Past the world of entry-level hosting is where you can find the next step up – the tier of the best cloud hosting providers (for WordPress). But how to navigate these waters?
Also, is it worth the hassle to learn what cloud hosting is about? Is cloud hosting better for WordPress in any way? Well, it’s certainly different…
This post will guide you in making the right choice. We look at the best cloud hosting providers in the market today and assess them on various parameters based on your requirements.
Introduction to cloud hosting
Let’s start from the beginning:
- The simplest form of traditional web hosting is shared hosting. In this hosting model, one server houses the websites of multiple customers.
- The next form of hosting is VPS hosting. It is similar to shared hosting since a number of websites are hosted on the same server. However, dedicated resource allocation ensures that the websites do not interfere with the performance of one another to a certain extent.
- Dedicated hosting is the type of hosting where only a single site is hosted on a server. This gives you complete control of the host’s resources, and consequently makes your website independent of the performance of others.
Cloud hosting is a bit of all of the above…
Theoretically, a virtual machine on the cloud cannot be compared to the traditional types of web hosting. A public cloud hosting provider hosts websites on its own premises, a part of which can be purchased by everyone. The data center that hosts the cloud may be shared between other customers. A private cloud, on the other hand, is hosted exclusively for a single customer at a remote location. A virtual private cloud is the extension of the capabilities of a customer to handle momentary high loads. It may be hosted on the premises of the customer.
What to expect from the best cloud hosting providers for WordPress?
You can judge cloud hosting providers based on the following aspects:
Though you may want to focus on the immediate impact that one platform's pricing might have on your wallet right now, you should rather consider the long-term implications. For instance, some hosts offer good first-year plans that are hard to ignore, but then introduce big price hikes in the second year.
At the end of the day, if you want to stay with your host for, say, 5+ years then you should calculate your costs for the entire period, and not just the initial coin you have to shell out.
Does the stack of your cloud hosting provider align with your needs? For example, if you host a WooCommerce site, are you comfortable shifting to a host that provides good support for generalized PHP hosting, but no special support for WordPress or WooCommerce?
Moreover, is the host's configuration in tune with what your application needs might be? Some server-side technologies can work better on machines configured in a certain way vs the others. If you're going to be running a serious setup, these are the things you should consider.
A significant advantage of cloud hosting over traditional hosting is the ability to scale to variable demand.
Does the host have a capacity to handle peak loads? If yes, does your host need manual intervention to handle such loads? Does it allocate new resources depending on traffic? Does the host de-prioritize these resources when loads are back to normal?
To choose a hosting provider, you may have to assess what dependencies the hosting provider has. For instance, does it leverage someone else's platform to provide you with a solution? The risks associated with vendors may shift to your hosting provider too.
5 of the best cloud hosting providers
Here’s the lineup we have:
InMotion Hosting Cloud Business Solutions (www.inmotionhosting.com)
InMotion Hosting provides a wide range of hosting options – shared, VPS, dedicated, WordPress and cloud hosting. InMotion’s cloud hosting starts at $17.99/month, with 4GB RAM, 75GB storage and 4TB bandwidth. And, you have the ability to upgrade to a much more powerful setup with 8GB RAM, 260GB storage and 8TB bandwidth.
Though there’s no free tier, InMotion’s 90-day money back guarantee should put you at ease of its services. If you are moving from a different hosting provider, there’s a free transfer service.
A few add-on features that you also get are free domain registration, free SSL, unlimited email accounts, 24/7 support, and 3 dedicated IP addresses. In conclusion, if you pick this host, additional costs associated with running a website are minimized.
Amazon EC2 (aws.amazon.com)
Amazon Web Services provides a variety of solutions for computing in the cloud. In fact, there’s so much stuff in Amazon’s portfolio that making a decision often causes a headache.
That being said, for the most part, their AWS EC2 Compute can be treated as their “hosting department.” And from that, their entry-level offering is the Micro instance, which is actually free for 12 months (then from $0.0104/h). It can sustain about 1000 users per minute (without any restrictions on the monthly visitors).
Though the free tier only gives you access to an instance with 1GB of RAM, you have the option to scale up to over 144GB of RAM and networking speeds of 25Gbps if required.
AWS provides you with a virtual server on the cloud with SSH access, thus enabling you to configure the server at your will. However, this requires considerable technical knowledge and may not be user friendly for someone looking to just host a simple website.
If you just want to host “a website” with AWS, Amazon has a handy guide on how to pick from their vast offering of different servers and cloud computing services. In some cases, you might find that using Amazon Lightsail is going to be more beneficial.
The biggest advantage of AWS is cost optimization through its dynamic pricing, which charges you in real-time for the load. With all the customization, you also get a dedicated IP address for your cloud – in case you are connecting your web application to an API or a web service. If you want to deploy a complex web application with a lot of dependencies, you should give AWS a try!
Kinsta is a WordPress hosting provider that’s been known to deliver a high-quality product. One important detail to know about them is that their entire setup runs on the Google Cloud Platform. The entry-level plan is $30/month, and for that, you get 10GB of storage, up to 20,000 visits, and CDN transfer of 50GB.
Kinsta delivers a variety of features that you can enjoy. There’s free migration from another provider. You can select the geographical location of your data center based on the location of your customers – to minimize load times. You can configure a CDN of your choice too. Kinsta runs 1400+ checks for uptime on a daily basis. Further, a staging area is available for you to test your website before going into production.
You should know that CodeinWP is hosted on Kinsta. Read our review here to get more context on why we chose Kinsta.
Cloudways call themselves a managed cloud hosting platform. The important thing about them is that they will host your site on your choice of one of five popular cloud providers – DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS and Google Cloud.
The cheapest plan available is provided at $10/month with 1GB RAM, 25GB storage and 1TB bandwidth. This one runs on the DigitalOcean servers.
Cloudways delivers a lot of valuable features, such as 24/7 support on all plans, managed backups, 60+ global data centers, PHP7 ready servers, advanced cache, staging areas, 1-click server cloning, and a lot more. There’s also free website migration.
SiteGround Managed Cloud Hosting (www.siteground.com)
SiteGround is a hosting provider with a wide range of hosting options – shared, dedicated, WordPress and WooCommerce hosting. Cloud hosting plans start at $80/month with 4GB RAM, 40GB storage and 5TB bandwidth. Further, SiteGround also provides a 30-day money back guarantee.
Apart from offering some stock plans, SiteGround also lets you configure your own cloud, making it highly suitable to the needs of your business. Basically, you select how many CPU cores you need, memory, SSD disk space, and SiteGround gives you a price you’ll need to pay for that per month.
SiteGround also provides free setup and transfer for your website. It has cPanel and SSH access, depending on what you may feel comfortable with. A free CloudFlare CDN is provided with this basic plan too. You also get free SSL access, and dedicated IP addresses.
SiteGround’s overall performance was impressive in our 2019 WordPress hosting survey.
In addition to its cloud solutions, if you are starting out as a new webmaster, shared hosting may be your first choice to test the waters. Therefore, SiteGround provides the ideal choice for both beginners and experienced developers, making it one of the best cloud hosting providers today.
Which of these best cloud hosting providers to choose?
This is not an easy choice, I know. Each of these companies has its strong points, and there’s no clear, 100% certain winner. It all depends on your needs:
- Need maximum power and scalability? Go with Amazon AWS. It’ll handle everything you throw at it!
- Need something that’s easy to start with? SiteGround and InMotion will fit just fine.
- Want something in the middle – something that’s easy to start with and also powerful enough so that it can handle the load and scale when needed? Kinsta and Cloudways is where you should go.
Here’s a quick summary table with some of the more important parameters:
|Host||Price/month (from)||Configuration (base plan)|
|InMotion||$17.99||4GB RAM, 75GB storage, 4TB bandwidth|
|Amazon EC2||12 months free | from $0.192/h||1GB RAM, 750 hours of instance usage per month|
|Kinsta||$30||10GB storage, 50GB CDN, 20,000 visits|
|Cloudways||$10||1GB RAM, 25GB storage, 1TB bandwidth|
|SiteGround||$80||4GB RAM, 40GB storage, 5TB bandwidth|
What’s your pick? Have you tested any of the platforms described here? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%: