5 Best Joomla Web Hosting Services of 2018

Find the best web hosting for Joomla! A review of the top Joomla web hosting companies & plans recommended for self-hosted Joomla sites.

Our guide to the best Joomla web hosting

Joomla is a popular CMS (Content Management System) that is widely used to build websites of all shapes and sizes. To get started with Joomla, you’ll need to find suitable web host. Most web hosts support Joomla, but a successful website starts with a solid web host. In this article, we’ll cover the best Joomla web hosting companies to host your site with, along with a detailed guide to everything you need to know about Joomla and web hosting. So, let’s get started!

The Best Joomla Web Hosts at a Glance

Here's a quick overview of best web hosting for Joomla. We've listed the different purposes we would recommend each one for:

Web HostStarts at:Recommended for:Learn more
InMotion Hosting$3.99/moHigh performance Joomla hosting for businessesView Plans
HostGator$5.95/moCloud based Joomla hosting for scalabilityView Plans
SiteGround$3.95/moSolid Joomla hosting recommended by Joomla.comView Plans
Rochen$4.95/moExpert Joomla hosting used by Joomla.org itselfView Plans
A2 Hosting$3.92/moFast, high performance Joomla web hostingView Plans

About Joomla web hosting

What to Look for When Purchasing Web Hosting for Joomla

Small businesses and independent web publishers frequently choose Joomla because the open source codebase and custom extensions provide an inexpensive way to quickly deploy complex websites with enterprise-level features. However, many website owners make the mistake of considering all web hosting companies to be the same or failing to consider the server requirements particular to a Joomla site in production. It is important to understand the difference between the wide variety of hosting types available, as well as the many features that are optimal for Joomla. In this section, we'll discuss the most important options to consider when searching for the best Joomla web hosting solution.

Factors to Consider:

  • Determining the type of web hosting needed for your Joomla site (shared, managed, cloud, VPS, & dedicated)
  • The system requirements for installing & operating the Joomla CMS on a web server
  • The availability of auto-installation tools (like Softaculous, Fantastico, & Mojo Marketplace)
  • Web development issues (version control for extension programming & custom templates)
  • Optimizing Joomla for high performance & web traffic support (page caching utilities)

With the many varieties of Joomla web hosting available, it is important to plan in advance and review the different features offered by the major brands and specialist companies on a price comparison model. Joomla has a relatively low installed user base when compared to other CMS platforms like WordPress or Drupal. Many Joomla specialist companies will provide a suite of free developer tools with web hosting plans that can be helpful to professionals. Most of the cloud optimization utilities for web servers like reverse-proxy load balancing, advanced page caching, and cluster orchestration will work with any website, although the use of Memcached, OPcache, APC, Varnish Cache, Redis, or NGINX may all require the additional installation of Joomla extensions. Web hosting plans that offer free themes for Joomla can help new users get online with the CMS more quickly. Below, we’ll get into each of these factors in more detail.

DID YOU KNOW? Joomla is used in the Fortune 500 by companies like Toyota, Tata, Porsche, Kellogg's, & GE. It is popular in the Media & Entertainment industry with newspapers, magazines, & music labels (MTV, LA Weekly, Discover, Guggenheim Museum). To learn more about these sites, visit the Joomla Showcase.

Determining the Type of Web Hosting Needed for Joomla

The first step is to determine the type of web hosting you’ll need for your Joomla website.

Shared Web Hosting for Joomla

Shared web hosting can save time and money when launching a Joomla site and is particularly user-friendly for website owners in not having to manage the server software installation or apply the security patches and upgrades in systems administration. Some shared web hosting plans will support unlimited MySQL databases, email accounts, server storage, and monthly bandwidth at a fixed rate per month, with discounts available if a longer term contract is chosen. Joomla will run better with more CPU processing power, RAM allocation, and lower account density on the web server hardware. Many shared hosting plans now include tiers that allow site owners to increase the available hardware resources provided to an account. Others include a free CDN service, advanced page caching tools, and PHP run-time frameworks like HHVM that will allow Joomla websites to operate with more efficiency and faster page load speeds.

Some of the major advantages of using shared hosting plans with Joomla are:

  • The ability to host unlimited low-traffic domain names without bandwidth or storage restrictions
  • “One-click” installers, pre-configured web servers, & management of domain settings with cPanel
  • The cheap cost of hardware resources and ease of use in developing new websites quickly
  • Access to a technical support helpdesk & searchable knowledgebase for troubleshooting problems

Managed Hosting for Joomla

Joomla specialist hosts will offer a pre-installed version of the CMS with an optimized web server environment which often includes knowledgeable technical support that can help web developers and site owners debug problems quickly. Because of this, it is often preferable to go with a managed Joomla host over larger web hosting providers who may not be able to help or answer questions related to website development when debugging server configuration issues and conflicts.

Managed Joomla hosts also contribute to the open source community by sponsoring events and code sprints, as well as programming new extensions for the CMS. The inclusion of developer tools and programming utilities with a web hosting plan can be beneficial for professionals, and the use of version control software in Agile/Scrum teams is essential. Some managed Joomla hosts also provide Platform-as-a-Service products with a more advanced software stack designed to optimize CMS website performance. Look for PaaS plans that offer pre-installed NGINX, Varnish Cache, Redis, & Google mod_pagespeed support for best overall value in hosting a high performance Joomla site online.

Some of the main advantages to using a managed Joomla hosting solution for the CMS are:

  • Professional configuration of the web server software stack for high performance requirements
  • Better ability to support web traffic at scale through the use of advanced page caching utilities
  • Saves thousands of dollars on contracting experienced systems administrators to build independently
  • The business team has a commitment to the Joomla CMS & open source community personally

Cloud Hosting for Joomla

Cloud Servers with elastic cluster support are pre-configured with unique platform software permitting websites to avoid the “slashdotting” effect during traffic spikes or manage more traffic than a single dedicated server can support under peak user traffic conditions. These platforms may include reverse-proxy load balancing, the automated launching of cloned versions of a website into server clusters that can be scheduled in advance, optimized web page & database caching facilities, or geographically distributed CDN server integration. Because there is a continual innovation with the major IT companies in this field, there is also a lot of variation in the software, scripts, and web server configurations that are implemented to generate these performance benefits.

Cheaper cloud hosting plans usually lack elastic cluster functionality but include more CPU cores, system RAM, and SSD storage for faster performance speeds on CMS websites. Many of these cloud hosting plans also include the use of low account density web servers for faster response times and page load speeds.

Some of the advantages to using cloud hosting solutions for web hosting with a Joomla site are:

  • Elastic cloud servers will automatically scale with traffic and prevent downtime during promotions
  • The ability to create multiple instances of the database & website files in synchronized clusters
  • Load balancing features to better manage simultaneous user requests to the database at scale
  • Integrated CDN services that will cache files in different data centers by geolocation internationally

VPS Hosting for Joomla

With VPS web hosting, Joomla site owners can easily choose the version of Linux or Windows they prefer to run in production, the amount of RAM & hard disk memory required to support web traffic, and customize the versions of Apache, NGINX, MySQL, PHP, etc. installed, but all of this will normally require a more experienced systems administrator to manage. VPS plans are created as a partition on a web server where many users still share the same machine. However, due to dedicated account resources, as well as the inclusion of real-time web traffic monitoring utilities with a platform, it is easier to provision hardware to meet the requirements of a production website. Many programmers and development teams prefer to work on VPS plans over shared web hosting because of the ability to use version control software to publish code to a web server from the desktop.

Some main advantages of VPS plans in web hosting for a Joomla site are:

  • Flexibility in web server stack software configuration and the ability to install custom extensions
  • Easy upgrade path to provision more needed RAM, disk space, & CPU cores as the site grows
  • More system resource allocation leads to better Joomla page load speeds & web traffic support
  • Real-time monitoring of web server resource usage & cheaper overall than dedicated hardware

Dedicated Server Hosting for Joomla

Dedicated servers are used to create a custom performance environment for large, complex websites with specific requirements for custom programming configurations (i.e., streaming video/music or mobile apps). Dedicated servers are often required to support many simultaneous users of a website or mobile application, where the total number will vary according to the hardware specifications and web server software stack efficiency, as well as the processing requirements of the database and application code. Dedicated servers are recommended for high traffic eCommerce websites, popular mobile applications with paid subscriptions, blogs and social networks with significant advertising revenue, start-up software companies, and some high performance SME sites, with an average monthly cost between $150 and $500 per month depending on the hardware configuration required. Dedicated servers require an experienced systems administrator who can install, configure, and maintain the LAMP/LEMP/WAMP stack consistently.

Some of the main advantages of using dedicated servers for web hosting with Joomla sites are:

  • Web security & user data isolation as required by business applications and ecommerce websites
  • Support for the web traffic of the most popular sites with customized server configurations
  • Greater flexibility with the OS choice & can be used for NGINX, Varnish Cache, & Redis support
  • Multi-domain portfolios can be pooled on the same hardware with better system resources

Free Web Hosting on Joomla.com

Joomla.com offers free web hosting with a SiteGround partnership that includes a pre-installed, professionally maintained version of the CMS. This service also offers free templates for website design and a worry-free security environment where site owners do not need any experience in either systems administration or web development to build a new site. However, domain presence on the Joomla.com service is limited to subdomains (for example, mywebsite.joomla.com), so site owners with specific TLD requirements will need to bypass this service entirely in favor of a paid hosting plan. Free web hosting on Joomla.com can be recommended for building brand identity in SEO marketing campaigns for established businesses, and is also popular with bloggers who can make use of the resources to publish their information on an established domain name. To get the most power out of a Joomla site, however, it is recommended to take advantage of the vast library of free templates and extensions available for the CMS from the open source community, and this will require access to a web hosting plan with more resources for independent web development.

QUICK SUMMARY ON HOSTING TYPES: It can be beneficial to develop a new Joomla site on shared web hosting, transfer it to a VPS plan if the web community scales, and then transition to an elastic cloud hosting plan only if the overall web traffic grows to the point where even a single dedicated web server will not support it.

Joomla System Requirements

The Joomla CMS system requirements are supported by all of the major web hosting companies but it is important to confirm these in advance and to make sure that any software installed on a custom server is consistently maintained with these settings. It is very important to install updates with the latest Joomla security versions to keep the code patched against MySQL injection attacks and other database exploits used by hackers through automated script bots. In general, avoid Joomla version 2.5 for all but legacy sites (support for this version ended in 2014) and make sure to use the latest 3.x version of the CMS.

Either a Linux or Windows server can be used with Joomla, but most important is attention to the Apache, MySQL, PHP, and (optionally) the NGINX version requirements:

  • Apache: Version 2.4 + Recommended (2.0 Minimum)
  • MySQL: Version 5.5.3 + Recommended (5.1 Minimum)
  • PHP: Version 5.6 or 7.0 (5.3.10 Minimum)
  • NGINX: Version 1.8 + Recommended (1.0 Minimum)

Significant performance improvements for the Joomla CMS can be attained by using the PHP 7.x version. Developers report that this will give definite improvements to the page speed load times on a Joomla site, but it may not be compatible with all of the legacy third-party Joomla extensions. It is best to create a sandbox environment and thoroughly test a Joomla site before going live with the PHP 7.x upgrade.

Joomla Auto-Installation with Softaculous, Fantastico, & Mojo Marketplace

The use of auto-installation scripts with Joomla like Softaculous, Fantastico, or Mojo Marketplace under the configuration settings listed above is considered safe due to the simple “One Click Version Update” ability built into the CMS. Website owners and developers will still need to manually install templates and extensions to build out new functionality on the server.

Joomla auto-installation via Softaculous
A screenshot of installing Joomla via Softaculous.

Best practice is to use the Joomla CMS administration panel to upgrade the installation rather than the auto-installation tools in order to make sure that manually uploaded templates and extensions are not lost in the version upgrade process when security patches are applied. Most of the “one click” installation utilities will create the MySQL database with a username and password entered by the administrator, as well as upload all of the needed files for the CMS to the web server in the proper domain folder. The script will also prompt the site owner to enter the administration user name and password for the Joomla site. Thereafter, it is possible to navigate to the domain and begin using Joomla to build a new website. Softaculous will also send email notifications to the administrator with reminders to upgrade whenever a new security version of the codebase is released by the core development team.

Joomla Web Development Issues

The most important issue for multi-developer programming teams in Joomla website creation and new extension programming is the use of version control tools for continuous integration and continuous delivery (CICD) on web/mobile applications. This is considered as a main requirement in DevOps as well as a major aspect of Agile/Scrum project management techniques. It is important to make sure that the web hosting company will provide Secure Shell (SSH) access for command line management of the web server configuration and the use of Git for version control if the Joomla development process will require custom PHP code or programming new extensions. Custom code should be tested in a sandbox environment locally or on a subdomain on a shared hosting plan and then deployed to a production site running with greater system resource allocation. Performance optimization extensions can be used to keep a Joomla website hosted under the cost advantages and limitations of shared hosting with greater efficiency. This includes page caching utilities; compressing the JavaScript, CSS, HTML, & images for better page load speeds; or the use of Memcached, OPcache, & APC through cPanel integration as PHP extensions. Developer tools like Google Pagespeed can be used to test a live site and see what changes need to be made to optimize performance.

QUICK TIP: It is recommended to have a synchronized sandbox installation available to test new code changes before going live with them on existing Joomla websites, as this will help to debug issues in advance.

Joomla High Performance with NGINX

Dedicated servers or VPS plans configured to run NGINX as the web server framework can be beneficial for enterprise corporations, eCommerce stores, and start-up websites with consistently high user traffic or a large online community. NGINX is frequently recommended by experienced developers and systems administrators as a high-performance web server solution. However, the use of NGINX for production websites may also require an experienced systems administrator in addition to the web developers, theme designers, and PHP programmers working on a team, which adds up to a very high cost that may be out of the range of many small business. Another problem is the LEMP stack runs PHP as Fast CGI which may cause conflict with some 3rd party Joomla extensions which require use of the Apache .htaccess file (NGINX uses nginx.conf). Because of the cost involved with the extensive level of custom stack configuration, a dedicated server solution running NGINX is often only possible for profitable companies operating popular websites & mobile apps. Installing NGINX on a VPS plan and hiring a freelance systems administrator to do the configuration work can be a cheaper solution that eCommerce stores and small businesses can more easily afford. As the use of NGINX in production can effectively double the amount of web traffic supported on the same web server hardware over Apache, there are some major gains to consider in the long term and performance of Joomla websites can be further improved by combining this solution with Varnish Cache, Redis, & a CDN for better page caching.

QUICK TIP: For more information about the latest advances cloud solutions, load balancing software, advanced page caching, and database management, follow NGINX on Twitter.

Conclusion – Final Thoughts & Recommendations on Joomla Web Hosting

Shared web hosting is generally sufficient for maintaining most small business websites running Joomla, although it is important to compare the plans and different configurations between companies to get the most value. Web hosting plans advertised as “unlimited” may actually include strict limitations on the use of server processing power, simultaneous users, or concurrent I/O processes which can shut down popular websites during times of peak traffic activity. Generally, if the website is expected to generate less than 3000 page hits per day and not subject to traffic spikes with large number of simultaneous users consuming the sever resources, a shared hosting plan will be sufficient. Customer service and technical support can make a critical difference in choosing between the different web hosting companies, especially when developing websites with custom solutions. It makes sense in many instances to pay a few dollars extra per month to allocate more dedicated CPU cores and RAM to a Joomla website, as well as to look for platforms guaranteeing lower account density on plans for better response times and page load speeds.

In making the final decision between Joomla web hosting plans, remember to ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the server's RAM, CPU, storage space, & OS configurations?
  • Does the web host use a SSD (Solid State Drive) or traditional HDD (Hard Disk Drive) for storage?
  • Does the web host offer a simple “one-click” installation utility for Joomla?
  • Does the web host use cPanel or a proprietary administration panel that makes it easy to manage MySQL databases, domain names, and server settings such as the PHP version or cron jobs?
  • Does the web site require a SSL/TLS certificate for the encryption of transmitted user data?
  • Does the shared web host include cloud performance optimizations or a free CDN?
  • Does the web host offer Secure Shell (SSH) access for the use of Git, Subversion, CVS, & other tools for version control in development?
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