Developing your own WordPress blog or website can be an incredibly fun and exciting thing to do on the internet and there are no start-up costs involved. However, if you want the best speeds and largest storage available with little to no downtime, it can start to get a bit pricey, as some of the best plans available have hefty price-tags attached that may deter you from upgrading beyond WordPress's free hosting and leave you stuck with a sub-par website.
It's also incredibly hard for the average person to determine what's a good hosting service and what isn't, let alone finding a cheap option. This doesn't have to be the case though, this article will help you explore new options for cheap web-hosting while still ensuring these services have excellent performance. A lot of the WordPress-hosting services we'll be looking at boast excellent ratings from consumers and offer an amazing balance of affordability and performance, meaning you'll get the best bang for your buck possible. To put it simply, we don't want people stuck with a sub-par free option, and we want everyone to explore some fairly cheap, yet high-performing, web hosts that can take your WordPress blog or website to the next level. We'll provide you with the average customer review score, the support capabilities of the web-host, performance scores on things like loading speed, individual plan options and lastly, the most important of all, the price. At the end of the article, we'll provide you with which ones we think are the best and which ones we feel aren't as great to ensure you review your options thoroughly.
How We'll Compare Each WordPress Hosting Provider
There are going to be a lot of different hosts we cover and we will be evaluating them on many different criteria, so we want to make sure you understand how we're rating each provider. To test the speed of the site, we had a third-party use Load Impact and Pingdom. Pingdom will measure load speeds from a single user, while Load Impact tests the site with a heavier load by simulating 25 visitors to the site for five minutes. The sites being used for testing are just the normal installation of a WordPress website, so they have no themes or plug-ins that could affect loading speeds, which makes sure we're only testing the host and nothing else. We'll also check how often hosts experience downtime to test overall reliability. So, let's finally get into it so you can find the best web-hosting provider while on a budget.
The WordPress Recommended Host, Bluehost
Bluehost is a hosting company that's actually officially recommended by WordPress itself and offers options specifically for WordPress. This makes it an incredibly convenient option if you want to get started with hosting right away. It offers a simple-to-use control panel to manage the services they're providing, so you can add and remove features you may or may not need on the fly. It also provides WordPress-specific features so you can get your WordPress site out to the public immediately. These features include free themes, tons of plugins including the widely popular WooCommerce plugin, traffic and marketing monitoring, 50GB of storage, a one-click WordPress install and a shared SSL certificate. It's cheapest plan is offered at $2.95 a month, with limited time sales and offers sometimes lowering that price. All of their plans also come with a free domain name, which makes it an even better deal. Lastly, it's one of the most popular options for website-hosting in general and many websites all over the internet depend on it for its reliability.
Bluehost's Customer Support
Bluehost offers both 24/7 customer support and a full help center that covers frequently asked questions and common issues. Their customer support team is happy to help with the set-up of a website, guidance for building traffic and how to help it succeed, as well as assistance with any technical issues that may plague your website.
The Performance and Reliability of Bluehost
From our third-party's testing, we can see that Bluehost is fairly reliable with little-to-no downtime and high speeds from US-based locations, with somewhat slower speeds from areas outside of the US. The tests with Pingdom reported a 0.85 second response time from New York, a 2.14 seconds response time from Melbourne and a 1.8 second respond time from Stockholm. The testing from Load Impact showed that it does load a bit slower under pressure though. with a maximum response time of 4.9 seconds from the Palo Alto area in the US. These obviously aren't the fastest speeds in the business, but these are still decent and have a pretty good bang for their buck. Bluehost's up-time is amazing though, maintaining a 100% up-time in most of 2018 and only ever dropping to 99.99% up-time in May 2018, giving it an overall up-time of 99.99% annually, so it is incredibly reliable and is an amazing choice for your WordPress site because of that alone.
Overall Pricing and Features for Bluehost Plans and an Overview of Bluehost as a Web-Hosting Provider
Now, hopefully, you can explore all of the plans and features Bluehost offers after we provide a brief summary of their pricing. The first thing you should recognize is that they offer a free domain name with the purchase of any plan, which is a pretty good deal and not something that all web-hosting providers will give you. You should also know that a lot of their pricing assumes that you'll pay for two or three years of hosting up-front. Their basic plan starts at $2.95 a month. It supports one website, 50GB of storage, comes with tools to help set up your WordPress website, provides email accounts linked to the domain they give you, unmetered bandwidth and the option to add 25 sub-domains. They're also offering plus and choice plus plans, both priced at $5.45 a month because of a promotion they're running. Both of them come with all the features of a basic subscription, as well as unlimited storage, unlimited sub-domains and unlimited emails linked to the free domain they give you. They also give you $200 in marketing credit if you plan to build an e-commerce site or a site based around your business. The difference is that plus only comes with spam filtering, while choice plus bundles spam filtering, domain privacy, and their CodeGuard feature together. Choice plus also comes with the option to back-up your site and a dedicated SSL certificate. It's also worth recognizing that Bluehost offers some of the best prices for storage space compared to competitors. Lastly, their ratings with WordPress users are at 3.42/5 and their overall rating from all of their users is 3.97/5
Overall, Bluehost provides excellent pricing with decent reliability and speed, as well as the added themes and plugins that allow you to get your WordPress site or blog up and running right away. These themes and plugins make them an excellent option for beginners as well. The added benefit of getting a free domain name with all of their plans is also excellent.
The Next Recommended WordPress-Host, SiteGround
Tons of people regard SiteGround as one of the best WordPress hosts on the market and as we explore its speed and reliability, you'll see why. They are recommended by WordPress, just like Bluehost, and they offer WordPress specific features like automatic installation of WordPress, the free transfer of your WordPress site if you were hosting it on a different provider or you were still using WordPress's free plan and constant security and updates that protect against common WordPress exploits. They also offer a full toolkit if you're a more advanced user of WordPress so you can control your PHP version, SSH access and more.
SiteGround's Customer Service and Support
SiteGround, just like Bluehost, offers 24/7 customer support that's fast and responsive, as well as offering a full knowledge center to help with any issues or questions you may have about setting up and running your website. Their customer support can also be accessed in a variety of ways, whether it be through live chat, phone calls or email.
SiteGround Has Amazing Speed and Reliability
The speed of SiteGround's service is honestly quite impressive for the cost of their service, you should really look into them if you want top-notch speed at a low price. When we looked at the third-party's speed testing we were a bit blown away, as SiteGround offers pretty good speeds for their somewhat-small price tag. The site offered response times of 0.9 seconds for New York, 0.65 seconds for Stockholm and 3.44 seconds for Melbourne when testing a single user with Pingdom. The Load Impact test shows the most impressive results though, as it only had a maximum response time of 1.33 seconds from a simulated load based in Portland, USA, while its minimum response time is 1.09 seconds. This shows that SiteGround's hosting can maintain traffic on the site without issue, so if you're planning to have an incredibly active site, which you probably should, this is a good sign. Their up-time is also great with their domains being up 99.9% of the time, so they're very reliable. Of course, SiteGround's speeds still aren't the absolute best in the market, but they are impressive for the price they're offering. It's also quite nice that it has similar speeds for the US and Europe, so it isn't just good speeds in one area.
SiteGround Overview and Pricing
You've now seen that SiteGround is a pretty reliable and fast web-hosting service, but what is its pricing like? Their pricing for their plan starts at $3.95 a month with their StartUp plan offering 10 GB of storage per one website, an email linked to whichever domain you register with their services, and WordPress specific features like automatic installation and WordPress CLI and SSH. This is an excellent starting point if you plan to start a website for your small, local business or your personal blog. Next is their GrowBig plan, which is priced at an affordable $5.95 a month. This offers support for unlimited website hosting (If you plan to have multiple domains), 20 GB of storage and all of the StartUp plan's features. It also comes with a back-up service, priority customer and technical support, a SuperCacher to increase their already respectable speeds and a carefully monitored professional WordPress transfer. Lastly, there is their not-so-affordable GoGeek plan, priced at $11.95 a month. This comes with all of the features of the previous plans as well as 30 GB of storage. It also comes with advanced WordPress-specific features like pre-installed Git for WordPress, a higher allocation of server resources and 1-Click WordPress staging.
Now, SiteGround's prices for storage are a little bit higher than competitors, so that's the first thing you should recognize with their hosting service. They also don't provide free domain registration with their service, so that'll be something that will be costing you extra. However, they offer incredibly good speeds for the price of their services, which can be even faster if you're okay with spending some extra money, so we feel like they're a good choice if you're planning on your WordPress site has a bit more traffic. They do come with SSL certificates as well. Overall though, they may not be the cheapest service that we're mentioning and their storage could be improved when compared to Bluehost's, but they do offer faster speeds all over the globe, high reliability, good up-time and maintained speeds under heavier loads. Because of this, they're a good choice if you plan on having a site that provides a consistent experience to all of its visitors. By the way, their user ratings are also incredibly impressive, so you would probably be incredibly satisfied with the services that SiteGround offers. They have a rating of 4.45/5 with WordPress customers and a rating of 4.6/5 with all of their customers.
The Cheapest Option for Hosting Your WordPress Site or Blog, GoDaddy
GoDaddy is nothing new in the hosting market, as they are one of the biggest names in the entire website hosting business. They, like Bluehost, offer a free domain with registration on their site as well, so that's an added plus that will save you money. They also offer tons of WordPress specific features like the other hosts we've mentioned in the article, like one-click migration if you already have a WordPress site, an automatic installation of WordPress and automatic updates to WordPress software, as well as the added bonus of pre-built sites available after you purchase one of their web hosting plans. Lastly, they offer daily back-ups with simple 1-click restores on some of their pricier plans if anything ever happens to your website, so you don't need to worry about losing large amounts of information to a devastating outage.
GoDaddy's Customer Support
GoDaddy also offers a full knowledge/help center and a 24/7 customer support center, just like the other hosts we've provided so far. However, they also offer a money-back guarantee that will refund your money if their services' up-time ever falls below 99.9%. An uuptime below 99.9% is something that's incredibly rare for any hosting provider, but it is still important to know the guarantee is there if it ever does happen. Free set-up help, tips and tricks are also available through their help center and their customer service representatives, so if you're new to WordPress and web hosting in general, you can be confident that they will help.
GoDaddy Offers Excellent Reliability and Speed
We were impressed again by GoDaddy's speed and stress testing results, as they are very effective for the “cheapest” WordPress-hosting provider. Our third-party's test with Pingdom showed a loading speed of 0.87 seconds in New York, 1.49 seconds in Amsterdam and 1.83 seconds in Melbourne. Stress testing with Load Impact from simulated users based in Palo Alto showed a minimum response of 0.63 seconds and a maximum response of 0.83 seconds. This is the fastest stress-test out of the other providers we've mentioned, so GoDaddy may be the best option if you're planning on a site that receives heavy traffic. These speeds aren't the fastest speeds available in the market, but they are fairly strong and consistent for GoDaddy's incredibly cheap price, showing little to no variance in speed regardless of location and the number of visitors on the site. Their up-time however, is a little disappointing, as it had an average of 99.96% up-time during 2018, which is a bit worse then the other providers we've covered and might show that GoDaddy doesn't hold up on their “99.9% uptime or your money back guarantee.” However, this still isn't bad and it's fairly decent, and their speeds do speak for themselves, so GoDaddy is still a good choice if you want your website to be consistently fast with load times.
The Cost of GoDaddy and an Overview of Their Service
GoDaddy is the cheapest WordPress-host on our list of recommended hosts, with their basic plan starting at $2.49 a month. As stated before, it also includes a free domain name, however you can only get a free domain if you purchase a year of hosting up-front. It's also important to recognize that the price on their basic plans shoots up to $8.99 a month after you renew it, so it becomes much less affordable. Their basic plan comes with their aforementioned WordPress-specific features, 10GB of storage, one email account linked to your domain, a malware and spyware tool to protect both you and your customers and support for 25,000 monthly visitors. We are not going to include their deluxe and ultimate plans on this list, as they are too pricey to be considered a budget option at $12.99 and $19.99 respectively.
Although we have been singing the praises of GoDaddy up to this point, there are maybe more start-up costs if you choose to use GoDaddy over a different host, as it doesn't seem to mention including SSL certificates and other typically bundled features like CDN (Content delivery network) and back-ups that usually come with plans that cost $7.99 a month (Which is their non-promotional pricing). In fact, it requires you to purchase an SSL certificate that isn't even dedicated at $74.99 a year; An SSL certificate isn't necessary, but Google is ranking sites that don't have one lower than sites that do, so it could limit traffic. Also, they do provide a email, but other similarly priced hosts on this list offer at least more than one in their plan. They charge $60 a year for each additional email registered to your domain. Now, going back to their 99.9% up-time guarantee, it seems that only applies to the first month of service according to their fine print. The free domain we mentioned is also only free for one year and you would have to pay for it after that. So from what you can see here, yes, GoDaddy is the cheapest WordPress-host available, but there is a reason why it's that cheap. It may have amazing speeds and decent reliability, but they are a bit sneaky with their prices and you may end up paying what you could've spent on another host's premium plan without all the headaches. They are rated 3.5/5 by all of their users and rated 3.3/5 for WordPress-specific customers. You can still use GoDaddy, but we don't completely recommend it because of how many up-sells that they could try to get out of you.
Our Conclusion? There Are Great and Affordable WordPress-Hosts out There
We looked over three different hosts today: Bluehost, SiteGround and GoDaddy. Bluehost and SiteGround specifically seem to be reliable providers with good prices. On the other hand, GoDaddy seems a tad bit malicious with their hosting service, as it does offer the cheapest price and the best speeds, but they also have a severe lack of features that are only available through paying them additional money or by upgrading to one of their more expensive plans.
Choosing what host you want is entirely your decision and it will depend on what you need for your website. Bluehost offers a free domain and higher storage space, but lower speeds outside of the US and when it's under stress. SiteGround, on the other hand, offers consistently fast speeds under stress and all over the globe, but has higher prices for storage and requires you to purchase your own domain. GoDaddy is still an option too, even though it has some sneaky pricing, as it does have the highest speeds available at a budget. We would still urge you to learn more about GoDaddy before choosing it as your host though, as it could end up being more expensive than Bluehost and SiteGround when you have to purchase a SSL certificate and its pricing does go up after its first renewal. So again, it really depends, if speed and high traffic are something you anticipate when building your website, we would say choose SiteGround. However, if you're planning to host large amounts of content and you don't want to pay too much for the storage of your content, we would say that you should go with Bluehost. It really is entirely up to you and we strongly encourage you to explore other WordPress-hosts that weren't mentioned to see if you can find an even better fit for your website. So, in the end, we strongly recommend Bluehost and SiteGround for your WordPress-hosting needs, but you should find and choose the option that works best for you.