Selecting the right WordPress hosting plan for our blog may seem to be a difficult task for most of the beginners. There are several options available in the market with a multitude of features that might often confuse a newbie blogger. The right choice of hosting plan is quite essential for our blog as site speed and downtime can really affect our reputation. Google also considers page speed as one of the most important factors for search engine ranking. Therefore the selection of the right hosting provider is of ultimate importance. Before going to the details of the top 5 shared WordPress hosting plans for 2020 let us first see the essential factors that we should consider for our hosting plans.
The following 5 factors are of ultimate importance over the other entire highlighted features with our hosting provider.
- Speed: The faster our site loads the better. Studies have shown that a site load time of more than 2 seconds results in a 47 % higher bounce rate. Speed is also a critical factor to improve our SEO. The site speed mainly depends on our hosting provider‘s server capacity. With a shared hosting plan, there may be multiple websites hosted on a single server that negatively affects our site load time. We can test our site load time using the free Pingdom tool or Google Page Speed Insights tool.
- Uptime: We calculate uptime based on the number of hours that our web hosting server is operational during a given period. This factor is highly critical and we should always go for a hosting provider with more than 99.95% uptime. WordPress users can monitor their site uptime using Jetpack.
- Customer Support: Setting up a new blog and hosting it on our server is not an easy task. We might have to face several issues that often need support. Therefore it is quite essential to have a dedicated support team for our hosting provider that is available 24*7. The live chat facility is a must, as rectification of issues via email can take a lot of time and maybe frustrating
- Pricing: We would always like to opt for cheaper plans but the lower price tag should not be at the expense of poor performance. Also, the pricing structure should be transparent without any hidden charges or fees. We should also consider the renewal pricing as the initial hosting charge may be much lower while renewal price tends to be quite high for some providers.
- Server Configuration: WordPress recommends PHP 7+, MySQL 5.6+, and availability of Nginx or Apache. Newbie bloggers need not get intimidated by these terms. PHP is the coding language on which WordPress is written. MySQL is the database that stores our content and Nginx or Apache is web server software that primarily improves our site speed and security. Basically, our hosting provider should support the latest version of all these software.
Having seen the essential requirements for hosting let us now go through the details of the top five shared hosting providers for WordPress.
This is the most popular option among new bloggers and site owners. They provide shared hosting plans starting at $3.95/month for a period of up to 36 months.
This company was founded in 1996 and now boasts of powering more than 2 million websites. They are also one of the WordPress.org recommended providers. If we are setting up a new blog expecting somewhat good traffic then it is best to go with their Choice Plus plan priced $5.95/month. The renewal price for the most basic plan is $7.99/month whereas the Choice Plus plan renewal is at $14.99/month.
- Multiple server locations
- Server uptime > 99.99 %
- Fairly good support
- Free SSL
- Free domain registration
- Supports PHP 7.0
- Unlimited traffic and bandwidth ( Fair usage limits apply)
- Unlimited disk space ( Fair usage limits apply)
- 30-day refund policy
- The add-ons are not installed by default. We need to manually install each one which might be frustrating
- The customer support response time is higher as compared to other providers
- Being a large company hosting millions of websites they stack up multiple websites on a single server on a shared hosting plan. This might affect our performance.
- They lack a free migration service in case we are trying to move from another provider to BlueHost.
This is another popular WordPress hosting provider in the market and I am personally a great fan of their service. I use SiteGround hosting for BlogTriangle. They are also on the list of WordPress.org recommended hosting. The basic plan starts at $3.95/month and offers 10 GB of storage.
There are two other options named GrowBig and GoGeek priced at $5.95/month and $11.95/month respectively. For BlogTriangle I use the GoGeek plan.
- Multiple server locations(Singapore, UK, USA, Europe)
- Free migration ( From GrowBig plan onwards)
- Excellent server uptime > 99.99%
- Great customer support(24*7 Available on chat)
- Supports PHP 7.0
- Free SSL certificate via Let’s Encrypt
- Built-In one-click WordPress installer
- SG SuperCacher – An in-house system for caching. It greatly improves load time.
- WordPress staging site available(For GoGeek plan)
- Basic plans do not have staging site available
- Domain name registration is not free
- Bandwidth and disk space are limited (Does not affect most of the small sites)
One of the key factors that made me choose SiteGround is their excellent support. I have been in touch with their support team many times during setting up BlogTriangle. Each of the support resources is highly skilled and has resolved the issues in a matter of minutes. The support team just does not resolve the issue but gives us helpful tips to get better performance as well as improve security.
Hostgator is owned by Endurance International Group which is the parent company of BlueHost also. Just like BlueHost, they also power millions of websites. Their basic package known as Starter Plan has a price tag of $5.95/month. Standard and Business plan priced at $7.95 and $9.95 are also available.
They provide a large collection of free web templates and a few free marketing tools. All of their hosting packages include Adwords credits worth $100 and Bing + Yahoo Search credits worth $50.
- 45-day money back
- Server uptime > 99.99 %
- Free SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt
- Unlimited storage & bandwidth( Fair usage limits apply)
- Free migration
- One-click WordPress installation
- Domain registration is not free
- Offers a lot of features that are not essential for WordPress
- Support is just ok
- Site Speed is sometimes mediocre
- One-Click install comes with many unnecessary plugins ( We can deactivate these plugins later)
This is another WordPress.org recommended hosting service based in Los Angeles with over 500,000 customers. The basic package Shared Starter is available at $2.95/month.
The next higher plan Shared Unlimited has a price of $5.95/month.
- Two simple plans with a transparent pricing structure
- Free domain registration
- Unlimited data storage
- Unlimited bandwidth
- 97-day money-back guarantee
- Server uptime 99.97%
- Chat support is slow
- The initial set is not beginner-friendly
- No CPanel
- The AutoInstall feature is missing
- Site speed is sometimes slow
The greatest disadvantage that I find with DreamHost is the unavailability of cPanel. They have their custom back end management dashboard which is pretty decent. Once we are used to this panel we may be able to do well, but in the initial stages, this custom panel is really a pain.
This is another popular hosting company located in Los Angeles, USA. They power more than 300,000 websites. Each of their plans comes with free SSL, CDN, unlimited email accounts, and 200 free WordPress themes. The basic package WP-1000s has a price tag of $6.99 per month.
- Free domain name
- Free SSL
- Unlimited disk space
- Free website migration
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- SSD storage of data (SSD’s are much faster than conventional hard disks)
- Average server uptime
- Site speed is also average
- Delayed account setup
- The site migration process is also slow
Final thought: I have used 3 of the above 5 providers for my different websites. Personally, I am a great fan of SiteGround due to their excellent customer support. If you would like me to choose 1 provider from the above list then gladly I would go for SiteGround without any hesitation.
So, if you have made the decision about your hosting provider then proceed with buying a plan that suits your needs. I have already covered in detail in this blog series about the complete steps to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog. Just go through the blog posts and set up an awesome WordPress website.
Note:Although most of these hosting providers mention an unlimited number of email addresses as a feature, I strongly suggest setting up a separate business email address independent of our hosting provider. This would save us the trouble of configuring our email addresses again once we switch the client.