The best WordPress hosting sites make life much easier for bloggers, webmasters and website owners. They allow people to focus on delivering great content, rather than the underlying technology.
That said, WordPress (WP) is also the platform of choice for complex e-commerce websites and highly skilled web developers too.
As a result, lots of service providers have emerged to cater for all types of users in recent years.
What is WordPress Hosting?
Just in case you don’t know, WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS). The software is free to download, install and use. It is also hugely popular for creating websites, e-commerce stores, blogs and other sorts of web applications.
Being open source, means that website owners can delve into the PHP code that it is written in and modify it to suit their needs. So, it is possible to create unique websites with just the right type of functionality.
Regardless of add-ons and special features, all WP hosts provide disk space and the essential server software needed to run a WP installation:
- MySQL (or some other database system) and
- a web server such as Apache or Nginx.
Different Types of WP Hosting Services
Where WordPress hosts begin to differ is in the details of the services they offer. All hosts provide the bare essentials. Most offer add-ons but, some provide all-inclusive packages that cater for specific needs or user groups.
By and large these services fall into two categories: Self-service and Managed. However, most of us are probably more interested in costs and the main features of managed services.
So, I have divided the WordPress hosting sites I recommend into categories. Based on what I believe is of most interest to buyers.
- Free – ideal for students and small personal or non-profit group sites
- Cheap – the recommended minimum starting point for most websites
- Managed – full-featured platforms and services for power users
How Much Does WordPress Hosting Cost?
Fees can vary wildly. As is the case for services in any sector. Prices can also be inflated if you do not sign up to services yourself.
I have known website owners that have paid more than double what their hosts charges every month – for years! Because the hosting was handled by their original website designer.
Free ($0.00 per month)
While you can get started for free, there could be a price to pay that does not involve monetary outlay. Your hosting may be subject to time limits for example. Or, you may find that features are limited.
If you are confident about using web technology then any free web hosting with PHP and MySQL should work for you. You should have no fears about downloading and extracting .zip files or uploading files to a web server using FTP to go down that route.
WordPress.com is probably the most well-known of the free providers. It is a good choice for beginners looking for an easy option to get started with quickly. The main downside is that some features you get in the version you host yourself are only available as paid upgrades.
If you want to find sites that are less restrictive, check out which free WordPress host.
Cheap (from $2.95 per month)
When you leave out special discounts for signing up, then a WP hosting plan that falls into the cheap price range costs somewhere between $2.95 and and $9 per month.
Cheap is a relative term of course. How much and the quality you get for your money are the main factors. So, a plan that has generous allowances for the price is what I would call cheap in relative terms.
The cheapest WordPress hosting plan at GoDaddy for example costs $9.99 per month when you renew. For that you get to host 1 site, 30GB of disk space and enough bandwidth to cope with 25 thousand visitors peach month.
Bluehost on the other hand costs $7.99 per month when you renew. This is also for one website but you get 50GB of SSD disk space instead.
Based on that simple comparison you might think that Bluehost is cheaper but, don’t stop reading just yet.
The prices quoted for both sites do not include VAT. It is also easy to miss that you have to pay for three years in advance to get the best deal!
So, in summary (almost): Bluehost Basic costs $142.20 for three years up front. That price is based on a $3.95 per month introductory offer. While GoDaddy WordPress Basic, costs $251.64 for three years in advance.
Again, don’t stop reading just yet.
I also went to UK GoDaddy site, chose the same options and guess what. I was quoted £107.64 instead! When I did a GBP to USD conversion, I was quite surprised. GoDaddy worked out cheapest in the end. The plan from the UK site cost $138.16.
If you are looking for lower outlay AND better value, then visit SiteGround – where managed WordPress plans start at just $47.40 per year!
Managed (from $3.95 per month)
WordPress hosting sites offering managed plans are the last type of host I am going to cover. Broadly speaking, these services offer more than the essentials you need to install, run and manage your WP install.
Common features include:
- optimized servers
- 1-click WordPress installations
- regular and automated backups
- staging sites
- version control
- specialist support from WP experts
Checkout my shortlist of managed hosts to read my reviews of service providers recommended by the WordPress.org software support site.
Best WordPress Hosting Sites
If paying to host is not an option for you, then WordPress.com should be the first site you visit. You may find that the service has limitations for your own project once you get started but, giving it a try is the best way to find out.
If you need more flexibility and you want to keep costs low, then SiteGround ($47.40 annually for the cheapest plan) is the site to check out first. The company has been around for decades and it is well respected within the industry.
Kinsta is a WordPress only platform. It features support for Let’s Encrypt (free SSL), SSH, WP-CPI, Git and other add-ons suited to technically able users.
While Flywheel, is suited to less technically minded people. Such as small business website owners and web designers who prefer to use simple dashboards.