These are my recommendations based on my experience and research.
(In cases where the provider offers an affiliate program I have linked using those, so I get a bit of money back and you pay nothing extra).
I recommend Flywheel Managed WordPress Hosting.
Flywheel has a sophisticated custom platform optimized just for WordPress and their entry-level plan is affordable for small businesses.
Their hosting includes server-level security optimized for WordPress, caching (which increases speed), 30 day nightly backups, core WordPress updates, firewall protection, malware scanning, and they will fix your site for free if you get hacked.
DNS and Email
Flywheel doesn’t offer email (here are their reasons), and I believe you are better served by having a dedicated email provider anyway. Any host offering both web hosting and email hosting is going to run into the problem of email IP blacklisting. A dedicated email provider can offer better reliability and independence between your hosting and email, so they can’t both go down together.
If you need domain email (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org), you need an email hosting provider. Here are some options:
- Google Apps ($5/mailbox/month)
- Rackspace Email ($2/mailbox/month)
- Hover email bundled with DNS ($20/year per mailbox)
- Dynadot Email Hosting ($30/year unlimited mailboxes)
I personally use Dynadot for DNS, and Google for my email.
These are the plugins I use on almost every project:
- Pods – best custom post type manager.
- Formidable Pro (premium) – for contact forms. Many people use Gravity Forms, but I have found Formidable to be more flexible and better supported.
- Display Widgets – control which widgets display on which pages.
I work almost exclusively with Genesis for client sites, and most of my own as well. It is secure, well-supported, and has good SEO features out of the box.