If you’re looking for the best WordPress hosting right now, there are two BIG players you need to be looking at – and they are as follows…
The Best WordPress Hosting – Our #1 Picks…
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Best WordPress Hosts – In-Depth Overview of Our #1 Picks
WP Engine is fast becoming one of the biggest players in the hosting world, following multiple acquisitions and near-constant investment in its platform. Powered by The Google Cloud, WP Engine is perhaps the most complete, managed WordPress hosting solution on market right now.
If you want blazingly fast speeds, access to things like a free CDN, 100% uptime, and the ability to get free premium WordPress themes on tap, then WP Engine is the one to go for. The thing that really separates WP Engine from Kinsta is its focus on the “entire” experience. It wants to offer its customers everything – from hosting to themes.
And it is this latter aspect, themes, which put WP Engine above Kinsta in our ratings. Why? Simple: when you sign-up for WP Engine, you get access to hundreds of premium WordPress themes. Normally, these themes would cost you anywhere from $60-$300, but as a WP Engine customer, you get them for absolutely nothing.
Couple this with WP Engine’s impressive page load speeds, enhanced security features, free CDN, and simple migration options and you’re looking at one of the most complete WordPress hosting platforms on the planet. No wonder it is consistently voted #1 by users and critics alike.
With respect to speed, security, and hosting-related features, there really isn’t much to separate Kinsta and WP Engine. Both run on The Google Cloud and both deliver insanely fast page load speeds for your site – always well under 2 seconds, regardless of site size and type of connection.
Kinsta is a straight-up hosting platform. It doesn’t do themes, it doesn’t do email – all it does is insanely fast, reliable hosting for WordPress. If that’s all you need, then Kinsta is a great option – it’s what KYM runs on and I wouldn’t swap it out for anything. Since moving from AWS, our site speed has improved by around 40%. And that’s all down to Kinsta’s mastery of running WordPress and its network of servers around the globe.
Kinsta also offers free migration, so you can move from your existing host to Kinsta for absolutely nothing. On top of this, you get a free SSL via Let’s Encrypt, and access to Kinsta’s global CDN network – all for free.
Kinsta does a variety of plans, but it does not do themes like WP Engine. Kinsta is also slightly cheaper than WP Engine, so if you just need blazingly fast hosting (and aren’t bothered about access to the themes), then Kinsta is the one to go for.
Managed vs Shared WordPress Hosting
When you start a WordPress blog or website, if you’re a beginner, you don’t pay much attention to hosting. Nine times out of ten, people go with the cheapest option they can find – usually places like GoDaddy and Host Gator. But this is a massive mistake and one you would do well to avoid…
90% of the world’s most popular hosting platforms for WordPress are shared hosting; this means your website is crammed onto a server with hundreds of other websites. As you can imagine, this affects speed and page load times in a big way. Add a load of plugins into the mix and HD pictures on your blog and you’re looking at 8-10 second page load times.
And if you want your site to rank in Google, you need your web pages to load in under 2 seconds ideally. Failure to hit this speed will result in your site being outranked by its competitors and, potentially, being hit by algorithm updates. And, trust me, you do not want this – it sucks!
A managed WordPress hosting package is different. It’s like a concierge service for your site that looks after everything from security, to site speed, to backups and pretty much everything else in between. Shared hosting is cheaper, but the reason for this is because you have to do ALL of the above yourself – and if you’re a beginner, you do not want that.
With managed WordPress hosting, you get faster page load times – upwards of 50-60% in most cases – advanced security, constant updates, and automatic daily backups, as well as access to things like CDN networks and free SSL certification. Bottom line? If you’re serious about ranking your WordPress site, you need a managed WordPress host – and Kinsta and WP Engine are the best in the business right now.
9 Reasons Why Managed WordPress Hosting is Best
The last paragraph pretty much-covered everything you need to know about the basic differences between managed and shared WordPress hosting, but to further cement the point in your mind, have a look at what you actually get for your money when you go the managed route:
- Increased Site Speed (Upwards of 50% Faster Than Shared Hosting)
- Access To CDN
- Free SSL Certification
- Daily, Automatic Back-Ups of Your Site
- Staging Environments For Testing Apps, Plugins & New Designs
- Access To Premium WordPress Themes (WP Engine)
- Plugin Scanning – Checks All Your Plugins For Safety
- Automatic Security Updates
- Everything Managed Under One Roof
Essentially, the difference between managed and shared WordPress hosting is like the difference between flying first class and economy. Only here, the cost isn’t quite as prohibitive as flying first class; both WP Engine and Kinsta offer very affordable introductory plans for smaller sites – prices on Kinsta start for as little as $30 a month.
If you have a new site and you want to grow it fast, switching to a managed WordPress host should be a #1 priority for you. Not only will it improve your page load times, but it will also increase engagement on your site, reduce your bounce rate, and improve Google’s overall perception of your blog – Google likes sites that load fast.
I own a couple of websites and the difference Kinsta made to one of them was, well… rather dramatic. The site in question was hit by Google’s MEDIC update, so I decided to invest in Kinsta in a bid to improve the site’s speed and hopefully its rankings.
A month after installing Kinsta, things started to change. Over the course of a few months, this happened…
That is the difference managed WordPress hosting makes. It can save you from algorithm updates, pull your site out of a rut, and it will help improve conversions, time on site, and lower your bounce rates. This is why Kinsta is listed inside our Guide To 2019’s #1 CRO Tools – you need your site running on a solid foundation in order to make positive gains.
Site Speed, Managed WordPress Hosting & SEO Impact
The idea that the speed of your site affects its rankings might be new to you, but let me assure you it does – page load time is one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s search algorithm.
Here’s what Google said about page speed and load times back in 2010:
“Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don’t just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings.”
So there you have it, straight from the horse’s month – speed is key. And in order to make your site as fast as possible, you need a solid foundation for it to run on. And the absolute minimum for this is managed WordPress hosting – so please do not see it as a COST, this kind of thing is an investment, just like content and SEO.
What WordPress Host Do We Recommend Most & Why?
As noted earlier, I use Kinsta on all of my sites. Why? It’s simple and fast and it has everything I need – CDN, free SSL, daily back-ups, lightning-fast page load times, and a near-perfect backend for managing everything. For my company’s needs, Kinsta is perfect. However…
WP Engine is definitely a more robust platform. It does more than Kinsta, has more features – things like access to premium WordPress themes for free –, more staging environment options, and it will hold onto your site’s backups for 40 days (Kinsta’s is 14).
For this reason, and because both Kinsta and WP Engine run on The Google Cloud and are more or less equal when it comes to speed, I would say whichever one you go for will depend on your exact needs. I don’t need access to themes, so I go with Kinsta because it is slightly less expensive.
However, if you have aspirations of re-vamping your blog and/or site and you want to do it all on one platform, there is no better company operating right now than WP Engine. It offers the most robust set of features for WordPress site owners right now. It’s fast, feature-packed, and it will work wonders for your site’s speed and rankings.
OK, so when it comes to the best WordPress hosting you essentially have two options: Kinsta and WP Engine. But which is the best out of these two? And why? You’ve read all of the above, so you know my personal opinions on it. But if you missed that, let’s recap…
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Kinsta vs WP Engine Comparison Quick Facts
- Kinsta – Hosted on The Google Cloud | Insane Page Load Speeds | Free CDN (Up To 50GB per Month | Free SSL | Daily Back-Ups | Free Migration | Near-Perfect Backend | Affordable Range of Plans
- WP Engine – Hosted on The Google Cloud | Rapid Pace Load Speeds | CDN (Up To 50GB per Month | Daily Back-Ups (Saved For 40 Days | Access To 190+ Premium WordPress Themes | Great Range of Plans
The main difference between Kinsta and WP Engine, our two picks for the best WordPress hosting platforms right now, is the additional services and features WP Engine offers. And that’s literally it; both are rapid, feature similar features like CDN and daily back-ups. It’s just with WP Engine, you get access to things like premium WordPress themes for free.
And if you want to test WP Engine out for free for three months, we have an exclusive code just for you – click here to view the package and remember to note down the exclusive discount code!
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.