WordPress was initially launched as a blog publishing tool back in 2003. It was a very light and simple piece of software in its early stages, and any regular shared web hosting service could efficiently run it without consuming too much server resources.
Well, things have changed over the years and WordPress has dramatically evolved into the most powerful and popular content management system (CMS) that is used by millions of websites of different genres and purposes. But the expanded functionality of the platform came at a cost; it made it significantly more resource hungry.
An average shared web hosting plan can handle a relatively small WordPress website with a few hundred to a few thousand visitors a month, but for an active business website, you’d definitely need a more advanced hosting service with adequate server resources.
Most small business owners opt for VPS or managed WordPress hosting that can meet the high resource requirements of an e-commerce website. There are so many web hosts out there that offer such services, and sifting through the endless choices you have can be a real pain in the brain!
Every host claims to be the best. Each of them has plenty of 5-star reviews to boast about. And, to make things even more bewildering for you, almost all web hosting companies have some negative reviews. That’s right, even the very best of them can’t make every single customer of theirs happy, so you will almost always find a few negative experiences posted online. Unless the feedback about a certain provider is overwhelmingly negative, a few bad reviews here and there is quite normal.
There are two major aspects that make a hosting provider reliable; the first is that they use powerful, secure, well-maintained, speed-optimized and CDN-supported servers. The second important thing to look for is a knowledgeable and professional technical support team that is available around the clock to help resolve any issues that arise.
No one can really tell you which web host is the best for your small business. You have your own requirements, expectations and budget, and you are going to have to make your own choice based on those. You can, however, get a few recommendations to look into, and that’s what’s coming next.
In order to find a genuine host you can trust, you’ll usually have to do some digging beyond the few overly marketed companies that keep surfacing in search engine results and review sites. So without further ado, the following are arguably three of the best, fastest and most reliable WordPress hosting services you can use for a small business website. They are also a great choice for any type of WordPress website in general.
1. ScalaHosting (Shared & VPS Hosting)
ScalaHosting offers both shared and cloud VPS web hosting services at very reasonable prices. Their shared plans are perfect for beginners who are launching a new website, while the VPS plans are more advanced and suitable for users with large or multiple websites.
They provide both managed and self-managed VPS hosting, with the latter requiring more technical knowledge and experience. Their plans are readily scalable so you can upgrade or downgrade as needed. As for the control panel, they offer you the choice between cPanel and SPanel, which is their own custom-made control panel that is very similar to cPanel but comes completely free (big savings).
ScalaHosting does not offer fully managed WordPress hosting, but they do have a custom platform called SWordPress Manager that makes installing, updating and securing your WordPress site very simple and easy. Each plan also comes with an advanced security system called SShield, which detects and blocks security threats on the server.
What really makes ScalaHosting one of the best hosting companies out there, though, is their fast and knowledgeable support team that is available around the clock via live chat and email. Support is the most crucial aspect that can make or break a web hosting company, and ScalaHosting does an excellent job at providing prompt support service.
- Secure and performance-optimized servers.
- Very affordable shared and cloud VPS packages with generous server resources.
- Free domain name for the first year.
- Free SSL certificate (Let’s Encrypt SSL).
- Dedicated IP address with all VPS plans.
- Cloudflare CDN integration for free with WordPress plans.
- Daily backups stored on a remote server.
- Experienced and helpful support that is available 24/7 via live chat.
- They don’t currently have a fully managed WordPress hosting solution so you should be familiar with managing WP yourself.
- No support over the phone, but the live chat option makes up for it.
2. BigScoots (Managed WordPress Hosting)
If you are looking for a fully managed WordPress hosting provider, but not quite sold on the few oversold choices that most “reviews” keep putting up, then check out BigScoots! These guys really know what they’re doing and they’ve been doing it for years.
Their expert support team is available 24/7 and can be reached via live chat or email. They provide real USA-based support, not outsourced to useless copy/paste agents like many other companies do! Whether you are installing a new website or migrating from another host, they make it an easy and smooth process.
BigScoots’ managed WordPress packages come with ample resources and are quite permissive, with no cap on the total number of monthly website visits available with each plan. Their Business and Enterprise plans are designed for large e-commerce websites and each comes with a fully dedicated server.
The company proactively monitors your website’s uptime and performance, and they have a 99.99% uptime guarantee. Security features include DDoS protection, website firewall, malware scanning and brute force protection.
- Fully managed and scalable WordPress hosting.
- Hands-on technical support from real experts available 24/7.
- Abundant resource allocations for large e-commerce websites.
- Email hosting included (not many managed WP hosts provide email services).
- They completely and quickly handle migrations from other hosts.
- An easy-to-use control panel with site staging tool.
- Cloudflare CDN and multiple caching systems.
- Prices are on the higher end, but their premium service and support could justify the cost.
- Not many self-help articles (the blog contains some useful guides though).
3. Rocket (Managed WordPress Hosting)
Rocket is another premium host that specializes in one service only, and that is managed WordPress hosting. They have built a secure and speed-optimized solution based on the Cloudflare Enterprise content delivery network (CDN).
They employ a global network of servers with caching and an optimized stack to ensure fast loading of your website no matter where the visitor is located. Their servers are secured by real-time malware scanning provided by Imunify360, as well as Cloudflare’s own firewall (WAF) which protects against DDoS attacks and different online threats and vulnerabilities.
This company seems to take their business and customers seriously. They have a dedicated support team that is always available (day and night) through live chat. Even the CEO of the company (Ben Gabler) appears in chat sometimes. Most other companies hide their true identity and leave their customers hassling with clueless offshore support agents — but not this one.
On the downside, their first-rate service doesn’t come cheap, so you should be prepared to pay more than you usually would for regular shared hosting. In comparison to other managed WordPress hosts, though, their pricing is quite reasonable given all the features and resources that come with each plan. They currently offer a discount (two months for free) on annual subscriptions.
- Optimized server security and stack built specifically for WordPress sites.
- A user-friendly control panel with staging, file manager, etc.
- Built-in CDN and caching for fast page loading worldwide.
- The option to choose from 20+ server locations around the world.
- Free, assisted website migration from other companies.
- Pre-installed WooCommerce for online stores (optional).
- Automatic daily backups that are kept for 14 days.
- No email services — you can use a third-party email service like Google Workspace or Zoho.
- Documentation is lacking, but you can get real-time help from their 24/7 live chat.
Managed vs. Unmanaged WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting has become increasingly popular recently, especially among small business owners who aren’t necessarily tech-savvy when it comes to working with web servers and all the technical details of WordPress. Managed plans take care of most of the technical aspects of running a WordPress website, such as security, performance, uptime monitoring, caching, updates, backups, etc.
On the other hand, unmanaged (or self-managed) WordPress hosting means that you (or someone you hire) will have to take care of those things, and make sure that your website remains functional and secure at all times. This can be time-consuming and you can possibly run into many technical difficulties that may lead to downtime or loss of certain functions of your website.
One of the most crucial advantages of fully managed WordPress hosting is that these providers typically design their server stack and architecture to work in an optimal way to serve WordPress websites. This leads to significant performance improvement and faster loading of pages compared to generic hosting services that aren’t particularly optimized for WP.
Another important reason to choose a managed solution is the superior level of technical support that these companies usually provide. You’d mostly be dealing with skilled support agents who have the required expertise to promptly identify and fix any technical problems you encounter with your website. You don’t normally get the same level of hands-on tech support with regular hosting services, most of which outsource their support operations to inexperienced or poorly-trained agents.
With managed WP hosting, you are not only paying for server resources, but rather a complete solution that includes advanced security features, better speed and performance, and premium support that proactively monitors performance and quickly fixes issues whenever they occur.
On the negative side, managed services cost significantly more than general web hosting services. Another potential disadvantage is that managed hosting comes with more restricted server access, so you may not be able to change certain configurations of your server or associated services.
If you have the technical know-how and the time to install, customize, secure and maintain WordPress on your own, then you can save a decent amount of money by using self-managed shared or VPS hosting. So, weigh the pros and cons of each option, and make the choice that best suits your needs and budget.
One last thing to note is that the meaning of managed WordPress differs from one company to another, so make sure you thoroughly read the service description so you know exactly what’s included and what’s not. It’s also a good idea to contact support prior to signing up and ask some random technical questions to get an idea about their response time and professionalism. Try to contact them outside of business hours, like in the middle of the night! That’s when you can usually tell a genuine support team from an inept one.