plan is up (be it 1, 2, or 3 years) you’ll have a choice. Continue to pay for total peace of mind or, if you’re feeling a bit more confident by then, migrate your site to Cloudways.

Try SiteGround here if they look like the best choice for you:

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#3. Hostinger

Best for A Limited Budget

Hostinger is one of the best options for those on a tight budget, with plans as low as $0.99 per month and renewal costs at $2.99 per month.

Their cheap and cheerful hosting comes with an automatic WordPress core and plugin updates, a large database of WordPress tutorials, their ‘acceleration’ feature, and a site builder.

They offer hosting services for multiple sites and more advanced features throughout their tiered plans which increase in price, but not dramatically.

Hostinger’s plans all include the following:

  • A free SSL certificate
  • Automatic Plugin and basic updates
  • Smooth WordPress installation
  • Incorporated WordPress acceleration plugin
  • A large database of WordPress tutorials
  • 30 days money-back policy

Additionally, the basic plan supports one website, comes with 10GB solid-state drive storage capacity, and one email account.

But, the best bit is their focus on customer service, as illustrated on Trustpilot:

In summary, Hostinger is the best option if your budget won’t stretch to SiteGround or Cloudways (or any other on this list). Of course, you get what you pay for so the performance will not compete with Cloudways and the others.

Ultimately, it’s the cheap and cheerful option that comes with reasonably solid customer service. Try them out, here:

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Kinsta

Whilst Kinsta is not as widely known as some of the others on this list it is hugely popular for fast-growing sites with constantly increasing traffic.

Their entire set-up is geared towards serious sites that have significant spikes in traffic and the varying demands on its resources.  They’re a direct competitor to WP Engine (coming up) and offer a fully managed service.

This includes all the usual features like software and security updates, free migration, top-notch speed, and daily back-ups. As the focus is on speed, the prices reflect it and begin at $30 per month.

This will be increased as your website traffic rises which can work fine providing your site is making money. With this web host provider, it’s impossible to outgrow your resource levels because they increase automatically.

Kinsta’s support is also very good.  Around the clock monitoring and constant uptime checks are guaranteed, which is why they have a 100% resolution rate.

Lastly, their overage prices are clear and won’t scale down a site if it goes over plan limits. A 30-day money-back guarantee is offered along with a 60-day free trial with yearly contracts.

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Flywheel

Flywheel is another lesser-known web hosting service who have focused on offering plans specifically for freelance web designers and agencies. Flywheel makes it easy to build, transfer and manage websites for your clients.

Their plans come with a free SSL certificate, a CDN, custom caching, and a range of decent developer tools. The hosting is optimized for WordPress like all the other providers and delivers okay page loading speeds.

Other benefits include team management tools, individual login credentials and a real-time activities feed. For freelancers, billing can be moved over to your clients once their site is live, with you as a collaborator for ongoing service.

A team of WordPress experts can be reached 24/7 for a premium WordPress support experience, although SiteGround is better.

In summary, there is nothing particularly outstanding with Flywheel except the collaboration functionality for building your client sites. It’s a very clean and user-friendly dashboard that will benefit and appeal to some.

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WP Engine

This is a fully managed WordPress hosting service that comes with boosted site speed, high-end security, and excellent 24/7 customer support. As their name implies, WP Engine is a specialist in WordPress hosting with more than 1.2 million customers in 140 countries.

It is aimed at more advanced users who need more bandwidth and storage space, better security and site speed, and so on. WP Engine is great for you if you intend to launch a website, blog, or business expected to have high traffic because it has the capacity to handle any kind of load that’s thrown at it.

There are hosting packages for beginners and smaller websites on WP Engine, but they’re not what this provider is about in reality.

WP Engine’s managed web hosting services also provide clients with great customer support. They also carry out maintenance at the server level, and look after all software and security updates, as per any other managed service.

Ultimately, it’s another high end managed hosting service aimed at bigger websites that demand higher levels of server resources.

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Nexcess

With Nexcess, you are not burdened with daily WordPress updates and maintenance. It provides you with speed, support, performance, and security and comes with automatic updates as well as nightly backups.

You may not be familiar with Nexcess as a fully managed WordPress hosting service provider. However, they have been in the business for more than 20 years with more than 500,000 websites being hosted under their service.

Since they can’t be considered as newbies, they are an ideal option for anyone who needs a non-interventionist WordPress hosting experience.

Nexcess gives you:

  • Automatic plugin and core updates
  • Nightly automatic backups
  • Site staging at a single click
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Advanced pre-emptive security processes
  • A network for content delivery
  • Expert customer support all through the day and night

It simply provides you with all the tools that are needed to launch your website, manage, and scale it with only a little involvement on your part.

In addition to these, you also have access to Nexcess’s auto-scaling feature which gives your website protection against traffic spikes. Hence, you are assured that your website will load quickly and visitors will have the best possible experience even when there are high traffic levels.

There is also a team of WordPress experts who are familiar with every angle of the platform on ground to oversee the performance of your site and keep it optimized at all times using the latest technology.

On top of all these, you get a 14-day trial at no cost and no credit card required. Nexcess stands out by giving you a completely free trial of the platform before your final decision, unlike most providers that give you a money-back guarantee.

You can start with the Spark plan as low as $19 per month and get one website and storage space up to 15 GB. You can upgrade to a higher plan later on when you need more websites, bandwidths, and storage.

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DreamHost

Over 1.5 million subscribers and more from different parts of the world trust Dreamhost to look after their website’s hosting.

WordPress recommends DreamHost as a trusty hosting service provider. And why not? This hosting provider has handled about 750,000 and more WordPress installations, which amounts to about half their total users.

With DreamHost, you have a hosting provider who has been long in the business and in whose service you can trust.

The outstanding feature for DreamHost is the very affordable monthly pricing options on offer. With as little as $4.95 every month, you can get going without being tied into a long-term contract.

Of course, you should remember that this is a promotional offer and will remain available only for the first three months of subscription. The price rises to $6.99 every month afterward.

This makes sense if you are trying to find your fee and don’t wish to pay for several years of hosting upfront. Having said, Hostinger offers similar but is cheaper.

DreamHost includes;

  • Automated backups
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Instant WordPress setups
  • Free Email Hosting
  • Automatic WordPress Updates
  • Round the clock professional customer support

Some plans include use of their site builder which might come in handy if you’re building your website from scratch. Having said, don’t pick a plan for this reason only; the best page builder in the world, Elementor, has a free version that is more than adequate for basic builds.

In summary, Dreamhost is yet another decent provider that is good across the board but not fantastic at anything.

For sheer performance and value, go for Cloudways. For customer support, go for SiteGround, and for a low cost option, it’s Hostinger every time.

3. Setting Up A WordPress Website with Cloudways

If you’re feeling anything like I did after reviewing the best hosting options for WordPress, there is only one thing left to do.

Go to the Cloudways sign up page (opens in a new tab) for a free trial.

Step 1. – Click on ‘Start A Free Trial‘:

Wordpress Hosting

Step 2. – Complete the form, then click ‘Start Free‘:

wordpress hosting'

Verify the email used on sign-up is yours (check your inbox) to ‘activate’ your new Cloudways account.

Step 3. – Ensure WordPress is selected, then name the three fields along the top accordingly:

wordpress hosting website

Now, it’s time for the interesting bit.

Choose a provider – I went with Digital Ocean which has been truly awesome. Others I know have gone with AWS and Google Cloud and are very happy too; although whether there are any performance benefits for the extra cost remains to be seen.

Vultr High Frequency is said to be even faster than Digital Ocean. It wasn’t available when I signed up, but for an extra $3 per month, I think it’s worth it.

Choose the server size – For a brand new website start small then add resources when necessary. If migrating an existing site, I would pick the same server size and see how it goes.

Choose a location for the server – typically the nearest place to your location, and/ or audience.

Step 4. – Check all the details carefully, then click ‘Launch Now‘:

wordpress hosting websites

How to set up Cloudways properly

Let’s recap. You’ve signed up to the Cloudways cloud hosting platform, created your web server and installed WordPress on it.

To finish setting it up we need to: add a payment method, enable your free migration (if applicable), connect your domain and install an SSL certificate (ensures encrypted communications with your website).

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Add a payment method. This is very important because if the free 3-day trial expires, your server and everything on it will be removed completely. There is no warning, so if you’re happy with everything do this immediately!

Click ‘Upgrade My Account‘ to add a payment method:

secure wordpress hosting

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Get your free migration. Once you’ve added a payment method you can claim your free migration. Go to the grid icon at the top of the screen, then click on ‘Add-ons‘:

wordpress hosting plans

Find ‘Application Migration’ on the list, then click the pencil icon on the right to initiate it:

cloud wordpress hosting

You will now be taken through a series of prompts for information that enables the migration to take place. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but you might not be familiar with certain aspects. If this is the case, just hit up customer support who will explain what to do.

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Buy a domain (if you haven’t got one already). I’ve used most of the registrars over the years and there is little difference between them.

Domain.com is one of the best-known in the world and their customer support should be able to help you with the next step.

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Connect your domain. This is a straight-forward task that takes no time at all if you know what to do. It involves a simple edit of the DNS settings (specifically the A record) of your domain name.

Altering the A record on your domain means we can make it point to the new web server you just created at Cloudways. This means your website (i.e. content) is shown when someone types it in a web browser

Step 1. – add the domain name to your WordPress installation.

When logged in to your account, click on ‘Applications‘ (top of the screen) then click on your WordPress installation as named on sign up.

Ignore any pop-ups, then click on ‘Domain Management‘ in the tabs to the left. Add your domain name under ‘Primary Domain’, then click ‘Save Changes‘:

Once it has finished ‘updating the primary domain’, click on the ‘Access Details‘ tab on the left to check the change has taken effect:

best wordpress hosting 2020

Step 2. – Get the IP address of your Cloudways web server.

Remain in the ‘Access Details‘ tab. You’ll find the IP address listed under ‘Application Credentials’ on the right:

Step 3. – To finish, the IP address of your Cloudways server needs to be added to the A record of your domain.

Fundamentally, there is only one way to do this but domain registrars have user interfaces that differ slightly meaning you need to follow their specific instructions:

Registered your domain elsewhere?

Simply search Google for ‘How to alter an A record‘ along with the company name where you bought the domain. If there is no obvious walkthrough, just contact their customer support to do it for you (they’ll need the IP address of your Cloudways server).

Once an A record has been changed it can take up to 48 hours to take effect but in my experience is much quicker.

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Install an SSL certificate – This is essential and Google does not like a site without one. The good news is Cloudways provides them for free and it’s a one-click install.

Like the previous tasks, click ‘Applications‘ (top of the screen), then click your WordPress installation. Under application management, click the ‘SSL Certificate‘ tab on the left.

Add your email and primary domain then click ‘Install Certificate‘:

All done – set up is complete.

If you’re keen to get cracking you can access the WordPress login screen directly from your Cloudways account:

4. WordPress Hosting Providers to Avoid

Most of us know the saying ‘if something appears too good to be true it probably is’. Never is this more applicable than with the majority of WordPress hosting providers.

These companies sell on price, not on value. Charging low prices means they simply can’t provide the level of performance required in the modern day. 

cloudways

Bluehost and Hostgator are two of the most well-known names that do this, but there are literally dozens of others.

Cloudways

People complain bitterly about some of the lesser well-known names, such as Inmotion, Site5, and iPage. I also wouldn’t touch GoDaddy because whilst their customer support has improved massively, their overall hosting performance has not.

cloudways hosting

I can’t for the life in me understand what companies like this are trying to achieve. It seems their commercial strategy is to acquire new customers quicker than they lose existing ones. How else can their behaviour be explained?

It’s paramount you get hosting right and that means spending enough money. I’ve rescued so many people from bad WordPress hosting. Every one of them, bar none, regretted not paying more for top-quality from the start.

Avoid this lot at all costs.

5. Criteria for the Best WordPress Hosting

Let’s start by establishing what good looks like.

Any hosting provider worth your money has to offer the following:

  • Performance. The number one reason why a website performs slowly is where it’s hosted. Top hosting companies provide rapid server response times and 1-2 second page load speeds all day every day.
  • Authentic Customer Support. Having a dedicated support team who partner with you to help fix things (if humanly possible) is crucial. I’ve been a web professional for years; but, I’d never go with any web host that didn’t have top quality support in place.
  • Security & Reliability. Any hosting for WordPress means taking security and up-time very seriously. What’s more, they must continually maintain their infrastructure to ensure a safe place for customer websites. They’ll also provide a free SSL certificate and robust backup solution.
  • Scalability – A WordPress hosting provider has to cater to your requirements now but offer scale-able resources for what’s required tomorrow. Being able to add RAM or another CPU with a few clicks is a big deal when traffic increases. Trust me!
  • Social Proof – Most hosting companies (including the awful ones) advertise they meet, and exceed, all of the above criteria. The good news is sites like Trustpilot, as well as social media, meaning there is no hiding the truth.

6. WordPress Hosting FAQs

Do I need hosting for a WordPress website?

Yes.

Any website on the internet, WordPress or otherwise, needs web hosting. A hosting server is where your website files are stored. Ergo, every website that you see online uses a web hosting provider.

What about free WordPress hosting?

If you pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys. Goodness knows what you’ll get if you don’t pay anything at all!

On a more serious note, free hosting providers can shut down your website at any time without any notification. Avoid any company that offers free hosting if you’re serious about your site.

Do my domain and hosting need to be with the same provider?

No. You can purchase your domain from a domain name registrar like Domain.com, and use one of the WordPress hosting providers listed in this post.

However, if you don’t have a domain already, then it’s easier to use the same provider (especially since many offer a free domain on sign up).

Can I use these providers for an online store?

Yes. All WordPress hosting companies recommended here offer SSL certificates which is what you need for running an eCommerce website.

How do I install WordPress on my hosting account?

Every WordPress hosting provider recommended here comes with 1-click WordPress install.

For help with Cloudways – click here, and here to install WordPress on SiteGround.

How much traffic can these WordPress hosting companies handle?

The amount of traffic your website can handle really depends on the type of hosting it operates on.

Most shared hosting plans can comfortably handle up to 1000 visitors per day as long as your website is optimized for performance. Historically, people would often start on this kind of plan then upgrade to higher performing hosting when their site got some traffic.

But, things have changed nowadays.

To be honest, I’d skip a shared plan altogether now that Cloudways offers the best cloud hosting around for as little as $10 per month.

Can I switch my hosting provider later on?

Yes, you can switch providers for any reason you choose providing your initial contract has expired, otherwise, you might face fees. Most WordPress hosting companies offer free migration services which make the process fairly smooth.

Does the location of the hosting data centre matter?

Some hosting companies give an option to choose your data centre. Its location does make a small difference to performance in specific geographic locations because the data has further to travel.

If the majority of your audience is in the United States, then you want to choose a data centre in the USA. If a large portion of your audience is in Europe, then you should choose a data centre in Europe.

Note – you can always use a WordPress CDN to speed up your site for various geographic locations.

Do I need any hosting add ons offered on sign up?

No.

Unclick them all, get your site going and then see if they’re needed. All the options are available all of the time, and 99% of it is unnecessary.

Do WordPress hosting companies offer custom domain email addresses?

Yes, they do although set-up differs from one company to another depending on the application they use (Google, Office 365 etc). Hit up their knowledge base for self-help tutorials before you sign up to make sure everything you need is possible.

Once you’ve got a plan in place, just ask support to guide you through it. They’ll always help because it is in their best interest to do so.

Do these WordPress hosting companies offer website backups?

Yes, every hosting company out there supposedly keeps daily backups of your website. Most of them probably do, but…

You can never be too careful so make sure you use a plugin like Updraft Plus to make your own copies.

Are there other WordPress hosting providers that are not listed here?

Yes, there are literally thousands of WordPress hosting companies out there, but there is no point in reviewing them all. This is because most of them are rubbish, but also because it would lead to more confusion and impede your decision making rather than enable it.

Which are the best WordPress hosting companies?

Our top 3 choices for the best WordPress hosting companies are:

  1. Cloudways – Best for Performance, Value and Overall Awesomeness
  2. SiteGround – Best for Customer Support

Takeaway

Hopefully, you’re still with me, and we now have Cloudways, or one of the other top providers, in common as well.

I feel so passionately about doing things properly and get so frustrated when people can be misled by soulless web hosts. Poor performance, and the associated stress, doesn’t happen with the best WordPress hosting; it’s possible to focus entirely on being successful.

Right now, I’m focused on growing this blog and developing a sophisticated website – what about you?

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