The 9 Best WordPress Hosting Providers for 2021 Compared

There are plenty of web hosts around to choose from, and new ones appear all the time. And although greater competition results in better services at lower prices, this abundance of choice compounds the problem of choosing the right host to fit your specific needs. The challenge is even greater for WordPress users, who need a provider that understands their particular requirements.

To tackle this issue, we rounded up nine of the best-known WordPress hosts and took an in-depth look at each. These hosts offer something that most don’t: WordPress-specific hosting and everything that entails.

Before we get into the reviews, we’ll first take a moment to discuss exactly why you should choose a web host with WordPress-specific experience. Then, we’ll dissect each host, with the main focus on support and security features, performance, and pricing.

Best WordPress Hosting in 2021: Quick Summary

We’re going to go much more in-depth in this post with our hands-on tests and experience-backed opinions. However, if you’re in a rush, we want to start things off by giving you a quick summary of our top picks.

So – you can either use this simple summary table as a jumping-off point. Or, you can keep reading to learn exactly why we’ve chosen these hosts and see the test data.

Rank Host Price from /mo. Highlights
1st 🥇 HostGator $5.95 ✔️ Affordable prices
✔️ Fast load times for low-traffic
✔️ Helpful support
2nd 🥈 Flywheel $15 ✔️ Useful managed features
✔️ Fast load times for high-traffic
✔️ Special tools for agencies
3rd 🥉 WP Engine $30 ✔️ Useful managed features
✔️ Fast load times for high-traffic
✔️ Expert WordPress support

WordPress Hosting vs. Shared Hosting – The Key Differences

You may have noticed that many web hosts offer general shared hosting plans and WordPress hosting plans. These are two very different things. To illustrate why, let’s walk through their differences one by one:

  • When you get shared hosting, you’re paying for a set amount of space within a server. You have the freedom to install any content management system (CMS) you want, but performance will never be as good as say a dedicated server (i.e. one that is reserved for your use only).
  • With WordPress-specific hosting, you’re usually paying for space within less crowded servers. Each of these servers is optimized to provide you with a better WordPress experience right out of the box.
  • WordPress-specific hosting often includes security measures tailored for the CMS.
  • WordPress-friendly hosts are more knowledgeable when it comes to the CMS, so they offer better support.
  • Web hosts optimized for WordPress often offer better loading speeds. For example, their servers are tuned for WordPress and they often include optimizations such as server-level page caching for WordPress.
  • Often, WordPress hosts also take care of backups for you, which is a huge load off your shoulders

These days, there’s arguably no good reason for a WordPress user to opt for generic shared hosting. WordPress hosting plans usually start at competitive prices, so they’re the best choice – even if you’re on a tight budget.

Our Methods for Choosing and Evaluating the Best WordPress Hosts

Each of the web hosts we’ve chosen for this roundup are very well-known in the WordPress hosting industry, but we didn’t want to base our comparison on reputation alone. To be as thorough as possible, we went through the following process with all nine of them:

  1. We set up paid WordPress hosting accounts for each company.
  2. Some of these web hosts come with WordPress pre-installed, but for those that didn’t, we did it ourselves and used the host’s default configuration.
  3. We tested each website’s speed using WebPageTest for one-off tests and Load Focus for load testing. Load Focus enables us to test how fast a site loads under heavy stress by simulating multiple visitors within a period of time. Basically, how fast will your site load in a real-world situation where you have multiple visitors at the same time?
  4. Finally, we took a look at each of their plans to gauge if they represent good value for money. Knowing this, we can give you specific recommendations about which plans to pick for each web host.

When we report the performance data, we’ll share five different metrics:

  • TTFB – short for time to first byte, a general measure of hosting responsiveness.
  • LCP – short for Largest Contentful Paint, part of Google’s new Core Web Vitals metrics and Page Experience update.
  • Fully loaded time – the full loading time.
  • Load Focus average response – the average response time in the Load Focus test.
  • Load Focus 90th percentile – the 90th percentile time. That is, 90% of visits were faster than this time.

Let’s check out how each WordPress host performed through our tests.

The Nine Best WordPress Hosts for 2021 Ranked

After concluding our testing, something became very clear – some providers performed considerably better than others. With that in mind, we decided to rank them below from best to worst, to help you make an informed decision. It’s worth mentioning, however, that our rankings are certainly not just based on raw performance – we also need to factor in price and features.

In some situations, you might be better off choosing a host with slightly slower performance if you’re on a tight budget. For example, WP Engine is one of the top hosts on this list in terms of features and performance, but we only ranked it third because its pricing puts it out of reach for a lot of casual WordPress users, especially beginners.

We’ll be sure to note these variables in our analysis – for example, HostGator can be a good option for low-traffic sites, but we don’t recommend it for high-traffic sites.

With that in mind, let’s start with top nine hosting providers and work our way down!

1. HostGator

HostGator

HostGator is one of the best-known names when it comes to web hosting, but not one of the most highly regarded. In the past, the hosting service has experienced issues with site speed, but it has recently turned over a new leaf. HostGator’s WordPress Cloud Hosting plans are some of the fastest around in our one-off tests, and they include both free migrations and free SSL certificates.

Security and Support Services

HostGator offers 24/7 support on all of their plans. When we tested support, they were very friendly and helpful, though we did have to wait about 10 minutes to get in touch with a representative.

Their WordPress plans also come with useful features such as automatic backups and the option to add protection from SiteLock and CodeGuard.

Speed Testing Results

TTFB LCP Fully Loaded Load Focus Avg. Load Focus 90%
0.192 s 0.545 s 0.770 s 3.908 s 15.809 s

HostGator is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of performance. They performed quite well in the WebPageTest analysis, with one of the fastest Largest Contentful Paint times of any host on this list. However, they didn’t do nearly as well in the Load Focus test.

This suggests that HostGator can be a good budget option for low-traffic sites as it offers stellar performance in low-traffic situations. However, for high-traffic sites, you’ll probably want to choose a different host that can perform better under scale.

Pricing and General Impressions

The Starter plan offers the best bang for your buck when it comes to WordPress hosting ($5.95 per month when you commit for a year), but prices increase sharply once you move into the enterprise-level range of plans.

That’s not to say HostGator is a bad option, but you may be mindful of the costs.

Pros

  • Good loading speeds in the one-off tests.
  • One of the cheapest starting plans among WordPress hosts.
  • A helpful and friendly team with good WordPress chops.

Cons

  • HostGator performed really poorly in the load testing.

In Summary

HostGator knocks the ball out of the park with low prices and great one-off speed tests. However, they didn’t perform well in the load testing, so we only recommend them for low-traffic sites. Still, most WordPress websites are low traffic, which makes them a great budget pick for the average webmaster.

💰 Our exclusive 30% off HostGator coupon

Visit Hostgator

2. Flywheel

Flywheel

Flywheel is a WordPress hosting company that targets both regular users and agencies. It offers a wide variety of plans at different price points and incorporates advanced features across all of them. These features include nightly backups, free security scans, and the ability to create staging sites.

As of 2019, Flywheel is now owned by WP Engine (the next entry on our list). However, the two are still run separately and have separate features, though their prices are almost identical now.

Fun fact – Flywheel is the host that we use here at WPKube, so we really believe in Flywheel as a quality hosting product.

Security and Support Services

Flywheel offers 24/7/365 live chat support. You can quickly access their support channels from any page in the Flywheel dashboard, whether you need a quick chat, to check the status of a ticket, or reference their handy help docs.

This host also takes security very seriously. They enforce significant login measures and take great pains to keep your site stays safe and malware-free.

Speed Testing Results

TTFB LCP Fully Loaded Load Focus Avg. Load Focus 90%
0.134 s 0.397 s 0.542 s N/A N/A

Flywheel performed amazingly in the WebPageTest analysis, beating out all of the other hosts on this list for the lowest times by far.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t test Flywheel with Load Focus because of Flywheel’s firewall/DDoS protection. This firewall is great for protecting your site from malicious actors – it’s only bad for load testing.

With that being said, personal experience lets us know that Flywheel can maintain the same great performance under scale – after all, we do host WPKube on Flywheel and WPKube is a pretty high-traffic site.

Pricing and General Impressions

Flywheel is one of the fastest hosts we tested. That benefit, combined with their wide range of plans, makes them a good choice for anyone that’s looking for a safe, fast WordPress host.

However, Flywheel is definitely a premium service; the cheapest plan is $15 per month for a single site install and a limit of 5,000 monthly visits. If you’re looking to host multiple websites with significant traffic, Flywheel will get pretty expensive pretty fast as their other plans are identical to WP Engine’s pricing.

Pros

  • Very fast page load times.
  • Offers a great variety of WordPress plans.
  • Plenty of advanced features for solo WordPress developers and agencies.
  • Great security measures, including nightly backups.

Cons

  • Can be expensive if your site gets more than 5,000 visits per month or if you need to host multiple sites.

In Summary

Flywheel is a serious competitor in the WordPress hosting business, with a wide variety of plans, and lots of advanced features. It also offers lots of agency-specific features, which makes it a great option for agencies or freelancers who are building WordPress sites for clients.

👉 Our full Flywheel review
💰 Our exclusive 33% off Flywheel coupon

Visit Flywheel

3. WP Engine

WP Engine

When it comes to advanced features such as automatic performance enhancements, scalability, and high-grade security, WP Engine is second to none. The catch, however, is that unlike most of the other hosts on this list, these features do come at a premium.

Security and Support Services

WP Engine prides itself on its customer service, and the support staff certainly lives up to the hype. We waited a mere two minutes for an agent to connect with us via live chat, and he easily guided us through a few WordPress-related security queries.

One of WP Engine’s most encouraging offerings is its built-in security features, meaning you don’t need to depend on potentially unreliable third-party plugins.

Speed Testing Results

TTFB LCP Fully Loaded Load Focus Avg. Load Focus 90%
0.144 s 0.641 s 0.739 s 0.347 s 0.516 s

Since WP Engine is a premium managed WordPress host, you’d expect excellence from the performance tests and WP Engine certainly didn’t disappoint. They nailed both the one-off WebPageTest analysis as well as the load testing from Load Focus.

In fact, WP Engine had the best load testing times of any host that we tested, which shows that WP Engine will make a great option even for high-traffic websites.

Pricing and General Impressions

WP Engine is definitely not a budget web host. The cheapest plan starts at $30 per month, which gives you top-notch security and high speeds. You can also get two months free if you pay for a year upfront.

Make sure to use our special link to get 20% off your first payment. If you pay for a year, you’ll get a whopping four months free.

Pros

  • Some of the best loading speeds in the business, even in high-traffic situations.
  • Custom scalability options – WP Engine can handle the biggest and meanest of WordPress sites.
  • Exceptional security measures.
  • A support team well-versed in WordPress.

Cons

  • More expensive than a lot of other options.

In Summary

To be frank, WP Engine would probably make the top of this list if it weren’t for a small detail – their prices. This is a web host built for serious WordPress sites that need top-notch speed and security, and their prices reflect that fact. If you have the budget for it, you probably won’t find a better option on this list (except maybe Flywheel).

👉 Our full WP Engine review
💰 Our exclusive 20% off WP Engine coupon

Visit WP Engine

4. InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting is one of the largest names in the world of WordPress hosting. They offer only a few select plans, but plenty of WordPress-exclusive features, including WP-CLI support, a collection of free themes, and automatic backups.

Security and Support Services

Most of the time, InMotion Hosting offers swift support service via live chat, but in some cases, the wait can get quite long. We attribute this to their overwhelming popularity, but it can be jarring if you’re a new customer looking to fix a simple issue.

Despite the (occasionally) erratic wait times, InMotion Hosting’s support is friendly and knowledgeable. We’d even go as far as to say that it’s their strongest point.

Speed Testing Results

TTFB LCP Fully Loaded Load Focus Avg. Load Focus 90%
0.267 s 0.545 s 0.950 s 0.445 s 0.542

InMotion Hosting performed very well in our performance tests, especially when you consider their price. The one-off WebPageTest analysis was very good, especially when it came to LCP. More impressively, though, InMotion Hosting also aced the Load Focus test, which shows that InMotion Hosting can still deliver top-notch performance even in higher-traffic situations.

Pricing and General Impressions

InMotion Hosting’s managed WordPress hosting plans (which are what we tested) are very competitively priced, starting at $7.99 per month for up to two websites and improved features/performance.

Pros

  • Very good performance, especially when considering the price.
  • A good set of WordPress-specific features, including automatic backups.
  • Very competitive prices for both shared hosting and managed WordPress hosting.

Cons

  • Unpredictable support experience.

In Summary

InMotion Hosting’s standout achievement is its page load times, especially under scale. Beyond that, InMotion Hosting offers a decent set of WordPress-specific features, as well as competitive prices. Sadly, it drops the ball a bit when it comes to their support experience. We would recommend this host to webmasters on a budget who want good performance and are willing to sacrifice a bit when it comes to support.

💰 Our exclusive 40%+ off InMotion Hosting coupon

Visit InMotion Hosting

5. WPX Hosting

WPX Hosting

WPX Hosting is an interesting WordPress hosting option because it offers performance that rivals premium managed WordPress hosts like WP Engine and Flywheel, but it doesn’t limit you to a single website on its entry-level plans like those hosts do.

This can make WPX Hosting a great option if you have 2+ sites as you can save a lot of money vs hosts like WP Engine and Flywheel.

Security and Support Services

WPX Hosting offers above-and-beyond support that’s available 24/7 via live chat. They boast a 30-second average response time, which is one of the faster times that you’ll find.

In terms of security, all of their plans come with automatic daily backups, daily malware scans (and free malware removal), DDoS protection, and a built-in firewall.

Speed Testing Results

TTFB LCP Fully Loaded Load Focus Avg. Load Focus 90%
0.182 s 0.814 s 0.844 s 0.437 s 0.580 s

Pricing and General Impressions

WPX Hosting’s plans start at just $24.99 per month for five websites, 10 GB storage, and 100 GB bandwidth. That five website limit is the most unique thing, as most managed WordPress hosts only give you a single site for that price.

One thing to note, though, is that WPX Hosting counts staging sites as “regular” websites for billing purposes. So if you have one live website and one staging site for it, that counts as two websites for billing.

Pros

  • WPX Hosting had excellent performance in both the one-off tests and load testing.
  • You can host multiple websites on the entry-level plan.
  • You get top-notch support.

Cons

  • WPX Hosting counts staging sites as regular sites for billing purposes.
  • The WPX Hosting dashboard isn’t as nice as what Flywheel and WP Engine offer.

In Summary

Overall, WPX Hosting is a great option if you have more than one website and you still want premium performance without breaking the bank. You get performance that can rival WP Engine and Flywheel but at an affordable price that still allows for multiple websites.

👉 Our full WPX Hosting review
💰 Our exclusive 50% off WPX Hosting coupon

Visit WPX Hosting

6. GreenGeeks

GreenGeeks

GreenGeeks is a popular budget web hosting provider that, as the name suggests, has a special focus on using green energy and creating an environmentally-friendly WordPress hosting solution.

That focus doesn’t distract from offering fast load times, though, and GreenGeeks also offers pretty good performance for the price.

Security and Support Services

GreenGeeks offers 24/7 support on all plans via chat, ticket, or phone.

In terms of security, GreenGeeks runs regular malware scans and puts in place proactive firewalls to stop threats before they happen.

Speed Testing Results

TTFB LCP Fully Loaded Load Focus Avg. Load Focus 90%
0.298 s 0.951 s 0.818 s 2.234 s 2.701 s

For the price, GreenGeeks offers pretty solid performance. It’s definitely not up there with Flywheel or WP Engine, but the load times are good for cheap shared hosting and GreenGeeks performed better in the load testing than most other budget hosts. So if you want performance on a very tight budget, GreenGeeks offers good value for the money.

One big factor in GreenGeeks’ solid performance is likely that they use LiteSpeed Server on all their plans.

Pricing and General Impressions

GreenGeeks has very low prices, especially when considering its performance. This makes them a great host for people on a tight budget who still want at least solid performance.

The WordPress hosting plans start at just $2.49 with promo pricing, which includes free backups and a CDN.

Pros

  • Good performance for the price.
  • Uses LiteSpeed Server for improved performance.
  • Very cheap prices, especially with the promo prices.
  • Has a 300% green energy match.

Cons

  • The regular prices are a good bit higher than the promo prices, though it’s still affordable.

In Summary

GreenGeeks is a great budget WordPress. So if money is tight but you don’t want to sacrifice on performance, it can be a good option. The green energy focus is also great for people who want to limit the environmental impact of their website(s).

Visit GreenGeeks

7. Bluehost

Bluehost

Bluehost is one of the biggest and most popular WordPress web hosts around, with a decent variety of plans at mid-to-high prices. WordPress-specific features include dedicated backups and an enhanced cPanel interface.

Security and Support Services

Bluehost offers the SiteLock suite of security tools to its users, which takes care of malware detection, removal, and firewall duties.

Moving on to support, Bluehost provided one of the worst experiences for us. Waiting times for the live chat often stretched beyond half an hour, and from our experiences, the staff isn’t particularly knowledgeable about WordPress.

Speed Testing Results

TTFB LCP Fully Loaded Load Focus Avg. Load Focus 90%
0.236 s 0.993 s 1.308 s 4.569 s 15.818 s

Like HostGator (from the same parent company), Bluehost performed well enough in the one-off test from WebPageTest but had really poor results in the Load Focus test.

This suggests that Bluehost can be fine for low-traffic sites, but will really struggle in high-traffic situations. So if you have a high-traffic site, you’ll probably want to choose one of the hosts that performed better in the Load Focus test.

Pricing and General Impressions

Bluehost doesn’t lead the pack when it comes to speed or support. What they do offer, however, is a wide variety of plans at midrange prices and adequate security features.

You can choose from:

  • Shared WordPress hosting from $2.95 per month.
  • Managed WordPress hosting from $14.95 per month.
  • WooCommerce (eCommerce) hosting from $12.95 per month.

You also get a very beginner-friendly dashboard and setup experience, which makes it easy to get up and running with a site. This part makes them appealing for beginners who might feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to start a WordPress website.

Pros

  • A good suite of security features.
  • A decent variety of WordPress plans.
  • Very user-friendly dashboard and onboarding process.

Cons

  • Very poor performance in the load tests and the one-off tests were just “ok”.
  • The support team takes ages to respond to queries.

In Summary

Bluehost is far from the lead when it comes to WordPress hosting. That being said, it offers a very user-friendly experience and a wide variety of WordPress hosting plans to choose from. This can still make it a viable option for beginners who value ease of use and low prices over top-notch speeds and support.

👉 Our full Bluehost review
💰 Our exclusive 30% off Bluehost coupon

Visit Bluehost

8. DreamHost

DreamHost

Most web hosts focus on either regular or managed WordPress plans, but not DreamHost. They offer plans of all different kinds, from stripped-bare shared hosting plans to superior managed plans replete with all the bells and whistles.

Security and Support Services

DreamHost offered decent support times. You can connect with a live chat agent in a matter of minutes – approximately six, in our case – and the support reps were fairly knowledgeable about WordPress security.

Speed Testing Results

TTFB LCP Fully Loaded Load Focus Avg. Load Focus 90%
1.372 s 1.657 s 2.000 s 2.359 s 3.632 s

DreamHost performed “ok”, but you can definitely see the drop-off in performance between it and more expensive hosts. One bright spot was the load test – DreamHost performed a lot better than HostGator and Bluehost under scale, though it was still way behind hosts like WP Engine and WPX Hosting.

Pricing and General Impressions

DreamHost fills a particular niche when it comes to WordPress hosting. They offer a decent service at reasonable prices:

  • $16.95 per month for managed WordPress hosting
  • Cheap shared plans from $2.59 per month for annual billing or $4.95 per month with month-to-month billing.

However, DreamHost won’t blow you out of the water with any particular feature.

Pros

  • Offers a simple choice between two WordPress plans – one shared (single site or unlimited sites), and one managed.
  • Good support response times and knowledgeable staff.
  • Offers cheap month-to-month billing even on the shared WordPress plans, whereas most other budget hosts make you pay for at least a year upfront.

Cons

  • The load times weren’t great.

In Summary

DreamHost offers a unique experience when it comes to WordPress hosting. It offers only two plans: one shared, and one managed. Their service is decent, except when it comes to loading times. We can only recommend this host to users who don’t want to choose between too many plans and aren’t too concerned with loading times.

Or, it can be a good option if you’re looking for cheap month-to-month payments.

👉 Our full DreamHost review

Visit DreamHost

9. A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting is a popular budget web host that offers affordable shared WordPress hosting. One of the unique things about A2 Hosting is that they offer LiteSpeed Server on their high-tier “Turbo” shared plans, which can offer big performance improvements over the cheaper plans that we tested.

Security and Support Services

A2 Hosting offers 24/7 support on all of their plans. You can get support via phone, live chat, or email.

In terms of security, they offer automatic backups on higher-tier plans along with built-in security rules.

Speed Testing Results

TTFB LCP Fully Loaded Load Focus Avg. Load Focus 90%
0.932 s 1.416 s 1.351 s 5.774 s 7.308 s

Unfortunately, A2 Hosting disappointed in both the one-off WebPageTest analysis and the load testing from Load Focus. With that being said, you would likely have much better results if you used one of A2 Hosting’s Turbo servers powered by LiteSpeed server. So if you’re considering A2 Hosting, you might want to spring for those Turbo servers.

Pricing and General Impressions

While the A2 Hosting plan that we tested didn’t do great in the speed tests, it does have the advantage of being very affordable. The shared plans start at just $2.99 per month. Or, you can upgrade to the Turbo LiteSpeed Server plans starting at just $9.99 per month.

Pros

  • Very low prices, especially for the cheapest plans.
  • Offers LiteSpeed Server on their Turbo plans.

Cons

  • A2 Hosting didn’t perform very well in our tests.

In Summary

A2 Hosting offers very affordable hosting, but the performance was disappointing so you’ll probably want to only go with the cheap shared plans if you’re on a tight budget. With that being said, the Turbo plans offer much-improved performance if you can afford them.

👉 Our full A2 Hosting review
💰 Our exclusive 51%+ off A2 Hosting coupon

Visit A2 Hosting

Performance Analysis

To make it easier to see how the different hosts compare in terms of performance, we’ll rank them in order from fastest to slowest for two metrics:

  • Fully loaded time (WebPageTest)
  • Load Focus average response time

Fully Loaded Time:

  1. Flywheel – 0.542 s
  2. WP Engine – 0.739 s
  3. HostGator – 0.770 s
  4. GreenGeeks – 0.818 s
  5. WPX Hosting – 0.844 s
  6. InMotion Hosting – 0.950 s
  7. Bluehost – 1.308 s
  8. A2 Hosting – 1.351 s
  9. DreamHost – 2.000 s

Load Focus Average Response:

  1. WP Engine – 0.347 s
  2. Flywheel – N/A (but likely rank here)
  3. WPX Hosting – 0.437 s
  4. InMotion Hosting – 0.445 s
  5. GreenGeeks – 2.234 s
  6. DreamHost – 2.359 s
  7. HostGator – 3.908 s
  8. Bluehost – 4.569 s
  9. A2 Hosting – 5.774 s

Conclusion

Having covered each web host in detail, there’s nothing left to do but rank the nine WordPress hosts we’ve discussed. We’ve included an informative snippet alongside each to help you make your final decision:

  1. HostGator: the top spot is HostGator’s thanks to its low prices and fast one-off speeds for low-traffic sites. To get the most value for your money, stick with the Starter plan if you can.
  2. Flywheel: A good pick for users that take security very seriously and won’t need to host multiple WordPress sites.
  3. WP Engine: If you’re looking for a bit more power than the rest of our picks (and can afford the accompanying premium price), look no further.
  4. InMotion Hosting: A great budget option that performed well in our tests. A little more expensive than HostGator, but offers better performance under scale.
  5. WPX Hosting: A great option if you want premium features and performance but you have multiple sites.
  6. GreenGeeks: A solid budget option that offers good performance for the price.
  7. DreamHost: A no-fuss hosting provider at reasonable prices. Performance is mediocre, though.
  8. BlueHost: Is very beginner-friendly but has mediocre performance and support.
  9. A2 Hosting – can be a good option with the Turbo plans, but there are better options otherwise.

Which WordPress web host are you leaning towards? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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