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- Top 6 WooCommerce-Specific Hosting Plans – Is WooCommerce-Specific Hosting Worth The Extra Cost?
- By Joe Fylan
- November 10, 2021
If you want to create an online store, WooCommerce is a very popular option that powers approximately 30% of the top one million eCommerce websites.
WooCommerce runs on WordPress. While both are free to use, in order to create a successful online store, you’ll need to invest in a good WooCommerce-friendly host. Doing so should ensure that your site runs smoothly, your customers’ data is secure, and you have someone to turn to if you need WooCommerce-related help.
To help you find the best WooCommerce-specific hosting plan, this comparison looks at the features and prices of the options available from leading hosting companies, including Bluehost, GoDaddy, Kinsta, Nexcess, WordPress.com, and WP Engine. You’ll also find the results from our load time testing that reveals which WooCommerce host is the fastest.
Unlike regular hosting, WooCommerce-specific plans often include a range of eCommerce-focused extras, including premium WooCommerce add-ons, tools to help you optimize your store, and premium themes that will give your eCommerce site a professional look. You’ll also often get to host your website on an infrastructure that’s been optimized especially for WooCommerce websites and all the demands of a busy eCommerce store.
Who is the Best WooCommerce-Specific Host?
If you’re in a rush and just want to know which WooCommerce-specific hosting plan I think is the best, here are my recommendations:
- Best Performance: WP Engine were the fastest WooCommerce-specific host I tested, closely followed by Nexcess.
- Best Value: Nexcess are the best value WooCommerce-specific host I looked at. Not only are their plans fast, but they also come with some useful extras. With plans starting at $9.50 a month, they’re very affordable. The GoDaddy service includes 75 premium extensions for WooCommerce making them also one to consider if you’re looking for a good deal.
- Best Overall: Nexcess are probably the best overall WooCommerce host, especially if you are just starting out, thanks to their great value entry-level plan and fast load times. However, you do get a relatively small amount of storage compared to the other options.
Best WooCommerce-Specific Hosting Plans Summary
This comparison will dive into the key details of each service. However, here’s a quick summary of the WooCommerce-specific hosting services I compared:
Entry-level Plan Price
Avg. Load Time
From $12.95 a month
From $15.99 a month
From $83.30 a month†
From $9.50 a month*
From $45 a month
From $30 a month
† Kinsta do have cheaper plans that you can host websites that use WooCommerce on, but they recommend their Business 1 plan for anyone with an eCommerce store.
The above details are for the entry-level WooCommerce-specific plans from each host, with the best price available listed. With some hosts, these rates are only available for new sign-ups and/or when paying yearly instead of monthly.
In most cases, if you need access to more resources, such as storage or bandwidth, you can choose a higher-priced plan. All of the services let you access your webspace via SFTP and database via a browser-based interface. They all have migration tools and services, to help you move an existing store to their platforms.
To learn more about a specific host, click on the links below to jump to the relevant part of this article:
For more information on how the load time tests were performed, click here to jump to that part of the article.
What is WooCommerce Hosting?
Before we cover the details of the best WooCommerce-specific hosting plans, it’s worth pausing to ask, what is WooCommerce hosting?
However, just because you can do something, it doesn’t always mean you should. Here are a few reasons why…
Built for Speed
Tasks like managing an inventory and processing orders can put a lot of pressure on a hosting environment. Therefore, if you choose a cheap shared hosting service for your online shop, you might find that it quickly starts to slow down and generate errors as your store gets busy.
As a slow website can have a huge impact on sales, user experience, and search engine rankings, poor load times are definitely something you want to avoid.
One of the best ways to avoid poor performance is to choose a good WooCommerce-specific hosting plan.
The best plans and services of this type are optimized for hosting WooCommerce-powered eCommerce stores. In addition to an infrastructure that’s built for WooCommerce, these plans have WooCommerce experts working on their support team. Many of these plans also come with useful extras at no additional costs, including premium WooCommerce add-ons, WordPress themes, third-party tools, and more.
The best WooCommerce hosts also have a strong understanding of the importance of keeping customer data safe and secure, including the private information that’s submitted during checkouts.
All of the best WooCommerce-specific hosting plans in this guide can also be considered managed WordPress hosting plans.
Thanks to this, many of the tasks involved in running a WordPress website are managed for you, such as software updates, website backups, and keeping your site and its data secure.
An Investment in Your Business
However, an investment in premium WooCommerce-specific hosting is an investment in your business. It’s something that you should be able to justify, especially if you want to keep your customers happy, their data secure, and your store running smoothly.
Now that we know what WooCommerce hosting is, and why you should consider it, let’s look at the best plans available for anyone creating an eCommerce store with WordPress.
How We Chose the Plans
As mentioned, almost every host that supports WordPress will let you install the WooCommerce plugin to create an eCommerce store. However, in order to find the very best WooCommerce-specific hosting plan or service, I only looked at companies that had a plan or service that was tailored to this type of website.
Due to this, some big names from the hosting industry aren’t included in this guide. However, it does mean that if you choose any of the options compared here, you’ll be able to host your eCommerce store with a company that has a strong focus on hosting and supporting WooCommerce-powered online shops. Not only that, but nearly all of these services have extra features to help enhance stores built with WooCommerce.
Here are the hosts, in alphabetical order…
Bluehost WooCommerce Hosting
As well as very popular shared hosting plans, Bluehost also have a WooCommerce hosting service. To help you get started, their WooCommerce plans include a two-hour call with a support agent that will walk you through setting up your store. WordPress and WooCommerce are installed by default, and a free domain registration and SSL certificate are included.
Depending on which Bluehost WooCommerce plan you choose (there are two), you could get access to additional features for your store. These come in the form of a bundle of premium extensions for WooCommerce, which adds booking, subscription, and custom product functionality to your store. The top-level plan also includes premium Jetpack and CodeGuard subscriptions for more security and performance-related features.
Bluehost WooCommerce Hosting Load Time Test Results
An average load time of 1.26 seconds meant that Bluehost were the slowest host I tested for this comparison.
Key Details of Bluehost WooCommerce Hosting
- WooCommerce plans start at $12.95 a month.
- Free domain name registration.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Bundle of premium WooCommerce add-ons worth over $200.
- Premium Jetpack subscription on top plan.
- Optional premium subscription WordPress support service.
- 24/7 support via live chat and telephone.
Bluehost WooCommerce Hosting Pricing
Bluehost have two WooCommerce hosting plans, Standard and Premium. At the time of writing, the lowest prices available for the two plans are $12.95 and $24.95 a month respectively.
However, you must pay for 36 months of hosting upfront to access those rates. If you pay for a shorter period than this, you’ll pay a higher monthly equivalent. When you renew the service, you’ll pay a higher price than you did when you first signed up, so be sure to take that into consideration when choosing a plan.
Both plans come with unmetered (not unlimited) bandwidth and 100 GB of storage. When it comes to visits, there isn’t an overall limit. Instead, Bluehost support says that there is a “max simultaneous connection limit of 150. A visitor to your site is only considered a connection while content is loading. Once a website page is loaded they are no longer considered a connection so it is possible to have well beyond 150 visitors on your site at any given time.”
As mentioned, the more expensive Premium plan does include some extra features, such as a Jetpack Premium subscription, an online booking and appointment scheduling tool, support for product subscriptions, and a lifetime basic CodeGuard subscription.
Bluehost WooCommerce Hosting Summary
The Bluehost WooCommerce plans do have some useful extra features, including the two-hour support call that can help you to set up your store. If you’re new to WordPress and WooCommerce, this is sure to come in handy.
The only other host in this comparison to offer this type of extra is WordPress.com. However, in theory, you could contact any of the other hosts via their support channels to get assistance.
While the Bluehost WooCommerce service does look good on paper, the relatively slow load times make this an option you should probably think twice about using.
GoDaddy eCommerce Hosting
The GoDaddy eCommerce service was built to help you launch and manage a WordPress and WooCommerce-powered store with ease. One highlight of this service is that it comes with 75 premium WooCommerce extensions that are worth nearly $6,000. Most WooCommerce stores are likely to need at least a few premium extensions, so it’s great to see so many included as part of your GoDaddy plan.
GoDaddy also have their own payment processor called GoDaddy Payments, which gives you a fast and secure way to take payments via your website or over the phone. There’s a virtual terminal feature, too, so you can take payments in person or over the phone. There are lots of payment processors and gateways for WooCommerce. However, getting your hosting and payment processor from the same company might provide some extra reassurance, especially if you’d like to be able to call your provider if you have any queries or issues.
GoDaddy eCommerce Load Time Test Results
The test site hosted by GoDaddy had an average load time of 415 milliseconds, making them the fourth-fastest host tested.
Key Details of GoDaddy eCommerce Hosting
GoDaddy eCommerce Pricing
GoDaddy keep things simple with just one eCommerce hosting plan. At the time of writing, this service costs $15.99 for your first invoice of 36 months, then $24.99 a month when you renew. You can also pay for 1, 12, or 24 months upfront, but you will get a smaller discount.
As the service covers unlimited visits and storage for one store, you shouldn’t need to upgrade your hosting as your store grows.
GoDaddy eCommerce Summary
A free domain registration, 24/7 telephone support, an in-house payment processor, and 75 premium WooCommerce extensions make GoDaddy eCommerce hosting an appealing option for anyone who appreciates good value.
Those who like the idea of getting a lot of the pieces of their online store – hosting, payment handling, and add-ons – from one source, should also find GoDaddy eCommerce hosting attractive. With a starting price of $15.95, it’s certainly not the most expensive option either.
Kinsta WooCommerce Hosting
Kinsta don’t have a separate service for WooCommerce websites. However, they have built their entire hosting service to be able to handle WooCommerce stores. So for that reason, they are included in this guide.
If you want a home for a full eCommerce store built using WordPress and WooCommerce, Kinsta recommend their Business 1 plan and above, rather than their lower-priced Startup and Pro plans. However, if you’re just starting out with WooCommerce and only plan to sell a few items and/or receive a small number of orders, you could begin with a lower-priced plan, then move to Business 1 or above when the time is right.
The Kinsta plans all use the Google Cloud platform and therefore deliver the same levels of performance for regular sites. However, the Business 1 plan and above have more PHP workers than the lower-priced plans. This makes them able to execute multiple simultaneous requests, and therefore, better able to handle the demands of dynamic websites, such as eCommerce stores and membership sites.
The Business 1 plan also has more storage and greater bandwidth and visit allowances than the lower-priced plans.
Kinsta WooCommerce Hosting Load Time Test Results
The test site hosted by Kinsta had an average load time of 424 milliseconds, making them the fifth-fastest host in this guide.
For this test, our basic WordPress website was hosted on the entry-level Startup plan. However, as mentioned above, Kinsta recommend using the Business 1 plan or above for WooCommerce stores. Both plans should deliver the same levels of performance when hosting regular WordPress websites; however, the Business 1 plan will come into its own when hosting a WooCommerce store.
Key Details of Kinsta WooCommerce Hosting
Kinsta WooCommerce Hosting Pricing
Business 1 hosting plan is the entry-level option recommended by Kinsta for anyone looking for WooCommerce hosting. As with the other hosts in this guide, you can host a site running WooCommerce on the lower-priced plans. However, if you want the plan that Kinsta recommend for a WooCommerce store, Business 1 and above are the ones to check out.
While the monthly equivalent starting rate of $83.30 of the Business 1 plan is more expensive than the other entry-level WooCommerce plans in this guide, it does support five WordPress installs. It also includes 100,000 monthly visits, 30 GB of storage, and 200 GB of CDN bandwidth.
Kinsta WooCommerce Hosting Summary
The recommendation to use the Business 1 plan or above (and not their cheaper plans) for WooCommerce stores does make Kinsta the most expensive option in this guide. However, it’s good to see a host being honest about what their plans are capable of and which ones they recommend for certain types of websites.
Unlike the other hosts compared here, Kinsta don’t have any extras for WooCommerce users, such as themes or add-ons. However, if you’re not bothered about freebies, then the solid Kinsta WooCommerce hosting service should be on your shortlist.
Nexcess WooCommerce Hosting
Nexcess WooCommerce hosting has been designed to keep your store secure and running as fast as possible. One way they aim to do this is by creating a platform that ensures your online shop can handle more simultaneous orders without any slowdown. Nexcess even list how many orders an hour each of their plans can handle to help you choose the right one.
The Nexcess WooCommerce plans include the premium Astra Pro WordPress theme, Convert Pro lead generation plugin, and an analytics tool. Thanks to this, you get access to some genuinely useful extras from the outset and without any additional investment required. Nexcess also have an interesting StoreBuilder product to help you design your online shop. Their rates are affordable, too, especially compared to some of the other options out there.
Nexcess WooCommerce Hosting Load Time Test Results
Nexcess were the second-fastest host tested, with an average load time of just 1 millisecond slower than the fastest host, WP Engine.
Key Details of Nexcess WooCommerce Hosting
Nexcess WooCommerce Hosting Pricing
The entry-level Nexcess Starter hosting plan works out to the equivalent of $15.83 a month if you pay for one year upfront. However, a current promotion makes it cheaper to pay monthly, as the regular rate of $19 a month is reduced to $9.50 a month for the first six months. This averages out to $14.25 a month over the course of a year.
The entry-level Starter plan can handle one store, comes with 30 GB of storage, includes 3 TB of bandwidth, and is designed for 500 orders per hour. The more expensive plans have greater allowances and can handle more orders each hour.
As well as a 30-day money-back guarantee, Nexcess have a 14-day free trial offer, with no credit card required.
Nexcess WooCommerce Hosting Summary
Nexcess have a really strong focus on hosting WooCommerce websites. Features like the Sales Performance Monitor and StoreBuilder tools help illustrate this. This definitely isn’t a generic hosting service rebranded as WooCommerce hosting.
Despite this, Nexcess have very affordable pricing. Their plans are also transparent as they clearly state how many orders per hour each option is good for. Getting access to the high-quality premium Astra Pro theme and a few useful plugins and tools will help you to keep the costs of launching a WooCommerce store down, too. As there’s a free 14-day trial for their WooCommerce hosting, you can try before you buy.
Coming a very close second in the load time test is an impressive achievement, too.
Automattic created the commercial WordPress.com service to make creating and running WordPress websites even easier. There’s a range of plans available, including an eCommerce plan that‘s been designed specifically for WooCommerce-powered online stores.
Like the Bluehost and GoDaddy WooCommerce hosting services, the WordPress.com eCommerce plan comes with some extra WooCommerce features that are focused on collecting payments and handling shipping. While you don’t get access to as many extra premium features as you do with GoDaddy, the WordPress.com eCommerce plan does include some editable themes for your store. You also get access to three premium child themes for the official WooCommerce Storefront theme. The premium Storefront Powerpack theme customization tool is included, too.
The eCommerce plan includes two one-on-one screen share support sessions with a WordPress.com expert. If you like the idea of being able to get in-depth personalized help with your store, this feature should appeal.
WordPress.com eCommerce Plan Load Time Test Results
Pingdom recorded an average load time of 348 milliseconds for the site hosted by WordPress.com.
WordPress.com came in third place with an average load time of 348ms.
Key Details of the WordPress.com eCommerce Plan
WordPress.com eCommerce Plan Pricing
The WordPress.com eCommerce plan is available for the equivalent of $45 a month if you pay yearly or $59 if you pay monthly. Paying yearly also includes access to the 24/7 live chat support channel, whereas paying monthly only includes email and basic live chat support. A one-year domain registration is also included for free if you pay yearly.
The eCommerce plan includes 200 GB of storage, with no limits on visits or bandwidth.
Refunds are available for up to 7 to 14 days, depending on how long you paid for upfront.
WordPress.com eCommerce Plan Summary
The two one-to-one screen share support sessions are one of the highlights of the WordPress.com eCommerce plan. Whether you want to use them when setting up your store or save them for any problems that might arise later on, they’re a very nice feature to have. 200 GB of storage gives you plenty of space for all your product photos and other content. Unlimited bandwidth and visits also help to make WordPress.com a competitive option.
However, the eCommerce plan is a bit more expensive than most of the other WooCommerce hosts in this guide. Despite being fast, they’re not the fastest host in this guide.
WP Engine eCommerce Hosting
WP Engine claim that their managed WooCommerce hosting will increase website speed by up to 40% and sales up to 18%. While it’s hard to verify those claims, one way they aim to speed up your store is via their Instant Store Search feature which uses ElasticPress to return search results as quickly as possible. However, this feature isn’t available on the entry-level WP Engine eCommerce hosting plan.
As WP Engine now own StudioPress, you get access to 10 premium themes from this company. While these themes aren’t specifically eCommerce themes, they all work with WooCommerce and can be used to create an online store.
WP Engine eCommerce Hosting Load Time Test Results
An average load time of 272 milliseconds meant that WP Engine was the fastest host in this comparison.
Key Details of WP Engine eCommerce Hosting
WP Engine eCommerce Hosting Pricing
The WP Engine eCommerce hosting plans start at the equivalent of $30 a month if you pay yearly, otherwise, it’s $36 a month. WP Engine have more expensive, feature-rich, and higher performance plans, including a custom option for those with more demanding eCommerce stores.
The entry-level plan has 10 GB of storage, 50 GB of bandwidth, and supports 25,000 visits a month.
WP Engine eCommerce Hosting Summary
The extra features of WP Engine eCommerce hosting, such as ElasticSearch (not on entry-level plan), access to StudioPress themes, and some WooCommerce blocks that you can add to your store, all make this an attractive service.
The price of the entry-level WP Engine eCommerce hosting plan puts them around the middle of the pack when compared to the other WooCommerce hosts in this guide.
About the Load Time Tests
To find out the average load time of each host, I used the paid Pingdom service.
For each host, I used a fresh WordPress installation with the lightweight Twenty Twenty One theme activated. I then created a basic page on that site that contained text and an image. The speed of that page was monitored by Pingdom for seven days to find the average load time.
These results show which host was the fastest during my tests. However, the fastest host here might not be the fastest host when it comes to hosting your unique WooCommerce store.
The default configurations of each host were used, and no optimization was carried out. Each host has its own caching and optimization features and settings. Therefore, it’s possible that you could achieve faster load times by adjusting the host settings or installing a WordPress optimization plugin.
When setting up the tests in Pingdom, the testing location closest to the data center where the site was hosted was chosen.
If value is your main concern, then Nexcess are hard to beat in terms of monthly rates. However, the premium WooCommerce add-ons that come with GoDaddy could save you a lot of money when building your store.
When it comes to speed, WP Engine were the fastest host I tested, closely followed by Nexcess. However, as mentioned, the tests were run on fresh installations of WordPress, and not WooCommerce stores. Once you’ve built your unique eCommerce store and started processing orders, you may get different results. However, the load times from this article should give you an idea of how these hosts compare and whether or not you’ll be building your store on solid foundations.
Getting it right when choosing a host for a WooCommerce store is probably more important than when picking a host for a regular website. With an eCommerce store, there’s a lot more at stake. So with that in mind, I recommend contacting the hosts you’re most interested in via their live chat services to discuss your needs with their sales staff.
Also, as all of these hosts have easy-to-access money-back guarantees, you can effectively try them out risk-free.
Used/using any of the above? Any thoughts, opinions and experiences?
Joe is an experienced WordPress user who enjoys sharing the tips and knowledge he’s picked up from using this fantastic platform for many years. You can find out more about Joe on his website.