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Once upon a time I overlooked the foundation of every wordpress site I ever built. No matter what I was approached with I would say, “yea just throw it up on GoDaddy” or “Where is your domain? Yea! We’ll just keep it there”. I didn’t realize just how important hosting is for your wordpress site.
(Disclaimer: There’s nothing wrong with Godaddy. We use them a lot, but sometimes there are better options)
This year (2018) wordpress sites will become ⅓ of all sites on the internet. Wordpress is my favorite content management system and in the past two years I have become obsessed with it. I push most of our clients towards using wordpress and there are many reasons why that you can research, but the main reason for me is for its flexibility. You can do SO much with a wordpress site and you can get one up and running in a short amount of time. Wordpress is no longer just a blogging platform. Want proof? Take a look at Wall Street Journal, Walt Disney Company, Forbes to name a few. It’s such a big part of the web that more and more hosting companies are now offering wordpress specific hosting. You want to have a wordpress hosting plan that just works. But that means it needs to be fast, scalable, secure, and reliable.
For a business, deciding on a hosting company is something you won’t do often unless you are expanding rapidly and need to upgrade, or like many, you are just not happy with your current provider. There’s nothing worse than a slow site with page loads taking forever. You can always tell when your hosting CPU Level is high. If you find yourself taking a sip of coffee on every page load, then you may need to upgrade your hosting. But even if everything is going well with your website and you don’t have any issues with your hosting, I recommend you read on a little bit. It’s good to re-evaluate your contract, check what’s under the hood and compare specs. 2018 is bringing a lot of awesome new hosting companies and with them are new features and super fast loading times.
Many of our clients come to us with a standard shared hosting plan. Shared hosting means your site is on server with many other websites. Other options are VPS hosting where you are sharing a server with just a few others and lastly, there are dedicated servers for high traffic sites. Some of our clients cannot afford dedicated hosting or even VPS Hosting. Furthermore, with these hosting packages you may need to higher a system administrator to perform simple tasks like migrations and updates. Or you’ll have to learn how to navigate CPanel (an outdated platform with god awful UX and design) and also use FTP to download and upload files. If you are still with me and searching for another way, then you’ve come to the right place. You need WordPress-Specific Hosting. There are a lot of perks that come with wordpress specific hosting. Your WordPress installation should run more efficiently in a WordPress environment than in a traditional hosting environment. Some perks include automatic wordpress updates and super easy domain connection. A few services will even migrate your current site for free. But before you go sign up for a WordPress web hosting service, you should compare some special features. You'll want to invest in a WordPress host that works for you.
One popular feature is SSL Certificates. I was getting sick of my current hosting because of slow speeds and the price for an SSL Certificate. I know it’s not much, but when you manage a lot of sites it adds up each year. An SSL connection encrypts the data that travels between your site and users' web browsers and guards the transmission of purchase and credit card information or form submissions. As of 2018, Google is requiring sites to have SSL Certificates and it will now be a factor in search rankings. All the WordPress hosting services in my list offer SSL certificates, BUT some include a free SSL certificate when you sign up for a hosting plan.
The chart below includes a few traditional hosts that I really like and a few non-traditional web hosts that offer WordPress specific hosting. Please reach out if you have any questions!
P.S. If this overwhelms you, we offer hosting to all of our clients in our wordpress maintenance package!
Contact us if you want to sign up!
I have had a lot of experience with Godaddy. Some good and some bad. Sometimes I had trouble with speed and found them talking me into upgrades everytime I got them on the phone. That being said, you can’t beat the price and I never had down time in years of use. They will migrate your site quickly and for free. If your domain is also through godaddy, it’s easy to hook it up. I am also a HUGE fan of their platform ManageWp. It is great for managing multiple wordpress sites and keeping them in check. You can easily manage backups and updates. Lastly, GoDaddy owns ManageWP and unlocks all of its features for free ($24 value) for their users. They are running a special for $1 a month for the first year and includes a free domain. Can’t beat the price. For that reason I gave it a four, dog.
Stablehost currently doesn’t offer Wordpress specific hosting, but we wanted to throw it in the mix because we use it! We’ve never had an issue and we love the price. They pretty much are what the say they are. A stable host. It’s pretty straight forward with Wordpress launches done through Softaculous. Unlimited Bandwidth and Diskspace is a cool perk. Free SSL too!
For my personal projects I migrated to SiteGround. I first heard about them at Wordcamp Philly. What really caught me ear was that they use all SSD Drives, they include CDN, a supercacher, SSLs on all sites AND they migrated it all for free! WOO! The customer service has been really good so far and they top the list for me!
Click Here To See Pricing!
For a few extra bucks a month, you get A LOT out of flywheel. Caching, Free backups and the dashboard is beautiful and easy! It includes basic analytics and reports too. You just have to see it to believe it. I started developing locally on my computer with their free app called Flywheel Local. I love how easy it is to push and pull sites straight from my computer. They don’t do email (yet) but I like gmail for business anyway.
Click Here To See Pricing!
This list wouldn’t be complete without the infamous WP Engine. I recommend them for hosting for larger businesses. I don’t have first hand experience with WP Engine, but I know people rave about them. I have heard really great things about their support. Free migration and a free staging site on their plan for starter plan for $29 a month.
A2 hosting was another non-wordpress specific hosts that I included in the list. I really like them as just another basic hosting that’s reliable and affordable. But come on! Get some wordpress specific hosting! Everyone’s doing it.
1&1 seems to be competing with Godaddy with that $1 a month plan! And they have me interested, BUT I am not crazy about their user interface. From what I know, they do emergency backups from only the past 24 hours or so. If you go this route, make sure you have a backup plugin like ManageWP in place to do backups!
Some great feature for Hostgator is free Migration, free CDN, and free backups. I don’t have much experience with hostgator but I stay cautious of the gator because I have heard that site speed has been an issue for some clients (just below average). Another issue is that their backups aren’t “true backups” just snapshots taken at random times.
InMotion has some really fast servers according to Wordpress Guru Adam Preiser from WP Crafter. I have heard great things about customer service and their pricing is really good.
DreamHost is a really cool company. Servers take up a lot of energy and dreamhost is committed to energy efficiency. In 10 years they have neutralized 29+ tons of greenhouse gases. But also, they’ve proven themselves as a reliable and fast host and have been rated #1 by PC Mag 2 years in a row. They are a bit more expensive for a basic host, but with it you get speed and unlimited data.