Me and my team have just re-evaluated our WordPress hosting options in October 2016. Take the quiz and learn which WP host fits your needs. (This post contains no affiliate links, just honest recommendations.)
Which WordPress Host Is Right For You?
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Choosing the right host depends on your business, and on how much traffic you get. (Want to increase your traffic? Read this post.)
Looking for an in-depth WordPress hosting comparison? Read on…
WPEngine is probably the most-well known WordPress host. They’re known for fast load speed, security and incredibly helpful support. WPEngine offers various advanced features such as staging sites, built in CDN and more. Pricing starts at $29/mo for one site.
We’ve been hosting multiple sites – including this one – on WPEngine for a number of years with great results. Sites load fast and support has been great. We have 2 complaints, however:
Forced live chat
As of 2016, the only way to submit support tickets to WPEngine is live chat. In many ways that’s great – usually your issues get resolved right then and there. However, live chat wait times sometimes are in the 10–15 minutes range. It would be nice to be able to submit tickets via email instead of having to wait.
WPEngine segments pricing plans are based on the number of monthly visitors you get. Visitor counting doesn’t always work correctly.
For example, this website, which gets about 10k monthly sessions according to Google Analytics gets counted as 70,000 visits in WPEngine’s system. This has lead us to pay overage charges for visitors we never actually got and prompted us to consider moving away from WPEngine.
FlyWheel is a managed WordPress host geared towards WP designers and agencies. Pricing starts at $15/mo for one site. They have great support and their interface is beautiful and easy to use. FlyWheel has some unique features aimed at designers & agencies, such as billing transfer and demo sites.
On the flip side, if you’re a developer looking for advanced server configuration features you should better look elsewhere.
We’ve attempted to move Fatcat Apps to FlyWheel earlier this month to avoid WPEngine’s overage charges (see above), but we’ve had issues with the site not working properly after using their free site migration service.
This website is a highly complex e-commerce install with tons of plugins, user accounts and a large database, so that’s probably what caused the move to fail – there’s plenty of people who had a great experience moving to FlyWheel.
Eventually we would have gotten things to work, but we’ve decided we’re better off focusing on growing our business by working on our products, instead of trying to save a few hundred dollars per year. That’s the real lesson here – if your host is secure, fast and provides great support it’s not worth moving just to save a little bit of money.
SiteGround’s WordPress hosting starts at an incredible $3.95 per month, making it a great option for people just starting out with their blog or website.
SiteGround also offers more advanced features for people who are willing to pay a bit more.
* The $7.95/mo plan gets you caching, premium support and daily backups.
* The $14.95/mo plan gets you access to a staging site and Git.
Our experience: We have no prior experience using SiteGround, but many SiteGround users seem to be happy with their service. It appears that SiteGround is best for beginners and websites that don’t generate a lot of revenue. Learn more here.
Starting at $99 per month, Pagely is a powerful WordPress host that is best for people wanting big, scaleable WordPress installs that can handle large amounts of traffic.
Pagely is built on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and offers advanced tools such as shell access, Git integration and load balancing.
Our experience: We have no prior experience using Pagely. If we’d get a lot of traffic, we’d consider going with Pagely. Learn more about Pagely here.
Digital Ocean & AWS
The flip side is that these cloud hosting providers are aimed at developers and sys-admins who are comfortable maintaining their own servers.
What this means is that you’ll have to hire someone to maintain your servers for you. This way, you’ll most likely spend more money than if you’d go for one of the more expensive hosts listed above.
Our experience: We’ve been using AWS for a Software as a Service application (unrelated to Fatcat Apps) we’ve been working on. AWS doesn’t excel as a WP host, but as a host for custom web applications. If you are looking for a scaleable solution that handles a lot of traffic, check out Pagely (mentioned above), which is built on top of AWS.
So which host did we choose for this website? Even though we were a bit frustrated by WPEngine’s forced live chat & visitor counting, we’ve realized that moving this highly complicated WP install wasn’t worth it.
We truly believe that all of the hosts mentioned in this post are excellent options. If you haven’t already, try the quiz on top of this page and see which host is right for you =)
We found the following posts helpful when researching the best WordPress hosts. If you’re looking for more in-depth comparisons, check them out here:
Which host are you using? Are you happy? Please leave a comment below.