If you are planning to build a WordPress website (or have one built for you), you will need to select a hosting company. The best website host for WordPress, in my opinion, is SiteGround*. I’ve used a number of hosting companies on behalf of clients, and after countless terrible experiences, SiteGround has become my pick!
Out of the major hosting companies, I have a lot of experience with GoDaddy, Bluehost and SiteGround.
Why GoDaddy Is Not the Best Website Host for WordPress
Thanks to their history of TV commercial marketing, GoDaddy is one of the few website hosts that many ‘non-techies’ know about. When I work with clients who already have hosting selected, about 75% of them are using GoDaddy! They’re well known and they’re cheap.
The problem is that they’re cheap on their services too. Their basic hosting is set up with a very low PHP, that often needs to be increased to optimize site speeds. I’ve experienced the most technical glitches when working on GoDaddy-hosted websites, and they’re support is slow and commonly gets poor reviews.
I sometimes do website work for a larger agency that does corporate websites. The owner was using GoDaddy before I suggested a switch. When working with GoDaddy as a host and Divi as the theme, he often had to have his website technicians perform some tweaks to optimize the speed of the website when loading. He didn’t have to do this for SiteGround. Why is this important? Because page-loading speed directly affects your SEO and website ranking.
I will give GoDaddy points for a user-friendly dashboard, but that’s about it! Most of my clients end up switching during our time working together.
Why Bluehost is Not the Best Website Host for WordPress
I used to LOVE Bluehost. I really did. I had all my websites on a plan with them for years. I’m writing this post on March 19, 2020, and I’ve literally just switched to SiteGround. Here’s why:
In the past, I have found their dashboard super easy to use, have loved the efficiency of their tech support and never had any major technical issues with them. But in the past 18 months or so, I began to experience:
Dashboard glitches: Bluehost has changed their user dashboard a few times since I joined them in 2015. For some reason, they weren’t able to move my account onto the newest dashboard, resulting in issues when contacting tech support. (I can’t navigate to a tab that doesn’t exist in my dashboard!).
Frustrating tech support: Bluehost’s tech support has gotten increasingly worse over the last year or so. A phone tech support staff member even shared that the chat tech support staff is worse and advised me to always call. That’s good to know, but sometimes I would like the option to chat!
Issues with security token validation: Bluehost has introduced a security validation token for all customer support requests. This is a good idea in theory, but for some reason the token changes every 30 seconds and getting this to the tech support staff in time can be tricky!
Security issues: This is the BIG issue. Bluehost partners with SiteLock security, and while you can work with any other security team, they push SiteLock pretty aggressively. For 4 years I never had any security issues on any of my multiple sites. Then, all of a sudden, I was hacked and sold into a $1200/year plan with SiteLock as my only option (for 3 websites). Call me crazy, but I shouldn’t have to pay an extra $400/year for a website because the host doesn’t want to handle security. Yes, precautions need to be taken with all WordPress websites, but SiteGround isn’t pushing a $400 security plan and none of my clients’ SiteGround websites have had the security issues that I have experienced with Bluehost.
Unless you want to put yourself in a position to pay $400/year for additional security measures, do not work with Bluehost.
Interestingly, Bluehost is also owned by a larger company Endurance International Group, which owns 83 hosting companies, and most of them are not good ones.
Why SiteGround Is the Best Website Host for WordPress
OK, so I’ve been transparent in that I just switched to SiteGround personally, but one of my longest standing retainer clients is with SiteGround, so I’ve been dealing with them for 4 years. A number of my other clients also use SiteGround.
Here’s what I like about them:
Great customer service: It sometimes takes a tiny bit longer to connect with a tech in chat than it does with Bluehost, but they are super knowledgeable and they’ve always been able to resolve my request in one conversation.
Good website loading speed for shared hosting: Most solopreneurs/small business owners use what’s called shared hosting (instead of a dedicated server). This is the most cost effective option and it’s all you really need, but it is slower than other hosting options. Siteground offers more levels of caching than Bluehost or GoDaddy, and therefore have faster page loading speeds than other hosts.
Better security: To my knowledge, SiteGround offers better malware protection in their hosting plans than Bluehost does. None of my clients have had security issues with SiteGround, and several of my clients have had malware issues with Bluehost over the past year. Time to switch!
Some important things to note:
SiteGround’s cache-ing system, some changes to your website pages won’t immediately be reflected to website visitors, unless you flush the cache. Your website designer should understand this if you are working with a professional. If you are doing this yourself, you can look up instructions to clear the cache – it’s not difficult to do!
SiteGround has one confusing dashboard feature (at least to me). Domains are listed under Services, but if you want to make changes to your domain DNS settings, you need to go to the website that uses that domain and edit the domain settings there.
Otherwise, SiteGround really stands out as the best website host for WordPress websites to me!
The Pricing Breakdown
SiteGround is actually a very affordable option out of these three! See the pricing charts below. They’ve been running a discounted rate since the start of the year – and if you pay yearly and book for 3 years, you can save a lot of money on hosting right now.
If you’re ready to sign up for SiteGround, head here. If you only need to support 1 website, the StartUp plan is fine, and you can always upgrade later.
A Note on Other Hosts
I have also worked with FlyWheel, HostPapa and FatCow. FlyWheel has more bells and whistles than most people need. HostPapa and FatCow offer very basic services that may work OK if you have only one website, but I don’t recommend them. Especially with SiteGround’s current special offer (again this is March 2020), these options aren’t even cheaper.
I have never used WPEngine but do hear good things about them from the website designer/developer community. But as far as what I’ve tried and what I now use myself, SiteGround!
Hopefully you’ve found this helpful as you navigate the world of WordPress website hosts. If you’re confused about WordPress.org (which requires third party hosting), and WordPress.com (which is self-hosted), you can learn more about that here. If you need help with set up, feel free to reach out! I’m here to help 🙂
*Please note, this is not a sponsored post, but I am a SiteGround affiliate. In the past I have recommended both Bluehost and SiteGround, and have been an affiliate for both companies, but my recent experiences with Bluehost have led me to drop them (and switch my own hosting services), and SiteGround has emerged as the clear winner. While I will make a small commission off of any sales from link clicks via this post, I’m writing this to save you the headaches that I have experienced! As always, I also like to be upfront about my affiliate links.