I’m afraid it’s this time of the year again – time to talk WordPress hosting! But instead of us doing the talking, let’s pass the mic to our readers, users, and customers. In other words, it’s time for our annual WordPress hosting survey – 2019 edition! ✨🍾
As it has turned out, this is the biggest WordPress hosting survey on the web. What’s even more interesting is that this one has been running quietly in the background, without any advertising, without even sharing it on Twitter.
We wanted to keep things low-key just to avoid any potential interruptions or spam entries. Not that we ever had any. This low-key approach did work, to say the least, as we got over 6,500 entries! 👪👪👪👪
The survey ran as a pop-up on this and two of our other sites. There were just a couple of simple questions to answer:
- What hosting company do you use now?
- How likely are you to recommend it?
- Which hosting are you planning to switch to?
- What do you value the most about your hosting?
- How many sites do you run with your host?
I’m going to show you the results in just a minute, but first let’s discuss what makes this edition of the survey different from the previous ones.
🧐 Why this WordPress hosting survey is different
I already spilled the beans a bit in the intro above, but here’s the bigger story:
As you probably know, hosting is a topic that’s very important to us. First off, we have reviews and comparisons for most of the popular options available out there:
- Best Reseller Hosting Providers Compared
- Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting
- Best Cheap WordPress Hosting
- Best GoDaddy Alternatives for WordPress Sites
Secondly, affiliate income from various hosting firms adds up to a big chunk of our overall revenue (it’s not more important than theme sales, though – I’m just saying this to make it clear that we’re not dependent on hosting companies liking us).
In simple terms, with so much content on the topic of hosting across all our blogs, and so many readers consuming that content each month, there’s a huge responsibility on us to keep our recommendations factual and to think user-first whenever we tell you to get this host over that host.
What this all boils down to is that we simply want to get as much insight as we can on the overall quality of the WordPress hosting companies in the market. Even though we do a lot of our own testing, we realize that our data sample is still small, and it’s nothing compared to our readers’ collective opinions. And we do have accounts with most of the major hosting firms, by the way.
So this is where these surveys come into play. Just by asking a couple of simple questions, we can learn what real people – real users – think of their WordPress hosts.
Okay, so that is the story of the surveys themselves, but what’s with keeping this WordPress hosting survey low-key?
We simply wanted to reach as many casual users as we could.
We all know what the WordPress pro would recommend – SiteGround, WP Engine, Kinsta. It’s the usual suspects all over again. But are those hosts what casual website owners use as well? That is what we wanted to find out. Oh, and did we!
Here’s the truth about WordPress hosting and which hosts people actually use:
🔥 GoDaddy takes the market
Did you expect it to be any other way?
Like really, did you?
Indeed, GoDaddy is the most popular host in this edition of our WordPress hosting survey for 2019. Here’s the top five:
This is not a full list of hosts – just the most popular responses.
GoDaddy is not a big name inside the WordPress hosting “bubble”. But guess what? Not only are WordPress users using GoDaddy … they’re actually pretty dang happy. While not the highest recommendation score in our WordPress hosting survey, GoDaddy clocked in at a respectable 7.43 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. They’re also quite active at WordCamps, often sponsoring the events as one of the top-tier sponsors.
Interestingly, the popularity of the top five hosts in our survey reflects the overall market popularity quite well. Here’s a quick Google Trends comparison, which isn’t a perfect metric, yes, but still gives us a good overview of how popular these companies actually are compared to one another:
Right, GoDaddy seems to be missing there, let me fix this for you:
On another note, considering HostGator and Bluehost are 5x (ish) bigger than SiteGround, it’s really impressive that SiteGround has still managed to get nearly as many entries.
One more intriguing takeaway is that the managed WordPress hosting space hasn’t been represented that much in this WordPress hosting survey.
In our previous surveys (the ones geared at pro WordPress users), companies like WP Engine and Kinsta had their fair share of votes. In this year’s survey, they got only 25 and 9 votes, respectively. This only shows how different the WordPress hosting space is when talking to casual users vs people working with WordPress every day.
🌎 Popular hosts by country
This is the part of the 2019 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, Australia as it is in the US? Let’s see.
Out of 6,500+ answers, only around 29.13% come from the US, which makes the large majority international.
Here are the top 10 countries and their most popular hosting companies:
|Country||% of entries in the country||Most popular host in 2019||Most popular host in 2017|
Or, for a more interactive presentation (click on country):
🏆 Who’s the top rated WordPress hosting company of 2019?
Okay, let’s cut to the chase, here are the top rated WordPress hosting companies according to our 6,500+ survey respondents:
* This is only the top 10. You can get the full data file at the bottom of this post.
For the above table, we’ve only decided to feature the companies that got more than 50 entries. Had there not been any threshold, companies like A2 Hosting and Amazon AWS would have made the list in the top 10. However, we don’t feel super-confident putting them above the other players who have gotten a lot more votes.
If you’re a “WordPress person” you’re probably pretty happy to see SiteGround there at the top. This outcome is also very reassuring considering that we’ve been recommending SiteGround to our readers for a while now, so we’re happy they’re getting a great experience!
Apart from that, the big-name brands like Namecheap and Bluehost seem to be doing very good in the survey – both of them being in the top five.
Also in the top five, you can find all three of the hosts officially endorsed by WordPress.org – SiteGround, DreamHost and Bluehost.
Of course, our WordPress hosting survey wasn’t only about the big players. The respondents actually mentioned more than 1,500(!) different hosting companies.
👍 People are generally happy with their hosting
The average rating given by the respondents was 7.4 / 10. This means that the top five most popular hosts in this WordPress hosting survey have scored above average ratings.
Interestingly, this overall score was a bit higher in our 2017 survey – at 7.7. Does this 0.3 drop mean anything? That I leave for you to decide. I wouldn’t jump to conclusions too soon, and I also find it hard to believe that WordPress hosting has dropped in quality overall in the past two years.
For a more detailed breakdown, here’s the percentage of people who have rated their host a certain value:
|Rating||% of users|
🌱 The main differences vs our previous WordPress hosting surveys
We’ve been doing two kinds of hosting surveys here on the blog.
- End-user surveys – like the one we’re presenting the results of here
- Advanced-user surveys – where we ask WordPress pros and developers to share who they think are the top WordPress companies in the market
As you would expect, these surveys deliver vastly different results. While WordPress pros are keen on hosts like WP Engine or Kinsta, casual users work with GoDaddy and Bluehost most of all (as we’ve seen in this survey). But let’s go a bit more in-depth.
First, here’s what has changed since our last end-user WordPress hosting survey, which we did in 2017:
The general trends are roughly the same. The three most popular hosts back in 2017 were GoDaddy, Bluehost and HostGator, and they still lead the market in 2019.
That being said, HostGator has dropped to no.3 in popularity, while Bluehost has grown a lot to secure no.2. A bit further down the road, SiteGround nearly doubled their reach. Let’s see what Google Trends has to say about that:
Setting popularity aside, let’s take a look at how the overall ratings have changed. Here’s the data:What casual users think of their WordPress hosts:
|Hosting Company||2019 Rating||2017 Rating||Change|
The changes aren’t huge – the biggest one in the top 10 is DreamHost losing 0.41. The top five has fluctuated only marginally.
We’re actually kind of happy that we’re seeing ratings that are so similar to our 2017 WordPress hosting survey. If not anything, this is at least some evidence that these surveys hold up over time.
Another observation we can make is that the WordPress hosting market doesn’t change that much overall. The leaders remain the same for the most part, and the quality of service that these leaders offer remains much the same as well.
Now for something that you might consider much more interesting, here are the differences vs our last advanced-user survey:What pro users think of their WordPress hosts:
|Hosting Company||2019 Rating (end users)||2018 Rating (pros)||Change|
Big-name companies seem to get better ratings from end users, while boutique, more pro-centered companies get better ratings from advanced users. I guess no surprise here.
☯️ Is “WordPress” a host?
There’s something interesting you might have noticed in one of the tables above.
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 had a couple more answers like that. Here are some of them:
|“Who’s your host?”||# of answers|
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 more than 30% of all websites, it’s not surprising that a lot of users don’t have any knowledge or 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. Many of them don’t even assume that one host might be slower or less reliable than the other.
This brings me to the next thing that we wanted to find out in this 2019 WordPress hosting survey:
🏎️ Is speed essential for users?
If you’re a WordPress pro, the performance of your servers is probably one of the key components of your overall satisfaction. But is it the same for everyone else? Do people really care that much?
To say it shortly, people do care about speed, some.
First off, let’s do a quick comparison of the survey results vs our own performance data for popular hosts:
|Hosting Company||Load time||Rating|
There is some correlation here, but nothing too brutal. Some of the fastest companies sit relatively further down the list, while others with longer loading times earn higher spots. Also, it’s worth pointing out that the loading times we get on our setups with each host aren’t necessarily what other users get.
Let’s take a broader look at what people value about their hosting setups:
⭐ What people value about their hosts
I think you can already make a good guess what the no.1 most valued thing is, but let’s see the table anyway:
|What||% of users|
|Ease of use||6.26%|
Yes, support quality takes the first spot.
This was an optional question in this WordPress hosting survey, but it still got around 1,370 responses.
🗺️ Users 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, the UK, and Asia.
While that’s true, most major hosts on our list are still headquartered in the US. This led us to wonder; are hosts managing to connect with international customers just as well as customers from the US?
To try to get a gauge on international opinions, we divided responses for our top four hosts by US and non-US users:
|Host||Non-US Votes||Non-US Rating||US Votes||US Rating|
Except for SiteGround, the US respondents were slightly more likely to recommend their host than international respondents. With that being said, the differences aren’t large enough 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 hosts.
🎭 Hosts that are part of the Endurance International Group
As you may know, EIG is one of the biggest hosting firms in the market. 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 2019 WordPress hosting survey. Here’s what we found:
The table above features only the companies that got at least 10 mentions.
♻️ Which hosts are people planning to switch to?
Apart from asking our users to rate their current hosts, we also asked which hosts are they planning to switch to, if any. Here are the most popular answers:
|Host||# of votes||% of votes|
The first time around we did this survey, the most popular answer was WP Engine. In this year’s WordPress hosting survey, only one person said they wanted to switch to WP Engine.
🖥️🖥️🖥️ How many sites do users host?
Here’s how the data breaks down:
|# of sites||# of votes||% of votes|
|1 – 5 websites||2,091||71.73%|
|5 – 10 websites||406||13.93%|
|10 – 50 websites||252||8.64%|
|over 50 websites||166||5.69%|
These trends are not that surprising on their own. It’s expected that most people host just 1-5 sites. However, let’s have a look at something a bit more interesting – how happy people are with their host vs how many sites they host:
|# of sites||User rating|
|1 – 5 websites||7.47|
|5 – 10 websites||8.29|
|10 – 50 websites||8.33|
|over 50 websites||8.06|
In general, the more sites you host, the happier you are (except for hosting more than 50 sites … I guess this scenario carries its own challenges).
🏠 Do many people host their own sites?
That’s an interesting thing to look at. Here are the answers that can be interpreted as “hosting myself”:
|Hosting setup||# of votes|
|My own server/company/host||54|
Together, those answers account for a mere 1.66% of all entries.
🤔 What do the results of this WordPress hosting survey mean for us?
Companies like Bluehost or GoDaddy haven’t been the top recommendations among WordPress pros or developers. We usually point our users to offers like SiteGround or WP Engine. But should that indeed be the go-to hosting advice?
While me and you are probably not the target for, say, GoDaddy hosting, myriads of users around the globe seem to enjoy it just fine, and the rating given in our survey – 7.43 – is far from something we can consider bad.
Even though speed and performance was pretty high on our “what you value most” list, there are other factors that look to be much more important – chiefly price, support and customer service.
For most businesses, a basic brochure website is all they need, and for that purpose, most cheap hosts should be able to deliver.
But what do you think? Are you likely to recommend Bluehost or GoDaddy to someone looking for a WordPress host? Let us know in the comments.
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%: