We’ve learned a few tips over the years, and have found some great resources along the way. Here are some of our recommendations for various aspects of WordPress website ownership, including hosting companies, theme marketplaces, and some recommended plugins.

This will be updated and expanded from time to time, so check back later for more tips.

Recommended Hosts for WordPress Websites

Finding a good host is a bit of a nightmare, there’s no doubt. While many of the big dogs make some claims that seem to good to be true – like unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth for dollars a month – it often turns out that their offers are, indeed, too good to be true.

Here are some great hosting companies for WordPress sites. We’ve done a lot of research on a wide variety of review and ratings sites, and these guys came up as stars for standard hosting plans and managed WordPress hosting.

A Small Orange

We recently switched from our long-term web host over to these guys, because they offer highly competitive prices, great service, and honest information about what you get for your money. They’re a highly recommended host on many review and ratings sites for self-managed WordPress websites, and we recommend them as well.

a small orange wordpress hosting

Siteground

When we were looking for a new host, these guys came in as runner-up for our standard shared WordPress hosting needs. They’re also highly regarded on a variety of review and ratings sites, just like ASO. The only main difference is that their standard plan only allowed one website domain, while we needed several. Otherwise, these guys rock.

 

siteground wordpress hosting

WP Engine

If you’re looking for a managed WordPress hosting solution, then these are the go-to guys (and gals). While the price for managed WP hosting is a bit higher than standard hosting plans, WP Engine will take care of the dirty work behind the scenes for you, and will ensure your WordPress site is as fast and secure as possible.

 

wpengine managed wordpress hosting

For a more detailed breakdown of the services these guys offer, along with some other great tips about how to choose the right host, check out this Tips and Tutorials post:

WordPress Hosting Recommendations

Recommended WordPress Theme Marketplace

Finding the right theme for your site takes time, patience, and a good eye. And some experience never hurts either. We’ve bought dozens of themes in recent years, and as such have seen the good, the bad, and the hideous. You obviously don’t want the last two – you want the good, if not the greatest.

Themeforest

Themeforest is, in our opinion, the top site for WordPress themes. You get top quality designs and great functionality from experienced WordPress theme development teams:

themeforest

Recommended WordPress Plugins and Places to Buy Plugins

One important caveat about plugins before we go into the recommendations:  only use the plugins that you really need for your site. Many site owners go crazy adding every plugin they can find, not realizing that each new plugin represents more potential maintenance, and sometimes even a security risk.

In terms of free plugins, you can find some great ones, no doubt; but just be sure that the plugin developer is actively updating the plugin. If they’re not making any money, there’s a good chance they’ll abandon the plugin at some point, leaving a security hole in your website.

That being said, the following specific plugin recommendations, for the time being, are totally safe and will benefit many sites. Most, but not all, of them are free.

Jetpack

This free plugin comes from Automattic, the team that brought you WordPress. It enables a wide variety of plugins from WordPress.com, including social sharing, CSS editing, contact forms, and much more. One of the best plugins around, in our experience!

http://wordpress.org/plugins/jetpack/

Price: FREE

WordPress SEO

An SEO plugin is essential for WordPress sites, to help ensure our pages get found. This is one of the best, one of the highest rated plugins in all of WordPress.org.

http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/

Price: FREE

UpdraftPlus

If you’ve got a standard hosting plan, chances are that you need to manually backup your database and site files. This isn’t challenging, only tedious. This plugin rocks – just set it and forget it. Allows you to create an automatic backup of  your database and files, stored in a variety of locations such as Dropbox, Drive, and more.

http://wordpress.org/plugins/updraftplus/

Price: FREE

Visual Composer

Not a free plugin, but worth every penny. This plugin allows you to to create complex layouts on any page or post in your WordPress site, with any number of combinations of columns and widths, and lots of different types of media. This page was laid out with Visual Composer. An awesome, pretty much essential add-on for WordPress sites.

http://codecanyon.net/item/visual-composer-page-builder-for-wordpress

Price: $25

Codecanyon

While there are many great free plugins, as mentioned above, sometimes the free ones get abandoned by the developer. If they’re making money, they’re more likely to update and provide support for the plugin.

This plugin marketplace is run by the same company that provides the awesome themes in Themeforest. You can find some excellent plugins here on Codecanyon, ranging from $5 to $25 and up. But oftentimes they’re very much worth the extra cost, with the quality, security, and support you find with paid plugins.

http://codecanyon.net/category/wordpress