Web Hosting Review: So Just Who is the Best?

There are hundreds of thousands of web hosts out there and choosing just one is no easy task.

So to help you get your head around what’s out there, we posted comprehensive reviews of five of the most popular web hosts – Page.ly, Bluehost, Go Daddy, DreamHost and WP Engine – over the past two weeks. The reviews investigated each of the web host’s features, usability, speed and reliability, cost and support to help you decide which host would best suit you.

featured-image-hosts

To look back at the reviews in this series:

The reviews have certainly generated a lot of discussion in the comments on each review and on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you to everyone who has left comments about their experiences with each host on each of the reviews. While I would loved to have reviewed each company over several months with a huge, resource-intensive site to really put the hosts through their paces, it just wasn’t possible. Comments and feedback, particularly from readers who have held accounts with the hosts for a long period of time, have given fellow readers better insight into what to expect when signing up with each host.

So without further ado, the final results!

Cost

Web hosting review price ratings

Winner: Bluehost

Loser: WP Engine

No surprises here. Bluehost’s plans are dirt cheap, but at the end of the day you get what you pay for.

Of all the hosts I reviewed, Bluehost’s Shared, Dedicated and VPS hosting plans were the least expensive, with Shared plans starting at just $4.95 a month. Go Daddy’s cheap as chips plans weren’t too far behind, though the company’s VPS and Dedicated Server plans were pricier.

At the other end of the scale, WP Engine was the most expensive at $29 a month for a basic Pesonal plan and just one WordPress install.

As hosting plans get cheaper and cheaper with supposedly unlimited features, it makes you wonder: how low can they go?

Features

Web hosting review feature

Winner: WP Engine

Loser: Page.ly

WP Engine easy beat its competitors for the top spot with its feature-rich plans, which include WordPress-specific support, hacks fixed for free, one-click backup and restore, staging area and bundled CDN.

The fact is, though, that you pay a pretty penny for the privilege of having these features.

Page.ly came in last. While the host does offer fantastic security through FireHost, automatic nightly backups and WordPress-specific support, I rated other hosts higher for maintaining their own hardware and security.

Usability

Web hosting review usabilty

Winner: Page.ly

Loser: Go Daddy

Page.ly hosting is super easy to use, from signing up for an account on the website to logging into the Atomic Core in your WordPress admin panel to checking your support tickets. The Atomic Core definitely wins brownie points for its convenience in the admin panel.

Also, the fact Page.ly is a managed host makes the company’s services all the more easy to use because there isn’t much you need to manage – Page.ly does it all for you.

Go Daddy lost points for asking for personal details – copies of passport and credit card – when signing up.

Customer Service

Web hosting review customer service

Winners: Page.ly and Go Daddy

Losers: Bluehost, DreamHost and WP Engine

With so many web hosts now offering cheap hosting plans with a decent range of features, support has become a make or break feature for many users who now expect 24/7 customer service.

While Page.ly has limited support hours during Pacific Standard Time, I found their support team fast, polite and detailed in their responses, ensuring my support tickets were resolved quickly and to my satisfaction.

Go Daddy was also quick to respond to my support requests. While many users have reported issues with the host’s customer service, I found their team informative and detailed in their replies to my emails.

Of the losers, I must admit WP Engine didn’t give me the run around like Bluehost and DreamHost. I was frustrated that WP Engine support tickets were closed so quickly, particularly as I’m based in a timezone outside the United States. In the WP Engine review, the company’s co-founder Ben Metcalfe commented that a new person is now being added to the support team each week, which should make support much faster.

Speed

Web hosting review speed

Winners: Page.ly and WP Engine

Loser: Bluehost

Page.ly led the charge with its blazingly fast response times, but WP Engine wasn’t far behind with its solid uptime results.

Load time is a major contributing factor to page abandonment. According to Kissmetrics, the average user doesn’t have the patience to stick around when a site is taking too long to load, meaning loading time can affect your bottom line. A total of 47 per cent of customers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. 40 per cent abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Even just a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7 per cent reduction in conversions. So for an e-commerce site making $100,000 a day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales each year.

Bluehost was the slowest of the bunch and my test site experienced unexplained outages. If you’re running an e-commerce site you might not want to register with Bluehost.

Overall Winner

Web hosting review overall ratings

And the winner is… Page.ly!

Page.ly offers a consistent managed hosting service that takes the hassle out of running a WordPress website.

Despite the company’s its teeny tiny support team of just two people and their limited opening hours, tickets are resolved quickly.

I was impressed with Page.ly’s speed and ease of use. Of all the hosts I reviewed, Page.ly was the the most pleasant hosting company I dealt with. It’s their personable and friendly approach that sets them apart from the hosting corporate giants that treat customers like numbers.

Bluehost goes home with the wooden spoon, scoring below par for each of our review criteria, other than price.

In the end it was a close race. While some hosts excelled in areas like speed and customer service, others offers better features or cheaper prices.

WordPress.org recommends three hosts – Bluehost, DreamHost and Laughing Squid – but it’s best to be mindful when signing up for plans with these companies that their listing is completely arbitrary and includes an interesting array of criteria: contributions to WordPress.org, size of customer base, ease of WordPress auto-install and auto-upgrades, bundling “sane” themes and plugins, avoiding GPL violations, design, tone, presence in forums, historical perception, using the correct logo, capitalizing WordPress correctly, not blaming WordPress.org for security issues and having up-to-date system software.

Summing up, there are many factors to consider when looking for a web host, such as cost, features, usability, customer service and speed,and while this review did pick a winner, it’s always best to decide what you need from a host before committing to a hosting plan. If you have multiple resource-intensive websites, you might not want to go for Bluehost. On the other hand, Go Daddy would do you just fine if you’ve got a popular blog with low traffic, of if you’re after a Managed WordPress solution then you might want to check out Page.ly or WP Engine.

Is Page.ly a deserving winner? Which web hosts do you hate/rate? Have your say in the comments below.

280 Responses

    nomadone

    thanks for this review, very helpful, I have been using Dreamhost for about 6 years and have generally been please but with more advanced needs like wordpress multisite and the need for more resources I’m stumped for choosing just the right solution which is still cost effective enough but with the features I need.

    I host 30+ sites on dreamhost and love the ease of use of their cpanel which other hosts don’t necessarily have. Their VPS plan is a bit pricy though

      h__yavuz_yildirimturk

      I tried both wpengine and websynthesis and I prefer wpengine. Here are the main reasons;

      Reason-1: my speed tests, ping and tracert showed better results at wpengine

      Reason-2: Support is much better at wpengine. They are very helpful and friendly. The support team at websynthesis is not very cooperative, not helpful, and has very rude attitude.

      wpengine also has instant Chat Support you can use anytime.

      Reason-3: wpengine has better back-up system. You can create backup points, then when you need it, you can select a backup and hit “Restore” to restore your site to a previous version instantly. So I always create a new backup points before you I make any changes or add anew plugin etc. I can also download .zip files of my backups for safe keeping.

      So I do not have to pay extra for daily or instant backup services.

      Reason-4: Security; wpengine has their in-house system for vulnerability scanning. They also use SecTheory and Sucuri for external network connections. they scan and monitor your web site and database for known vectors and exploits.

      I am not affiliated with any of the hosting companies. These are my honest opinion and experience after I use them both. Choosing a reliable hosting company, especially the one you feel comfortable contacting them any time for support and advice is very important. I hope this helps for other web site owners.

      Best regards.
      Lewis

      lyken

      Hi Chris

      I’ve had several customers on media temples GS and I would say its much like other shared hosts, its all about which grid you’re on. Their support is great and response times are usually pretty good but if you’re installed on the wrong grid you can have issues with uptime. They do address it and are pretty transparent. Most of my clients who have issues are on the older grids and MT does not provide a way to migrate to a new grid without moving everything yourself.

      The control panel is a bit different to cPanel but they have very complete KB articles for most things. I would recommend MT over dreamhost or bluehost. I do have accounts on both those systems. You would need to setup and maintain your own backups though.

        sara_at_mediatemple

        Thanks for recommending us. :) I’d like to note that, performance across Grid clusters may vary but one will not out perform more than another. All clusters should have the same overall performance. If you’re seeing consistent performance issues, please get in touch with support and reference this thread, we’ll look into it for you!

      blueprint

      If you are using WordPress and you want something Media Temple based used web Synthesis they have great up time and for the $7 more that you pay for GS which in my opinion is not a very good service you can get a much better service from web synthesis FYI Media Temple’s GS Control Panel there Control Panel is made by parallels It’s not bad but it’s still adds more memory use and extra security problems that are not needed. Using a control panel is not something that most WordPress users honestly need managed WordPress hosting takes care of it in a much more elegant and safer way.
      I would’ve liked to seen WP engine, Zippy kid, Pagely, web synthesis, press labs, and get flywheel, compared not two junk hosts (GoDaddy and Blue Host) Verse two Great host WPengine & Pagely This is hardly a fair comparison if you really want the best host-available just spend the money on firehost or Data pipe Granted there not cheap but they’ll stay up and but there great. If you guys compare a managed WordPress hosting company to a generic hosting company especially one that is down right now blue host I really don’t see that as a fair fight they’re not in the same league at all anyone in the world would be happier with a Managed WordPress host Then they would with either Go Daddy blue host or as I’ve heard time and time again Host monster which happens to also be down right now.

      As far as WP engine being put down for support has a customer of theirs and every Manage WordPress host being spoken of I can tell you it’s fantastic support

      EfficientWP

      I’ve been using Synthesis for about a year, and it’s great. Fast, reliable, and unlike WP Engine, they have 24/7 support and phpMyAdmin access. They also have a more favorable pricing structure (for most sites, I think) with regards to the traffic limits on their plans.

      I suspect that the main reason why they don’t get much press is their lack of an affiliate program (as far as I know). WP Engine, on the other hand, gets a lot of mentions because of their crazy $150+ affiliate commission.

        chris_howard

        Whoa! WPEngine provide BOTH 24/7 support and phpMyAdmin access.

        Synthesis’ base plan is slightly cheaper and a bit better value than WPEngine’s, but after that WPEngine gives better value at lower cost.

        For example, you get multisite with WPEngine for $99/mth, whereas Web Synthesis charges $147/mth (although, they aren’t taking new multisites at the moment http://d.pr/i/teU6)

        The misinformation bandied around on here about WPEngine is quite amazing.

        Whether or not WPEngine’s “crazy” affiliate commission is the reason for a lot of the mentions, doesn’t change the fact that by and large, the majority of their clients are very happy.

        I note too, Page.ly and Web Synthesis clients are also very happy.

        It seems to me, you can’t go wrong with any of these three. Just pick the one that suits your plan and budget.

        blueprint

        Web synthesis does have a affiliate program the only managed WordPress hosting company I know that does not is ZippyKid.

        I have accounts with both of them as well and they’re both excellent WordPress hosting companies. As far as the bang for your buck ZippyKid gives you quite a bit.

    nealschaffer

    I have moved around from GoDaddy to Bluehost to HostGator to VPS.Net – and finally moved to WP Engine more than a year ago and could not be more pleased. I am surprised that you do not rank their customer service better as I have found them to be extremely responsive and helpful. Truth be told, when I was looking at WP Engine, I was also considering Page.ly … but the fact that Automattic invested in WP Engine won me over…

      JonDiPietro

      I was a huge HostGator fan for five years and now I can’t get away from them fast enough. Their performance and support have degraded at an alarming rate over the past year. I’ve been moving all of my clients to WP Engine – their platform is awesome but their support is terrible (extremely slow).

      ruben_aguirre

      Andrew, hostgator has been awesome with their 24/7 online and phone support. No more creating tickets and trading emails back and forth. You get help on the spot. 95% of the time, they take care of issues while you’re on the phone/chatbox with them. The other five they push it up to level two and within 24 hours your issues are solved for you. I love hostgator.

      Jeff

      I love Hostgator. I used Godaddy for years, then was referred to Pacific Host because they offered some features I needed for a specific site. That turned out to be a huge mistake, as Pacific Host was, by far, the worst company I’ve ever dealt with in any capacity. So I then tried Hostgator after reading good reviews, and I’ve had no complaints. Their plans are affordable, my sites rarely have any issues and, when they do, Hostgator’s customer service is incredible.

        arqadea

        I’ve had very good luck with HostGator. GoDaddy was a truly terrible hosting experience across the board for me. Their CS people often have no idea what they are talking about and even flat out lie when they don’t know what to say. I seldom get genuinely angry at a company…as they all have “moments”. But HostGator was a super smooth transition, and has been good for the 2-3 year mark now for me. Unless something goes South…I’ll stay with them!

      ils

      We’ve had SHOCKING results with Hostgator for WP sites, both for our development sites and client sites – I won’t even begin to tell you what happened when we installed WP-Multi sites :o

      I would rather use Bluehost than Hostgator for wordpress sites and I rate BlueHost only marginaly above Godaddy.

      I recall our entire reseller account being suspended due to resource use – I stared blankly as they were hardly monster sites and their traffic was barely enough to generate enough google payouts to cover costs…

      We kept using them for flat sites for a couple of months after that but have since moved to dedicated servers for flat sites – I’m thinking of testing WPengine after reading some comments here as $10/site is reasonable if they have some other standard reseller oriented features available – we’ll see…

    ubernaut

    Great article i think you probably gave wp engine too low of marks for customer service though their people over there have been very engaged in my experience and of the managed wp hosting they are the only ones that take phone calls that’s got to count for something.

        doodlebee

        Go Daddy is terrific for domain names – but for hosting, they suck. I used GoDaddy for my own site for several years (when I first started). They were okay, except I had to (initially) “opt out” of the Windows IIS hosting they set me up with (even though I bought Linux). For 5 years, I dealt with constant downtime and server “burps” and slowness. But after 5 years of loyalty, they screwed me over big time. They misplaced a payment, and my site was down for 2 months while I jumped through hoops to prove I made said payment. (even sending faxed copies of statements showing the payment was withdrawn from my account and sent to the correct billing address wasn’t good enough – they wanted a certified copy signed by the bank manager.)

        I also used to be a member of the WordPress “Install4Free” team that was around a few years ago (I don’t know if anyone recalls that group, but I did quite a number of installations of WordPress, on many, many different servers and hosts in the three years I did it), and GoDaddy was one of the worst. THE worst, I shall not name, because we’re not on a “slam hosts” thing, but I can say, without a doubt, that the overall experience with GoDaddy (my own personal, as well as working with them on others’ behalf) left an overall bad taste in my mouth.

    doug_jones

    What’s good and not-good is not the same for everyone. If you’re trying to make money on your WP installation – then pick a host that understands mission critical.

    If you do custom work on your WP site, make sure your host will accept your new plugins. At least ONE host here has a habit of blacklisting plugins they don’t like (don’t like = hurts their caching stats).

    If your site breaks news, make sure your host can handle surges. A lot of these hosts work well with low traffic, but imagine what happens if 10,000 people land on your site for your breaking news – and you’re on the phone to support. At least ONE host here has a habit of not being able to live up to expectations when you get slashdotted.

    My company has moved away from these hosts because they cannot manage sites with heavy traffic that are revenue-centric. Our configuration of WP, which took 6 months to build internally, has high availability, subsecond response time, low hackability, and can handle nominal traffic at 12K on-site, with surges to 20-30K on-site at any time. It’s not rocket science nor is it expensive, but these Hosts would have you believe it’s both.

          Big Frank

          Still not listing MPMU Multi-DB plugin. A list is worthless if it does not cover popular plugins and if it is not constantly updated. Where I come from that’s called a half-***ed effort. Sorry.

          I also find it totally amazing that no one from the WPMU plugin team has anything to say on the subject as well as the reasons WPEngine gives for not allowing it and why they say it’s not necessary on a 6,000 site Multisite.

          I take that back. I’m not amazed. Let’s bump that up to incredulous. The silence on the subject is deafening and very hard to understand. If it were a plugin that I built and I believed in it, I’d at least be questioning what WPEngine has relegated it to the trash heap, yet won’t put it on their disallowed plugin page. Someone please explain this to me lest I’m forced to up my meds without doctor’s approval.

          So, even if I’m using a top-teir hosting company along with what are billed as the best plugins available for WordPress, I still can’t build the site I want. Wow.

          Cheers. – Frank

      Big Frank

      Here is the post you didn’t have the courage to post on your site:

      Their support people could not be nicer. Unfortunately, if you want to get anything done, you’ll spend half your life talking to them. There is too much mystery when it come to using various plugins. They refuse to update their list of banned plugins, for which I have absolutely no explanation, but it is a huge disservice to any potential customer. No one likes to be shocked, AFTER they pay their $100+.

      Like most hosting companies, once they have you and you’ve started a major project, you’re stuck with them.

      While I may be stuck there until I figure out an escape path, I originally told all of my clients that I was going to move them to my 10 WP install package, but I have changed my mind and will not move one of them. I feel I will only be creating problems for myself and my clients, where none exist now. I’ll probably just keep one site there and reduce my package to a single install. I refuse to pay absolute top dollar WITHOUT getting top-dollar service and capabilities. I don’t appreciate having a monkey wrench thrown at me every time I want to do something my way, NOT their way. You pay me $100+ a month and we’ll do it your way. Ridiculous.

      Again, very nice people and a good product, but the way it’s presented is amateurish at best and very dishonest at worst. All it takes is a willingness to be as upfront and transparent as possible. On this count these folks fall woefully and miserably short.

      Additionally, regardless of anyone’s credibility, I would never take a referral from anyone making $150 a pop for each one. Sorry. I’m an old man and know better. Seriously. :-)

      Thanks for listening. – Frank

      P.S. I also find it very illuminating that the only time the visitor from WPE comments is when someone praises WPE, but not a word when the comment is critical. That says a lot, especially when done so brazenly, right in front of everyone. At least learn to fake your concern for those not singing your praises and that might actually have legitimate problems with the way you conduct business,

      Keep catering to those that kiss butt. It’s the people that you neglect to engage that will spread negativity, far and wide and negate the singing of your praises by those making money from doing so.

      Oh, I can spare a few hours a week if you’d like to have me whip the operation intio shape, but I don;t think you could afford me – even at the prices you charge. lol.

        doug_jones

        Hi Frank – it sounds as though you speak from experience. I’m sorry you had a bad time.

        It sounds like we may have solutioned something that you and your clients could use.

        If you’d like to know more about what we’re doing (or anyone, for that matter) you can always decode the email address below and drop me a note. I used a cypher even the NSA could crack. senoj_goud@rantmn dot com

    thom_stark

    I am with BlueHost and their customer service is amazing, at all hours of the day and night. I have been with them for years and have never experienced any of the problems this reviewer says he had with BlueHost in his one month secret trial.

    BlueHost tech support is friendly, very personable, very professional. On at least a dozen occasions I’ve had tech support on the phone with me for over an hour working on complicated issues until I was satisfied everything was tweaked to my needs. These weren’t even problems with their services; they have spent over an hour on the phone with me many times just helping me tweak my settings.

    I have never experienced an outage with BlueHost in all my years with them.

      Chadwick

      Same here… I moved from GoDaddy because it was dog slow, and BH is lightyears faster comparatively. I too have never had any issues with support, though I have had one or two downtimes, but they were resolved pretty quickly. I’m with one of the previous posters… the day GoDaddy is better than any other hosting out there for any reason is the day I abandon technology and go back to chiseling stone tablets.

        lbdesign

        I have a number of clients on BlueHost. Some never have outages, some are down 8+ times a month. It depends on the “box” your site is hosted on. But I do like their responsive phone support. Email/ticket support is another matter altogether. Just call them.
        I’ve been testing LiquidWeb for a week and so far so good, but a week is not long enough to really know.

          coburnenterprises

          I have been with liquid web for many years – granted I have a dedicated managed server so my experience may be different than others – but I could not be any happier. As a professional web developer that hosts most of the sites I develop – it’s worth the money I spend to have the awesome (aka heroic) support. They have even been very generous in helping me learn all kinds of things that I need to know to be truly effective as a web host.

      netgreen

      I’m sitting here with 4 of my 5 websites hosted by Bluehost DOWN for several hours. I call their support line – it rings BUSY. I try their Online chat service – it’s UNAVAILABLE. I try to enter a trouble ticket – that service is UNAVAILABLE as well. The last “Hail Mary” option is to send an email to their support folks – and wait until tomorrow (?) for a response?

      It looks like their whole freaking operation is in the $hitter right now – and has been for 5 hours at least. I checked 5 of my clients’ websites and they are all down as well.

      All of these sites – mine as well as my clients – have been SLOW over the past few months, but they don’t get much traffic (a local church, a nonprofit, a small restaurant, etc.) Even SLOWER than the sites is the response time inside the WP admin interface – often have to wait 10-15 seconds after clicking on an option in a menu for a page to load. Time to look for an alternative hosting that doesn’t break the bank with hosting fees that a small business / nonprofit can afford …

      blueprint

      Frankly they’re not the fastest use a tool called blaze meter or if you other load testing tools to actually test your speed with the exact same website on a variety webHosts that’s the only way that you’re going to know which is the faster web post I’ve done this and I know for fact that liquid web is not the fastest. They are not a bad company and I would recommend them over using Go Daddy or blue host however I would not call them managed WordPress hosting company or say that they have the knowledge that any managed WordPress hosting company does this is an absurd test

    coburnenterprises

    I host most of the sites I build and manage in wordpress on my own dedicated server – which I have because many years ago when I first started dealing with ecommerce and php it was difficult to get the speed and settings you wanted without root access on oversold shared servers (even on VPS).

    That being said, I also manage WordPress sites for clients that came to me with existing hosting environments which has allowed me to experience some of the ones you mention.

    I have a lot of clients on BlueHost – which offers a great value but I would not recommend them for a company that needs good email hosting and professional page load speeds (their IPs get blacklisted quite often – I’m sure due to the hacking of WP sites that are not properly maintained on their server – not really their fault but it is the reason we include WP update management in the fees we charge for hosting).

    GoDaddy is ok if you just want a simple wordpress site – but to have the kind of control a developer likes to have, you have to do a manual install of wordpress – their “auto installer” doesn’t do it. I do think their support is one of the most responsive in the market – in a perfect world I would love to recommend them but you have to understand the limits of what you get with them and know how to work around them. One big issue is that if you do custom forms / plugins you have to be sure to use an smtp plugin – ’cause emails aren’t going to get sent from their server using the standard wp mail….

    DreamHost… I’ve only dealt with them a couple of times and both times ended up moving away. Unfortunately, I don’t remember why. Sorry.

    I am excited to check out the other hosts mentioned here! In a perfect world I would rather not host any more… I prefer to consult and design :-).

    Thanks for taking the time to do this and share the results.

    doug_jones

    One last thought: Please, PLEASE *test* your backups with whichever host you choose. Imagine my surprise when I went to get a backup and the last one was over a month old. When Support was asked “Why are my backups over a month old?” they didn’t know and couldn’t help, but the next morning my backups mysteriously started again.

    After I complained loudly to the ownership about their failed backups, I was told “We are doing you favors so you should not be upset.”

    We migrated within a week. I never asked for favors, I wanted and paid for our site be run professionally as advertised.

        doug_jones

        Hi Freelancelance –
        Yes it was same company but as always your results may vary. We grew too large for them to handle, and then when we called them out they suggested it was because they were doing “freebies” for us. They also blacklisted our MOST important plugin, stating it created too many “POST” transactions. The reality was it affected their caching stats, but the heck with the fact that it was something we needed.

        I remember the day all our RSS Feeds went dead. Support simply suggested “update your theme or WP.” That SAME WP code, when migrated to our new server, worked flawlessly and all the feeds worked immediately.

        I remember the day email just stopped working. Support simply suggested “update your theme or WP.” That SAME WP code, when migrated to our new server, worked flawlessly and we accidentally sent out 2900 emails the moment the webserver came online.

        Imagine that – a company more focused on their stats and needs (and in this case, “caching stats”) than on what their customers need to do business.

      lyken

      Hi Doug,

      I’ve always maintained my own backups on top of the included hosting backups.

      I’ve recently started using managewp for monitoring my sites, maintaining backups, updates and an overall view of the client sites I manage.

      It backs up directly to my dropbox so I can check the backups at any time and I have them ready for recovery when needed.

      The uptime monitor is great.

        doug_jones

        Hi Lyken thanks for the comments.

        Initially we tried to use BackupBuddy – BECAUSE it was listed on WPE’s home page as their CHOICE of backup software.

        Guess what – if you try to run it yourself it won’t work. WPE disabled various JSON calls on our site so the backups couldn’t complete.

        Our database is very large and our blogs.dir is beyond huge. At this point even BackupBuddy is overwhelmed and we use other tools to create our backups.

        Just another surprise when working with that company.

    Vicki

    I’ve got several clients on HostGator and I like them quite a lot. Good support, fast servers, dirt cheap.

    I’ve been shopping around lately for a hosting service for a high-traffic, high-profile site lately and WP Engine is definitely one of the hosts I’ve been looking at.

    EdwardMartinIII

    Security!

    Good lord — how could security as a topic be missed?!

    Of the CMSs I know of, WordPress is THE most-hacked CMS on the planet. What confounds this (at least by my lights) is that many people running WordPress aren’t aware of just how vulnerable they can be, or just how much trouble could be caused by a single cross-site scripting attack.

    Part of this is probably the whole notion that “WordPress is so easy that anyone can use it!” which is great, but there’s a huge caveat: “…and you have to be watching at least once a day to make sure all your plug-ins and themes and base code is up-to-date, and you have to do a few tricks to your .htaccess files, and so forth, lest you become part of the problem…”

    Once a WordPress install is hacked, then there are vulnerabilities opened up on that entire server, and if you’re sharing that server with, say, thirty other small businesses, well…

    A real interesting test would be to host a basic WordPress site at a host with their basic plan, and then pound the bejeebers out of it with a good penetration test.

    keith_crusher

    I’m not sure what kind of technical questions you were asking each host, but GoDaddy has had some of the most awful tech support once you get beyond the very basics.

    Their uptime and site load speeds are also questionable – I refuse to work with anyone using GoDaddy because, in my experience, their site load times are slloooowww and it increases development time significantly.

    Site security also being a concern, GoDaddy has had more than it’s share of problems, especially with shared hosting where attacks spread between sites shared on the same machine. Yes, WPEngine may be considerably more expensive, but one infection could cost well upwards of several hundred dollars to fix – buying cheap hosting and than having your ‘savings’ eaten up by having to pay for infection removal seems like a bad idea.

    For someone looking at the summary they’d be thinking that GoDaddy, overall, is as good as WPEngine, which is far, far from the case.

      freelancelance

      Keith covers most of my thoughts on GoDaddy–though I’ll add that I’ve found their centralized control panel to be a problem…sometimes the system is overloaded and my clients have been unable to get into their control panel.

      I have a new client who is on GoDaddy and am glad I was able to convince them to switch to Hostgator right at the outset, so I can work with the site somewhere dependable.

      Hostgator’s not perfect, but in my experience, (discount) webhosts are kind of like banks and cell providers…they all kind of suck, and the trick is to find the one that sucks the least, in the least painful way. HG does OK by that measure.

    Pixelar

    Yes, after 5 different host companies, I can say I found the good one (page.ly), I only hope they keep the standard.

    Very Fast, easy to use and good support… what else you need?

    Thanks Raelen for this 5 reviews..

    Hopefully you can add Web synthesis just to check real WP Hosts

      Imperative Ideas

      You get what you pay for, Netivper. The catch with the heavily metered hosts is that as soon as you get just a bit of traffic or CPU time in, you get heavily throttled. I’ve seen 30 second page loads on GoDaddy, Dreamhost, and Bluehost as a result of a single visitor on a second domain attached to the account (triggered the resource throttle).

      This on pages with a 2sec load time on my VPS when they were in staging.

      It got so bad that I started offering shared hosting off of my VPS. Clients get intensely frustrated when their fast/awesome new site goes from staging to production but suddenly runs like a sick dog.

    diogenese19348

    I have wordpress sites hosted on three hosts right now: Register, GoDaddy, and Arvixe. As pretty much everybody should know there is a lot of hacking activity going on targeting WordPress installations. Of the three of them, Register is totally unacceptable on this matter, GoDaddy is doing OK (but doesn’t allow IP blocking except through .htaccess modifications), only Arvixe is on top of it. I’ve had real good luck with them, and I think highly of their customer support.

    andre_lefebvre

    Hi,

    I followed the link from the email I received from WPMU, titled: “we secretly reviewed WordPress hosts – here’s what we found.”

    A few thoughts:

    1- Calling these hosting companies “WordPress hostings is misleading. They are Web Hosts who offer automatic install of WordPress, with proper PHP versions and MySql databases. If you know what you’re doing, and don’t need WordPress support, then you’re going to be kind of OK.

    2- Until you call for technical support and you’re told that they don’t provide WordPress beyond the installation via Fantastico or SimpleScripts.

    3- Having used BlueHost for years, I also tried DreamHost, Hostgator, Site5, and a few others I can’t recall. But over the last few months, I looked into TRUE WordPress Hosting. These hosting companies specialize in hosting WordPress installations.

    4- Their technical support agents know WordPress and will help you with pretty much anything WordPress. Their servers are configured to serve WordPress sites much faster than shared hosting could, they are up to date with WP specific issues, upgrades, attacks, etc.

    5- These TRUE WORDPRESS HOSTING being a bit more expensive, it is recommended you SHOP before you sign-up with any of them. Read reviews, don’t be shy to write them and ask any question about any situation you may anticipate or have met in the past.

    6- Be careful because pricing gets pretty crazy out there. The best one I found is called LightningBase.com. They allow you 3 installs (3 different WP sites) on one basic account. Most of the other ones I found allow one (1) per basic plan, so you immediately have to spring big bucks just to have a normal account (I consider a more normal account more as allowing than 2 sites).

    7- LightningBase support has been stellar. They even split a multi-site install I had elsewhere and created 2 individual sites out of it.

    I have found ALL shared hosting to have dismal knowledge of WP, even less when it comes to multi-sites. And the proverbial “you’re on your own” can be pretty freaky when you deal with WP specific problems or situations…

    Remember, hosting your WP site isn’t everything: you need support, knowledgeable and courteous support. When you make important changes to your WP site, or have critical issues, you want to be sure your hosting will not leave you hanging, like ALL the shared hosting will do. WordPress is only ONE of the free hosting tools they offer.

    Go with those who make it their business to configure their hosting company and services around WP. It will save you much more than money in the long run (or the short, like me).

    Hope this helps!

    Regards,

    Andre Lefebvre
    http://www.creativeforge.org

    thinkDelaney

    I think you missed the mark on this when you didn’t review Hostgator. I have several sites running on them; some using a shared system and some using VPS and Dedicated servers. Their support is great and I have been please with their hosting. I use Go Daddy for a lot of my low-traffic clients. GD customer service is the best of all. Go Daddy is like McDonalds, a predictable experience.

    For high demand, mission-critical sites I typically use Peer1, either as a managed hosting service or as a co-lo service for my own servers. If you need big pipe, Peer1 is the ticket. For speed and scalability, they are top notch.

    My biggest disappointments have been with 3Essentials and BlueHost – but that is just my experience.

    Craig Grella

    I have accounts at synthesis, bluehost and knownhost. all vps. the only one that hasnt gone down yet is synthesis, though the other two are very good as well.

    This article isn’t clear as to whether the hosting used at bluehost or godaddy was their vps offerings, so I’m assuming it was just the basic hosting.

    Moving from shared hosting to VPS solves most of the speed and memory issued you might find.

    Ive found bluehost support to be excellent as well. The one thing that gets me about email support is the back and forth that is needed. Often it takes a few hours of emails to solve an issue, when something can be fixed in just 20 minutes on the phone with a tech. That’s a big thing for me.

    With that said, I don’t think it’s more than 20 minutes response time from synthesis, so that’s good.

    Before moving, I had hosting at Hostgator and getting them to change memory limtis, shell access, and other settings was not easy. Even when dealing with dedicated support. I would not go back to them under any circumstance.

    I only iwsh synthesis were more affordable for the smaller sites, I’d push all my clients there.

    Mike Johnson

    It really surprises me how inexperienced some of the answers above are. If you have been managing sites as long as I have (and I have some seriously large WordPress blogs), you would not even consider using Bluehost, Hostmonster, Hostgator, or Godaddy for your sites.

    These hosts are not even in the same league as Page.ly and WP Engine and it is perplexing as to why they were grouped together for this review. Even though Page.ly and WP Engine are “technically” shared hosting providers, they are actually hybrid providers and very, very different from the other hosts represented here.

    I personally use Storm on Demand by Liquid Web (Solid State Cloud Servers) for most of my sites, but I have a few big blogs hosted on WP Engine and I couldn’t be happier. It is just plain easy when compared to everything else and the sites are all blazing fast.

    I used to use VPS.net, but they had a lot of continual issues with uptime for my sites and I left them some time ago. WordPress and Godaddy shouldn’t even be used in the same sentence, and the only reason you should use Hostmonster or Hostgator for your WordPress installs is 1, if they are new and not very big, nor require a lot of resources; 2, if you want to lose clients quick because you took the cheap route on their hosting.

    Hosting and Your Server configuration is the #1 most important part of your website setup. Take it for granted and you will get burned. If you don’t understand any of this then you still have a lot to learn about hosting and server configurations and what they mean to your sites.

    Enough said.

    Mike

        Ben Metcalfe

        I think you might be confused with another provide. None of WP Engine’s production environment runs on Amazon Web Services, and never has. We lean on S3 for backups, but that would not have any effect on sites going down.

        I’m one of the founders, so I can categorically state on record this is above comment – like a number that have been left on this thread – is, respectfully, incorrect.

    dmarchione

    Wow! I’m shocked that Bluehost did so poorly with performance. I thought they would be better, if not, the leader and Godaddy last place. Anyway, I take your word for it. I’ve just had so many issues with Godaddy during during design, when flipping back and forth, and very good luck with Bluehost.

    But, I did not know about Page.ly. I have to check them out. Thanks for the review.

    David Marchione
    http://ultimatewebandseo.com

      Justin

      Endurance International Group owns BlueHost. They also own iPower, A Small Orange, Domain.com and HostGator (as of last year)… along with several other inferior hosting brands. While many of these may have started out as decent companies, once purchased by EIG, they simply turn them into oversold profit pigs and that’s their system.

      GoDaddy has always sucked!

    Justin

    I agree with Mike Johnson. Let’s also clear a few things up.

    I’ve been with HostGator since early 2003 and when Brent Oxley was building that company up, it was the very best ‘large’ hosting company. He didn’t believe in overselling servers and firmly believed in U.S. based customer support.

    Today that’s changed. Endurance International Group purchased HostGator to go with several of their other brands and over the past year, HostGator has slid downhill in the direction of GoDaddy and BlueHost.

    For the record, EIG (Endurance International Group) owns BlueHost, HostGator, iPage, FatCow, Domain.com, iPower, and ASmallOrange… These are all lesser of the quality of hosting brands. They’ve taken a great hosting company (HostGator) and have amped up advertising and lost sight of quality. Each of these sites owned by EIG are profit pigs. They don’t care about the quality it’s a business based on quantity and that’s just as simple as it gets.

    I’ve had two dedicated servers with HG, several BabyCrocks, several Reseller accounts and while they were once a great service, over the past year they’ve done nothing but burn bridges, move servers to Provo Utah (of all places) and have puked on themselves the entire time whilst getting it all over their long-term clients.

    I’d highly advise not a single one of you consider doing any business with Endurance International Group or their profit scraping brands. Hosting is big business with very high profit margins and when it comes these larger companies that commonly practice overselling and stacking servers wide and deep, they’re in it for the profit, not for the quality of service.

    #HostGatorSucks – That’s all there is to it. Take any one of your hosting IPs and run a check to see the kind of neighborhood you’re sharing your resources with, you’ll be appalled.

    That’s my rant on the subject.

    NancySeeger

    With all the different webhosts my client’s have used over the years, I firmly believe you get what you pay for. Just because they are pleasant and responsive on the phone doesn’t mean you get that 99% uptime, decent bandwidth and good security! Pay more and you usually get a lot more. For shared – I send my client’s over to LiquidWeb, security is fantastic. Since I use an uptime monitoring service, I know which webhosts of my clients do well for uptime.

    Managed WP hosts are rather a different service than the typical shared webhosts, you are also paying for expertise in WordPress support at the server level. I would expect to pay more for that.

    Nancy Seeger
    Arts Assistance

    Mark Hedley

    Remember there is a world outside of the good USA. I would prefer my hosting servers to reside in the same country and in fact depending upon the data being stored they legally have to. Yet I believe none of the ones you reviewed offer that facility whereas Site5 who I am considering do.

    jd585

    Our first site was and is currently hosted with Fast Domain aka BlueHost.

    When we first started, they were great. This could have been attributed to my lack of knowledge, but I don’t believe that to be true.

    about two years ago, one WP site that we have and was keeping up to date, was cross hacked on their server- it cost us lots, especially in lost traffic. We even had to perform a complete rebuild to fix it.

    Tech support has really gone downhill, you use to be able to get someone within a couple minutes, now it can be an hour or more.

    They have been “Monkeying” with the cPanel and it crashes lots of times. Can’t access anything, including emails. Complaints go unanswered.

    We have noticed a sharp increase in our site load times at different times (from 5 seconds to over 50 seconds), and sometimes the are offline – not a good scenario. Our MM site is a hard coded html site and it has experienced these problems as well. We found the culprit and tried to tell them, but a call to the CIO has not been returned for over two weeks.

    emails for another of their customers were being redirected into our email and the only solution was change our email.

    They do offer cloud servers for free, but since our company sells internationally we can not use that as countries in Europe are telling their citizens to stay away from cloud served companies because of the Fed’s PRISM

    Needless to say, we are now looking for a new host for those sites.

    bettereverything, would you mind sharing your custom settings for the server as we are now developing in a sandbox to test performance?

    kera_mchugh

    i took a look at Synthesis… was curious because i have a lot of love for Copyblogger… however, i HATE the genesis framework. There’s not a hope in heck that i would use a hosting company that is theme/framework specific… (yes they say they’ll consider you if you’re not using genesis, but come on…)

    i’ve got clients on bluehost – many who’ve been there for years… MOST of which are quite small, low traffic sites… (eg. under 10k/visitors/m, many under 2k/m). Page load times vary a lot… but generally speaking, we’ve been super happy with them. Customer service has generally been excellent, you can’t be the cost, and for those clients who (despite my protestations) want to stick with that model of lots of little “doorway” or “landing” sites for every domain they can think of for their brand… it’s very cost effective.

    $97/m for a small business to host their website is a HUGE chunk. It might be nothing for a $5million/year business, but for a coach who’s barely cracking $40k/year, it’s too much. For these kinds of businesses, bluehost (or really, any of those other shared services) are totally sufficient… particularly if their web-services-manager-master-whatever has a bit of a clue about hardening their installation.

    two other hosts that i use regularly with clients, and are thus far very happy with, are http://www.greengeeks.com and http://www.canadianwebhosting.com – i have my InifiniteWP installed on greengeeks so i can monitor all my client sites in one place… it’s pretty awesome. (and they’re wind powered, so how can you argue with that?)

    one client has a dedicated server with canadian, and although it took longer to get setup than was promised, it’s been GREAT ever since…. and hosting on canadian soil can be very important.

    i’m by no means a wordpress expert, but i’ve been at it for a long time – currently oversee/manage more than 55 wordpress installations – and had very very few traumatic experiences. Not sure if that has anything to do with my hosting choices, or is just pure luck, tho!

    Imperative Ideas

    In short, you reviewed the mega-hosts, in which case Hostgator and MediaTemple are conspicuously missing.

    Dreamhost, Bluehost, Godaddy, and Register.net are all god awful – I have the speed test numbers to back that up. Former WPMUdev staffer, AECNU, runs a solid operation at http://wpmu-hosting.com, at a very competitive price with excellent marks for speed. The only downside with Joe’s operation is a lack of static IP address availability but if you aren’t running SSL, that’s ok.

    If you have more than a handful of sites, the very best host in the game is WiredTree. The customer service is, frankly, stunning. I’ve had a shift manager stay late for 2 hours to help solve a problem with a completely unsupported JVM app and my homepage loads doc complete in about 1.6sec.

    Generally speaking, the biggest boost you will get in terms of features and performance is to get away from any company that dabbles in shared hosting; because it almost always tells you a lot about their business model.

    Using a WiredTree VPS, I host my clients as a service (not open for signups) starting at around $15/mo and they pay it because they can’t get equivalent performance for less than $65. Barring the ability to make a high performance VPS fit your budget, talk to AECNU. He’s a very close second.

        tony_page

        Nevertheless, you should check out WiredTree, Raelene. I switched to them a couple of years ago on the recommendation of Andrea Rennick. Currently I use a hybrid server with LiteSpeed to run my multisite setup, and although I’m in Sydney and they are in Chicago I have to say that their support has been excellent. Recently I added Google PageSpeed into the mix and had no issues. They also helped me set up the free New Relic agent although they of course had no obligation to do so.

        I usually just ring them up but they’re just as fast by email really, and 24/7. SSD caching, too. Good stats graphs etc. for checking the current state of play as well.

    Marty Koenig

    I host all my WP sites on Media Temple. They have proven to be the fastest and wit the best support. The constantly add new capabilities and upgrade their infrastructure for maximum capability, uptime and supportability.

    Yes GoDaddy’s support response time is quick, however, once you get into technical stuff, they don’t understand. Try and have a conversation with them about how their Apache setup is causing problems. They won’t know what you’re talking about.

      Big Frank

      MediaTemple has no first-line security defense. That’s what their rep told me 5 minutes, ago. You are totally responsible for ALL security on your site. That being said, you can use any plugin you wish, they allow WPMU Multi-DB plugin and allow root access.

      I plan to try them out, just for comparison sake. Cost is my absolute last consideration. Time is money, so don’t waste my time. I’ll pay you anything I want as long as you help me as opposed to constantly hurting me and my efforts. – Frank

        sara_at_mediatemple

        This isn’t *entirely* true, and I apologize for any confusion… We have infrastructure in place to help protect against DDoS and brute force attacks. We also offer CloudFlare for free, which applies another layer of protection when enabled.
        We’d be happy to have you! We have a 30 day money back guarantee, so please let us know what you think!

          doug_jones

          I would recommend something like Cloudflare or Sitelock in this case.

          Aside from the security aspect, they can heavily cache your site and traffic and save you significant dollars on bandwidth costs. I just recommend you test all your browser functions if using Cloudflare. We had a lot of trouble with the Reload button after implementing it – sometimes a reload of a page could take 20-30 seconds and we couldn’t figure out why.

    ReverieRevel

    I used Hostgator from 2005 until earlier this year, when their poor customer service and server issues just got to be too much of a PIA (I read they were bought out last year).
    I switched to CertifiedHosting and am very happy with them, their customer service rocks, and I’ve no problems at all in about 8 months! I’ve also helped clients with Site5 and had good but limited experience with them.
    I don’t like Godaddy’s admin area, nor their constant upselling, or alot of things about them… but their customer service IS one of the best.

    kev2719

    I have personally used two of the three contestants from this list. I totally agree with the overall loser.

    My bluehost account was hacked in 2009 and they were about as much use as a chocolate shotgun when it come time to fix the site. the only option they had was to nuke the server back to the stone age and start again. I lost the lot. They sucked at customer service and i quit them right then and there.

    Wp-engine was i different and expensive option. BUT they do offer a very secure service for those looking for that sort of hosting. It is very expensive and not very cost effective at $30 a month. A good quality VPS can be had for a little extra.

    One not on the list is Liquid Web. These guys rock, but are at the pricier end of the market. Their support is called Heroic and it is that and more. They are worth a look if you need quality and cost as factors.

    CapitolSocial

    We have been using Bluehost for years and find the support – and need for support – is driving us away. Our clients constantly have problems with blacklisted emails, which has been the biggest issue. Love the CPanel and many other features, but starting to migrate to HostGator to see how that goes.

    Thanks for doing the research. Very helpful.

    jloosli

    I recommend tigertech.net for wp hosting. There aren’t a ton of bells and whistles, but I have a client whose site went viral ( from about 1000 -> 2.2M daily hits) right when I was out of the country on vacation. When TigerTech saw that traffic spiked, they called and emailed me. When they couldn’t get in touch with me, they proactively shuffled resources and even fixed a couple of bad settings on the configuration that was slowing things down. All of this happened before my client realized what was going on.

    The only downfall is that they don’t host multiple domains under one account, but their customer service has been outstanding each and every time I’ve needed something.

    ProSapien

    Which I’d read this before switching all my sites from FatCow (for complete unreliability and tons of downtime) to HostGator and then THE NEXT WEEK from HostGator (for throttling accounts and shutting down sites with mild email traffic) to BlueHost.

    Still, we’ve had a good experience so far with BlueHost. Good support and no major issues.

    We won’t use GoDaddy because we won’t support the advertising that objectifies women.

    CityWeb

    I use WP Engine to host 2 company websites for the last 1 year +. Although expensive, their level of support is absolutely amazing. If you have a website with a good volume of traffic, or a website where it’s critical it always be up and running, WP Engine is the way to go. They automatically backup your site daily, and if something goes wrong with a new plugin install, etc. that completely messes your site up, it’s as simple as clicking one button to restore your site to the backup taken the day before. This has been a life saver at least once and worth the extra cost of WP Engine hosting.

    I also use GoDaddy for some other company websites (apx 6 years), including a WP eCommerce site. They have the most user friendly platform. Support isn’t as good as WP Engine though, but still the support is leaps and bounds above companies like Network Solutions, and others I’ve had to deal with over the years.

    I have several hosting accounts, including a reseller hosting account with HostGator (also apx 6 years) as well. Support is good and tickets are answered promptly, although you may not get the answer you need the first go around. I like HostGator mainly for low cost, features, and cPanel.

    99% of the time, we recommend either GoDaddy or HostGator as the best all around hosting solution for our clients.

    Jeffreyeric

    Is there a reason Rackspace wasn’t represented here? just curious. We’ve been using them for about 10years without a single hiccup and probably the best technical support I’ve ever experienced. just wondering why they weren’t’ considered for review.

    Great article though. Will definitely use as a reference when clients ask. :o)

    dbher

    I was a loyal fan of GO DADDY for years until recently this year they dropped the ball big time!

    I have two high traffic blogs that generate income so it’s vital that both are up & running. I understand there will be hiccups at times but the past Go Daddy experiences were unexceptable. On three different occasions my blogs were down for over FIVE Days! Due to server issues on their end.

    To add insult to injury, the no-customer service techs never admitted the problem was on their end. I was told several times it was something I did to my blog(s) and I should reinstall it etc. etc. They were very condescending. I’m pretty blog and programming savvy so I know when it’s not on my side.

    After several phone calls on all three occasions with very little help I just had to wait it out until they resolved their server issues. All in the meantime I was loosing money.

    The first incident I gave them a pass, being with Go Daddy for such a long time I figured it happens. But on the second incident after days of being down, when the servers got back up and running, I immediately began moving my blog to another host. This is so time consuming and such a hassle. And then right after I moved my first blog the same thing happened to the second blog. I had to wait days until I could transfer that one.

    Since I moved my two blogs to IXWebHosting I’ve had great service. Their customer service goes above and beyond. When I first moved my blogs I encountered a few glitches but the IXWebHosting team went into my code, found the error and fixed it for me! Go Daddy never did that. Their canned response was alway ” We don’t handle third party issues.”

    Sorry for the rant but I think GoDaddy has got to big to care that their customers are losing money due to their obsolete servers. Buyer Beware!

    SMMstrategist

    As stated right at the start of this post: “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR”.

    I have sites hosted for clients on GoDaddy’s Grid Hosting as well as FatCow and now WP Engine.

    1. FatCow: Cheaper than cheap – shared hosting with great email packages.

    Plus: Great for a starter business that’s not expecting a lot of traffic right off the starting blocks and wants a bundled (unlimited) email package. The C-Panel they use is very easy for Newbies and Veteran’s have tools to access PHP and MySQL at the root level. They offer one click install of WordPress.

    Minus: It’s Shared Hosting (don’t expect great up-time or fast problem resolution), Their support uses scripts and most answer from a location in Canada (need I say more) even thought the servers are in Texas and Boston.

    2. Go Daddy: They have a range of plans from regular shared to Grid Hosting. Plans cost from cheap to expensive.

    Plus: Lots of bundled email and other goodies depending on what you want to spend. Control panel is straight forward and easy to use. Domain Name Purchases and maintenance with the same account

    Minus: Grid Hosting: (shared that costs more money and does not offer any differing performance or support for the extra money), also see comment of Fat Cow on Shared Hosting – I have found support to be all over the map. They advertise ” Award Winning Support” must be a self award from my experience and that of my clients. Unless you pay for a VPN or higher end service you WONT get any SLA (Service Level Agreements) i.e up time is NOT GUARANTEED, my impression of GoDaddy is they will take your money and don’t give a rat’s ass that you run a business hosted off their servers and a down site is costing you money.

    3. WPE: It’s expensive if you view it as a single install only. The breaks are much better the more you move up. *”YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR”.

    Plus: A bundled CDN, (you would pay extra on another platform) A+ on Security for WordPress, Awesome Up time commitment, Easy to Use Control Panels, Automagic Back-Ups, Staging area for Development, MANAGED HOSTING

    Minus: Ok, pricing is a bit on the high side (but if you factor in the Band Width allotments the CDN, Security and Optimized system for WordPress its negligible). Black-listing of Plug-ins (they are working on this). Service can be an issue but is improving. (It’s way better that Go Daddy or Fat Cow – at least the technical staff at WPE are experienced and not reading from a script).

    I noticed (2) Comments on WPE that I think are taken a bit out of context
    so this is to clarify or expound on information provided in other responses here.

    1. WPE servers are hosted by Rack Space 2. Black Listing of Plug-ins: This is done for security purposes and I believe they use the philosophy of : “The needs of the Many outweigh the needs of a Few”. However, I had a plug-in that was not on the BL when I installed it and after several months, I received a notice that it was NOW on the list and was being removed. I went back and forth with WPE on this and was finally able to get the plug-in developer involved (this is a Premium WP plug-in). The plug-in code was hammering the servers and in this instance I see why they had it removed. It was just recently re instated after re-work by the Developer. WPE is researching better ways to deal with issues like this in the future. I think their Transparency in their service area, especially in issues like this speaks volumes. They are young, growing and – I intend to grow my business with them.

    On a final closing note. If your very technically adept and have the time to install server updates etc…you can find great bargains on VPN Services by various hosting companies. However, you have to factor in your time in all this because YOU ARE MANAGING THE SERVER too. Back the “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR”.

      Gwyneth Llewelyn

      Excellent points made :)

      Just a slight comment, you can get excellent CDN + Security screening from CloudFlare… and their “entry package” with unlimited sites is… free. Sure, you get way more options if you shell out a few dollars per month, but the free option is more than enough.

      CloudFlare was recently targeted *twice*, first by angry WordPress crackers who hated the way CloudFlare was protecting so many WordPress websites, and so they DDoS’ed them. They failed. The WP websites remained up. Later they were attacked by email spammers who were trying to bring Spamhaus down — Spamhaus is a DNS-based “blacklist” for email spammers. They cleverly put CloudFlare in front of their site to avoid DDoS attacks — and the spammers attacked CloudFlare directly instead. Once again, this also failed.

      CloudFlare is certainly not the only CDN solution out there, nor is it the “best” security option, but fares well on both accounts. But they are an excellent trade-off — specially when you’re cost-conscious.

    andre_lefebvre

    Yes, BLUEHOST has EXCELLENT service, I love these guys and highly recommand them for general hosting or if you have a site that doesn’t require a lot of work. If you expect to be editing your site often, you’ll find that your WP dashboard refresh speeds are slow. And sometimes, very very slow. I haven’t tried their VPS, so I cannot comment on that (fairly) new service they offer.

    However, if you have WORDPRESS related issues – Bluehost becomes BlueGhost. you’re on your own. And since this is a review for WORDPRESS hosting, I still would encourage people to look at WORDPRESS HOSTING, not just hostings that are “good” for WordPress.

    FYI, LightningBase.com plans start at $9.95/month for 1 site.

    Their next plan (which I use) is $19.95 for 3 sites. It’s a no brainer for me, and I suggest you try it out.

    Synthesis is a creation of Copyblogger, creators of the Genesis framework, so they also come highly recommended. But at $27/month for one (1) site, Synthesis would be a tough choice, and most people would probably move to their Professional plan for up to 4 sites.

    All in all, if you are a serious WP user and are building sites for others, I would strongly suggest bypassing the usual “everything unlimited” plans from mega-hosts out there. Go for TRULY WP hosting.

    Regards,

    Andre

    Jim Walker

    This post seems to be missing the future of quality website hosting. SSD Shared hosting is where it’s at. So many people following the lemmings off they cliff, or swooning at the very mention of the word “cloud,” that many seem to have forgotten what Google “wants”: Content and Speed.

    Try an “SSD shared hosting” plan for that speed Google loves so much, from virtually any advertised SSD host and you’ll likely never go back to any of those super bowl, animal or color host ever again. Let the lemmings follow the hype, and eat the lemmings instead!

      Gwyneth Llewelyn

      As far as I know, SSD Shared Hosting is excellent (and dirt cheap) if you are a sysadmin. But Managed Shared Hosting might make more sense if you know little more than adding plugins and themes to WordPress and tweak them. Sure, it’s far more expensive, and has (usually) worse performance, but you don’t need to hire an expert to do the job for you (which will cost way more per month than what WP Engine or Page.ly are charging).

      Personally, I have a mixed approach — VPS for a few sites where performance is needed (and I love to tweak servers :-) ) and unmanaged shared hosting when all I need is unlimited disk space and traffic for everything else.

      But of course everybody’s requirements are different, thus the many choices — and the different prices too!

    onlinejungle

    Thanks for the report.

    I was using RackSpace who were fantastic but also VERY expensive and it was no longer a viable option.

    I then started using the Go Daddy service and I think they are very good. Customer Service is great but sometimes depends on who I get hooked up to with a chat (assisted support).

    My main problem is that I am in the UK and the server is in the USA. They do have a server hub in Europe but they do not offer the Assisted Server Support there :(

    It is a really tricky decision I need to make as most of the UK companies I have dealt with seem to be pretty poor on the customer service side.

    dehayst

    @Justin – I wish there were a LIKE button on here. I’ve worked with a sub-brand of A Small Orange “Hostnine” and although they “try” to be supportive and responsive to issues as they arise… The over-packing of shared servers is definitely an issue. If only there were a screening process for said “neighbors”.

      Justin

      Yes, overselling is an industry standard. It’s all about profits for share holders in large corporations. Those companies mentioned also oversell VPS hosting too.

      I’ve been messing with another solution since leaving HostGator. It was very difficult to move things away from HostGator but I managed to do it and my sites on the new server are performing wonderfully.

      I’m toying with the idea of providing WordPress hosting services myself. I’ve seen what’s out there and heard many of the complaints. Besides, I’ve provided a great deal of support for about 2000 other small web hosting companies, some with thousands of customers themselves. I’m going to be having more conversation with my sys admin and we’re going to come up with a good viable solution in the very near future as the dust settles on my own recent move.

      Moving around from hosting company to hosting company sucks. There’s just no two ways about it… moving sucks.

    David H

    I have not used Go Daddy myself but I have heard some horror stories about them from others. I have heard good things about Bluehost although a bit more costly I’m told.
    I vote for a small UK based company called HostPost Web Services with a one click install WordPress hosting package at just £9 per quarter. 10Gb space and unlimited bandwidth.

    joshua_strebel

    Well to say we are humbled is not nearly adequate. Thank you for your honest critique of our service and naming Pagely your overall winner.

    If I can add a few thoughts.

    Pagely is an independent, self-funded company, staffed by real people that put their hearts into what they do everyday. Our team is small because we have focused on system automation and efficiency, and hiring the right personalities that fit with our culture of “Less Talk, More Do”. You don’t need 50 people to run support if your support people really care about the customer and are knowledgeable as you shared in your review.

    We started the whole “Managed WordPress Hosting” space/market/thing back before the rest of these guys jumped on board and have enjoyed being the little company doing big things ever since. We have turned down VC and angel funding (yes even from Automattic), and we have forgone the multiple offers to acquire our company. We really enjoy what we do, and hope to keep doing it for a long time.

    We may not be the biggest, or the flashiest, but I think if you ask anyone that has worked with us we put forth our best everyday. Thank go to our team, they deserve all the credit here. We look forward to serving you all with Managed WordPress hosting solutions in the future at Pagely.

    If you read this and wish to try our service: look on our facebook page for a promo code ;)

    Cheers – Joshua Strebel (Co-Founder and CEO, Pagely)

    cleoni

    After reading this report I checked out and… Page.ly asks for this 24$/month for a basic package… it’s a tremendous amount of money for 1 site. I run say 30 sites, imagine if I should pay this sum for each of them…

    I think you should compare just plans which are about the same cost, otherwise it’s just like comparing a Ferrari to a Mehari and then announcing Ferrari is better.

      Gwyneth Llewelyn

      I think the same applies to WP Engine. As suggested by @andre_lefebvre below, it would make more sense to compare apples with apples, e.g. do a series on “generic, unmanaged, unlimited-everything hosting”, “high-performance WordPress hosting”, Virtual Private Servers, Cloud Services, and physical hardware. Not only the price ranges are very different, the kind of services provided are completely different as well. And it would make sense do a comparison between all types and explain what each type is more appropriate for.

        chris_howard

        For the $29/mth plan, yes. But for $99/mth you get 10 sites.

        Page.ly offers 30% discount on subsequent sites.

        If you wanted 30 sites, on WPEngine, it would cost $297/mth. On Page.ly, $511.20/mth

        I’m not against Page.ly, but I do feel like the reviewer has been rather generous in assessing their costs and support.

    Ken

    Ovet the pond in the UK I am happy with Vidahost. Not perfect but support is fast and helpful, prices competitive. I groan when a client asks me to use their GoDaddy account, mind you to be fair their support was ok when I had to use it the other day. And the TV ads are appalling. However the very worst for me is 1&1. Hopeless.

    EdwardMartinIII

    Another criteria that may or may not matter is User Agreements.

    A friend of mine produces content that many people consider of an adult nature. When she started looking for hosting solutions, one of her primary concerns was, basically, if the host cared/allowed adult content.

    Many explicitly said in their rules of use they do not permit adult content. Those that did not expressly forbid it, she WROTE to them, explaining what she was planning on hosting (nothing illegal, but it WAS adult content). Some wrote back saying that even though there was nothing explicitly listed in the User Agreement, her site would be shut down if there were complaints. Others wrote back saying that as long as it wasn’t illegal, it wasn’t any of their business what she hosted.

    Obviously, she filtered out all candidates except for the last group.

    That wasn’t her only criteria, of course, but in the case of her business, it absolutely was her PRIMARY criteria.

    If one’s business is not completely puppies-and-kittens, then it seems sensible for one to carefully review the User Agreements for one’s host. Not just any content policies, but their arbitration process.

    In the case of my friend, had she not done this, she could easily have hosted somewhere that eventually shut her down and locked her out.

    That would have been devastating to her business.

      Gwyneth Llewelyn

      Interesting, that was actually one thing that was on my question list for DreamHost, when I signed up with them 8 years ago. Their answer was pragmatic: “you can host everything which is not illegal” (at that time it meant, everything but casinos, pedophilia, and setting up spamming/scamming/phishing services. Splogging was legal back then.). But yes, that was a concern for one of my customers (fortunately, the only one!), so I also advise to ask these kind of questions first before.
      Also, beware of any company who is constantly changing their User Agreements — they rarely “grandfather” existing customers who have signed up under more gentle terms.

    Drew

    This review is a valuable resource that I will reference for future client sites. Thank you.

    One area that I’m more interested in is the test site “configuration” and whether it represents a typical WordPress site. Some sites may be quite simple with just a few plug-ins, others may make extensive MySql queries. This could explain why some host users observe poor performance while others are quite happy.

    I have been considering “benchmarking” the MySql and PHP performance of our site because it is quite slow, especially at the backend dashboard area when interacting with a calendar plugin. Unfortunately, most benchmarking tools require root level installation – not so easy on shared hosting accounts.

    If possible, could you post the WordPress configuration, plug-ins, content volume and test cases used in the reviews of these web hosts?

    Matt Tyrrell

    I was at WordCamp 2013 where several hosting companies had booths. I took a look at WP Engine, BlueHost and additionally, SiteGrounds. BlueHost looked decent, and WP Engine was way overpriced. SiteGrounds had the best offer and price combo, so I went with them. Very happy with my choice at this point.

    -MT

    mike_edmondson

    I don’t use shared hosting services. While I did begin with GoDaddy (about 10 years ago), I quickly outgrew their services (their “VPS” offerings were sluggish at best). So I migrated things to PowerVPS (whom I still use), but now that I’m managing about 320 websites, I find that’s it’s easier/better/faster to use “upper-end” VPSs and dedicated servers (i.e., Inmotion servers are fantastic). Granted, it’s $200+/month per server (and I have 6 of them), and there’s a lot more sys admin work involved with maintaining your own server(s)… but talk about flexibility! Virtually no limits! That said, if I were to go with one of the above mentioned, I would check out WPEngine. I’d also recommend checking out ZippyKid (WordPress hosting). Their service seems to be among the fastest I’ve seen.

    Ben Metcalfe

    While we respect the Raelene Wilson’s conclusions, we were surprised that our WP Engine technical support – which is staffed 24/7 and has phone support (which is available to all account levels in an emergency/’site down’ situation) – was rated lower than another provider’s support which by their own admission is only staffed during Pacific Standard hours and offers no phone number.

    It would seem that if we had been scored 1/2 a point/star higher in the Support category, WP Engine would have been the lead host. Instead we are deemed one of the “losers” which we don’t believe is at all representative of the actual service we are providing, based on other reviews and the rate of growth we are seeing from new clients signing up for our service.

    We note and would highlight that Raelene’s sub-par experience was in part created due to a billing issue related to her using an incorrect billing address to mask her identity of this anonymous survey.

    We stand by our decision to use stricter anti-fraud mechanisms for the protection of our other clients and our own business, and so it is disappointing that this has counted against us. We’re curious if Raelene had not had billing issues what our final score would have been as ultimately most clients enter their correct billing address and experience no related issues.

    Ben – Co-Founder, WP Engine

      Raelene Morey

      Thanks for the comment, Ben.

      Actually, in the end I had to use a personal credit card to sort out the billing issues and the address on my credit card is different from the address I signed up with…

      My other issue is that tickets were closed really quickly. As I live in a timezone outside the US, I wasn’t able to respond quickly enough and it became frustrating. What’s the policy when it comes to closing/resolving tickets?

        Ben Metcalfe

        A significant proportion of our client base is non-US based, including many Aussies! (I’m British myself, so understand personally the global perspective of timezone issues).

        One of the things we hear is that our international clients very often select us/switch to us because our support team doesn’t just keep US-centric hours but instead we resolve tickets all day and night across three shifts.

        With you being on another timezone, I guess another surprising aspect to us, from reading your reviews, is that this didn’t come out in your findings. Support teams working to US office hours only would presumably have left you waiting even longer for tickets..?

        Did you open tickets during the business-day in Oz, outside of US times at each of the different vendors you reviewed? What was the response like then?

        The issue of tickets being closed quickly is something I’ve already taken back to our support executive team and frankly is very easily resolved. The issues I raise above about hours of operation are much more institutional and hard for our competitors to resolve/improve.

        One last thing on international clients… We also have data-center presences in Tokyo (which is sometimes better for mostly Australia-focused sites) and London – not just a caching node but in each case a full stack implementation of our architecture. These options are available at no extra charge during sign up.

          Raelene Morey

          Yeah, I did open tickets at different times of the day with all of the hosts. I got replies in decent times, usually within a couple of hours, though obviously Page.ly has limited hours.

          That’s great to hear about resolving tickets closing too soon. A lot of people have commented about how great WP Engine support is and I have no doubt about their experiences. You guys have got a great reputation among users.

            morphosic

            I’ve found this practice of auto-closing tickets to be on the rise and it’s maddening!! I’m pretty sure they do it because there has to be a large percentage of tickets that would otherwise sit abandoned, because the customer never replies back to the tech’s last comment. but, man, when you’re right in the middle of a major issue and the ticket get’s auto-closed and you have to either re-open it or start a new ticket entirely, i get really ticked-off!

            i support you lowering their support score for participating in this practice!

            and i hope that ben is for real when he says that they’ve changed their ways… i would expect much more from them.

            lot’s of people will tell you what you want to hear, but few seem to back it up these days.

    Gwyneth Llewelyn

    With such few differences in the amount of stars given to each company, I get this feeling that the race was won mostly due to personal, subjective experiences. Nevertheless, subjective experiences are also important, and, as such, since this was not a scientific study, it serves its purpose.

    I’ve been hosting with DreamHost since 2005. At that time, my main reason for using them was their location in San Francisco; in fact, I didn’t even use WordPress that much back then, although I quickly moved to WP, and, of course, I used their services. The important bits for choosing them were thus:
    a) location
    b) unlimited everything (I have around 100 sites with them, 70 of those running WP)
    c) cheap
    d) shell access, the ability to reconfigure/recompile PHP, and an amazing control panel which did 99% of what I needed — the remaining 1% being available through a shell access
    e) no screening of content (so long as it’s legal, i.e. no casinos or pedophily, but adult content is “fine”)
    f) lots of untypical services pre-installed like streaming, WebDAV, video conversion, Subversion, and, for a small fee, S3-compatible cloud storage… the list goes on and on.
    DreamHost is not “perfect”. They have outages, and often their servers are overloaded — no wonder, since cheap hosting often means that spammers, scammers, and junk mailers register gazillions of accounts on them, and sometimes it takes time to throw them out. But they also have “dedicated WordPress hosting” (DreamPress) at premium prices — similar to Page.ly. Thus, IMHO, it would only be fair to compare DreamPress with Page.ly, since we’re talking about a completely different kind of service.
    I’m actually surprised with your bad experience with DH’s support. In my own experience, there is no company anywhere who can beat DH’s support. For example, they’re the only company that pro-actively scans all your WP sites, looks for trouble, and sends you a full report if there has been suspicious activity (tampering with files, hacks, attacks, and so forth). So if you “forget” to upgrade one of your blogs which became a victim of an attack, you can rely on DH to do their homework and send you a full report.
    But, yes, their performance is not stellar.
    Good enough for me, though. I have maintained at least two accounts using multiple sites on Bluehost. They weren’t too bad, compared to DreamHost, but… frankly, their control panel sucks. And they just give a tiny slice of the different options that you get with DreamHost. Support is not too bad, but… it’s not “awesome”, which is what DreamHost gives. To be fair, however, they seem to have less outages than DreamHost, so it’s difficult to say what is best.
    You did review GoDaddy?… I’m actually shocked. I *did* try GoDaddy in despair once, when DreamHost was down for a day and I desperately needed to push one blog elsewhere. The experience was so bad that I quickly gave up and terminated the account. To be fair to GoDaddy, there is one hosting company that is even far worse and comes very close to be a scam: 1-and-1 (the small print on their contracts “force” you to stay around for a whole year, no matter what, but this is hardly clear when you sign up). But I can’t even start to imagine who would recommend using GoDaddy to anyone, unless as a revenge against a personal enemy…
    My thoughts regarding all these options is that there are obviously different needs for different clients. If you don’t care about high performance, but having unlimited disk space and traffic is important, then, well, DreamHost or Bluehost might be far better choices, since they’re dirt cheap. Security can be reliably left in the hands of Cloudflare, which also doubles up as a powerful CDN — and is free. Backups can be made via thousands of solutions (I’m fond of WP Remote + BackupWordPress, both by the same company, and which will even store backups for all your sites for a tiny fee). Having shell account is a bonus if you’re doing things beyond WordPress (I host several simple webservices, for example).
    If you wish high performance but don’t have the know-how to set up your own server… well, Page.ly might be a choice (I never tried that), or DreamPress by DreamHost, or any of those specialised WordPress hosting services. But in my personal case, for the huge monthly fees that these people charge, I would rather prefer to have my own virtual private server — or even a “real” private server of my own — which I can tweak and configure to give the best possible performance at a tiny fraction of the cost, except for my own labour costs, which naturally can be passed on to my clients. But I understand that not everybody has the required know-how for that, and thus there is a market for these guys.
    Finally, I’m a bit biased in my assessment of any kind of “reviews”, because, well, I’m used to academic surveys and comparisons, and, frankly, while these are boring to read, at least they have an objective methodology to retrieve data and assess it (even if some conclusions might always be subjective — but at least there will be some data). This “review” here shows little about the methodology used (except for “cost”).
    For example, “features”. It would have been nice to present a table with all features, side-by-side, because that way we could see where the stars come from. Since I never used WP Engine nor Page.ly, I cannot confirm the claims. But I have certainly used the other three, and DreamHost has way, way, way, way more features than BlueHost (and these are far easier to configure). Then again, maybe the comparison is about what features are present that *strictly relate to WordPress*. The last time I used GoDaddy, it was a pain to figure out how to upgrade WordPress — you needed to wait about a week after a release was out, then you’d get a link via email to upgrade it, to a “special” section of the control panel (which is usually hard to find without that link), and then eventually you figured out where to press to get the upgrade. Ugh! Ugly. On DreamHost, you just click on a button to create the WordPress install, and click on a checkbox to upgrade it automatically — which usually happens a few hours after Automattic has released a new version.
    Then comes the biggest issue: speed/performance. What tools were used to evaluate performance? There are a gazillion options out there, but it would be nice to list the few that were actually used for evaluating speed/performance — even if it’s just Google PageRank or Yahoo’s own tools. I’m fond of GTMetrix, but when evaluating performance, I tend to use many more tools — namely, stress-testing the environment with tens, hundreds, or thousands of simultaneous connections and see how the WP install performs. On some of my major blogs, I have up to five or so different testing systems running all the time because each test does things slightly differently, and sometimes it’s hard to see what is actually happening (poor response times?… well, sometimes that happens if you’re using a test battery being launched from a server across the world with not enough bandwidth for the tests!). And what was the WordPress configuration in each case — bare bones, or using some caching plugin? How many articles and comments? Without even a minimalistic description of the test battery that was employed, we are only able to assess the results on the basis of… faith: “trust me, Page.ly is better”.
    Again, I don’t want to sound too harsh. Even purely subjective opinions are worth something; there is evidently a lot of work put in evaluating all these hosting providers. But objective data presented in tables, graphs, charts — facts, not opinions — are even better.

      EdwardMartinIII

      “In my own experience, there is no company anywhere who can beat DH’s support.”

      I’ve found them to typically be responsive. Not always HELPFUL, but responsive.

      “For example, they’re the only company that pro-actively scans all your WP sites, looks for trouble, and sends you a full report if there has been suspicious activity (tampering with files, hacks, attacks, and so forth).”

      I have NEVER seen this behavior.

      In fact, while being hosted by Dreamhost, my entire platform was pretty much ker-hacked a couple years back.

      “So if you “forget” to upgrade one of your blogs which became a victim of an attack, you can rely on DH to do their homework and send you a full report.”

      I have never seen such a thing.

      The way I discovered I had been hacked was when Google informed me that my sites were being pulled from Google’s index, because they were basically pharma spam tools and malware redirectors.

      I ended up letting Dreamhost know this.

      “On DreamHost, you just click on a button to create the WordPress install, and click on a checkbox to upgrade it automatically — which usually happens a few hours after Automattic has released a new version.”

      In the past year, I’ve had the Dreamhost installer robot notify me weeks or longer after an update.

      Fortunately, I check for updates roughly twice a day.

      Unfortunately, the Dreamhost installer robot is dumb and doesn’t actually CHECK your site, so it’ll merrily copy an insecure version of your site with a “.old” suffix while it “updates” your site for you.

      As much as I like Dreamhost (and I admit, I do), this is probably one of the DUMBEST things I’ve ever seen online, security-wise.

      I’ve written to them about it several times in the past. As I mentioned above — they’re usually responsive. Just not helpful.

      “But objective data presented in tables, graphs, charts — facts, not opinions — are even better.”

      Concurrence. Data is beautiful.

        Gwyneth Llewelyn

        Well, now I understand why DreamHost fared so badly on the evaluation. If two different customers get so completely different treatment, no wonder the reviews were so bad.

        I’ll just add that I’m the lowest kind of DreamHost customer — just paying as little as possible. I’m not even a client of their so-called “VPS” service (which is not quite “VPS” enough for my tastes), and while I regularly participate on their (free) beta testing, I most certainly am not a good customer, much less a VIP customer. I used to have an affiliate link for them but never received a single cent from that. So, well, I’m just one of the million customers they have, without a reason to be handled specially in any way.

        But clearly, for some reason, they treat me well.

        So is it just a question of “luck”? Maybe, but, if so, that means inconsistent technical support, and you shouldn’t rely on being a “lucky customer” just to get reliable and fast technical support.

        BTW, the pro-active reporting on hacked sites and tips on how to improve performance and so forth are things that DreamHost do “regularly” — in the sense that I didn’t get these reports just “once” or “occasionally”. In fact, when I have a difficult time to track down some problem, their answer is not usually some canned “we’re working on it” report, but a full report explaining a lot of options that I have to increase performance — often quite technical (I learn a lot just from reading their answers).

        So I now wonder what I did to get such excellent service from them :) Maybe I complain little and praise their work too much; but I’m sure there must be something else, since, to be honest, I always get answers from different techs (or at least they sign their answers with different names…), and all of them tend to treat me similarly. I cannot understand why they would treat everybody else differently, but, on the other hand, the fact that they do, is a good reason for thinking twice about them.

        Oh, and I also like their newsletters. Instead of corporate gobbledygook or technical mumbo-jumbo, we get information written with humour. I guess that might put off some people, thinking that they’re not “serious” enough for your business. For me, it shows the reverse: they’re not afraid of making fun of themselves.

        Still, the issue of treating customers differently — in Edward’s case, giving him the radically opposite treatment than I get — worries me.

          EdwardMartinIII

          “If two different customers get so completely different treatment, no wonder the reviews were so bad.”

          Hm. I should clarify. I have never been treated BADLY. I would say that while customer support has always been responsive, only about 60% of the time was there a resolution. The other 40% was something about which nothing could be done.

          But my issue with the “.old” automatic script thing has been a real annoyance.

          In fact, just last night, I was notified by the robot installer “Hey, you should update your WP installation — a new version is out!” so I interrupted an important game of Plants vs. Zombies only to find out that this was the update I had applied yesterday afternoon.

          Dumb robot doesn’t check.

          Turning off notifications is not the answer. Smart robot is the answer.

          “I’ll just add that I’m the lowest kind of DreamHost customer — just paying as little as possible.”

          Right there with ya. I’m just one small setup among a lot.

          “BTW, the pro-active reporting on hacked sites and tips on how to improve performance and so forth are things that DreamHost do “regularly” — in the sense that I didn’t get these reports just “once” or “occasionally”.”

          Really? Were they triggered by an attack or just regular “tips and tricks” type emails? I may have misunderstood you earlier — I thought you meant the former but you may have meant the latter.

          “Maybe I complain little and praise their work too much…”

          I dunno. By the time I contact support on an issue, I’ve tried a few ways to resolve it, including keeping notes on what I did and what resulted. My typical assumptions is that *I* did something wrong or have misconfigured something, and I’m asking for their advice on how I can un-f my situation.

          I have found that this is a safe assumption most of the time, ha-ha.

          “Oh, and I also like their newsletters.”

          Concurrence.

          “…giving him the radically opposite treatment than I get…”

          Oh, I don’t know if I’d say it was radically opposite. I mean, I’m still WITH Dreamhost, so that says something. The pricing is decent, the service is responsive and it hasn’t been so much of a pain that I wanted to jump ship.

          On the other hand, the downside of a shared hosting situation is that if anyone sharing my server gets pwned, then I do as well, and Dreamhost has a known, predictable method for regularly producing a duplicate unprotected version of a user’s WP site. So, that’s kinda problematic, I would think.

    David

    Excellent input. A couple of observations from our expeience.

    I am a long term user of Dreamhost but, when pushed, seems to run into performance problems with database link (which is not Localhost). Have seen in Joomla and WordPress – and very much so in an application we use that writes heavy, long strings to database. Slow and error prone.

    Hostgator are a bit hasty in closing things down on problems and asking questions later.

    And add Siteground to the list – we have found excellent performance and very responsive help desk. Currently on VPS with them and very happy.

    blogmylunch

    Thank you for the big review. Raelene.

    My WPE story goes like this: I’ve had two themes fail on their servers. My site, http://blogmylunch.com is now basically down. A huge shame since I was getting serious hits before it collapsed.

    WPE has given me one month off of billing in the meantime, until I decide what to do, where to go.

    I’ve started learning how to build themes, and am looking into plugins and other options for posting user-generated content from the front-end.

    I found other themes I am interested in, but I shy away from another month-long argument with a theme vendor before only getting credit, not money back, on a theme.

    If anyone has a suggestion for front-end posting of recipes, videos and photos, please give me a holler.

    I might try pagely, but I’d want to know more about their system before I shell out more money.

    Nofyah

    mwtada

    I would also like to see GVO reviewed. I have a reseller account with them, and host almost all of my clients’ sites on it (and of course, my own sites). I have been with them for about 4 years now (since they started), and have always had a good experience. I think the support is pretty good too, and very helpful.

    That being said, they have been down all day today (looks like they are having some kind of major problem). It seems like they have been the target of some attacks recently.

    I am looking into some alternatives, like LiquidWeb, just to see if there is something comparable, in terms of pricing, storage, bandwidth, etc. I need to be able to host an unlimited number of domains/sites/WordPress installs. I don’t think I have ever needed any WordPress specific support, from my host.

    I agree with many of the commenters here, that I would not host with GoDaddy. I am surprised to see so many people recommending HostGator. I have always thought of them as low-end. Kind of like the Dollar Store of hosts.

    I had looked into Bluehost before and, after reading the article and comments, am glad I did not sign up with them.

    I have a client, who signed up with WPEngine awhile back. He has a very large and high traffic site. He has not had any problems, and the support is good enough. My only major complaint about WPEngine, is your WordPress install with them is part of their MultiSite install. I understand their reasoning behind this. They are a fully managed WordPress host, and the easiest way to manage updates and security for a large number of sites, is to install them with MultiSite. This drives me crazy.

    While I can appreciate that many people (like all of my clients, for example) need a managed WordPress solution, I don’t think I would ever want to use a managed WordPress host, as I prefer to handle this myself. I don’t want to have to ask permission to install plugins.

      Ben Metcalfe

      “My only major complaint about WPEngine, is your WordPress install with them is part of their MultiSite install. I understand their reasoning behind this. They are a fully managed WordPress host, and the easiest way to manage updates and security for a large number of sites, is to install them with MultiSite. This drives me crazy.”

      That simply is not true.

      Every ‘instance’ (as we internally refer to it) of WordPress that a client is given is a single install – the same as if you just installed the WordPress.org Self Install.

      At your request, on our Pro+ accounts, we can enable Multisite for you. In fact, we couldn’t offer clients Multisite if in fact our entire architecture was Multisite.

        mwtada

        Hi Ben,

        Thank you for your response.

        Perhaps I misunderstood something then. I experienced this problem, when trying to install a plugin on my client’s site. I was not allowed to install the plugin, and had to ask WPEngine’s support to install it. I assumed this was due to the site being part of a multisite installation, since this is a feature on multisite, and I have never encountered this problem before. Since my client only has the one site hosted on WPEngine, I thought they must be using multisite to manage WordPress installs.

        I personally have never used multisite, as I have not had the need, and it seemed the only significant benefit in my case would be managing the various WordPress installs from a single point. I do not have a problem managing the sites individually. But then, I am only managing a dozen or so sites (not counting dev sites).

          Ben Metcalfe

          I’m not sure why you might have experienced that – perhaps they were running multisite by mistake on their instance?

          We have nothing to physically stop you from installing plugins, although we don’t allow certain ones.

          I’d very much encourage you to take another look at us, and if you encounter any strange behavior like you outlined, do contact our support team.

            mwtada

            It is possible that one of the plugins was on your not allowed list. Although, I believe we were allowed to install it, after speaking with support. It was quite awhile ago, so I don’t remember the specifics.

            In any case, my client has been very happy with WPEngine. I did not mean to give the impression that he was not. In fact, when he was looking for a managed WordPress host, he asked me to look into WPEngine, and I gave it my thumbs-up.

            Now that I know you are not using multisite, to manage customers’ WordPress installs, I am happier with WPEngine as well.

            When it comes to not allowed plugins, does WPEngine typically have recommended alternatives to the not allowed plugins?

    n_parks

    Obviously you could not include every web host. But IMNSHO you overlooked a very good one: Atspace (www.atspace.com).

    Their tech support is quick and helpful.

    For small sites (not for WordPress) there is a free plan that does not skimp on features.

    The “basic” plan (works very well with WordPress) is $1.99 per month for up to a year for new users, and $2.99 per month after that. Pricier plans are available with more features, but chances are that the Basic is all you need. It is what I use for http://www.hjcs.org .

    deanl

    Wow, 150 comment already. Nice list, gave me a lot of ideas for changing my WP hosting.

    HELP PLEASE – I have about 20 website on Godaddy, all small sites, together less than 50k visitors/m. But I would like to switch to another hosting. Where should I go?

    Something that is cheap, allow hosting 20+ sites, and of course fast + secure. Checking all options, I like http://www.siteground.com/cloud-hosting.htm Just sounds good and cheap, not sure about speed?

    Thanks for help all good people :)

    Dean

    chris_howard

    Raelene, your rating of WPEngine as the most expensive is misguided.

    If you look at simple bottom plan, then maybe. But heck, WPengine could then just make a $1/mth plan with very limited features and then they’d rate best.

    But considering other factors, Page.ly is more expensive than WPEngine.

    1) To get multisite – a very common requirement of those wanting higher end hosting – on Page.ly will cost $149/mth, whereas WPEngine is $99/mth.

    2) To get FTP costs $5 extra. Free with WPEngine.

    3) CDN is $9/mth extra on all plans. $19.95 on basic WPEngine, and free on the other plans.

    4) To host multiple WP sites costs an additional 70% per site on Page.ly.

    That last one is terrifyingly expensive!

    e.g. One of my clients has 7 sites with CDN and FTP access, total traffic < 100,000 unique visits.

    On WPEngine, $99/mth.

    On Page.ly, on the basic plan ($24+$5+$9) + ($24+$5+$9)*.7*6 = $197.60/mth

    And for a client wanting say 3 multisites, ($149+$5+$9)+($149+$5+$9)*.7*2 = $391.20/mth

    The same on WPEngine would be $99 or $249, depending on traffic

    So, unless you have very basic requirements, with Page.ly, costs escalate very rapidly.

    Regards service, not sure how you can rate Page.ly's best with only 3 support staff covering "limited support hours during Pacific Standard Time".

    That's guaranteed to sooner rather than later prove much more problematic than the delay you experienced with WPEngine.

    I wouldn't even consider a service based in the US for my sites if it didn't provide support during my day time.

    So support and cost would be the first two reasons I would rate Page.ly down.

    I think in the future with these types of reviews, I'd rather see the comparison on real costs. Create some scenarios.

      Raelene Morey

      You’re not wrong there! It’s great to see so many comments and even personal experiences from people who have used these hosts and others. Even Ben from WP Engine and Joshua from Page.ly have left comments, which is pretty cool. It just goes to show how these managed WordPress hosts take feedback from their customers really seriously.

    patrick_samphire6

    I have several (non-Wordpress) sites on Bluehost, and while none of them are particularly fast or reliable, what is very noticeable is just how variable the performance (uptime, response times) is depending on which particular box you’re on. One particular site, which doesn’t have that many visitors and which isn’t particularly demanding never gets above a crawl, because it’s obviously sharing a server with a resource hog.

    Basically, Bluehost can be okay, but it’s a coin-flip as to whether you end up on an adequate or completely inadequate server. Because of that, I would never host with them again, and I’m going to move my sites off.

    I’ve been considering using A Small Orange, although I’m a little perturbed to see from comments above that they’re owned by EIG, which can’t be good news. Anyone have experience of hosting with them?

    Anyway, thanks for this series of reviews! Even if I don’t end up hosting with any of these companies, it’s given me a better idea of what to expect from various services.

    If and when you get around another series of reviews, I’d definitely be interested in seeing how mediatemple and A Small Orange turn out.

    raz

    You never reviewed HostGator. They have decent pricing (not the cheapest but still not too expensive), they use the proper cPanel, have 24/7 live chat support and have 1 click installers for all the main web apps..

    There servers are stable too

      Justin

      Most all hosting companies have single click installs but those installs are not secure and not recommended. HostGator does have cPanel, not the latest stable build on their stuff but close. Their servers are all being located in a SoftLayer facility in Provo Utah – That’s about as far away from the main fiber as a server farm can get… hop hop hop!

      I’d recommend reading above some of the comments about HostGator, who owns them, where they’ve been and where they’re going. They may have been a good hosting company at one time but they’ve been swallowed up by a larger company whose sole intention is drawing in ‘fresh meat’ and overselling the servers big time.

      I’ve even spoken with some of the employees at HostGator and they’re unhappy with the direction it’s going and the older clients they’re losing.

      DannySS4U

      i was thinking about MT as an alternative and have been chatting with them a few times – they seem very helpful tbh but would love to know people experiences with them (MT)

      Iv loved BH, and frankly have no had issues before, but, if there is a better alternative for the same kinda money id be a fool not to give them a chance

        cbesett

        I have several clients on (mt) and the uptime is really great. I just moved a client to the WordPress specific sql grid container but it’s too soon to tell on that. I had support issues and took to twitter and got a response really quickly after chat disconnected me and the phone support said they weren’t available. Frankly that’s the first problem i’ve had with support and it was resolved within 20min. My bluehost email is still going down every 5 min today and my site is constantly going down (I have monitors on it that alert me).

    Big Frank

    Info I received from MediaTemple after talking with them, by phone:

    DV Managed
    Our dedicated VPS solution has quick upgrade/downgrade capability for scaling with your business. All resources are completely dedicated to your hosting, so there is no “bad neighbor effect” like there can be in a shared environment. You are given full root access in SSH, allowing a crafty developer room for infinite customization. The latest build uses Plesk 11 for your control interface, Apache and Nginx for web, MySQL 5.5 for databases, PHP 5.4 for scripting, and the base operating system is 64-bit CentOS 6. Here are the resource breakdowns for the DV Managed Server:

    Level 1 – 1 GB RAM, 30 GB storage, 1 TB transfer, $50.00/month ($500.00 yearly discount)
    Level 2 – 2 GB RAM, 50 GB storage, 1.5 TB transfer, $100.00/month ($1000.00 yearly discount)
    Level 3 – 4 GB RAM, 100 GB storage, 2 TB transfer, $150.00/month ($1500.00 yearly discount)
    Level 4 – 8 GB RAM, 200 GB storage, 3 TB transfer, $350.00/month ($3500.00 yearly discount)
    Level 5 – 16 GB RAM, 350 GB storage, 3 TB transfer, $750.00/month ($7500.00 yearly discount)
    Level 6 – 32 GB RAM, 600 GB storage, 3 TB transfer, $1500.00/month ($15000.00 yearly discount)

    You can install as many WP sites as your space will hold. (I added this). – F.

    We can move your sites here for $150.00 per web application and there is even one free as a special offer for today only! Beyond that, you might be interested in the specialty premium server management we offer through CloudTech:

    http://mediatemple.net/cloudtech/

    All of our hosting services come with a full 30-day money back guarantee, so you can get started with zero risk. Even the yearly discounted plans have no contracts, so you can cancel anytime to receive a prorated refund. Please let me know if you have any more questions or when you are ready to get started!

        doug_jones

        If you host yourself at Amazon – most of the time you can increase your server size and capability with a few clicks.

        If you had our HA cluster you could spin up additional front end clients in 30 seconds for .06/hr. or about 47.28 a month. How many you use depends on your need. We can handle 3000 active on site (using Google Analytics as the measure) at 9000 pv’s a second with 5 front ends – nominal load. I like to keep the CPU’s at about 25% max.

            doug_jones

            To fully take of AWS cloud services you should be using Spot instances. We typically buy the M3.XL instances for about .058/hr, but we put a top price in at about 5X that so they don’t disappear. The MSRP of an M3.XL is .50 an hour so we’re saving just under 90% per instance. We run over 14 instances in our cluster.

            By and far the biggest problem is WordPress itself. The “blogs.dir” notion is antiquated – and storing directly on a server in a cloud-based world is a 1995 notion. Thus you have to put some synapses in gear to “figure out” the simple tricks to clusterize WP. You can then use AWS to it’s fullest, spinning up instances as traffic requires and getting the best prices.

            Once you create a stable WP AMI, you can launch spot instances in seconds. The best way to master the user interface is through keystrokes and clicks. If this is your business, make some time to learn the technologies that drives your revenue stream.

            AWS recently started offering support. I used it once on an email situation with SES (which we use for email from our WP cluster). It cost $50 to get the answer, but AWS gave me a developer credit for it because I asked nicely.

            Imperative Ideas

            @cbesett

            Your bill will run around $50/mo. Humor me here… unless you need rapid scaling (for which AWS is bar none the best on the planet) check out a WiredTree VPS.

            You’ll be up & running on WHM/Cpanel with the full backing of a badass customer support team before the end of the day. No nightmares.

            I built my first websites in 1996. This is the best host I’ve ever come across.

            doug_jones

            Linux or Unix experience is always a good thing and you can get those services fairly inexpensively.

            Here are the steps:

            sudo tasksel install lamp-server
            apt-get install php5-gd **if you use graphics
            a2enmod rewrite

            That’s a basic Ubuntu lamp server with php5.4 that will then be ready to take on WP. There are a number of sites that show the setup from there.

            If you want to get fancy add in:
            sudo apt-get install php-apc

            This will install the APC Cache which will improve performance drastically for a small server. There are again a number of sites that show APC config.

            If you want one-button setup I suggest a managed host. But if you want to learn, SEARCH is your best best friend ever.

      ruben_aguirre

      Yes they did. I had previously commented here how great HostGator, but I need to clarify. Their support is awesome. They’ll help you troubleshoot just about anything, anytime. For not being a coder, this is a great asset.

      That said, and call me bipolar, yesterday was the last straw when it comes to service (different than support, their support is still awesome). I didn’t realize they had been sold, but had noticed the service has been deteriorating over the last year.

      So for anyone thinking of HostGator, hear me out. As a customer of 5+ years, and constantly sending referrals to them over the years, I’m moving away, and encourage you to run as fast as you can the other way. Especially if your business depends on websites working. I almost lost my two biggest customers because of them.

      They should’ve changed their motto when they got sold: “Eating up our own client base”

    sandymoore

    In over 5+ years I’ve never had a problem with Hostgator and highly recommend their customer service.

    As a online business builder not one of my clients have ever had a website down and neither have I. Even after the takeover, I still have no complaints about this amazing service.

    atouchofsummer

    I’ve used Media Temple, left Media Temple, recommended them to a client, came back, and left again. Their tech support is good, their DV service is great. Their GS service is good, but frustratingly slow and spotty when it comes to WordPress websites.

    I tried Arvixe for 6 months while experimenting with Piwik… there’s two things I wish I’d never wasted my time on.

    Have been using Hostgator for a little over a year, as Pagely and Synthesis were way too expensive for how many sites I have (and Pagely is practically in my backyard). It’s funny, but I have two separate accounts with them, but only one of them went down with the big EIG bonehead manuever the other day.

    My main Hostgator complaint now is that FTP is significantly slower than it used to be.

    I’m also looking around for other affordable hosting, since one of my media sites may have to look for other alternatives for hosting our web series, unless our video team can figure out how to make HD work on Blip in under 1Gb files.

    Now I’m thinking about putting up a blog post detailing all my experiences with hosting providers over the past 5 years!

    Sol

    After reading the above, I felt compelled to create an account to comment!

    Site5 were the worst host I ever came across – AVOID! They are bully boys that try to force you to upgrade at every opportunity when it’s not necessary – I really disliked their support too – typical of “faceless” hosts with the same old canned responses, despite the email responses that actually showed the support techs photo! A very unpleasant company to deal with.

    I have also tried HostingZoom – another dreadful company to avoid.

    I am currently hosting with a fantastic Australian host called Crucial Paradigm (crucial.com.au) – not the cheapest – but the dedicated and helpful team are awesome and the technology is top notch.

    lindaloustarr

    Over the page few years I have dealt with a lot of hosts with my clients, inmotion, bluehost, hostgator, rocketpress, dreamhost, godaddy, to name a few . . .

    Personally I have always hosted with godaddy & here are the reasons, and why I am now a godaddy reseller . . .

    Godaddy automatically backs up your site files & folders every single day, automatically (no extra charge with the ultimate account $14.99 mo.). From those backups, if something screwy happens, you can go back as far as 30 days to recover your site. You do have to backup your databases on your own, but, no other host (that I’ve worked with & whom I queried when doing reseller research) offers this 30 day “go-back” feature. Some offer it as an extra charge but if you have to go back you can only go back in increments of 1 of three choices, 1 day the past week or the past month, not day by day like godaddy.

    In addition, over the 5 years I’ve been with godaddy I have had only 1 snotty tech when I needed assistance, tech service is great! Every single issue I’ve had they have gone beyond the call of duty for me . . . (It helps if when you get the tech on the phone you say “I need you to be my hero tonight (today)”, but then of course they all love to hear that industry wide :) . . . )

    Godaddy offers unlimited bandwidth and storage, many in the list above do not . . . Some say they do but when you start using a lot of bandwidth they cut you off at the knees . . .

    If I had to pick the most important feature for me personally, as well as my clients, is . . . if your site spikes in bandwidth godaddy techs are on it immediately to determine where it’s coming from, if from a spammer situation that you’ve been infiltrated by godaddy stuts them off, not you.

    In the case with the above mentioned hosts other than godaddy, I questioned them all & they all said the same thing . . . if you start sucking up bandwidth whether through the growth of your site or a spammer they shut you down first & then send you an email that you have a problem to fix, & they all told me they had a 3 strike & you’re out policy, except godaddy.

    So, with all the hosts I’ve worked with & all the hosts I have queried with the most important web hosting issues I or my clients might encounter I find godaddy to be the best & safest choice . . . yep, they may be a little more expensive but when it comes to the integrity of my websites or my clients I want to know that not only am I protected in the event I have to do a site restore but that I’m not going to be shut down if all of a sudden my, or my clients business grows exponentially, or, if a special promotion produces a large spike in traffic ~ the bang for my buck is Godaddy . . .

    pixomarc

    After flitting from host to host every two years or so, I have now homed on to VPS hosting by Linode and DigitalOcean. Although it requires extra effort in setting up everything from the OS to WordPress, I think that this itself is its strength where I can install and tweak to my hearts content. I have a typical LEMP (Ubuntu 12.04 Linux, NGinx, MySQL and PHP) with Varnish which wasn’t too difficult if you follow the instructions on their support site. Now on a hosting plan which costs $20 per month, I have 4 WordPress installs which have significant improvements in terms of loading speeds etc.

    Compare this to so-called WordPress optimized hosting which cost upwards of $29 for ONE site – yes they do offer the advantage of not requiring any tech know-how…

    For those wanting to explore Linode or DigitalOcean without the hassles of all the geekery, there are techs available on Fiverr or Freelancer etc who can do the job (installing Linux, web server, WordPress) for as low as 20 bucks. I am one of those who do so :)

    Stephen

    Great article, many thanks.
    Ive been using dreamhost for our yachting recruitment website http://www.ayc.com.au and generally happy with the service.
    Just tried upgrading to VPS over the past week however didnt notice any considerable difference with page speed so now disabled it.

    Interesting to see how many comments this article has created and believe a user poll would create some very interesting results to show the public favourite.

    SC

    aecnu

    Greetings Folks :-)

    I was really considering if I should post or not regarding this topic and those items that folks commented within.

    In full disclosure I am indeed CEO and Global Network Administrator of AECNU and WPMU Hosting and previously a support staff member of WPMU DEV which gives me a unique insight to both sides of the fence and more.

    With that said on to the topic at hand.

    Each one of the hosts mentioned has unique issues – unique for the most part to themselves and some of those items are intentional in design.

    Starting with us – we do not have 24/7 support and we have an IP V4 provisioning issue which is what happens coming in late to the game of IP V4 – so for us they are indeed at a premium – though the IP V4 problem will go on industry wide until the conversion to IP V6, the one improvement we can anticipate making is having 24 hour support by this time next year if growth keeps at the current pace it has.

    On to the rest …

    One of my pet peeves with Go Daddy Hosting is the way the MySQL server is separate from the web server and though it may seem like a good idea in engineering to some degree – the round trip time to and from the database server is not good news for database intensive applications.

    In addition, if the MySQL server goes down – every site needing a database connection goes down with it regardless of which web server it resides on. But at least they do not try to hold one hostage by charging for backups and disabling the cp-move capabilities of native WHM/cPanel like some of the companies do as mentioned by a previous poster and indeed appears to be the case.

    Blue Host and the like seem to want to do everything possible to get maximum ROI on the client base racking – stacking – and packing to include throttling – the throttling they publicly try to show as an upside and my question is what about full throttle minimum 100mbps which the minimum ETH hardware of today provides for? And why the paying for backups and cp-move not working which both come native with WHM/cPanel until they hacked it up?

    What happened to HostGator:
    http://www.digitalfaq.com/editorials/websites-blogs/hostgator-alternatives-eig-pt1.htm

    HostGator has come under fire from me not only because it appears that cut offs for backups and file transfers from the server are cutting off between 6 and 8 GB’s (spent ten days fighting with this item on behalf of a new client this week) but also because of the hacking of many a web sites – partial technical issue –> directory browsing allowed helps c99 hackers and other micro holes so to speak.

    WP Engine – I do not know much about them but from my understanding a few choice plugins do not run on their platform i.e. MultiDB? etc. and that a dedicated server is $99 a month of course add $35 a month for WHM/cPanel and one has a very competitive hosting solution that many would argue is far superior.

    Page.ly I have no clue and know absolutely nothing about them.

    Regarding support staff of all of the above hosts … I do not know … I so rarely need/needed support being extremely skilled in the hosting/server industry.

    Thank you for letting me add my two cents to the topic.

    Cheers, Joe :-)

    David Medina

    I just switched some of my websites from a shared account at Hostgator over to a managed wordpress hosting at Flywheel. I can only say… WOW!!! I found my perfect hosting.

    Their customer service is amazing. They respond quickly and stay with you until they help you out. They moved my site for free from Hostgator in no time at all. After I made sure everything was working right, and it was, the switchover was easy and quick. Next week they are calling me to teach me all the in and outs. A personal call!

    Great customer service is much more that being available 24/7 but actually having knowledgeable people that can help you without handing you over to someone else.

    Their admin panel is gorgeously simple and straightforward.

    And the speed is, well, lighting fast. No CDN needed (they offer it if you need or want one).

    My experience has been so amazing with Flywheel that they just became my new home for my websites. I am sure many other companies are great, but I need not look any further as Flywheel is my perfect hosting.

    Drew

    Most of the individual reviews/comments can be considered anecdotal. Some users have a good experience while others have a bad experience with the same hoster. These differences could be attributed to the host server configuration, WordPress content, plugins and database size. WP dashboard operations and responsiveness is another feature that my clients have complained about as site content grows.

    While the original post aimed to “measure” several key hosting features, I wish that it included a description of the server and WordPress content/database in each case. Perhaps some sort of benchmark suite could have provided a “standard” measurement that addresses those key WP site features. Unfortunately, most PHP/MySql benchmarks require root permissions to install.

    chris_zacker

    Does anyone have experience with wpwebhost.com?

    Just curious. I am looking to switch to a new host. Currently I maintain 40+ sites, some wordpress, some not. None of the sites are extremely high traffic, with most averaging <10,000 per month. I am looking for more of a managed solution, where I don't have to maintain the server, though I don't mind updating wordpress and the plug-ins, and actually prefer it that way. Also, hosting email needs to be an option.

    Currently, I am looking at WPwebHost, Rackspace, KnownHost, LiquidWeb and WiredTree.

    Let me know if you guys have any suggestions. I very much appreciate it!

    lbdesign

    This is anecdotal re: LiquidWeb, but I think it’s still worth telling:
    After the Great Bluehost/Hostgator Blackout of a few weeks ago, I moved two clients to LiquidWeb, because they demanded to be moved somewhere. Then yesterday, in the middle of the day, the shared LiquidWeb server both of these clients is housed on went down due to a hard drive failure. They were down for ~3 hours in the middle of the day. After the server came back up, the DBs were still down, so WordPress could not function.
    I also had trouble with LiquidWeb’s free account transfer service. The first account they moved had configuration problems — something about the way they moved over the existing WP installs messed up the LiquidWeb dashboard, and I couldn’t use FTP or basically do anything until they fixed it. Then on the 2nd move, I warned them in great detail what went wrong the first time, asked the tech to talk to the first tech, etc, and exactly the same thing happened. I could not set up email, because it turned out they had been blacklisted due to a current client on the shared server engaging in spam-like activity. They didn’t know that until I reported a problem.
    Their techs are available, polite, communicate well, responsive. But I have experienced a lot of technical problems in 2 weeks with them. Should a hard drive unit in a RAID bank take down an entire shared server? Should they know when their email services have been blacklisted? I don’t know, but I was told they were better than bluehost, and I never had such issues at bluehost (again, anecdotal). So I opened test accounts at A2 and InMotion. I may not move any more clients to LiquidWeb. We’ll see…

      elpino

      AECNU hosting never had a down time so far, 1 plus year now.. once the site dint load for 5 minutes for DoS attack to my site, but besides that, had no problem whatsoever, Aecnu (Joe) is a lifetime member here at wpmudev and was a superb active staff, great network specialist, so you will have a great hosting, another plus that i dont see any of the other hosting services period, is 512 php memory so your wordpress will have double the power to run. http://bit.ly/YiNpor

        Jocelyn

        Elpino, I agree about AECNU hosting. They are so far superior to everybody I’ve ever hosted that I’m probably with them for life (well over a year now). They’ve never missed a step. Plus, Joe is very patient, explains things in detail, even though he might rightfully roll his eyes every once in a while at my many questions. Highly recommended!

    coburnenterprises

    @lbdesign – isn’t that amazing… I am so sorry to hear of your experience with Liquid Web – I hired them almost 5 years ago when shared, even “vps” hosting was so over sold my ecommerce sites were painfully slow. Of course, I pay a premium for my managed dedicated server but I could not be happier. That being said, I agree with you – each person has a different experience. I think also, each of these companies experiences growing pains, they are good – great (i.e. hostgator) so they get more and more customers and then they have a hard time meeting the needs.

    I had to go through an IP migration (I guess it’s related to the IPv4 thing) and it was not easy but I had very little down time and these guys stayed on with me until it was all figured out.

    All of that said I have noticed that with their growth they have on occasion brought in a newbie that really wasn’t a good fit – they have to be smart and patient and able to work with a huge variety of personality types. I don’t consider myself an expert (nor do I want to be) on server technology so when I get someone that doesn’t know as much as me I get a little frustrated but if I ask for someone else it usually works out ok.

    It is not “really” their responsibility to know my software – but I am amazed at how many times they have helped me troubleshoot (inevitably my bad!).

    Anyway, I hope you have a better experience with them moving forward.

    lbdesign

    Thank you @coburnenterprises
    I do want to be fair and communicate they have been really nice to work with, and I agree that they never say “this goes beyond basic server support”. I’ve got one VPS with them as well, and that has gone better, though not perfectly. They do get extra points for how helpful they are.
    And I agree that there can be a lifecycle to any host: excellence, followed by growing pains, that may result in worsening experience. Or not, depending on how they handle themselves.

    mathew_porter

    I currently have a vps, scalable, fast and dedicated with ease of adding more resource, ip’s etc in seconds, cannot recommend it highly enough as a great second to a dedicated server. I am UK based and use Heart Internet for any UK guys, also would recommend UK Fast for people wanting a dedicated solution, personal service and quality.

    ice9design

    I’d just like to put my 2 cents in requesting reviews of hosting solutions that are more in the $20-$30/mo range that will host several WP sites as well as WPMU.

    Page.ly is just ridiculously expensive. WP Engine is a BIT better, but they don’t include email… and still too expensive.

    Right now, I’m using Bluehost. Lots of outages. Lots of emails not not through. Sloooooooow. My clients aren’t happy. When I suggested a $99/mo host, though, they were all “I’ll just stick with Bluehost” heh.

    I’m especially curious about Wiredtree and AECNU.

    The ones reviewed here are either $4/mo and crappy or $100+ and amazing.

    Drew

    I believe that most of the reviews here were for ‘shared’ hosting services. The next step up is VPS and then dedicated servers.

    A quick look at Dreamhost VPS shows a $15-200/mo plan. Although I’m unfamiliar with their VPS RAM pricing model – how would one determine RAM needs?

    Drew

    If one stays with a low-cost ‘shared’ service, consider the MySQL-Optimized Database option to provide an incremental performance improvement. This option is typically implemented through a dedicated MySql server and pricing averages $0.05/MB/mo. Does anyone have any experience with this type of add-on?

    John

    This was a really helpful post. I appreciate the in-depth breakdown of each of these companies. It would be nice if you took it even another level further and added more hosting companies to the mix. I would be really interested to see how Media Temple and Nexcess stack up.

    ils

    Did page.ly have a big price increase since this review?

    $24/month for a single site doesn’t seem to put them anywhere near the price range of others like godaddy from the list tested

    Disclaimer:
    Not that I would use Godaddy

    ever

    again…

    …okokok… unless I was paid a ridiculously high fee, such as much as Van Damme was, to do their commercials.

    Hey! Don’t look at me with that you-can-be-bought-look… I have 4 kids to feed :P

    scott_tuchman

    I would suggest trying out Arvixe. Priced well and the shared regular and pro accounts are good. Tech support is real live people 24/7 and they really do go the distance to solve the problem. Priced the same or cheaper than Bluehost (which is now owned by web.com, just like GoDaddy and several other hosting companies they recently purchased).

    GoDaddy sucks big time for service and support although they did finally enter the 21st century by offering cPanel instead of that piece of crap custom control panel!

    Luca Accoto

    I’m with MyWoHo.com WordPress Hosting. I like it because of the price, the speed and because of the free subdomains.
    I create WordPress Sites as a hobby and that’s why I like the free subdomains instead of having to register a top level domain every time. It’s a good alternative to wordpress.com.

    Paul

    Blimey, i didn’t even get as far as setting up my site with Bluehost!

    Perhaps i was a bit of a donut not to check the terms and conditions.

    I signed up to a shared hosting plan and got charge $600 + for 3 years of hosting :/

    Thing is, at no point did i see it say i was paying for the yearly package, absolutely everywhere said monthly costs.

    I cancelled account immediately for a full refund!

      Matt

      Thanks for the link, Sam!

      I’ve only opened the link just now, but immediately curious how The Ranking (right sidebar) is tabulated. Looks to be somewhat random at a glance ie; Fat Cow with a 3-star rating ranked 4th, Web Hosting hub with 5-star rating ranked 5th, Host Gator with 5-star rating ranked 10th, etc.

      Will have to check it out in greater detail… Cheers!

    Andriceps

    I have just purchased multiple domains and one basic package from them https://suomenwebhotelli.com/ and they are working really fast on the latest version of cPanel, the speed is great and really fast.
    I am really satisfied with this hosting company and definitely recommend it to any one who wants to have a fast and reliable webhosting in Europe, they are a Finnish company (Scandinavian) and have a good support team 24/7.In addition,I didn’t have to care about any agreements with banks because everything was already included in my package.

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