example of a bad host

Some ‘cheap hosts’ aren’t really worth your money. (hint: they’re slow & unreliable).

How many hosting companies are there?

Seriously — try Googling it. You can’t find a definitive answer.

Hundreds? Easily. Thousands? Probably.

Most offer basic shared hosting, where your resources are split between all of their other customers too.

Many of these claim they specialize in WordPress.

Few, actually do.

But which ones? How can you tell? And what – specifically – makes a good host in the first place anyway? I’m glad you asked…

WORDPRESS HOSTING VS. SHARED HOSTING: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You’ve got the domain for a new site already picked out. You fire up the same old host you’ve always used and noticed a basic ‘shared’ plan with an option for WordPress specific hosting too.

There’s some difference in the jargon, but otherwise they seem the same on the face of it. They list the same security. The same storage options. And the same number of sites.

Except the WordPress one is a few bucks more a month.

Why?

Are they just charging a premium for the same service? Or is there something they’re doing that’s different/better/unique/more valuable?

Technically speaking, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. WordPress has very basic requirements that most modern hosts — regardless of shared, dedicated, or managed — can meet.

You might see impressively better performance, or you might not see any differences at all depending on the host you choose (*ahem* GoDaddy).

But here are some of the improvements you should see with managed WordPress hosting options.

✅ ONE CLICK INSTALL FOR WORDPRESS: Generally speaking, WordPress-specific hosts can ‘pre-configure’ a setup that allows you to get up-and-running faster and easier. This can include everything from the infamous 1-click install, to Git repo creation, or enabling a command line interface for WordPress for you uber geeks developers).

✅ TECH SUPPORT WHO KNOWS WORDPRESS: Anyone’s who’s been using WordPress longer than 6 months knows how to troubleshoot plugins that might not play well together. Thanks, but no thanks, if that’s the extent to your hosting support’s WordPress knowledge. Ideally, WordPress-based hosts will know the ins-and-outs of the platform because they’ve seen it all before.

✅ UPTIME SHOULD BE 99.95%+: You hear this ‘scale’ word a lot when referencing site and hosting performance. The idea, is that a website should work as well (and be as stable) at 100 daily visitors as it is at 100,000. Larger sites require more resources to run, but the best hosts will know exactly where limitations might be and how to set things to maximize the performance you (and your visitors) are seeing.

✅ FAST LOAD TIMES: Same holds true for site speed. Your hosting platform can again be ‘pre-configured’ with the best versions of PHP or MySQL, have specific caching in place, etc. that enable WordPress sites specifically to run as quickly as possible. Speed online is a big money maker (or loser, as we’ll see below). So sacrificing many of these elements so that a host can be able to accommodate ANY other application is obviously not ideal.

✅ WORDPRESS SECURITY: WordPress is fairly secure. However, there’s always going to be tiny holes no matter which platform your site is running on. Managed WordPress hosts in particular should already have you covered; running proactive daily scans with tools like Sucuri, including basic site maintenance like automatic updates (you should be doing, but probably won’t or aren’t already) that leaves holes for nefarious people and programs. And if the worst case scenario does play out, they’ll most certainly have daily backups on hand with a team of experts to get things restored as quickly as possible.

In short: You typically get specialized treatment with WordPress hosts that can get your site up quicker, keep it more stable, run faster for visitors, and provide additional security to make sure you’re supported at all times.

THAT’s what you’re paying for at the end of the day. If you’re using WordPress, look no further than these 7 hosts.

 

BEST ‘WORDPRESS’ HOSTING SERVICES 2016

Hosting NamePriceRenewal Price1 Year PriceSpeedUptime
1st. HostGator WordPress Optimized$2.99 (1 year plan)$12.95$35.88326ms100%
2nd. A2 WordPress Hosting$3.72 (2 year plan)$8.99$50.70210ms99.99%
3rd. SiteGround WordPress Hosting$3.95 (1 year plan)$9.95$47.40500ms99.96%
4th. Dreamhost WordPress Hosting$7.95 (1 year plan)$9.95$95.40563ms99.98%
5th. InMotion WordPress Hosting$4.19 (2 year plan)$7.99$57.48525ms99.96%
6th. GreenGeeks WordPress Hosting$3.96 (3 year plan)$9.95$76.42799ms99.95%
7th. Bluehost WordPress Hosting$2.95 (3 year plan)$8.99$59.401279ms99.94%
Anything we’ve missed? Shoot us an email or leave a comment and we’ll add it to the list.

 

What Methods Have We Used to Evaluate the Best WordPress Hosting?


Step #1. Compile the Best, Affordable WordPress Hosts

We went out and found the best WordPress hosting options that cost at or below $5/mo.

official WordPress hosts

Bluehost, SiteGround and Dreamhost are recommended hosts by WordPress.org

We Picked Dreamhost, SiteGround and Bluehost from throwing darts randomly because WordPress officially recommends them. (However, we DIDN’T test flywheel as we believe it’s slightly overpriced.)

We also added some other popular WordPress hosts including HostGator WordPress Cloud, GreenGeeks, Inmotion, and A2 hosting.

So in TOTAL, that gives us 7 of the best WordPress hosting options available (Dreamhost, SiteGround, Bluehost, HostGator Managed Cloud WordPress, GreenGeeks WordPress, InMotion WordPress & A2 Hosting).

 

Step #2. Create accounts with each hosting company.

Next, we pulled out the credit card and actually signed up for paid accounts.

Our goal is to provide the most accurate, bias-free results possible. You can only properly do that based on real data.

So the reviews you’re about to read below aren’t (1) advertorials bought-and-paid-for by these companies, or (2) our opinions based on what other people have already written about.

SiteGround test site

We signed up with SiteGround and many others..

Step #3. Install a WordPress website.

On each new hosting account, we set-up a WordPress website with the latest official theme.

Our goal was to keep everything consistent across hosts (in terms of setup and site configuration), to rule out any random variables that would unintentionally bias the results you’re about to read.

WordPress Installed

Installed default WordPress site

 

Step #4. Used Pingdom to track uptime and speed.

The excellent (and industry standard) Pingdom was then used to monitor both uptime and speed.

We’ve been tracking this information now for over a year in some cases, with comprehensive annual analyses that should rule out one-time issues.

That means we’ve seen who’s consistently good, and who’s consistently bad.

PingDom stats

24/7 uptime and speed tracking via Pingdom.com

 

Step #5. Go through customer service to rate support.

You’re primarily paying for uptime and performance with hosts, however customer support is the big X factor.

If your site goes down and they’re unresponsive or helpful, you’re S.O.L.

Therefore we also went through the customer support channels each host offers, trying to assess their responsiveness (or how quickly it took them to respond) as well as their overall competence (or the quality and thoroughness of their answers).

SiteGround_Support_Chat

Quick chat with customer support

 

Step #6. Manually research online reviews from customers.

We didn’t want our one experience to be a definitive example, so we also researched other customer reviews to see what a broader audience has to say about their experiences too.

 

Step #7. Research into pricing, plans, and the ‘fine print’.

Last but not least, we dove into the pricing and plan information for each host.

Unfortunately, the promotional terms on the website often vary wildly with the reality of what you’re getting once you get locked into a ~two-to-three year commitment.

We then scoured the place where typically all the ‘bodies are buried’: the Terms and Conditions. This is where you find all the gory details, like how that free domain name ain’t actually so free in reality, or when your current plan renews it does so at 300% of what you’re currently paying.

(Both of those examples by the way, are unfortunately true for MANY popular, household hosting names.)

Then, and only then, after completing these thorough (and SUPER time-consuming) steps, did we site down to write these reviews and tests results below.

 

The Test Results from the 7 Best WordPress Hosts

We’ve ranked the top seven WordPress hosting companies, starting with #7 (but still decent) to best, listing out all the PROS and CONS to provide a concise summary of our findings.

Each will provide updates on site uptime and speed stats over the previous 12 months (in some cases). You’ll also get plenty of screenshots for each (so you know we’re not making this stuff up).

We’ll also give you the high-points on any noteworthy features, pricing details, migrations, and more.

Here we go.

 

RANKED 7th: Bluehost


Let’s kick things off with every bloggers faaavvvoorrrite hosting option: Bluehost.

It’s no surprise they host over two million sites as you’ll find them on almost every single newb-bloggers list of recommended tools (for a reason).

However, does their performance live up to the hype?

 

PROS

#1. Respectable 99.94% uptime.

Bluehost only had 5 hours of downtime (out of a possible 8,760) over the past twelve months. Off to a good start!

See 2015 average uptimes
  • June 2015 avg. uptime: 99.96% 
  • July 2015 avg. uptime: 100% 
  • August 2015 avg. uptime: 100% 
  • September 2015 avg. uptime: 100%
  • October 2015 avg. uptime: 99.98%
  • November 2015 avg. uptime: 99.99%
  • December 2015 avg. uptime: 99.89%

Bluehost review: Uptime and SpeedSee 2016 average uptimes:

  • January uptime: 99.99%
  • February uptime: 99.68%
  • March uptime: 99.91%
  • April uptime: 99.95%
  • May uptime: 99.96%
  • June uptime: 100%
  • July uptime: 99.95%
  • August uptime: 99.95%

Bluehost: Page Load Speed and Uptime (Last 12 months, full data can be found here.)

 

#2. Affordable, inexpensive pricing.

While Bluehost may not be the cheapest hosting option you’ll find, it’s definitely among the most inexpensive when compared to the most popular hosts out there.

If you’re willing to commit to a three-year deal, you can lock in a low rate of only $3.49 a month.

 

#3. Safe & secure.

Bluehost uses a variety of tools, including SpamAssassin, Spam Experts, and Spam Hammer (in addition to supporting CloudFlare). So your site should remain A-OK on Bluehost.

 

CONS

#1. Slooooooow page loading times.

Over the course of a year, Bluehost posted a below average 1,275ms speed (compared with the 850ms industry average).

And unfortunately, it seems to be only getting worse when you view the negative pattern over the past few months.

Slow sites don’t just affect user experience. They also drag down performance in search engines (read: SEO) and hurt conversions too. Google themeslves learned this the hard way years ago when only a half-second delay cost them a 20% drop in traffic.

See 2015 average load times
  • June speed: 781ms
  • July speed: 961ms
  • August speed: 1,039ms
  • September speed: 977ms
  • October speed: 938ms
  • November speed: 893ms
  • December speed: 925ms

2016 average load times:

  • January speed: 1,039ms
  • February speed: 1,306ms
  • March speed: 1,170ms
  • April speed: 1,357ms
  • May speed: 1,235ms
  • June speed: 1,155ms
  • July speed: 1,140ms
  • August speed: 1,863ms

 

#2. Slooooooow customer support.

We get it. Supporting two million different websites isn’t a small feat.

However, waiting over 43 minutes to get some support help is unacceptable if you’re potentially losing sales during that downtime.

Our experience with their support also wasn’t very good. Most answers (in addition to the long delays between them), were curt and unhelpful.

Bluehost review: Support being analysed

(A silver lining though is their YouTube channel, which includes a ton of tutorial videos.)

 

#3. Pricing (without our discount).

Bluehost offers a great introductory rate. However, those plans jump in pricing when it’s time to renew, going as high as $8.99 for their renewal plans.

Good news though: We’ve been able to negotiate an even better deal for HostingFacts.com visitors. Use this link. And please let us know if you ever see a less expensive Bluehost option – because we don’t know of any at this point in time.

Bluehost review: Pricing

 

#4. Paid site migrations.

Almost every single hosting company we’ve reviewed (going on about 30 now) will happily migrate an existing website over to their servers for free.

Almost all, that is, except Bluehost.

Instead, they will charge you a hefty $149.99 fee (with a 5 site max cap too).

 

Bottom Line?

Despite what those blogging guru’s say, there are MUCH better hosting options available (like the ones listed below for example).

Bluehost isn’t the worst necessarily and are fine for a basic hobby or personal site.

But if you want paying customers to come through your website, you’re probably going to want to pay a little more upfront for vastly better speed and support.

 

RANKED 6th: GreenGeeks WordPress


LA-based GreenGeeks takes an environmentally friendly approach to their servers’ carbon footprint (explained below).

Their founder, Trey Gardner, also has an extensive background in working with EIGHT (!) different hosting companies including iPage, LunarPages, and HostPapa (among others).

 

PROS

#1. Above average 99.95% uptime.

GreenGeek guarantees a minimum of the industry average 99.90% uptime.

And in our experience, they deliver on that promise, posting a 99.95% average over the first six months and then only getting stronger in the last six.

See 2015 average uptimes
  • June average uptime: 99.95%
  • July average uptime: 99.94%
  • August average uptime: 99.93%
  • September average uptime: 99.90%
  • October average uptime: 99.93%
  • November average uptime: 99.94%
  • December average uptime: 99.95%

GreenGeeks review: uptime & speedSee 2016 average uptimes:

  • January uptime: 99.99%
  • February uptime: 99.83%
  • March uptime: 99.99%
  • April uptime: 99.99%
  • May uptime: 99.98%
  • June uptime: 99.96%
  • July uptime: 99.99%
  • August uptime: 99.97%

GreenGeeks: Page Load Speed and Uptime (Last 12 months, full data can be found here.)
 

#2. About industry average page loading times.

While GreenGeek excels at uptime and stability, they’re about at the industry average for speed.

That’s not a knock per se, but’s not a HUGE positive either.

See 2015 average uptimes
  • June average speed: 515ms
  • July average speed: 653ms
  • August average speed: 664ms
  • September average speed: 614ms
  • October average speed: 605ms
  • November average speed: 624ms
  • December average speed: 741ms

See 2016 average uptimes:

  • January average speed: 894ms
  • February average speed: 884ms
  • March average speed: 949ms
  • April average speed: 923ms
  • May average speed: 920ms
  • June average speed: 739ms
  • July average speed: 794ms
  • August average speed: 869ms

 

#3. Quick, helpful support.

It didn’t even take a full minute of waiting for a support agent to contact us.

Their responses were helpful, quick, and concise. Overall we were satisfied, and a majority of the customer responses from our background check revealed many with similarly positive experiences.

GreenGeeks review: Support quality?

Good Customer support, but had some grammar errors. 
 

#4. Environmentally friendly business practices.

Running servers — especially LOTS of them as most hosting companies do — requires using a lot of energy.

GreenGeeks though will replace the energy used to power a website by purchasing purchase up to three times in wind energy credits.

Apparently, over the past eight years they’ve replaced more than 615,000+ kilowatts annually.

 

CONS

#1. Low promotional pricing is for long-term plans only.

Unfortunately, GreenGeeks follows the typical industry practice of using an extremely attractive low price on their website and promotional materials, only for the customer (that’s you) to find out (at the last second) that you’ll have to sign up for three full years.

That low price jumps dramatically up to $9.95 for month-to-months plans.

 

#2. The ‘free’ domain and money back guarantee aren’t always free.

Like most other web hosts, GreenGeeks throws in a free domain name and has a separate money back guarantee if you’re unhappy within 30 days of signing up.

However…

Say you were to take them up on that money back guarantee, you will be charged a whopping $24.95 for the domain name (even though those typically only cost a few bucks) according to the fine print.

 

Bottom Line?

GreenGeeks isn’t the best WordPress host we’ve seen.

However, they do provide good results where it counts. Namely, uptime, loading times and support.

On top of that, they’re also literally putting their money where their mouth is by running a mission-driven company. That’s respectable.

And for all these reasons, you should give them a look.

 

RANKED 5th: InMotion WordPress


InMotion Hosting has two data centers in Los Angeles on the West Coast and Virginia Beach on the East.

They’ve been around since 2001, hosting over 300,000 domains, while also owning sister-brand Web Hosting Hub (aimed more at bloggers and hobbyists).

 

PROS

#1. Above-average 99.96% uptime.

InMotion’s uptime performance has been a model of consistency over the past 12 months, posting an average of 99.96% (with many 100%-ers thrown in for good measure). That comfortably places them among the top five we’ve reviewed in this category.

See 2015 average uptimes
  • June (2015) average uptime: 99.99%
  • July (2015) average uptime: 99.99%
  • August (2015) average uptime: 99.96%
  • September (2015) average uptime: 99.97%
  • October (2015) average uptime: 99.98%
  • November (2015) average uptime: 99.93%
  • December (2015) average uptime: 100%

InMotion Hosting Review: uptime and speed past 12 monthsSee 2016 average uptimes:

  • January uptime: 99.97%
  • February uptime: 99.96%
  • March uptime: 99.96%
  • April uptime: 99.98%
  • May uptime: 99.95%
  • June uptime: 99.99%
  • July uptime: 99.93%
  • August uptime: 99.95%

inMotion Hosting: Page Load Speed and Uptime (last 12 months, detailed data located here.)

 

#2. Above-average page loading times too.

InMotion’s uptime was solid.

The good news is that their page loading times are pretty quick too; clocking in at 525ms compared with the 850ms industry average (good enough for around 37% faster than the competition).

Blazing page speeds are critical for businesses, as it affects both search rankings and bounce rates.

See 2015 average load times
  • June average speed: 413ms
  • July average speed: 447ms
  • August average speed: 465ms
  • September average speed: 429ms
  • October average speed: 449ms
  • November average speed: 455ms
  • December average speed: 521ms

2016 average load times:

  • January average speed: 584ms
  • February average speed: 567ms
  • March average speed: 681ms
  • April average speed: 516ms
  • May average speed: 525ms
  • June average speed: 521ms
  • July average speed: 491ms
  • August average speed: 556ms

 

#3. GREAT customer support.

Every singly company says they excel at customer service.

When few, in reality, do.

However, ImMotion’s claims are legit, as a live agent connected with us in under two minutes. They also provided super fast answers that were easy to understand and follow.

inMotion review: Customer support

Quick chat with inMotion hosting customer support

 

#4. Additional benefits..

  1. Frequent discounts: You can often find great, promotional deals on their plans.
  2. 90-Day Money Back Guarantee: Longer-than-usual money back guarantee.
  3. Free Site Transfer: They’ll happily migrate your site for free.
  4. Free Data Backups: Free manual and automated tools for frequent site backups.
  5. Premium Sucuri Support: InMotion uses the popular Sucuri security plugin (introduced earlier) on all WordPress sites.

 

CONS

#1. Long-term deal required for lowest pricing.

InMotion’s low introductory rate requires a two-year signup. Otherwise, that cost jumps considerably.

Unfortunately, this is a pretty standard move you’ll see from MANY hosting companies (even others listed here).

 

#2. Plan Verification Delays

InMotion’s security is tight.

Which is great in most cases, but not so great when you’re trying to get a site live ASAP. For example, ALL new customers have to hop on the phone — even those outside of the U.S.!

And in some cases, they’ll require a photo ID.

 

#3. Restricted plans.

On the plus side, InMotion throws in a bunch of extras like backups.

However, those come with restrictions.

For example, if your site exceeds 10GB it won’t be backed up. There’s also a restoration limitation to once every four months. So tread carefully.

 

Bottom Line?

InMotion provides solid uptime, quick page speeds, and great support. They’re a good option (so long as you’re not under any time crunches when it comes down to verifying your account and getting it online).

 

RANKED 4th: DreamHost


DreamHost has been around FOREVER. Originally founded in ’96, they now boast over 1.5 million sites hosted. Their performance isn’t too shabby either, bringing home the PCMag award for ‘Best Web Hosting Service’ two years in a row.

But how do they stack up in our tests?

 

PROS

#1. Stellar 99.98% uptime over past 12 months.

Industry standard downtime is around 99.90%, which DreamHost blows out of the water.

Their 99.98% equals only 10 minutes of downtime each month. And if you do experience any issues with them, they will throw in an extra day of service for every hour of downtime your site sees.

See 2015 average uptimes
  • June 2015 avg. uptime: 99.99%
  • July 2015 avg. uptime: 99.99%
  • August 2015 avg. uptime: 99.98%
  • September 2015 avg. uptime: 100%
  • October 2015 avg. uptime: 99.97%
  • November 2015 avg. uptime: 99.99%
  • December 2015 avg. uptime: 100%

Dreamhost Review: uptime and speedSee 2016 average uptimes:

  • January uptime: 100%
  • February uptime: 99.99%
  • March uptime: 99.89%
  • April uptime: 99.98%
  • May uptime: 100%
  • June uptime: 100%
  • July uptime: 99.98%
  • August uptime: 99.99%

Dreamhost Page Load Speed and Uptime (Last 12 months, detailed data can be found here.)

 

#2. 32% Faster Page Loading Times (Over Industry Average)

DreamHost’s also posted an average 563ms loading time over the past 12 months, which outperforms the industry standard 850ms by 32%.

You can check more stats below:

See 2015 average load times
  • June average speed: 556ms
  • July average speed: 559ms
  • August average speed: 597ms
  • September average speed: 580ms
  • October average speed: 619ms
  • November average speed: 625ms
  • December average speed: 593ms

2016 average load times:

  • January average speed: 598ms
  • February average speed: 555ms
  • March average speed: 502ms
  • April average speed: 505ms
  • May average speed: 548ms
  • June average speed: 543ms
  • July average speed: 540ms
  • August average speed: 539ms

 

#3. Strong support

DreamHost’s support team connected within five minutes and provided detailed responses quickly (within a few seconds each).

Can’t ask for much more (besides phone support, which they don’t offer).

Dreamhost review: Evaluating customer support

Quick chat with Dreamhost support agent

 

#4. Awesome Feature? ‘Free Days’ for Downtime

Beyond offering one of the longest money back guarantees around (97 days), they will also provide an account credit for a day’s service for every hour of interrupted service.

That came in handy in March when they delivered slightly a lower-than-usual 99.89%, which they happily stood by their claim.

 

#5. Additional Benefits…

  1. Unlimited Bandwidth: Some claim this, however DreamHost truly delivers according to their ‘Unlimited Policy‘ terms.
  2. Freebies: You can also get a free domain name (with privacy protection thrown in) and free SSL/TSL certificates.

 

CONS

#1. Expensive.

DreamHost’s benefits aren’t cheap, as the starting plan is $7.95/mo.

The catch? You gotta sign up for a full three years upfront. Otherwise, it’s $9.95/mo for a 12-month commitment.

 

#2. Limited Plans

DreamHost only offers ONE plan option. That means the beginner who’s got three daily site visitors (two of which are family members) is going to pay the exact same as the blogging professional hitting 100,000 uniques daily (and who might be sucking all of your bandwidth).

 

#3. No cPanel

Dreamhost provides their own proprietary control panel. That’s good for beginners because it’s a little simplified, however it might not be for advanced users used to cPanel.

 

#4. Delayed Setup Possibility

Each new customer account requires verification before you can get started. So even though you can sign in, your new site’s grand debut might get delayed a bit.

 

Bottom Line?

DreamHost provides solid uptime and speed, along with great support and a few fantastic features.

Only problem? All that good stuff comes at a price, costing almost TWICE as much as a majority of the competitors.

They’re a great, reliable option (assuming costs aren’t a concern).

 

RANKED 3rd: SiteGround


Siteground review: Their growth

Despite starting with one person in 2007, SiteGround has expanded to host over 450,000 sites across the U.S, Europe, and Asia (while attracting a legion of fans who wholeheartedly recommend them around the interwebs in the process).

 

PROS

#1. Excellent stability with 99.96% uptime.

SiteGround promises to match the industry average uptime of 99.90%.

And then they overdeliver with a 12-month average of 99.96%!

Our effective uptime would have been as high as 99.99% if there weren’t two hiccups in September and December.

Awesome performance all-in-all.

See 2015 average uptimes
  • June 2015 avg. uptime: 100%
  • July 2015 avg. uptime: 99.98%
  • August 2015 avg. uptime: 99.99%
  • September 2015 avg. uptime: 99.77%
  • October 2015 avg. uptime: 100%
  • November 2015 avg. uptime: 100%
  • December 2015 avg. uptime: 99.87%

SiteGround review: uptime, speed and customer supportSee 2016 average uptimes:

  • January uptime: 99.99%
  • February uptime: 99.99%
  • March uptime: 99.98%
  • April uptime: 100%
  • May uptime: 100%
  • June uptime: 99.98%
  • July uptime: 100%
  • August uptime: 99.98%

SiteGround Page Load Speed and Uptime (Last 12 months, detailed data can be found here.)

 

#2. Top-5 speed and page loading times.

SiteGround follows up their impressive uptime stability with a solid top-5 page speed performance too.

Their average of 500ms was 41% faster than the competition’s 850ms average.

Consistency has also been a positive, with little-to-no hiccups or issues along the way.

See 2015 average load times
  • June average speed: 531ms
  • July average speed: 582ms
  • August average speed: 691ms
  • September average speed: 726ms
  • October average speed: 545ms
  • November average speed: 545ms
  • December average speed: 507ms

2016 average load times:

  • January average speed: 484ms
  • February average speed: 521ms
  • March average speed: 524ms
  • April average speed: 473ms
  • May average speed: 458ms
  • June average speed: 410ms
  • July average speed: 404ms
  • August average speed: 381ms

 

#3. Nearly flawless customer support experience.

SiteGround reportedly processes up to 1,500+ tickets, 800+ phone calls and 2,000+ chat requests each day.

And they somehow still had time to provide us with a great experience too.

Their helpful live agent connected in 11 seconds and quickly responded to our litany of questions with clear, concise responses.

Honestly, they’re one of the few we believe deserves a 10/10 in this category.

SiteGround_Support_Chat

SiteGround customer support agent

 

Sounds too good to be true? Even after doing a background check and surveying other sources, we still couldn’t find many negative responses about their support.

 

#4. Extra features specially designed for WordPress sites.

SiteGroun automatically includes extra features designed to make WordPress sites specifically excel.

For example, they use a SuperCacher to reduce the work your site has to do when delivering files to visitors. They’ll also combine this with a CDN (that features over 34 locations) to make sure large file types don’t drag down your site speed either.

WordPress staging set-ups come standard, along with Git and WP-CLI out-of-the-box too.

Siteground managed WordPress hosting

 

CONS

#1. SiteGround CAN be one of the more expensive options available.

SiteGround’s monthly pricing can be as high as $9.99/month.

However if you time it right, you’ll catch them price-matching the competition’s lower ~$3.95/month rates.

(Additionally, there are sometimes coupons available online too which can bring the price down considerably.)

 

#2. Setup fees if you choose monthly billing.

SiteGround’s pricing is thankfully pretty transparent.

EXCEPT if you want sign-up for monthly billing, in which case they’ll ding you a $14.95 ‘setup fee’.

 

#3. Restricted storage space.

If you’re just starting out, or will have a relatively small site, this shouldn’t be a problem.

However, if you’re moving a larger site over, be aware that their storage space is limited (compared with many other competitors you might see on this list).

Not the end of the world, but could be an issue down the road.

 

Bottom Line?

Like quality support?

Like awesome uptime?

Like quick page speeds?

Of course you do. As do we. And that’s why we love SiteGround.

 

RANKED 2nd: A2 Hosting


A2 lacks the notoriety of some of the most popular web hosts out there.

But what they lack in press mentions or advertising campaigns, they more than make-up for with performance.

They’ve got data centers in top worldwide places including Michigan, Amsterdam, and Singapore.

And they’ve managed to deliver some of the best results we’ve seen.

 

PROS

#1. Shockingly Stable 99.99% Uptime Over 12 Months

Technically speaking, 100% uptime can happen. However, it almost never happens over a long period of time.

A2 pulls off the next best thing, delivering a 99.99% over the course of a year.

That’s so good, only one other host out of the ~30 we’ve reviewed have been able to pull off a similar achievement (and we’ll touch on them below).

See 2015 average uptimes
  • June 2015 avg. uptime: 99.96%
  • July 2015 avg. uptime: 99.97%
  • August 2015 avg. uptime: 100%
  • September 2015 avg. uptime: 99.96%
  • October 2015 avg. uptime: 100%
  • November 2015 avg. uptime: 99.99%
  • December 2015 avg. uptime: 100%

A2 Hosting ReviewSee 2016 average uptimes:

  • January uptime: 99.98%
  • February uptime: 99.99%
  • March uptime: 99.95%
  • April uptime: 99.99%
  • May uptime: 100%
  • June uptime: 100%
  • July uptime: 100%
  • August uptime: 100%

A2Hosting: Page Load Speed and Uptime (Last 12 months, data can be found here.)

 

#2. The fastest page loading times we’ve seen.

The savviest online brands load pages in less than a second because they know speed is one of the leading indicators of a profitable website.

A2’s page loading times are almost nonexistent (in a good way) at an incredible average of 210ms over 12 months. Best of all, their page speed performance has been stable and consistent too.

See 2015 average load times
  • June 2015 avg. speed: 198ms
  • July 2015 avg. speed: 205ms
  • August 2015 avg. speed: 201ms
  • September 2015 avg. speed: 197ms
  • October 2015 avg. speed: 177ms
  • November 2015 avg. speed: 166ms
  • December 2015 avg. speed: 180ms

2016 average load times:

  • January average speed: 234ms
  • February average speed: 220ms
  • March average speed: 231ms
  • April average speed: 230ms
  • May average speed: 203ms
  • June average speed: 199ms
  • July average speed: 254ms
  • August average speed: 228ms

 

#3. Quick, knowledgeable, and friendly support agents.

A2’s customer support doesn’t drop the ball either, connecting quickly and providing detailed answers to our questions with a minute of each other.

A2 Hosting review: Customer support agent

A2 Hosting customer support agent

 

#4. Additional benefits…

  • Preventative Security: A2 will set-up additional security measures and regularly monitor your site to make sure it remains safe-and-sound.
  • Free Site Migrations: They’ll assist you in moving an existing website over for nothing.
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee: Free refunds for those who’re unhappy (which, after thorouhgly reviewing their performance, we can’t figure out why you wouldn’t be).

 

CONS

#1. (Usually) a little more expensive than others.

Typically A2’s host pricing tends to be around the middle of the pack, we’ve pulled a few strings for you…

A2 Hosting review: different plans compared

We personally got in touch with Brad Litwin, A2’s Marketing Manager, to negotiate a cheaper price of $3.77/month.

Use the coupon: HOSTINGFACTS when signing up at the A2 Hosting website.

 

#2 Plan restrictions

A2’s cheapest available plans are still WAY ahead of the majority of competitors.

However, there are still some limitations that are reserved for their more expensive plan options (like the number of sites you can host, or the ‘Turbo Boost’ features).

 

Bottom Line?

A2 isn’t as well known as some of the competition. But they should be based on performance.

Their uptime is almost the highest we’ve seen, while the page loading times ARE, and customer support was both quick and efficient.

In our experience, they’re one of the best WordPress hosting options you can choose.

(Remember to use ‘HOSTINGFACTS’ coupon on the last checkout page to get the discount.)

 

RANKED 1st: HostGator Managed WordPress Hosting


HostGator’s basic ‘shared’ hosting option is honestly nothing to write home about.

However…

Their managed cloud WordPress hosting has delivered some of the best performance we’ve ever seen.

 

PROS

#1. 100% initial uptime results so far.

Despite being among the most recent hosts we’ve reviewed, they’ve so far been flawless when it comes to site stability.

They’ve posted a 100% uptime which is, well, perfect.

HostGator Cloud Review:

HostGator WordPress Cloud: Page Load Speed and Uptime (full data can be found here.)

#2. Second fastest page loading times we’ve reviewed.

In addition to literally perfect uptime, HostGator’s managed WordPress hosting ranks in the top two for page loading times as well.

 

#3. Special discounted pricing – exclusive to HostingFacts.com

Typically the pricing for these upgraded HostGator plans can be as expensive as $9.95 each month.

However they’re generously providing readers of this site with an amazing deal you can’t find anywhere else.

Their excellent hosting will only set you back $2.99 each month. And you can throw a domain in for only $0.01!

With a deal this low, you’d probably want to lock in this rate for as long as possible.

 

#3. Fast, friendly support.

Their live agents connect quickly and offer easy-to-follow explanations. No complaints or critiques!

HostGator Support

Chat with “Charles C” who is Hostgator support agent

 

#4. Additional benefits…

  • 45-Day Money Back Guarantee: Longer-than-average refund available if you’re unhappy.
  • User Friendliness: HostGator thankfully simplifies both the site design to improve usability, but also the jargon to explain what makes each plan different.
  • Free Migration: 100% free!
  • Daily Backups: Your site is safe with daily backups included on each plan.
  • Malware Removal: Despite being rare, if your site DOES get hacked, they’ll automatically go in and remove all the malware problems.
  • Free CDN: A content delivery network (CDN) available worldwide is also thrown in free of charge.
  • SSL Certificate: If you want to process transactions on your site, you’ll get the added benefit of increased privacy with a SSL certificate.
  • WPPro Developer Help: Last but not least, you’ll get access to their exclusive community of vetted WordPress experts. No more slumming around Craigslist!
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CONS

#1. Same old pricing tricks (unless you use our discount).

HostGator does a lot of things extremely well.

However, they result to industry-standard pricing tricks when it comes to locking in a long-term plan.

Fortunately if you use our discount code you can alleviate this issue.

HostGator Discount

 

Bottom Line?

HostGator’s WordPress managed hosting option is one of the best you can choose.

That’s not our opinion. But the facts.

Uptime is 100%. Speed is top two. Support is fast and good.

Throw in our special discount code, and you can’t beat it.

Take advantage of their offer here.

 

Conclusion

All of these hosts provide good WordPress hosting options.

HostGator Managed Cloud, A2 and SiteGround are especially excellent. You honestly can’t go wrong with any of them.

But…

No matter which host you end up choose, it pays to do your own due diligence ahead of time.

Start with reading reviews on Twitter and Facebook, paying close attention to how each company responds and reacts to both positive and negative comments.

There will always be negative comments and complaints for even the best WordPress hosting companies. Nobody’s perfect 100% of the time.

But the way each host reacts, responds, and deals with problems can clue you into how your own experience will be too.

Brad Smith

Brad Smith is a writer, agency partner, and creator of Copy Weekly, a free weekly copywriting newsletter for marketers & founders.

3 Responses to “Best WordPress Hosts 2016”

  1. Wow. Excellent review. Thanks, Brad! I’m just in the process of looking for a host, and this helps a lot.

  2. Great discount for Hostgator! I would like to know if with the discount there is Unmetered Disk Space & Bandwidth as it says in the image or is like the normal starter plan that has 50 Gbs and 25K monthly visitors?

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