2017 WordPress Hosting Survey: 4,750 Respondents Say GoDaddy Hosting Is Quite Okay

Something that’s not a mystery here, and hasn’t been ever, is that we like our managed hosting plan at Kinsta quite a bit. It works, keeps things fast, overall … great! We even reviewed it here.

That being said, the way we host our sites and the way most “WordPress insiders” host theirs, isn’t at all what casual users do.

As it turns out, most people host with GoDaddy, Bluehost, and HostGator. And you know what? … They’re loving it!

(At least that’s what they say.)

We’ve just concluded our 2017 WordPress hosting survey, and the results are quite stunning, or highly interesting, to say the least.

2017 WordPress hosting survey

2017 WordPress hosting survey results:

Here’s what people say when asked two simple questions: “What hosting company do you use?” and “How likely are you to recommend it?”

Top rated mainstream WordPress hosting companies
HostRatingVotes
HostGator8.02 / 10456
Bluehost7.93 / 10450
GoDaddy7.64 / 10734
 
We’ve had more than 4,750 valid answers in this 2017 WordPress hosting survey, and these three companies have gathered the most votes by far. And, as you can see, the people using these platforms seem to be very happy with what they’re getting.

Of course, the survey wasn’t only about GoDaddy, Bluehost, and HostGator. The respondents actually mentioned more than 1,000(!) different hosting companies. More on that in a minute.

But first, why do we even keep doing these surveys?

Hosting is very close to our hearts – as weird as this might sound.

First of all, hosting is always the first step in everyone’s adventure with WordPress. And yes, while you can play around with the platform to some extent locally, it’s not until you get your hands on an actual web server that you can really start doing something significant with it.

Secondly, hosting recommendations are something that we do quite often. Not only on this blog, but also whenever our customers ask about this over at ThemeIsle. And while doing so, we want to make sure that we’re on point with the situation that’s actually in the market.

In other words, we want to be sure that we’re recommending all the right stuff – products and services – that will bring our users value rather than trouble.

This also becomes crucially important when you factor in the fact that we have affiliate links for hosting on this site, which puts us in the spotlight whenever we decide to recommend anything. We just can’t afford to guide people towards a sub-par solution (like the site described here allegedly does), since this would shatter our reputation. That’s why we need to keep researching the hosting market constantly.

At the same time, testing hosts on our own (via performance experiments, ongoing speed tests, etc.) only goes so far. In order to learn how happy people actually are with their hosting setups, you need to ask them directly. This is where the 2017 WordPress hosting survey comes into play.

And those surveys can sometimes be very revealing, and show you things that you didn’t expect to see. Much like it has happened this time:

Let’s start dissecting the survey findings one by one … first, the elephant in the room:

GoDaddy is a silent giant in WordPress hosting

GoDaddy is not a big name inside the WordPress hosting “bubble”. Try to recommend GoDaddy as a host and you’re liable to get at least a few comments like these:

That’s why it’s so surprising that GoDaddy was, by far, the most popular host in our 2017 WordPress hosting survey.

GoDaddy accounted for a whopping 15.3% of all responses. The next most popular hosts were HostGator and Bluehost, far behind at 9.5% and 9.4%, respectively.

This is not a full list of hosts – just the most popular responses.

 
And guess what? Not only are WordPress users using GoDaddy … they’re actually pretty dang happy.

While not the highest recommendation score in our survey, GoDaddy clocked in at a respectable 7.64 average on our recommendation scale.

In the end, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised at GoDaddy’s popularity. While it’s not on most “best WordPress hosting” lists, the company has been snapping up WordPress properties at a rapid pace.

In the past months, GoDaddy has bought up WP Curve, ManageWP, and Sucuri, aiming to become a one-stop shop for WordPress users.

Don’t sleep on GoDaddy – while its users aren’t as likely to recommend it as SiteGround (8.56) or Dreamhost (8.66), GoDaddy still has a ton of hosting customers who are happy with its service.

About that willingness to recommend:

Net Promoter Scores of the top WordPress hosting companies

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is a very cool metric designed to somehow gauge how happy people are with a brand or product, up to the point where they are willing to recommend it to their peers.

Here’s a better definition:

The Net Promoter Score is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others.

So since we do have a sample size that allows us to start getting into the NPS stuff, let’s see how the numbers play out for some of our featured hosts – in particular, the ones that have gathered more than 80 total entries.

Before that, though. One quick disclaimer. This data is interesting and gives a rough picture, but don’t take it as absolute gospel. We don’t have the proper representative sample to truly calculate each company’s real NPS. Most relevant to our survey is the fact that a sizable portion of detractors (people who scored towards the 0 end) likely wouldn’t have responded to our survey because they’d already have moved onto other hosts.

For that reason, there’s a decent chance that our measurement skews a little high.

Okay, here’s the data:

The Net Promoter Score of the most popular WordPress hosting companies
HostNPS
SiteGround46.15
HostGator29.32
Bluehost23.81
Hostinger18.42
GoDaddy14.76
1&10
As you can see, SiteGround is still the company that’s the most likely to be recommended, however, the numbers scored by HostGator are not too shabby at all.

Just for context, according to data, MailChimp has an NPS of 50. And it’s generally regarded that any score above 0 should be considered “good,” while 50 and above is “excellent.” (Although some experts disagree on whether 0 is actually “good” or not.)

But does that mean that SiteGround is better than Bluehost in the eyes of the users? Well, not necessarily. It’s been argued over the years that NPS metrics can be highly dependent on the type of the customer that a given brand reaches in the first place. For instance, brands that cater to more wealthy customers tend to be rated more highly as well. A similar thing might be occurring when comparing companies catering to casual users vs catering to a more specialized crowd.

People are generally happy with their hosting

 
The average rating given by the respondents was 7.7 / 10.

Meaning that people are generally very happy with what they have.

Here’s a more detailed look per hosting company:
WordPress hosting companies as rated by users
HostVotesRating
GoDaddy7347.64
HostGator4568.02
Bluehost4507.93
WordPress2157.14
SiteGround1788.56
1&11027.42
Hostinger867.58
One.com717.84
Namecheap648.04
iPage627.75
ehost587.07
DreamHost568.66
InMotion528.11
For the above table, we’ve only decided to feature the companies that got more than 50 entries. We needed to narrow it down since our respondents listed more than 1000 different hosting companies, many of them mentioned only once.

(If you want to get the full data set, there’s a raw-data export file at the bottom.)

There’s something interesting in the table above, if you’ve noticed it:

Is “WordPress” a host?

A lot of people said that “WordPress” is their host.

Unfortunately, we don’t know if what they mean is WordPress.com or if they confuse what a host actually is.

We’ve also had a number of people pointing out “cPanel” as their host, and so on.

“Who’s your host?”# of answers
“WordPress”215
“cPanel”11
“I don’t know”13

Perhaps what this proves more than anything else is how confusing the whole idea of hosting really is.

As pros, I believe that we absolutely can’t neglect the fact that WordPress isn’t as simple of a tool as we like to believe it is. Educating other casual users is key to helping them understand the platform and how to get the most out of it.

With WordPress running on nearly 30% of all websites, it’s not surprising that a lot of users don’t have any knowledge nor even interest in understanding the platform’s inner workings, or what makes one host better than the other.

Many casual users simply shop based on the price or based on the marketing messages that they see on the web/TV. Many of them don’t even assume that one host might be slower or less reliable than the other.

So this brings me to the next thing that we wanted to find out in the 2017 WordPress hosting survey:

Performance and satisfaction aren’t as linked as you might think

One of the things that surprised us was that hosts that many WordPress insiders disparage still had solid scores when it came to likelihood to recommend.

This had us wondering, “what’s the disconnect between WordPress insiders and regular WordPress users?”

Does a host’s performance actually affect the likelihood of a user recommending the host? Or is there something else at play here?

Let’s find out by comparing the results of our 2017 WordPress hosting survey with some of our own performance testing data for popular hosts.

Hosting performance vs user rating
HostLoad time – NYC testUser rating
SiteGround0.645 seconds8.56
Bluehost2.00 seconds7.93
HostGator0.75 seconds8.02
InMotion0.46 seconds8.11
A2 Hosting0.48 seconds8.63
 
You can see a slight pattern where the hosts with lower page load times are more highly recommended. But we’re not sure the difference is large enough to warrant any dramatic conclusions.

This leads us to believe that performance is not necessarily the first thing on the minds of average WordPress users.

Our 2017 WordPress hosting survey didn’t ask users to rank what they thought was most important about their host, but some postulations are:

  • Ease of getting WordPress up and running
  • How often there’s a “fire” that needs to be put out (i.e. users just want something that “works”, even if it’s not the fastest)
  • How helpful/available support is

This is a worthy area to dig into in the future. And it’s good reminder for power users to remember that the features that WordPress insiders value in a host aren’t necessarily the same as those that casual users value.

Popular hosts by country

This is the part of the 2017 WordPress hosting survey that we’ve been really interested in.

The US market is kind of predictable in terms of who’s going to be popular. I mean, all those Super Bowl ads have to account for something, right, GoDaddy?

But what about the international markets? Is GoDaddy just as popular in, say, Germany as it is in the US? Let’s see.

Out of 4,750+ answers (making this the largest WordPress hosting survey to date), only around 25.7% come from the US, which makes the large majority international.

Here are the top 10 countries and their most popular hosting companies:

Most popular WordPress hosting companies by country
Country% of entiresMost popular host
USA25.7%GoDaddy
India15.48%GoDaddy
United Kingdom6.243%GoDaddy
Nigeria3.634%WhoGoHost.com
Canada3.305%GoDaddy
Indonesia2.377%Dewaweb
Pakistan2.203%GoDaddy
South Africa2.184%Afrihost
Germany2.126%1&1
Australia1.971%GoDaddy

Or, for a more interactive presentation (click on a country):

But that’s not the end of the story in terms of the international WordPress hosting market:

Hosters worldwide are just about equally satisfied

Most hosts market internationally nowadays, and it’s fairly common for hosts to at least offer data centers in North America, Europe, and Asia.

While that’s true, most major hosts on our list are still headquartered in the USA. This led us to wonder, “are hosts managing to connect with international customers as well as customers from the USA?”

To try to get a gauge on international opinion, we divided responses for our top four hosts by USA and non-USA users.

HostNon-US VotesNon-US RatingUS VotesUS Rating
SiteGround1118.33678.93
HostGator2897.981678.07
Bluehost2127.962387.91
GoDaddy4607.552747.79
With the exception of Bluehost, US respondents were slightly more likely to recommend their host than international respondents. With that being said, the differences aren’t large enough for us to declare statistical significance.

Without higher sample sizes, we can only say that customers around the world all seem to be fairly evenly happy with their host.

Hosts that are part of the Endurance International Group

As you may know, EIG is one of the biggest hosting companies in the market and one of the most successful ones at that. However, for the most part, they’ve remained somewhat in the background and don’t market themselves in the open at all.

They achieved their success by acquiring a large number of other hosting companies and then letting them operate under their original brand names.

This practice – of acquiring companies and then optimizing their infrastructure for profit – doesn’t always sit well with some users.

Naturally, we wanted to see how EIG companies stand in our 2017 WordPress hosting survey. Here’s what we found:

EIG hosting companies as rated by users
HostVotesRating
HostGator4568.02
Bluehost4507.93
iPage627.75
ehost587.07
FatCow138.18
HostMonster137.27
Just Host127.40
Arvixe116.80

The table above features only the companies that got at least 10 mentions.

You be the one to interpret.

The main differences vs our previous hosting survey

If you’ve been paying attention to what we’re publishing here on the blog (no hard feelings if not 😉) then you might have noticed some of our previous WordPress hosting surveys.

Those were a bit different.

First of all, they were done in an entirely different way than this one:

  • There were a lot more questions.
  • They were promoted to the community of WordPress insiders – mainly via the advanced WordPress groups on Facebook and elsewhere. Moreover, 80% of the survey respondents actually identified themselves as WordPress pros.

This 2017 survey, on the other hand, was performed via small pop-up messages that we displayed to our visitors here at CodeinWP.com, and also ThemeIsle.com and JustFreeThemes.com.

The 2017 WordPress hosting survey wasn’t promoted directly. However, since the collective audience of those sites is more casual, with the pros only being part of it, the answers reflect that quite a lot.

The first main difference is the aforementioned popularity of the mainstream companies like GoDaddy, Bluehost, and HostGator, and their overall very good ratings.

The other difference is a low number of answers for more expensive, managed WordPress hosting plans. This 2017 survey had nearly 10x more respondents, yet there were only 3 mentions of Kinsta.

 If you’re interested, here are the full results of the previous, more pro-user focused survey: 

Things we wanted to learn

As you would have expected, the no.1 goal was to name the top recommended hosting company for WordPress.

But we were also after the fine details of the whole hosting experience, such as:

  • how WordPress-optimized these WordPress hosting companies actually are,
  • how reliable they are,
  • how WordPress-savvy the support is,
  • what’s people’s experience with web hosting in general,
  • how much money people spend on hosting every month,
  • how happy people are with the value they’re getting for the money,
  • what’s the average time they have been with their current hosting company,
  • how many sites people are hosting,
  • do people host their own sites vs sites of their clients’,
  • what traffic those sites attract,
  • what types of sites people usually host,
  • how user-friendly the hosting platforms are overall,
  • and most importantly, how likely people are to extend when their subscription is up for renewal.

The survey respondents

The audience our blogs attract is more on the pro side of the spectrum. For instance, 80% of the survey respondents identify themselves as WordPress pros (developers, designers, experts, people otherwise knowledgeable about WordPress), and this means that their opinion of certain web hosts might be different than what the overall population would say.

But that’s a good thing. WordPress pros is essentially the group that drives the movement in this space forward, and the people whom everyone else asks for advice when looking for the best host for their sites.

Okay, onto the fun stuff!

Top rated WordPress hosting companies

Here are the top rated WordPress hosting companies according to our 506 survey respondents:

CompanyRatingAvg. $ / month# of entries
Kinsta4.9$184.6015
Flywheel4.7$77.8615
SiteGround4.6$27.4375
DigitalOcean4.6$46.7736
DreamHost4.3$25.4618
WP Engine4.2$184.1227
HostGator3.7$17.1140
GoDaddy3.5$10.0638
Bluehost3.0$23.2738
* The hosting companies with the least number of entries have not been included.
Setting the ratings themselves aside (we’ll talk about those in a minute), as you can see, we did get very different numbers of entries for each company. Please take this into consideration when interpreting the results for yourself. What this basically means is that those ratings don’t all carry the same weight.
The second conclusion is that the pro WordPress crowd that this survey reached is much more likely to use SiteGround (14.8% of all entires) than anything else, even though SiteGround is not the overall biggest company in this lineup.

For example, here’s a quick Google Trends comparison, which isn’t a perfect metric, but still gives us a good overview of how popular these companies actually are compared to one another:

Number of entries: SiteGround (75), HostGator (40), GoDaddy and Bluehost (38).
google-trends-1

And when we add GoDaddy to the mix:

google-trends-2

(Although we need to be careful here because GoDaddy is much more than a hosting company.)

Considering that HostGator and Bluehost are 5x (ish) bigger than SiteGround, it’s really impressive that they have still managed to get nearly double the entries.

How happy people are with their hosting

A very general conclusion when looking at the data is that, overall, people are very happy with their current hosts:

78% of the respondents rate their hosting providers at 4 or higher. Also, 87% would recommend their host to other people.

That being said, 35% of the respondents, if they had more money to spare, they would choose another hosting platform. When asked which platform that would be, 21% of them say WP Engine.

But hold on, that’s not the best part…

It turns out that there are actually more people who would like to move to WP Engine, than people who are currently using it. 30% more, in fact.

What about the WordPress.org-approved hosts?

A couple of months ago, there was this huge news story that WordPress.org finally updated their recommended hosting page (link). This got picked up by some major news outlets in the niche (here and here, for example), and was subject to serious controversy regarding how/why certain companies found their spot on this list.

TL;DR: For what seemed like decades, WordPress.org only recommended people to use Bluehost. After the update, the official hosting page also features DreamHost, Flywheel, and SiteGround.

It just so happens that all of those companies have been rated and talked about in our survey, so let’s now see how they stack up against each other and the other players.

Here’s some basic data from our respondents:

CompanyRating (# of entries)Avg. months w/ host
Flywheel4.7 (15)12.3
SiteGround4.6 (75)15.8
DreamHost4.3 (18)69.3
Bluehost3.0 (38)31.4
Avg. for all companiesRatingAvg. months w/ host
4.226.8
CompanyRating (# of entries)Avg. months w/ host
Kinsta4.9 (15)11.4
DigitalOcean4.6 (36)14.7
InMotion4.3 (11)14.9
WPEngine4.2 (27)15.6
Media Temple4.2 (12)43.9
Namecheap4.1 (9)16.9
HostGator3.7 (40)46.3
GoDaddy3.5 (38)29.9
The thing we see right away is that the addition of those three new companies was probably a very good move. Bluehost – formerly the only recommended company – received the lowest rating of them all, while the three new companies are basically among the best in the market. (Although, please consider the relatively low number of answers for both Flywheel and DreamHost.)
Bluehost used to be good for hosting sites, but since they were bought by EIG they have totally gone down hill. I am moving my clients to SiteGround.User
On the overall scale, we also have to give it to Kinsta that leads the pack, and DigitalOcean, which hasn’t marketed themselves as WordPress-friendly ever (nor are they).

(Also, as you can see above, on the average, our respondents have been with their current hosting providers for 26.8 months.)

The next thing we can take a look at is perhaps the most telling piece of data of them all – how likely people are to extend when their subscription is up for renewal. Here’s what’s up:

WordPress.org-approved companiesHow likely are you to extend?
DreamHost94%
SiteGround93%
Flywheel93%
Bluehost46%
Overall for all companies85%
Other companiesHow likely are you to extend?
Kinsta100%
InMotion100%
DigitalOcean97%
WPEngine92%
Media Temple92%
GoDaddy78%
Namecheap78%
HostGator74%
Bluehost really doesn’t look good here, with only 46% of our respondents willing to extend. The other three companies, on the other hand, basically lead the whole pack once again.

Looking at all companies, Kinsta and InMotion both get a 100% rating here, which is impressive, although their data samples are smaller.

Now, since it’s WordPress hosting we’re talking about, we should probably mention WordPress optimization and how WordPress-proficient the support teams are:

In bold – WordPress.org-approved hosts

CompanyWordPress-optimized?Support WordPress-proficient?
Bluehost2.62.9
DigitalOcean2.73.3
DreamHost3.34.3
Flywheel4.94.9
GoDaddy2.63.1
HostGator2.43.0
Kinsta4.94.9
SiteGround4.04.5
WPEngine4.74.5
This time, it’s Flywheel and SiteGround that come on top when looking at the hosts recommended by WordPress.org. Overall, we also have to give it to Kinsta and WP Engine.

On the other end, we have the usual … Bluehost.

In general, the ratings around WordPress optimization are not massively high, and the leaders really stand out from the rest. Setting aside the optimizations themselves, marketing also must play a huge role here. All of WP Engine, Flywheel, Kinsta, and SiteGround market some WordPress-specific plans and solutions, which probably has its impact on the perceived value too.

Now, while the perceived WordPress-optimization can be impacted by things like marketing, the level of support quality shouldn’t have this problem. Taking that into account, another interesting angle we can take here is to have a look at any relation of price vs how WordPress-proficient the support team is. It’s reasonable to expect higher prices in exchange for more WordPress expertise.

Here are the average monthly costs in relation to support quality:

How WordPress-proficient is the support team?
12345
$23.11$21.44$29.72$60.48$67.06
It seems that a higher level of WordPress support indeed proves to be more expensive.

WordPress hosting vs experienced users

Here’s a general table focusing on how many hosting companies the respondents have used prior to their current one:

In bold – WordPress.org-approved hosts

How many hosting companies have you used prior to this one?
CompanyMy first time23…56…1010…
Bluehost912105
DigitalOcean151983
DreamHost2772
Flywheel3651
GoDaddy1112123
HostGator8121541
InMotion2522
Kinsta861
Media Temple2541
Namecheap225
SiteGround11741133
WPEngine351153
other164474299
Total55 (10.9%)126 (24.9%)215 (42.5%)86 (17.0%)22 (4.3%)
When we analyze this some more, and normalize the data, it turns out that Bluehost is 2.2x times more popular among first-time hosting users compared to the average numbers. (Specifically, first-time users are 10.9% of all users. With Bluehost, though, first-timers are 23.7%.)

On the flip side, SiteGround attracts almost no first-timers at all, and 54.7% of their users are people who have been with 3-5 hosts before.

When we look at all the companies overall, GoDaddy is ranking even higher among first-timers – getting 2.7x times more such users than the reference value. After all, they do try to sell their hosting to whoever buys a domain name from them.

It was also interesting to see that people for whom it’s their first hosting experience rated their providers 17% lower than everyone else. In our opinion, this is not necessarily because the companies chosen by first-timers are bad (all of them got better rankings from experienced users), but perhaps beginners have overall higher expectations. (What do you think about this?)

Taking all of our survey entries into account, 11% of people are first-timers to hosting, 64% have tested 3 or more companies.

Ratings based on how experienced with hosting the respondents are (included are only the companies we have the most data for):

How many hosting companies have you used prior to this one?
CompanyMy first time23…56…1010…Average
Bluehost3.33.23.03.03.0
GoDaddy2.93.83.93.03.5
HostGator3.43.93.93.82.03.7
SiteGround5.04.84.54.54.74.6
Average for all companies3.44.24.34.44.2
Lastly, let’s look at how many people consider themselves WordPress pros based on which company they use:
Are you a WordPress pro?
CompanyYesNo
Flywheel93%7%
DreamHost89%11%
SiteGround80%20%
Bluehost79%21%
Are you a WordPress pro?YesNo
Total80%20%
Are you a WordPress pro?
CompanyYesNo
DigitalOcean94%6%
Media Temple92%8%
WPEngine85%15%
InMotion82%18%
other82%18%
HostGator75%25%
Kinsta67%33%
Namecheap67%33%
GoDaddy61%39%
Looking past the four recommended WordPress.org hosts, we have to acknowledge DigitalOcean, which leads this ranking. That score isn’t surprising due to the difficult setup process and management with DigitalOcean servers.

How much money people pay for their WordPress hosting

Collectively, our respondents spend $23,830.11 on hosting every month.

Here’s the distribution across the top 4 companies with the most entries, and the total numbers for all:

$ / month
Company< $5$5-$10$10-$15$15-$30$30-$50$50-$100> $100
Bluehost6%27%24%24%9%6%3%
GoDaddy15%47%24%12%3%
HostGator8%31%19%22%14%6%
SiteGround8%21%23%27%4%11%5%
Average for all companies12%27%15%18%9%9%10%
I tried WPEngine earlier, but as my sites have high traffic my bill increased from month to month. Especially that they are still counting bot traffic. If you are with WPE at least triple your visitors according to Google Analytics and select a plan based on this data.User

We also asked our respondents how happy they were with the value they’re getting for their money. Here’s what they said:

DigitalOcean4.6
DreamHost4.4
Kinsta4.3
SiteGround4.2
other4.1
Flywheel4.1
Namecheap3.9
HostGator3.9
InMotion3.8
WPEngine3.7
Media Temple3.5
GoDaddy3.4
Bluehost3.0
Total4.0
DigitalOcean rules here, but it’s really no surprise. They are certainly one of the most affordable solutions out there, and the only downside is that you need to be quite savvy to use their platform.

One more interesting finding is that people who host sites for clients pay 1.7x times more for hosting than those who host only their own sites. And not only that, but they also stay 1.5x times longer with their web host:

Hosting mainly your own sites vs for clients?How long have you been on this hosting plan?What’s the cost of your hosting plan / month?
Clients32.0 months$61.21
Just me20.8 months$36.62
Tip. If you promote any hosting offers as an affiliate, and bring mostly this type of clients, then you should probably ask for a commission increase…

How many sites people host

This is yet another interesting piece of data, and we were actually quite surprised to see the results here.

First off, the total number of websites hosted among our respondents is 6,215. Wow!

Some more detail:

Hosting mainly your own sites vs for clients?ClientsJust meTotal
Average18612
Adjusted average *14610
Median835
* Adjusted by removing a handful of the most extreme values from the data set.
We certainly didn’t expect to see the numbers being that high. Even if we look just at the median, 5 sites is a huge number!

Also, it’s quite expected that people hosting sites for clients will report higher numbers here. On the average, those users have around 2.5x times more sites hosted with their providers.

Next, let’s have a look at the types of sites that people host:

  • Most popular type of sites: Business websites (389 entries).
  • Personal websites / portfolios – 32% less popular (265 entries).
  • E-commerce stores – 42% less popular (226 entries).
  • Classic blogs – 45% less popular (213 entries).
  • Online magazines – 72% less popular (107 entries).

Also, the most popular traffic segments for each of the top companies:

CompanyTraffic*% of users
GoDaddy0-2,00055%
Kinsta100,000-1M33%
WPEngine10,000-50,00026%
BlueHost0-2,00032%
DigitalOcean2,000-5,00028%
DreamHost0-2,00039%
Flywheel2,000-5,00027%
HostGator0-2,00045%
InMotion0-2,00045%
Media Temple10,000-50,00033%
Namecheap0-2,00044%
SiteGround0-2,00032%
* visitors / month

For a site with over daily 2000 visits, or if you are selling something, you should not host in shared hosting. Use VPS, or Cloud, managed or self-managed depending on your skill-set.User

Most reliable WordPress hosts and most user-friendly ones

Here’s the reliability rank according to our respondents:

Kinsta4.9
Flywheel4.8
DigitalOcean4.7
SiteGround4.7
WPEngine4.5
Media Temple4.4
other4.4
InMotion4.4
DreamHost4.3
Namecheap4.1
HostGator4.1
GoDaddy3.8
Bluehost3.4
Total4.3

And here’s the user-friendliness rank:

Flywheel4.5
Kinsta4.3
DreamHost4.2
WPEngine3.8
SiteGround3.7
GoDaddy3.6
InMotion3.6
other3.5
Media Temple3.4
Namecheap3.3
HostGator3.2
Bluehost3.0
DigitalOcean2.7
Total3.5
Flywheel and Kinsta came very high on both of these lists, with SiteGround doing very well too.

DigitalOcean has a top 3 reliability rank, but they’re also dead last when it comes to user-friendliness, which is very expected in their case. (Please don’t get me wrong here. DigitalOcean is great, but, as I mentioned, you need to be experienced enough to use their platform.)

Some fine details about the 2016 survey

  • In total, we’ve had 506 valid survey entries.
  • We got those entries by asking our partners to participate (thanks again!), mentioning it to our newsletter list and our customers, as well as promoting the survey through ads (standard and retargeting). In total, we spent around $3,000 to get this survey to everybody, like Ionut shared in the latest transparency report.
  • The survey itself has been in the making since April 18th, which was the date of the first Redbooth post of ours detailing the project. Since then, it went through multiple iterations … brainstorming the questions, getting feedback, and making sure that everything goes smoothly.
  • No hosting company has been asked to participate in any way when the survey was going on. We also had an eye out for any suspicious entries that might come from people wanting to skew the results (not that anyone would do such a thing, of course).


What does all this mean for us?

Overall, you can probably agree that the community of WordPress insiders has been rather hostile towards companies like Bluehost or GoDaddy. But should “don’t use Bluehost” really be the go-to advice?

And, really, I get why some people might not want to recommend those firms. I too had serious problems with my past HostGator server (spam-related problems), and that is why I eventually decided to go elsewhere.

But perhaps I’m not the type of client that HostGator even wants to attract in the first place? I don’t need HostGator. My requirements are different. So why should I say that they’re “bad”? If you like your HostGator server, who am I to say that you’re wrong and should move to SiteGround or InMotion? Especially if the data confirms this, and it does – people really like their HostGator, Bluehost and GoDaddy servers.

Here’s one final comment by Ben Welch-Bolen, founder of Pressed.net. We asked Ben to share his thoughts on these survey results:

Ben Welch-Bolen

Ben Welch-Bolen
Founder of Pressed.net
I think we are all super internet nerds, and we are a bit blind to what the majority of businesses have a website for :). We all operate in or with businesses whose revenue is primarily internet driven, and we forget that most businesses just need a basic brochure website. Mass market shared hosting is just fine for 95% of the websites out there. Business owners are going to be happy as long as the site is up, and support is decent. Until their website is driving a large chunk of revenue they have no reason to invest past ten dollars a month in their web hosting.
But what do you think? Does it make sense at all? Also, are you surprised by the survey results?

Lastly, here’s the raw-data export file if you want to analyze the results on your own. Don’t forget to let us know if you find anything interesting!

Don’t forget to join our free crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

Original text by Colin Newcomer and Karol K.
Layout and presentation by Karol K.