How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting

Selecting the right WordPress hosting platform is a critical decision that profoundly influences the performance, security, and overall success of your website. Here are some recommendations based on our experience using dozens of hosts for hundreds of websites over the last decade or more. 

This is not a comprehensive guide, but it will hopefully help point people in the right direction. It is aimed at the average small or medium business that will be using a mid-priced hosting solution for their wordpress websites. If your needs are more modest, there are many guides for choosing cheap shared hosting. At the other extreme, if you need a VPN or a load balanced multi-server solution, you probably already have an IT department for that.

Note: There are NO affiliate links on this page. We do not make a dime if you choose one of the hosts we recommend, despite our having accounts with all of them. 

Managed WordPress hosting or quality generic hosting?

This is the first and easiest question to answer. Unless you have a dedicated team or staff member to maintain your site, go with a managed WordPress hosting solution. The extra few dollars they cost will more than pay for themselves in performance and ease of use.

Key Considerations

  • Server Performance and Reliability:
    • How does the speed compare to other hosts?
    • Is downtime kept to a minimum?
  • Scalability:
    • Can the plan easily grow to accommodate increased traffic, or will you have to migrate to a different platform, either with the same or a different host?
  • Security Features:
    • Verify the hosting platform’s security measures, including robust firewalls, regular backups, and malware scanning.
    • Prioritize platforms that provide SSL certificates for encrypted data transmission–almost all do, now.
  • User-Friendly Interface:
    • Look for hosting solutions with an intuitive and user-friendly control panel for ease of management.
  • Customer Support:
    • Assess the quality and availability of customer support services, including response times and expertise. 
    • There are lots of websites that compare hosting companies, so check several.
    • Once you narrow down your choices, look them up on TrustPilot or similar sites that provide ratings from real users.
    • Look for wordpress hosting providers that offer 24/7 customer support to address potential issues promptly.
  • Automatic Backups:
    • Prioritize hosting platforms that offer automatic backup solutions to prevent data loss.
    • Verify the frequency of backups and the ease of restoring data in case of emergencies.
  • Load Balancing and CDN Integration:
    • Consider hosting solutions that offer load balancing for even distribution of website traffic.
    • Evaluate CDN (Content Delivery Network) integration options to enhance global website performance.
  • Developer-Friendly Features:
    • Assess the hosting platform’s support for developer tools and features, such as staging environments, SSH, and Git integration.
    • Consider platforms with easy integration of development workflows for efficient coding processes.
  • Cost Structure:
    • Evaluate the pricing structure of available plans to see where you will fit both now and in the foreseeable future.
    • Pay attention to details like bandwidth and server resources.

Our Recommendations

There are many good choices. In addition to the ones we list below, you might also want to check out SiteGround, FlyWheel, Bluehost, and Dreamhost, in no particular order. All three of our recommended companies now do the actual hosting on the Google Cloud platform, and all offer CDNs, 24/7 support chat, and automatic backups.

Best overall: WP Engine

While not the best in any single area, we find WP Engine the best choice for most clients, for the following reasons:

  • Integration with Cloudflare provides excellent performance and security
  • Easiest scalability with various plans catering to different needs.
  • Three environments for every site–Development, Staging, and Production
  • Easy migration between environments
  • Automated core WordPress updates, and optional automated plugin updates at extra cost
  • Developer-friendly with Git and Composer integration, and/or integration with the Local development platform, and very easy SSH access.
  • By far the easiest integration with WP Rocket
  • Pricing is good for most plans, in comparison to other managed WordPress hosts

Where it falls short:

  • First level support is not the greatest. Many issues have to be escalated.
  • While migrations between environments is easy, it is not as flexible as some other platforms.
  • Very aggressive about attempting to upsell you to higher cost plans if you exceed any of your plan quotas
  • Since the integration with Cloudflare, migrating from other hosts, or even just going live with a site that has been in development, often fails and requires intervention by their support team
  • Support chat wait times can be as long as 45 minutes

Best for high performance sites: Kinsta

Kinsta is the choice if you are looking for the absolute fastest site, or the best integration with modern development methodologies.

  • Faster than any other host in our tests
  • Four different levels of caching to optimize performance
  • By far the best choice if you want to use the advanced development tools from, such as Bedrock, Trellis, and Sage.
  • Good scalability, but a bit more limited than WP Engine.
  • Integration with Cloudflare provides excellent performance and security
  • Six environments possible for every site–five Development/Staging, plus a live Production site
  • Absolutely the best first level support we have encountered. Issues seldom have to be escalated, and we have never been given a truly incorrect answer.
  • Pricing is good, and pretty much in line with WP Engine.

Where it falls short:

  • Only one staging environment is included. Additional environments cost extra.
  • Development integration with Git and SSH is good, but not as easy as with WP Engine
  • Even more limited deployment between environments than WP Engine
  • Plans are very inflexible. If you need one single feature from a higher level plan, and only one, you are still going to have to upgrade, and in some cases that can be really expensive. In our experience, their sales support team can border on rudeness if you inquire about the possibility of making an exception.

Best for dedicated development teams: Pantheon

  • The easiest host for setting up new sites and development workflows.
  • Very self-contained–you will rarely need additional tools
  • Three environments for every site–Development, Test, and Live
  • The most flexible deployments between environments
  • Excellent GIT integration
  • Easy management of multiple sites
  • The only option if you also want dedicated Drupal hosting

Where it falls short:

  • Price–Pantheon is considerably more expensive than WP Engine or Kinsta
  • No SSH access. Pantheon requires using (and learning) their proprietary Terminus command line interface.
  • First level support is the worst of the three, which is a relatively recent development. We have more than once been given an answer that was just flat incorrect.

Good or bad depending on your needs:

  • Plugins have to be installed and updated in either a local development environment or the Development environment on the server, and then pushed with Git to the other environments. This is great if you are an agency or developer whose client does not want their staff inadvertently breaking the site by installing incompatible plugins, but it does limit flexibility somewhat.