Choosing the right host is an extremely important part of launching a successful wordpress site. In days past, shared hosting with the major providers like Bluehost, Godaddy, Dreamhost, etc was more than enough. Things have started to change over the last couple of years though as hosts shift away from unlimited plans to bandwidth or pageview based traffic tiers. Meanwhile, WordPress has expanded far beyond it’s basic blogging roots to a fully fledged CMS with massive amounts of features and plugins. WooCommerce powered sites, community driven portals, and more have taken the platform to entirely new resource intensive places.
Choosing a host for your wordpress powered site can be overwhelming. To help, Attention Engine has narrowed down the field to it’s two favorite WordPress Hosting services, that provide maximum speed, easy backups, and can handle even the beefiest sites. Both hosts are wordpress oriented, meaning they have easy to use control panels that make setup a snap.
First up, we have WP Engine. Probably the highest end of the WordPress powered hosting solutions,
WP Engine has some killer features:
- 1 Click site staging for testing out changes or plugin updates WITHOUT impacting your live site. This is probably it’s greatest features.
- Built in CDN asset caching and wordpress page caching for enhanced speed.
- Easy one click site backups
- Temporary URLs to build your site before having to switch the the actual domain.
However, that being said, it also has some big downsides:
- No integrated email solution or even forwarders. All your domain branded email will have to come from elsewhere (mailgun, dreamhost, google apps, etc)
- It’s expensive. The introductory tier of $30/month limits you to 25,000 page views a month and ONE wordpress install.
- No SSL until you bump up to the 10 site / $100 / month level. So eCommerce is OUT at the entry level.
Overall, I’d say WP Engine is the best solution if you’re going to be running a fairly complex Ecommerce site, can afford the $100/month, and really need the amazing 1 click staging features, that let you test out site upgrades and changes without impacting your live website. This is huge and not to be overlooked.
However, that price range is immediately a deal killer for many people, especially anyone accustomed to the common $10/month shared hosting plans. $10 to $100 a month is a huge leap.
For folks in this category, Attention Engine recommends Traffic Planet Hosting. Traffic Planet is blazingly fast and much cheaper, but makes some trade offs in terms of functionality.
First off, Traffic Planet PROS:
- Speed. While it doesn’t have built in CDN caching, it’s BLAZINGLY fast, especially when combined with Cloudflare.
- Automatic Daily Backups of your site
- Built in email functionality, imap or forwarders
- Very competitive pricing, $25/month for 5 wordpress installs
- FREE site migration if you’re coming from another host
- 5 wordpress installs at the basic level
- and possibly most important, SSL support at their introductory level
In terms of trade-offs with WP Engine, however, you lose:
- 1 click site staging. You’ll need to manually setup a development site using one of your extra installs and hand migrate things each time need to do serious upgrade tests first
- No temporary URL when building the site. Not a deal break, but it means you need to setup some subdomains or host mapping.
- 50/gb a month bandwidth cap on the lowest pricing package. Depending on what you’re hosting this could be an issue, though when using cloudflare you’d really have to push it.
So which to choose? If you only need a single wordpress install and DON’T need ecommerce, go with WP Engine. Of if you know you’re going to be running a complicated site that will often need live testing via the 1 click staging, WP Engine is for you.
If you need an SSL certificate, multiple wordpress installs, are on a budget, or just don’t need the 1 click staging, go with Traffic Planet Hosting.
Whatever you choose, your site will load very fast and you’ll have the comfort of knowing backups are happening automatically.