Top Cloud Hosting Companies for WordPress in 2017
The choice of who to host your website with can sometimes be a difficult one to make because there are so many to choose from. Then, you add in the fact that not only do you have to choose a company, but you have to figure out which type of web hosting your site needs, and it’s like, “Just give me whichever is the cheapest and fastest!”
Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point. There are a lot of choices to make when it comes to web hosting and one wrong turn could do serious damage to your site’s performance and credibility. If I can be of any help at all here, I’d like to suggest that cloud hosting is one of the safer choices you could make for your site’s ensured longevity.
Let’s take a look at what makes cloud hosting different from the alternatives and get a closer look at some of the top cloud hosting companies available in 2017.
What is Cloud Hosting?
In order to understand what makes cloud hosting so different, it’s important to understand how web hosting works in the first place. Think about it like an apartment rental:
Shared hosting would be like if you rented apartment 506. It’s small, affordable, and feels safe enough. The only problem you have is that you have to share amenities: the laundry room, the gym, and even the bathroom. That’s why whenever you see a new moving truck parked outside, you cross your fingers and hope they’re moving into that vacant apartment on the fourth floor. You don’t want to have to fight more people for access to your apartment’s resources.
On the other end of the spectrum is dedicated hosting. This is like if you rented apartment 1200, which also happened to be the penthouse suite that occupied the entire twelfth floor. Luxurious, expensive, and allllll yours.
Now, somewhere in between those two options is cloud hosting, which basically takes the physical restraints of the apartment building out of the equation. It would be like if you had a job that required you to travel so much that your company just paid for you to live out of hotels. Sure, you’d be jumping from new home to new home every few days or weeks, but everything else would be taken care of for you: space, security, amenities, furnishings, etc.
Cloud hosting has actually proven to be quite beneficial to websites for a number of reasons:
- There’s less of a chance of downtime since your site draws upon resources from a cluster, or network, of servers instead of just one. The inherent failover/redundancy of this type of hosting makes it one of the most reliable.
- There’s also less of a chance of diminished speed or performance due to peaks in bandwidth—from your site or from neighboring ones that share server space. Other servers in the cloud network will pick up the slack.
- Since the amount of resources you consume with cloud hosting depends on what you actually use, it happens to be a good option for scaling because of how flexible it is.
The only real drawback to cloud hosting is the expense aspect. While it generally isn’t as expensive as dedicated server hosting, it can still cost you a pretty penny if you don’t know how much server capacity or resources your site will need. Unexpected spikes in traffic could end up being very costly, so if you’re not quite sure what sort of traffic to expect with your site, cloud hosting might not be the best option at this time.
That being said, you do need server space to run your website from. If you’ve chosen to go with self-hosted WordPress, and you’re thinking that cloud hosting is right for you, then it’s time to find a provider.
Cloud Hosting Companies for WordPress
No matter how great the idea of cloud hosting seems, the quality of hosting will only be as good as the provider you choose to work with—and not all cloud hosting providers are made equal. You need a web hosting company that’s known for providing reliable, secure, and fast cloud hosting, and you also need a plan that fits within your budget.
Not sure where to start? Here are the top cloud hosting companies for WordPress in 2017.
- Pricing: SiteGround’s cloud hosting plans are fully managed, include 24/7 support, and come with email, free domain registration, Apache, MYSQL, SSH Access, and more. Pricing is all-inclusive and ranges from $80 to $240 a month if you select one of the plans as is. They also allow for CPU, memory, and SSD customization.
- Infrastructure: SiteGround’s network is spread across five locations: Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Milan, and Singapore. Each data center is protected by 24/7 security, redundant electricity, and daily backups. In addition, each data center has speed-boosting technology built in, including SSD drives, NGINX web server technology, a proprietary caching mechanism, and HTTP/2-enabled servers.
- Uptime: SiteGround has a 99.99% uptime guarantee. Each plan also includes a free CloudFlare CDN upgrade, use of SiteGround’s own backup system, as well as the customer’s choice of which data centers to host their site from for improved geographic accessibility.
- Flexibility: SiteGround equips customers with a number of options for scaling their site with cloud hosting. They can use the standard plan customizer tool to scale resources up or down as needed. They can also set resources to automatically scale, so that, in the case of an unexpected traffic spike, SiteGround takes care of it.
- Pricing: Kinsta’s managed cloud hosting is on the pricier side of things, but that’s because you’re working with Google cloud infrastructure and a fully managed platform. The cheapest plan available starts at $100 a month and covers you for one website. Pricing goes up incrementally based on how many websites you intend to run from the cloud as well as any additional bandwidth or storage needed. The most expensive plan on their site is advertised at $1,500 a month and that’s really only meant for really large websites or for developers managing a large network of sites.
- Infrastructure: Kinsta is powered solely by Google cloud infrastructure, so you know that the network is reliable. They have five data centers around the globe, three of which customers can choose to primarily run their websites from. In addition to providing fully managed cloud hosting, Kinsta also offers daily backups, 24/7 monitoring of your website, a free SSL certificate, and more than enough security to keep your site(s) covered, including a hardware firewall, malware scanning, and regular system updates.
- Uptime: Kinsta’s cloud hosting plans come with a 99.9% uptime guarantee. So even if they receive the average five billion HTTP server hits every month, your site shouldn’t be affected. They also offer a support service guarantee, provided by their in-house WordPress development expert team.
- Flexibility: As this is managed cloud hosting, much of the backend management of the server and monitoring of the site is taken off of your hands. This means more time for customization. Kinsta provides developers with plenty of tools to do this, including professional monitoring tools, DNS record management, and server-level caching.
- Pricing: There are three plans available, depending on the amount of RAM and HDD storage you need. Pricing ranges from $15 to $25 per month, to start. All plans come with an anytime money-back guarantee.
- Infrastructure: A2 Hosting owns and wholly manages their network of redundant, secure, and closely regulated servers, spread out across three locations in Michigan, Amsterdam, and Singapore.
- Uptime: A2 Hosting promises a 99.9% uptime guarantee and offers free high availability failover on all their plans, so that your site is always backed up across multiple nodes in case of total loss.
- Flexibility: Although there are three cloud hosting plans available to start, each is completely customizable in terms of memory, CPU cores, CPU speed, and HDD/SSD. (Interesting note: the SSD upgrade claims to improve site speed by up to 300%.) Of course, changing their pre-set plans comes with additional costs, but the option is available nonetheless.
- Pricing: Being a strictly cloud hosting company, this means that DigitalOcean has a more comprehensive plan and pricing structure than most other companies. For instance, they break their pricing out into two categories: standard and high memory. Standard cloud hosting can run a customer anywhere from $5 to $640 a month. High memory hosting ranges from $120 to $1,680 per month.
- Infrastructure: DigitalOcean has servers located in New York City, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Bangalore, and Singapore. Each server comes with enterprise-grade SSD, 40GbE network connectivity, and enterprise-grade KVM hypervisors for optimum performance.
- Uptime: 99.99% uptime is the promise, and DigitalOcean relies on its data replication process, failover IPs, and redundant hypervisor connections to keep customers’ sites up and running.
- Flexibility: DigitalOcean refers to its customers’ reserved cloud hosting space as “droplets”, but offers a variety of ways they can be enhanced and scaled per their customers’ needs. This includes attaching an SSD block storage to the droplet or adding a load balancer.
- Pricing: There’s only one plan available for Cloud Sites, the cloud hosting solution from Liquid Web, and it costs $150 per month. However, that includes an unlimited amount of sites, visitors, 50 GB of SSD storage, and 1 TB of bandwidth. So, for anyone managing a large network of sites or just one really large and popular site, this is a good option to consider.
- Infrastructure: Liquid Web owns and manages their three data centers in Michigan. They also have data centers located in Texas, Arizona, and Amsterdam. Each data center offers tier-1 bandwidth, redundant power and cooling, and security on-site.
- Uptime: With a 100% guaranteed uptime and a one-minute response time to any customer issue, Liquid Web is on top of the situation at all times. They offer built-in redundancy, geographic failover, as well as Guardian Backup and Recovery services for all customers.
- Flexibility: For the most part, the Liquid Web Cloud Sites plan is fully managed so that customers don’t have to worry about monitoring their sites, adjusting for usage, or scaling. All of that is built into the plan, so that adjustments are made automatically.
- Pricing: Because Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting company, pricing will be higher than you’d be able to get if you went with a traditional cloud hosting solution. And while they do advertise that customers can choose whichever cloud infrastructure provider they want, each option comes with different pricing. For example, DigitalOcean hosting starts at $7 a month, Vultr at $11, Kyup at $21.11, Google at $34.17, and Amazon at $36.04.
- Infrastructure: The actual infrastructure that your site runs on does not come from Cloudways. It will be provided by one of their five infrastructure providers (see Pricing notes above). In total, their network consists of 25 data centers around the world. In addition, Cloudways does tout performance-enhancing caching tools powered by their Thunderstack. So while uptime can’t be guaranteed, fast page load times are.
- Uptime: Since Cloudways is a sort of liaison to other cloud hosting providers, they cannot provide an uptime guarantee. Be sure to read the fine print from your chosen infrastructure provider when doing your research on them. (DigitalOcean is on this list, so you can find out those details down below.)
- Flexibility: If there’s one thing that makes Cloudways a better option than the rest, it’s the scalability and ease of use in their platform. They’ve also included Git workflows and project management resources for WordPress professionals that want more integration with external resources that help them work better.
- Pricing: When compared to the other managed cloud hosting providers on this list (i.e. Cloudways and Kinsta), pricing for Flywheel’s hosting plans is pretty reasonable. To run a single website on Flywheel’s cloud servers, you can expect to pay between $15 and $75 a month. For agencies and developers managing more websites, 10 will run you $100 and 30 will cost $250 a month.
- Infrastructure: There isn’t a lot of information provided by Flywheel on the state of their data centers, but they do let customers know that they have 10 of them scattered around the world; four are in the U.S. and the remaining are located in Canada, Asia, and Europe. Customers can choose which center they want their site to run from. Flywheel is also powered by MaxCDN so customers can be assured that their site will run fast regardless of where their main data center’s base of operations is located. In terms of support and security, this is a platform built specifically for WordPress designers, developers, and agencies. This means that Flywheel has built their hosting plans chock-full of the features you’d normally have to get through plugins. For instance, Sucuri scanning and caching are included. They also have workflow tools available (e.g. billing and collaboration) so you can centralize all your WordPress website work in one platform.
- Uptime: The guarantee is 99.99%. With a team of WordPress experts monitoring customer sites 24/7, this seems like a pretty fair promise to make.
- Flexibility: As with other managed cloud hosting plans, a lot of the heavy lifting has been removed, which means you can focus on building and managing your sites and stop worrying about the performance, security, or software updates on the backend.
If you’ve made up your mind that cloud hosting is the right type of web hosting for you, then you’ve got a lot to think about. But, as you can see from the above list of web hosting companies, there are some really good eggs to pick from.
Are you looking for cloud hosting that’s perfect for a brand new site that’s light on traffic, but that you eventually want the ability to scale? Cloudways is our pick for newbie cloud hosting that’s built to scale.
How about the opposite? Let’s say you’ve got a high-traffic and really popular website you’re struggling to keep online as it grows in popularity with each passing day. Liquid Web is our pick for high resource consumption cloud hosting.
What if you don’t want cloud hosting that’s too flimsy to stand up to the weight of a major surge in traffic, but also don’t want to go paying money you don’t have because your site’s traffic isn’t blowing it out of the park just yet? That’s why SiteGround is our pick for the best overall cloud hosting solution—from the small business to the enterprise.