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Reviews

Best WordPress Hosting Services

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We’ve built dozens—if not hundreds—of WordPress websites over the years. We rolled up our sleeves and used what we’ve learned, plus a massive round of research on WordPress hosting to highlight the best of the best. Based on our experiences, Hostinger offers the best WordPress hosting because it’s jam-packed with all the features you need to get started, including a free domain name, automatic updates, free themes, WordPress optimized servers, and WordPress pre-installed. All for less than five bucks a month.

The Best WordPress Hosting Service for Most

Hostinger

Hostinger

Best for Most

Featuring the fastest servers out of all the shared hosts we tested, Hostinger is a great choice for anyone interested in launching a new WordPress site. There are plenty of budget-conscious plans available, from the $4.99/month price for a one-year commitment to the rock-bottom $1.99/month for four years.

Our #1 WordPress hosting recommendation is Hostinger. Not only is it one of the cheapest options we tested, but it also has the best server response times out of all the shared WordPress hosts on our list. If you’re looking for speed on a budget, Hostinger is the way to go. 

All plans come with dozens of WordPress-specific features and benefits, including automatic core and plugin updates, hundreds of tutorials and how-to guides for maximizing the WordPress platform, free themes, and a WordPress caching plugin that makes your website load two times faster than it would without it. Get started with Hostinger for just $1.99 per month today!

The 8 Best WordPress Hosting Service Options to Consider:

  1. Hostinger – Best WordPress hosting services for most
  2. SiteGround – Best performance for beginners on a budget
  3. Flywheel – Best for agencies and freelancers building sites for clients
  4. DreamHost – Easiest way to get started for under $5
  5. WP Engine – Best pricing for hosting multiple WordPress sites
  6. Nexcess – Best pro-level WordPress hosting under $16
  7. Bluehost – Easiest way to launch your first WordPress site
  8. Kinsta – Most secure managed WordPress hosting

When It Makes Sense to Invest Into WordPress Hosting Services

Whether you’re creating your first WordPress site or have hundreds of sites under your belt, WordPress hosting services are built specifically for sites like yours.

While you can use any type of hosting, WordPress hosting typically offers a fine-tuned environment that’s optimized specifically for WordPress sites. So, you should see better performance and security out of the box. 

There are two types of WordPress hosting: shared and managed. 

If you’re building a new site from scratch, shared WordPress hosting is the most cost-effective option. It’s a great place to start and is more than enough for new or small sites. 

On the other hand, managed hosting offers superior performance, security, customer support, and proactive monitoring. The downside is that all of those advanced features come with a significantly higher price tag. 

It’s a perfect choice if your site is growing faster than your current host can handle, it’s currently experiencing performance problems, or if you want a completely hands-off hosting experience. 

However, managed hosting is likely overkill for new or small websites.

#1 – Hostinger — The Best WordPress Hosting Services for Most

Hostinger

Hostinger

Best for Most

Featuring the fastest servers out of all the shared hosts we tested, Hostinger is a great choice for anyone interested in launching a new WordPress site. There are plenty of budget-conscious plans available, from the $4.99/month price for a one-year commitment to the rock-bottom $1.99/month for four years.

Overall Score: 3.7 out of 5

Hostinger’s WordPress hosting offers WordPress optimized servers, making it the ideal environment for WordPress beginners and experienced users alike. It also has the cheapest long-term pricing out of all the hosts we tested.

To be totally transparent—while it IS cheap, Hostinger isn’t perfect. It’s lacking in a few areas, including uptime and customer support in comparison to other hosts out there.

But it’s more than enough if you’re just getting started. It’s easy to use, lightning-fast, and packed full of shared hosting features. It’s the perfect combination of performance, ease of use, and affordability.

Here’s a closer look at how Hostinger ranks across our six ranking categories:

  • Shared Hosting Features = 4/5
  • Managed Hosting Features = 0/5
  • Pricing = 5/5
  • Server Speed = 5/5
  • Server Uptime = 1/5
  • Customer Support = 2.6/5

Shared Hosting Features: 4/5 – Hostinger’s entry-level shared hosting plan has useful features that add real value to your experience as a website owner. 

To start with, the hosting plan comes with an included email account, allowing you to create a professional business email address at no additional cost to you.

You also receive weekly automated backups for your website. This keeps your website safe in case anything happens. You can revert back to a previous backup at any time in just a few clicks. 

One of Hostinger’s newest features is a growing library of custom WordPress themes you can use to kickstart the design of your new website. All of Hostinger’s themes are professionally designed and easy to customize to match your brand. 

However, one of the most significant virtues of Hostinger is that its WordPress hosting plans are actually optimized for WordPress. 

The other shared hosting providers on our list (Bluehost, DreamHost, and SiteGround) only use the term “WordPress hosting” as a marketing tactic to attract WordPress users. In reality, those plans are no different than their flagship shared hosting plans. 

With Hostinger, the server itself is optimized specifically for WordPress websites. Any other types of websites have their own shared hosting, so they never interfere with your WordPress site’s performance.

To sweeten the deal, Hostinger’s WordPress plans use LiteSpeed servers, which are lauded for their speed. With that, you can be assured that your WordPress sites are always running at peak performance. 

The only thing the entry-level plan is missing is a free domain name. You can buy one from Hostinger for $8.99 per year or through one of our top domain registrars

Managed Hosting Features: 0/5 – Hostinger falls short in this area of our review. They don’t offer managed WordPress hosting. Though, as we mentioned above, their shared WordPress hosting is actually dedicated to the platform, not just another term for their standard shared hosting servers. 

Pricing: 5/5 – Hostinger has the lowest long-term pricing of any other provider on this list. 

If you go with an annual contract, you’ll pay $4.99 per month. The total cost is $59.88 for the first year. After the first year, the price goes up to $6.99 per month (a 40% increase), making the total cost for year two $83.88. 

Adding the two together, you can expect to pay $143.76 for two years of hosting. 

If you want an even better deal, the four-year plan is $1.99 per month with $95.52 due upfront.  The monthly rate goes up to $3.99 per month on renewal (a 100% increase). This is the cheapest option for long-term hosting across all the providers we tested. 

Server Speed: 5/5 – You need a host that’s optimized for WordPress and whizzes past the competition. Hostinger delivers on both.

The average server response time over 30 days was 480 milliseconds (ms). For shared hosting, that’s phenomenal—and it’s the fastest shared host on our list. 

To get this data, we monitored Hostinger’s server response time on our own demo site for 30 days.

Here’s a chart that shows the data we collected:

So, what does this mean?

On average, Hostinger’s WordPress servers respond in less than half a second. The average of all the hosts we tested was 630 ms—Hostinger performed significantly better than average.

The best part? That’s without any speed optimization. We didn’t install a caching plugin, compress scripts or HTML, or enable a content delivery network (CDN). The data above is a testament to Hostinger’s pure performance without any enhancements. 

So, there’s even room for improvement if you take the time to optimize your site further. 

Overall, Hostinger is a great option if you’re on a tight budget but still want blazing fast servers running behind the scenes. 

Server Uptime: 1/5 – Here is where Hostinger didn’t fully deliver on its promise. Online, the company claims and guarantees 99.99% uptime.

During our 30-day test, Hostinger delivered 99.8% uptime, just a bit shy of what they claim. But, it was the worst performance we saw from any of the hosts on our list. 

View the results below: 

Nearly an hour and a half is a monstrous amount of time for your website to be unavailable in just one month. The longest sustained period of unavailability lasted five minutes and 45 seconds. 

Even for shared hosting, that’s not great news. 

There were 48 separate incidents that caused our site to go down over the 30-day period. 

In this case, they were all caused by a connection timeout that lasted from a few seconds to a few minutes each time.

Usually, connection timeouts happen when your website tries to pull more resources from the server than are available. The server took too long to respond to the end user’s browser, resulting in an error and your site being inaccessible. 

Hostinger doesn’t seem to be great at allocating resources on its servers in light of our testing, which decreases the value of its affordable hosting. 

Simply, we expected much better results. 

Customer Support: 2.67/5–  A great product is not enough to make you happy. You need a top-notch customer support team that can help you when the time comes, 24/7/365.

Hostinger has pretty good customer support overall. The reps were very friendly, helpful, and non-salesy, in our experience.

We were thrilled to find that the customer service representatives for Hostinger are available 24/7 and have friendly live chat. 

But they had very slow response times—the slowest out of everyone. 

The first interaction, when we asked how we could improve site speed, took over 15 minutes to get an initial response. With that said, we appreciated the thorough explanation complete with screenshots and directions on where to go. 

Our second chat took 29 minutes before we started getting an answer to our question on how to set up an email address on our domain. That’s really bad.

But the last interaction took an unacceptably long time to get help. We waited 44 minutes before getting a response. And when we did ask about how we could improve site speed, they casually dropped a few support articles in the chat and that was it. 

We wished they would have provided a bit more info rather than just sending us to a support article.

Hostinger reps offered helpful responses—however, most providers respond in five minutes on average. 

So, if you’re looking to get your problems solved by a friendly support team, Hostinger has that down pat. But you’re going to have to be patient and wait a while. 

In summary, Hostinger is a solid WordPress hosting choice. You get fantastic site loading speeds at an incredible price. Its customer service may leave a bit to be desired and you may have to get in touch with them to get compensated for unplanned downtime, however. 

But overall, in a category with a lot of options, we think Hostinger is the WordPress hosting provider that will work best for most people.

#2 – SiteGround — The Best Performance for Beginners on a Budget

SiteGround

SiteGround

Best Performance on a Budget

SiteGround is known for its hands-on, fast, and friendly customer support, but it also delivers exceptional performance with lightening-fast response times and the best shared hosting uptime we tested... all at an affordable price. Pricing starts at just $4.99, making it incredibly affordable as well.

Overall Score: 3.6 out of 5

SiteGround offers stellar WordPress shared hosting for folks who don’t want to pay for premium hosting. It’s extremely beginner-friendly and offers easy walkthrough user guides that really explain how to get started the right way. 

On top of being easy to get started with, you also get excellent overall performance (speed and uptime) from SiteGround’s shared WordPress hosting. 

Here’s how it stacks up on our scorecard:

  • Shared Hosting Features = 2/5
  • Managed Hosting Features = 1.5/5
  • Pricing = 4/5
  • Website Speed =  3/5
  • Server Uptime = 4/5
  • Customer Support = 5/5

Shared Hosting Features: 2/5 – When it comes to shared WordPress hosting features, SiteGround over delivers in some areas and is lacking in others. 

Let’s start with the good stuff. First, you get unlimited email accounts, allowing you to separate the emails you want to receive based on your website functions. You can have one for support, one for payments, and even one for complaints. All at no extra cost to you. 

You can easily access them with a user-friendly webmail interface called RoundCube. Use the webmail interface to do all of your emailing or automatically forward emails from your professional domain email to your personal email. 

Every plan includes unlimited email autoresponders, as well, which is a feature you’d usually only find in marketing automation software. And the free SpamExperts service helps filter out spam emails. 

The entry-level plan comes with 10,000 MB of storage space per email account.

The plan also comes with daily backups and you can have up to 30 backups at any given time. You can then restore your site to any of those backups with a few clicks to fix the most common website issues. 

While you get a lot of bang for your buck with backups and email accounts, you won’t find any free themes or a drag-and-drop site builder with SiteGround. 

In terms of getting started as fast as possible with a professional theme you can easily customize, you’re on your own. 

The other thing that disappointed us about SiteGround is that its WordPress hosting packages aren’t any different than its shared hosting plans. Even if you choose WordPress hosting, you can use any CMS you’d like. 

The downside to this is that SiteGround can’t optimize their servers specifically for WordPress sites since they allow non-WordPress sites to use up the same server resources. 

We reached out to their sales team to confirm this and were told the only difference between the two plans is how they’re marketed—there’s no benefit in choosing one over the other. 

Last, none of SiteGround’s plans come with a free domain. But, they do make it easy to purchase one in a few clicks. Domains run $15.95 per year for a .com. 

Managed Hosting Features: 1.5/5  – We tested SiteGround’s GoGeek plan for a managed WP hosting package. It offers some great features but falls short in all the major categories we tested for gold-standard managed WordPress hosting. 

You can host unlimited websites on SiteGround’s GrowBig and GoGeek plans. And, you get a plugin for automated migrations—earning a half-point in our scoring structure.

Both plans also come with a staging environment so you can test changes to your site or client sites before pushing updates live. 

It takes one click to push a staged site live, making the process super easy. That’s great if you’re a beginner and you want to test changes to your site without shutting it down for that time. 

On the highest tier, you can register your clients as users under your account to give them access to their sites via a white-labeled dashboard for a fully branded experience. 

When it comes to security, malware detection and removal is often the first line of defense to keep your site safe. 

However, SiteGround is missing this feature. 

With that said, you do get automatic WordPress core and plugin updates, with an option to schedule automated updates.

This lets you prepare your site for the update or skip an update entirely. You also get custom firewall rules and automated patching against WP vulnerabilities. 

So, not having malware detection and removal doesn’t mean your site isn’t secure, but it does mean there’s an extra layer of protection missing. You’ll need to pay for it if you want it. 

The content delivery network (CDN) you get is free but doesn’t sacrifice any performance at all. 

And with SiteGround you don’t need it, since you get a free one and it’s more than adequate. With their CDN, you get 194 locations around the world to make your content super easy for anyone to access. 

However, they lose a point for not having advanced performance monitoring. 

You can look at your site data to see how much storage space, bandwidth, and traffic you’ve used. And it’s right inside your SiteGround dashboard. So it’s just a click away.

But it lacks premium features like being able to see things like site speed, uptime, and slowest plugins like you can with other hosts. 

If you need this, you can use free or paid performance software to monitor these things via a third party if you’d like. 

SiteGround is a solid web host and offers great value and incredible help for you if you’re a beginner. But If you need the features a premium managed WordPress host offers, we highly suggest using another managed hosting plan on this list. 

Pricing: 4/5 – SiteGround’s entry-level plan is $3.99/month for 12 months, coming to $47.88 for the first year. 

While SiteGround’s promo pricing is comparable to the other shared WordPress hosts on our list, the renewal rates soar after that one-year term. The basic plan renews at $14.99 per month, a 276% increase. This comes to $179.88 for the second year of hosting. Something to be aware of, especially if you’re on a tight budget. 

Adding the two together, you can expect to pay $227.76 for two years of hosting. Compared to managed WordPress hosting, it’s cheap. But it’s the most expensive shared host on our list. 

However, that’s the price you pay for the reliability, performance, and benefits that SiteGround delivers day in and day out. In our experience, it’s well worth the price. 

Website Speed: 3/5 – Site speed determines a huge portion of your site’s success. 

Compared to the shared hosts we tested, SiteGround is one of the best in this category, coming in second on our list for average loading time. 

The average response time over 30 days was a solid 616 milliseconds. 

The chart above shows only two major traffic spikes, each just over two seconds. 

SiteGround claims their Google Cloud infrastructure and other features help keep their servers speedy. And our tests confirm that. 

Out of the box, you get incredible results with their SuperCacher technology that makes your site load faster because it keeps a snapshot of your site. So, there’s no loading time needed. 

That caching ability is enhanced by their use of  NGINX Direct Delivery. That’s automatically enabled, so you don’t need to wonder how to make your site faster. With no extra effort from you, it’s simply faster from day one. 

The free Cloudflare CDN integration mentioned above also helps keep site speed as fast as possible, too. 

Another core benefit unique to SiteGround is a free SG Optimizer plugin. It lets you configure all of the above caching and content tools and helps with automated image optimization, PHP version control, and lazy image loading. 

Because large images slow websites down to a crawl when not optimized properly, the optimizer takes care of that for you. 

SiteGround also uses Ultrafast PHP, which allows your server to process more visits faster and makes speed the last of your worries. 

Server Uptime: 4/5 – When we did our uptime test over 30 days we almost couldn’t believe our eyes. SiteGround had 100% uptime with two seconds of total downtime. 

Take a look at the results:

That all came from a single incident, an unknown error that caused the site to be unavailable. 

This is the best uptime out of all the shared hosts we tested, showing that your site will always be available to your visitors. 

This kind of reliability is something SiteGround is known for. You can trust in how its servers will perform for you every single day. 

Now you can keep your site available 100% of the time and consistently enjoy the rewards your site delivers to you and your visitors.

Customer Support: 5/5 – SiteGround’s customer support is the best across the board for shared hosting. 

One thing we’d like to see an improvement on is them making it easier to get to their live chat feature. Finding it was pretty difficult. It’s not easily available and they make you go through different support tutorials and documentation before you can connect with someone. 

When we did get to the chat. We were connected with a rep immediately with every interaction.

And the longest interaction took a total of eight minutes. SiteGround’s support delivers on both efficiency and accuracy. 

During our first interaction, we asked how we could improve security on our website. 

The rep was super helpful, fast, and straightforward. He told us to turn on auto core WordPress updates and auto plugin updates since those are the most common ways that sites get hacked or hit with malware.

He also told us all of this right away, and we didn’t have to ask further questions or anything like that—it seemed like he knew exactly what we were asking and paid attention which was nice.

The entire chat time was only four minutes. 

During the next chat, we asked, “Can you walk us through setting up email for our domain?”.

Again, we were connected to a rep within seconds. And, in less than a minute, we had step-by-step instructions on how to find the area to create an email account. 

After a few minutes, we asked how to forward those emails to a Gmail account. The rep responded in about 30 seconds with instructions on how to get to that part of the SiteGround dashboard. The entire chatting session took seven minutes. 

We loved that instead of sending us to a support article, he walked us through exactly how to get where we needed to go. 

As a beginner, you couldn’t ask for anything more. 

We had the same experience on our last chat, too. The rep helped us learn how to make our site as fast as possible. 

We got a super friendly response to that, mentioning that they have a ton of resources to speed up WordPress sites. One of them is a basic guide and there’s also a free ebook that goes more in-depth about WordPress site speed. 

We were on and off this third chat in eight minutes flat.

SiteGround reps didn’t try to upsell us on anything during any of our three chats. Plus, they were very friendly and helpful every time we entered the chat, offering resources and instructions along the way.

None of the reps made us feel we were wasting their time. 

Overall the service was excellent. 
Pairing that with SiteGround’s server speed and reasonable price, we think a lot of first-time site builders and novices will appreciate their blend of support and performance. Get started with SiteGround today.

#3 – Flywheel — The Best for Freelancers and Agencies Building Sites for Clients

Flywheel

Flywheel

Best For Freelancers and Agencies

Flywheel lets you easily build, manage, and transfer high-performance WordPress sites for clients in a snap. You get the best uptime reliability in the category, plus blazing-fast site speed and high-end client-management tools so you can let your end-results do the talking.

Overall Score: 3.6 out of 5

Flywheel comes with tons of dev tools, client management features, and easy billing and account setup for your clients. They have workflow tools for freelancers, agencies, designers, and developers. 

Other options on our list have some of these tools, but Flywheel focuses heavily on them and we consider it a specialized solution for these use cases. That makes them an overall stronger selection if this sounds like what you’re looking for from WordPress hosting. 

With Flywheel, you have the ability to transfer bills to your clients in a few clicks, which simplifies the billing nightmare and automatically bills them every month or year instead of you having to do it

You’re able to use tags and advanced filtering to organize the sites you build for others and easily find them when you need them. That’s extremely helpful if you manage lots of sites.  

Flywheel also offers blueprints, which let you build a standard package of themes and plugins as a starter kit for future projects. 

You can also use workflow and team management tools with real-time activity feeds, so everyone in your agency is always in the loop as to who’s done what. 

Here’s how Flywheel scores in our key areas:

  • Shared Hosting Features = 0/5
  • Managed Hosting Features = 4/5
  • Pricing = 3/5
  • Website Speed = 5/5
  • Server Uptime = 5/5
  • Customer Support = 3.67/5

Shared Hosting Features: 0/5 – Flywheel doesn’t offer shared WordPress hosting. They only offer fully managed hosting plans with features that benefit freelancers and agencies. 

But, since several hosts offer WordPress hosting under both shared and fully managed plans, shared hosting features are something we weigh heavily. 

So, Flywheel scored zero points out of five for not offering shared hosting plans.

Managed Hosting Features: 4/5- Flywheel’s managed WordPress hosting offers features that protect your business as it grows. 

If your site is ever hacked for any reason, Flywheel will help you fix everything, remove malware, clean things up, and provide advice on how to prevent it from happening again in the future. 

They also offer dozens of security features at the server level, meaning you don’t need to worry about security plugins or worrying too much about security on your own. 

One security feature many customers like is the two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect your account. 

Two-factor authentication helps you against brute force attacks by limiting the number of failed login attempts that are allowed. There’s also a built-in intelligent IP blocker that identifies potential intruders and blocks their access to all of your sites. 

Flywheel also handles all core WordPress updates. You can opt for automated plugin updates as well but it costs extra regardless of the plan you’re on, for $8 per month per site. 

You also get the Fastly content delivery network (CDN), which offers full-page caching that also includes all of your page’s HTML. 

This is unique because most CDNs are only able to cache assets like images. But Flywheel’s CDN can cache your entire page, which is much faster than only caching static assets.

It takes one click inside your dashboard to enable it on your site. The Fastly CDN currently covers 59 locations across six continents with 21 more locations currently being developed.

Flywheel offers both a migration plugin to do it yourself and premium migration fully done for you. The plugin is easy to use—simply install it, provide a few details, and wait a few minutes while the migration happens. 

You can repeat it as many times as you need to move all of your sites on your own time. 

Or you can have the Flywheel team do it for you. Most white-glove migrations take one to three days. There’s also an option where you can pay $49 for an expedited migration that will take place within eight business hours if you need it done ASAP.

Flywheel lost a point for not having advanced performance monitoring for their entry-level plan. 

It’s only available as an add-on that costs $25 per month for the first site and an additional $2 per month for each additional site. 

If you opt for it, you’ll get detailed performance reports from the Flywheel team with recommendations on how to improve problem areas of your sites with laser-pointed details.

One of Flywheel’s newest features is a free Google Analytics add-on that lets you see data from Google Analytics right inside your Flywheel dashboard. You can use it to inform content marketing strategies, learn about your client’s audiences, where traffic comes from, and improve your conversion rates. 

It’s helpful but isn’t a replacement for the advanced performance monitoring paid add-on since it doesn’t include things like loading speeds, time to first byte, and advice for optimization. 

Since Flywheel is built for agencies and freelancers, the ability to host multiple sites and the features that make doing so easier than ever are excellent. The freelance plan allows up to 10 sites, the cheapest agency plan allows for up to 30, and the custom plan allows for over 100 sites.

You can also add additional sites to any plan—except the custom plan—for an extra $20 per site per month.

So, regardless of the number of sites you manage, Flywheel is a perfect fit. 

Pricing: 3/5 – Flywheel’s entry-level plan is $13 per month for 12 months, with $156 due upfront.

However, the best part is that there is zero additional cost to renew. You’ll never have to pay more than $13 per month unless Flywheel increases its pricing down the road. 

For two years of hosting, you’ll pay $312. For managed hosting with excellent uptime, speed, features, and support, that price is a steal. 

Flywheel is a premium managed web host and, at this price point, we had a hard time finding any reason why a freelancer or agency owner wouldn’t want to work with Flywheel. 

Website Speed: 5/5 – All Flywheel plans are powered by the Google Cloud Platform and they use the best world-class hardware and software to ensure your sites load as fast as possible. 

After a full month of speed testing and monitoring, Flywheel had an average response time of

288 milliseconds, making it the fastest host we tested

With response times like that, you’ll never have to worry about how your clients’ sites perform. You and your clients can rest easy knowing that everything’s optimized behind the scenes for optimal performance day in and day out. 

It’s also scalable to handle traffic spikes and surges without client sites’ performance suffering or going down entirely. 

Flywheel’s response time is assisted by custom caching technology (FlyCache). It’s ready to go out of the box and works hand-in-hand with Fastly CDN to deliver content from the closest point of presence to the end-user, no matter where they are. 

FlyCache stands out from other caching options on the market because it’s specific to Flywheel, highly customizable, and is preconfigured out of the box. 

Server Uptime: 5/5 – Uptime is a critical factor for every website on the internet. If sites are down when your clients need them, they lose trust in your brand. 

Over 30 days, we experienced no downtime with Flywheel—it’s one of only three hosts that delivered 100% uptime during testing. 

Our site was available every second of every day with no incidents whatsoever, which is an excellent metric you can pass on to your clients. They’ll appreciate that reliability and you can rest easy knowing you don’t have to worry about frantic 3 a.m. phone calls because a client’s site is down. 

Here are the results from our demo site:

What’s great about Flywheel is its self-healing server technology. This means your site will automatically fix itself when it can, to prevent unexpected downtime. 

For example, if there’s a PHP issue, it’ll automatically fix itself so your site doesn’t go down and you don’t have to figure out where the problem is on your own. 

This is the only provider on this list that offers this kind of fast-acting self-maintenance. 

Customer Support: 3.67/5 –  The first interaction we had with Flywheel’s customer service was really fast, five minutes in total. Plus we received help within 60 seconds of requesting it. We asked how we can improve website security. 

But all the rep did was send us two support documents. They were really friendly but we were disappointed they didn’t help us beyond that.

The second interaction was dreadfully slow. It took a long time to connect with someone—12 minutes to be exact. This was in the middle of the day, so it might just have been a busy time. 

Again, though, the rep didn’t do anything except send us to a support article when we asked how to set up an email for our domain. 

We felt like they could have done more, but it wasn’t a bad experience.

The last one was great. We found out how to improve our website speed. 

We were connected with someone in two minutes and the rep ran a speed test for us to offer personalized advice.

Flywheel could have definitely been better overall since we’re paying above average for the service, but it wasn’t terrible. 

Based on our experience, customer service was hit or miss and has room for improvement. 

We hope to see them offer more tailored help in the future and not just send customers to support articles with little explanation on how to use them. 

That being said, there’s no better choice for agencies looking for WordPress hosting than Flywheel. Get started with them to deliver peak speed and reliability to your clients.

#4 – DreamHost — The Easiest Way to Get Started for Less than $5

DreamHost

DreamHost

Easiest Way to Get Hosting for Under $5

Basic WordPress hosting starts at $4.95 per month with no long-term contract required. DreamHost delivers not only on price, but with their incredible uptime reliability. Get started with no stress and great performance by going with DreamHost.

Overall Score: 3.4 out of 5

If you want a WordPress hosting plan with zero commitment at the lowest possible cost, DreamHost is exactly what you’re looking for. 

In addition to annual and triennial plans, DreamHost offers the most affordable month-to-month packages out of all the hosts we tested with no long-term contract required. For just $4.95, you can get just about everything you need for your new WordPress site. 

Let’s see how DreamHost does based on our testing criteria: 

  • Shared Hosting Features = 3/5
  • Managed Hosting Features = 0.5/5
  • Pricing = 5/5
  • Website Speed =  1/5
  • Server Uptime = 4/5
  • Customer Support = 3.33/5

Shared Hosting Features: 3/5  – The entry-level shared hosting plan comes with a free domain for the first year, daily automated backups, and a beginner-friendly drag-and-drop WordPress site builder you can use to get started as fast as possible. 

The site builder is great for beginners and includes a blazing fast site creation wizard, more than 200 starter templates, real-time SEO recommendations, and advanced options for experienced designers. 

However, DreamHost doesn’t include email. You have to pay an additional $1.67 per month per mailbox if you want to send and receive emails from a professional email address. 

We found that disappointing since it’s the only shared host on our list that doesn’t include email. 

Another downside is that DreamHost’s WordPress servers aren’t actually optimized for WordPress—according to their sales team, it’s a marketing tactic to draw in more WordPress users. There’s no difference between WordPress and shared hosting plans, with no real benefit of choosing one over the other. 

In other words, the only differentiator between the two plans is the name. 

Managed Hosting Features: 0.5/5 – DreamHost’s entry-level managed WP hosting plan called DreamPress is missing just about every feature we looked at. The only thing it does have is a plugin for automated migrations, giving it half a point. 

If you want to move over to DreamHost, you can only use the migration plugin. It’s great for simple migrations but won’t work for complex sites with a lot of content and customization. 

Premium white glove migrations are not available, and neither is the option of hosting multiple sites on the same plan at a higher tier. 

DreamHost plans are missing malware detection and removal, so your site could be susceptible to phishing and other cyber attacks unless you pay for a third-party tool that offers more protection. 

You also don’t get any advanced performance monitoring tools, either. 

Overall, DreamHost has underwhelming managed WordPress plans based on our testing criteria. We recommend choosing a different provider if you’re looking for premium managed WordPress hosting. 

Pricing: 5/5 – You don’t have to be an expert in web hosting to see that DreamHost crushes the competition on price.

The annual plan is $2.95/month for 12 months with $35.40 due upfront.

And it renews at $6.99 per month—a 137% increase. For the second year, you’ll have to pay $83.88 upfront. 

Adding the two together, you can expect to pay $119.88 for two years of hosting, making it the cheapest host on our list if you opt for an annual plan.  

If you don’t want to make that commitment or prefer paying monthly, the pay-as-you-go plan is $4.95 per month for the first three months. After that, it goes up to $7.99 per month. 

If you’re looking for the absolute cheapest way to get started right now, this is it. 

And even though you miss out on some common features other managed WordPress hosts have, DreamHost might be exactly what you need right now. You still get a reliable web host that couldn’t be easier to get started with. 

Website Speed: 1/5 –  Speed is where DreamHost can let you down. It’s not the slowest provider out there, but it’s not wildly fast either. They get the job done as well as a primarily cheap web host should.

Our 30-day test discovered that DreamHost has an average response time of 813 milliseconds, which isn’t terrible given the rock-bottom prices. 

See our test results below:

Despite response times that are lower than average, DreamHost comes in slightly under a second, which is what we expect for a shared hosting environment. 

Server Uptime: 4/5 – Most web hosts offer cheap prices and lots of features, but have terrible uptime rates that will leave you frustrated when your site goes down. 

DreamHost, on the other hand, is cheap but has incredible uptime. Our research shows DreamHost has a winning one-two punch of 100% uptime and the best month-to-month pricing on the list. 

DreamHost demolished much of the shared WordPress hosting competition with a microscopic total downtime of only 49 seconds all stemming from a single incident. 

Take a look: 

Many providers will claim 99.99% and fall short with the numbers. But DreamHost delivered far beyond expectations in our research.

There isn’t one provider that claims 100% availability. And DreamHost never did.

But looking at the screenshot above you can see they hardly had a time when our site wasn’t available. Which means they manage their servers very well.

Customer Support: 2/5  – The first and second interactions were pretty slow compared to other providers, lasting around 17 minutes each. 

The first one was overly salesy and not very helpful, either. The first thing that they recommend for extra security features would be to enable DreamShield, which acts as a malware detector.

They told us we need to upgrade to a paid security plan and offered limited advice on actions we could take for free. We were pretty disappointed in how salesy the interaction felt. 

The second interaction was very helpful and thorough. We asked how to set up an email account and they walked us through how to upgrade if we wanted to have email accounts on our package and how to set it up, as well. 

The last interaction was much faster and very helpful. They directed us to a support article that covers WordPress optimization and invited us to reach out again if we experienced slow loading speeds going forward. The entire interaction took six minutes. 

We liked that they didn’t immediately ask us to upgrade our services to a higher tier. We would have lived if they had dived in a bit and gave us some specific advice rather than sending us directly to a support article.  But overall the interaction was fast and gave us enough to get started with site speed/optimization.

They did respond within five minutes which was nice. We also felt the reps were knowledgeable. But these are the only two pieces of criteria DreamHost met out of for our testing of customer service. 

Suffice it to say, DreamHost is lacking in some key areas. But for people looking to get started for a low price with no commitment, DreamHost makes a compelling argument. A really nice bonus is their fantastic uptime reliability, too.

#5 – WP Engine — The Best Pricing for Hosting Multiple WordPress Sites

WP Engine

WP Engine

Best Price for Multiple Sites

WP Engine's fully managed WordPress hosting plans let you manage multiple high-performance WordPress sites in one dashboard while saving money in the process. Get incredible uptime, speed, and support from WP Engine, with better per-site rates as you add more sites to your portfolio.

Overall Score: 3.1 out of 5

If you want to host multiple websites on one platform with top-of-the-line features and benefits, WP Engine does not disappoint. 

WP Engine has better pricing for multiple sites than any other provider on this list. 

And the more sites you have, the better of a deal it is. You can find out more detail in the pricing section of this review. 

Let’s break down WP Engine’s scores for our main six categories for WordPress hosting. 

  • Shared Hosting Features = 0/5
  • Managed Hosting Features = 4.5/5
  • Pricing = 1/5
  • Website Speed =  5/5
  • Server Uptime = 5/5
  • Customer Support = 5/5

Shared Hosting Features: 0/5 – WP Engine doesn’t offer shared WordPress hosting. 

They offer fully managed hosting plans for businesses of any size. But, since several hosts offer WordPress hosting under both shared and fully managed plans, shared hosting features are something we have to rate for. 

So, because WP Engine doesn’t have a shared hosting plan, they don’t have shared hosting features. Leaving them with a score of zero points on our grading scale.

Managed Hosting Features: 4.5/5 –  WP Engine’s entry-level plan comes with malware detection and removal, which is another way to secure your website at the highest level. 

You also receive advanced performance monitoring so you can see exactly how to improve your speed, monitor trends, or see how many requests come to your pages from visitors. 

A premium content delivery network also accompanies your hosting plan, which makes your data available to users around the world based on your specifications. 

Surprisingly, you only get a plugin for automated migrations and not more white-glove migration services in this area. 

What you’ll find as a small to medium-size business owner or agency, is that hosting multiple sites from one hosting account is much better than having different accounts. So, this feature is a real standout for WP Engine. 

This is perfect if you run an agency and need to keep things organized. WP Engine keeps this in mind with a dashboard that’s not cluttered. You can easily bounce back and forth between different websites and data, allowing you to easily answer questions clients might have about specific metrics regarding their websites. 

With this managed WordPress hosting solution you’ll have access to unlimited resources so your sites perform at their best 24/7/ 365 without any downtime or software issues getting in the way.

Pricing: 1/5 – When you come to WP Engine, you already know exactly what you want from a premium WordPress web host. 

The entry-level plan for one website is $25 per month for 12 months. That equals $300 due upfront. But, you’re getting managed hosting that provides a solution that is stable, secure, and fast. 

The price stays the same after the first year, so you never have to worry about astronomical renewal rates. 

So, you’ll pay $300 per year, every year. 

Let’s talk about multiple sites. 

For three sites with WP Engine, it costs $75 per month on the highest tier with all of WP Engine’s features, including advanced security, automatic plugin management, and advanced performance monitoring.

If you compare this to their closest competitor, you save $8 per month with WP Engine. And for ten sites, WP Engine’s top tier is $125 per month while their competitor is $42 higher per month.

WP Engine’s pricing for multiple sites is a steal, whether you’re hosting three sites, 30 sites, or more. 

Website Speed: 5/5 – After 30 days, WP Engine’s average response time was 428 milliseconds, making it the second-fastest host on our list. 

If you’re looking for blazing-fast speeds across all of your high-performance sites, this is the way to go. Our server responded in less than half a second with very few spikes over our testing period, resulting in stable (and fast) site speed. 

WP Engine is one of only two providers on this list considered the gold standard in managed WordPress hosting.

However, WP Engine outperformed the other for speed. 

The WP Engine team has developed an advanced WordPress hosting platform with features like SuperCacher—which caches all content for super-fast delivery—HTTP/2 support to enable faster page load times by parallelizing multiple downloads over a single connection, and server-side compression, which reduces bandwidth usage by as much as 90%.

Your fast website will convert more and rank better on Google because of WP Engine’s highly optimized WordPress platform. 

Server Uptime: 5/5 – Every second counts when you’re running an online business. Customers expect your website to be where you say it is. With WP Engine, you never have to worry about server reliability or downtime. 

After 30 days of monitoring, our demo site experienced exactly zero minutes of downtime—it’s one of only three hosts we tested that had a perfect track record for reliability.  

Here are our official results:

100% uptime paired with excellent server response times gives you a refreshingly reliable and stable hosting environment to keep all of your high-performance sites running without a hitch. 

With WP Engine, you get the best premium WordPress hosting service on the market—free of technical issues, slow speeds, or unplanned downtime. 

Customer Support: 5/5 – WP Engine’s team is always available. 24/7 support from their award-winning customer success team has proven to be consistent in our day in and day out testing.

We were connected immediately every time with literally zero wait time, even late in the evening and early in the morning.

We loved how honest the rep was in the first interaction when we asked about securing our website. They said there is a security add-on but we don’t really need it if we follow everything else. 

We loved how the interaction felt very personal and catered to us directly from the start. That was refreshing.

Every interaction was really fast. The first only took 13 minutes in total. 

One was even answered 100% by a bot when we asked for a walkthrough on how to set up an email address at our domain. 

It was convenient and very cool that all our questions were answered without having to wait for a person.

The reps also offered extra advice beyond sending us to an article, and one even gave personalized recommendations for plugins to use. 

Overall, WP Engine service is very speedy, knowledgeable, in-depth, and helpful. We always felt valued, even if the questions we asked were simple and available in their knowledge base.

That, added to the value of WP Engine’s speed and uptime makes it worth every penny. Wrangle all of your WordPress sites under one umbrella by signing up with WP Engine today.

#6 – Nexcess — The Best Pro-Level WordPress Hosting Under $16

Nexcess Logo

Nexcess

Best Professional WP Hosting Under $16

Get the performance, speed, security, and support you need without the hassle of regular WordPress updates and maintenance or bloated, beginner-friendly features you don't need as a WordPress pro. Pricing starts just under $16 per month, making it a steal.

Overall Score: 2.9 out of 5

Nexcess offers a drastic improvement from shared hosting performance. 

However, it’s missing a lot of helpful features for beginners and it’s not the easiest platform to use if you’re just getting your feet wet.

With that said, it’s perfect for anyone who knows what they’re doing but doesn’t want to fork over $25 to $30 for premium WordPress hosting. 

As an experienced WordPress user, you’ll enjoy a clutter-free interface that lets you get straight to the point.

You don’t have to sort through dozens of tutorials, set up wizards, or anything like that. You can simply jump straight into doing what you do best—creating and managing WordPress sites. 

Here’s how Nexcess stacks up on our scorecard:

  • Shared Hosting Features = 0/5
  • Managed Hosting Features = 4/5
  • Pricing = 2/5
  • Website Speed =  4/5
  • Server Uptime = 5/5
  • Customer Support = 3.33/5

Shared Hosting Features: 0/5 – Nexcess doesn’t offer shared WordPress hosting. They only offer fully managed hosting plans for content and commerce platforms. WordPress is one of them. 

But since several hosts offer WordPress hosting under both shared and fully managed plans, shared hosting features are something we have to rate for. 

Because Nexcess doesn’t have shared hosting plans, they don’t have shared hosting features, leaving them with a score of zero points on our grading scale. 

Managed Hosting Features: 4/5 – Nexcess offers managed WordPress hosting that’s scalable and offers better one-on-one support. 

We love the tons of premium features they offer. 

The entry-level plan comes with malware detection and removal, which protects your website from malicious attacks from hackers and other types of cyberattacks. You also get a slew of other security features via iThemes Security Pro. 

Nexcess’ content delivery network works through a partnership with Verizon Digital Media Services.

This allows you to customize your content network location so you have the power to alter where your content goes and while making sure it loads quickly for all visitors. 

Premium migrations that won’t let you down are included free of charge. Let the Nexcess migration experts make your transition free of trouble.

There is only one key flaw with Nexcess—there isn’t an option to use advanced performance analytics on their basic plan. But you can get this feature if you upgrade to one of the higher tiers.  

Pricing: 2/5 – Nexcess gives you pro-level features at solid prices. You can start on the entry-level plan for $15.83 per month, equaling $190 for the first year.

Rather than a massive price hike after the first year, the renewal rate stays the same at $15.83 per month. 

You don’t have to worry about insane price increases year after year, which is a refreshing change from cheaper hosts on the market. 

You also get a 14-day free trial, with no credit card required. 

Most providers offer a money-back guarantee, but Nexcess lets you try it out absolutely free before making any decisions. 

Website Speed: 4/5 – We did our own research over 30 days so you could see whether Nexcess passes muster on site loading speeds. They had an average response time of 565 milliseconds, making it the fourth-fastest provider we tested. 

Sliding in just over half a second, you can rest easy knowing you’re getting the stable performance you’re paying extra for. 

The results speak for themselves:

The best part about having a managed WordPress host is that it optimizes your website for speed and security automatically. 

Nexcess keeps your site updated with the latest software patches so your site isn’t slowed down by out-of-date plugins. 

The Nexcess Cloud Accelerator is included by default and provides better page load technology for your WordPress website. It can be enabled with just a click of a button. 

Nexcess provides even more speed benefits with the instant auto-scaling feature, meaning your website speed won’t slow down because of traffic spikes. Attract as much traffic as you want without fear. 

Server Uptime: 5/5 – Server downtime can be a massive hit to your business if you don’t choose a reliable host. 

Your customers are online 24/7, and when they can’t access your website or app it means lost sales. And costing you in the long run much more than just dollars and cents. 

After 30 days of uptime monitoring, our demo site hosted with Nexcess had a perfect score with no downtime—it’s one of only three hosts we tested that delivered 100% uptime. 

Here’s a closer look at our test results:

There’s no doubt about Nexcess’s server reliability. No downtime, no incidents—the data speaks for itself. 

If you want a stable hosting environment that won’t let you down and delivers above-average response times at an affordable price, this is the way to go. 

Customer Support: 3.33/5 – Nexcess had slightly above-average customer service when compared to the other managed WordPress hosting providers on our list. 

Connecting with a rep was speedy—we never waited more than 30 seconds to get a response. 

In the first interaction, the rep didn’t really seem to know much about security whatsoever. It also took a long time to get an answer that ultimately only sent us to a support article to read on our own. 

The article talks about all the features of iThemes Security Pro, an article on how to get started with managed WordPress hosting, and another article that talked about how to secure WordPress sites. The iThemes article wasn’t really that helpful.

We wished the rep would have explained some things to us rather than just sending us a bunch of support articles to read on our own.

Our second interaction was a lot better, regarding setting up our email. But the rep wasn’t very good at explaining things to us. We got confused a few times and had to ask more questions and they just kept repeating the same things. 

However, we came to a resolution and it all worked out. But it did take 17 minutes. 

The last interaction on making our website faster was speedy, but again the rep only sent us a support article. 

So, aside from the second interaction, the reps didn’t offer any advice that couldn’t be found elsewhere. We felt support could have been better since we’re paying so much more to use their services.

Nexcess is another great choice for incredibly reliable speed and uptime. We recommend it most for WordPress pros who don’t want a bunch of hand-holding when setting up a new site. Get a great provider that’s on your level by going with Nexcess.

#7 – Bluehost — The Easiest Way to Launch Your First WordPress Site

Bluehost

Bluehost

Best for Launching Your First WP Site

Offering one of the easiest onboarding and site building experiences from a WordPress host, Bluehost is the ideal choice if this is your first rodeo. Go from nothing to a fully launched WP site with ease while reaping the benefits of Bluehost's many shared hosting features.

Overall Score: 2.8 out of 5

If you’ve never built a website before, feeling uncomfortable and overwhelmed with technical features and details is normal. Building a website from scratch can feel like a massive undertaking. 

However, Bluehost’s WordPress site builder offers a surprising combination of ease of use and customization. 

It’s a great place to start and will help you overcome the daunting WordPress learning curve. We tested it out, played around with it, and built a professional website in about five minutes with no prior experience with the builder at all. 

If you have ten minutes to sit down and play with it, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. 

Plus, there are tons of starter templates you can use to jumpstart the design of your new site without having to start from scratch. 

If you’re curious how Bluehost performed against the others we tested, here’s how it stacks up:

  • Shared Hosting Features = 3/5
  • Managed Hosting Features = 2.5/5
  • Pricing = 4/5
  • Website Speed =  1/5
  • Server Uptime = 2/5
  • Customer Support = 3/5

Shared Hosting Features: 4/5 – We distilled a massive list of shared WordPress hosting features down to the five that are most important. 

Bluehost checked three out of five of our boxes. 

The entry-level WordPress plan comes with five email accounts, a free domain for the first year (saving you $18), and the excellent beginner-friendly site builder we talked about above. 

Another thing we hoped to see was automated backups.

If your website data and design aren’t tucked away for safekeeping, you can lose all your hard work and data in a blink of an eye. 

Not having your site backed up is like playing with fire. 

However, Bluehost doesn’t include this in the entry-level plan—it’s available as a paid add-on or you can use a third-party service for backups instead. 

After digging further into Bluehost’s offerings, we also realized there’s no difference between the shared hosting plan and the WordPress hosting plan. 

They’re identical in every way. When we called the sales team and asked about the differences between the two, they confirmed that there aren’t any. In reality, there’s no benefit of choosing WordPress hosting over shared hosting since the only difference is how Bluehost markets them to potential customers. 

We think that’s pretty misleading, but Bluehost isn’t the only host that does that. 

With that said, if you’re brand new to building websites and want the easiest onboarding experience possible, Bluehost is certainly a great place to get started, learn the ins and outs, build your first site, and keep costs low. 

Managed Hosting Features: 2.5/5 – Within the entry-level managed plan you get malware detection and removal, which helps with securing your website from hackers and malicious attacks. 

We love that you get a premium content delivery network (CDN) that you can customize to your specifications, including the locations you want for data centers.  

You also get a plugin for migrations. We felt Bluehost fell a little short with only offering a plugin for migrations and not having a premium migration option.  

The plugin allows you to migrate simple websites over but does not offer the white-glove services that other premium fully managed WordPress hosting plans offer. 

It’s better than nothing but not very helpful for complicated site migrations. 

You also don’t get performance analytics and the option of hosting multiple websites like other providers on this list offer. 

So, while there are managed WordPress plans with Bluehost, we urge you to consider other options within this list if managed WordPress hosting is what you’re looking for. 

You can find out more about the differences between shared and managed WordPress hosting in our methodology section below. 

Pricing: 4/5 – The problem most beginners have is paying a high price for a host they don’t know will work out. Bluehost caters to you with affordable web hosting that offers peace of mind as you get started. 

The entry-level plan is $4.95 per month, with $59.40 being due upfront for the first year. 

Upon renewal, you’ll pay $9.99 per month (a 102% increase). For the second year of hosting, you’ll pay $119.88 in total. 

Adding the two together, you can expect to pay $179.28 for two years.

However, you can get even better pricing if you opt for a three-year contract. Doing so brings the monthly price down to $2.95 per month, with $194.70 due upfront for three years of hosting. 

Website Speed: 1/5 – Bluehost performed the worst in our site speed tests. Over a 30-day period, the load time was a dreary 1107 milliseconds. 

There was a point when we saw a max response time of 29 seconds, which is pretty horrific. They’re one out of two providers we reviewed that bottomed out in website speed performance. 

Here’s the proof:

In a shared hosting environment, site speed is determined by server resources and how many sites are using up those resources. But since speed plays a big role in search engine ranking and visitor experience, having a slow site can hurt your reputation and cause you to rank lower than you would otherwise. 

So, it’s an important metric to consider when choosing a host. 

Server Uptime: 2/5 – There are many companies that claim to have flawless uptime, but we prefer to let real data do the talking. 

After 30 days of testing, Bluehost delivered 99.95% uptime, which is respectable but pretty low compared to the other hosts we tested. 

Our Bluehost server was unavailable for 20 minutes and 28 seconds over thirty days. The longest duration of sustained downtime was 10 minutes and 4 seconds. 

That’s time no one was able to visit our website. Not only is this a bad experience for the end-user, but it can also look like your site doesn’t exist and creates who knows how many missed opportunities. 

Depending on your business this can cost you a great deal. 

There were seven incidents that made our site unavailable. Most of them were connection timeouts where the server took too much time to reply. 

But we also had two SSL errors. This means the browser wasn’t able to verify the SSL certificate and showed a warning to visitors that our page wasn’t safe to visit. This is a massive problem and can spook visitors—the last thing you want is to scare people away, leaving them questioning the credibility of your site.

Just keep in mind that uptime may be better one month and worse the next. In the grand scheme of a shared hosting environment, the results we saw are typical and nothing to run away from if you’re looking for an easy, beginner-friendly WordPress hosting option. 

Customer Support: 2/5 – We were surprised at how Bluehost fell short in this category. 

At the start, the live chat option isn’t as noticeable as many other providers—you actually have to go looking for it in order to start a live chat. It’s located in the knowledge base tab.

That’s much different in comparison to other providers where it’s visible at all times. 

Once opened up, we filled out a few forms about our question, and then it took us to a list of knowledge base articles. This is what we don’t like to see. If we wanted to look things up on our own, we would’ve searched Google for the answer. 

This approach gave us the sense they were trying to dump us off. So that was frustrating for us. 

At the bottom, there’s an option to start a chat if none of those articles answer your question.

They were very fast to respond. Within 30 seconds we were connected. 

In our first conversation, we asked about website security.  We felt the rep was very salesly and pushy, trying to upsell us rather than answering the question. We also didn’t like that the rep immediately copied and pasted their response into the chat with zero explanation. 

Our second interaction was much better when we asked how we can set up our email. They very quickly told us how to create a new email account. The rep was friendly, and very efficient, handling the request in only five minutes. 

In our last interaction, we asked about making our site load as fast as possible. This chat frustrated us because we were given a ton of information that we didn’t ask for and none of it was useful to answering our question.

After that, we got an excellent response with specific actions we could take as well as more in-depth guides to help us out. 

This chat took 17 minutes in total. And the question took much longer to answer than we felt was needed.

Bluehost customer service was hit or miss. You might get speedy response times but they seem to not answer your questions directly at times and can be frustrating.

Regardless, their combination of ease of use, price, and shared hosting features makes Bluehost a top choice for WordPress first-timers.

#8 – Kinsta — The Most Secure Managed WordPress Hosting

Kinsta

Kinsta

Most Secure WordPress Hosting

Worried about securing customer data or managing a popular site that everyone wants a peice of? Freeze out hackers and malware with Kinsta's robust security features included with every plan. You get all the managed hosting features you'll need plus with rock-solid customer support if you ever have issues.

Overall Score: 2.2 out of 5

Kinsta comes with way more built-in security features than any other option on this list. If security is what you’re looking for, Kinsta can’t be beaten. 

Kinsta is the most secure WordPress hosting solution available today because it takes care of all security updates automatically for you as well as keeps track of any changes made by anyone who has administrative privileges on the server, keeping hackers at bay. 

It also monitors everything happening on our servers 24/7 using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms so you don’t have to. 

On top of being packed with security features, they also offer a plethora of other benefits for your managed WordPress site, including above-average customer support and the most features for managed hosting out of all the providers we tested. 

Here are the details on how they fared in our six core categories: 

  • Shared Hosting Features = 0/5
  • Managed Hosting Features = 5/5
  • Pricing = 1/5
  • Website Speed =  2/5 
  • Server Uptime = 3/5 
  • Customer Support = 4.67/5

Shared Hosting Features: 0/5 – Kinsta doesn’t offer shared WordPress hosting. 

They offer fully managed hosting plans for businesses and users who need and find security and speed as being of the utmost importance. 

But since several hosts offer WordPress hosting under both shared and fully managed plans, shared hosting features are something we have to rate for. 

So Kinsta scored zero points out of five for not having shared hosting features.

Managed Hosting Features: 5/5 – Kinsta’s the only host that has a perfect score for managed hosting features. 

Its entry-level plan includes malware detection and removal, advanced performance monitoring, a premium content delivery network (KeyCDN), one premium migration, and the option to host multiple sites on a higher tier. 

These tick all the boxes we feel a gold standard premium host should contain. 

Kinsta’s malware detection feature comes with active and passive measures to stop malicious attacks and other suspicious activities before they happen. On the off chance something does occur, a dedicated team fixes the problem immediately. 

You also get automated backups that happen every day with the option of manual backups prior to big changes. 

So you can easily revert back to an old version of your site if anything happens. 

For even more security comfort Kinsta gives you a secure Cloudflare firewall, built-in uptime monitoring, and software restrictions to keep the environment secure. 

An example of a software restriction can be the source code of a particular WordPress plugin that does not meet the standards Kinsta has for its platform.

They are always investigating server security, and guarantee they’ll fix your site immediately if you get hacked. And restore your site to perfect condition before considering the issue resolved. 

All Kinsta plans come with a custom-built application performance monitoring tool. APM for short. 

This is where Kinsta separates itself from all the other hosts on this list. 

Using advanced performance monitoring allows you to track and analyze slow processes and transactions, database queries, external requests, and WordPress plugins. 

For instance, you will be able to pinpoint a slow web page instantly and find out why it’s slow.

We recommended to only activate it when you need to check or troubleshoot something since running it in the background can negatively affect page performance.

There’s an analytics dashboard that covers all sorts of site metrics. 

You can monitor total visits, resource usage, CDN usage, desktop vs mobile users, response times for pages, and even data on where users live, including city, country, and IP Addresses. 

Usually, you’d need to use a third party to get this kind of data. But makes this available on every plan. 

Regarding your premium CDN, KeyCDN is a high-performance CDN with locations in 40 plus edge servers across 30 countries and six continents.

You can enable it in one click inside your dashboard. 

It comes with real-time image optimization, next-gen formatting, and the ability to reduce file video optimizations, granular cache control, and hundreds of advanced features you can configure to your heart’s desire.

But it also works out of the box if you don’t want to dig into the little details. 

Each plan has specified CDN usage limits starting at 50 GB for the cheapest plan and up to 1,000 GB on the top enterprise plan. If you go over, you’ll be charged an overage fee of $0.10 per GB. 

Next up is Kinsta’s premium migration, free of charge. 

The entry-level plan includes one premium done-for-you migration – all you have to do is fill out a form and Kinsta’s team of engineers will do everything for you.

Migrations to Kinsta usually don’t result in any downtime and the team will inspect it for you and make sure everything tip-top,  before considering the matter resolved. 

When and if you’re looking to host multiple sites in the future it’s nice if your provider offers this feature.

Kinsta’s unique hosting infrastructure makes it a great option for hosting more than one WordPress site without sacrificing performance on any of them. 

You can easily launch new installs from your dashboard in a few clicks or migrate existing sites over. 

You can also clone existing environments for a really fast setup of new sites. 

Pricing: 1/5 – Kinsta got a low score for pricing because it’s one of two premium hosts on our list. 

Kinsta’s entry-level plan is $25.00 per month for 12 months with $300 due upfront for the year. It’s tied with WP Engine for the most expensive option on our list.

But the good news is that there’s no increase in price upon renewal. 

You will always pay $25 per month unless Kinsta decides to raise their prices in the future. And you don’t have to worry about insane price spikes when it’s time to pay your next bill. 

For the price, you get gold standard WordPress hosting, service, and features that are powered by the Google Cloud Platform infrastructure.

Website Speed: 2/5 – Slow websites drive customers away, as we all know. Kinsta claims to be one of the fastest and most reliable hosting solutions on the market today. We wanted to make sure it wasn’t just hype. 

Unfortunately, the response time results for our demo site were less than ideal, with an average response time of 746 milliseconds. 

With such a high cost, we expected better performance. The average across all of our demo sites was 630 milliseconds, which includes shared hosting performance as well. 

In fact, Kinsta was slower than two of the shared hosts we reviewed. 

Despite less-than-great results, Kinsta offers numerous features to keep site speed low, as well as numerous guides and site-side tools, including a premium CDN and weekly database optimizations, you can use to make your site load as fast as possible. 

Kinsta invests in state-of-the-art technology and software designed to make their servers respond as fast as possible. 

Their speed enhancement software includes NGINX servers, PHP 8.0, LXD software containers that encapsulate your website to keep your site and resources separate from everyone else on the server. Not only is this good for performance, but it also adds an extra layer of security, as well. 

These features combined with site-side tools should pack a lot of punch. So, maybe we caught them in a bad month. 

Either way, this performance isn’t terrible—it’s just worse than a lot of the other providers we tested. Kinsta’s a safe and reliable bet if server security is a top concern. 

Server Uptime: 3/5 – Kinsta is the only premium managed provider that didn’t get a perfect score for uptime. It actually had more uptime issues than two of the shared hosts we tested. 

After 30 days of testing, we had 99.99% uptime with a total of four minutes and 17 seconds of downtime. The longest duration was 2 minutes and 58 seconds. In the grand scheme, it’s not terrible. But there’s also room for improvement. 

See our results below:

Despite the lackluster performance, Kinsta is one of the only hosts that proactively monitors your site’s uptime. It checks every 2 minutes for a total of 720 checks per day.

This level of in-house monitoring lets the Kinsta team respond to downtime issues as fast as possible, ensuring it affects the least amount of visitors to your site. Without this, we may have experienced even more downtime. 

Not only does this help reduce the duration of unexpected downtime, but it also gives you an extra set of eyes on your site, even if you’re not around. 

Customer Support: 4.67/5 –  Every interaction we had with Kinsta was excellent. 

The only reason they didn’t score 5/5 was that there was an extended period in the last interaction that took way too long. 

It was regarding our question on site speed and the rep was away for about 19 minutes to get an answer. And we weren’t quite sure why. 

The rep ran a speed test which normally takes a few seconds. 

But when they returned we were very surprised at how in-depth the rep was about explaining the results of the test and what we can do to improve it even further. 

We appreciated the fact that they offered very specific advice for our site and not just a blanket statement that applies to everyone. 

It felt very personalized and the rep went through a lot to explain everything in such detail. 

All in all, we found every rep was patient and took a lot of time to explain things to us, rather than just sending us a link or naming a product for us to go look into on our own.

They all went above and beyond to make sure we understood everything and had all our questions answered before disconnecting.

The other thing we love is Kinsta takes responsibility for solving problems. Every support ticket has a 100% solve rate, so everyone walks away from support interactions with their issues resolved. 

Nothing is left uncovered. 

Also, Kinsta is one of the few that actively monitors uptime & will get to work the second they notice something has gone wrong. 

Get rock-solid security from your WordPress hosting by choosing Kinsta.

Methodology for Choosing the Best WordPress Hosting Service

Our team spent four weeks on all the data for our recommendations.

We went deep on the research because we don’t want you caught on the wrong side of a decision when you pick your WordPress web host.

For every host that we tested, we went through an exhaustive procedure:

  1. We opened a brand new account with a WP hosting plan
  2. Bought a separate domain name for each host and went through the signup process
  3. Created a fresh site with no images, pages, plugins—just a blank WordPress install 
  4. We used the exact same WordPress theme and settings for every site
  5. Then we monitored site speed and uptime for an entire month
  6. We finished by submitting three support tickets to gauge customer support

After running all our tests, we rated them on a scale between one to five for six key categories. We then combined all those ratings into a single score by weighting them based on their importance. These are the rating categories and their weights: 

  1. Shared Hosting Features (10%)
  2. Managed Hosting Features (5%)
  3. Pricing (35%)
  4. Website Speed (20%)
  5. Server Uptime (15%)
  6. Customer Support (15%)

There’s a lot of overlap between shared and managed WordPress hosting. Some plans are clearly one or the other, but some may fall somewhere in between. To make matters worse, different hosts are starting to use the terms interchangeably. 

So, it can be confusing to keep straight. 

To help clear up any confusion, we broke them apart and created a clear separation between shared and managed hosting. 

Below, we’ll talk about the real differences between the two, what features are the most important with each type, and why. 

With shared hosting, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of sites sharing server resources at any given time. If one site has a surge in traffic (like a large promotion, an appearance on the news, or a viral Instagram post), your site’s performance can suffer. On top of that, you’re in charge of maintaining your site’s security, keeping it up to date, and monitoring its performance. 

The benefit is incredibly affordable pricing to help you keep costs low. 

Managed hosting is more expensive and has lower usage limits, like storage space & visits per month, to ensure your site operates at pique performance all the time. But the benefit is that there are far fewer sites on each server and you don’t have to worry about security, software updates, performance monitoring, or optimization. 

To sweeten the deal, you’ll get priority support that actually does things for you rather than requiring you to do it on your own.

Shared Hosting (Features) – 10%

You might be wondering if I’m looking for WordPress hosting why should I care about shared hosting? 

The answer: most WordPress hosting is shared hosting. For some, that’s a good thing. It’s cheap, has all the resources you need, and runs WordPress beautifully.

Shared WordPress hosting is all about keeping costs down, with most plans costing less than $10 per month.

If you’re on a tight budget, or just getting started, shared hosting is perfect for you. 

It’s primarily for brand new websites that don’t have tons of traffic. It’s also a great fit for anyone starting a basic business website that will never require a lot of resources or demand high performance. 

What makes shared WordPress hosting different from managed hosting is the features you DON’T get: 

  • Advanced security features – malware protection, DDoS and brute force protection, proactive monitoring by a team of experts, automated backups, and custom firewalls
  • Server-level caching – most WordPress plugins temporarily cache your site’s content on the end-user’s side of things. Server-level caching actually stores content on the server-side, requiring fewer requests to with no end-user involvement
  • Website staging – you can work on your website, modify it, test different settings, and more without having to take it down or make it unavailable to visitors while you work. When you’re done making your changes you simply press a button and push all your updates to your site
  • Advanced performance metrics – If you want to troubleshoot poor site performance, you need to be able to see what’s causing it. This managed hosting feature lets you track, analyze and improve site performance in a myriad of ways. 

Shared hosting plans don’t offer this kind of control or level of security built right into the plan. Instead, you’re in charge of configuring it all yourself. 

Shared WordPress hosting also comes with a generic dashboard or basic control panel that’s typically not user-friendly.  

Based on our definition of shared WordPress hosting, four of the hosts on our list offer shared hosting plans. To help you distinguish between them, we looked at dozens of features and filtered them down to the five most important. 

Then, we gave each host one point for each feature they offer. 

Note: the other four hosts don’t offer shared hosting plans. So, they all got zero points for shared hosting features. 

Number of email accounts: This varies wildly from one host to the next.

And since most people will need at least one professional email address, it’s an important feature to pay attention to. In fact, some of you need multiple email addresses depending on the function of your site. You might need an email for support, or complaints, or even payment questions. 

If your web hosting plan doesn’t come with the number of email accounts you need, you’ll end up having to pay more. But, you can easily solve this problem and get unlimited email accounts with one of the providers on our list. 

One host gives you one account, another comes with five, and one even comes with an unlimited number of accounts so you can have as many as you need. All of these hosts got a point for this feature. 

On the other hand, one host doesn’t offer any email accounts for free and gets zero points. 

Free domain name for the first year: If you’re looking to cut costs, getting a free domain name for the first year is an excellent way to do it. 

And it’ll help you save time since you won’t need to configure DNS settings on your own. 

Two of the hosts on our list give this special offer to new customers. The other two charge for it, or you can buy one through a domain registrar instead. 

Automatic backups: Backups protect you and your website if things ever go south. Like a hacker comes in and changes all the content on your site, you make a mistake that brings your entire website crashing to the ground, or some other unforeseen situation that damages your live website. 

No matter what happens, you can easily revert your website back to an old version in one click. 

And when your host handles backups automatically, it’s not something you need to think about. 

First, not all web hosts have automatic backup. Second, there are big differences in how often each host does the backup.

Weekly backups mean there’s more time in between backups. So you may end up undoing some of the changes you WANTED to keep if you have to revert back. 

Daily backups are created closer together so you get more control over the exact day you want to revert back to.

Two hosts offer weekly backups, one offers daily backups, and one doesn’t offer automated backups at all. 

Free WordPress themes or a site builder: If you’re new to WordPress, there’s a lot to learn and it can get overwhelming pretty quick.  

Because of that, several hosts now offer a free drag-and-drop page builder or professionally designed themes you can install on your site in a matter of seconds. 

Even if you’re just learning how to use the platform, having these options available is a great way to save time, reduce the learning curve, and get started as fast as possible. 

Two hosts come with beginner-friendly drag-and-drop site builders, One offers a library of free themes, and one doesn’t offer either. 

Servers optimized for WordPress: As we started digging into different shared WordPress hosting plans, we were surprised to find that most of the shared providers on our list don’t actually limit WordPress plans to WordPress sites. 

Why does that matter? Because it means the provider can’t actually optimize its servers for WordPress sites since they need to keep everyone on the server happy. 

Even if they’re running an entirely different CMS, like Joomla or Drupal. 

In fact, there’s no difference at all between their shared and WordPress hosting plans. 

While they make it seem like there’s an added benefit of choosing WordPress hosting, the reality is that there isn’t—it’s all a marketing tactic to attract WordPress users. To confirm this, we asked their sales teams. 

Three providers confirmed that there’s no difference aside from how the plans are marketed.

One, on the other hand, explained that it actually limits WordPress hosting plans to WordPress sites so they can fine-tune those servers specifically for better performance. 

Managed WordPress Hosting (Features) – 5%

Real managed WP hosting is drastically different than shared hosting. With managed hosting, you expect better performance, security, customer support, and site monitoring. However, those advanced features come with a higher price tag. 

In all honesty, managed plans are overkill for most of you. 

If you’re just getting started or have a small website, we highly recommend sticking to shared hosting until you start to experience problems. 

Because of that, managed features are only 5% of the overall score. 

Just like with shared hosting we started with a list of dozens of features we expect to see in a managed WP hosting provider.

But there are differentiators we pay attention to. So, we took away all of the standard features that every host on our list includes. And again narrowed it down to the five most important features to look at.

From there, we gave each provider one point per feature they offer. 

Malware detection & removal: The first line of defense to protect your website from malicious activity and hackers coming in to wreak havoc. Since managed WordPress hosting is supposed to offer better security, it should have automated malware detection and removal in place to protect your site without you having to do a thing. 

Providers are proactive about taking care of this without you asking. 

There are also more advanced security features like DDoS protection, brute force protection, firewalls, and bot detection. 

However, most charge extra for these advanced security measures. 

Advanced performance monitoring: Being able to see load times, total requests, performance issues, and page times without buying another tool are convenient. Countless reviews show this is what many users love about this feature, and finds it extremely helpful. 

Here’s an example of the type of advanced performance metrics you can see with one provider:

You’ll notice the image shows help icons and recommendations on how to improve your score and overall experience. It also shows the number of seconds visitors would wait.  And our caching score, which means how well our site date is stored for easy delivery to a visitor.

This is the level of performance monitoring we looked for in other hosts on our list. 

 You can troubleshoot performance issues and identify bottlenecks when it comes to performance. You can access and manage speed, on how many visitors you receive as well as find the root cause of a slow page.  

This is the kind of freedom and power you want to have when considering a managed WordPress hosting plan.

You can also identify your slowest WP plugins which are the most common reasons for site slowdowns. 

If you feel like you’re not getting the visitors your site should be, this is where you can see if it’s taking too long to load and causing visitors to bounce.

Shared web hosting options don’t offer this, nor do some of the “managed” services on our list. So look for it carefully. 

Free premium CDN: Not every CDN is the same 

With shared hosting, you usually only get the free version of a CDN. There’s no customization allowed and it’s not a premium, high-performance version. 

A premium CDN allows you to decide what data centers your content is available from. With a few clicks, you can make your content faster to find and digest around the world from hundreds of different datacenters. They often have built-in security features which work in tandem with premium speed features available. Also, premium CDNs let you optimize images and view detailed reporting for complete visibility with the ability to spot performance and security issues right away.

White-glove migrations: Migrating can be a really scary thing—if you do one thing wrong, you can mess up your site entirely. 

And the bigger your site is, the more challenging a migration becomes. Losing your contact lists, or all of your blog posts is just a few issues that can arise when website migration goes wrong. 

When you find a good premium migration provider, they will systematically move your data over. They will back up your data so they guarantee everything comes over 100% without a problem. 

Knowing how to find a trustworthy team that performs well without limitations used to be complicated.

What if the entire migration was done for you?

And it was included in the price of your managed hosting?

Some of the providers on our list offer exactly that. The migration is completely hands-off, keeps you in the loop every step of the way, and is truly white glove.

Some hosts offer a migration plugin instead of white-glove services. Which… helps but isn’t the ideal solution. Especially if you have a large, complex, content-heavy, or highly customized site. 

The plugin will work fine for you if your migration is simple. They’re easy to use and only require a few clicks to start the process. However, it doesn’t mean something won’t go wrong. And you don’t get the peace of mind that it’s done right or that there’s an expert ready to fix any issues that arise

The good news is that it’s better than offering nothing at all so we gave hosts that offer an automated migration plugin half a point.

Option to host multiple sites: Managed hosting is expensive. And it gets even more expensive if you manage multiple sites. 

So it only seems fair you should have the option of hosting multiple sites with one subscription to make the most of the money you’re spending. 

In most cases, this isn’t available on the entry-level plan but is available at higher tiers. So you can spend $100 per month to host ten sites for example and manage them in one place rather than paying $30 per site per month and managing them all separately. 

This ends up being far more expensive than it needs to be and an absolute nightmare to manage.  

This feature is super important for you if you run an agency that manages sites for businesses or individuals.

Even if you don’t need it now, the option SHOULD be there if they need it in the future. 

Pricing That Won’t Confuse You – 35%

Even though cheaper hosting isn’t always better, we understand it’s a big hurdle for a lot of people. Whether you’re just getting started, moving to a new host, or have years of experience, there’s no need to pay more than you need to. 

Because of that, price plays a huge role in each provider’s overall score. 

To compare pricing, we looked at the entry-level WordPress hosting plan with each host since that’s where most folks will start. 

We calculated the total cost due upfront for an annual contract with each host. Since those rates include steep promotional discounts, we also looked at the total cost of a second year of hosting without promo pricing to get the full picture. 

From there, we found the total cost for two years of hosting and assigned a score to each host based on the grading scale below:

  • Five points for $175 or less
  • Four points for $176 to $275
  • Three points for $276 to $375
  • Two points for $375 to $475
  • One point for more than $476

The average price across all providers is $321.75 for two years. 

Two providers are the clear leaders in the cheapest category at $119.28 and $143.76 for two years of hosting. While we have two more providers on the cheap end of average, falling between $176 and $275.

One host scored right in the middle. One came in with a slightly higher than average price point. And two others climbed above our $476 maximum and are the most expensive.

While that covers the bulk of hosting expenses, there are other things to consider as well. 

Overages in bandwidth like traffic surges or other unexpected events that affect the server speed poorly can leave your website shut down or unavailable without a moment’s notice. 

On the flip side, if you have overages in a Managed WP hosting you can automatically scale your resources to handle traffic surges—unexpected events, and you can usually pay for those overages when they happen. Keeping you from losing complete access to your site in the meantime. 

Bottom line, when you move on to more traffic, and more resource consumption because of your growing website, you need to be aware that overages exist and learn how to manage them. 

Using advanced performance metrics on your provider’s dashboard will show you the built-in analytics you have available for review. 

This helps keep you prepared for overage charges and to know when it makes economic sense to upgrade to a higher tier of resources. 

A 99.97% Guarantee Your Website Is Never Interrupted – 15%

Can every provider actually offer 99.97% availability for your website?

Not quite. That’s actually the average uptime of all the hosts we tested. Six did better and two did worse. 

To get these numbers, we rolled up our sleeves and monitored our demo websites for a full 30 days. Our goal was to find out once and for all which hosts actually deliver on their uptime promises. 

Interested in how we tested each provider’s uptime? Here’s what we did. 

First, we signed up for the entry-level WP hosting plan with each host, just like any new customer would. 

We bought a separate domain name for each host and went through the entire signup process from start to finish. Then, we created a fresh site with no images, pages, plugins, etc.

Just a blank WordPress default 2021 theme install so that every site is exactly the same (with the only difference being the host that powers them). 

Once all the sites were ready, we plugged the domains into FreshPing to monitor uptime at 1-minute intervals for 30 days. After 30 days, we pulled the data and assigned a score to each host based on our grading scale:

  • 5 points for no downtime
  • 4 points for less than one minute of downtime
  • 3 points for one to 20 minutes of downtime
  • 2 points for 20 to 40 minutes of downtime
  • 1 point for more than 40 minutes of downtime

We expected to find that the majority of WP hosting providers would have reliable servers. One of them was surprisingly bad with 99.8% uptime, but the rest met or exceeded our expectations. 

Keep in mind that uptime will be less consistent if you opt for a shared WordPress hosting plan. Some hosts may see month-to-month fluctuations on their shared plans. But it’s worth your consideration for the benefits you get at such a low cost. 

Here are some important ideas to remember and questions about downtime: 

  • You want a host with a consistently high uptime percentage
  • Find out what causes downtime for the provider you’re using (security issue, browser-side defects and errors, or server-side errors)
  • How long do single instances of downtime last?
  • Does the provider offer compensation for uncontrollable downtime?

These critical ideas and questions about downtime will help you easily select the best provider for you. Especially if you can’t afford any lapses in availability. 

Developing a website takes hard work and can be time-consuming. And all that will go to waste if your site goes down due to downtime caused by various factors—like timeout errors or server problems. 

It’s an unfortunate fact that everyone deals with at one point. 

For ecommerce businesses, the negative impact can be even worse—having a five-minute lapse of accessibility can cost you hundreds (or thousands) of dollars. 

With that said, many providers have uptime guarantees that can help lessen the blow of insufficient performance. 

But it’s important to keep in mind that uptime guarantees don’t cover expected downtime or circumstances outside of their control (which covers just about every situation in which your site would be down). They’re notoriously misleading, and pursuing compensation for poor uptime may not always be worth your effort. 

Speed Matters On Any Plan (Shared Or Managed) – 20%

Speed is a big factor in whether visitors will come to and return to your WordPress site.

And that’s why it’s 20% of the overall weighted score.

So we put ourselves knee-deep in research. And after weeks of planning and meticulous research, we have learned the truth and acquired concrete data to prove who’s really fast, and who’s not. 

To do that, we created and tested our own sites. 

The only difference between each one is the host behind it. We put extra thought and care into ensuring our testing environment was as unbiased and accurate as possible. 

To provide a transparent view of raw speed data, we ensured every site had the same theme installed, no plugins, no images, and no pages. In doing so, we can provide a baseline of expected response times. 

We feel that speed testing a bare site allows you to see the reliability and consistency of each provider’s speed.

Of course, as you use more server resources, site speed can suffer as a result. So, your site speeds may vary from what we’ve shown here. 

Once all the sites were ready, we plugged each domain into FreshPing to start monitoring server response times for a full month. 

After 30 days, we pulled the data and assigned a score to each host based on our grading scale:

  • 5 points for less than 500 ms
  • 4 points for 501 ms to 600 ms
  • 3 points for 601 ms to 700 ms
  • 2 points for 701 ms to 800 ms
  • 1 points for more than 801 ms

The average response time across all the hosts we tested was 630 milliseconds. Five providers did better than average and three did worse. 

Here’s an example of poor performance that came in significantly below average:

The provider above had the slowest response times out of all the hosts we tested, with an average time of 1107 milliseconds. That means it takes longer than a second for your end-users browser to even start loading your site’s content. 

With a slow-as-molasses response time like that, it’s near impossible to load your entire page in less than two seconds (Google’s recommended site speed). 

Traffic spikes and speed will differ depending on whether you have a shared WP hosting plan or a managed one. 

When you have a shared plan you share space with other websites on a server. And those other sites sap speed away from your website based on their resource usage because you share with everyone. That’s why shared hosting is so cheap usually. 

Hosts can cram as many websites on one server as they can. It keeps costs down but most don’t usually make speed a top priority. But there are a few that do. 

Traffic spikes that delay response times are common. So keep that in mind. But it’s how often these spikes occur and for how long on average you want to really understand. 

Now take a look below at a managed WP hosting plan’s 30-day test results for speed:

This provider’s servers respond in less than half a second and are more than twice as fast as the shared host we looked at above. 

Managed hosting depending on your provider will give you access to your own server. Your website is encapsulated away from every other website and doesn’t have to share anything. So your website isn’t affected by anyone else’s traffic or resource usage which makes your website blazing fast. 

And some providers on this list improve speed even more by only allowing approved plugins and software. They forbid bloated and error-ridden programming from being installed on your WordPress site. 

This keeps terrible user experiences out of the picture and strengthens your website’s performance organically. 

Speed will always be a primary benefit that every website has to have, with no exceptions

Whether it’s a shared or managed hosting plan. The only thing important for you to decide is what your budget is and what you can do today to get you on the best path to success.  

Both shared and managed WP hosting have providers with adequate speed for your website. All the answers are in this guide. 

Remember. If your website is slow, your visitors will leave, and your rankings will suffer. It’s as simple as that. 

Premium Customer Support Without Exception

Have you ever thought to yourself how do I really know if customer support really works? 

Will I spend my money and just get the same stale responses and shove-off attitude from reps after the sales team ropes me in? 

Can they deliver on their promise to solve problems that strangle my revenue stream? 

Problems that make my site slow, affect my email, getting hacked, or things that just plain aren’t working how you intend them to? 

All valid questions, and worth answering. That’s why this is our most heavily weighted consideration at 25% of the overall score

What we did next is the new gold standard in reviews. We spent hours questioning customer service and getting answers to the top three questions real users want answers to. 

But then we took it a step further because it’s your hard-earned dollars on the line. We checked for consistency across the board by contacting support via live chat three different times of the day. 

We can confidently tell you if they’re offering customer support you can count on, or if their support is a fluke and sporadic. We also wanted to gauge their response times at different times of the day. Because not everyone can chat at 8 am.

We reached out to each host 3x times in one day: 

  • In the morning, around 8 – 9 a.m. PST
  • In the afternoon, around noon – 1 p.m. PST
  • In the evening, around 7 – 8 p.m. PST

To keep things consistent we exclusively used live chat support. There are a few providers on this list that don’t have phone support and in order to keep things fair live chat was the best option. 

We asked these three questions (in this order):

  1. What security features/measures do you offer to keep my site secure?
  2. Can you walk me through how to set up an email account for my domain?
  3. How do I make my site load as fast as possible?

We then documented the entire process, screenshots, and all. We noted how each interaction felt, and graded each provider on specific customer support criteria that benefits you and is measurable. 

Here’s an example of how we listed out one conversation we had about setting up email accounts: 

  • Started the chat at 11:48 am PST
  • Got an immediate reply from a bot that says they’ll putus in touch with the team and that we can leave the chat if I need to since I’ll get a response via email
  • Got a response at 12:17 pm PST (29 minute response time)
  • Very friendly response that included a support document with step by step instructions on how to set up an email account and willingness to help if I hit any snags
  • We waited a few minutes to pretend like we were setting up an account. Then asked how to forward those emails to a Gmail account
  • After a few minutes, we got a friendly response to two separate support articles with two different ways to access our emails in Gmail – very straightforward
  • Ended the chat at 12:27pm PST – whole interaction took 39 minutes

Here’s a screenshot of our conversation:

You can see above that the rep was attentive and offered documentation for us to follow right away.

We love that they didn’t mind that we asked a second question and showed a willingness to help by sticking around until we were done. They solved our problem. 

The only bad part was how long it took to get an answer. 

After each interaction with a provider’s customer support team, we assigned one point for each of the following:

  1. Received advice that wasn’t overly pushy on paying more money
  2. Offered advice beyond being immediately sent to a support article
  3. Ended the entire interaction in less than 15 minutes
  4. Initial response in less than five minutes
  5. The rep was knowledgeable, friendly, and eager to help

After all three interactions, we averaged the score for each one to get an overall customer support rating. 

We didn’t choose the grading scale based on whatever we felt like. Each point was carefully chosen to address common complaints and issues with web hosting customer support. 

First, many providers try to upsell you before helping you with your original problem. At the end of the day, they’re out to make money and anything extra they can get you to buy is a good thing in their book. 

But, we know that’s not quality service and is a clear sign you aren’t getting the support you need. 

Along the way, we also realized that many support reps seem to be in a hurry. Rather than offering personalized help, they’re quick to send a support article and leave you to figure it out on your own. In most cases, you’ve already read all the support articles you can find before reaching out to customer support for help. 

So, we paid close attention to this in every interaction and even took points away for reps that didn’t do anything but paste a link in the chat. 

The next two points deal with time. A common issue is having to wait hours or even days to get in touch with a real human who can help. So, we only gave points to those providers who delivered an initial response time of five minutes or less. 

On top of that, some reps may be trying to help multiple customers at the same time. Or they may not know how to answer your question so they have to go dig for it. This is often what causes extremely long chats that seem to drag on forever. So, we took points away if any interaction took longer than 15 minutes. 

Lastly, we paid close attention to whether or not the rep seemed friendly, knowledgeable about what we asked, and eager to help solve our problem. 

With all that said, you may have no problems with customer support. The best way to know is to test it within the first 30 days. It doesn’t matter if you have a problem or not. The only way you will know they can be effective and really help you is to follow up with them on any questions you have. 

Luckily most hosts have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Sign-up and go through the onboarding process. Pay your fees and test them out. It’s the perfect opportunity to see if our research lives up to your experience. 

This is critical to your satisfaction when using a WP hosting provider, even if right now you’re thinking I’ll never need them.

It doesn’t really matter if you’re on a shared plan or a managed one. Customer support that gives exceptional help, and in-depth feedback on any problem you have is what you want.

Hostinger

Hostinger

Best for Most

Featuring the fastest servers out of all the shared hosts we tested, Hostinger is a great choice for anyone interested in launching a new WordPress site. There are plenty of budget-conscious plans available, from the $4.99/month price for a one-year commitment to the rock-bottom $1.99/month for four years.

Summary

If you’re using WordPress to create and manage your website, you should look into a WordPress hosting service like Hostinger

Bluehost, DreamHost, and SiteGround are all “officially” on the list of hosting providers recommended by WordPress. But WP Engine and Kinsta are both exceptional choices if you’re looking for managed WordPress hosting.

For agencies and freelancers that build websites for clients, we recommend Flywheel.

However, you can always refer to this guide when going through the process of choosing the best WordPress hosting service for your specific needs.


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