Are you ready to start building your brand new ecommerce website? You have a wide selection of platforms to choose from, but one of the most reliable is WooCommerce. This is an open source plugin that works with WordPress, and it requires an ecommerce hosting account to store all your files and secure your website.
Hosting is also required for solutions like Magento and any other self-hosted system, so it's nice to know which of the hosting platforms are best for building and scaling up your online store. Hundreds of ecommerce hosting providers are available for you to play around with, so keep reading to learn about the best solutions for you.
|Ecommerce Platform||Logo||Starting price (per month)||Overall rating|
|WPEngine||$35||9 / 10|
|SiteGround||$3.95||8 / 10|
|Pagely||$299||6 / 10|
|FlyWheel||$14||9 / 10|
Which Ecommerce Hosting Provider is Most Popular?
If you've looked for an ecommerce hosting platform, there's a good chance you've stumbled upon some of the names we've talked about so far. That said, some of them are more popular, or older, companies that others. Therefore, these more established companies have had more exposure over the years.
Although I don't at all think popularity should be the reason you go with an ecommerce hosting company, it's definitely worth talking about. This is because there's sometimes good reason that so many people go with a hosting solution.
Therefore, I created a comparison lookup on Google Trends. This website allows us to see how popular each search term has been over a certain number of years.
As you can see from the screenshot below, Bluehost pretty much dominates the market when compared to the other hosting companies. However Siteground has always had a solid run with search terms, and the WPEngine popularity seems to be increasing over the years.
It's worth mentioning that the term FlyWheel is also used when searching for a common sporting goods company. Therefore, the FlyWheel search results were uncommonly high for the young managed WordPress host. So, I decided to evaluate its popularity with the keyword “FlyWheel hosting,” instead of only “FlyWheel.” This isn't exactly fair to FlyWheel (and it makes the results of this analysis less accurate, but there's not much we can do about that.
Anyway, let's try to hone in on what the popularity of these hosts looks like without Bluehost cluttering the chart. We know Bluehost has been around for a long, long time. It's also a budget host and part of a large conglomerate. Hence the popularity. Bluehost is also known for its high affiliate payouts, so it tends to get recommended by bloggers over other reputable options. However, none of those factors mean Bluehost is better for your online store.
So, when we remove Bluehost from Google Trends, we can zoom into the other ecommerce hosting solutions. It appears that Siteground has had some ups and downs, but it still sees more search traffic and an upward trend recently. WPEngine wasn't founded until 2010, and ever since then, companies have been taking notice.
Pagely was founded in 2009, so that's where it has begun to gain traction. But as you'll learn, Pagely is more of a host for enterprises and rapidly growing companies–so it's not ever going to be as popular as the lower priced hosts.
Finally, FlyWheel hosting is also a newer host that only focuses on managed WordPress hosting. This means it's more of a niche host (not necesarrily a bad thing for ecommerce!)
Finally, I'd like to examine the regions in which all of these ecommerce hosting providers receive the most Google searches from. This helps us see which parts of the world are most interested in these hosting companies, and if this should affect your decision at all.
When looking at all of the hosting companies, it's clear that Bluehost wins in most markets with the blue coloring. However, we see some nice spots of red and green in the European region. So, Siteground and WPEngine do have their target markets.
In fact, Bluehost, Siteground, and WPEngine all seem to service the majority of countries throughout the world (minus some countries in Africa, Antarctica, and what looks like some Middle Eastern and Asian countries).
However, Pagely caters mainly to the United States, Canada, Australia, India, and bits of Europe.
FlyWheel shows even more of a niche presence, with the only search results coming from the United States.
Ecommerce Hosting: Ease of Use
When evaluating the ease of use for an ecommerce hosting company, I start by looking at the dashboard or CPanel. This is where the magic happens, and where you'll often install things like WordPress or Magento. The dashboard also comes in handy for managing your email addresses, databases, domains, and more.
Most older, larger hosting companies have awful dashboards, so this is usually one of the areas where the smaller hosts win.
As with many larger, older hosting companies, Bluehost has an outdated and cluttered interface.
It's not terrible compared to some of the others I've seen (ie. GoDaddy) but it's certainly not the charming, clean dashboard you get from places like FlyWheel.
The good news is that Bluehost provides a wonderful one-click installation for WordPress. Not only that, but it has a plan that's specifically made for integrating WooCommerce onto your WordPress site.
The Bluehost ecommerce hosting backend is easy to move around in, so you can manage email accounts for keeping in contact with your customers, and all the databases are right on the dashboard. The CPanel offers some quick buttons for creating subdomains and domains, which is wonderful for expanding upon your ecommerce empire and making other websites that may help you along the way.
That said, it's still an ugly dashboard that's going to confuse some newcomers to the ecommerce game. However, you shouldn't have a problem if you're able to hire someone who knows what they're doing or if you take the time to learn about Bluehost through articles and videos.
The WPEngine hosting platform is built for WordPress, so even beginners can get set up on the content management system. You need to install the WooCommerce plugin by yourself, but WPEngine has partnered with WooCommerce to offer a wide range of documentation options and features that are built to make your ecommerce site run smoothly from the backend.
There's also a WooCommerce toolkit, but it's only available for some payment plans and you have to reach out to the support team in order to obtain it. That said, the WPEngine support is pretty great, so they might just install WooCommerce for you anyway.
As for the interface, it's definitely more modern than hosts like Bluehost and SiteGround, but it's really just a list of links. It makes for a simple navigation process around the dashboard, and you can locate all sorts of information about your DNS, bandwidth, and storage. Your site migrations are also done through the dashboard, and they have an SSL page for understanding if your transactions are secure.
SiteGround has a WordPress one-click installation button as well. I would also argue that it's one of the best, if not the best, in terms of the WooCommerce integration. It's actually similar to how Bluehost works in that you can launch your WordPress and WooCommerce website within just a few minutes. It only takes a click of the button, and once you get to the dashboard you can handle domains, templates, and subdomains without any problems.
The interface from SiteGround is pretty outdated, so you're working with the same type of control panel as you would with Bluehost. However, SiteGround is known for its speed (even as a shared hosting provider,) and you're able to sign up for a complete WooCommerce package. This provides premium ecommeerce features like PCI compliance and a free SSL.
SiteGround also has a somewhat watered-down form of managed WordPress hosting, so you receive WooCommerce, a storefront theme installed, auto-updates, daily backups, and more
You'll see that the pricing is pretty much the same for SiteGround as it is for Bluehost, but the ecommerce offerings from SiteGround seem to stand out.
What's funny about Pagely is that the host is somewhat protective of its dashboard. So, you can't simply login with a free trial and test it out. It's also surprisingly difficult to find updated screenshots.
Pagely calls its dashboard the Atomic Hosting Dashboard, and it's quite similar to the CPanel, except it's cleaner and more powerful.
Pagely uses Amazon Web Services to make it easy to scale up your ecommerce website. It's meant to work perfectly with WordPress, as you can install WordPress quickly. The only problem is that you need to get the Professional plan for it to work effectively for a WooCommerce website. The main reason for this is because Pagely assumes you want to scale up quickly, but in general, they only offer solid support for WooCommerce with that plan.
This is one of the easiest platforms for enabling a DNS, which is solid for making your site run quickly. In addition, you shouldn't have any problems working with the CPanel since there are tools and buttons for handling files uploads, domains and emails.
In addition, Pagely provides managed WordPress hosting, so things like backups, security, and updates are all managed for you. Although the Pagely dashboard is great for handling billing, sites, and your stats, the fact that Pagely is a managed WordPress host means you won't be doing most of the work yourself.
The pricing for Pagely is another thing altogether.
Much of the FlyWheel dashboard is built so that developers and agencies can manage dozens of sites from one location. So, if you're running a company that makes lots of ecommerce websites, FlyWheel is one of the best options out there.
If you only need one online store hosted by FlyWheel, it's still one of the most intuitive dashboards.
The FlyWheel backend is super simple to manage, however, WooCommerce is a little more complex. In terms of integrating with WooCommerce, the platform works perfectly, but getting it all setup still requires you to let the company know that you have the plugin. Why is this the case? Because the company wants to exclude certain WooCommerce pages from the cache to ensure that you get the best performance possible. Overall, you can scale up quite well with your ecommerce site, but you may find the setup process a bit tedious.
As for setting up a WordPress site, FlyWheel is, in fact, a managed WordPress host. Therefore, it does much of the dirty work for you. This includes any migration you might need, a full local development area, backup creation, and site updates.
But like we talked about before, there aren't many tools right on the dashboard for configuring your online store. This might seem like a pain to some, but you're typically able to contact the support team and have them do everything for you–whether it's installing an ecommerce plugin or setting up an SSL.
Ecommerce Hosting: Pricing
We should mention that most of the ecommerce hosting platforms talked about below have enterprise plans that we will not cover here.
In general, you have to contact the company in order to receive custom pricing for this enterprise hosting. We're going to focus on the smaller shared and managed hosting plans that are best for implementing your WooCommerce site within minutes.
Bluehost is definitely a budget hosting provider. However, these prices often change based on ads you click on or how many years you plan on signing up for. Bluehost has tons of prices listed all over its site for different plans that seem fairly similar.
However, you can technically get shared server hosting for as little as $2.95 per month. The only problem is that you have to commit to Bluehost for at least three years. This is a long time to be on a shared server, especially if you plan on growing your company rapidly.
If you don't commit to Bluehost, the monthly pricing is more like $4.95 per month, and it can jump to more than $10 per month after that first year.
The VPS hosting (which is what most of the other managed WordPress hosts offer) starts at $18.99 per month (and gets higher after the first year)–this is more expensive than FlyWheel, SiteGround, and WPEngine.
The WooCommerce pricing is listed at $6.95 per month, but Bluehost doesn't offer much more than a quick installation. And the WordPress hosting is $19.99 per month, which isn't that much of a steal.
Overall, Bluehost is one of the best budget hosts out there. The only problem is that after a few years you end up paying the same amount as a much higher quality host like FlyWheel. And you're stuck on the shared servers of Bluehost.
WPEngine pricing (as well as most all of the other host's pricing on this list) is far more transparent than Bluehost's.
The Startup Plan is a reasonable monthly price and it never goes up unless you require more sites or visits per month. WPEngine is a managed WordPress host, so the pricing is reasonable and it's an extremely easy host for scaling up your business.
Not only that, but a CDN and SSL are included with all packages, along with free migrations and plenty of visits per month. You're also on a VPS from the start, so you don't have to mess with slow shared servers.
SiteGround is a budget host like Bluehost, but the pricing is easier to understand with SiteGround.
You only have to choose from three plans, all of which are reasonably priced and set up so that you also get plenty of page visits, support for a CDN and some managed elements for an online store.
Having said that, SiteGround is one of those large budget hosts, so these lower prices only apply to the shared hosting. In addition, you can expect the prices to go up after the first year if you don't commit to multiple years in advance.
If you'd like to pay more money for premium hosting, SiteGround has cloud hosting, dedicated servers, and more.
Starting at $299 per month, Pagely is by far the most expensive ecommerce hosting solution in this comparison. However, you can't discount the fact that it's almost gauranteed to make your online site the fastest it can be.
All of the plans run on high-powered VPS machines, all of which support at least 10 sites. So, it might seem like Pagely is far more expensive than the other options, but that's because it's for a niche group of ecommerce professionals.
To start, Pagely provides managed WordPress hosting, meaning that backups, updates, and all WordPress-related tasks are done by Pagely. Also, Pagely makes the most sense for enterprise-level organizations or agencies with numerous clients.
Heck, the cheapest plan supports 10 websites, so you should really be running 10 websites for that price. You at least know that all of the sites are going to be blazing fast and secure.
FlyWheel is the most reasonably priced managed WordPress host in this article. For only $14 per month, you get your site placed on a super fast VPS, and the customer support team is there to complete your migration.
It's also simple to upgrade when your site grows, so there's no need to worry about problems with scaling up. Oh yeah, and the prices never increase like with Bluehost or SiteGround.
Finally, agencies and development firms have the option to go with a bulk plan, starting and $92 per month and supporting 10 WordPress installations.
Ecommerce Hosting: Customer Support
Bluehost offers live chat, phone, and email support, and the wait lines are usually manageable. I tend to have problems with the chat module, but you can always turn to the extensive knowledge base if anything goes wrong.
Send in a ticket if you have your own problem, or complete your own research in the various documents they have available. I wouldn't say it's the best support team on this list, but it's always available.
Support is offered 24/7 through email, but you won't have any access to a live chat area. You can also connect via social media or consider going through the award winning knowledge base. Although the company lacks a chat box, we would argue that WPEngine has one of the the most friendly and helpful support team in the industry.
The support team also offers a phone number.
SiteGround support provides help through the phone, live chat, and email. Submit your ticket or go through the knowledge base to solve your own problems. Connecting with them on social media isn't that bad, but I would recommend going through the knowledge base first, then trying for a live chat if that doesn't work out.
Pagely provides a support desk that is open 24/7. It's not the easiest of the bunch to work with, but the company has a Live System Status monitor for checking how the servers are holding up.
This makes it standout in terms of support. I would recommend creating a ticket when getting started with Pagely support, since the knowledge base isn't as powerful.
When contacting support for Pagely you can look through the help articles, use the live chat, send in an email or call the support team. This is one of the more personable teams, so you shouldn't have any problems with them.
We also enjoy that you gain access to a wide range of resources such as eBooks, videos, and a fun creative toolbox. I've worked with all of the support teams on this list, and I'd argue that FlyWheel is the most accommodating. If you ask a ridiculous question, they'll find an answer and not simply send you to a link in the knowledgebase. This is crucial when you're running an online store.
Ecommerce Hosting: Security
The first part of security that comes to mind is with backups. With Bluehost, you don't have to worry much about whether you lose information during a crash, since the company makes daily, weekly and monthly backups for your information. Although the Bluehost servers are super secure for shared hosting, you'll notice that you generally have to upgrade to a higher plan in order to gain the Site Backup Pro service, which is a more advanced way of ensuring that your content is kept intact.
Domain privacy is offered to keep your information anonymous from hackers and spammers, and the spam protection is great for keeping out harmful or unwanted messages through your email addresses. Ecommerce websites are going to need SSL certificates, so this is an option when you go through Bluehost. It encrypts data that flows through your website so that people trust you with their information. Along with unique IPs and Sitelock security, you really can't go wrong with security on Bluehost. The only problem is that you have to upgrade as you scale up.
We like WPEngine in the security category, because the company provides a more personalized approach to potential problems. Not to mention, it focuses most of its security on the WordPress platform, which is not going to be the case with companies like Bluehost. Whenever a minor patch is released or a new WordPress version comes out, WPEngine completes the upgrades for you. This closes holes in your infrastructure and keeps out the bad guys. They also have real-time threat detection, keeping an eye on the health of your site at all times. The enterprise grade infrastructure is used by Fortune 500 companies, and the Enterprise plans use dedicated servers so you don't have to share with others.
Along with security audits, code reviews and a guarantee that WPEngine will fix your site if it gets hacked, we would put this ecommerce hosting provider as the number one spot in terms of security.
Some of the higher ecommerce WordPress plans have SSL security and PCI compliance. An anti-hack and anti-spam system is included with all plans. The company closely monitors the servers for any security risks, and often fixes the problems before you know anything happened. The security is solid with SiteGround, but it's a pain that you have to upgrade to some of the higher plans in order to gain SSL security and PCI compliance.
Since Pagely is another one of those hosts that put most of the focus on WordPress, it's nice to know that the security measures are built just for that platform. They use a system called PressArmor, which hardens the network and hardware to prevent any attacks. Key based access and two-factor authentication is required for protecting ecommerce sites, and the plugin patching and malware scanning is always running. What's more? If you get hacked, Pagely will fix your site for free. Not to mention, all plans get an SSL.
Security with FlyWheel starts with the fact that some plugins are not allowed through the platform. This is because lots of plugins can open up security holes for hackers. A hacked site gets fixed for free, and since the company completes all security at the server level, you don't have to install any security plugins. Password enforcement is strong, and the limited login attempts means that hackers are going to have a tough time. Along with automated backups, Sucuri scanning and intelligent IP blocking, you can't go wrong with FlyWheel security.
Ecommerce Hosting: Speed
Most small to midsized ecommerce websites can work on shared hosting through Bluehost. You get unmetered bandwidth for all plans, and a global CDN with the Plus and Business Plus plans. You can even upgrade to High Performance with the Business Plus plan. If you're really looking for blazing speed, and your visitor counts are increasing drastically, consider VPS hosting, which uses up to 4 CPU cores to handle tons of traffic.
Finally, the most popular websites in the world are going to need dedicated hosting to keep up their speeds. This uses incredible CPUs, going all the way up to 4 x 3.3 GHz. You can't get much faster than that.
WPEngine is known for serving up websites really fast, which is a must-have for online shops that expect traffic surges throughout the year. The dedicated hardware spreads out web requests and database queries to ensure that your pages are coming up quickly. The best part is that they use a WordPress-specific Evercache system, which is known to present pages in 150 milliseconds. Compared to Bluehost, you gain better speeds from the start, which is nice for small companies who plan to scale quickly. Bluehost has the speeds as well, but you may have to upgrade along the way.
When you opt for the SiteGround WordPress hosting it gives you state-of-the-art WordPress performance, meaning that you have access to a one-click caching tool, which is ideal for improving your page speeds. Not to mention, the majority of the WordPress plans have free CDNs, which is something you can't find in any of the other hosts on this page. We like SiteGround because it focuses on simplifying speed for you, yet they don't skimp on quality.
Pagely uses Amazon Web Services, which is known to offer fast speeds. A CDN is provided with all plans, which is wonderful for quickly delivering your content to all parts of the world. When you get to some of the VPS plans, you start to gain tons of RAM and space, which is going to support all of your products and media elements. The only problem is that these plans are expensive.
No configuration is required to get blazing fast speeds with FlyWheel. You can add a CDN for a small fee or get it for free when going with the Professional plan. Caching plugins are not required, since it's all done on the server level, and they even have specialty dynamic caching for ecommerce sites, since these types of platforms are usually more difficult to cache.
|Ecommerce Platform||Logo||Starting price (per month)||Overall rating|
|WPEngine||$35||9 / 10|
|SiteGround||$3.95||8 / 10|
|Pagely||$299||6 / 10|
|FlyWheel||$14||9 / 10|
I would say my overall favorite solution is FlyWheel because of the combination of pricing, speed, CDN, and customer support. You really can't ask for more.
However, SiteGround is my personal favorite for budget ecommerce hosting. WPEngine isn't bad as an alternative to FlyWheel.
If you have any questions about implementing or choosing an ecommerce hosting provider for your online shop, drop us a line in the comments below.
header image courtesy of Peter Vdovin