If you are a small business or someone who wants to start their own website, but don’t have much money to spend, here is our useful guide on how to make sure you get the best possible service for the money you spend.
With almost a billion websites online at this very moment, if you want to create a website that succeeds, then it is vital that it not only looks great but performs well too. With this in mind, we have put together a guide that features the best low cost host providers based on the top performance levels, support, ease of setup and number of other important features like SSL certificates.
What is WordPress Hosting?
What is a host and why do I need one?
WordPress might be a tool used to design websites, but in order to make them available to internet users, you must have a host. A host is a company or organization that allows its server system to ‘host’ a particular website. The site and all the sits data will be stored on their servers where it can be made available to people on the web. These servers are specifically designed to allow high volume access to sites without this causing the site to slow down, crash or go offline.
Since the service performance, price, reliability, and tools that web hosts offer vary so much, choosing the best host service is one of the most important things that concerns creating a site. Vital aspects such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), reliability, and customer support all vary from host provider to host provider.
Though WordPress do run a free hosting service, it requires the WordPress domain name to be included in the website’s address. Since your domain name is part of your sites SEO, you are in effect investing in that domain name to give it the best SEO now and in the future. Anyone who has ever published a site using WordPress’ hosting service will be able to tell you just how much it negatively affects your sites SEO and therefore the number of people able to find it.
When it comes to the world of web hosting, cheapest price is definitely a high price to pay. Though money is a factor in all our lives, when it comes to web hosting, it should be looked upon as a wise investment that will get your site seen while making sure it works reliably and quickly.
Ease of installation
Thankfully, WordPress was created with the purpose of making web development easier and therefore more accessible to us all. The platform was developed in such a way that it allows anyone the chance to be able to create a website and not just those who can write in computer code such as HTML. Thankfully, most hosts recognized this and so offer easy installation for WordPress onto your web hosting interface. This interface allows you to directly run your site through their servers by designing it, adding features and text to it, and performing general maintenance as well. Unless you like spending lots of time talking to customer services then you should make sure that WordPress is both supported and easy to install on your host’s platform before you buy.
Anyone who has sat on a phone line for hours on end listening to some terrible music, only to be connected to someone who is no help at all, will tell you just how important good customer service can be. While 2/3 of people leaving a particular company report that it is due to poor performance, the vast majority of the remaining 1/3 claim that it was poor customer service that caused them to change.
Web hosts realize that their industry requires intensive support due to the complex nature of computers and software integration. As a result, all the best hosts now offer customer support that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round. This support is available through a variety of mediums including telephone, email, direct mail and more recently live chat, a service which offers immediate responses to your questions.
We cannot emphasize more the importance of performance when it comes to choosing the right web host. Though it is possible to get the fastest and most reliable hosting by paying through the nose for the pleasure, for most companies and individuals, this is an expense they cannot afford.
The good news is that even the cheapest web hosts can be found that offer quick and reliable performance levels, so you don’t need to pay huge sums to get this service. When choosing a low cost host, it is really important to do your homework to make sure that you are, in fact, getting the best performance possible. A failure to get both good speed and reliability could result in your website failing.
The two aspects of performance that we are going to pay particular attention to are speed and reliability.
Speed is hugely important to the success of a website. Those of us who have been around long enough remember the early dial up internet speeds that were agonizingly slow. No decent website’s page loading speed should be measured in how many cups of coffee you can drink before it loads, so any host provider whose service speed takes more than 4 to 5 seconds to fully load the homepage should definitely be avoided. When looking at page upload speeds, keep in mind that the industry average is around 700ms, and the lower the number, the faster the service.
Uptime is the duration that any computer system is operational without interruption, so in the case of your host provider service system, it measures the total time it is online and your website is available. When it comes to uptime, your demands should be very high. Avoid any company whose uptime is less than 99.5% as you want your site to be online and available as near to 100% of the time as possible. As is the case with slow page loading speeds, if your site is frequently offline when someone visits it, they are naturally going to get the impression that it is a low quality and even an unsecure site that should be avoided. This is a particular nightmare if your site generates its income from paying members or operates as an online store of some nature.
Our Top 10 WordPress Hosts
Founded way back in 1996, Bluehost is one of the go to choices when it comes to WordPress hosting. Now owned by the same parent company that runs Hostgator, Site5 and Arvixe, it is one of the largest and best-known brands in the industry. WordPress has designated them as one of their recommended host providers, meaning that their service fully supports the platform and all its add-ons.
Bluehost offers a range of different packages, the most basic of which begins at just $2.95 per month, making it one of the cheapest on the market. It includes unlimited bandwidth and 50GB of storage space, which is sufficient for most small scale websites. If you are a medium sized business, however, you will almost certainly need to get a more substantial package, as this storage space will be inadequate.
Their easy WordPress installer works like a charm and means that with only a few clicks of your mouse, you can have it up and running in less than a minute.
Should you have any difficulties then you will be happy to know their team of dedicated support staff is on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to help with any questions you might have.
So far as the technical side is concerned, they offer reliable and reasonably fast site hosting. They have a very quick average loading time of 422ms and a pretty good uptime of 99.97%, both of which mean that your site is in good hands. They recently bumped the price of their basic package up a little, though if you shop around it is still possible to get it at the lower rate.
As you might expect from such an experienced company, setting up and using WordPress though their system is about and easy as it gets.
Hostgator do offer a 27/4 support service that is available via phone, email and live chat. The live chat feature is particularly helpful as you can expect instantaneous replies to any problems you might have.
When it comes to performance, Hostgator are really hard to beat. They have one of the fastest page load speeds of any of the low-cost WordPress hosts, averaging just 468ms over a month. Considering the industry average is around 700ms, this gives you an idea of just how quick this really is. Added to this, Hostgator have a perfect uptime of 100%, making them a completely reliable web host with impeccable page load speeds.
A Small Orange
Easy as ABC, it takes only a few minutes to register with their site to get up and running. WordPress is fully supported, so you only need to navigate to the appropriate place and select the WordPress installation and nothing more.
Support is the real issue that divides users. A Small Orange does offer round the clock support though they don’t support a telephone service for those people who prefer to talk to someone directly. This service is essential to many people, to whom calling up to fix problems is something that is in ingrained in their psyche. People with poor eyesight and those who might dislike typing, suffer as a result too.
A Small Orange offers some pretty respectable performance levels overall. Their average page load speed of 532ms beats industry averages, including many of the other hosts to make this list. Where their performance does really suffer is when it comes to uptime, which at an average of 99.95% can be a little frustrating for users who don’t want their site to suffer from poor performance.
A2 Hosting offers a 1 click installation for WordPress, which makes actually finding the button on their platform harder than the actual install itself. After you have registered, find the WordPress installation section and in a matter of minutes, you will already be on the WordPress interface, ready to start building your site.
The company offers great levels of support that their users really commend them for. A2 Hosting run a 24/7 customer support service that gives you a wide range of ways to contact them. These include a phone service, live chat, and email, from which you can expect rapid and detailed replies to help fix whatever problems you might be having.
A2 are famed for having the fastest page loads in the industry. They recorded an average speed of 364ms over the course of a month. Incredibly, this is 50% than the industry average and more than 5 times faster than most of the other free hosting services. Unfortunately, there is a downside, A2 has an uptime ratio of only 99.93%, which is significantly lower than most other web hosts on this list and is a huge drawback to sites that depend heavily on reliable access.
Being another WordPress recommended host, there is no surprise that Siteground is fully compatible with WordPress and allows effortless installation on their platform.
Siteground offer an excellent 24/7 support that is available by phone, live chat and email.
Excellent page load speeds of 539ms and a 99.99% uptime, make Siteground a fast and reliable service for all users. You will certainly not have problems when hosting your site on their servers.
Green Geeks Web Hosting
Signing up to Green Geeks can be quite a pain, if truth be told. The account verification process is incredibly twitchy, especially if you are not fortunate enough to live in the U.S. Once you are registered, then setting up WordPress is relatively straightforward.
Green Geeks are praised for their excellent customer service. Dedicated and well-trained staff are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to help you with any problem you might have.
With so much going for them, particularly when it comes to the environment, it is painful to have to report that Green Geeks do really have some way to go when it comes to performance. Their page load speeds are at times painfully slow, causing frustration and in worst cases, people to give up trying to access a site. With an industry average of 700ms, Green Geeks speed of 942ms feels painfully slow. There is better news when it comes to uptime, however, which was 99.99% over the course of the month, making it a very reliable option. If you want to do your bit for the environment and can stomach the slower speeds, then Green Geeks is the web host for you.
As with all Cpanel based systems, setup of WordPress is very quick and easy. Since the process does not require any human approval by the web host, it can be done in a matter of minutes with very few details required.
Inmotion Hosting offers the standard 24/7 customer support that is available via email, web chat and telephone.
Though not the best host on this list, Inmotion Hosting’s performance is still quite reasonable. Their page load speed averaged 615ms over a month, which is faster than the industry average. Their uptime ratio is 99.98%, a figure that again, beats a huge majority of other web hosts.
eHost is a well-established hosting platform that now claims to host more than 1,000,000 websites. Though the majority of its users are based in the U.S, the site caters for customers from around the world and fully supports WordPress.
Basic host packages begin at just $2.75 per month and include $200’s worth of SEO vouchers for Google’s search engine. If you are planning to start a website from scratch or even to try to boost your figures for an existing one, then these vouchers are an invaluable source of potential exposure.
Another 1 click WordPress installation and simple registration procedure make the whole procedure of setting up your web hosting service quicker than making your lunch. Once setup, eHost includes 1,000’s of drag and drop add-ons for WordPress that really offer some powerful tools in developing and maintaining a professional looking site.
eHost does have a few disgruntled customers who have become frustrated by their customer support, but this seems to have died down after the addition of their live chat customer support center that offers near instantaneous replies to any queries customers may have. Telephone and email service are also available.
When it comes to performance, eHost provide a nice balance of quick average page loads and a reliable uptime. With an average page load speed of 556ms and an uptime ratio of 99.97%, eHost is certainly one of the better performers when it comes to inexpensive web host providers. When factoring in the price of their service, you have to conclude that they offer excellent value for money that definitely makes them worth considering.
Installation is nice and simple, as is the account registration service. It did take a little longer than some of the Cpanel sites as it required a few more details to be filled in. WordPress installation is a doddle, and the free script installer also helps makes life nice and easy too.
For a smaller web host, the level of customer support you get is exceptional. Round the clock 24/7 support is available through a variety of options including live chat, email, and telephone.
Host Metro provides a service that blends excellent speeds averaging 545ms over a month with reliable uptimes of 99.99%. Once again, for the price, it is really hard to find fault in their performance, particularity as it is not just reserved for their more expensive packages.
Registering an account and setting up WordPress is quick and painless, and can be done in less than 15 minutes.
The company offers 24/7 support via telephone, live chat, and email. Their level of support is, on the whole, excellent. The only exception was during certain times of day, when we found getting through takes quite a bit of a wait. If you can, avoid calling early mornings for both east coast and west coast USA, and that goes for early evenings also.
iPage really throw sand in the face of the saying ‘you get what you pay for’. Though their page upload speed is slightly less than the industry average, they still averaged a fairly respectable 846ms over the course of a month. Couple this with their 99.99% uptime ratio and what you have is the best low-cost service when judged on price vs. value for money.