If you want to start a blog and make money, you need a domain name and a blog host.
But with so many blog hosting companies to choose from, how do you know which one is the best?
Are all blog hosts the same? Is there one blog host better than the others? And how do you define better?
Well today I'm going to go over everything you ever needed to know about blog hosting by ranking and reviewing the best blog hosting companies.
Why you should never use a free blog host
Let's get this one out of the way first.
Blog hosting is not expensive. Compared to the costs of starting a physical business, starting an online business is super cheap.
With so many blog hosts charging just a few dollars per month, it makes no sense at all to use a free blog host these days.
For starters, let’s take a look at the long list of pros offered by using a free blog hosting service:
... and that’s literally it.
Here are the cons of using a free blog host.
So, let’s see. You’re stuck with a goofy looking domain name, a blog you can’t really monetize, your design is basic and you can’t add features to it. Oh and you don’t even have ownership over your subscribed readers and maybe even your content.
All of this so you can literally save a couple of bucks? Okay, good luck with that.
The bottom line is this: free blog hosts are for personal bloggers - they are not for people who want to make money online.
Choose WordPress as your blog platform
The best blogging platform hands down is WordPress. It is the most widely used, most versatile blogging platform around.
While there are other blogging platforms, nobody comes close to what you can do in WordPress.
WordPress is endlessly customizable and is insanely scalable should you end up getting super popular and start driving tons of traffic.
Here is why WordPress is the best choice for a blog platform:
Whether you’re using it as a personal blog or a blog for profit, it is free open-source software.
As of right now, WordPress powers 36% of ALL websites on the internet. Let that sink in for a second.
Their popularity means they’ve got a huge network of creators and publishers that constantly put out new design templates and plugins/features.
If you ever run into any problem with WordPress, there’s likely already a detailed how-to written up or posted on YouTube that walks you through fixing it.
Want to improve page speed? There's a speed booster plugin for that. Need image optimization? Try the ShortPixel plugin. Need social sharing icons? Try the SocialWarfare plugin. Want to add a cool scrolling image carousel to your blog? Eh, just don't do that, those are annoying.
What to look for in a blog host
Once you decide you want to start a blog, the first step is to find a good blog host. But how do you define "good"? Let's look at the key things you need to look at when deciding on a blog host
Only trust companies with a long track record.
Anybody can start up a web hosting company using WHMAutopilot. These same people can also disappear just as fast as they popped up.
These fly-by-night web hosting companies often shut down without notice, leaving you having lost everything you worked so hard to build.
The world of web hosting is so competitive that there’s no reason why anybody should choose a host that doesn’t have strong, positive reviews from current and former users.
Again, with how competitive the industry is, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find a web hosting company that promises and delivers 99.9% uptime. All of the web hosts I recommend below fit this criteria.
Even the pros need help from support every now and then. When something inevitably breaks, you're going to need immediate help. Only go with a blog host that offers 24/7 support.
Finding blog-specific hosting services is so simple these days. Many of the best hosting companies offer one-click-installs of the best blogging platform WordPress. This takes the guesswork out of installing and setting up a new blog, which is great for beginners.
Most hosting companies sell "shared hosting". This is where your blog is on the same server as hundreds, if not thousands of other websites.
They do this of course to make more money. But with all those websites sharing the same resources, the end result is a sluggish blog.
The best hosting companies let you test-drive their service and offer a full money-back guarantee.
So who are the best blog hosts? Let's start the list!
1. Best blog host: Bluehost
The industry consensus is that beginners should use Bluehost to start a blog.
Now, this doesn’t mean the other recommendations below are bad, it just means that more people are going with BlueHost over the other guys.
Why is BlueHost such a good blog hosting service?
Anecdotal as it may seem, there are countless first-hand stories online of bloggers and website owners seeing a huge influx in traffic overnight, and BlueHost was able to handle anything that was thrown at them. Whether you get 1 visitor a day, or 1 million visitors per month, BlueHost has powerful servers ready to take what you throw at them.
New bloggers can get started with BlueHost for as low as $2.75 per month. That’s it. At such a low price there’s no reason to sacrifice your dignity by going with a free blog hosting service! They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
You don’t get to be the top blog hosting service without making it easy on newcomers. BlueHost offers a one-click WordPress install through their MOJO marketplace. You literally select WordPress, type in a few details, and click install.
Bluehost comes with a free domain name. Go ahead and try choosing a domain name to see if it's available below.
All bloggers can enjoy a free SSL certificate (which enables you to use secure https protocols) and cloudflare CDN support.
Offering 24/7 support and numerous ways to get in touch with them, their customer service is always on standby ready to help you out with any problem that comes their way.
This way you can create multiple websites and blogs all from the same hosting plan. Each domain name also comes with email setup that makes it easy to get an @yourdomain.com email address.
If you want to start a blog and make money with it, you can't go wrong with Bluehost. It comes WordPress pre-installed and you get a free domain name too.
2. Siteground blog host Review
If you want to avoid Bluehost for one reason or another, SiteGround is good second choice.
This is an amazing deal for beginner bloggers. The best part is that you can pre-pay for 3 years and lock in that crazy low rate.
The group behind the blogging platform WordPress has officially recommended SiteGround as one of their recommended blog hosting services.
These plans make it quick and easy to install, setup, and configure a WordPress site or blog.
They have a WordPress plugin that boosts your site speed, which is an important ranking factor in Google search.
Siteground will keep your blog backed up every single day, just in case.
This is the hosting company I'm currently using on DoSixFigures.com. The two main reasons are: site speed and fast customer support.
3. HostGator blog host review
HostGator has been one of the most dominating players in web hosting for nearly two decades. Just because they aren’t the most widely used service amongst bloggers, doesn’t mean they should be discounted.
HostGator has years of experience with everyone from web designers and bloggers to small business entrepreneurs and fortune 500 executives.
What makes HostGator such a good blog hosting service?
HostGator has retained 99.9% uptime through some of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States in the last 15-20 years.
Their data centers are extremely secure and the redundancy setup means if one goes down, the others pick up the slack.
HostGator has a WordPress-specific hosting plan that includes a free domain name and it only averages out to be $5.95 per month.
They have other pricing plans as low as $2.75 per month to remain competitive with BlueHost.
Just like BlueHost, you can enjoy the same ease of use with the MOJO one-click install of WordPress that takes literally seconds to set up and configure before you’re up and running.
You get a free SSL certificate so your domain will have the lock icon in the browser.
HostGator has a call center that's open 24/7 so you'll be helped regardless of what time it is or what time zone you're in.
Should your blog grow quickly, HostGator makes it super easy to migrate to a VPN or dedicated server without any interruption in service.
Entry-level shared hosting. I have used them in the past to take advantage of a discount they were running at the time.
4. DreamHost web hosting review
Dreamhost is more than just a web hosting company. They are also a cloud-solutions provider. By offering data storage and cloud computing solutions, their data centers and web hosting servers go way beyond that of HostGator and BlueHost.
You will not find this guarantee with any other hosting provider anywhere out there. If Dreamhost goes down, even for a minute - you get a refund for the time it was down.
No matter which of the Dreamhost plans you go with, they all include a free domain name. Great for those that are just starting a business.
Despite their low-ish prices, they offer a 100% money-back guarantee that extends out to about 100 days from the time you purchase.
They offer simple WordPress installation and even have WordPress-specific blog hosting plans.
They understand how popular WordPress is so they employ WordPress experts that are on standby ready to help you out.
Another host I've used in the past. They have very attractive introductory offers.
Site speed matters now more than ever
A fast blog is essential for both a good user experience and for Google rankings.
Google admitted as much 10 years ago when they stated their algorithm takes into account site speed as a ranking factor.
As a blogger you need to make sure your site loads fast. You can help your own cause by having the following:
But the biggest factor that affects blog speed is your web host.
Best blog hosts for site speed in 2020
The blog hosts I've mentioned thus far stick your blog into a server that is shared with thousands of other websites.
This means you're sharing all the resources of that server with everyone else - which inevitably leads to a sluggish website.
The best blog hosts for site speed in 2020 use powerful servers and don't overload them with too many websites.
The results are obvious: more powerful servers + less websites on a server = blazing fast blog speed.
Here are the best blog hosts for site speed in 2020:
5. Bluehost WP Pro
Yes, that Bluehost. In addition to their shared hosting plans which are popular with beginners, Bluehost also offers a hosting package for pro bloggers.
The BlueHost WP Pro package was created specifically to cater to bloggers who want to improve their site speed, but still stay with Bluehost.
These drives have no moving parts inside of them and are lightning fast. This will outperform any of the other web hosting companies out there that may still use traditional HDDs, or hard disk drives.
This is just a fancy way of saying they don't overload the server. With fewer customers per server, load times are not compromised.
A fully managed web host means that the hosting company takes care of the health of the server, security, backups, etc.
With over 2,000,000 domains currently hosted as of 2020, they obviously know what they’re doing when it comes to web hosting.
Although one of the newer players (founded in 2013) on the blog hosting market, WPXHosting should not be discounted for not having the years and years worth of experience that the bigger guys do. Maybe their love of animals makes up for their lack of experience? Or maybe it’s their ridiculously fast server speeds!
The CEO of WPXHosting, Terry Kyle, has been in the world of internet marketing and online business since 1998.
After years of experience with making, managing, and operating websites and blogs, he got fed up over and over with one thing that all web and blog hosting companies had in common: their speed.
Because he couldn’t find a good host that offered consistently fast speeds, he decided to make his own super fast hosting company with super fast site and blog loading speeds.
Most companies are founded based on bandwidth and storage, or with specific industries in mind, but WPXHosting was literally created to be fast.
WPX Hosting has their own CDN, built from the ground up in 2018. There are 20+ end points so your content will always be served from the nearest location of the end user.
If you haven’t noticed at this point, servers with Solid-State Drives are imperative if you want a fast-loading blog or website.
If a web server is rated for a specific number of users, the will underestimate and send way less than it’s rated for.
All of their servers will automatically cache your blogs or websites to ensure the page-load speed is fast enough to make Google happy.
And, should you run into a problem, their average response time for support issues is 40 SECONDS.
WPXHosting caters specifically to customers with WordPress-powered blogs who care about site speed.
Headquartered over on the island of Malta (though that’s not where their data centers and web servers sit), Cloudways is a fully managed, cloud-based hosting platform that was started in 2009.
And while they haven’t been around as long as someone like Bluehost, over a decade of success in the web hosting business is no small feat.
Every single server Cloudways deploys is given dedicated resources. Unlike many hosting providers who use Shared hosting plans, where resources are shared amongst other web hosting clients, the servers at Cloudways will always be dedicated for every customer they host for.
Like BlueHost, Cloudways uses SSD hosting as well. Did we mention that SSD-based hosting is up to 300% faster than traditional HDD hosting?
The unique setup at Cloudways gives their servers the ability to heal themselves should something cause them to lag or even go down.
Caching pre-loads designs and ‘pre-compiles’ code so that it can be served up MUCH faster for your website visitors and blog readers. This same plugin also comes with database optimization built into it to ensure that queries are answered very quickly.
While Cloudways is very fast - their servers are not fully managed. In other words, this probably isn't the best hosting service to use if this is your first blog.
Rounding out our list of super fast blogging hosts is going to be WPEngine. Their sole purpose in life is to serve up super fast WordPress sites and blogs. That’s literally what the WP in their name stands for, WordPress.
Founded in 2010, WPEngine has been around long enough to experience the sudden boom of the blogging industry.
Again, it’s what they were created for, to provide a fast service in the midst of a boom. They’ve stood the test of time and are going stronger now than ever before.
WPEngine is optimized specifically for WordPress. All they care about is that one specific piece of blogging and content-managing software.
Because of this, they are able to tweak their servers in a very specific way that most other web hosting companies can’t do.
They’ve got two more unique features that have landed them a spot on this list:
WPEngine can tell the difference between a human visitor, and that of a bot or spider. They are then able to prioritize this traffic and determine who gets to have the fastest load times, and who can wait an extra fraction of a second.
This is proprietary to WPEngine and only available to their customers. The server load is reduced which, in turn, increases the page loading speed.
Want to know who hosts WordPress blogs on WPEngine? Big name clients include: Instacart, Under Armor, Ticketmaster, Dropbox and Microsoft.
How to improve your site speed
Outside of selecting a speed-conscious blog hosting company, here are a few more tips and tricks you can use to improve your site speed and reduce your bounce rate.
Otherwise simply known as a CDN, the content distribution network is, well, a network of servers. These servers properly share the load put on a single website while users are trying to access its content.
The simplest explanation for this is that multiple copies of your website are stored all around the world. This way, one person from America won’t be accessing the same server as someone from the UK.
The CDN automatically serves up the copy of your website that is currently hosted closest to your geographic location.
I recommend using Cloudfare (it's free).
As we discussed earlier, caching helps your blogs and websites load faster. It creates a static version of your website with everything already preloaded, and serves that up to your visitors.
Because of the way WordPress code was designed to work, it uses tons of queries back and forth from the database to do something as simple as loading a blog post, a contact form, or even an image.
9 times out of 10 when you create a post or a page in WordPress, you probably won’t be changing it once everything is said and done, so there’s no need for the server to handle all of these back and forth queries unnecessarily.
I recommend using the free W3 Total Cache plugin.
Or simply just use WordPress without any unnecessary plugins.
Every single time somebody goes to your website, this person's browser has to sit there and decipher all of the underlying code. Optimized code helps things get read much faster which ensures pages load quicker.
Note: Not all WP plugins are bad, but some do require more processing power. Test your website speed using Pingdom before and after activating a plugin to see its impact.
Unless you’re uploading a picture to your portfolio as a professional photographer, most bloggers don’t need to use that ultra high def 18.9mb picture they took on their DSLR.
It can (and should) be compressed down to a smaller file size for faster load times. If anything, link to the original ultra HD picture away from the website.
To compress images on WordPress, use the free ShortPixel plugin. If you sign up using my link you get an additional 100 images per month (on top of the 100 you get for free).
Hosting a video, especially one in HD or 4k, can cause your website to take forever to load. There are way too many services out there to host your video offsite for you to not be taking advantage of them.
I put together my list of best WordPress plugins to help improve your site speed here.
What's the final verdict on best blog host?
Who the best blog host is depends on where you're at in your journey.
If you are a beginner who wants to start a blog, you're going to want to choose Bluehost.
Bluehost is designed with the beginner blogger in mind. With Bluehost, your blog is instantly set up so you can get started building your website and writing content from day 1.
If you're a more experience blogger who wants a faster blog, choose WPXHosting.
WPX Hosting is hands down the best blog host. Speed test after speed test confirms they are the fastest host for a WordPress blog.
Hope this helped you find a host for your blog!