Whether you’re starting a new blog on WordPress for the first time, or moving your blog from another platform to self-hosted WordPress, choosing a hosting company for your blog can be one of the toughest decisions to make, especially if you’ve never used a web host or purchased hosting before.
As a new blogger choosing a host for your blog, these in my opinion are the things you’re going to want from your host:
- Outstanding Tech Support
- Fast Servers
- cPanel Access
- Uptime Record
- Tools to make your site even faster and more secure
- Value for Money
Since you’re probably going to be in the Shared Hosting price range when you’re starting out, these things are super important in helping you succeed with your new blog or site.
Let’s face it, most articles on choosing the best host or comparing hosting companies that rank high in Google search results are there for two reasons – 1) to rank high in search results (yes the articles are usually keyword driven and written only to rank high, ie – the information is generally useless), and 2) to make money through affiliate marketing. In other words, they’re only going to compare and recommend hosting companies that will earn them a commission if you click on one of their links and sign up for the hosting they recommend. So they’re not going to recommend any hosting companies that aren’t going to pay them. It’s a sad truth, but that’s the world of internet marketing for you.
Because of this, it’s hard to trust any website giving a review on hosting. To be extra clear, we here at Blogger2WP.com also use affiliate marketing to help pay the bills, and our recommendations on hosting in this post may also earn us a commission at no extra cost to you.
The difference here is, I’m writing based our experience in migrating over 400 blogs to WordPress, our experiences with various hosting companies, and independent surveys from various Facebook group polls.
The Short Version
Without having to read through the rest of the article I’m going to quickly mention our top choice for hosting, SiteGround. As you read through the post (if you want – maybe you trust us enough), you’ll see why.
As a close second, we also recommend GreenGeeks for their similar service, uptime, technology, environmentally friendly hosting, but mostly for their monthly payment options, which is rare in this industry.
Who we don’t recommend… Bluehost, HostGator, and any of the related EIG companies. Why? In a nutshell, quality of service, quality of support, and reports of how they treat their support staff.
Why Choose SiteGround as Your Host for Your New WordPress Blog?
Lots of reasons actually, but if you’re a new blogger or new to self-hosted WordPress, it would say the level of support is going to be your number one reason for choosing them. Besides the fact that their servers are fast, software is up-to-date, and tons of freebies like Cloudflare, daily backups, etc., you’re going to want support to help you do things you don’t know how to do yourself, or when things do go wrong – and they do!
Let’s face it, you’re a blogger, you write, you take pictures, you post, and you’re busy building followers and trying to monetize your blog. You don’t have time for technical server issues. You need to be able to have instant access to competent technical support, and simply get your issue resolved. In my opinion, this is the number one factor for when choosing the best hosting for your new blog.
Every single time I’ve needed support from SiteGround I’ve never waited longer than 2 minutes for a chat to start. SiteGround support is the best support of any host I’ve worked with. Period.
And they fix your issues, fast! Trust me, I’ve been on chat support with the likes of BlueHost, HostGator, and others. After waiting up to 20 minutes during peak times for a chat to start, there a pauses in-between replies that seem like minutes, the support person is usually not very knowledgeable and you could easily spend and hour or two trying to resolve an issue, if you’re lucky.
Having moved hundreds of blogs for users over to WordPress, using many different hosting companies, SiteGround has always been the best and easiest host to work with. Their live chat support is always available, and they’re usually online in chat in less than a minute. Other than WordPress.com, I have not seen such responsive support from any other hosting company. As a new blogger, this is the biggest reason you need SiteGround as your hosting company – so you have the support when you need it!
SiteGround’s infrastructure was designed for speed. And yes, they’re fast! Consider these options:
- SSD Drives – SiteGround uses SSD drives on all their shared hosting plans. What is that you say? Well, instead of a regular hard drive – they use solid state drives (SSD) – it’s like computer memory – so about 1,000 times faster than the regular hard drive in your laptop.
- HTTP/2 Server protocol – This is a new technology supported by all modern browsers, and significantly increases the speed at which your blogs pages load in a browser. SiteGround was one of the first hosts to implement HTTP/2 – and since HTTP/2 requires an SSL certificate on your site to run, they include one for free!
- PHP7 – WordPress was written using the PHP language, and every new version of PHP that’s released is tons faster than the previous. SiteGround always introduces the latest version as soon as it’s released – keeping your new WordPress blog running as fast as possible, but also giving you the opportunity to choose the version you want to run.
- NGINX and SuperCacher – NGINX (pronounced engine-x) is the latest and fasted web server technology, and coupled with their SuperCacher plugin, SiteGround is able to increase the speed at which they serve your content to your site visitors.
- Cloudflare CDN – Besides improving the security of your site, Cloudflare CDN caches your sites content on their servers located all over the world. This way, no matter how far away your blog visitors are from your blog’s server location, there’s fewer connections for the browser to navigate through, resulting in faster blog loading times. Oh yeah, SiteGround makes it available for free! And easy to setup too!
Managing your blog’s server and having access to basic and advanced tools is important. Not all hosts use cPanel, and in our experience, not having a cPanel, or some other server management platform, is a massive hinderance to properly managing your server.
Wether it’s the file manager, phpMyAdmin, Email setup, AWStats, etc., it’s critical to have access to these tools to be able to properly manage your new WordPress blog.
I don’t think this needs much explaining – but believe it or not, some hosting companies have appalling records with Uptime. Can you imaging some one is trying to visit your blog and it won’t load! All because your host is down for maintenance – Again! – or worst yet, due to old technology or security features – gets hit with malware and brings the servers down for hours at a time.
As one of the best in the industry, SiteGround can boast a 99.99% uptime record! Without going into too many boring details, they use various technologies such as:
- Linux Containers (LXC)
- Pro-active Server Monitoring
- Automatic Backup System and Instant Backups On Demand
- a Unique Anti-bot AI
- Secure Account Isolation
If you are interested in the boring techy details, you can read more about them here. Plus, here’s a screenshot of actual uptime stats from some of the sites we manage:
I’ve mentioned some of these already, but these are some of free tools you get with SiteGround, and another reason to choose SiteGround as your host for your new blog:
- WordPress Migrator plugin – it doesn’t much easier than this to migrate a site to SiteGround
- Daily Backups with 1-Click restorations
- Free SSL certificates
- Free Cloudflare CDN
- Data Centers on three continents
- Option for a dedicated IP address
- Dynamic caching exclusive for WordPress
- SiteGround’s SuperCacher plugin
- WordPress auto updates
- Staging sites on the GoGeek plan
- Host multiple sites – if you want
- PCI compliance for eCommerce on the GoGeek plan
- PHP Version manager
- FTP and SSH access
I talked about the fact we’ve moved over 400 blogs to WordPress on using many different hosting companies, and when we looked at the overall cost of implementing those blogs, and the fact that we don’t have to pay for additional tools or premium plugins, like premium caching plugins, backup plugins, a CDN, etc., you cannot beat the value included in hosting plans that start as little as $3.95 per month. With the not-so-good-hosts-and-horrible-support provided by the likes of Bluehost and Hostgator offering hosting for the same amount per month, it’s clear SiteGround offers the best value and should be your choice as a host for your new WordPress blog or website.
Now compare that $3.95 price per month to what are considered some of the top hosting companies in business. Like WP Engine that starts at $35 per month, Cloudways at $10 per month, and Lyrical Host at $10 per month – even if the speed is fast, and even if the support is as good (they’re not, btw) – the cost to get started is prohibitive and not the best choice for hosting your new WordPress blog or site, especially if you’re just starting out and not sure about your commitment to blogging.
Social Proof to Help You Choose The Best Host for Your New Blog
One way to truly find out which hosting companies everyone else is using for their new WordPress blogs is to scan through a few of the more popular and reliable WordPress hosting or blogging Facebook groups.
Now, before dropping a question in one of the groups asking which is the best host, just know you will get 50 responses with 50 different answers. Why? Well, you’ll get affiliates dropping their own links – trying to get a quick referral, you’ll get reps from the smaller – and not worth the hassle – hosting companies lurking in the group trying to lure you to their hosting, or, you’ll get that one user who swears by the host they use – but have never used another host, so they have no way of actually knowing which host is the better.
With the fear of repeating myself too much, I’ll say again – we’ve moved over 400 blogs for our customers, more than half of which have been to SiteGround, and by far the best and easiest host to work with has been SiteGround, so we can definitely agree with some of these polls shown below. Here’s some examples:
Here’s a screen shot of one survey in the Facebook group ProBlogger Community clearly showing SiteGround several orders of magnitude higher than Hostgator and Bluehost when it comes to achieving 99% uptime:
Here’s another from the WordPress Hosting group asking about the “best host”. Again, SiteGround is miles ahead, and Bluehost and Hostgator are barely even on the board:
And I’ll share this last one, a comment from a developer who moved a site for a client to SiteGround, showing a page loading speed of three times faster!!! without making any other changes:
Why We Don’t recommend Bluehost, Hostgator, or any EIG Company
When it comes to hosting, the cost of maintaining the latest technology and providing good support to users can be quite high. Some years ago, a corporate conglomerate company called Endurance International Group started buying up hosting companies, hoping to consolidate resources on all fronts and save money in the process.
Well, as with any large conglomerate – the big boys sit at the top of their ivory tower and call the shots, and not being at ground level, forget their most important asset are their clients. They make changes to policies, consolidate support staff, pack more sites on to servers, and are slow to approve updates to technology – ultimately affecting the service they offer.
Bluehost, Hostgator, and 81 other hosting or hosting related companies under the EIG umbrella have now succumbed to the corporate mentally and offer their clients at best, mediocre server performance and spotty support. Plus they keep their brands separate, so if you’ve had enough of one of their companies services and decide to move – you could very well end up signing up for one of their sister companies – pulling the wool over your eyes so to speak – so they still win.
This is one of the main reasons I can’t recommend Bluehost or any of the EIG companies for your best hosting choice for your new blog.
I’ll stick with my smaller companies, offering great service and performance, and the best hosting support money can buy. And that’s SiteGround, with a close second for GreenGeeks and their monthly payment option.
Monthly payment option
When you’re first starting out with blogging, a one time payment for hosting a year in advance can see a bit steep, especially if you’re not sure how you’re going to make out on your new venture. This is exactly one of the reasons why we think starting out on WordPress.com can be a good choice.
However, if you’re still intent on going self-hosted, but not ready to shell out an annual commitment for hosting on your new blog, there are a few companies that do offer a monthly payment option. While may have average performance and horrible support, the one we think that comes close to that of our top pick is GreenGeeks.
Why do we think GreenGeeks is a good choice as a host for your new WordPress blog? Well…
- Technology – on par with SiteGround – SSD drives, HTTP/2, PHP7, PowerCacher, etc
- Uptime – they’re up in the 99.99% range as well
- Service – while not at the same level as SiteGround, their staff is knowledgeable and quick to respond
- Environmentally friendly hosting – with a focus on power reduction, investment in renewable energy, etc.
Now, while their plans do start out at a comparable cost, take note that going with a monthly payments does increase the per month price, and this is to be expected in order to cover their upfront costs with those that decide to pull out early. However, it does give you the option to commit monthly, and not for a full year in one go.
And lastly, we had the following list of 15 Reasons Why You Need SiteGround Hosting for Your New Blog up on another page on our site that we’ve since taken down, so thought it would be good idea to include here as a summary, for your reading pleasure 😉
Disclosure: Some of the links in this page are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we may receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you – which helps to keep the lights on, and bringing you great content.