Finding the best WordPress host can be a challenge. There are literally thousands of hosts to choose from and they all claim to be the best WordPress host.
While they may claim they are great hosts in actuality many cheaper hosts use shared servers that are overcrowded, leading to slow loading speeds for your site. Not only that but not all hosts have easy Control Panels to use, in order to install your website or, move it over from another host.
You want an affordable host with reliable customer services and a track record of hosting lots of WordPress websites.
What to Look For:
When choosing a hosting environment, here are some of the main things to look for:
- Support – Live, email and phone support that is quick to answer your questions
- Documentation – A large library of common questions, support forums and other data to do your own troubleshooting
- Usability – A simple to use interface like CPanel or something custom that the host provides that makes it easy to work with your site and server
- Simple WordPress Install – If it is a shared host, a simple installation process is great, especially for people not very tech savvy
I could have mentioned price, but really, these other factors matter much more, and you should be able to get a solid host for a reasonable price.
To gage the level of support a company provides, see which methods they offer and text them, give them a call or send them an email and see how long the response takes and if you feel they’d be good to work with.
For Smaller Sites
If you have a couple or just one smaller website, going with a shared hosting environment should be sufficient. When it comes to shared hosting, our personal favorite, and the host for this website, is Bluehost.
Why Bluehost Rocks
When it comes to shared hosting I’ve tried lots of them: Godaddy, Hostgator, Dreamhost, to name a few of the bigger ones. Bluehost hosts more WordPress websites than any other host on the planet. Not that big necessarily means best, but they’ve been doing it for a long time and been doing it right. I personally have two shared hosting plans with Bluehost with about thirty smaller websites on them. Mostly, WordPress but also some static websites and Drupal and ExpressionEngine installs. Bluehost makes it simple to add new websites, users and databases and keep everything managed. Plus, for the price to host this many websites, it is incredibly affordable.
Here are some of the things I like:
One-Click WordPress Install
If you’re choosing a shared host, this is pretty much a must have for me. Bluehost’s One Click install makes getting started a breeze. Simply enter the name of the site and where on the server you want it, and you’ll have a site up minutes.
It’s also pretty easy to both migrate sites off of Bluehost or to move sites there from other hosts. I’ve done both many times and it’s a snap.
Easy, Simple Interface
Bluehost uses CPanel. Not that this is anything impressive by itself, many shared hosts use it. But I like the setup Bluehost has. It is simple and easy to add multiple domains, or set up new users or databases. If you only have one site you might not need to worry about this, but it’s nice to know its there any easy to do if you do need it.
The Bluehost website and support areas are also simple and easy to use, especially when compared to companies like Godaddy who tries to upsell you around every turn or Hostgator who has a super old and outdated website design.
For Larger Sites
If you have a larger site or one that needs to be faster, and/or better optimized, you’re probably going to be looking for something better than a shared hosting plan. You make look at a dedicated or virtual server but if you don’t have a lot of knowledge working with either, it can be a struggle to manage, make secure, backup and optimize for the best speed possibly. Going with either of those you are essentially on your own, so when I need something more serious I go with a company that creates hosting environments that are more managed.
In my development work I build sites with a number of different content management systems other than WordPress and I always go with a host that works just with that one CMS. With WordPress it is the same thing. For sites that are really important to me, I go with WP Engine.
WordPress hosting is seriously all that they do and they do it well. Sites are secure and I always see a notice improvement in load times whenever I move a site to WP Engine.
Obviously they cost a little more but if you have a site that simply cannot go down and needs to as fast as possible this is where you want to look.
Plus they give you lots of great, simple to use features. You can easily set up development versions of your site to test new plugins or make sure your site won’t break when updating a theme, plugin or version of WordPress. If you do happen to break your site they provide daily backups of your site but also One-Click restore points, which are basically exact points in the day that you can restore your site to. So if you turn on a plugin and your site totally breaks you simply pick the last restore point and your site gets restored back to its correct state.