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Good news here: all reputable web hosts can handle WordPress on their lowest level of Linux shared hosting. WordPress does not require anything particularly unusual of the hosting environment, and you do not need a high-priced plan. But be aware: you DO want certain features in your plan that we’ll describe below (which don’t come bundled with all hosts).
To use an analogy, this is like saying you want to buy an automatic transmission vehicle whose gears shift properly: all reputable ones will do so. However, there are other important features in your vehicle that you’ll want to absolutely ensure are bundled in. The same is the case with web hosting: almost all web hosting plans support WordPress, but not all of them will come with all of the extras you’ll need to run your WordPress site smoothly, quickly and easily.
A lot of beginners make the mistake of thinking that they need an especially optimized hosting environment for WordPress. For very large (and I’m talking really large) WordPress sites with a lot of traffic, you are perfectly right that this would be the case, but if you are just starting out then any reputable hosting plan will do, truly. Of course, you’ll want to be sure that the web host also offers higher-level plans so that they can move you up as your needs increase (all of the hosts below do). My advice is to start out on the smallest level of shared hosting and then move up as needed. There is no need to spend extra hard-earned cash when you’re starting out.
We have 4 affordable recommendations for WordPress hosting for you for under $10 per month (some under $5) with all of the features that you need, which we’ll mention below.
The features you need in a hosting plan for Wordpress
You’ll want a basic Linux shared hosting package that comes with the following:
Email – Almost all hosts do include email in your plan, but a few well-known WordPress hosts actually don’t. So be careful to pick a host that includes email at your domain.
Cheap or free SSL – With the Chrome updates discouraging http-only sites, you’ll want to be able to use SSL cheaply or for free on your site. Even if you’re not planning on https right away, you’ll want to be able to add it on later without breaking the bank. All the hosts we recommend below support free SSL for your domain via the Let’s Encrypt project, and this is a great way to start your https site.
cPanel – A point-and-click control panel interface. You’ll use it as a faster and more user-friendly alternative to FTP, and for doing all of the back-end tasks of your web hosting account (e.g. setting up email). If you ever get stuck figuring out how to do anything, you can easily find online tutorials available for cPanel more than any other interface. I personally would never pick a host without cPanel.
Softaculous – A point-and-click software installer used by many hosts. You’ll use it to install the WordPress software in just one click, and, even more importantly, you can set it to do backups of your site in case something were to happen. There is no need to have the hassle of installing WordPress manually when so many plans include Softaculous. I’ve also restored my sites in 1 click from a Softaculous backup in under 5 minutes, and can attest it’s the fastest, most user-friendly and most convenient way to restore a site.
“What happens if you don’t have these features?”
You can technically run your site without these 4 features, but it will be inconvenient and time-consuming, and ultimately costly if you decide to buy some of those services elsewhere. To use our car analogy, that’s like saying you’ll pick your automatic transmission car but it doesn’t come with headlights or mirrors. You could technically drive it down the road, but it wouldn’t be safe or convenient.
Reputable cheap hosting recommendations for WordPress that fulfill all the requirements stated above:
1. A2 Hosting
I use A2 Hosting myself for some of my sites. They’re absolutely stellar – incredibly fast load times even on their cheapest level of shared hosting. They have excellent performance and excellent customer service, making them an ideal choice whether you are a beginner or a seasoned developer.
I've also used People's Host and can attest that they handle WordPress flawlessly – take a look at the article where I installed and compared a bunch of different site software for landing pages on People’s Host (this included WordPress). What makes this host awesome is that I never actually had to fill out a support ticket! Everything just worked perfectly. I tested out their live chat just to check the response speed, and they are very fast, so you can expect good customer service there if you ever do have to fill out a support ticket.
I haven't used SiteGround yet myself, but I’m confident they have what I need for when I need an additional web host! I’ve done the research, and they have an excellent reputation in the industry for safety and security.
Where some other hosts fall down
I’ve used 3 other hosts that still fit the above criteria but which I wouldn’t recommend to you. I’m not going to mention them by name. In 2 cases this was because of long response times to support tickets, in 1 case this was because of poor performance of site (extremely slow load times). Basically, a bad host will tend to either do poorly in customer service or in performance (or rarely, in both.) Most hosts will offer a money-back guarantee within the first month; don’t even consider using one that doesn’t offer that guarantee. Getting your money back is nice if it’s not working out, but it’s best to pick a good host to begin with so that you don’t have to rebuild on a new host a few weeks into your site.
Why not BlueHost or GoDaddy?
You’ve probably heard some good things about these two hosts for WordPress hosting. They pay people well to recommend them, which is probably why you’ve heard a lot about them. Of course, if for some reason you want to go with one of these, don’t let me scare you off. But I simply don’t recommend hosts that I wouldn’t use myself. I’ll explain here why:
BlueHost doesn’t offer Softaculous. They do offer cPanel, but not Softaculous, which would be a dealbreaker for anyone wanting to run multiple sites.
GoDaddy I wouldn’t recommend because I feel their hosting is overpriced compared to what you get. As far as I can tell from their specs, it doesn’t even come with cPanel which is a huge disadvantage, also email isn’t even free after the first year. You can get a much better deal at any of the hosts I recommended above. If you like GoDaddy’s low bottom-line pricing, then at least take a look at A2 Hosting - you’ll get ever so much more for an almost identical price point.
The bottom line is: don’t spend more than you need to when you’re starting out. WordPress does not require anything unusual of the hosting environment. Start off on the lowest level of shared hosting; you can always move up as your site grows. You should pick a plan that includes email, cPanel, Softaculous, and cheap or free SSL. Our top four recommendations for shared hosting that supports WordPress and also includes those other 4 features are: A2 Hosting, People's Host and SiteGround.
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