A Web hosting service is the base of every website. They are companies that provide servers to stock all files and information needed to run a website. You can imagine servers as hard drives on Internet, accessible from anywhere.
As we sell WordPress themes for self-hosted WordPress websites (WordPress.org), we know really well Web hosting and have tried so many of them. Like any companies in any category of business, not all Web hosting providers are equals. Some of them are good, few of them are great and many are horrible. A lot of people discover the quality of a Web hosting provider by using it. You arrive on a Web hosting website after a Google search or clicking on an ad and, if the price is good, you sign up. After a while, you realized it doesn’t work like you want. Your website is slow and the technical support takes a lot of time to reply you. If you signed up for a year then you will be stuck with them for a year so it’s important to choose the good Web hosting provider right when you launch your website. Transferring an established website can be complicated and annoying.
How this guide works
We present you two Web hosting providers that we believe are the best because we tried them both (and still using them). Why two and not only one? Because these two providers are not in the same category. They are the best in their own category. The two categories are Shared hosting and Managed WordPress hosting.
Shared hosting is the basic/most popular type of hosting that a really high percentage of websites on the Internet are hosted on. They are usually cheap and are simple to use. Most of the Web hosting providers offer shared hosting. The term shared hosting means that many websites/accounts are hosted on the same server, they share a server space.
Our recommended Web hosting service for shared hosting is SiteGround. You can read below why we recommend it.
Managed WordPress hosting
Managed WordPress hosting is exactly what you think it is. It’s a Web hosting provider specialized in WordPress hosting. It means that when you sign up, you already have a fresh install of WordPress ready for you so you don’t have to bother about where/how WordPress is installed and if all the settings are right, it’s already there and working. Usually, managed WordPress hosting are a bit more pricey than basic shared hosting as they offer more services.
Our recommended Managed WordPress hosting is WP Engine. You can read below why we recommend it.
SiteGround is currently one of the most popular Web hosting providers in the world. It currently hosts more than 500.000 websites and has four offices in the U.S. and Europe. Also, they have four data centers across the world for a fast delivery of your website. What sets apart SiteGround from the rest of Web hosting provider is their technical support: they offer a ticket system, phone support and live chat (which is really useful for a quick reply). Other than the support you have many useful features that come with every hosting plans. Their cheapest plan starts at $3.95 per month.
Prices and Plans of SiteGround
SiteGround offers many different types of hosting with different plans for each of them. The cheapest shared hosting plan starts at $3.95 per month and their most expensive shared hosting plan cost $11.95. If you only want a hosting plan for one website that attracts around 10,000 visitors per month or less, the plan at $3.95 is more than enough. If in the future you need a bigger plan then you can contact their support and they will simply upgrade your plan.
Features of SiteGround
SiteGround comes with a lot of features that most Web hosting providers don’t offer. For example, you can easily install an SSL certificate for no extra cost. SiteGround also offers free transfer of your website. It means that if you are currently hosting your website somewhere else than SiteGround you can easily transfer all the files and database to their servers. Those two features are only two features that most hosting companies don’t provide. Visit their website to find more.
Customer support of SiteGround
One of the main reasons why SiteGround is so popular right now is their customer support. One of their missions is to be sure that all their customers are satisfied with their products and services. They offer 24/7 phone support, live chat support, and ticket support. They usually reply to the first support ticket in 10 minutes which is relatively good.
Why we recommend SiteGround
As listed above, some of the main reasons why we recommend SiteGround are the customer support, their features that many Web hosting providers don’t offer and their cheap prices.
We recommend SiteGround because we truly believe it’s a good Web hosting provider as we are currently using it (not for HookThemes) but also, you can check on TrustPilot all the reviews they have. Unlike most of Web hosting reviewers that you can find on Internet/Google, reviews from TrustPilot are written by real SiteGround users and are not driven by which Web hosting providers offer the best affiliate commission.
Below is a screenshot of SiteGround’s Trustpilot profile. We also added the same profile screenshots of two other really popular Web hosting companies to compare.
WP Engine is probably the most popular managed WordPress hosting. The main difference with other Web hosting companies is that they host only WordPress websites. They are specialized in WordPress and they know pretty much everything about it. One of the downsides of using a Web hosting company that work only with WordPress is the freedom. If one day you want to install a Joomla or Drupal website, you won’t be able to do it because they are not WordPress. If your plan is clear and you want a Web host for your WordPress website and you will not change your mind, then WP Engine is a good choice.
Prices and Plans of WP Engine
As WP Engine offers a premium service, their prices are a bit higher than your average Web hosting company. Their cheapest plan starts at $29 per month to $249 for their business plan. WP Engine measures their plans with the number of visitors you have on site every month. The cheapest plan has a limit of 25,000 visitors per month. If you have more visitors, you will have to upgrade to the next plan. You can learn more about their plans by clicking here.
Features of WP Engine
Two of our most favorite features on WP Engine are the daily backups and the staging environment. In their custom control panel, there is a page for backup points. Every day, a backup of your entire website is created. You can easily restore that backup by simply clicking one button. For example, if you make a change on your website and five days later you realized that change created a problem with your sidebar, you could go in your WP Engine control panel and select the backup of six days ago and restore it. Your website will be exactly like it was before you make the change. You can also create a backup whenever you want. If you are doing some work on your website, just create a backup before starting so if you break something, just restore the backup.
The other feature that we like is the staging environment. When you access the administration area of your WordPress website hosted by WP Engine, you will notice a new link in the left sidebar named Staging. This page let you create an exact copy of your current live website. If you are planning to make changes to your website, you can create a staging version, make all the changes you want on the staging version and when you are sure that all changes work like it should, you can copy the staging to the live site by clicking one button. You could also make the changes manually on your main website. It’s really useful and is the safe way to modify your website.
Customer support of WP Engine
Like SiteGround, WP Engine offers phone support, live chat support and a support ticket system. Their support team is fast and helpful, they will do everything they can to help you. That’s pretty much everything you need to know about WP Engine customer support.
Why we recommend WP Engine
We recommend WP Engine because we believe it’s the best managed WordPress available right now. They are expert at hosting WordPress websites and as I customer with a WordPress website, that is what you want, experts. Even if their prices are higher than other Web hosting providers, they offer the peace of mind about your hosting and that’s what their customers are looking for.
As for SiteGround, here is a screenshot of the ratings of WP Engine on Trustpilot. We invite you to go read the comments yourself if you are still not convinced.
In conclusion, if we had to choose between SiteGround and WP Engine to host our next WordPress website it would be WP Engine for all the reason stated above. If we had to consider the price and $29 would be an issue then we would go with SiteGround without any doubts, again, for all the reason stated above.