The 8 Best WordPress Hosting Platforms
WordPress is a stunning platform. There is no denying that.
But how do you make the most out of it? Good theme and quality plugins are nice to have, but it is the quality of the host that makes the real difference.
That’s why I paid for, tested and re-tested the best WordPress hosting providers, and created this list of the top managed WP services you can find in 2019.
Here, at a glance you can see:
As is customary on Hosting Tribunal, I purchased (managed and unmanaged) WordPress packages from popular web hosting companies and hooked them up to extensive monitoring to deliver the most representable and objective results possible.
The hard data collected through four separate performance tests and an additional uptime monitor will help you navigate among the multitude of WP hosts and choose the fastest and most reliable option.
The Best WordPress Hosting for 2019
1. InMotion Hosting Managed WordPress
Best WordPress hosting solution overall
Frontend speed: 0.68s
Backend speed: 0.71s
Price: From $7.95
InMotion Hosting is one of the most versatile independent web hosting providers. I’ve been monitoring its biggest shared hosting plan for nearly a year now and I must say that its performance has been nothing short of spectacular.
It clocks incredible speeds, both frontend and backend, and is up for 99.94% of the time.
InMotion is a hosting provider with excellent technical support and with, hands down, the best knowledge base around.
Something that sets InMotion apart of the competition is the wide variety of managed WordPress solutions, which makes it suitable for mostly any pocket. The company has six different packages, which scale up nicely.
The plans start at $7.95 (when prepaid) and all of them besides the smallest one come with Jetpack Premium. On top of that, four out of the six offerings include advanced caching pool, which speeds things up considerably.
Another unique feature is the BoldGrid website builder. I admit, my exposure to it is relatively limited, but from fiddling around it looks functional and super easy to use. It works within the WordPress framework and eases up the process of website creation manifold.
BoldGrid is not a perfect solution, but it can help you learn the basic or, if you are beyond that point, craft a website very quickly. InMotion Hosting continues to improve its WordPress site building tool.
- Stellar performance
- Superb support
- A wide variety of plans
- Advanced features
- 90-day money back guarantee
- Proprietary website builder that works on top of WP
- The two smallest plans feel a bit limited
2. WP Engine
Best managed WordPress hosting
Frontend speed: 0.63s
Backend speed: 0.11s
Price: From $35
If money were not an issue, WP Engine would easily top any list of the best and fastest WordPress hosting solutions.
The company caters exclusively after WordPress sites. Its service is tailored with precision to make the CMS work to perfection.
The support team are very well-versed in all things WordPress as well.
All this spells two things: sublime performance and impeccable uptime. Seriously, this is a perfectly tuned premium WordPress platform.
However, such highly-calibrated service has a couple of drawbacks. One stems from the fact that money often matters a lot. For $35 per month, you can get a single site hosted over the WP Engine and that makes the service rather inadequate for people who are just starting.
Webmasters whose sites are growing also could find a reason to complain from the pricing policy of the company as WP Engine limits the number of monthly visitors per plan. To cut a long story short, this is an awesome service that costs some top dollar.
Another thing that may be a drawback for some is the company’s list of banned plugins. Quite a few WP extensions cannot be installed on WP Engine. The WP Engine team have plenty of reasons to deny some popular add-ons and there are alternatives, of course, but if you are used to a certain setup you might need to learn new tricks over at WP Engine.
All the same, WP Engine has probably the best WordPress hosting package money can buy. Only that it requires a lot of money, indeed.
- Unmatched performance
- Knowledgeable support
- Staging environment
- Very expensive
- Plans limit monthly visitors
Best for entry level
Frontend speed: 0.68s
Backend speed: 0.18s
Price: From $3.95
SiteGround is an official WP host.
I could leave this brief evaluation of the company’s worth at that, but the truth is that there are two other official hosts (both are listed below) and they don’t fare equally well.
SiteGround combines superb performance with affordable price and arguably the best support team in the hosting industry.
The latter is particularly impressive because the customer support maintains consistently high levels of customer satisfaction throughout the years. They were some of the best when SiteGround had below 500,000 customers and continue to excel now when the company serves over 2 million users.
Now, SiteGround doesn’t have dedicated WordPress plans per se but every shared plan is optimized to work well with the popular CMS. WordPress users benefit greatly from the proprietary WP caching plugin, which does its job perfectly.
The extremely well-designed server architecture of the company delivers consistently high speeds and uptime. I tested extensively the backend of my WordPress site hosted over at SiteGround and the results are marginally slower than those boasted by WP Engine. The introductory price is about a tenth, though.
Granted, on the frontend SiteGround is marginally slower, but the displayed speeds are still well-within the loading speed limits recommended by Google.
- Excellent performance
- The best support
- Relatively high renewal fees
4. Bluehost Managed WordPress
Best for multiple sites
Frontend speed: 0.68s
Backend speed: 0.60s
Price: From $17.83
Bluehost is rallying up. The company is another official WordPress host, but it underwent a serious slump since EIG took over (no surprise there).
The surprise is that it improves steadily over the last couple of years. I had the chance to review Bluehost on several occasions and every time the services offered and provided are climbing up a notch.
Currently, the fully managed WordPress hosting Bluehost has tailored is quite impressive. All three plans come with unlimited sites, unlimited domains, no bandwidth restrictions, and more. (Granted, nothing is truly unlimited on a web server, but unlimited is certainly more than one, which is what many managed WP basic plans offer.)
It feels a bit like shared hosting on steroids and performs accordingly. It clocks in very quick loading times and stays online with impressive consistency.
Throw in the mix the vast array of features and you have an impressive WordPress hosting package. Is it the best one available? Not quite.
Albeit improving, the Bluehost support team still have plenty of room for growth.
- Great performance
- Very generous plans
- Plenty of add-ons and perks
- Not the most affordable if you wish to host a single site
- Support could be better
5. A2 Managed WordPress
Best value for money
Frontend speed: 0.77s
Backend speed: 0.71s
Price: From €10.59
Friendly and geeky, A2 is a very sympathetic web hosting provider. A relatively small company with a very large portfolio of services, A2 offers a well-crafted managed package that deserves a rightful place among the leading WordPress web hosting providers.
As is the case with all A2 hosting plans, you can find a wide array of features, including perks like lazy loading images, built-in caching, and a money back guarantee that never ends. The latter, in particular, is rarely seen today, regardless of the size of the host.
One thing you should note is that many hosts that don’t have a dedicated WP package often slap the term “WordPress hosting” to their shared hosting plans to lure in new customers. A2 Hosting does the same, to an extent.
When you go to the WP hosting page of the company you see the three standard shared hosting plans and the managed solutions.
The managed plans are largely the same as the Turbo plan but have a Jetpack Personal as addition, and site staging. Nice touch.
Only that this “free” WordPress perk is not really free because the managed plans cost more than the Turbo plan.
Do you get better performance? I’d say it is roughly the same; after all, the shared plans A2 Hosting has to offer are optimized for WP too.
Overall, A2 has a well-designed package that is set up for optimal performance with minimum fuss.
The support is super good too.
Just don’t go for the more expensive options unless you really like Jetpack and can’t do without easy site staging.
- Decent performance
- Relatively low initial fees
- Anytime money back guarantee
- Great support
- High renewal fees
6. DreamHost Managed WordPress
Good value for money for a single site
Frontend Speed: 0.61s
Backend Speed: 0.30s
Price: From $16.95
DreamHost is the third official WordPress hosting provider. Its DreamPress solution resembles a lot WP Engine’s – suits a small number of sites, promises great performance, and comes with a premium, WP-specialized support.
Granted, the price over at DreamHost is about half, but the speed is not on par either, so you get what you pay for. DreamPress is fast but not as fast as WP Engine.
On the other hand, the uptime is impeccable and the support is quite good.
DreamHost likes to do things in its own ways, as evident by the custom control panel. It is quite functional and well-structured, but it is not cPanel so be prepared for a small learning curve.
DreamPress is a great value for money for those who have an established WordPress site and want to take it to the next level.
- Great performance
- Relatively affordable
- Excellent support
- Speed could be slightly better
Frontend speed: 1.01s
Backend speed: 1.18s
Price: From $2.95
FastComet is fast but not the fastest WordPress host out there. All the same, the performance of WordPress on its servers is not bad at all.
Its relatively good speed is backed up by excellent uptime and very strong support team that create a rather pleasant hosting experience.
I probed them on several occasions and they were always quick to answer and willing to help. More importantly, they were honest, admitting when they were uncertain of the answer. This happened on two occasions and both times the support agents verified the information in less than two minutes.
It must be said that FastComet doesn’t offer a truly managed WordPress solution. Instead, it adds WP optimizations to the shared plans so that WP users can benefit from advanced security, constant monitoring, and dedicated WordPress support team too.
Throw in the insanely low price – the lowest on the list – and you can get yourself a very decent service with minimal expenses.
FastComet is a cheap WordPress hosting provider that packs a serious punch.
- Great uptime
- Very affordable
- Excellent support
- All plans allow only a single website
- Speed could be better
8. HostGator WordPress Cloud Hosting
Very affordable for 3 sites
Frontend speed: 0.89s
Backend speed: 7.93s
Price: From $5.95
HostGator hasn’t been so impressive overall but its WordPress platform has its merits. The greatest advantage is that if you want to host 3 WP sites you could do so for only $9.95/mo if you prepay.
Additional features like SiteLock and CodeGuard round up a rather good offer.
HostGator clocks in decent times and maintains a very high uptime too, which is always nice to see. Still, the backend remains questionable. I’ve tested the standard shared plans and the HostGator Cloud, in both instances the backend struggles with more than 30 concurrent users.
Speaking of the HostGator Cloud, it must be said that the company’s WordPress offering is the very same thing. It is just marketed differently.
Were it not for the mediocre support HostGator could have a real chance to qualify among the best WordPress hosts.
- Decent performance
- Relatively affordable
- Interesting add-ons
- Support could be better
- Backend speed could be better
There you have ‘em – the best WordPress hosting providers of 2019.
Here’s what factors I considered when ranking them.
Ranking Process for the Best WordPress Hosts
I’ve been monitoring these WordPress hosting providers for a while now.
Let me tell you, sorting them out in a meaningful and just ranking is not an easy task. All entries on the list have their merits that stretch beyond the benchmark tests.
Still, reliable and swift performance, together with quality support, are things that are universally appreciated online, by webmasters, end users, and search engines alike.
I applied the ranking methodology I use for my shared hosting reviews:
- I study the web hosting provider – I examine the site of each hosting company I review to see how informative it is. Among other things, I study the way hosting solutions are described and offered, as misleading marketing is a common practice in the industry. Closer examination often uncovers hidden fees and other unsavory surprises. Transparent and fair terms of service factor in, as well as some meta-analysis of the overall reputation of the host under scrutiny. Being years in the loop I am fairly familiar with the hosting providers, but that doesn’t stop me from ready user reviews and discussions on Reddit.
- I sign up – I signed up anonymously for all hosting companies listed here. This is the only way to test properly their services, check out the customer area, billing practices, and the overall ease of doing business with each web host.
- I examine the control panel – cPanel may be the most popular control panel, but it is not the only one. Companies like DreamHost and WP Engine have proprietary solutions. And even when it comes to cPanel, different hosts set it up in various ways, enabling certain features, disabling others, and creating custom themes that make it feel alien at first. Of course, the interface is not the only thing that matters. Speed and responsiveness play a major role too, as dealing with sluggish control panels makes site management a real pain.
- I set up a WP site – I set up a small WordPress site and begin monitoring its uptime and speed. Unlike in the shared web hosting reviews here on Hosting Tribunal, I won’t be posting detailed monthly statistics. The format of this page doesn’t allow for that much information but I will still keep up the average speed and uptime on display.
- I torment the technical support team – I come up with questions throughout the previous steps of the review process and don’t hesitate to bother whomever I can. More often than not, the hapless lasses and lads who get the dubious pleasure of answering my queries belong to the technical support team, even though sales and billing agents also get a chance to shine. However, since we are talking about the best WordPress hosting solutions, I ask more technically challenging questions to see whether the support know the CMS.
- Final evaluation and report – At the end, after checking pricing policies, special features, ease of use, support, and performance I craft my data-driven reviews. For the time being, they are relatively short, but if you are interested I can expand them into fully-fledged detailed WordPress hosting reviews. Just drop me a line below.
My list of the best WordPress hosting providers is updated on a regular basis.
However, if you want to choose a WordPress hosting service that is not on the list, here’s what you should look for.
What Is WordPress Hosting?
Different hosts tailor different WordPress solutions, but a managed WP hosting package must do one thing: update the WordPress installation.
Another thing most managed hosts do is install the CMS for you, once your account with them is activated and a domain name is associated with it.
Now, updating the core WordPress installation might not sound like much but over time it saves a lot of time and increases the security.
Also, keep in mind that these automatic updates are the most basic characteristic, the common denominator of a managed solution.
Some of the best WordPress hosts create the perfect conditions for WP sites to thrive by optimizing the server environment and handpicking the right plugins for their setup.
How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting Platform
Now, benchmarks, uptime, support, and features are all nice and dandy, but they can be rather meaningless without adequate context.
Proper context is something only you can create.
Bear with me for a second.
The decision to make a list of the 8 best WordPress hosts was arbitrary. It could have easily been top 20 or top 30. There are many hosting providers with managed WP products. In turn, there are many products because there are countless clients with vastly different needs.
Indeed, mostly everyone wants good speed and 100% uptime that are backed up by courteous and helpful support teams and cost pennies.
Alas, such combo is almost impossible to find. I mean, SiteGround largely fits that bill, but its hosting packages come with limited space and lack some advanced WordPress features. InMotion Hosting, on the other hand, has a wide variety of plans that cover all bases but they cost more.
Do you see where I am going?
As is always the case with hosting packages, you must come up with a list of criteria before actually selecting a host.
If you are looking for a WordPress hosting comparison without any scope in mind, you are very likely to make a suboptimal choice.
The good news is that you probably already have a website, which simplifies things to a degree. Because of its steeper-than-average price managed WP hosting is rarely the best option for brand new sites.
(Indeed, there are free WordPress hosting platforms, but I wouldn’t recommend them for anything other than staging and testing.)
In a nutshell, if you have a WP website that performs well enough to need an upgrade:
- Check the analytic tools you have and use the data to determine what hosting package suits you best. Pay particular attention to the traffic, its growth trends, and whether it spikes up in certain periods.
- Consult a web designer if you can – or read plugin documentation carefully – to see what advanced features might be needed to make your site purr.
- Study the web hosts on the list above to see what dedicated resources they promise with each plan.
- Read a Reddit discussion or two about WordPress hosting solutions. If Reddit is to libertarian for your tastes, check out sites like TrustPilot for user reviews.
- Consider your budget.
Is Managed WordPress Hosting Suitable for Brand New Sites?
Typically, the cost of WordPress hosting exceeds that of the run of the mill shared hosting plans. That’s often cited as the main reason why such solutions are not the best choice for brand new webmasters.
There are two caveats to this argument. First off, some of the WordPress hosting offerings cost roughly the same as shared packages. A2 and SiteGround are prime examples of this.
Second, dedicated WP hosting packages are an investment. They may cost more but in turn provide greater convenience, security, performance, and technical expertise. These four benefits are worth considering.
All managed WordPress solutions update the core WP installation automatically, which saves time and reduces security risks. The vast majority of core updates address security issues and having your site patched automatically is always nice. And while a single WordPress update rarely takes more than a few minutes, time accumulates quickly as WP sees frequent updates.
Early on in the lifecycle of a website performance doesn’t really matter. New sites are relatively small and don’t have any meaningful influx of visitors. But when things begin moving upward performance is all that matters. Users are notoriously impatient and sluggish web pages are the strongest deterrent of online success.
Of course, you can always consider calling to your side the expertise of optimization masters like WP Buffs, but if you have highly qualified technical expertise to begin with all bumps on the road could be hardly noticeable. After all, a knowledgeable support team can prevent issues proactively and resolve problems quickly.
The last two factors can be a real blessing and help a website flourish faster than average.
Still, I wouldn’t recommend managed WordPress hosting is not the best for absolute beginners. People who are running their very first site have plenty to learn and would be better off learning the basics with a regular shared packaged.
However, webmasters who know what it takes to run a site could benefit from the added value quality WordPress solutions provide.
Instead of Goodbye…
If you are yet to decide which WordPress package is the best for you, make sure to check my ranking again soon. I will keep on adding managed and unmanaged WordPress hosting providers.
Also, keep in mind that my test sites are without any optimizations. Once you create a site and install the necessary caching plugins and image optimizers, setup CDN, and enable GZIP you are very are likely to see a positive change in performance and sheer speed output.
In any case, I hope my ranking of the best WordPress hosting solutions has given you some direction where to search and what to look for.
Q: Which hosting is best for WordPress – Linux or Windows?
A: Linux, definitely. Linux is the natural environment of WP. Just a few years ago WordPress on Windows was not even a remote possibility. Today, Windows servers have come a long way and can handle PHP and MySQL remarkably well, given the historical context. Still, as far as WordPress is concerned, they are not Linux.
Q: What is the best way to choose a WordPress host?
A: Consider your needs and choose accordingly. That’s the best answer I can give you as it depends largely on your personal and/or business needs. Of course, read reviews such as ours, sign up for a bit if you have the time (most host give generous money back guarantees), test for yourself, and see what you like and what not. But, first of all, consider what you are looking for and how much you are willing to pay in the long run. Website hosting, WordPress or not, is not a short-term game.
Q: Do you have to pay for hosting with WordPress?
A: You don’t if you don’t want to. See, WordPress comes in two flavors: the hosted WordPress.com and the self-hosted WordPress CMS that can be downloaded from WordPress.org. In both cases, you can go for free hosting but free hosting solutions, whatever they may be, are limiting. Usually, very much so. The WordPress.com hosting platform allows you to have a site without paying a dime, but the functionality is restricted and so are the monetization options. You can also install the WordPress CMS on a free web hosting provider but you are likely to get no real-time technical support and relatively poor uptime and loading speed.
Q: Can you set up WordPress without a host?
A: Yes, you can set up WordPress without a host or internet connection, for that matter. Setting up the CMS on your local machine is a thing, indeed. It can serve several purposes, one of which is learning the basics without paying for hosting (even though free hosting could do the same). Depending on the OS you are using, you might need these instructions for Mac or these guidelines if you are running Windows 10. Ubuntu users might find these commands helpful.
Q: Which hosting service is best for WordPress?
A: WP Engine is the fastest and most secure managed WordPress hosting provider. But that’s almost like saying the Lamborghini is the fastest and most comfortable car. It probably is but it is an unrealistic choice for the majority of people. WP Engine performs stunningly, but it costs accordingly. That’s why I put InMotion Hosting on the top of my list as it combines speed, reliability, and price in a more reasonable manner. Otherwise, if money is not an issue (and won’t be several years down the road), WP Engine is a prime choice that outperforms any other entry in my list of the best WordPress hosting providers.