There are a lot of good hosts to choose from and most of them offer quality services at various prices. So how do you pick? I've written a short blip on why (you can skip it - I know I would) and then a bit longer describing the features of the host. Click here to jump right to it.
The most common criteria for host is speed, price, amenities, and ease of use.
Why Speed Is The Most Important Factor
Your users demand a fast website. The statistics show that the longer a site takes to load the more likely your user will lose interest. So a fast website is absolutely essential. Google is in the process of tweaking their algorithms to prioritize what Google calls core web vitals. Core Web Vitals include overall speed and many of the benchmarks good sites are expected to have can be achieved simply by having a fast loading website.
So your user and google agree that speed is critical to the success of your website.
How Much Should I Pay For Hosting
You get what you pay for. I've personally tried the cheapest of the cheap and the more expensive options. I've run sites on shared hosting, managed hosting, and virtual private servers. The amount you spend should reflect what you hope to get out of your site.
For a personal blog, hobby site, or bare bones business brochure site a shared hosting will be more than enough.
For a business site, ecommerce, or if you have a lot of traffic you will want a managed host.
If you want to customize everything you could go the virtual private server route. There is a learning curve, but it does give you full control. I only recommend this option for high traffic sites that have advanced requirements.
For Shared Plans I recommend siteground.
What AmenitiesShould I Look For?
Most shared host offer everything and the kitchen sink to lure you in. The biggest benefit would be email. Other notable amenaties are site backups, "extra plugins", online support. The trade off for these often comes from performance. Shared hosting also opens you up to security risks that might not have anything to do with your site.
Managed Hosting typically offers backups, cdn, security, automatic updates, and support. You'll have to get your email service seperately which could be a bit of a bummer until you realize that Google Suite or Microsoft bundle email with their office software and the cost provides additional value that is worth every penny.
How Difficult Can It Be?
I'll cut to the chase. Managed hosting is by far the easiest solution to set up and work with hands down.
The Best Host and Why
So considering all the factors and worked with sites on a lot of difference hosts I recommend one host above all others:
*Note: Below you will find affiliate links to my recommended solution, but I include a special offer with it. Click here for details.
Rocket.net is by the fastest host I have used. It's also beyond easy to use, has amazing security, and the fastest support I've ever used.
What makes rocket.net so amazing is they integrate every site with cloudflare enterprise. Cloudflare is a content delivery network that offers free and paid plans. The free plans are great, but the enterprise plan was built to deliver speed and security.
Cloudflare enterprise utilizes 200 different server locations to make sure everyone in the world will see your site fast. In addition they have tuned the cdn to offer Brottli compression (GZIP is the standard right now with Brottli being the superior, but not as widely adopted competitor), mirrage and polish image compression, argo routing. All these features combine to deliver your website quickly.
The cost to sign up for Cloudflare Enterprise has reportedly been $5000-$6000 a month per domain. The actual cost requires a conversation with sales so take this number with a grain of salt. However, the business plan does start at $200 a month.
Rocket.net utilizes the Cloudflare Enterprise for the cost of their hosting plans.
Additionally, cloudflare enterprise comes with a strong security firewall. This firewall catches malicious actors before they ever hit your website. A second firewall is installed at the server level. Between the two of these your website will be secure and even see a 90% reduction in spam. The spam bots won't be hitting your site (for the most part) so they won't be submitting comments or filling out your webforms.
Other notable ameneties from Rocket.net are automatic theme and plugin upgrades. If you've ever logged into your wordpress website only to find 27 updates pending you'll see how valuable this feature could be. For plugins that need babysitting before upgrading you can flip the auto upgrade off for each plugin.
Daily backups are a must and you won't be disappointed. Throw in a staging site, SFTP, SSH, and git integrations and you have all the tools necessary to develop an amazing website.
I've used Rocket.net live chat support multiple times and have never had to wait more than 1 minute before someone was jumping on answering my questions. Four times the CEO Ben Gabler has answered my questions personally. The hosting support has been outstanding everytime.
Even on hosting dedicated to customer support like WP Engine I have had to wait 5-20 minutes.