WordPress Hosting Comparison

Shh… I’m dating several WordPress hosts

I get around.

That’s right, I’m always dating several WordPress hosts at once, because I want to keep my options open and I want to know what’s out there. Below is a summary of my experience with three web hosts, each of them great enough that I’m willing to recommend them to you.

Let’s start the introductions…

(IMHO) Recommend WordPress Hosting

Before we dive, I’d like to be clear: this is not a “definitive top 10″ or “best hosts for WordPress” post. This is just me sharing my experiences and thoughts related to WordPress hosting.

I have no doubt there are other amazing web hosts out there, but they’ll have to bide their time for an honorable mention here until I’ve had a chance to vet them for myself.

Note: As of this writing, I have active sites hosted with each company below. I’m paying for the accounts and don’t have any relationship with these companies beyond simply being a customer (and in some cases, an affiliate).


Save like a Pro with WP Engine. Use Code GOPROMARCH to save 50% on the first 3 months of a Professional Plan.WPEngine is what’s commonly called a “managed WordPress host,” meaning that they only host and optimize their servers for WordPress. There’s no one-click install, WordPress just IS when you set up your account. I’ve always had great interactions with their customer support.

The best WPEngine Feature? Staging sites.

A staging site is an independent clone of your live production site that can be easily created to test plugins, themes, and custom code. You can also copy the staging site to the live site at any time after making changes. – WPEngine

Staging sites are the perfect way to test out changes in a cloned site environment before pushing them live. If you’re a cowboy coder (I hope you’re not) and like to tinker on live sites, for the love of Pete, please incorporate staging sites into your workflow.

I also love that I can create multiple WordPress installs on the same account, which makes it perfect for spinning up demo sites. Although their Personal Plan ($30/month) says it’s only 1 install, they’ll totally let you have others for demo purposes – but be warned if one of your installs starts generated more than the allotted traffic, you’ll be asked to upgrade your account).

Here’s a peek at their dashboard.

WPEngine Dashboard

I’ve had consistently friendly and helpful customer service experiences, so double thumbs up on that.


Flywheel is another “managed WordPress host” that, on the surface, might look like WPEngine, but operates quite differently. For starters, Flywheel offers free site migrations, which is a big bonus for users not wanting the hassle (really, who wants the hassle?). Their entry-level account (Tiny Plan for $15/mo) comes in at 50% less than WPEngines basic account ($30).

The Flywheel interface is, well, FLY. The top Flywheel feature is the ability to create accounts for clients and seamlessly transition billing. Check it:

Flywheel Billing Transfer dialogFlywheel is designed for straightforward usage and caters to the consultant spinning up sites for clients. It’s not for those who want to tinker with advanced server settings. Also, there’s no PHPmyadmin – they’ve rolled their own DB interface. If that bugs you, then know you’ll be bugged before you sign up. If you could give a flip about that, then strongly consider Flywheel.

Let me put it this way: I’ve yet to hear of a single person who had a bad experience with Flywheel. I’ve been with them since their beta launch over a year ago and had a few hiccups, but each was resolved quickly and courteously — even on weekends.


This is the newest of the bunch for me, but so far I’m pleased as punch. In the case of SiteGround, what I needed was cheap WordPress hosting (or, if you’re in the marketing department, “affordable WordPress hosting” 😉 ). I didn’t need migrations, malware scans, nightly backups, or all the bells and whistles that come with a managed WP host – I just needed something quick and inexpensive.

Whereas 10 years ago, GoDaddy would have filled this role for me, I’m now looking at SiteGround. For $3.95/mo and a free domain name to boot, this is a great option if you need to just need something basic (note the $3.95 is a promo price for the first billing term – whether it’s one month or one year). It’s worth noting that, despite the low price, SiteGround performs quite nicely.

WordPress is one of several one-click install applications available and you get a standard cPanel interface to work with. While I think cPanels are a gross UI to work with, the site overall isn’t hideous and I appreciate that I haven’t been bombarded with upsell opportunities at every turn when tootling around.

I’ve tried some other hosts in the “inexpensive/bulk shared hosting” category and been so sorely disappointed with the dependability and the customer service that it was a breath of fresh air to move to WordPress-managed hosts Flywheel and WPEngine. SiteGround is my first attempt in over a year to go back to a shared hosting experience and, so far, it’s been good.

One more thing to note: SiteGround accounts come with email accounts. I’m a firm believer that you should host your email separately from your website, but if the email + hosting package, turns you on, you’ll be happy here.

In Summary

I’ve highlighted three WordPress hosting companies, each with different strengths depending on what your situation is. Here’s an overview, because tables are nice:

WPEngine Flywheel SiteGround
Staging Area Yes Beta Yes (on Geek Plan)
Multiple WP Installs Yes (if an install draws a ton of traffic, you may get bumped to a higher plan) No (but does allow for Demo sites with limited lifespan) Yes
Killer Customer Service Yes Yes TBD, but so far so good
Free Migrations No Yes Yes
Transfer Billing to Client No Yes No
Automatic Backup Yes Yes Yes
One-click (free) Restore from Backup Yes Yes Yes, but not on entry plan.
Email No No Yes
Git Version Control Yes No Yes (on Geek Plan)
Deploy site from Desktop Server Yes, but with difficulty Yes, on a site with completed billing Yes

It’s important to keep in mind that hosting is not a one-size-fits-all situation. What I care about in a hosting plan, you may not (and vice versa), so do your homework before signing on the dotted line. Also keep in mind that while you may get a price-break for signing up for a full year, you may want to go month to month with a host before committing to a long-term relationship.

Want to learn more? Go on and explore with your bad self:


Carrie Dils

I’m a recommended Genesis Developer with 15+ years experience in web design and development. I'm creative, resourceful, and ready to put my mind to your project. Want to discuss your WordPress project? Let's talk!


  1. says

    Hey Carrie, SiteGround will actually migrate an existing site for you for free as part of a new package. I’ve been using them for a few months and am happily recommending them.

    • says

      Oh, I totally missed that. Thanks for the heads up! (And always glad to hear affirmation of a service from someone other than myself)

      p.s. Updated the recap table to reflect the migrations.

    • says

      They’ll migrate one site, but if you’re moving multiple sites, or a reseller account, then they’ll only migrate one, and charge $50 per each remaining site. When I moved to Siteground I let them migrate one, just to follow the process, but in the end it was quicker to do the manual migration of the other sites (around 16 of them) myself. Fortunately didn’t have to migrate mail, I agree with Carrie, I recommend all my clients host mail elsewhere.

  2. mannieschumpert says

    I’ve been using SiteGround exclusively lately, and would add that you get WP-CLI out of the box, which is pretty great. :) Also, with the Geeky Plan, you get an interface for Git, but you can use Git via SSH on any plan. (I do this on every project.)

  3. Sheryl C says

    Hi Carrie, once again I appreciate this as spot-on. Have you had experience with websynthesis? Also… when you say this about wpengine “Although their Personal Plan ($30/month) says it’s only 1 install, they’ll totally let you have others for demo purposes” ,,, what do you mean by “demo purposes”… do you mean locked up via passwords? not sure? — Sheryl

    • says

      Hey Sheryl,
      I have multiple clients with WebSynthesis and am happy with the actual hosting (and customer service), but from a dev standpoint, I hate that there’s no staging environment. I’ve updated existing sites and developed 100% new sites on their servers and felt like I was playing Twister to get a dev environment set up that I could show clients (I ended up staging with WPEngine, which is sad for Synthesis). All of that to say, if you’re the end user and it’s your site, it’s great, but if you’re devving for clients, it’s a PITA.

      Re: WPEngine demos… you’ll have your main account/domain, but can add on other installs as a subdomain – no password lock (like Flywheel) unless you throw up a maintenance mode plugin. I just said “demo purposes” as that’s all I’ve used it for. You wouldn’t want to run an active site from one that you expect to get traffic.

      • Sheryl C says

        Hi Thanks Carrie, I see so if you are working with a client you should show them a demo by sending them to thisobscureurl.youractivedomain.com ?

          • says

            Thanks for this post Carrie, I’ve been testing Flywheel and Site5 (Matt Maderos recommended it) lately. Site5 has a cool admin allowing for master admins, so you can manage permissions for staff and such which is nice.

            With wpEngine, if I’m hosting my own promo site + several theme demo sites (other WP installs) do you think they would allow that?

          • says

            For theme demos, I’d go with a multisite intsall, so each of your demos would be like http://demos.yourdoman.com/theme-1. Basic rule of thumb (far as I can tell) is only do ONE install (if it’s a multisite install, that’s cool) that will draw traffic on an account. I haven’t tried Site5 – the admin sounds interesting.

  4. Sara Dunn says

    Hey Carrie, thanks for the roundup! I have just started using Flywheel and love their support staff. I also like that I can log into one FTP account to access all of my client sites, and I can easily provide access to other members of my team. Hopefully this isn’t top-secret, but I heard that Flywheel is working on a staging environment that will launch later this year.

    • says

      Hey Sara!

      Glad to hear your experience has been great so far :) We’ve had a good time working with you!

      No worries, our plan for staging sites is not all the secret. We are working on that now and are excited to show it off. As always, we’re working hard on the software side to provide great features that make the process of building WordPress sites easy … and dare I say, fun?!

      Thanks your support and let us know if there’s ever a time we can help with anything!


  5. says

    Sad Panda. :-(

    I really enjoyed the Flywheel story: http://signaltower.co/rick-knudtson-humanizing-hosting/ but I have not used any other host since I found Synthesis by Copyblogger Media. Yes, I am an affiliate but no affiliate links here. Synthesis isn’t the cheapest and they still don’t have Staging but the support is fantastic on the rare occasions any is needed and the product is fast and secure. Just my unsolicited two-cents. :-)

    • says

      Hey Jason,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story. :)

      If you do ever decide to take us for a spin – we’d love to have you! As mentioned in Carrie’s post, we do offer free migrations and would do all of the heavy lifting for you!

      Chat soon!


      • says

        Well Miss Fancy Pants *I link to my previous comments Jason already read” Dils,

        Oh, so your clients pay you?

        Well, if that don’t just beat all.

        I did client sites free since the clients said it would be good for my portfolio… ;-D

        I do agree adding staging to Synthesis would be awesome and I’ve told them the same on multiple occasions but who listens to me? Not me, thats for sure. :-)

        To Rick,

        Yep, I have taken you for a spin with no complaints. If I did ever leave Synthesis (not realistic), FlyWheel would be the first place I would look.

    • says

      Rick, +1million points for the link to the YouTube vid – I hadn’t seen that. Thanks for chiming in in the comments here. Appreciate your visibility and, as always, awesome customer service.

    • says

      Ok, trying to test this out… in Marc’s demo it looks like he hasn’t completed billing for the site, yet the password is turned off, which is the key to success for the DS connection. I just spun up a test site to try it, but no idea to how to turn off the password short of paying.

  6. says

    Thanks for the great summary, Carrie. I have been very happy with WP Engine and Flywheel, and am now looking to move some of my nonprofit sites to faster, more reliable shared hosting (with email) than the shared hosting provider I’m using now. SiteGround sounds like the one.

    A couple of questions for you: Do you typically buy and then resell hosting to your clients? Or do you have them sign up for their own hosting? I’m currently a shared hosting reseller, and am trying to decide whether to stay with this model or have each client purchase an individual hosting account. I have to say I don’t really like rebilling clients for hosting, and love the way Flywheel makes it easy to create a site and hand it off to the client. On the other hand, I don’t really want my clients accessing their CPanels.


  7. Nate says

    +1 for WPEngine.

    Their videos work well for the first-time user. As a fellow Texan, I had to support them as they are right up the road in Austin. Their customer service is excellent and the staging area is what sold me on them.

    I will admit that the Flywheel feature to transfer billing to clients is awfully enticing though.

    I wish that a managed WP hosting co. would institute a billing feature similar to Adobe BC where a dev can set a monthly fee for a client and host their site, but instead of the dev billing the client, then having to turn around and pay the hosting company, they can just have the client pay the hosting company directly at the agreed upon fee from the developer and any overage or profit built into the dev’s set fee could be credited or paid back to the dev as a monthly residual. Also, if the plan allowed sites to be added modularly rather than a tiered approach like most current managed wp hosts seem to be doing. I don’t want to have to take that hit paying for hosting while I build a portfolio of freelance work to host and make the steeper fee for more space profitable.

    I would sign up for this in a heartbeat. It would take the P.I.T.A. out of staying on top of billing clients for monthly hosting.

  8. says

    Carrie – Thanks for the info! I’m going to check out SiteGround. I switched to BlueHost about a year ago and am only about 60% satisfied. My email was immediately blocked – which taught me the hard way that you host email separately! :-)

    • Liz Schneider says

      Angela, why was email blocked? I don’t understand the value of separate email hosting? Can you give an example of where you would host email if not at the same place as your site?

      • Angela says

        Hi Liz! My account was transferred to a blacklisted server. I couldn’t send or receive emails for more than a month. I was looking for a job at the time, so it was not good. I also had trouble getting help by phone and chat, but finally got immediate help via Twiiter.

        Carrie- no worries! Thanks for sharing extra details! 😉

    • says

      You’re an astute reader! The quickshot reasons would be:

      * If your hosting goes down, it takes your email down with it
      * If you re-locate hosting, it’s that much more of a pain to migrate your email (or your domain registry, for that matter). Managing those elements separately makes moving any of the elements simpler.
      * From a technical perspective, I’d prefer my web host to be focused on being the best host they can be, and conversely, my email provider focused on being the best email provider they can be.

      FWIW, I use Hover for domain registry and email (I’ve heard Google Apps is good too, I just haven’t tried it). The #1 selling point for me is that if my hosting goes down, my email is unaffected. Costs more, but I run my business through email, so it’s worth paying the extra for it.

      • says

        Hi Carrie,
        Thanks for this. I’ve been toying with the idea of some sort of managed WP hosting for a while, mainly for clients, and the WPEngine staging area feature has had me drueling ever since I first saw it a year ago or so. I’m currently using Dreamhost for my site hosting, and am satisfied with it for the most part, given that it’s a shared host. Totally agree with separate hosting of email. I’ve been hosting mine with Google Apps since 2009 and I’m glad I made the switch, since when I migrate hosts my email doesn’t go down.

      • says

        Hi Carrie,

        Thanks for this note re separate hosting. This makes total sense, however I now have a whole bunch of communication/work to do with getting my clients switched over to two different hosts! LOL

        I have a question though as you mention GoogleApps.

        With Hover you need to have the domain name registered with them in order to use their mail hosting. The email hosting redirection is done by changing the A records at the domain end.

        My understanding with GoogleApps is that you have to have your site hosted with Google in order to change the A records or it will wipe the site out and only redirect the email?

        The method I am using to externally host some clients emails with GoogleApps is through MX records which are done on the web hosting server end.

        Soooo my question would be, if the web hosting server went down and the mail was redirected through MX records would this not in turn shut down the email as well?

        I understand that the MX records fixes the issue of being blacklisted but I’m assuming it would not fix server outage issues?

        • says

          Heya! In a perfect world, your domain registration would be separate from your hosting, so you’d manage your MX records with the domain registrar, avoiding the problem you’re talking about.

          I’m not sure how the scenario you describe would pan out – that’d probably be a question for Google support or possibly the host.

  9. says

    right now I use GoDaddy. They have unlimited space for my media. Is it possible to use WP engine for my hosting but then continue to use Go Daddy for my media?

    • says

      Are you hosting large media, like video/audio files? For that, I’d recommend separating out into something like AmazonS3 storage – you’ll get much faster (and consistent) download/stream than you would from a hosting company (any hosting company). Not to mention, you can chew up your allotted bandwidth on a hosting account in a hurry if you’re serving up large media.

      If you’re talking about stuff normal photos, etc, in your regular WP Media uploads, you might be able to pull from a different URL. I’ve never looked into it.

    • says

      If it’s a CSS change, I’m comfortable confirming my changes via Inspect Element and then just direct editing (not in WP Admin, but via file upload).

      If it’s a functional change, I’ll duplicate it in a local environment or clone it to a staging site to try it out. Only exception is if the site is not live, in which case there’s no harm working directly in that environment.

      Bottom line, it boils down to the nature of the change – small, minor tweaks are made easily enough live, but if there’s any “trial” involved, best not to do it on a live site.

      I use Migrate DB Pro to pull down the DB and media media files, when needed.

  10. says

    Carrie, I really enjoyed reading your insightful comparisons of the various vendors. I’ve been with WP Engine for about a year and have been looking at Flywheel. I’ve found WP Engine good but not great. They lost a lot of ground in my book when all of my sites (9 of them) went down for eight hours. While it didn’t seem to be a major issue for them because it only affected a subset of their customer base, it affected ALL of my customers. I know that outages happen, but how a host handles it is critical to me. I found that WP Engine’s crisis management was less than robust. When they did update me, they emphasized that the problem was with their third party provider, not with them. I don’t doubt that the source was with the third party, but while you can outsource the function, you can’t outsource the responsibility. I hope that this is an area that they improve over time. The saving grace is that that it hasn’t happened again and I hope that it never does.

    • says

      Hi Mary,
      Thanks so much for your comment – yes, downtime is the death of a hosting deal, especially on a site where downtime = loss of business/sales. I wasn’t impacted when you were, so can’t comment from experience, but agree that the way customer service responds when things go wrong is critical. You’re right – it doesn’t matter where the fail happened, the result was your clients experienced significant downtime. In those situations, I think a little customer service can go a long way (i.e. genuine apology, offer of service recovery such as a free month, etc.). No service will be 100% all of the time, but how you handle the “fails” is critical.

      I’ve had a couple of dropped balls with Flywheel, but their response was so amazing (and fast and helpful) that it made up for it.

  11. Ginger says

    I’ve used SiteGround for a while, moved a couple of domains there as a test and I think I will continue to keep it for that. One thing I didn’t care for is it says unlimited sites but the first one you sign up with is *it* forever. I was thinking I would have an account with all my domains showing in a list after I upgraded to their middle plan GrowBig, but I found out that is not the case. For example, i signed up with foo.com. Then, I wanted to migrate bear.com and I did, however, in my CPanel it’s a subdirectory – bear.foo.com for FTP access. The GoGeek plan is the same, only it offers automated staging so you can move a demo site from a subdomain to the main domain with a couple of clicks. I haven’t actually done this but I confirmed it with Boris on support chat today :-) Speaking of support, they are fantastic with support and customer service. The day after I first signed up I received a personal phone call thanking me and asking did I have any questions. I mainly use their chat for support and I never have to wait, it’s always answered in less that 30 seconds or so.

    Thank you for the info on the other hosts, I think I did to put on my big girl pants and hook up with one of them :-)

    • says

      Thanks for the insights, Ginger! Even though the migrated sites show up as sub-domains on the account (bear.foo.com), that’s just a matter of file storage and you should be able to map your domain appropriately. But you’re saying it’s impossible to change the primary domain on the account? If that’s the case, that kinda sucks, but it’s just a matter of numbers – I bet a call to Boris could make it happen. :)

  12. Sheryl C says

    I think all shared hosts work that way. Every additional domain is newdomain.primarydomain.com although we can point a domain there and it isn’t apparent to visitors. Bluehost does it that way too.

    I know from working in linux at rackspace that there is one “real” domain on a virtual host. The one that appears when you just put in the IP address. All the others are virtual. If there is another way to run a virtual host, I’m unaware of it. For what it’s worth!

    Love to hear about other systems.

    • Ginger says

      I’m starting think you’re right Sheryl so probably it was user-education on my part on how I thought it might work vs how it really works :-) The performance, customer service and cost for SiteGround really is a good deal.

      • Sheryl C says

        Hi Ginger, I don’t know if I am right. I have just read the manuals on the hosts where I have had an account, rackspace, bluehost.

        But you point out a practical side effect of “dating’ several hosts. You tend to learn what is host-specific and what is generally accepted. If you are self-taught, that kind of experience is important. That or a supportive community like this, where we can all learn from each other’s mistakes!

        I have explored dreamhost, websynthesis and wpengine. I’m seeking a good wordpress-only host, which this article is helping with.

  13. says

    Hi Carrie, nice reviews.
    i am on Siteground and i am really happy with their GoGeek Plan.
    Please note that the GoGeek plan comes with 30 days backup system which you can restore at any time for free (r1soft) for both files and databases. the package also comes with few cool WordPress tools, for example you can change your WP site admin password straight from cPanel.
    oh, and I also find their hosting to be really fast, with caching on 3 levels and a SSD hard drive for the database, my sites never been that fast.
    honestly, I doubt that anything WP engine gives can be better than that.
    also for me using cPanel instead of some custom panel is a huge plus as well.

  14. Anup says

    Hi Carrie, Nice and useful summary..
    Have you tried LightningBase or know someone who has ? Their plan starts at $10/month and includes CDN. Any feedback is much appreciated.

  15. says

    Hi Carrie,
    Any comments about security comparing WPEngine and SiteGround? I’ve been happy with WPE but always looking for alternatives for clients.

  16. says

    Thanks for that quick run down. Ivery been without hosting needs for a little over a year now so getting up to speed on what is available in each of the, well I guess I’ll call them genres, of hosting sites in the game. WordPress.org recommended SiteGround and one other in the same cost range and I tooled a rounded the other first and was blown away at how it could be so horrible and yet be recommended by WordPress.org, but then I hit SiteGround.Com and please try surprised at the cost vs. quality ration I found.

  17. says

    Great post Carrie. I’ll mention since I haven’t seen their hat in the ring, that I have been extremely happy with Site5 for the past three years. I know growth can really kill the customer service in some hosting companies, but they’ve always been solid and responsive. That said, it’s good to have some options in your toolbox so thanks again.

    • says

      Thanks Kronda! I’ve heard good things about Site5 – just haven’t had the opportunity to try them out yet. Glad to hear from another happy customer.

  18. says

    SiteGround was my only host for years. Over time, their help desk shrunk, then disappeared. I believe they also were originally a U.S. company (though I’m not certain of this), then moved operations overseas. Every time they billed me I got hit with a foreign currency charge on my credit card. Technically, though, they were fine.

  19. says

    Hey Carrie!

    If you don’t mind about getting your hands out from your mouse and relocating them on the keyboard and firing commands thru the command line, Linode could be a great candidate too.

    In fact I’m using them for several projects without a hitch.

    BTW: +1000 on the matter of having the email service totally independent from websites.

  20. says

    I have been using Siteground for over 2 years and I couldn’t be happier. The customer service is exceptional and the uptime has been between 99.9 and 100%. I have yet to try the staging service but I can image how useful that is when making major changes to a wordpress site.

  21. says

    My story after a disastrous site transfer just recently to SiteGround. I left HostGator… lured by the promise of a dedicated WordPress hosting platform being…”The way to go”.
    After 10 days I was blowing over their 2nd level package…(due to 6000 script runs…not in the bold print..my page hits were low and all other specs below the package threshold), and their first suggestion was that their next level up “Geek” package (top) would probably not suit my needs that I should go direct to their New beta Cloud service for $69 a month. Then then Shut my site down for almost a full day until a supervisor lifted the limit just to let me in to work on the page…as I was locked out also. I ask that since they were the WordPress experts… “Could you please tell me which script was blowing over the limit?” After a half day of the site being down they replied “it’s your index.php and plugins”… Really? After a few hours they shut the site back down.
    I moved the site back to a business level with HostGator who REALLY HELPED with the migration back!
    I was hosting with them at a lower level … like $7 a month and upped it to the business plan for like $10~
    Never really had a problem with them and the site… but I drank the “Running WP… than you need to be on a WP hosting service!”.
    I’m not saying they pulled a bait and switch on me…or that other services do not merit the extra cost…but at least if you’re a touting your WP expert platform… don’t bail on me when my sites down…and offer only meager suggestions.
    By the way… They also told me that since my mail files were over their limit of 1gb it would be an extra $50 to transfer the mail…Yes…I paid it!
    HostGator transferred everything back no extra fee…even included a free domain transfer (which I paid SG $15).
    Siteground’s phone support is over sea’s…so occasionally a language barrier makes conversation you need to focus on..but they were polite at the Tier one level… ALL other technical support above Tier 1 is EMAIL response only.
    Lesson learned…

    And yes… I also paid international fees tacked onto the credit card charges also…

    Back with the business plan at Hostgator…and haven’t had a hiccup since…

    • says

      Hey Greg,
      Interesting (and unpleasant) experience. I suppose there are always exceptions to the rule – I’ve continued to have great service from SG, but HostGator service nearly put me on blood pressure meds. :)

      Glad you’ve got something that works!


  22. says

    I just wanted to jump in and add a +1 for both WP Engine and Flywheel. I’m a bit of a serial web host dater myself so I’ve tried quite a few over the years. Both WP Engine and Flywheel are a dream to work with though I’m currently pushing Flywheel to my clients over WP Engine mainly due to cost and speed. In my non-scientific survey, I’ve found that Flywheel sites fly faster – YMMV.

    Also, if you’re a consultant/freelancer, the way Flywheel is set up makes complete sense. Easy to setup, build and handover including billing. The handover process is often overlooked and I haven’t had any of those “How do I do this?” or “How do I pay?” emails from clients on Flywheel.

    The staging server on WP Engine is a definite plus and I’m hoping it arrives on Flywheel soon.

  23. says

    Hi Carrie –

    I’m a WPEngine customer but I’m always looking at alternatives. SiteGround is one that I’ve been looking at this morning. One thing to mention is that they don’t offer month-to-month service now; perhaps they did when you first wrote this article. (It sounds like it to me but perhaps I mis-interpreted what you wrote.)

    This was a great overview. I read the article and the comments. Once Flywheel has staging server functionality I will definitely be looking at that one.


  24. says

    Hi Carrie. I just signed up for a WP Engine Personal plan and (I’ll be darned) it let me add a second install like you mention. Have you had any problems with more than one install on that plan? Any surprises like sudden bumps to a higher plan?


    • says

      Hey Bryan,
      I haven’t had any issues of price bumps – the sites I have on there are just for development and demo purposes, so they’re very low traffic. If you’re concerned about it though, you might want to check the fine print or ping the support team. :)


      • says

        Hi Carrie. I chatted with WP Engine support staff about the additional install and they said I’d be charged for any installs beyond the one, at $14.95/mo each. Maybe this is an “ask for forgiveness, not permission” situation, but it’s back to one install for me. 😉

        Thanks for sharing your experience with these hosting options!


    • says

      I can’t speak for Carrie or WP Engine but they don’t seem to mind as long as it just for testing or limited demo purposes and not another entire site. I asked WP Engine support and they said if I was abusive they would contact me and not just bump me up without warning. I have been really impressed with the level of support, they don’t just host, there is a list of plugins they support directly for example. Next to NewRainmaker this is the safest solution for WordPress. One click restore from backup. So nice.

        • says

          Thanks for your comment, reportica. It’s possible I got someone new, who was responding based on the official pricing policy.

          I asked specifically whether I could add a couple installs with very low traffic for development purposes, but the chat support person just said there’s a charge for each additional install. When I asked if I would be charged for the install I had just created, he said not if I removed it (nothing about abusive behavior or warnings). It seemed like the policy was inflexible, so just deleted the install.

          In the very brief time I’ve been with WP Engine, they seem great.

  25. says

    Hey Carrie!

    I’ve been in Bluehost HELL. I’m so glad I read this post a few months ago and learned about SiteGround. I’ve been reading up on them and watching the company’s social media feeds for customer service with current users since I read your post. Recently, I ran into a major problem on Bluehost. My sites were completely shut down – not a good thing to happen while job hunting. I needed solutions. Bluehost customer service told me I did something wrong – but could not tell me what. I asked several specific questions and go nothing but generic responses. I couldn’t get my site up unless I paid them. I was not a happy camper.

    Once I got my site back up, I switched it over to SiteGround and could not be happier. The customer service was excellent. They switched everything over for me at no cost when I signed up for a shared plan. I didn’t need anything larger. (There was a great deal going on over Halloween and I took full advantage.)

    Also, I switched my domain and email over to Hover.com. This is the first time in nearly three years that email actually WORKS for me. It has never worked through Bluehost.

  26. Sean says

    Hey Carrie,

    Was doing a search for recommended (managed) WordPress hosts and came across this great article. Thanks for the info on these hosts! I was not aware of Flywheel but will check them out (I’ve looked at WP Engine, Synthesis and Pagely as well).

    With that said, I’ve read some comments around the web that say the back-end is not as fast as the front-end for many of these managed hosts. What host would you recommend for a WP site with memberships and user-specific data? Thanks in advance!

  27. numlock36 says

    Hello Carrie,

    I have a GoGeek account at Siteground and tried to use the staging service for WP, which was the reason why I signed in for this account. But it simply does not work. Siteground support tries to help, but staging im my opinion is useless when you have to rebuild a page everytime you push it live from staging.

    The interesting thing is that I hear no comments about staging (at Siteground), positive or negative in forums. Only articles and reviews telling theoretically how it should work; no real live reviews, testing on a live system, with some complexity.

    We experienced nothing but severe errors in real live ….
    and I would be more than happy to hear some real success stories.


    • says

      Flywheel’s staging is nice, but to be useful it requires an external code repository and deploy service/s. Even then moving databases around remains a tedious and perilous chore with a live and active site. If Flywheel added support for git, it would make things a lot simpler and encourage use of version control on even the simplest sites. If VersionPress pans out as intended, it will be the drop dead simple silver bullet for database merges and would be an awesome tool to link live, staging and local sites with or without a hosted repo. Flywheel will have to add support for git to make that possible however.

  28. Leo says

    I’m in love with SiteGround too. Best host i’ve used. Always available, friendly and very skilled support. Tons of reviews prove it

  29. John Rogers says

    I’ve been using Atlantic.net cloud VPS for my WordPress hosting recently and that has been going great. Price point is a little bit cheaper than some of the shared and managed WP hosts.


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