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Best WordPress hosting 2020

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Getting started with WordPress web hosting doesn't have to be expensive, because after all, WordPress itself is free (and open source). Even the cheapest shared hosting plan usually comes with a one-click WordPress installer, allowing the greenest of blogging newbies to have their first post ready in less than 60 seconds (we timed this, in fact).

The best WordPress hosting

Going forward, however, managing a blog over time is much more challenging. You'll need to find your own themes and plugins, not to mention also keeping them, plus WordPress itself, up-to-date (although you can even get that done automatically).

Blogs are often targeted by malware, so it's important you have some way to detect and remove any threats, and you'll want regular backups to help get a broken blog working again.

There's a long list of hosting companies offering WordPress plans, but we've picked out five of the best to point you in the right direction. Whether you're a first-time user or a big business, there's something for you here, and with prices starting at very cheap levels, even those on the tightest of budgets will find something to suit.

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These are the best WordPress hosting services

(Image credit: Bluehost)

1. Bluehost

Best WordPress hosting overall

Optimized low-level setup
Many powerful extras in WP Pro plans

Budget WordPress hosting can have a lot of appeal, but it usually won't deliver the features, performance or reliability that high traffic sites really need. If you're the demanding type, or rather your website is, opting for a premium hosting plan will give you much better results.

Bluehost has created its own VPS-based architecture to deliver optimum WordPress performance via NGINX, a custom PHP-FPM setup and intelligently allocated resources through KVM hypervisor. (If you're not a hosting geek, this just means Bluehost has taken the time to optimize the low-level setup of its platform for WordPress, rather than simply making do with a standard configuration.)

The company doesn't waste time by pretending to offer 'unlimited' resources, and instead tells you exactly what you're going to get. For the Basic plan which starts at $2.75 per month for the first term (renewing at $7.99), this means 50GB of SSD storage, a single website, a free domain for one year and $50 marketing credit.

Additional features for all plans include free SSL, unmetered MySQL DB, a site analytics dashboard, as well as unlimited parked/subdomains. There is also the Bluehost Marketplace where users can access premium themes and plugins at exclusive prices. New Bluehost accounts will also get a free service called Blue Spark, which is designed to help newcomers with everything WordPress-related.

The Plus plan which starts at $5.45 per month for the first term (renewing at $10.99) adds unlimited websites and website space, and additional features like spam protection, free CDN and a WP staging environment. The Choice Plus plan costs $5.45 per month for the first term (renewing at $14.99) and adds even more features. It's good to know that Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you feel the service fails to deliver. 

If you need more power, BlueHost has a managed hosting solution called WordPress Pro that has been optimized for WordPress websites, with prices starting at $17.95 per month. These plans have many additional features including malware detection and removal, JetPack site analytics, business review tools and more (along with unlimited everything), making them compelling offerings.

(Image credit: Tsohost)

2. Tsohost

Best WordPress hosting for UK customers

Great value for money
24/7 support on basic plan
Not much in the way of extras

Managed WordPress packages can often feel overpriced. Many hosts charge significant premiums for impressive sounding claims – optimized servers, malware scanning – that are difficult to evaluate or confirm.

UK-based Tsohost isn't interested in any of that, instead focusing on providing the core WordPress essentials at a very fair price.

The baseline Economy plan gives you a free domain name, includes a 50% discount on a Standard SSL certificate, and has no limits on bandwidth (plus Tsohost will perform a migration of your existing site). You get daily backups and can restore any of the last 30 days with just a click. There's 24/7 support via ticket and email, along with phone and live chat (which is available from 7am to midnight).

You get a hundred 1GB mailboxes, and the plan restricts you to 100GB of storage and 100,000 page views a month. If that's enough for you, this entry-level plan costs $4.90 a month paid annually (£3.99 + VAT in the UK).

If that's just too underpowered, opting for the Deluxe plan gets you unlimited storage, 500 x 1GB mailboxes, and unlimited hosted websites. That's significantly more capable, yet still very reasonably priced at $7.80 a month paid annually (£5.99 + VAT in the UK).

The "most popular" (according to Tsohost) Ultimate plan is priced at $11.70 a month paid annually (£8.99 + VAT in the UK) and supports unlimited storage, unlimited hosted websites, unlimited 1GB mailboxes and a free SSL certificate among other goodies.

Tsohost doesn't offer all the frills and extras you'll get with some products, as we mentioned at the outset. There's no talk of SiteLock malware protection, optimized WordPress add-ons or a custom CDN. But it's hard to complain at this price, and Tsohost is still delivering a capable service with more than enough power for smaller sites.

(Image credit: InMotion Hosting)

3. InMotion Hosting

Best WordPress hosting for a wide choice of plans

Low-end plans have some key features
Reliable hosting provider
Not the cheapest around

Most web hosts offer only a few WordPress plans, and in some cases, even these might be set up to point you in a particular direction. You might see an underpowered plan, an overpriced one, and a special deal on the mid-range plan they really want you to buy. That makes it easy to decide, but it also limits your upgrade options if your site grows over time.

InMotion Hosting is unusual in offering six WordPress plans, covering everything from small personal blogs to resellers and big business. Figuring out which is the best product for you will take a little more thought, but at least there's room to upgrade – or downgrade – if your circumstances change.

Better still, InMotion hasn't artificially limited the low-end plans by removing key features. Even the baseline WP-1000S plan – which costs $3.99 a month initially (on the 3-year option), $7.99 on renewal – gives you 50GB of SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth and email addresses, preinstalled WordPress, SSL, backups, automatic updates, SiteLock security, cPanel site management, and extras like BoldGrid and WP-CLI. The only significant issue is InMotion's suggestion that the plan works best for blogs with up to 20,000 monthly visits, and even that won't be a problem for many smaller sites.

Upgrading your plan gives you some extras – such as premium themes and plugin subscriptions, a dedicated IP address, and support for hosting more sites – but it's mostly about giving you more resources.

There are cheaper deals around, but in previous reviews, we've found InMotion to be reliable, professional, and honest, so in short, any price premium is likely to be worth paying. You don't have to take our word for it, though – an exceptional 90-day money-back guarantee gives you plenty of opportunity to find out for yourself (and the confidence to offer that length of guarantee period is reassuring).

(Image credit: 1&1 IONOS)

4. 1&1 IONOS

Best WordPress hosting for novices

Very tempting price for the first term
SSL and free domain
24/7 support including phone

Web giant 1&1 IONOS seems to have a hosting product for every possible need, and WordPress is no exception. Novice users can try out its service for a nominal $3 a month, yet the plan still outperforms many competitors. 

The bundled 25GB of storage means you won't be running out of space in a hurry, for example. There are no bandwidth or visitor limits, and you can set up as many email accounts as you need.

1&1 IONOS offers the core WordPress management functions that you would expect: a setup wizard, preinstalled plugins, automatic updates and 24/7 support (including by telephone). Also, you get a personal consultant free of charge, a smart touch indeed. 

All this is built on a capable platform – NGINX, PHP 7.2, OPcache, up to 2GB RAM guaranteed – to enhance your blog's performance.

There's SSL included and even a free domain thrown in, which is ridiculously good value at this price.

If you're a WordPress novice, it might be worth paying for the plan for an initial year, claiming your free domain and taking the time to learn how the blog works. When your time is up, you can then renew if you're happy, or if you're not, use your knowledge and experience to find a better product more suited to your needs.

1&1 IONOS isn't just about newbies, though: there's value for more demanding users, too. In particular, the Unlimited plan gives you unlimited WordPress sites and storage space, unlimited databases (1GB max), and unlimited email accounts (2GB each). Bonus features include a Wildcard SSL, SiteLock malware scanning, along with the RailGun content delivery network (aiming to help your website load faster), and the price looks good at $18.

(Image credit: HostGator)

5. HostGator

Best WordPress hosting for all-round capabilities

Free site migration
Automatic malware detection and removal
CDN benefits

Choosing the best WordPress hosting package can seem like something of a minefield when it comes to decisions over low-level details and other nuances of some of the offerings out there. However, you might not need anything particularly complex, and that being the case, with no particular special requirements in mind, you can simply opt for a reliable web host with capable mid-range products that can handle everything most folks need.

HostGator delivers powerful hosting plans for a fair price, generally speaking, and its managed WordPress range is no exception. The Starter product may only cost $5.95 (or $3.98 with our promo code) per month for three years, and $9.95 afterwards, but you still get a free site migration, an SSL certificate, automatic malware detection and removal, unlimited email addresses and unmetered storage and bandwidth, plus it can handle up to 100,000 visits a month.

Ramping up to the high-end Business plan gets you more CPU power, support for up to five sites and 500,000 visits a month, yet still costs only $18.17 ($11.18 with our promo code) a month for the first three years, then $27.95 monthly afterwards.

Smart caching and a CDN are on hand to enhance your website's performance, 24/7 support helps keep your site up and running, and surprise bonus features include free domain privacy to protect from identity theft and reduce annoying spam.

We've had good experiences with HostGator's service, but if you're not so lucky, there's a generous 45-day money-back guarantee as a safety net. As with other hosting companies, this won't cover any domain registration fees, but it's still a better deal than you'll often find elsewhere.

How should you choose a WordPress hosting provider?

If you don't have the time or technical experience to handle all the technical ins-and-outs of running your WordPress operation, you might prefer to buy a managed WordPress hosting plan, and have the hosting company handle things for you.

The host will often import your previous WordPress blog, if you have one. Usually you'll get some preinstalled themes and plugins to simplify customization. 

There should at least be an option to automatically update the site, a security service like SiteLock will be on hand to keep your blog malware-free, and we would expect 24/7 support from a team with real WordPress knowledge.

The best hosts go even further, optimizing their servers to boost WordPress performance, and sometimes throwing in extras like a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver great speeds worldwide (or that's the idea, anyway).

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