How to Select the Best Host for Your WordPress Site

Chris Wiegman | @chris | Mastodon | Code

About me

  • Senior Software Engineer- WP Engine
  • iThemes Security (Better WP Security)
  • St. Edward's University
  • Privacy
  • Developer Experience
  • Aviation
About Chris Wiegman

Hosting horror stories

Hosting success stories

The best host for you is the host you don't have to think about.

What makes a good host

  • Affordable Price
  • Plans to grow (or shrink)
  • Secure
  • Well maintained servers
  • Accessible support
  • Reliable Uptime

What makes a great host

  • Knowledgeable Support
  • WordPress Backups
  • WordPress Updates
  • WordPress Security
  • Community Commitment
  • Dedicated Account Rep
  • Ethical Company/Leadership

Hosting warning signs

  • Outdated homepage
  • "Handshake" promises
  • Outdated tech stack (PHP/etc)
  • Limited support options
  • Warnings at WordCamps/Meetups/etc

Hosting metrics


  • What are the hours?
  • What languages are available?
  • Do they have training in the application?
  • What methods do they offer for contact?
  • Do they have a published response time?


  • Standard monthly price
  • Hidden fees
  • Affiliate or reseller plans

Tech stack

  • PHP Version
  • MySQL Version
  • Other Software
    • Caching (Varnish, Redis, etc)
    • Security (WAF)
    • Backups
  • Hosting Control Panel

Not all hosting is equal

Types of hosting

  • Shared Hosting
  • Dedicated Hosting
  • Managed Hosting
  • Hosting and Provisioning

Shared vs dedicated hosting

Shared Hosting

  • Cheap
  • One server has many sites
  • Resources are limited
  • One bad site can bring all down

Dedicated Hosting

  • More expensive*
  • One server has one site (at most)
  • VPS vs "Raw metal"
  • Resources are unlimited*
  • Sites can make use of advanced tech

Managed hosting

  • Can be shared or dedicated
  • Host manages the application itself
  • Replace plugins and your time with hosting features
  • Costs more than non-managed hosting
  • Often can only run a single application (ie WordPress)

Hosting and Provisioning

  • Rent a server have another service manage the software
  • Often cheaper than managed dedicated hosting
  • May be more customizable
  • Uptime and reliability can vary by experience

Hosting feature or plugin

It's not always that simple.
Security on the server is better than security in the app (security on the network is even better).


  • A well configured host will beat a well configured plugin
  • Plugins may conflict with host options
  • Web Application Firewalls (WAF)
  • Login security
  • Secure configuration


  • Any backup is better than no backup
  • Who owns the data?
  • What if your hosting account is shut down?
  • How complete is your backup?
  • When did you last test a restore?

Automatic Updates

  • Regression testing


  • Caching software (Redis, Varnish, etc)
  • Cache clearing
  • Pre-caching

So many choices... which to pick?

What is your hosting budget budget?
What is your maintenance budget (time and $)?
How many sites are you hosting?
How big (traffic and data) is your biggest site?
What are their affiliate options?
What is the WordPress community (not the hosts) suggesting?

How to Select the Best Host for Your WordPress Site

Chris Wiegman | @chris | Mastodon | Code