When deciding on which hosting provider to choose for your new WordPress website, there’s a good chance you will become overwhelmed with how many options are available. Finding the perfect marriage between price, performance, reliability, and support is everyone’s ultimate goal, but with all of the “promotions” and “guarantees” that a lot of these service providers push onto their customers, it can be a real headache.
Luckily, I’ve been been building WordPress websites for many years and have dealt with my share of really good hosting providers as well as some I wouldn’t recommend to my worst enemy. In an effort to make your life easier, I am going to highlight the top 3 hosting providers I have used and break them down into 3 tiers:
- Tier 1 = Basic WordPress usage (Personal blog)
- Tier 2 = Full-scale WordPress buildout (Website)
- Tier 3 = Selling products or driving over 25,000 monthly unique visitors to your website (Ecommerce, large organization, etc.)
Now that we have some context, let’s find the perfect host to fit the needs of your personal brand or business.
Tier 1 – GoDaddy
GoDaddy has been around a very long time and is typically one of the first names that come to mind when talking about what is needed to build a new website. There’s a really good chance that most of you reading this right now have used GoDaddy at least once to purchase a domain or check if a domain you might want to buy is available.
GoDaddy is tailormade for beginners and people who are looking save a few dollars without completely sacrificing the quality of service they are receiving. They make it very easy by taking you through a guided, step-by-step process of setting up WordPress Managed Hosting that is even easier if you already have your domain purchased within your GoDaddy account.
The two main drawbacks of GoDaddy compared to the next two services are its overall performance and customer support. If you’re planning on making your website load as fast as possible (which is one of the most crucial SEO best practices), GoDaddy, especially on the lower-priced options, will not get the job done. I’m not saying your site will take forever to load, but depending on the amount of content and plugins you are using, the likelihood of underreporting in the speed area is significantly higher than with other platforms.
When it comes to customer support, you are better off trying to use the help forums and Google before attempting to contact GoDaddy as a last ditched effort. The live chat feature is spotty, only being on at certain intervals throughout the day, and seemingly never when you need it. If you aren’t a millennial and actually prefer picking up the phone and talking to a support agent, you better make sure you have some reading materials handy, or use the time to go grocery shopping, because the wait times can be excruciatingly long, again depending on the time and day you are calling.
In the end, for its few downsides, GoDaddy is an option I recommend for newbies at the web design game and for those on a really tight budget. Pricing starts as low as $3.99/month.
Overall Grade = B
Tier 2 – Dreamhost
Dreamhost is the sweet spot that a good portion of your websites will fall right into. We here at Momentum Digital use Dreamhost for our own website and all of our local service industry clients. Using its proprietary WordPress installer, Dreampress, you are able to follow a similar process to that of GoDaddy in that it takes you through a guided setup of your hosting account.
Live chat support is available 24/7, meaning you will always have access to a professional agent whether you need help at 3 in the afternoon or 3 in the morning. Moreover, the support staff is always friendly and more than happy to answer all of your questions. Unlike with GoDaddy, Dreamhost support will actually take it a step further and make some changes for you if you’re uncomfortable changing the settings yourself.
Perhaps one of the best and often overlooked features of Dreamhost is that all Dreampress installs come with a free SSL encryption. Not only does this green validation in the URL give your website visitors more confidence in browsing your site, but Google also gives you credit in search rankings for protecting your website.
The problem you might run into is if your domain was purchased elsewhere, you won’t be able to directly link it with your new host install without taking a few extra steps. You can read more about this process here, or simply contact support and they will be more than happy to guide you through the installation.
Overall Grade = A-
Tier 3 – WP Engine
WP Engine is the premier and industry leading service for hosting WordPress websites. It has everything you need: high performance, great customer service, easy to follow documentation, and the ability to meet whatever hosting requirements you are looking for.
If you have an Ecommerce website where people can buy products directly from your website, this is the service you should go with. Its capabilities are unmatched and you will be hardpressed to find a comparable mixture of support and speed.
In addition to 24/7/365 day support, WP Engine makes sure that your hosting is properly configured for your business with real-time security sweeps, free SSL Encryptions, a proprietary caching technology to enhance page speed even more, and a global CDN.
Never again will you have to worry about your WordPress website being compatible with new updates, or stressing over high amounts of usage causing your site to slow down or even go offline for a short period of time.
WP Engine’s pricing starts at $29/mo, and they offer a 60-day, risk-free trial so that you can try it out for yourself with no long term obligations!
Overall Grade = A
Remember, choosing a hosting provider should not be as simple as going with the one you have heard of on TV. Having all of the facts and information about what each one can do, as well as knowing the overall goals and vision of your website, will put you in the best possible position to succeed and not run into problems down the road. If you have any questions about any of the three hosting services above, or if you would like a recommendation or review on another service such as Siteground or Hostgator, feel free to contact me at [email protected].
See you all next time!