Most newly created websites these days use WordPress as their content management system (CMS). According to statistics gathered by W3Techs, nearly half of all websites use WordPress, which is by far the most popular CMS in the world with a current market share of more than 60%.
Given the high flexibility and numerous advantages that WP offers, it shouldn’t be a hard choice to go with it as your site’s platform. However, the same cannot be said about picking a hosting service for your site. With so many options out there, even experienced webmasters can get muddled trying to settle on the most suitable hosting provider.
When it comes to web hosting, the word “best” is used very liberally. Everyone and every review site has their own list of the best companies that they talk up. Some give you honest opinions while others are just trying to sell anything!
Pinpointing the single best host may be an impossible task given the various technical requirements and expectations of each user. Even the most reputable companies will inevitably disappoint some of their customers in one way or another.
The key things to look for in a WordPress hosting service are: A solid network infrastructure and equipment, secure servers, fast SSD storage, different plans with the ability to scale up/down, guaranteed uptime, a backup service, reasonable prices, and most importantly, a quick and helpful technical support team.
With all these in mind, the following are three of the best and most trusted hosting providers for WordPress sites that offer different plans and options. All of them are based in the USA, but they give you the option to choose your server location from different data centers in different countries.
1. ChemiCloud (Best Shared WordPress Hosting)
Like the name suggests, ChemiCloud offers cloud-based hosting services including shared and VPS solutions. Cloud servers provide protection against sudden hardware failure and rarely experience any downtime. ChemiCloud has a 99.99% uptime guarantee, and in case your site’s uptime falls below this limit, they will compensate you with additional free months of service.
They don’t provide managed WordPress hosting, but they do have WordPress plans that are basically the same as their regular shared plans. An automated 1-click WP installer is included, and a staging environment can be set up using Softaculous through cPanel.
Each user account on the server is isolated using CageFS, which improves security and prevents various threats coming from other accounts. Some advanced security features and enhanced caching are included with the Turbo package.
In case you need higher performance and dedicated resources, ChemiCloud has very reliable VPS services that are fully managed. Each VPS account comes with a free cPanel Solo license and a free LiteSpeed web server license. Additional licenses and other add-ons are optionally available.
The entry-level Starter plan costs $1.58 per month when signing up for a triennial billing term and $2.97 per month with a biennial term. But take note that these are the current discounted prices that only apply to the first invoice, after which regular renewal prices will apply. Monthly billing is only available for managed VPS, which starts at $79.95 per month.
Fast LiteSpeed web server and cache
Highly reliable and redundant cloud infrastructure
Free SSL certificate by Let’s Encrypt
Free Cloudflare CDN integration
Free domain name for the life of your subscription
Website firewall and advanced security tools (vary per plan)
Automatic daily backups with instant restore function
Quick technical support via their 24/7 live chat
No managed WP hosting, but a one-click installer included
Monthly billing is only available for VPS, not for shared plans
What Sets ChemiCloud Apart?
The high availability and redundancy of cloud servers, coupled with the faster performance of the LiteSpeed web server and around-the-clock technical support make ChemiCloud’s services a great bang for the buck. This company has a TrustPilot rating of 4.9 out of 5, making it one of the top-rated companies in the Internet & Software category.
2. ScalaHosting (Best VPS Hosting for WordPress)
ScalaHosting offers different website hosting services, but their main strength and focus is cloud-based, high-performance VPS hosting. They also have regular shared services that are more affordable and suitable for smaller sites.
If you have a small business site, ScalaHosting’s managed VPS is a great option with guaranteed premium resources and guaranteed uptime. The plans are instantly scalable in case you need to upgrade or downgrade your resources at any time.
Their shared plans come with cPanel, while with VPS you get to choose between cPanel and SPanel. The latter is a custom-built control panel that has similar features to those of cPanel, but its main advantage is that it comes at no extra cost. cPanel’s high licensing fees are a major drawback, so the free SPanel alternative can save you a lot of money down the road.
WordPress plans have both shared and VPS options and include automatic installation, updates, daily backups, SSL, staging and cloning, and many other features. If you want the fastest server configuration then choose a VPS plan with the optional LiteSpeed web server add-on. A LiteSpeed web server with the free LiteSpeed Cache plugin can make a huge difference in page loading speed.
The technical support team is always (literally) available via live chat. They are very helpful and quick to handle support requests.
Shared plans start from $3.95 per month with a 3-year billing cycle, or $6.95 per month with annual billing. These are the current discounted prices that only apply to the first billing cycle and then normal prices apply. They don’t have a monthly billing option for shared hosting, but you can opt for a trial month. VPS prices depend on whether you choose managed or unmanaged (self-managed) VPS as well as the server provider you choose. You also have the option to build your own VPS plan with custom configurations.
Solid cloud servers with SSD storage
Plenty of resources with each plan
Free domain name for the first year
Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate for each domain
Different server locations to pick from
Malware scanning and removal
7-day backups stored on a remote server
Affordable VPS hosting with free SPanel control panel (cPanel is optional)
Outstanding and friendly live chat support that is available 24/7
No monthly billing for shared hosting
No phone support (live chat makes up for it though)
Shared hosting uses the Apache web server which is not as fast as LiteSpeed (only available with VPS)
What Sets ScalaHosting Apart?
ScalaHosting is best known for their affordable VPS hosting that works perfectly for small business websites. Their free SPanel control panel is tailored for WordPress and makes an excellent alternative to the costly cPanel. The live chat support team helps resolve most issues on the spot and they almost never go offline. ScalaHosting has an overall rating of 5 out of 5 on TrustPilot, which alone is a legit reason to trust this company.
3. Rocket (Best Managed WordPress Hosting)
You don’t often see this company in the cliche lists of the “top X” hosting providers, but it is a true gem to stumble upon. Unlike the two companies mentioned above, Rocket only offers one service and that is fully managed WordPress hosting. Their whole server stack is built and optimized for the WP system, which provides a significant performance and speed boost for demanding websites.
Rocket’s premium service is more suitable for small business and agency sites that require steady performance and blazing-fast page loading. If you are starting an e-commerce site, you can choose to have WooCommerce pre-installed with your plan.
Their cloud-based, low-latency Edge network includes several data center locations around the world, of which you can choose your preferred server location. On top of that, they utilize Cloudflare’s Enterprise CDN so your site can take advantage of hundreds of globally distributed servers that serve fast-loading cached pages.
Most other hosts offer the free-tier Cloudflare CDN, which is less efficient and not recommended when loading speed is critical, as is the case with small business sites. The Cloudflare Enterprise CDN is more reliable in terms of speed and security, and comes with advanced features that include a website firewall, image optimization, accelerated mobile pages, 100% uptime guarantee, and others.
In addition to the security protection from Cloudflare, you also get real-time malware scanning and removal by Imunify360. You won’t have to install anything on your own since these come built-in and pre-configured. You’ll be working with a custom-built control panel that is very easy to use and includes useful statistics about your site’s performance.
Rocket has a knowledgeable support team that offers instant help through 24/7 live chat. You’ll always find someone to talk to via live chat. The CEO of the company, Ben Gabler, can also be seem in chat sometimes. This is a genuine company that takes their business and customers seriously, so if you are tired of dealing with clueless support agents, you’ll appreciate the more experienced and more personal support that this company offers.
Prices range from $30 per month for the Starter plan all the way up to $200 per month for the Enterprise plan. They offer discounted prices and two months for free when you sign up for annual billing. You can also request a custom plan if none of the existing ones suits your needs.
High-performance servers that are exclusively optimized for WordPress
One of the fastest hosting services for professional WordPress sites
Built-in Cloudflare Enterprise CDN
Low-latency cloud network with global reach
Ability to choose between more than 20 server locations worldwide
Website firewall and real-time malware protection
An easy-to-use control panel with essential stats
Automatic daily backups as well as on-demand
Knowledgeable support team that provides instant help via live chat
Transparent company — you can have a chat with the CEO
No email services — you can use Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 for email
No domain or DNS services
Can only host WordPress sites — no other CMS or software is allowed
Not the most affordable option for a starter site
What Sets Rocket Apart?
Rocket’s entire server architecture and software are dedicated to hosting all sizes of WordPress sites. Their fast Edge cloud network consists of different global locations that you can choose from based on the primary location of your target audience. Additionally, the built-in Cloudflare Enterprise CDN facilitates faster page loading to your global visitors. This host is a superb choice for WooCommerce sites that require high-performance managed WordPress hosting. Rocket has a perfect rating score on TrustPilot without any negative reviews at the time of writing this post.
What Exactly is WordPress Hosting?
WordPress hosting is a subcategory of web hosting that is specifically designed for WP sites and nothing else. This type of hosting usually uses a shared server environment, however, unlike regular shared web hosting, all sites on the server would be exclusively using WP.
Because it is only intended to cater to one software, namely WordPress, this type of hosting usually comes with a server stack that is well optimized for this CMS and provides improved performance and page loading speed. This is also facilitated by means of extra server resources (CPU, RAM, database connections, etc.) that are allocated to each account.
WordPress optimized hosting is more beginner-friendly and requires minimal technical experience. Some basic tasks like installing and updating WP are usually automatically handled by the provider. Other essential features can also come pre-configured and ready to go, and these may include server-side caching, CDN (content delivery network), site staging (for testing purposes), and others. You can also expect the support team to be more knowledgeable and helpful with common WP issues.
But it should be noted that the features included with WordPress hosting can drastically vary from one provider to another. More advanced features and better support come at a considerably higher cost.
Fully managed plans are the high-end option in the WordPress hosting category, but may be too expensive and unnecessary for beginner sites. It’s mostly small business owners and agencies that opt for fully managed WP hosting services.
Benefits of WordPress Hosting
Better Performance: With a server stack that is fine-tuned for WP and extra server resources, the performance of your server and the speed of your site should be noticeably improved. This can make a big difference for high-traffic websites.
Increased Security: Sever security measures are tightened up, especially around common vulnerabilities in the WordPress system. The fact that all other accounts on the server will be exclusively running WP and no other software means less possible vulnerabilities and easier threat monitoring.
Extra Features: Each company will offer you some additional features that are essential for WP sites. These can include pre-configured caching systems, CDN, staging tool, and others.
Managed WordPress: Automatic installation, updates, and backups are standard features in most plans. A managed service should also include an experienced support team that is very familiar with WP and can quickly resolve technical issues and errors.
Beginner Friendly: You don’t need to have any previous technical knowledge with servers and websites since almost everything is automated and/or handled by the support team. This can save you a lot of time and hassle if you are a beginner or have little time to spend on technical tasks.
Drawbacks of WordPress Hosting
Higher Cost: It should not be surprising that WordPress hosting costs more than regular hosting, especially fully managed plans that come with more advanced, hands-on technical support.
WordPress Only: You may not be able to host or run any other CMS or software on your server. There may be certain restrictions on what type of additional scripts you can run.
No Full Server Access: Direct SSH access to the server is usually not offered and you’ll have limited ability to modify server configurations. While this may not be an issue for beginners, experienced users who like to tweak things on their own may prefer to have full access to their server.
Forced Updates: New updates of the WP core, plugins and themes may be forcefully installed. Although this ensures better security, some users may not want to install certain updates. Some providers give you the option to turn automatic updates on/off while others make it mandatory.
No cPanel (varies): A lot of times, WordPress optimized hosting comes with a custom-made control panel instead of cPanel. If you are a longtime, loyal user of cPanel you might be a little emotionally (or maybe just technically) attached to it and you may feel hesitant to switch to another control panel. But as one villain once said, “Don’t get too attached to things… Learn to let go!”
May Not Include Email: If you are considering a fully managed solution, you may not get email services with it, in which case you’ll have to use a third-party email provider to create custom email accounts for your site’s domain. This means additional costs.
Regular Web Hosting vs. WordPress Hosting: Which to Choose?
Both regular shared hosting and WP-optimized hosting services are viable options for WP sites. There are so many technical details that vary from one provider to another and from one plan to another. Entry-level plans for both types are cheaper, but come with limited server resources. More advanced plans cost more, but offer more resources that can efficiently handle the extra server load of high-traffic sites.
WordPress-optimized hosting can be a more convenient option for the less tech-savvy users since most of the technical tasks of installing and maintaining a WP site will be handled by the provider. Several features and tools that would normally require manual installation come pre-installed or built-in with the plan, which simplifies the launch process for new sites.
On the other hand, regular web hosting requires a more hands-on approach since you will be responsible for setting up, updating and fine-tuning your WP installation. If you are interested in gaining more experience with website and server management, and learning how to do things yourself, then it makes more sense to go with normal web hosting. You can still ask for technical help from the support team should you face any problems along the way.
No one can really tell you what’s the best option for you. Ultimately, it’s your job to figure out what best suits your needs, budget, and technical knowledge.
What Makes VPS Hosting Better Than Shared Hosting?
VPS (virtual private server) hosting is a big upgrade from regular shared hosting and a more affordable alternative to a dedicated server. A VPS account shares the same physical server resources with other VPS accounts, but each of them is completely separate and isolated from the others and has its own dedicated resources.
So, for example, if you use a shared hosting plan that includes 2 GBs of RAM, you don’t actually get access to the full 2 GBs because that resource would be shared with other accounts on the server. The provider will allocate a small percentage of that RAM size to your account, and in case you repeatedly approach or exceed your allowed quota of RAM or any other resource, you may be asked to upgrade your plan.
In contrast, if you purchase a VPS that includes 2GBs of RAM, you’ll get exclusive 100% access to that dedicated RAM size (as well as other resources). Despite the fact that VPS instances share the same physical server, the resources that are allocated to your VPS are not shared with others and are completely yours to utilize to full capacity.
Because of the isolated server environment and the guaranteed resources, VPS hosting offers better security and performance than shared hosting. In addition to that, you’ll have complete freedom to install any software you’d like on your server and customize it in any way that suits you.
Another considerable advantage that VPS hosting offers to small businesses is the ability to quickly scale up their plan as their business and website traffic grow. Pay-as-you-go cloud VPS services are a very cost-effective option for small businesses and they allow you to instantly scale up with no downtime and no need to transfer your site and files to another server.
Why to Opt For Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed hosting streamlines the process of running a WordPress site as many of the technical aspects will be handled either by automated tools or by the provider. The more features the plan includes and the more time and effort it saves you, the higher the price should be.
Some of the main features that are typically included in a fully managed plan include: automatic installation or assisted website migration, automatic updates, fine-tuned caching systems, optimized server configurations for performance and security, malware scanning and removal, CDN integration if needed, staging environment, and others.
And the most desirable advantage of fully managed services is that you often get access to a more skilled support team who can readily help with site-specific technical issues, code errors, customizations, etc.
Beginner website owners may find managed WP hosting more advantageous when trying to get a new website up and running as fast as possible. Startup and small business owners can also benefit from the more specialized support service, which would allow them to worry less about technical issues and stay focused on running their online business.
However, experienced webmasters as well as beginners looking to develop their technical skills may find it more affordable and justifiable to go with regular web hosting. Whether you need managed WordPress hosting or not depends primarily on your technical experience, willingness to spend time and effort dealing with technical tasks, and your budget.
Things to Look For to Find The Fastest WordPress Hosting
Many factors can affect the loading speed of a WP site including various specifications of the web server’s hardware and software. The following are some of the most important things to look for when searching for a fast hosting service:
SSD Storage: Solid state drives (SSDs) are several times faster than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). SSD-powered web servers transfer data at a significantly higher speed and are much more reliable than those running on HDDs.
Web Server Software: Most web hosts use either Apache, LiteSpeed or Nginx as their web server software. Each has its pros and cons, but all in all, both LiteSpeed and Nginx are preferred for their faster performance. A benchmark test by LiteSpeed Technologies showed that a WordPress site hosted by a LiteSpeed web server using LiteSpeed Cache was 12 times faster than Nginx with FastCGI Cache, and more than 80 times faster than Apache with W3 Total Cache.
Server Resources: WordPress requires ample server resources to run smoothly. Your hosting plan should provide enough CPU power, RAM size and database connections to efficiently handle all page requests. If any of the resources falls short, your website can become noticeably slower and may even experience temporary downtime.
Caching: Server-side caching is essential for large websites as it can massively reduce pressure on the server’s resources and facilitate the serving of fast-loading cached pages to your site’s visitors. WP hosts often use different layers of caching to achieve faster loading. Some caching systems may come built-in with the server software and some may require installing third-party plugins.
CDN: A content delivery network (CDN) can also dramatically improve loading speed for websites that receive traffic from different countries and locations around the world. Cloudflare is the most popular and one of the fastest CDN services that many web hosts offer.
All of the above can play a role in how fast your site loads, however, it is important to note that more often than not, a slow loading WP site has more to do with the site itself rather than the hosting environment.
So, even the fastest hosting service can’t help you if your WP installation is poorly optimized and bloated with unnecessary code. Make sure you choose a lightweight theme that is optimized for speed, only activate plugins that are absolutely necessary, use smaller/compressed images, and regularly clean up your database. All of these steps will help speed up your site and lead to better user experience.
How Can Web Hosting Affect Your Site’s SEO?
Various factors should be taken into account in your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, one of which is your web hosting.
In 2020, Google introduced Core Web Vitals and announced that they will be using these metrics as signals in their ranking algorithm. One of these metrics is page loading speed, and so the faster your site loads the better chance it has to rank higher in Google search results.
Most internet users expect to see something on the screen within a second or two, and each additional second of delay will significantly increase the bounce rate. Having a high bounce rate is an indicator of poor user experience, which can also have a negative impact on SEO performance.
Moreover, your site’s uptime can affect its search engine rankings. A website that frequently experiences downtime may be downgraded in search results, so it is important to choose a reliable hosting service that guarantees maximum uptime.
And another thing that is essential for ranking well in search engines these days is maintaining a secure website. Websites with potential security vulnerabilities or risks may be filtered out of search results. An SSL certificate is a must-have for any website and in particular for e-commerce sites. Google gives priority to secure “https” URLs over unsecure “http” URLs. The good news is that most hosts nowadays offer free SSL certificates, but you may have to ask them to manually install one for your domain name.
Which Type of Web Hosting is Best For Beginners?
Most beginner website owners and bloggers start their journey with shared hosting for its simplicity and affordability. Unlike the case with a VPS or a dedicated server, you don’t need to know how to install or manage a web server when using shared services because that would be the responsibility of the provider.
You’ll mostly be dealing with a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) — such as cPanel — which allows you to control all aspects of your account in a simple and mostly automated way. There is a slight learning curve for first-time users, but it shouldn’t take long before you get used to it and it becomes second nature.
A fully managed VPS solution can also be quite beginner-friendly as it should come with full technical support including installing, updating and managing the software on the server. Of course, managed VPS comes at a much higher price than its unmanaged counterpart, but for users with limited technical experience, the investment in a fully supported service could be a lifesaver and worth every penny paid.
What Are The Advantages of cPanel?
The most popular control panel for Linux-based hosting services is cPanel. Sometimes, you get to choose between cPanel and another control panel, like Plesk or a custom-built one, but the majority of users prefer cPanel. The following are some of the main advantages and reasons why this control panel is such a favored choice:
The cPanel interface is well organized and easy to use even for total beginners who don’t possess any advanced technical skills. Most of the things you’d want to do with your files, databases, emails and whatnot can be done using the simple tools that are displayed on the main dashboard.
Quick Email Management
You can quickly create, delete and modify your email accounts using cPanel’s email tools. Creating a new email account only takes a few clicks, and so does setting up email forwarding rules. You can log in to your email accounts right from the cPanel interface with only one click and without having to enter the password for each account you want to access. You often get a few different web-based email clients to choose from, the most notable of which is the Roundcube Webmail client.
Convenient File Manager
cPanel allows you to create and manage FTP accounts, which can be used to access your server’s files using any external FTP client, however, you probably won’t have to use FTP because cPanel has its own web-based file manager from where you can access and modify your files using your browser. It includes many useful features like uploading and downloading files, creating new files and folders, editing files, changing file permissions, and more essential functions.
Another handy feature of the file manager is the ability to create and download a zipped archive of selected files and/or folders, as well as the ability to upload a zipped file and unzip it on the server, which can be a big time-saver when uploading a large number of files.
Easy Database Management
Creating new databases, modifying existing ones, adding database users, customizing user privileges, and other basic database management functions can all be easily performed through the control panel.
And by using phpMyAdmin, you can access and modify your MySQL or MariaDB databases from your web browser with no need for any third-party clients. It only takes a few clicks to create and download a full backup of your database.
cPanel comes with simple tools for installing and editing SSL certificates for your domains and subdomains. If your plan includes an SSL certificate, it will most likely be automatically installed for you by the provider, but if you wish to use an external SSL certificate, you’ll need to generate a certificate signing request (CSR) through the SSL/TLS manager in cPanel.
Important statistics about your account are displayed in the statistics panel. These include the allocated server resources and how much of each has been consumed so far. It shows you the amount of monthly bandwidth used, disk space usage, CPU and RAM usage, I/O usage, number of emails, databases, files, etc.
Account statistics give you an overview of your site’s performance, and will let you know when it’s time to upgrade your plan before your site starts experiencing technical difficulties as a result of its needs outgrowing the available resources.
These are some of the most noteworthy features and advantages of cPanel, and there are several others as well. On the downside, the biggest disadvantage of cPanel is its high licensing fees, which have been significantly hiked up recently forcing many hosting providers to raise their prices or seek alternatives. It still remains a reasonably priced option for shared hosting since many users on the server will share the licensing cost.
However, if you are going to use cPanel with a VPS then you’ll have to purchase your own license, which can mount up to big costs in the long run. That’s why many VPS providers offer their customers optional cheaper alternatives, and some of them even have their own custom-built control panel that they offer completely free of charge. But if you insist on using the good old cPanel and don’t mind paying the extra cost, you sure can stick with it.
How Much Should You Pay For Web Hosting?
This is a tricky question actually because there are so many varying factors to take into consideration here; What kind of hardware do the servers use? What web server software is used? What control panel does the service come with? What is the amount of server resources included in the plan? All of these and many other features are reflected in the price tag, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much a web hosting plan should cost you.
When it comes to shared hosting, the cheaper the plan is, the less resources and lower performance it offers. One company may cram thousands of websites into a single server, another may only allow a few hundred websites per server, while a higher-end service can offer much less crowded servers and much more resources per user account.
Another important factor that is reflected in the price is the level of professionalism and expertise of the support team. Cheap providers usually offer cheap outsourced support service, which may be useless for anything more than basic how-to questions and copy-paste answers. Don’t expect to pay $5 per month and receive top-notch technical support from senior engineers!
The best WordPress hosting includes both extra resources and expert support, which is why it often has a significantly higher cost compared to regular hosting. You should be prepared to fork out at least $20 per month for a decent WordPress optimized plan, and that may just be an entry-level price. Some advanced plans for small business sites can sell for more than $100 per month, especially those that come with fully managed support.
It should also be noted that most web hosts offer massively discounted prices for new customers, and those often only apply to the initial billing term. You may sign up for a $50 per year plan, and then one year later get surprised when your credit card is charged $200 for renewal of the service! Some hosts do this in a cunning way without making it clear during checkout how much the plan’s renewal will cost you.
Don’t think much of those “special” discounts and “limited time” offers as most of them are just typical marketing tricks in this industry. It’s also better and safer to use PayPal for payment (when possible) instead of using a credit or debit card. If it comes to it, canceling a PayPal subscription to prevent any further charges would be much easier than canceling a credit card.
Different types of web hosting can be used to run a WordPress site. Regular shared hosting makes a good starting point and is the most affordable option for new and/or small websites that have simple content and low traffic.
VPS hosting is more recommended for larger sites that require more server resources and higher performance. This is a more costly and a more advanced option that is suitable for experienced webmasters. Those who have limited technical knowledge can purchase a managed VPS plan that includes full technical support and assisted server setup, site migration, software installation and updates, uptime monitoring, etc.
And finally, WordPress optimized hosting comes with additional features that are specifically useful for WP sites, both startup and established ones. Managed WordPress hosting takes care of most of the technical tasks of installing, updating and maintaining a secure and fast-loading site, which makes it a very convenient choice for small business and professional sites. Fully managed plans can save you a considerable amount of time and technical hassle, but the trade-off is a higher price.
If you are looking for WooCommerce hosting, you should consider either a managed VPS or a managed WordPress solution. Both of these should provide adequate resources for running WooCommerce smoothly, and both options are more easily scalable as your online business grows.