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WordPress Hosting Survey Archives 2016-2019: Huge Hosting Surveys Summarized in One Place

What you’re about to read are the results of four of our WordPress hosting surveys – from 2016 to 2019 – aka.  “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of WordPress Hosting.”  

Yep, we have good, we have bad, and we indeed do have ugly. The more we do these, the more interesting things get and the more insights we discover!

Click on the links below to go to the exact survey that interests you the most.

As you can see, we’ve been targeting these surveys to two distinct groups of users – those who consider themselves pro users and casual users. The results are mighty different depending on which group we ask. Check them out:

👉 Click for 2019 survey results (casual users survey)
👉 Click for 2018 survey results (pro users survey)
👉 Click for 2017 survey results (casual users survey)
👉 Click for 2016 survey results (pro users survey)

2018 WordPress hosting survey results

 Audience: pro WordPress users. 

First, we want to thank everybody who took a couple of minutes out of their busy daily schedules to complete the survey and review their current hosting providers. We got 830 valid responses in total, which makes this one of the biggest WordPress hosting surveys to date! It’s because of you that this was possible! 👍🍾

Why do a WordPress hosting survey?

We’ve been looking into the topic of WordPress hosting for a while now. Testing different hosts, experimenting with configurations, testing site speeds, load impact metrics, analyzing the offerings, pricing, etc.

We want for our recommendations to always be on point, but we can only go so far if we rely on just our own data. That is why finding out about the actual real-world performance of web hosts is so important.

So that was the main objective of the survey – to get actual input from actual real users, and truly learn which companies perform well for people in the long run vs which don’t perform at all.

Things we wanted to learn

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

The “WordPress hosting” label gets thrown around a lot these days, and every new host to the market claims to be the most optimized WordPress solution in existence. We wanted to test who’s really telling the truth here. But we were also after the fine details of the whole hosting experience.

The survey respondents

The audience this blog attracts is more on the pro side of the spectrum. For instance, 78.67% of the survey respondents identify themselves as WordPress pros (developers, designers, experts, people otherwise knowledgeable about WordPress). This means that their opinion of certain web hosts might be different from what the casual user would say. And it probably is … which our previous survey – the 2017 edition confirmed.

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 WordPress sites.

Here’s a more in-depth look at the respondents:

How many sites people host


This is a really interesting piece of data to start with. First off, the total number of websites hosted among our respondents is 11,736. Wow!

Some more detail:

Hosting own sites vs for clients? How many sites do you have hosted?
Just me 5 (average) / 3 (median)
Clients 23 (average) / 10 (median)
Totals 14 (average) / 5 (median)

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! This also tells us that our average respondent is quite far from hosting “just their one small personal blog.”

Also, it’s quite expected that people hosting sites for clients will report higher numbers here. On the average, those users have around 3.5x-4.5x times more sites hosted with their providers.

How many hosts did you test prior to the current one?

A huge majority of our respondents (more than 73%) report to have used 1-5 hosting companies prior to their current ones.

Here are the specifics:

How many hosts have you used prior to this? % of users # of users
0 (my first host) 10.00% 83
1-2 35.30% 293
3-5 38.43% 319
6-10 12.41% 103
10+ 2.65% 22
unspecified 1.20% 10

This is yet another thing that highlights our respondents’ experience with hosting, and perhaps also a testament that you’re not very likely to stumble upon your perfect hosting company on the first go.

Lastly, let’s look at the traffic numbers that our survey respondents drive to their sites.

How much traffic do you get?

WordPress hosting survey respondents say:

Your average monthly traffic numbers % of users # of users
less than 2,000 UVs 32.77% 272
2,001 – 5,000 17.71% 147
5,001 – 10,000 13.73% 114
10,001 – 20,000 9.88% 82
20,001 – 50,000 9.28% 77
50,001 – 100,000 7.23% 60
100,001 – 1,000,000 5.90% 49
more than 1,000,000 1.81% 15
unspecified 1.69% 14

Albeit this survey has reached WordPress pros most of all, actually more than 50% of the respondents report to receive less than 5,000 unique visitors a month. On the other end of the spectrum, only 24.22% get more than 20,000 UVs, and the rest falls somewhere in between.

Okay, since we know who the audience was, let’s now get onto the fun stuff! Staring with the biggie:

🥇  Best rated WordPress hosting companies 

Here are 10 of the top rated WordPress hosting companies according to our 830 survey respondents:

  • The hosting companies with the least number of entries have not been included
  • Market popularity according to Alexa – lower values mean more popular
Hosting CompanyRating / 5Survey PopularityMarket Popularity (Alexa)
A2 Hosting3.80.1612709

Setting the ratings themselves aside (we’ll talk about those in a minute), it’s worth mentioning that 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.

Every survey is a snapshot in time telling something about a specific group of respondents. In our case, that group are WordPress pros and people generally taking care of multiple websites. Among them, SiteGround is the most popular choice (getting 16.27% of all survey entires).

However, please keep in mind that this doesn’t reflect the market as a whole since SiteGround is not the top player out there – this you can see if you sort the table above by the last column. The same goes, or even more so, for companies like Cloudways and Kinsta.

Whatever you see in this WordPress hosting survey should be compared to at least two other sources of data. First, let’s look at a more general survey that we did in 2017.

That one reached the casual WordPress user since it was conducted based on pop-up questions on our blogs and websites.

In it, we discovered that GoDaddy is still the sole giant in this market. Followed by HostGator and Bluehost, with everyone else far behind. This is also in tune with the Alexa data that we’re quoting above. That general survey also indicated nearly no entries for “boutique” (excuse the term) companies like Kinsta and Cloudways.

Then, there’s an even more objective source of data – Google Trends. I do realize it’s not a perfect metric, but still gives us a good overview of how popular these companies actually are compared to one another. Here’s a quick search comparing the popular hosts as per this survey:

hosting trends

Here’s what happens with HostGator and Bluehost added to the mix:

HostGator and Bluehost trends

Now see what happens when we add GoDaddy:

GoDaddy trends

Even though we need to be careful here since GoDaddy is much more than a hosting company, we still need to realize its dominance.

HostGator and Bluehost are 5x (ish) bigger than SiteGround, with Cloudways and Kinsta barely even registering when looking at the grand scheme of things.

With that said, we have to give credit where credit’s due … no matter how we do these surveys, no matter if they reach the casual user or the WordPress pro, SiteGround is still there near the top or at the top when it comes to user ratings and overall popularity. This year, they’ve scored the second best rating at 4.6 / 5 while getting the most entries.

The main differences vs our previous hosting survey

Our 2016 WordPress hosting survey featured similar questions and reached a similar audience. This allows us to compare the differences in the ratings for our featured hosts.

Company2016 rating2018 ratingDifference

As you can see, the differences are very slim. This actually makes us happy, since it’s evidence that these surveys really provide actual insight and represent the WordPress hosting market fairly well.

Shout-out to Bluehost for improving by 0.3. Maybe one day…

Though, in all honestly, the mainstream hosting companies do tend to get a lot of bad press that’s not always deserved. Here’s Syed Balkhi raising a very interesting point:

Syed Balkhi on hosting survey results

Syed Balkhi
Founder of WPBeginner

Often larger brands like Bluehost, HostGator, GoDaddy, etc. get a negative reputation in the community, which I think is a bit unfair at times. For every customer that complains, there are hundreds who’re happy. These companies are hosting millions of WordPress websites and if you actually talk with their team, they’re doing amazing stuff behind-the-scenes when it comes to their technology stack. As developers and website builders, we need to fully understand our customers’ needs before sending everyone to an overpriced solution.

😃 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:


83.2% of the respondents rate their hosting providers at 4 or higher. Also, 89.6% would recommend their host to other people.

Despite a range of answers to all the other questions, most people seem – if not always 100% happy – at least content with their current hosting provider.

In fact, 87% of our respondents plan to extend their hosting subscriptions after they expire, with only 13% planning to cancel.

More interestingly, we also asked respondents which hosting company they would choose if money were no object:

  • 66% of respondents would still stick with their current host
  • 34.6% would choose another hosting platform; of those people, 14.5% say it would be WPEngine

💰 How much money people pay for their WordPress hosting

Here’s the distribution across the five most popular hosting companies, and the total numbers for all, in dollars per month:

Company < $5 $5 – $10 $10 – $15 $15 – $20 $20 – $30 $30 – $50 $50 – $100 $100 – $200 > $200
SiteGround 13.3% 18.5% 23.7% 11.8% 13.3% 2.9% 12.6% 2.2% 1.5%
GoDaddy 23.2% 21.4% 21.4% 10.7% 8.9% 10.7% 1.8% 1.8%
WPEngine 2.0% 19.6% 13.7% 25.5% 13.7% 23.5%
HostGator 14.6% 26.8% 19.5% 7.3% 14.6% 9.8% 2.4% 4.9%
Bluehost 27.8% 22.2% 16.7% 16.7% 8.3% 2.8% 5.6%
Average for all companies 17.1% 21.1% 16.7% 8.9% 10.6% 5.8% 8.9% 5.4% 5.4%

How to read these tables?

Some examples:

  • 13.3% of SiteGround’s customers pay less than $5 a month
  • 25.5% of WPEngine’s customers pay $50-$100 a month
  • 21.1% of all respondents pay $5-$10 a month
  • 38% of all respondents pay less than $10 / mo
  • 55% of all respondents pay less than $15 / mo

Some tweetables related to that:

One more conclusion that we can draw here is that the de facto cheapest hosts out there are Bluehost and GoDaddy, since those companies have the most users in their sub $5 tiers. In comparison, even though there are cheap plans at HostGator as well, only 14.6% of their customers end up selecting them, compared to 26.8% opting for the $5-$10 tier.

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

Cloudways 4.5
SiteGround 4.3
Kinsta 4.3
Flywheel 4.0
DreamHost 3.8
WPEngine 3.7
HostGator 3.5
GoDaddy 3.2
Bluehost 3.1
Average 4.0

Cloudways is the leader, with SiteGround and Kinsta close behind.

Interestingly, those cheap prices don’t help neither GoDaddy nor Bluehost achieve a good value-for-money rating.

One more interesting result here is DreamHost. In this WordPress hosting survey, it’s only at 3.8 in value-for-money, but two years ago their users rated them at 4.4, which was the second best rating.

The total rating – all hosting companies combined – hasn’t changed in two years and it’s still at 4.0 / 5.

🤼 WordPress hosts compared head to head

This is the part where we compare different hosting companies against each other, dividing them into a handful of categories. Let’s start with the following:

Mainstream hosting companies vs the rest

On one side we have the GoDaddys, Bluehosts, and HostGators of the hosting space, and on the other we have everyone else.

(Charts by Visualizer Lite.)

As you can see, the mainstream hosts sit a bit lower than their “boutique” competitors when it comes to the overall ratings. The average difference between the mainstream and the rest is -1.0 in rating points.

Is there a difference in reported reliability as well?

The story is very similar here. The average difference in reported reliability is -0.9 in rating points.

Let’s now take a look at the type of user that usually finds themselves hosting with a mainstream company:

Users of Hosting client sites Hosting own sites Hosting this many sites
GoDaddy 53.57% 39.29% 10
HostGator 39.02% 60.98% 14
Bluehost 27.78% 72.22% 7
SiteGround 62.22% 37.04% 13
WPEngine 66.67% 31.37% 18
Cloudways 56.60% 43.40% 12

Although nothing too brutal is going on here, we can still see a slight trend nonetheless:

  • Customers of mainstream hosts are more likely to host their own sites. Customers of not-mainstream hosts are more likely to host their clients’ sites.
  • Customers of mainstream hosts have fewer sites on the average than customers of not-mainstream hosts.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the number of hosting companies that someone has used prior to landing on their current one:

How many hosting companies have you used prior to this one?
Currently using 1-2 3-5 6-10 It’s my first host More than 10
GoDaddy 35.7% 35.7% 5.4% 19.6%
HostGator 34.1% 29.3% 2.4% 31.7% 2.4%
Bluehost 41.7% 36.1% 11.1% 8.3%
SiteGround 36.3% 47.4% 8.1% 3.7% 3.7%
WPEngine 25.5% 41.2% 21.6% 3.9% 3.9%
Cloudways 39.6% 39.6% 11.3% 7.5%

How to read this table? Example: 41.2% of WPEngine users have tested 3-5 hosts before that.

Conclusions? Well, for instance:

  • If you’re on WPEngine or SiteGround then it’s most likely not your first host.
  • HostGator, on the other hand, is the most popular first-host choice in our WordPress hosting survey.
  • Smaller companies, like Cloudways, are often something that people find after they’ve run through a large number of other hosts. 7.5% of Cloudways’ users have tested more than 10 hosts.

However, the differences in these numbers aren’t huge, which is a result of the survey reaching a more experienced group of users.

What about the hosts?

As you surely know, there’s this mysterious, legendary, dare I say even magic web page at listing some recommended hosting companies (this one).

This web page has always been controversial. Essentially, no one knows how/why certain companies get their spot on the list.

The saga started with just Bluehost. Then we saw DreamHost, Flywheel, and SiteGround join the list. Then, after a while, Flywheel lost their spot.

At the time of writing, we’re left with these three on the list, in this order: Bluehost, DreamHost, SiteGround.

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

Let’s take a look at the overall ratings of those hosts plus their WordPress optimization scores:

Company Rating WP optimization rating
Bluehost 3.3 3.3
DreamHost 4.1 3.1
SiteGround 4.6 3.9
Avg. for all companies Rating WP optimization rating
4.3 3.7
Company Rating WP optimization rating
GoDaddy 3.5 3.2
Cloudways 4.5 4.2
WPEngine 4.4 4.9
HostGator 3.7 3.1
Kinsta 4.8 4.8
Flywheel 4.6 4.9

Those results are kind of surprising, if I’m honest. The average WordPress optimization rating is at 3.7, which means that of the WordPress-approved companies, only SiteGround manages to beat it, and even that by only a small margin (+0.2).

Maybe it’s time for to start recommending companies that actual real users report to be better suited to handle the WordPress platform, who knows… What do you think?

On the overall scale, we also have to give it to WPEngine and Flywheel, which lead the pack, both rated at 4.9 / 5.

You know what, let’s take the topic of WordPress optimization further and find out if the “WordPress hosting” label actually means anything. In other words, are hosts that call themselves “WordPress hosting” any better?

Are all “WordPress hosts” really “WordPress optimized”?

Because of how popular WordPress is, pretty much every major host has some type of plan marketed towards WordPress sites nowadays. We wanted to see if all “WordPress hosting” is the same when it comes to how our respondents answered questions about:

  • WordPress-specific optimizations
  • The WordPress-specific knowledge of a host’s support staff

Here’s how things shook out between hosts that:

  • Only host WordPress sites
  • Host all types of sites (but still have plans marketed towards WordPress users)
  • Market themselves as “managed” in some way (this third group overlaps with the first two groups)

Not all sites I run are WordPress and I like to keep everything together, so that leaves out companies like WPEngine, Pagely, Pantheon, etc.


This table shows the average of each host’s overall score – it is not weighted by the number of responses for each individual host:

Type of host WordPress optimization score Support WordPress-knowledge score
ONLY host WordPress sites 4.89 4.83
Host ALL types of sites 3.40 3.70
Use “managed” verbiage 4.41 4.43

So, according to our survey-takers’ experiences, it appears like managed WordPress hosts really do offer better WordPress-specific optimization and support. Beyond that, hosts that focus 100% on WordPress seem to have the best optimization and WordPress knowledge, even versus generic hosts that still advertise a “managed WordPress” plan.

Interested in seeing how well specific hosts optimize for WordPress? Below, you can see a complete breakdown by the most popular hosts in our WordPress hosting survey.

HostWordPress Optimization ScoreHow WordPress Proficient Is Support?Has WordPress Plan?Uses "Managed" Verbiage*?Only Hosts WordPress Sites?
A2 Hosting3.363.54YesNo*No

* Some hosts have both “regular” WordPress plans and higher-tier managed WordPress plans. When that happened, we chose to mark the category as “No” but with an asterisk. That is, to get a “Yes,” a host must use “managed” verbiage on its most popular WordPress plan.

With the exception of SiteGround, none of the other “generic” hosts were rated over 3.36 when it comes to WordPress optimization, whereas all of the dedicated WordPress hosts scored above 4.75.

Most of my experience comes from a shared hosting plan. I have worked with clients on dedicated WordPress hosting and it is SO much friendlier than the standard shared hosting. Usually in-between the cost of a shared plan and a VPS plan. Totally worth it to spring for that upgrade if you are managing only one website.

InMotion User

Support is the weakest link of all good hosts. And the ones with good support don’t offer the most optimized hosting. Pick your poison.


Do you need to be a pro to work with your hosting plan?

We’ve already looked at whether our respondents consider themselves WordPress pros earlier on in this analysis, but now let’s look at a rather related survey question: “Do you need to be a pro to work with your hosting plan?”

We’re doing this to find out how much of that reported WordPress optimization of some hosts can be due to the users’ own comfort working with servers, etc.

Here’s what people say about their hosts:

Company You need to be a pro to use this You don’t need to be a pro
SiteGround 9.6% 51.8%
GoDaddy 10.7% 48.2%
Cloudways 13.2% 60.4%
WPEngine 2% 62.7%
HostGator 26.8% 46.3%
Bluehost 13.9% 47.2%
Kinsta 2.9% 60%
DreamHost 10% 46.7%
Flywheel 0% 76%
Digital Ocean 75% 16.7%

As you can see, most hosts are rated at “no need to be a pro,” with the exception of Digital Ocean, which has traditionally remained to be the toughest host to get started with.

Interestingly enough, HostGator has a relatively big number of people saying that the platform does require some level of proficiency with servers. Though, this might be a result of HostGator often reaching first-time hosting users, which has to have an impact on their opinions.

The most interesting thing about the current host was that after I created my agency account and moved my site to paid plan, they contacted me in person on Skype and actually offered free webinars so that I can build sites faster and make them faster. I have never heard of something like that before.

Pantheon User

Security – is that a thing?

Website security is a complex topic and there’s a lot more to it than just installing some compact security plugins. Frankly, if you want your website to be secure, hosting is where you need to start. Or, to say it another way, if your hosting is not secure, nothing else will matter.

Hence, we were curious as to what users think about the level of security that their hosts give them. Here’s what we found:

Are you happy with how your host takes care of your website security?
Company I don’t know what they do No, I am not! Yes, I’m happy!
SiteGround 13.3% 1.5% 83%
GoDaddy 37.5% 19.6% 41.1%
Cloudways 24.5% 1.9% 73.6%
WPEngine 5.9% 3.9% 90.2%
HostGator 43.9% 14.6% 41.5%
Bluehost 27.8% 30.6% 38.9%
Kinsta 5.7% 94.3%
DreamHost 30% 10% 56.7%
Flywheel 4% 8% 88%

First off, the more “specialized” the host, the more aware their users are about the host’s security features.

WPEngine has only 5.9% of users admitting that they don’t know what the host does in terms of security; Kinsta – 5.6%; Flywheel – 4%. Users of those hosts are also happier with the security they’re getting.

The leader here is Kinsta at 94.3% and WPEngine at 90.2%. We also have to recognize SiteGround at 83% with only 1.5% of users saying they’re not happy with the platform’s security.

The default security add-ins that serve as a launchpad to sell you expensive security options seem to be a new trend with many of the hosts. It is creating a lot of confusion, dissatisfaction and technical problems. Example: Many sites now go down every time the SSL certificate renews, even with default setups; the host has no solution at this time.


Faster hosting doesn’t necessarily mean a higher rating

If you’re a WordPress pro, it’s easy to fall into this trap of thinking that speed is all that matters when it comes to a web host. But when we compared our own performance tests to the overall rating of survey respondents, we struggled to notice any strong correlation between the two:

HostAvg. Page Load Time (s)Overall Rating
InMotion Hosting0.624.19
A2 Hosting0.963.83

Possible reasons for this lack of correlation could be:

  • A lot of users don’t really care about page load times unless they’re really bad.
  • Our test data isn’t put under scale, so differences might not become apparent until a site gets more traffic.

(Hosts) should be transparent about what you provide for the cost including the tech specs of the server CPU, RAM etc. That’s how we know how better the performance will be. Just saying ‘double/faster’ performance on this expensive plan does not make sense.


I wish there was more information available on how to evaluate the technical specs in terms a non-expert cold understand. It’s hard to know what I need and what I don’t.


No correlation between uptime and perceived reliability (at least not yet!)

First, let’s look into who’s the most reliable host in our survey vs the 2016 survey data:

Company2016 reliability rating2018 reliability ratingDifference

WPEngine and Kinsta take the win here, with WPEngine improving by 0.3 ratings points compared to two years ago. However, you might want to read this or that about our own experience with Kinsta’s reliability.

The mainstream hosting companies sit towards the bottom of the table, which was expected considering higher expectations from pro users.

But that’s not everything on the topic of reliability!

Now that we’ve started publicly tracking uptime statistics for popular WordPress hosts, we were interested to see whether there was any correlation between our uptime data and how survey respondents ranked each host’s reliability.

Well – spoiler – we didn’t notice any consistent connection (at least not yet).

Of the hosts that we’re tracking, the two with the highest reliability scores – WPEngine and SiteGround – do indeed have great uptime.

But at the lower end of the table, the data gets a bit murkier.

For example, so far InMotion Hosting is the worst-performing host that we’re tracking. Its 99.55% uptime correlates to more than 39 hours of downtime over an entire year. But despite that, InMotion Hosting still had a higher reliability rating than HostGator and Bluehost which are, so far, sporting a perfect 100% uptime (that’s equal to WPEngine).

Our uptime tracking data is still fairly young, though, so it will be interesting to see if our uptime data tracks closer to our survey data over the course of an entire year.

HostUptime (last 75 days)Down hours / yearReliablity Score
InMotion Hosting99.55%39.44.1
A2 Hosting99.78%19.33.9

* Uptime data for the last 60 days.

“Premium” hosts do indeed offer better support

In this section, we’ll compare how popular hosts’ support teams fared in our WordPress hosting survey via two numbers:

  • Overall support rating
  • WordPress-proficiency rating for support
Host Overall support WP-specific support
Kinsta 4.9 4.9
WPEngine 4.7 4.7
SiteGround 4.7 4.5
Flywheel 4.6 4.8
InMotion 4.2 3.8
Cloudways 4.1 4.0
DreamHost 4.0 3.9
HostGator 3.7 3.3
A2 Hosting 3.7 3.6
GoDaddy 3.3 3.3
Bluehost 3.2 3.4
Digital Ocean 3.0 3.0

As a general trend, you’ll notice that many of the more premium managed WordPress hosts – like Kinsta or WPEngine – scored highly in both categories, while most budget shared hosts sit towards the bottom of the list.

There are some outliers – like SiteGround – but that’s generally how things shake out.

Of course, this conclusion isn’t really mind-blowing – it certainly makes sense that paying for a premium host gets you better support. But it’s always nice to get confirmation that the extra money really is worth it!

Oh, and shame on you, Digital Ocean. Though, we get that … DO is meant for the pros anyway, so you’re expected to be your own support, right? 🙂

While features will vary, the quality of support provided by humans is the main difference I’ve found in hosts.

SiteGround User

It’s good to contact support at least once to see how they respond. Don’t wait until you REALLY have a big problem. Get to know them as soon as possible.


⏮️ “Tell us about your previous host”

For me, this has been the most exciting part of the whole WordPress hosting survey analysis!

While getting to know what people think of their current hosts is interesting for sure, it’s also kind of expected to see mostly positive ratings. After all, why would you stay with a host that you dislike?

However, once we start looking into people’s previous hosts, this is where we can get some cool insights. Starting with:

Who’s the most changed-from host?

Those are the hosts that people generally get tired of after a while and decide to ditch for whatever reason.

Who was your previous host? # of users switched from it How would you rate it?
GoDaddy 124 2.5
HostGator 86 2.6
Bluehost 68 2.5
SiteGround 55 3.1
WPEngine 35 3.0
DreamHost 19 2.9
A2 Hosting 18 3.1

The average rating for all changed-from companies is 2.7 / 5.

As you would expect, those changed-from ratings are on the low side. All of the big three – GoDaddy, Bluehost, Hostgator – have ratings in the range of 2.5-2.6. Among the rest, we have SiteGround, WPEngine, and A2 that have managed to score 3.0-3.1.

Overall ratings vs changing-from ratings

Now let’s compare the hosts’ current ratings vs ratings given to them by users who have moved on.

CompanyChanged-from ratingCurrent ratingDifference
A2 Hosting3.13.8-0.7

If I were to give you my personal opinion on this, I’d say that if you’re looking for a new host, you should probably narrow it down to the companies that even their past users say are “okay.”

WordPress hosting vs experienced users

Another thing we wanted to look at is whether a user’s experience with other hosting companies has any impact on how they rate their current hosts.

This table presents the overall ratings based on how experienced with hosting the respondents are:

How many hosting companies have you used prior to this one?
Company My first time 1-2 3-5 6-10 10+ Average
SiteGround 4.8 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.4 4.6
GoDaddy 3.8 3.4 3.5 2.7 3.5
Cloudways 4.7 4.6 4.3 4.0 4.5
WPEngine 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.3 5.0 4.4
Average for all companies 3.9 4.3 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.3

Interestingly, it turns out that people for whom it’s their first hosting experience rate their providers 9.3% lower than everyone else. Furthermore, the more experience you have, the higher you’ll rate your current host.


Lastly, among the users with more hosting experience, SiteGround and Cloudways received the top ratings.

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 of this?

🎓 Conclusions?

Okay, with all this data behind us, let’s try to keep this part quick!

  • Overall, the hugest hosting companies of them all you should probably stay clear of. Bluehost, HostGator, GoDaddy – they don’t have the best ratings across all the metrics we checked.
  • If you’re going for a managed hosting solution, you’re most likely going to be the happiest with WPEngine, Kinsta, Cloudways.
  • If you’re a hosting pro and know what you’re doing (server management, shell, whatnots), Digital Ocean is still an awesome pick.

As for the top overall host, we have to give it to SiteGround. They have the highest number of survey entries, and they’re in the top 2 rating-wise. They also look really solid across all the other metrics we checked. If I haven’t missed anything crucial here, there are no significant chinks in SiteGround’s armor based on the data we have.


I’m sure there are many more gems to find in this data set, but I, personally, am all out at this point. 🙂 So now it’s over to you.

As mentioned at the beginning, we are making the raw CSV file available for download, so please feel free to take it and use it for your own analysis. (Don’t forget to let us know if you publish anything based on the data!) Download here.

Once again, we want to thank you all for taking part in this WordPress hosting survey! You rock! 🎸

2017 WordPress hosting survey results

 Audience: casual WordPress users. 

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.

What hosting company do you use?

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
Host Rating Votes
HostGator 8.02 / 10 456
Bluehost 7.93 / 10 450
GoDaddy 7.64 / 10 734

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:

GoDaddy recommendation

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
Host NPS
SiteGround 46.15
HostGator 29.32
Bluehost 23.81
Hostinger 18.42
GoDaddy 14.76
1&1 0

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
Host Votes Rating
GoDaddy 734 7.64
HostGator 456 8.02
Bluehost 450 7.93
WordPress 215 7.14
SiteGround 178 8.56
1&1 102 7.42
Hostinger 86 7.58 71 7.84
Namecheap 64 8.04
iPage 62 7.75
ehost 58 7.07
DreamHost 56 8.66
InMotion 52 8.11

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 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
Host Load time – NYC test User rating
SiteGround 0.645 seconds 8.56
Bluehost 2.00 seconds 7.93
HostGator 0.75 seconds 8.02
InMotion 0.46 seconds 8.11
A2 Hosting 0.48 seconds 8.63

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 entires Most popular host
USA 25.7% GoDaddy
India 15.48% GoDaddy
United Kingdom 6.243% GoDaddy
Nigeria 3.634%
Canada 3.305% GoDaddy
Indonesia 2.377% Dewaweb
Pakistan 2.203% GoDaddy
South Africa 2.184% Afrihost
Germany 2.126% 1&1
Australia 1.971% 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.

Host Non-US Votes Non-US Rating US Votes US Rating
SiteGround 111 8.33 67 8.93
HostGator 289 7.98 167 8.07
Bluehost 212 7.96 238 7.91
GoDaddy 460 7.55 274 7.79

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
Host Votes Rating
HostGator 456 8.02
Bluehost 450 7.93
iPage 62 7.75
ehost 58 7.07
FatCow 13 8.18
HostMonster 13 7.27
Just Host 12 7.40
Arvixe 11 6.80

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, and also and

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.


We are making the raw CSV file available for download, so please feel free to take it and use it for your own analysis. Don’t forget to let us know if you find anything interesting! Download here.

2016 WordPress hosting survey results

 Audience: pro WordPress users. 

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
WP Engine4.2$184.1227
* 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 on WordPress hosting

And when we add GoDaddy to the mix:

google-trends-2 on WordPress hosting

(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 hosts?

A couple of months ago, there was this huge news story that 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, 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:

Company Rating (# of entries) Avg. months w/ host
Flywheel 4.7 (15) 12.3
SiteGround 4.6 (75) 15.8
DreamHost 4.3 (18) 69.3
Bluehost 3.0 (38) 31.4
Avg. for all companies Rating Avg. months w/ host
4.2 26.8
Company Rating (# of entries) Avg. months w/ host
Kinsta 4.9 (15) 11.4
DigitalOcean 4.6 (36) 14.7
InMotion 4.3 (11) 14.9
WPEngine 4.2 (27) 15.6
Media Temple 4.2 (12) 43.9
Namecheap 4.1 (9) 16.9
HostGator 3.7 (40) 46.3
GoDaddy 3.5 (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.


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: companies How likely are you to extend?
DreamHost 94%
SiteGround 93%
Flywheel 93%
Bluehost 46%
Overall for all companies 85%
Other companies How likely are you to extend?
Kinsta 100%
InMotion 100%
DigitalOcean 97%
WPEngine 92%
Media Temple 92%
GoDaddy 78%
Namecheap 78%
HostGator 74%

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 – hosts

CompanyWordPress-optimized?Support WordPress-proficient?

This time, it’s Flywheel and SiteGround that come on top when looking at the hosts recommended by 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?
1 2 3 4 5
$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 – hosts

How many hosting companies have you used prior to this one?
Company My first time 2 3…5 6…10 10…
Bluehost 9 12 10 5
DigitalOcean 1 5 19 8 3
DreamHost 2 7 7 2
Flywheel 3 6 5 1
GoDaddy 11 12 12 3
HostGator 8 12 15 4 1
InMotion 2 5 2 2
Kinsta 8 6 1
Media Temple 2 5 4 1
Namecheap 2 2 5
SiteGround 1 17 41 13 3
WPEngine 3 5 11 5 3
other 16 44 74 29 9
Total 55 (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?
Company My first time 2 3…5 6…10 10… Average
Bluehost 3.3 3.2 3.0 3.0 3.0
GoDaddy 2.9 3.8 3.9 3.0 3.5
HostGator 3.4 3.9 3.9 3.8 2.0 3.7
SiteGround 5.0 4.8 4.5 4.5 4.7 4.6
Average for all companies 3.4 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.2

Lastly, let’s look at how many people consider themselves WordPress pros based on which company they use:

Are you a WordPress pro?
Company Yes No
Flywheel 93% 7%
DreamHost 89% 11%
SiteGround 80% 20%
Bluehost 79% 21%
Are you a WordPress pro? Yes No
Total 80% 20%
Are you a WordPress pro?
Company Yes No
DigitalOcean 94% 6%
Media Temple 92% 8%
WPEngine 85% 15%
InMotion 82% 18%
other 82% 18%
HostGator 75% 25%
Kinsta 67% 33%
Namecheap 67% 33%
GoDaddy 61% 39%

Looking past the four recommended 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
Bluehost 6% 27% 24% 24% 9% 6% 3%
GoDaddy 15% 47% 24% 12% 3%
HostGator 8% 31% 19% 22% 14% 6%
SiteGround 8% 21% 23% 27% 4% 11% 5%
Average for all companies 12% 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.


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

DigitalOcean 4.6
DreamHost 4.4
Kinsta 4.3
SiteGround 4.2
other 4.1
Flywheel 4.1
Namecheap 3.9
HostGator 3.9
InMotion 3.8
WPEngine 3.7
Media Temple 3.5
GoDaddy 3.4
Bluehost 3.0
Total 4.0

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?
Clients 32.0 months $61.21
Just me 20.8 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? Clients Just me Total
Average 18 6 12
Adjusted average * 14 6 10
Median 8 3 5
* 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
Media Temple10,000-50,00033%
* 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.


Most reliable WordPress hosts and most user-friendly ones

Here’s the reliability rank according to our respondents:

Kinsta 4.9
Flywheel 4.8
DigitalOcean 4.7
SiteGround 4.7
WPEngine 4.5
Media Temple 4.4
other 4.4
InMotion 4.4
DreamHost 4.3
Namecheap 4.1
HostGator 4.1
GoDaddy 3.8
Bluehost 3.4
Total 4.3

And here’s the user-friendliness rank:

Flywheel 4.5
Kinsta 4.3
DreamHost 4.2
WPEngine 3.8
SiteGround 3.7
GoDaddy 3.6
InMotion 3.6
other 3.5
Media Temple 3.4
Namecheap 3.3
HostGator 3.2
Bluehost 3.0
DigitalOcean 2.7
Total 3.5

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 We asked Ben to share his thoughts on these survey results:

Ben Welch-Bolen on hosting

Ben Welch-Bolen
Founder of

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.


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!

Over to you!

What do you think? Does it make sense at all? Also, are you surprised by the survey results?

Here are all the data packs once again if you want to check them out and analyze them yourself: 2016, 2017, 2018

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%:


Or start the conversation in our Facebook group for WordPress professionals. Find answers, share tips, and get help from other WordPress experts. Join now (it’s free)!

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