Which High-Performance Host is Right for Your WordPress Website?

If you've got a WordPress website, I'm willing to bet online advertisements from generic hosting services like BlueHost and HostGator have targeted you before.

How do I know?

These companies have massive advertising budgets and capture large swaths of uninformed and unsuspecting customers as a result. To ensure you won't be one of them, I'm not going to waste your time reviewing such big name brands and their dollar store hosting plans.

More...

UPDATE: Because I received so many requests to review SiteGround in the comments of the original post, I went ahead and included them in the Part 2 testing below to have a budget hosting service comparison for you.

Instead, I'm going to discuss a new breed of hosting companies that have been gaining ground in the past few years with two qualities I think are crucial:

  1. A focus on high performance (because speed matters).
  2. And hosting made specifically for WordPress websites (because WordPress rocks - and also powers a lot of the Internet).

If you’re just getting started and don’t have significant traffic yet, the generic hosting options might be good enough for you right now. But once your site starts to perk up, you'll want to dump them for something better. 

In this overview, I'm going to show you the current landscape of WordPress specialized hosting services, what they have to offer and which ones deliver the best bang for your hard earned buck.

Update: You're Now Reading Part 2

What I've started here is a huge undertaking that grows as I continue to get feedback from the ActiveGrowth audience. The goal is to use the typical ActiveGrowth level of scrutiny you've come to expect in order to create a comprehensive roundup review of WordPress hosting services.

If you read "Part 1" (the original version of this review), I began by selecting hosting candidates, analyzed their claims and then created some initial comparison tables for you.

Now in "Part 2" (the current version), I'm releasing my results on the first 5 hosting companies I tested. They include:

More hosts will be tested and added to this review for you in the coming weeks and months, but in my testing completed so far, I conducted practical tests to measure performance and quality differences as objectively as possible. Keep reading to see how these 5 hosting services stacked up.

Getting To Know the WordPress Hosting Landscape

This post consolidates the core features and unique selling points of SIXTEEN different WordPress hosting companies into a single overview article.

While tests of certain hosting services are still in progress, what you'll find here is already a comprehensive guide to the current marketplace available for WordPress specialized hosting.

WordPress Hosting Essentials:

The following is a short hit list of important benefits you should hold any hosting service to for your own WordPress website:

  1. Outstanding Load Times During both Normal to High-Traffic Conditions
  2. Daily Backups with a Quick and Easy Restore Feature
  3. WordPress Only Hosting for Optimized Architecture and Deep Operational Expertise
  4. Powerful and Intuitive Control Panel Management
  5. Responsive and Knowledgable Support Teams
  6. Advanced Security through State-of-the-Art Hardware, Software and Monitoring Systems

For each host, I'll run through this rapid-fire checklist to help give you an idea of what each company claims to provide via their online marketing materials.

Affiliate Disclosure

You may be aware that over at Thrive Themes, Shane and the team are currently recommending WPX Hosting as the go-to solution.

This is a recommendation Shane made only after some very rigorous testing and he stands by it.

WPX Hosting is also featured in this roundup, but I won't be playing favorites. At ActiveGrowth, I have the capacity to do an in-depth roundup review unlike anything attempted before and I hope this review delivers!

And yes, ActiveGrowth is an affiliate for WPX Hosting, but as usual, we'll also be using affiliate links for all the other services – where affiliate programs are available. The deciding factor on hosting recommendations however, is the testing, not which affiliate programs pay out the most.

In case you're skeptical, consider this: if maximizing affiliate commissions was the goal, I'd just recommend BlueHost like everyone else...they pay really well. ;)

The Importance of First Impressions

Most people try to compare marketing claims and technical specs to decide on their next hosting provider. Although this is necessary, technicalities alone won't give you the complete pre-purchase picture.

In an attempt to cut through the typical sales and marketing fluff, I actually emailed each company to ask – as nothing more than a potential customer – what made their services unique.

After receiving their email responses (or lack there of), I came away with a better understanding of each company's business culture. I included excerpts from their answers to help show you their customer service mindsets.

After all, if you're going to trust your online business foundation to one of these companies, it's good to know who you're actually shaking hands with.

Now, a Note on Performance Testing

It’s important to preface the performance testing presented in this review by noting that available online testing tools are both complex and often vague about how they conduct their analyses.

Therefore, it makes more sense to evaluate hosts on their performance trends rather than any one, specific test result. Just keep this in mind when reviewing the data below.

For example, take any web page and run it through the 3 most popular load time testing sites (Pingdom, GTmetrix and WebPageTest) and you’ll get 3 different load time results. Run the same tests on different days and you can get significant differences in the data.

In fact, here’s what I found when doing this little experiment with the ActiveGrowth homepage on two back-to-back days:

Day 1

Pingdom

1.39 sec

GTmetrix

2.7 sec

WebPageTest

3.542 sec

Day 2

Pingdom

1.26 sec

-0.13 sec from Day 1

GTmetrix

4.1 sec

+1.4 sec from Day 1

WebPageTest

3.362 sec

-0.18 sec from Day 1

The point here is that no test is perfect and it’s impossible to reproduce your testing scenarios every time.

In the course of my tool testing experiments using similar settings across these three testing platforms, I found that Pingdom consistently displayed faster load times over GTmetrix and WebPageTest.

As I researched why this was the case, I found that both the hardware and testing methodologies of these three services can be very different.

But one of the main differences between the three platforms showcased above is what they report as their test load time. It turns out that Pingdom gives consistently fast results because it only reports the Onload Time event instead of the Fully Loaded Time like GTmetrix and WebPageTest do by default.

With this example in mind, approach the data in this review as comparative instead of absolute.

Our testing methodology was the same for every host – but on different days as I migrated from host to host over time – in order to present the best apples-to-apples comparison possible of the hosting services.

Performance Testing Methods

Below is a brief explanation of the performance testing methods used for this review.

Test Site and Hosting Service Setup

The goal of this review is to offer an apples-to-apples comparison of entry level hosting service plans across the WordPress Hosting market.

The way I went about this was simple.

Any hosting feature that didn’t come included with the purchase of an entry-level plan didn’t get tested. This means that only those features and performance optimization options that were available – at no additional cost – from the hosting portal or WordPress dashboard were enabled.

Also, no third party plugins (including caching plugins) were installed on my test site except for the Thrive Themes Membership plugins suite.

Here's the setup of my test site for you at a glance:

WordPress Theme:

Thrive Themes Focus Blog

Number of Blog Posts:

x10, 1500 word blog posts with various headers and media content

Number of Landing Pages

Number of WordPress Plugins

x7, Thrive Themes Plugins
(Thrive Membership plugin suite)

Page Load Time Testing

For page load time testing, I used WebPageTest. Their system reported Fully Loaded Time measurements while also performing 3 tests per run. I used the median value of the 3 measurements as the data point for each hosting service.

Also, I ran each load time test using WebPageTest’s Dallas, Texas server with their Google Chrome browser environment selected.

I chose WebPageTest’s FIOS (fiber optic landline) bandwidth option to try and eliminate network simulation complexities from the data.

For each host, I tested load times for 3 different types of web pages:

  1. A data intensive, dynamic content, video sales page.
  2. A blog grid page.
  3. A small, static, lead-generation page using a background image.

This range of content was helpful in establishing how each host performs when it comes to serving up different kinds of web pages for your online visitors.

Page Load Testing Results

From the Fully Loaded Page Time testing, two performance tiers emerged:

Tier 1: WP Engine, WPX Hosting and Pressidium.

Tier 2: Siteground and Pressable. 

Concurrent User Load Time Testing Setup

I also wanted to test how each hosting service performed under heavy concurrent user loads. For example, if one of your guest blog posts on a heavily trafficked site generated large, simultaneous spikes in visitors to your own blog, how would each host's servers handle situations like that?

To test this, I used the online testing service LoadImpact to run simulated tests that ramped up from 1 to 50 concurrent users over 5 minutes. Each test was also configured to use the Google Chrome browsing environment with an “Unlimited” bandwidth.

Concurrent User Load Time Testing Results

In order to compare the concurrent user load tests against each other, I plotted the data points from each test in the graph below.

The graph shows the cumulative time of the tests on the x-axis, the page load times on the left vertical axis and the number of virtual users accessing the site on the right vertical axis.

There are 2 behaviors I look for when evaluating user load time testing graphs.

  1. The lowest possible load times
  2. Consistently low load time baselines over the entire testing duration.

If large spikes or increasingly slower load times occur over the course of the test, it indicates that the servers can't keep up with the increasing user load.

As you can see from the comparison graph above, the data clearly breaks the hosting services once again into two performance tiers when it comes to handling high traffic loads:

Tier 1: WPX Hosting, WP Engine and Pressidium.

Tier 2: SiteGround and Pressable.

WPX Hosting, WP Engine and Pressidium did very well with up to 50 concurrent virtual users. Their performance remained steady as the number of concurrent virtual users approached and hit 50 so it’s safe to say they can handle even larger traffic loads.

Pressable and Siteground however, have slower performance baselines as compared to the Tier 1 hosts. Although they can handle 50 concurrent users, the increased load times at the end of their tests suggest that performance will diminish as the number of concurrent users goes above 50.

Your Bargain Host Comparison: SiteGround

Okay, so by popular demand, I tested ONE bargain bin host for you.

Because there were so many requests from the ActiveGrowth audience to review the budget hosting service SiteGround, I decided to throw their entry-level, managed WordPress plan into this roundup review so you’d have a “budget” option for comparison.

First, here’s what SiteGround offers in their “StartUp” Managed WordPress hosting service:

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: SSD Hard Drives, NGINX web server technology and free Cloudflare Railgun CDN service.
  2. Backup Schedule: Once daily site backup, but you must pay for SiteGround to restore your site with the StartUp plan.
  3. CMS: WordPress, Joomla, and several other Web Hosting options
  4. Control Panel Management: cPanel
  5. Support: 24/7 live chat, phone and ticket support.
  6. Security: Strict security audit procedures on a server level.

SiteGround Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"StartUp"

Monthly Cost

$9.95

Number of Websites

1

Storage Space

10 GB

Monthly Bandwidth

Unmetered, ~10k visitors

Money-Back Guarantee

30 days

Migration Services

1 free migration

Staging Site

Only included for the GoGeek plan 

Migration

Although SiteGround offers one free professional migration with their plans, I wasn’t able to test it.

SiteGround was the first host I tested for this review after releasing Part 1 so I actually built my testing setup on SiteGround instead of migrating my test site to it.

SiteGround Setting Optimization

Like most other hosting services available today, SiteGround offers free Let’s Encrypt SSL certification that can be enabled with a single click from their cPanel.

A standard feature SiteGround offers on all of its plans is Cloudflare CDN access. Enabling this optimization feature did provide a small improvement to SiteGround’s performance results which I’ll show you next.

WebPageTest – Page Load Speed Testing Results

1. Data intensive, dynamic content, video sales page:

2. Blog grid page:

3. Static, lead-generation page using a background image:

LoadImpact – Concurrent User Load Testing Results

Site Backup

Although SiteGround does have site backup and restore tools, they do not allow you to execute full restores of your website through their cPanel interface.

The free daily backup SiteGround offers only allows you to restore individual files by yourself.

If you want to get a full restore of your site, you have 2 options:

  1. Pay $39.95 for SiteGround technicians to do it for you or...
  2. Pay an additional monthly subscription fee to get access to an auto-restore tool so you can do full restores on your own.

Because of this additional feature cost above the base subscription price, I didn’t test SiteGround’s full restore backup functionality.

SiteGround Hosting Support

SiteGround’s support team is available through live chat, ticket submissions and phone conversations. I was able to get all my issues resolved via their live chat option.

Wait times were usually less than a minute and the support technicians were helpful in resolving my issues quickly.

All in all, SiteGround gets good marks for their onboarding and basic technical support.

Money Back Guarantee

I feel it’s important to note that SiteGround’s promotional marketing prices are a bit deceptive.

They tout themselves as bargain provider, but only for your first invoice. After your initial promotion period ends, your second invoice will triple in cost!

Because I was using SiteGround as my cheap little guinea pig to set up the test site for this review, I didn’t manage to get my setup done fast enough to test out their 30 day money-back guarantee claim. And since I had only signed up for a single $3.95 month using their entry-level StartUp plan, my following invoice morphed into a full year’s payment at $9.95 per month.

When I did try to cancel my plan to see if I could at least get a prorated refund, the answer was a definite and unyielding no.

After complaining for several minutes, the technician did award my whining with a free upgrade to their GrowBig plan, but a prorated refund was out of the question. 

Recommendation

If you’re just getting started building your first website and have little to no traffic, SiteGround seems to be the best of the budget options out there to keep your costs down. Their initial promo rates are pretty cheap for the performance and support you receive.

Just be careful. After the initial promotion period ends, you’ll be paying triple the price you originally signed up for. Also, simple services like a full backup restore will run you an additional $39.95!

Once your site starts building a decent amount of traffic though, bail on SiteGround for a Tier 1 hosting alternative.

WPX Hosting

WPX Hosting serves small to medium sized websites.

Like I mentioned above, WPX Hosting is the only managed WordPress Hosting company currently endorsed by Shane and ActiveGrowth’s sister site, Thrive Themes.

The TL;DR checklist of Shane's WPX Hosting review is summed up as follows:

  1. Load Times: Fast server response times, even under heavy visitor loads.
  2. Backup Schedule: Two full weeks of daily backups for all their hosting packages without any data retrieval fees.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress.
  4. Control Panel Management: An easy to use WPX Hosting control panel that provides all the important functions of cPanel.
  5. Support: 24/7 chat and ticket support.
  6. Security: Daily malware scans, brute-force protection and Enterprise-level DDoS protection.

WPX Hosting Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Business"

Monthly Cost

$24.99

Number of Websites

5

Storage Space

10 GB SSD

Monthly Bandwidth

50 GB

Money-Back Guarantee

30 days

Migration Services

Free

Staging Site

Yes

In Their Own Words

What makes us stand out the most is the amazing load times we provide and top-notch support.

Migration

Migrating to WPX Hosting was quick and easy. After providing WPX Hosting with the access details to my previous hosting account via a migration request ticket, they successfully migrated my site in under 3 hours.

WPX Hosting Setting Optimization

The only out-of-the-box hosting optimization provided by WPX Hosting is their free, Let’s Encrypt SSL certification. The certificate is one-click simple to setup.

WPX Hosting also makes it easy to create domain associated email addresses from their dashboard that will forward emails to the address of your choice (I sent them to my Gmail account). Also, I found the WPX Hosting email interface much easier to setup and work with as compared to the Cpanel email interfaces offered by hosts like SiteGround.

WebPageTest – Page Load Speed Testing Results

1. Data intensive, dynamic content, video sales page:

2. Blog grid page:

3. Small, static, lead-generation page using a background image:

LoadImpact  – Concurrent User Load Testing Results

Site Backup

UPDATE: Just before I pressed publish on Part 2 of this hosting review, I received a customer email from WPX Hosting describing an awesome upgrade to their backup system.

WPX Hosting added a manual backup and restore feature to their hosting dashboard allowing you to backup and restore your website whenever you wish and without needing to contact support as described below.

WPX Hosting keeps the previous 14 days worth of daily backups for you on a separate server in case you need to recall a previous version of your website.

Although WPX Hosting doesn’t charge retrieval fees to grab a backup version of your site, the restore process can’t be done through the dashboard. You must submit a support ticket requesting the exact backup day you’d like retrieved and restored.

In the case of my test site, the successful request, retrieval and restore process was painless and only took the WPX support team 15 minutes to complete.

WPX Hosting Support

WPX Hosting has both ticket and chat support that work through their hosting dashboard.

The response times are super fast (usually less than 5 minutes for tickets and no wait times for chat) and the support staff were always helpful in resolving my issues.

Money Back Guarantee

WPX Hosting made good on their money back guarantee. On day 30 of their 30-day guarantee period, I submitted a ticket requesting cancellation of my plan and the refund went through in under 30 minutes.

Recommendation

There’s a reason Shane recommends WPX Hosting for WordPress websites and through my recent testing, I now have firsthand experience why.

Their support staff is fast and helpful, their performance is top tier, and you get more bang for your buck in terms of storage space and the number of websites you can host as compared to WP Engine and Pressidium’s entry level plans.

WPX Hosting is definitely still highly recommended by the ActiveGrowth team.

WP Engine

WP Engine serves the spectrum from small to large scale websites.

Their smaller plans offer shared server environments while larger enterprise plans provide dedicated racks to single clients.

WP Engine stands by its security with a no hack guarantee. Any hacked site will be restored at no additional cost to you.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: "Four-to-six times faster" using EverCache, CDN and "front-end systems which can handle high levels of concurrent traffic." 
  2. Backup Schedule: On-demand, pre-update and daily backups with one-click restore functionality.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress.
  4. Control Panel Management: "The User Portal is unique to WP Engine and unlike other portals, such as cPanel, is developed specifically for WordPress applications."
  5. Support: 24/7 live chat and phone support staffed by WordPress experts.
  6. Security: Managed patching & updates, real-time threat detection, security audits, code reviews & free hacked site repair.

WP Engine Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Personal"

Monthly Cost

$29.00

Number of Websites

1

Storage Space

10 GB

Monthly Bandwidth

25 K visitors

Money-Back Guarantee

60 days

Migration Services

Free

Staging Site

Yes

In Their Own Words

At WP Engine we are a premium provider. Comparing us to general hosting providers (Like GoDaddy, HostGator, BlueHost, etc..) is like comparing apples to oranges. We are 100% specialized in WordPress so our platform is completely optimized for it. General hosting providers don't have this kind of specialization, so they are typically competing off server specs and hardware providers.

Migration

Migrating your site to WP Engine is quick and is easy to do by yourself.

You just install the WP Engine migration plugin to your current site and enter the correct links and urls provided by your WP Engine hosting portal.

It took around two hours from the time I purchased my WP Engine hosting plan to receive their invitation email to join the portal and access the info I needed to begin the plugin based migration.

Also, be ready for a few back-and-forth support team emails with WP Engine to verify your billing and website addresses. This happened to me, but after my information was confirmed, the migration went smoothly.

After plugging in the correct information into the migration plugin and clicking Migrate, the actual BlogVault automated migration took exactly 7 minutes to complete for my test site.

Host Setting Optimization

With the entry level WP Engine hosting plan, your performance optimization settings include a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate and an Object Caching setting on your WP Engine Portal Utilities page.

WP Engine also provides a self-test performance check to grade the performance of your site along with suggestions and tutorials on how to optimize your site if needed.

Request your free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate with a single click from your WP Engine portal dashboard. In the case of my test site, I received email notification that the SSL certificate order had been completed in under a minute via email.

Back in the dashboard, one more click enabled and activated the SSL certificate on my test site.

Finally, under the “Utilities” section of the portal, you can enable the “Object Caching” setting with a single click.

For further speed optimization, WP Engine does not offer CDN services on their entry level “Personal” plan, but does allows you to pay an additional $19.95 per month (or upgrade your plan) to activate it on your site.

WP Engine also offers a staging site for all their plans that can be set up with a few clicks from within your WordPress dashboard.

Finally, when it comes to site optimization, it’s worth mentioning that WP Engine maintains a blacklist of plugins they will automatically remove from your site if installed. The types of plugins banned fall under 8 categories:

  • Caching Plugins
  • Backup Plugins
  • Server & MySQL Thrashing Plugins
  • Related Posts Plugins
  • Broken Link Checker Plugins
  • Duplicate Behavior Plugins
  • Email Plugins
  • Miscellaneous Plugins (like Hello Dolly and Sweet Captcha)

Because WP Engine does their own caching and daily backups of your site, you probably won’t need such plugins if you’re used to having them installed.

WebPageTest – Page Load Speed Testing Results

1. Data intensive, dynamic content, video sales page:

2. Blog grid page:

3. Small, static, lead-generation page using a background image:

LoadImpact  – Concurrent User Load Testing Results

Site Backup

Backing up your site with WP Engine is incredibly easy.

Not only does WP Engine automatically backup your site each day, you can manually backup your site on command as well. With a smaller test site like mine, the backup took 6 seconds and successfully restoring the site to a previous state took less than a minute to complete.

WP Engine Support

My interactions with WP Engine were all done through email and chat. WP Engine support is available 24/7 and I found their chat and email response times fast, professional and always helpful to resolve each of my issues.

Phone support isn’t available for the entry level “Personal” plan, but chat and email support was perfectly fine for any of the minor road blocks I came up against. Chat support wait times were either negligible or just a few minutes long.

Money Back Guarantee

WP Engine offers a generous 60 day money-back guarantee that they honored without hassle. Cancel your service and after a few days, your money will find its way back into your bank account.

Recommendation

WP Engine is a solid, Tier 1 WordPress hosting service. They offer strong performance and support with an easy to navigate hosting dashboard. Also, it seems like their “Object Caching” settings seemed to give them a performance edge in the page load speed testing.

Since their entry level hosting plan is one of the more expensive options available, if you need to host more than one website, WPX Hosting might be the better deal for you.

That being said, your single site will be in good hands if you decide to pull the trigger on WP Engine.

Pressidium

If there's one thing that instantly stands out about Pressidium, it's their focus on treating customers like partners.

To illustrate this, one of the co-founders instantly responded to my simple inquiry for more information with a detailed and personal reply.

With a global network of small to large scale customers, Pressiduim appears to be delivering scalable high-performance through their cutting-edge server architecture.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: Dynamic Load Balancing, SSD storage, Multilayer Adaptive Caching, GlobalDNS, CDNs and PHP optimization.
  2. Backup Schedule: On-demand, pre-update and daily backups with one-click restore functionality.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress.
  4. Control Panel Management: The Customer Portal offers instant backups, a usage statistics dashboard, a help and ticketing panel, as well as PHP and Cache management.
  5. Support: 24/7 ticketing staffed by actual engineers instead of support agents.
  6. Security: Managed auto-updates, malware monitoring and removal, managed Web Application Firewall (WAF), and Bad-Bots Filtering.

Pressidium Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Micro"

Monthly Cost

$24.90

Number of Websites

1

Storage Space

5 GB

Monthly Bandwidth

Designed for 10 K visitors

Money-Back Guarantee

60 days (for monthly payment plans only)

Migration Services

Free

Staging Site

Yes

In Their Own Words

Our architecture is entirely different to what is generally available on the market today. We don't offer either shared-hosting or VPS servers, as both these approaches are old-fashioned, based on conventional technology and are not used in mission critical environments. We are currently the only host to offer High-Availability across the board.
Your site is simultaneously hosted and served by multiple nodes, so that if any single node (server) would go down, no downtime is noticed and your site continues to operate the same as before.
Our expert support and DevOps team is staffed by actual engineers and not support agents so you're in for a totally different experience than with any of our competitors.

Migration

Migrating to Pressidium through their “Do-it-yourself” service was complex. I gave it the ol’ DIY try at first by following their dashboard instructions and downloading the Duplicator site cloning plugin they recommend.

However, the self-migration situation quickly got out of hand so I switched tactics and submitted a request for Pressidium’s support team to do the migration for me.

Pressidium then migrated the site for me without any issues, but it took around 20 hours to complete. Pressidium warns you that it can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for their technicians to migrate your site.

Pressidium Setting Optimization

Pressidium provides a very advanced and easy to navigate hosting dashboard. From the dashboard, you get an initial overview of the health of your site, your current monthly traffic, and whether or not you have any overage charges.

If you click on your hosted website and enter the advanced settings, you can perform a 1-click install of your free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate as well as access your staging site.

You can also enable Pressidium’s CDN service for an extra $10 per month fee (or upgrade your plan), but it doesn’t come standard with their entry level Micro plan.

Most hosting services don’t offer staging sites as an entry level feature so Pressidium gets some bonus points in this regard. When you’re happy with any changes you make in your staging site, simply click “Push to Production” from the hosting dashboard to make them go live.

Quick access of your website’s wp-admin, MyPHPadmin and error logs are also conveniently available from the Pressidium hosting dashboard. You can easily toggle between PHP v7 and PHP v5.6 engines for both your Production and Staging site via the Pressidium dashboard.

WebPageTest – Page Load Speed Testing Results

1. Data intensive, dynamic content, video sales page:

2. Blog grid page:

3. Small, static, lead-generation page using a background image:

LoadImpact  – Concurrent User Load Testing Results

Site Backup

Pressidium’s one-click restore backup system really lives up to its name. Not only does Pressidium take daily backups of your site, but they also make instantaneous backups and restores available at the push of a button.

To restore your site, you just select the state from your backup history you’d like to restore and click “Restore”. The restore runs quietly in the dashboard background and you’re notified by both email and dashboard notification when it’s complete.

For my test site, the backup and restore features only took two minutes total to complete.

Pressidium Support

My Pressidium support experience was fast and painless.

All issues were taken care of through Pressidium’s support ticket dashboard and my requests for help were usually responded to within 2 to 5 minutes.

The support staff was effective in solving my issues fast (usually anywhere from just a few minutes up to half an hour), however Pressidium’s managed migration took the longest to complete (around 20 hours).

Pressidium also has an easily accessible knowledge base from within their dashboard that was helpful in guiding my self-help attempts when needed.

Money Back Guarantee

Pressidium made good on their 60 day, money-back guarantee.

However, it’s important to note that they don’t offer any money-back guarantees for plans purchased on annual subscriptions!

Recommendation

There’s no doubt that Pressidium is a high-tech WordPress hosting service. Their hosting dashboard and staging site made Pressidium feel a tech-step above the other Tier 1 hosts. And when it came to the concurrent user load testing, Pressidium had the fastest and most steady performance.

However, I find myself asking – what’s the point in being able to handle high traffic volumes if you’re limited to just 10k visitors per month on the entry level plan? If you need to accommodate more traffic than that, you’ll have to pay overage fees or upgrade to a more expensive plan.

With that said, if you already have multiple established websites that need to perform under heavy traffic loads, I think one of Pressidium’s more advanced plans may be the right choice for you.

Pressable

Pressable is a small to mid-sized WordPress hosting solution.

Their plans meter traffic for price category determination but offer unlimited storage capacity across the board.

Pressable provides several features standard across all 5 of their pricing plans including CDN access, staging sites and collaborator access.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: Pressable offers WordPress optimized servers, CDN access, as well as batcache and memcache caching systems.
  2. Backup Schedule: Daily backups.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress.
  4. Control Panel Management: The MyPressable Control Panel allows you to manage your domains, add or remove collaborators, initiate backups, access your databases, migrate sites and clone your websites.
  5. Support: Monday to Friday (8 AM - 6 PM CST) support tickets fielded by WordPress experts.
  6. Security: Automatic updates, intrusion detection systems and malware removal. 

Pressable Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Small"

Monthly Cost

$25.00

Number of Websites

5

Storage Space

Unlimited

Monthly Bandwidth

60 K pageviews

Money-Back Guarantee

15 days

Migration Services

5 sites free

Staging Site

Yes

In Their Own Words

We have servers specifically configured for WordPress to improve your site performance, added optimizations that improve speed and stability, and also have premium CDN and caching set up on every site— along with unlimited storage and bandwidth for all of our customers!
Our support team is comprised of experts in the WordPress domain—they can help you with plugin and theme issues, and provide insights as to the best practices in the WordPress community. Our team will be glad to migrate your site over to Pressable, and we do this at no cost to our customers!

Migration

Migration to Pressable was very simple. As part of the signup process, you just enter the details necessary to setup your free migration and it’s underway.

The total time it took to migrate my test site was about 6 hours. Not lightning fast, but not too shabby either.

Pressable Setting Optimization

All Pressable plans come standard with a staging site (a.k.a. Development Mode) to help manage modifications to your site before pushing them live.

I really liked how Pressable migrated my site into the staging area first, allowing me to review it in Development Mode before I switched it over to “Production Mode” with a single click.

Once in Production mode, Pressable automatically enables server caching and their CDN to optimize the performance of your site.

Unfortunately, these optimization tools didn’t seem to help much as my testing showed Pressable well behind WPX Hosting, WP Engine Pressidium and even SiteGround in terms of performance. 

WebPageTest – Page Load Speed Testing Results

1. Data intensive, dynamic content, video sales page:

2. Blog grid page:

3. Small, static, lead-generation page using a background image:

LoadImpact  – Concurrent User Load Testing Results

Site Backup

Even though Pressable claims to offer daily backups of your website, it turns out that you must have an Amazon Web Services or Rackspace cloud storage account to do so.

That means additional costs for you on top of your monthly Pressable hosting fee just to make sure your website data is protected.

As most other hosting services manage your backup storage as a standard feature, it’s disappointing that Pressable burdens their customers with this added cost and complexity.

Pressable Support

Accessing Pressable’s help desk and online ticketing system first requires you to set up a separate username and password from your actual hosting account to get help. I was not impressed by this additional support hoop requiring me to manage two different Pressable usernames and passwords (luckily I use LastPass to make this complexity hassle free).

On top of that, I was once again unimpressed by Pressable’s support response times as they were usually in excess of 30 minutes.

Money Back Guarantee

Pressable offers a 14 day free trial service to get started. Although you must enter your credit card details to sign up, you won’t be charged until your trial period is over.

Recommendation

Because of their poor performance, sluggish support and lack of an in-house backup service, I don’t recommend Pressable.

With other similar priced hosting services on the market that exceed Pressable’s service and performance in every way, take a pass on Pressable.

Pagely is a senior WordPress hosting service that focuses solely on providing high-end plans to large companies across various industries.

Their distinguished client list includes such giants as Disney, Verizon and Facebook.

Pagely uses Virtual Private Server (VPS) technology across all of their plans. Unfortunately, their entry level VBurst-2 plan only provides up to 6 hours of VPS-1 speed and traffic capacities per day.

If you're not a major player in your industry already, Pagely probably isn't the small business solution you're looking for based on the entry plan overhead cost alone.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: Uses proprietary NGINX/OpenResty Hyperproxies, the ReDis key-value database, and Amazon Web Services.
  2. Backup Schedule: Daily backups stored on Amazon s3 for easy restoration when needed.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress.
  4. Control Panel Management: From Pagely's Site Details page, you can see your site Stats, Retrieve Backups, Enable/Modify the CDN, Purge Cache, and Create/Modify Aliases.
  5. Support: 24/7 Tickets, Mon-Fri (8 AM - 5 PM) Live Chat for VPS clients, and a Live Slack Channel for Enterprise Clients.
  6. Security: Managed updates and PressArmor security including rate limits, WAF, chroot user separation, and malware scanning.

Pagely Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"V Burst-2"

Monthly Cost

$299.00

Number of Websites

15

Storage Space

30 GB

Monthly Bandwidth

50 GB

Money-Back Guarantee

30 days

Migration Services

2 sites free

Staging Site

Yes

In Their Own Words

Apart from unmatched performance and uptime, our unique characteristic would definitely be the ability to best scale to our customers' needs.
We actually pioneered the managed WP hosting space about seven years ago and have arguably the most mature platform and experienced team for managing and scaling high-traffic WP sites.

DreamHost's managed WordPress plan is called DreamPress and offers a low-cost hosting solution for a single website. DreamHost also provides VPS and Dedicated plans if your looking for more power without the WordPress specialization.

DreamPress touts unlimited bandwidth and 24/7 phone, chat and ticket support – which is surprising considering their bargain-bin price point.

Note that DreamPress doesn't offer a money-back guarantee, provides no help with your migration and tacks on an extra $9.95 monthly fee for each additional website you install.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: DreamPress uses VPS servers, SSD storage, multiple layers of caching and a highly tuned version of PHP.
  2. Backup Schedule: DreamHost maintains two weeks worth of backups and provides a one-click account backup feature.
  3. CMS: DreamHost is not WordPress only. The DreamPress plan is only for WordPress sites, but multiple CMS install options are available on their Shared, VPS and Dedicated plans.
  4. Control Panel Management: The DreamPress Panel provides a dashboard to view general info about your site as well as access DreamPress add-ons.
  5. Support: 24/7 Phone, Chat and Ticket access to WordPress experts.
  6. Security: Automatic updates and WordPress specific firewalls to block brute-force attacks.

DreamHost Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"DreamHost"

Monthly Cost

$19.95

Number of Websites

1

Storage Space

30 GB

Monthly Bandwidth

Unlimited

Money-Back Guarantee

None

Migration Services

None

Staging Site

No

In Their Own Words

Our Managed WordPress Hosting platform, DreamPress, is built and optimized specifically for WordPress. DreamPress is a web-hosting platform built on two VPSs (Virtual Private Servers), one web-hosting VPS and one MySQL VPS, in addition to having built-in Varnish caching which helps with site load times and performance. 
DreamPress includes unlimited email hosting.

Kinsta

Kinsta is a medium to large scale WordPress hosting solution.

Across their 8 Business and Enterprise plans, customers have a wide range of storage and bandwidth options to fit their specific website needs.

Kinsta is geared towards established online businesses as their entry level plan starts at $100 per month for a single site with limited storage.

Their plan pricing escalates rapidly from there.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: Kinsta is powered by Google Cloud which "provides significant speed boosts and automatic scalability."
  2. Backup Schedule: Automated daily backups with a one-click restore feature.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress
  4. Control Panel Management: A custom built control panel including a site dashboard, a DNS editor and analytics access.
  5. Support: The Kinsta support team has experience in freelance and corporate work creating free and premium WordPress themes, plugins and have even contributed to the WordPress core code.
  6. Security: Google Cloud infrastructure protection, real-time monitoring, DDoS attack detection, hardware firewalls, and and malware scanning. Kinsta provides a free site fix guarantee if hacked.

Kinsta Business Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Business 1"

Monthly Cost

$100.00

Number of Websites

1

Storage Space

5 GB

Monthly Bandwidth

50 GB

Money-Back Guarantee

None

Migration Services

1 site free

Staging Site

Yes

In Their Own Words

We use linux containers orchestrated via LXD on the fastest Google machines available. We are the only host to finish Top Tier in every load testing category we entered.

Synthesis is the WordPress specific hosting subsidiary of parent company Rainmaker Digital. Synthesis is also a sister company to the content marketing education site CopyBlogger.

Synthesis supports small to mid-size websites with monthly visitor limits separating their plans.

All Synthesis accounts have access to Rainmaker Digital's Scribe content marketing system. Scribe was the predecessor to CopyBlogger's new Rainmaker Platform – an all-in-one website builder, sales, content marketing, and membership site.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: NGINX architecture and proprietary caching configurations.
  2. Backup Schedule: Daily backups with your own S3 Bucket on Amazon Web Services.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress.
  4. Control Panel Management: The Synthesis Account Center provides full back-end access in place of cPanel. It also provides SFTP access, SSH access (if requested on Pro Plans and above), and full access to PHPMyAdmin.
  5. Support: 24/7 Helpdesk staffed by WordPress technical experts.
  6. Security: Secured configurations, server side-scanning every 6 hours, brute-force prevention, malware scans and free malware removal.

Synthesis Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Standard"

Monthly Cost

$47.00

Number of Websites

1

Storage Space

20 GB

Monthly Bandwidth

2 TB, 10 K visitors per day

Money-Back Guarantee

30 days

Migration Services

$99 per site

Staging Site

No

In Their Own Words

In general, we believe that our lightweight NGINX architecture and proprietary caching configurations give our customers the best WordPress performance possible.
Several hosting companies focus on hosting just WordPress sites. What separates us is that we don’t just give you specialized hosting, we also give you the tools to make the most of it. We do this by including a standard Scribe account for content and site optimization – an account that used to cost more per month than a basic Synthesis account!

WPOven

WPOven is a managed WordPress hosting solution aimed at web agencies, developers and resellers.

Users can create "on the fly" sites using WPOven's Recipe Builder allowing them to mix themes and plugins for rapid website delivery for clients.  

Under the 'Professional', 'Business' and 'Agency' plans, users have access to the WPOven Client Manager. It's a white-label Client & Project management platform that gives users the ability to manage, bill and invoice their WordPress website clients.

The client manager feature also allows customers to create and assign client websites to Virtual Private Servers as needed.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: All plans receive a dedicated Virtual Private Server optimized for WordPress. Users can choose their desired server location from the U.S., Europe, Asia or Australia.
  2. Backup Schedule: Daily Amazon s3 backups with a one-click restore feature.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress.
  4. Control Panel Management: The WPOven custom control panel is built and designed specifically for the needs of designers and developers who create WordPress sites.
  5. Support: Email support with WordPress experts.
  6. Security: WPOven employs best practices along with firewall and DDoS protection. Daily anti-virus and malware scanning with anti-hacking support.

WPOven Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Tiny"

Monthly Cost

$19.95

Number of Websites

Unlimited

Storage Space

10 GB

Monthly Bandwidth

1 TB, 25 K visitors

Money-Back Guarantee

14 days

Migration Services

Free

Staging Site

Yes

In Their Own Words

What sets WPOven apart from the other hosting services is firstly Value for money. WPOven provides dedicated servers with the highest server resources for the price.
Another feature that sets WPOven apart from other Managed WordPress VPS hosting services is the Unlimited sites and Visitors. This means we do not set any limit to the number of sites you want to add on the server – neither do we count or limit the number of visitors on your sites.
Our custom dashboard also provides a host different tools which can help you manage your sites better. For example, one click site cloning, site staging and sync, database manager.

Flywheel

Flywheel offers a range of managed WP hosting services from single site options for individuals up to bulk install plans for agencies.

Flywheel's custom dashboard is built with web designers and developers in mind providing a way to manage client websites all in one place. Team and client collaboration is also streamlined through individual logins and passwords where access is easy to grant and revoke.

Flywheel also provides free demo sites across all of its plans as well as staging site access to all but its 'Tiny' plan.

With Flywheel's "Blueprints" feature, you can reuse your custom theme designs and plugin combinations to help you build future client websites faster.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: WordPress optimized server-side caching that can handle large traffic spikes. MaxCDN services included on the upper tier plans and for an additional monthly cost of $10 on the 'Tiny' and 'Personal' plans.
  2. Backup Schedule: Nightly backups are stored for 30 days have a one-click restore feature.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress.
  4. Control Panel Management: An all-in-one dashboard designed especially for web designers and developers.
  5. Support: WordPress experts available by phone and email from 9 AM to 7 PM CST, Monday through Friday.
  6. Security: Managed WordPress updates, intelligent IP blocking, limited login attempts, malware scanning and free malware removal.

Flywheel Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Tiny"

Monthly Cost

$15.00

Number of Websites

1

Storage Space

5 GB

Monthly Bandwidth

250 GB, 5 K visitors

Money-Back Guarantee

3 days

Migration Services

Free

Staging Site

Only on upgraded plans

In Their Own Words

Flywheel is a delightful platform that empowers designers, developers and digital agencies to focus on what they do best – build beautiful, functional websites for their clients.

PressLabs

PressLabs is a professional to enterprise-scale WordPress hosting service built for handling websites with large audiences.

Presslabs has two pricing plans that each offer unmetered bandwidth and storage space for a base monthly charge plus a $0.10 per 1000 page view fee.

The 'Enterprise' plan provides a dedicated hosting infrastructure where the 'Publisher' plan offers shared server infrastructure.

PressLabs claims to be hack-free since their first customer in 2009 so security is a badge of pride for the company. PressLabs uses a multi-layer backup system to restore site code, static files and databases immediately in case of a downtime event.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: PressLabs boasts a scalable architecture that has been tested to support "150,000 simultaneous visitors on a single site". They have 18 data centers across 4 continents claiming "up to 100ms average response times".
  2. Backup Schedule: Daily backups that are stored through Amazon S3.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress.
  4. Control Panel Management: The PressLabs Dashboard allows users to configure access to site files, update site settings, change or add DNS records, check site stats, manage caching as well as view and configure logs.
  5. Support: Email with a claimed response time of less than 30 minutes between 8 AM to 3 PM EST, Monday through Friday.
  6. Security: "No hacks since our first customer in 2009". PressLabs uses Perfect Forward Security by default, LetsEncrypt certificates, and doesn't allow any arbitrary PHP code execution.

PressLabs Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Publisher"

Monthly Cost

$599 + $0.10 per 1 K pageviews

Number of Websites

1

Storage Space

Unlimited

Monthly Bandwidth

Unlimited

Money-Back Guarantee

2 week trial

Migration Services

Free

Staging Site

No

In Their Own Words

We offer real-time human support with our engineering team. The founders and CEO also do support.
We have had 0 hacks since starting out in 2009.
We serve sites from 6 locations, simultaneously: Singapore for Asia, Melbourne for Australia, Frankfurt and London for Europe, Manassas for US East Coast, San Francisco for US West Coast. The geo serving mechanism is built on top of Amazon's highly available DNS service Route 53, and the server locations are close to Amazon's regional data centers.

KahunaHost

KahunaHost is low cost managed hosting service targeting WordPress beginners.

As you might've guessed from the name, KahunaHost is based out of Hawaii and is a sister company to OrganicThemes – a WordPress theme membership site.

Along with their managed hosting plans, KahunaHost offers a basic "Theme Setup" service that includes installing WordPress, setting up an Organic Theme as well as the "essential plugins".

KahunaHost has partnered with World Wide Web Hosting to provide its hosting services.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: "High-speed bandwidth".
  2. Backup Schedule: Daily backups.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress, however World Wide Web Hosting appears to manage KahunaHost's hosting services.
  4. Control Panel Management: The KahunaHost Admin Panel allows users to manage their sites, domains, billing and open support tickets.
  5. Support: 24/7 customer support tickets staffed by knowledgable experts.
  6. Security: "Fully managed WordPress Hosting" and "Fully managed Server Security".

Kahuna Host Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Aloha"

Monthly Cost

$20.00

Number of Websites

1

Storage Space

5 GB

Monthly Bandwidth

25 K visitors

Money-Back Guarantee

45 days

Migration Services

Free

Staging Site

No

Crickets...

Kahuna Host never replied to my request for more information about their managed WordPress hosting services.

WPCloud.ca is a Canadian WordPress hosting service specialized to serve the Canadian market.

Take note that even their pricing shows Canadian dollars in the quick comparison table below!

The WPCloud.ca servers are located across Canada in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver to reduce Canadian load times.

If data localization and residency issues are important to you, WPCloud's bandwidth is 100% Canadian owned & operated. This ensures that your data is being stored in compliance with Canadian privacy regulations and corporate governance.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: WPCloud's SSD servers provide Varnish caching, 15 second failover protection, A CDN of 25 Data Centers in 5 Continents and 21 Countries, and image optimization and compression powered by Kraken.
  2. Backup Schedule: Automatic backups run daily, stored both on & offline.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress.
  4. Control Panel Management: A customized WPCloud cPanel.
  5. Support: Email and chat support with WordPress Developers, Server Administrators & Security Consultants.
  6. Security: Real time scanning, monitoring & security updates. The WPCloud security team fixes hacks immediately at no extra cost.

WPCloud.ca Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Business 10"

Monthly Cost

$24.00 CAD / ~$18.00 USD

Number of Websites

2

Storage Space

10 GB

Monthly Bandwidth

25 GB

Money-Back Guarantee

30 days

Migration Services

Free

Staging Site

Yes

Crickets...

WPCloud.ca never replied to my request for more information about their managed WordPress hosting services.

mWPCloud is a small scale WordPress hosting service targeting bloggers and small online businesses.

Note that mWPCloud is now powered by CooliceHost's NGINX + Varnish SSD servers and support team.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: mWPcloud uses industry standard technologies such as CloudLinux Virtualization, Apache and MySQL optimized clusters. They also claim to use an "Advanced Caching & Security Framework".
  2. Backup Schedule: Nightly backups are kept for up to seven days.
  3. CMS: mWPcloud is 100% WordPress, but CooliceHost is not.
  4. Control Panel Management: cPanel.
  5. Support: Outsourced to CooliceHost with a 24/7 helpdesk for all plans. Phone support is provided for the 'Business' and 'Advanced' plans.
  6. Security: Automatic updates and 24/7 server monitoring. mWPcloud is compatible and easy to integrate with CloudFlare protection. "Special software" blocks and eliminates attempts to hack mWPcloud hosted sites.

MWP Cloud Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Personal"

Monthly Cost

$9.95

Number of Websites

5

Storage Space

1 GB SSD

Monthly Bandwidth

60 GB

Money-Back Guarantee

60 days

Migration Services

Free

Staging Site

No

In Their Own Words

Take a deeper look at our VPS hybrid plans. They are really good for any kind of WordPress site thanks to their specific features. Plus you will have DDoS protection with no extra charge.
We are specialized in providing fast ultimate solutions not only for most popular CMSs, but also for all projects based on PHP. This makes us a part of the big WordPress game.

Lightning Base

Lightning Base is a WordPress only hosting service that offers basic management for clients.

Lightning Base's plans are segregated primarily by bandwidth, local storage and page view metering.

Lightning Base servers use SSD storage and modern Xeon processors.

Critical Feature Checklist:

  1. Load Times: SSD Raid-10 storage, Varnish and Opcode caching, CDNs configured for every site and located in a Chicago, USA data center.
  2. Backup Schedule: Full backups taken weekly and database backups taken daily. All backups are stored off-site for disaster recovery.
  3. CMS: 100% WordPress.
  4. Control Panel Management: cPanel.
  5. Support: Email and ticket support with experienced WordPress users.
  6. Security: Lightning Base uses "comprehensive" firewalls to prevent hacking. Security scans are performed regularly to prevent and find intrusions. Users are strongly encouraged to setup Cloudflare for accelerating DNS resolution and providing another layer of security.

Lightning Base Plan Quick Comparison:

Entry Level Plan

"Personal"

Monthly Cost

$9.95

Number of Websites

1

Storage Space

1 GB SSD

Monthly Bandwidth

10 GB, 10 K pageviews

Money-Back Guarantee

30 days

Migration Services

Free

Staging Site

No

In Their Own Words

Lightning Base is known for being very good in terms of price/performance (3rd party tests have often shown our services to match some of the very fastest providers at a much lower price).
We are much smaller than a lot of the big hosts, meaning you receive more personalized support. Tickets won't be handed back and forth between a dozen different support people, and our support is both experienced and friendly.

Next Up, Part 3

Don't worry, I'm not done with this WordPress hosting review yet. There's still several hosts listed above (and a few not yet mentioned) that I'm planning to migrate my test site to so I can share the overall experience and performance results with you.

It takes time and effort to do obsessively objective testing right so stay tuned for more to come!

We'd Like Your Input

As always, we'd like to know what you're excited to learn about when it comes to WordPress hosting.

Do you have any experience with these companies that you'd like to share?

Did I miss a WordPress hosting service you think should be included in the mega-list above?

Please contribute your thoughts in the comments section below to help us assemble a no-holds-barred WordPress Hosting review tailored to your online business needs!

About the Author Matt Totten

Matt's a geologist turned online marketer and digital nomad. He's a Modern Manimal on a mission to cultivate a high-tech, hunter-gatherer lifestyle within our exceedingly domesticated world. When away from his tech, you can find him studying complex human movement through random play or practices like Aikido, AcroYoga and Barefoot Running.

  • Julius says:

    I’m very happy with WPX Hosting – the only thing I miss is a staging enviroment (like I wpengine and other have), but support promised they will add this feature soon. If you reach out to them, could you please put a little pressure on this? ;-)

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for the heads up on WPX’s coming staging environment feature Julius. We’ll keep an eye open for it so we can update our review if/when it goes live.

    • Terry Kyle says:

      The Staging Area is live now Julius and thank you for your patience!

  • Gio says:

    Siteground should definitely be on the list imho

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for your comment Gio, but with this review we want to focus exclusively on WordPress specialized hosting companies. They tend to have stronger support, efficient systems and more optimized hardware when it comes to hosting WordPress websites.

  • Adam says:

    Awesome stuff, Matt. Specialist WordPress hosting is pretty much essential these days.

    Sure, it costs more but it’s worth it.

    But, how some companies handle pricing just doesn’t seems bizarre. E.g. WP Engine.

    It’s monthly unique visitors. That sounds fine, but how they reset what they consider to be a unique visitor each day is nuts. Quite misleading.

    That’s why I prefer how hosts like WPX Hosting do things. Bandwidth seems like a much more customer friendly way to go.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks Adam! I agree that the traffic metering definitions of what constitutes a visit or visitor can certainly be ambiguous with some of these hosting services. We’ll try to investigate this point for Part 2 of this review.

  • Derek says:

    I use Stablehost…

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Derek. Again, we want to focus exclusively on WordPress specialized hosting companies for this review so Stablehost won’t be included in Part 2.

  • Brian says:

    Will you consider Amazon Lightsail in the review? It is not dedicated for WordPress but there is a rising trend of people using it for WordPress

    https://amazonlightsail.com/

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for your comment Brian! You’re correct that Amazon Lightsail doesn’t offer exclusive WordPress hosting, but it might be a good idea to include it since many of the Hosts discussed in the post rely on some aspect of AWS to deliver their services. Consider it under consideration! ;)

  • Bruce says:

    Naturally, we will all want our hosting providers to be tested – so I’m with insty.me.

    I would like to see you include entry level reseller accounts as many of us will be providing services for others and this is an important aspect of the hosting that we need.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hey Bruce, is insty.me only offering WordPress hosting? It’s a little unclear from their online marketing, but they might be a good candidate to include as well. I’ll delve deeper into their services to see if they’d be a good match for Part 2.

      As for reseller account plans, that’s another useful point to consider for our audience in the final review. Thanks for your input!

  • Jake Liddell says:

    I support a lot of small sites that have very little traffic. So for me an important consideration would be the cost for 100 sites. It’s a different use-case to someone who’s just looking to place one site. For example, WPX Hosting would be $400 a month for that number.

    Currently I use Siteground, which I seem to be able to get fast performance from using their caching plugins for WordPress. Would be good to see them included in part 2, to see how they compare.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Jake, I agree that it would be good to consider the multi-site use case in the review. However, if your sites don’t get much traffic and aren’t experiencing growth, high-performance WordPress hosting probably isn’t a major concern for you.

  • Matthew Newnham says:

    Great article, Matt – thanks very much. We were with LiquidWeb for a couple of years, and they were very good. However, based on Shane’s review, we’ve migrated to WPX, who are also very good, and cost less that LiquidWeb. The only thing I miss is telephone based support, but the WPX guys are really fast with their live chat support, and super helpful.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks Matthew! Glad to hear WPX is performing for you. LiquidWeb may also be worth adding to the review as well so thanks sharing your experience with them!

  • Mike says:

    Awesome! Looks like this could turn into a really reliable test for the best WordPress hosting services around. Especially the stress test is interesting: it’s hard to compare site speed without seeing some data to back up the claims. Most of them just say their service is lightning fast, but it’s hard to quantify how fast that is and how that stacks up to other hosters in particular.

    I understand that you’d like to limit yourself to specific WordPress hosters, but nevertheless it’s a pity that the review won’t include other big popular hosters like Bluehost and Siteground. My site is currently hosted at the first, but considering moving to the second :).

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Mike, we’re definitely all about testing and collecting objective data here at ActiveGrowth and will use it ruthlessly to determine how well marketing claims stack up to real life! ;)

      As for adding the big-name hosting services in for Part 2, it’s outside the scope of this review. We’d rather focus our time, effort and resources on the WordPress hosting services that are duking it out every day to claim top spots in the high-performance hosting ranks. That will provide the most value to WordPress users since most people already understand what they’re getting when they choose a bargain-bin hosting solution.

  • robert says:

    I moved all my sites to http://hosixy.com/ about one year ago. Tickets are handled in minutes by the owner. Good pricing with the best support I’ve ever seen. Send them a ticket and see for yourself.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Robert, Hosixy doesn’t look like they specialize in WordPress so we won’t be able to include them in the review.

      • Costas says:

        First thanks Robert for the mention! (for those who are wondering who I am, I am the CEO of Hosixy, i’ve found this post from our referral statistics)

        Matt, we do actually have a sub-brand specializing in providing WordPress managed VPS’s, feel free to email me and i’ll provide you with further information!

  • Ian says:

    I’ve been a very happy customer of Synthesis for a few years now and host several sites with them. Have had some pretty big traffic spikes (e.g. 2,500+ simultaneous users) during that time and each time the website was able to handle them without breaking a sweat.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Ian, thanks for sharing your traffic spike experiences with us…those are some nice anecdotal data points to keep in mind. I’m looking forward to stress-testing Synthesis soon!

  • Evette says:

    I use SiteGround for my web hosting. I’m pretty happy with them. If you’d like to give a review on them I’d be interested in what you have to say.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Evette. Unfortunately, we won’t be testing Siteground for this review since they fall within the generic, shared hosting category, but glad to hear they’re working out for you!

  • Ralph says:

    Please also review cloudways.com – specifically the digital ocean setups

    • John says:

      I agree with Ralph, CW with Ocean Digital setup really is fast.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Ralph, although Cloudways’ pay-as-you-go system and different data center setup options (via either Digital Oceans, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform Live, VULTR and Kyup) are pretty interesting, they’re not specialized in WordPress so we’ll have to leave it off the list for this review.

  • Mike says:

    A fair few years back, I had a malicious attack to my WP site and my then host pretty much said ‘your problem; you sort it’. I had to find someone to clean it and transfer it. I was grateful, but his price included high cost hosting. I had no contact with the host and he wasn’t interested in small queries.

    So my top priority is service standards. On Thrive recommendation, I went with TrafficPlanet/now WPX and I’ve been happy with them. Their support is great. For small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, having excellent advice, on tap, and responsive, who don’t charge extra or seem to resent you using their time has a huge value.

    So I’d like you to stress test this with a range of questions and queries from naive newbie to common but pretty technical questions. The other thing my experience taught me is to value security. How well do your competing hosts maintain security of their servers, and what do they offer their customers to help them keep safe and make wise choices?

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for sharing Mike! We’ll definitely try to come up with some clever ways to evaluate security and support. Those are definitely make or break requirements for any serious online business!

  • Aaron says:

    Wpcloud.ca is the best hosting company I’ve ever used. They take care of so much for you and will help troubleshoot almost any site problem unrelated to hosting.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for sharing Aaron! Is your online business primarily serving Canadian or international visitors/customers?

  • Don says:

    Siteground has been an excellent choice for my company and clients. Support has been outstanding. Backup system has worked flawlessly and they have provided warnings and fixes regarding vulnerabilities to site security. For the money this is a great choice for most business models.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Don. Thanks for sharing your experience with Siteground…glad to hear it’s working out so well for your businesses!

  • Colin says:

    I’d also like to put in a vote for analysis of site security measures such as the availability / cost of file scanning or traffic filtering tools and services. Nothing worse than having your site hacked and the plug-in system for WP is both flexible and a source of vulnerabilities.

    Backups of your site are no good if all of them include the malicious code that wormed its way into your files.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on security Colin! Finding a way to test the robustness of the security and backup systems would be super valuable to include in the review.

  • Lewis Evans says:

    I am another one who went to Siteground after some extensive research. They are good, supportive (and quick to respond) and I have no problems with them. They have also just thrown in free HTTPS for all my sites.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Lewis, great to hear Siteground is working smoothly for you!

  • James says:

    I am very surprised you didn’t include Liquid Web. My fellow marketers rave about this hosting service and haven’t had one person not excited to use it either.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for your input James. I agree that LiquidWeb deserves another good look since they focus on providing high-performance hosting solutions including Managed WordPress plans being among them.

  • John says:

    I’m currently hosting with A2 Hosting (shared plan) and Inmotion Hosting (VPS). I believe that both are good hosts, but my decision to go with them was purely based on reviews (non-affiliate). So far their customer service has been good, but I didn’t do any kind of stress-testing. I am however seeing unexpected response delays at times that make me wonder, especially with the VPS that I’m paying $500 per year for.

    I would be really interested in the outcome of these tests because I’m planning to relaunch an expanded version of one of my websites within the next month and I want to be sure that my hosting is tops. After this article, I’m thinking that relaunching the site with WPX Hosting (and getting rid of the VPS) is something to consider.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for sharing your experiences and recent issues with A2 and Inmotion John! Unfortunately, we won’t be adding these two providers to our review, but hopefully we’ll have some results that will help you find a better solution for less than what you’re paying now…stay tuned!

      • John says:

        Thanks, Matt. I’m looking forward to your findings. There are some many hosts and so many options (shared, VPS, etc). The hosts say VPS is better than shared, and then I read that VPS is “old school” in a fast-moving tech world, or that a good shared plan can beat VPS. It becomes confusing.

      • Matt Totten says:

        I agree John. With so many competing architectures to choose from, it can be tough to keep them all straight and know which system actually delivers cutting-edge performance. With this review, we’re aiming to deliver the data, insights and experience needed to help cut through that confusion! :)

      • Jean says:

        Curious why you won’t include A2 hosting? I’ve tried several of the ones you’ve reviewed but chose A2 hosting originally for a reseller hosting package. I’ve been pleased in general. They also offer “WordPress Hosting”. I have “turbocache” which has made a difference, but I originally chose them for free Cloudflare and SSL – simple installation. Price is certainly a consideration as I host 25+ personal/client sites. I have no affiliation other than I pay them for hosting. To host this many sites on most of the ones you’ve mentioned would be significantly more. Note: none of these sites have a tremendous amount of traffic which would make a difference in my hosting preference.

      • Matt Totten says:

        Hi Jean, thanks for sharing your experience with A2.

        This hosting review is not really geared for agency and reseller hosting. It’s focused more for solo-preneur business sites hosted on WordPress.

        In my initial research, A2 Hosting fell more under the bargain-bin and reseller hosting category than WordPress specialized hosting for solo-preneur sites so that’s why I didn’t include it.

  • Henk says:

    Good coverage Shane. A further consideration for non-US based users – I’m in Australia.

    I’m of the understanding that location of the hosting is a (small?) Google ranking factor for the specific country. This is despite the fact that you can specify location in Google search console. Obviously, it’s not clear as Google does not disclose, but I have moved sites from US to Australian hosts for Australian clients and with no other changes, they are suddenly showing up in the search rankings locally.

    Local latency is something to consider as well. If you test a website using Pingdom tools using different servers from locations around the world you will see that in response times – and many users don’t use CDNs. So it often depends where your target audience is located. You want them to have the fastest local user experience.

    The last issue is one that may not be considered too often and that’s the one or data-protection / privacy protection. Many organisations are not allow (due to their privacy terms) to push customer data to other countries. For example it has been an issue for a local financial services organisation to use Amazon servers. They had to totally change their privacy policy and republish it to users.

    Last and on a different topic, I don’t really understand why there’s a need (other than market positioning) to use a WordPress hosting specialist. You didn’t really cover that point in your intro…seems that all good hosting companies can and should handle well any type of php CMS. Could you please expand on that?

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for your input Henk!

      We’re focusing solely on WordPress specialized hosting companies because it leads to WordPress specialized support and technical staff, cutting-edge WordPress architecture, and tighter security around WordPress specific vulnerabilities. All of this leads to WordPress website performance optimization which is what we’re trying to find in this review.

      Your point about the location of data centers is a good one and something I’m hoping to address in Part 2. Your bump in local Google search rankings by switching to an in-country host is also very interesting…I’ll definitely look into this.

      Also, the privacy concerns you raised are super important. It would be great to find a way to compare hosts on this issue as well. WPCloud was the only host I saw in researching Part 1 that really addressed this concern in their marketing.

  • Brett says:

    I’m surprised “server location” and “privacy” issues don’t seem to feature heavily on your “hosting essentials shortlist”??

    This is now my MAJOR priority with each new website I build after reading the following:

    http://nomadcapitalist.com/2013/12/15/top-5-best-countries-host-website-data-privacy/

    and

    https://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-will-move-mega-privacy-services-to-iceland-to-avoid-spying-130809/

    As a result of these concerns I have now moved all my email services, web hosting, and domain registrations to Norway and Switzerland. I’m no longer interested in any servers located within the United States especially.

    After looking at a number of Norwegian hosting companies – I settled on a company called http://servetheworld.net who provide me with full VPS (not just shared hosting) for NOK267 per month (approx US$30 per month). I have been with this company now for just over a year and have been really happy with the service to date. The only hesitation I would have is that some of the correspondence and support material is a mixture of English and Norwegian – but I can always Google translate – or their help desk has good English speakers.

    I’m really pleased I made the move and now all my new sites are registered with .ch domains also. I buy the .com equivalent and redirect it to the .ch to cover those who might assume my sites are .com. To me this is the most important security protection I can have for my sites. If the American govt wants to shut you down – they can just demand “Namecheap” cancels your .com – how easy would that be to get rid of “pesky competition”. I now sleep easier at night knowing have made these changes.

    I really believe you should include the server hosting locations in your shortlist.

    Good luck … really looking forward to your future reviews.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks Brett! We’ll try to address server location and privacy concerns in Part 2 of the review.

  • Lisa says:

    I’m surprised not to see SiteGround on your list? I’ve heard great things about them and have been considering moving my sites over to them. Any plans to review them? I for one would be interested to read your thoughts.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Lisa, we don’t have any plans to review any of the generic, shared hosting plans right now. The complete review is focused on testing the different high-performance hosting services that are specialized just for WordPress.

  • Chris says:

    Another request that you please include SiteGround. As I am about to move my hosting and they were way up on my list of possibles I too would be interested to read your comparison and comments. Thanks

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Chris, unfortunately Siteground falls outside the scope of this high-performance WordPress hosting review.

      • Chris says:

        Over 20% of respondents above have suggested / requested SiteGround be included. That’s a significant chunk of Thrive people is it not? Maybe it’s worth making an exception. Just a thought. Use it…don’t use it.

      • Matt Totten says:

        Hi Chris, there’s no denying that the request for including Siteground has definitely been rung clearly by the audience. My concern with including any of the budget hosts (that cater to every type of web hosting platform out there) is a dilution of value and technical focus in our final review.

        That being said, all of the requests sparked me with an idea around how I could include Siteground without losing that laser focus I want to maintain around WordPress specialized hosting…stay tuned! ;)

      • Tris says:

        I had nothing but trouble with SiteGround on three separate occasions one of which was a managed VPS that they just couldn’t get right and then two GoGeek shared packages which couldn’t cope with the strain of what they promise.

        For their shared services, despite SG’s claims of unlimited this and extra that, when it came to actual background processes allowed to concurrently run, resources, CPU cycles or whatever (including IMAP email accounts), there was always a “Gotcha”. No good for running anything more a few simple sites and a couple of IMAP email accounts on several devices because you soon use up allocations of allowed restrictions (see the small print) and then all your sites (and emails) go down until those calls and email connections drop down to required levels.

        SG did/do offer a pretty neat staging solution, however this was soon rendered a pointless advantage when I used anything vaguely intensive like BackupBuddy that no matter what settings I tried or they tweaked, things would never actually run well enough before timeouts would occur on anything more than a small simple site.

        As for support, they try and be quick, but each time you’ll invariably get someone different who answers the problem with a completely different solution and quite often obtusely not actually answering the question, problem or real issue which I often found to be their service limitations. I’d end up with really long tickets until finally someone would “get it”, tell me it was a “feature” (shared server limitation) and all along it was what I’d pointed out as the first possibility I’d asked about in the very first part of the ticket.

        I’d love to see this proposed WP specialist hosting article compared with the likes of SG, then if what you say about specialist WP hosting is true, we’d see the true advantage and put the likes of SG to shame for use on anything more than a brochure site – or NOT!?

        Incidentally, not all shared hosting is bad, I finally found one that works well for me in the UK – it just works as expected and is fine for my small scale sites and developments without issue – it can be done.

        Finally, just to add to the remit of what you are going to research for this article, can I suggest you include all the things that aren’t properly mentioned in the sales gubbins – i.e. email services which under my cPanel on my current shared server allows me to create unlimited free accounts but for these WP specific services I notice isn’t often mentioned, included or is an extra at say $1 per email address. Staging provision being another ‘missing’ thing and also easy/free/cheap/non-ripoff SSL certs being another – there must be more things too but can’t think of them now.

        I do understand the point/value of having a pro WP service but I need to know what I’ll miss from my cPanel’s full range of facilities and what it’s likely to cost me replacing those extras, or what services to replace them with (e.g. alternative secure email hosting that doesn’t cost me $1 pm per email address).

      • Matt Totten says:

        Hi Tris, thanks for sharing so much detail with us about your Siteground hosting experience!

        The “throttling” you encountered on your “unlimited” plan sounds pretty typical of these generic hosting companies once you start putting any significant strain on them. I’m sure the long and impersonal service ticket run-arounds soon became an unacceptable part of running your websites.

        You read my mind with the Siteground comparison idea as it would be useful to test how this popular budget service stands up against the specialized WordPress solutions.

        And thanks for the idea of comparing each hosting service’s dashboard to a cPanel standard…that’ll be a good way to show the feature differences across all the options.

      • Tris says:

        Hi Matt, thanks for the reply and I’m glad my long comment was useful.

        Indeed, the long-winded SG support tickets that never really got resolved over hours, days and weeks was very troublesome – it drove me nuts. I’m so glad I don’t deal with that sort of thing anymore.

        I look forward to seeing all the comparisons and findings you uncover in this research.

        Good luck.

        Tris

      • Ed says:

        Hi Tris, I’ve been with Siteground for nearly 1 year on grow big plan. I’ve had the same experience as you, but I’m not very technical. To hear your experience was very useful because I always felt like I was being passed off by their support. I would say 3 out of the 10 responses would be good. At other times all I would get is “Your theme is slow” or something not helpful. Their server also broke and they blamed my site for about a week until they realised it was their sever – which at least they admitted. I’m definitely looking to move. Which hosting did you go for in the end? I think I’m going to go with wpx because I use thrive.

  • Tomas says:

    I give another vote for Cloudways.com. I’m using Knownhost and WPEngine as we, but I’m happiest with Cloudways (speed for money).

    Also consider reviewing https://speedkills.io/. Not really a hosting service. They use Cloudways but manage the hosting service for one monthly payment. Not cheap but a lot of personal service.

    Tomas

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for your suggestions and sharing your experiences with these hosts Tomas!

  • Benjamin says:

    I’ve been with Pressjitsu for a year after trying Synthesis, WP Engine and Kinsta and couldn’t be happier.

    They answer emails incredibly fast (usually less than 30 minutes) and are pretty cheap compared to other managed wordpress hosts.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks Benjamin, Pressjitsu definitely seems like a WordPress Specialized hosting service we should look into for this review!

  • Eelin says:

    Thanks for this informative review Matt. I’ve been with Hostgator for almost 10 years now on a shared hosting. My sites do not hold large amounts of data so loading speed has been relatively ok. However I’ve noticed a significant drop of standard in their overall support.

    Recently I migrated my hosting to their cloud. It’s been 6 days now and my sites are still down. After checking with support the 3rd time, I was told that it could take up to 7 days for the migration process to be completed. I’m not sure if this is normal. But I would have liked to know before hand if my sites were going to be down for a week. So I’ll certainly be looking at another hosting after this.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Eelin, thanks for sharing your experience with HostGator. For most online businesses, a week of downtime is usually unacceptable. Lackluster support is another reason why we don’t encourage anyone to go with the big name hosts. Their customer base is probably so large that your critical needs just get reduced to a ticket number and become lost in some endless support queue.

  • David says:

    Hello Matt, This was a very informative review. Just getting started, I chose to work with HostGator. You were very fair in your assessment of all the hosting services. WPX Hosting seems to offer quite a bit and will definitely be on my radar as my website grows.

    Thanks for the insight. I look forward to part 2.

    David

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks David, glad to hear Part 1 was informative for you. We’re working as we speak to collect our own data and deeper insights for Part 2!

  • Howard says:

    I think that for somebody just starting out, the most important factor when choosing a website is avoid EIG-owned webhosting companies like the plague they are. There are currently about 50 of them. To see if your choice of webhost is a member of the EIG (Borg), just google the name + “EIG”.

    You probably want to avoid any webhost that is large enough to be of interest to the Borg.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for your comment Howard!

      Based on your suggestion, I cross-checked some websites that published research on what hosting services EIG owns (since it appears EIG doesn’t publicly divulge that info) and fortunately, none of the services we’re researching were listed.

      However, Bluehost and HostGator were so that’s probably another good reason to avoid them.

    • Terry Chadban says:

      +1 from me! EIG have a well-documented history of buying out reputable hosting companies, sacking most of the support staff and providing well below par support from then on. Steer clear!

  • Mark Sceats says:

    Hi Matt

    Great article and looking forward to part 2!

    Personally, I’d be very interested to see your views on how GoDaddy’s dedicated WP hosting compares with WPX and WP Engine.

    Cheers, Mark

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your comment! I’m working to deliver Part 2 soon. :)

      Unfortunately, I won’t be looking into GoDaddy’s WP hosting, but I hope you’ll still check out the final roundup review!

  • Michael Drummond says:

    Have to say, this is a timely article as I’m ready to switch to some faster hosting, and all I use now is ThriveThemes + WordPress, with an occasional HTML page thrown in.

    Quick question…

    Am I right to assume that these “WordPress Specialized” hosting services tolerate/allow html pages here and there?

    Anyway, looking forward to part 2.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks Michael!

      Great question…I had to do a little more research to find the answer for you.

      It depends on the company. For example, WPX Hosting does allow you to host static HTML sites on their servers, but WP Engine does not.

      Just ask the sales support staff before purchasing and they should be able to answer that pretty quickly for you.

  • Thank you Matt for that very detailed work above and for the feedback from WPX customers.

    In 2017, WPX Hosting will be adding a Staging Area along with London UK servers (May), Sydney Australia servers (by end August) and Singapore/Hong Kong servers by year end + a bunch of other new tools.

    All the best
    Terry Kyle
    CEO, WPX Hosting

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for those updates Terry!

      I just added the planned staging site feature to the quick comparison table for WPX Hosting.

      I also mentioned WPX Hosting’s recent manual backup and restore feature addition in Part 2 of this review as well.

  • Ahmed Rich says:

    Thanks but can’t believe you list WP Engine second, they have some nice UI but seems some others can rank higher.. also you forgot to mention maybe you can host directly on the cloud like Linode or Vultr or use company like LittleBizzy to manage for you if you want optimized cloud VPS, because some like SiteGround is just a shared hosting company anyway. Thanks.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for your comments Ahmed.

      In the original (Part 1) version of this review, I did have numbers next to each host’s name, but I wasn’t trying to imply a ranking…I was just making a list. I took away the numbers to eliminate that confusion in the recent Part 2 update.

      I’ll take your hosting service suggestions into consideration for the next update.

  • Kevin from WP Titanium says:

    Hey Matt, we’d like to be part of this round up and review as well if possible? Our site is called WPTitanium.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for the suggestion Kevin…I’ll check it out!

  • David Ramirez says:

    Maybe you could add Cloudngin to Part 2, they do offer WordPress hosting.

    • Matt Totten says:

      I’ll check it out David…thanks for the suggestion!

  • Thomas Zickell says:

    You’re missing two very important hosting companies WordPress VIP in addition to the now available WordPress.com business edition which allows you to add unique themes and plug-ins.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for the suggestions Thomas. I’m curious to see what plugins and themes WordPress.com business edition allows.

      I’ll check out WordPress VIP as well to see if we should include it in a future update to this review.

  • David Evanson says:

    Very interesting. I am using a service called Insty.me, and am very satisfied with them. Hoped to see them listed in your review. Perhaps nest time?

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for the suggestion David…I’ll look into it for one of the future updates to this post.

  • farhang says:

    Why you have not added Liquid Web. i think your themes are on the Liquid Web Hosting. it’s the best in the industry.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Farhang, the original scope of this review was to look at WordPress only hosting services, but that focus has expanded a little bit since the original posting.

      There’s been several requests for Liquid Web so you’ll probably see it reviewed here soon. Stay tuned!

  • Stacy says:

    The hosting service that blows every one of these reviewed away, bar none, is a2hosting. I am yet to find any flaw with a2 and know they must have a few. Over time I’ve probably done business with 85+% of the hosting vendors on your list.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience with A2 Stacy!

  • Noel Guilford says:

    I migrated to WPX in July based on Shane’s recommendation and have to say it’s the best decision I have made after having some hosting nightmares with budget providers. Their support was brilliant in migrating my 5 websites – they took all the hassle away even when I couldn’t answer their questions I just gave them a clue and they figured it it out – and then I realised how inexpensive they are for 5 sites and all that they do. A big factor for me was having UK based hosting. Strongly recommend them.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Noel, thanks for sharing your WPX Hosting experience!

      Based on my recent testing, I’m in total agreement with your assessment. WPX has consistently great technical support, high performance, allows multiple website installs, has been releasing new features for the same price, and now offers multiple server locations around the world.

      Out of the Tier 1 hosts I’ve tested so far, I think they definitely provide the best bang for the buck.

    • Robin Harford says:

      I’m did the same Noel. I was with Liquidweb before and now I’ve moved to WPX my sites are loading super fast. Plus being a UK business and hosting in the UK was a big plus for me too. WPX support is some of the best I have come across. Hyper responsive and no grumpiness!

      • Matt Totten says:

        Thanks for sharing your Liquidweb and WPX Hosting experiences Robin!

  • Jerry says:

    Had to look and look again…the storage limit for some of these is only 1 GB? Really? Even 5 and 10 GB is low. Same with the traffic in many cases.

    It’s fine to limit your study to the entry level plans, but when the capacities are that low it’s not useful for a large percentage of readers. Why not add a couple of lines to each table to show various pricing levels? Thanks.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hey Jerry, unless your website is already massive from years of content creation or self-hosting data intensive content (like video), storage capacity isn’t usually going to be your bottleneck.

      That said, I agree that 1 GB to 5 GB of storage space is not desirable and doesn’t allow you to build up your site very well over time.

      Since this review has snowballed into such a behemoth, some of the hosts listed above that skimp on features (as you’ve rightly pointed out) will likely be cut in favor of hosts that the audience has asked to see tested. I’d much rather do that to improve the value of this review rather than showing tables and tables of hard to digest hosting plans.

  • Terry Chadban says:

    @Matt, in part 3 or 4, would it be possible to expand the testing to include hosts with reseller or white-label services for those of us with more than a few websites to manage? Maybe a two-pronged test for single and multiple sites?

    Terry

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hey Terry, I think adding reseller hosting plans to this already massive (and still growing) review is not possible. However, we may decide to do a separate reseller hosting plan review article in the future.

  • Michele Bolitho says:

    Thank you Matt
    I’ve been with bravehost for many years. They don’t specialise in WP but there’s been no problem in loading it on my site (with their assistance). Their hosting is unlimited and their web tools are useful. I’m glad to see that bravehost is not in EIG. How do they compare? Perhaps you’d take a look please. I hope you won’t find anything to change my mind as they’ve treated me well (and I’m not an affiliate).

    • Matt Totten says:

      Hi Michele, thanks for sharing your experience about BraveHost. I’ll check them out to see if we should include them in a future update to this review.

      • Michele says:

        Thank you Matt. Just had another quick and thorough reply to a support ticket. Will mention my contact with you in my reply :)

      • Matt Totten says:

        Thanks for your help Michele, but the review will remain more objective if I don’t go through your contact. When I test hosting services, I do so as a random person to try and ensure I don’t get any special treatment for reviewing their site.

  • Tris says:

    Not sure I understand the WPX recommendations here? When I look into the details and their FAQs, for unique (non-shared?) IP addresses and SEO hosting they promote the use of their cloudboss.pro solution which add $79.99+ pm to the costs.

    When I think of the general ease of setting things up without restriction(s), my current WHM/cPanel VPS (managed) hosting seems fine in comparison to some of these dedicated WP ‘solutions’, cheaper too.

    NB, any chance dates could be added to these comments? Without them it’s hard to put the comments into context with part 1 of the article (from months ago) which seem to all be now amalgamated into part 2.

    • Terry Kyle says:

      Hi Tris, to clarify, WPX and Cloudboss.pro are completely separate services. WPX is for Money Site hosting, not for PBN hosting like Cloudboss.pro. Also WPX does now have a Staging Area for all users on all plans.

  • Rob says:

    I would love to see Cloudways compared.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for you suggestion Rob. Due to all the requests, I think Cloudways will definitely make it in to the next round of testing.

      • Alex says:

        Cloudways would be good to see in this review. I would also like to see a review of DreamHost’s VPS service, which is supposed to be able to handle some more demanding WordPress sites. Thoughts?

      • Matt Totten says:

        Hi Alex,

        Cloudways is definitely on my shortlist for a future update to this review…I probably won’t be looking at DreamHost VPS though.

  • Raul Bustamante says:

    Does WPX have any limitation regarding the amount of monthly visitors?

    • No, there are no traffic limits. Not based on visitors or page views, anyway. There are generously set storage and bandwidth limits. You don’t have to worry about those until you get a ton of traffic, though.

  • Bhavesh Naik says:

    Here’s another budget hosting service for you to consider: Inmotionhosting.

    I have been a customer for almost a year and their most outstanding feature is their service. I would give them an A- on customer-support. I did have a hickup once with them but they jumped on it and fixed it.

    I would love to see how they measure up against others in terms of technical performance. That way, I can decide if I need to move to a different hosting solution when my plan is up for a renewal in a year and when my website matures a little.

    • Matt Totten says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience with InMotionHosting Bhavesh! I’ll check them out to see if we want to include them in our next hosting review update.

  • Araix says:

    Siteground WordPress hosting work great with CDN like Cloudflare or Maxcdn and it is cost saving. Thanks for the hosting site list and all the hosting advice.

  • Edward says:

    I think this test is a little bit off regarding siteground. I commented earlier that the support is very mixed and that’s true. But I think you should have compared their grow big plan with wpx. When I was previously deciding between siteground and wpx I tried both and cancelled to see what would happen. Siteground grudging gave me a refund and they tried to put me off. I didn’t like it but I got most of the cash back. Wpx were much quicker and gave me a refund very promptly. I tested the speed of wpx and it wasn’t as fast as the scores I was getting for siteground. But that might be because I didn’t thrash it out with their support and drive down on w3 cache settings. It would be very interesting to know what Terry Kyle says about the speed on offer. I want to test this out anyway for myself. The price of basic hosting on siteground is very low but doesn’t give you access to the caching services within their servers and plugins. It makes a big difference to the speed of your site. The price does go up to £179.40 a year and that is only a bit cheaper than wpx. I think it would be better if you changed the test to reflect this competition. For those starting out they give you a big discount to I think it’s about £50 for a year. I’m not saying siteground is better, but that the test hasn’t been done in the best possible way.

  • Mark Hanson says:

    Upon your recommendation, I’m switching over to WPXHosting.

    Question. Would it be a smart move to also use WPX as my domain name registrar? Their price for domains is reasonable and they include free domain name privacy with their plans.

    Note: I understand that the standard rule of logic is to keep hosting and domain names separate. Just wondering if WPX Hosting could be an exception to the rule.

    • I still recommend using a separate registrar. I use Namecheap for all my domains.

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