5 Best Joomla Web Hosting Services of 2017

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

Our official 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$3.49/moHigh performance Joomla hosting for businessesRead Review
HostGator$5.95/moCloud based Joomla hosting for scalabilityRead Review
SiteGround$3.95/moSolid Joomla hosting recommended by Joomla.comLearn More
Rochen$4.95/moExpert Joomla hosting used by Joomla.org itselfLearn More
A2 Hosting$3.92/moFast, high performance Joomla web hostingRead Review

About Joomla and web hosting

Finding the Best Web Host for Joomla

Small businesses and start-up companies choose Joomla because the open source codebase and custom extensions provide an inexpensive way to quickly deploy complex websites with enterprise type features. However, many site owners make the mistake of considering all web hosts to be the same or failing to consider the server requirements particular to a Joomla site. It is important to understand the difference between the wide variety shared hosting plans and cloud server offerings, as well as when it is required to upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server. The main factors to consider when making a decision on web hosting for a Joomla site are the processing requirements (CPU, RAM, & Disk Space) for loading all of the installed extensions and the ability of the server to scale under a variety of user traffic conditions.

Some questions to consider before signing up for a long-term web hosting plan for a Joomla site are:

  • What are the shared host server's RAM, CPU, Hard Disk, & OS configurations?
  • Does the web host use a SSD (Solid State Drive) or traditional HDD for storage?
  • Does the web host offer a simple “1-click installation” for Joomla?
  • Does the web host use cPanel or a proprietary administration section that is easy to manage databases, domains, and server settings such as the PHP version or cron jobs?
  • Does the website require a SSL certificate for the encryption of transmitted user data?
  • Does the shared web host include cloud performance optimization or a CDN?
  • Does the web host offer Secure Shell (SSH) access for the use of Git, Subversion, and other tools for version control in development?

With the many options for Joomla web hosting available, it is important to plan in advance and review the different features offered by the companies on a price comparison model.

Screenshot of Joomla.org for self-hosting Joomla

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.

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 site design and a worry-free security environment where site owners do not need any experience in either systems administration or web development to host a new site. However, domain presence on the Joomla.com service is limited to subdomains (for example, mywebsite.Joomla.com), so site owners with branding and TLD requirements will need to bypass this service in favor of a paid hosting plan.

Shared Web Hosting for Joomla

Shared hosting saves time and money when launching a Joomla site and is particularly user-friendly for site owners in not having to manage the server software installation or apply the security patches and upgrades in systems administration. Some advantages of using shared hosting with Joomla are:

  • “One-click installers”, the ability to host multiple domains, & manage settings with cPanel
  • If the shared host offers SSH access, Git can be used for advanced development teams
  • Low cost and ease of use for small sites with low traffic requirements

The main point to consider in evaluating between shared hosting providers is the power and performance of the servers themselves, which will relate to the number of cores, the speed of the processors, the CPU usage limitations, and the type of RAM installed on the architecture. It is generally simple and straightforward to install a SSL certificate with web encryption to host ecommerce sites using Joomla on shared hosting. A critical difference between hosting providers is the level of knowledgeable customer service agents and the time of turn-around on technical support requests.

Cloud Hosting for Joomla

Cloud Servers are typically pre-configured with performance enhancing software required for both large and small sites to avoid the “slashdotting” effect during traffic spikes. This may include load balancing, launching cloned versions of the site into server clusters during peak traffic, advanced page and database caching, or geographically distributed servers with CDNs. Because there is a lot of variety and experimentation with the different companies in this field, there is a lot of variation in the software, scripts, and configurations used to generate these performance benefits. Some of the advantages to using cloud hosting solutions for web hosting with a Joomla site are:

  • Cloud servers will automatically scale with traffic and prevent downtime during promotions
  • Ability to create multiple new cached instances of the database & site files in “clusters”
  • Includes load balancing features to better manage simultaneous user requests to the database

With cloud servers, site owners are often given the opportunity to pay only for the data through-put or CPU processing power that is required, meaning that peak time traffic can be managed more cost-efficiently than dedicated servers. This means that cloud servers can compete with shared hosting on a viable basis for small business, and often outperform dedicated servers for the largest sites with heavy traffic found in social media, news sites, and enterprise.

VPS hosting for Joomla

QUICK TIP: Pay close attention to the quality of server architecture that is behind the web hosting company by researching the performance of the Intel Xeon, Atom, & AMD Operon processors and configurations through benchmark tests to understand the difference between product lines.

VPS Hosting for Joomla

With VPS hosting, site owners can easily choose the version of Linux, the amount of RAM & hard disk memory required, and customize the version of Apache, MySQL, & PHP version installed, but this will typically take more experience as a systems administrator to manage. Some advantages of VPS plans in hosting a Joomla site are:

  • Flexibility in server software configuration and ability to install custom extensions
  • Can easily upgrade to more needed RAM, disk space, & CPU cores as the site grows
  • Will support the multimedia server extensions required to develop complex sites

VPS solutions allow developers a lot of flexibility in creating a custom server environment, but they are not guaranteed to scale with traffic spikes and have no ability to launch into server clusters if the traffic overloads the normal functionality at peak times. VPS hosting users will also need to be more responsible for the correct configuration of the installed server software and to monitor the server settings so that security patches are automatically downloaded and applied.

Dedicated Server Hosting for Joomla

Dedicated servers are used to create a custom performance environment for large, complex sites and are used specifically for custom media configurations (as with streaming video, music, or webcam sites). Dedicated servers are generally required only for large traffic, enterprise sites with a systems administrator who can install, configure, and maintain the LAMP/LNMP/WAMP stack consistently. Some of the advantages of dedicated servers in hosting Joomla sites are:

  • Required by large sites in enterprise or the Fortune 500 with custom security needs
  • Used by the most popular sites on the web to run unique, custom server configurations
  • Large amount of flexibility with the OS & used for custom configurations of Nginx
  • Needed by sites with a large file base that requires a lot of hard disk space

With dedicated servers, the use of solid state drives (SSD) vs. traditional hard disks (HDD) in the architecture can make a difference in site performance, as well as the CPU processing power and amount or type of RAM installed. Nevertheless, the cost involved with dedicated servers and the outperformance of cloud hosting configurations for managing peak traffic make them usually only required for Joomla sites in enterprise which have internal security requirements related to corporate data that cannot be shared outside of the company employees.

Joomla System Requirements

The Joomla CMS system requirements are supported by most 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 keep updated with the latest Joomla security versions to keep the code patched against MySQL injection attacks and other database exploits used by 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 can be found by using the PHP 7.x version. Developers report that this will give definite improvements to the page speed load times of a Joomla site, but it may not be compatible with all of the 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.

QUICK TIP: In order to install Joomla, the “magic quotes” extension for PHP must be turned off on the server. Site owners on shared hosting need to confirm that they have access to the .htaccess and php.ini files and the ability to edit them to override the default PHP configuration of the web host locally. Please see this tutorial on Joomla.org for more information on the process.

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

The use of auto-installation scripts with Joomla under the configuration settings listed above is considered safe due to the simple “One Click Version Update” ability built into the CMS. Site owners or developers will still need to manually install templates and extensions to build out new functionality.
Best practice is to use the Joomla CMS administration panel to upgrade the installation rather than the auto-installer in order to make sure that manually uploaded templates and modules are not lost in the version upgrade process when security patches are applied.

Joomla auto-installation via Softaculous

QUICK TIP: Auto-installers like Softaculous, Fantastico, and Mojo QuickInstall can be an easy way to quickly launch a website or test a CMS framework without having to create a database & user in cPanel.

Joomla Development Issues

The most important issue for multi-developer teams in Joomla site creation and new extension programming is the use of version management tools. Make sure that the web host will provide Secure Shell (SSH) access for command line management of the server configuration and the use of Git for version control if the Joomla development process will require custom PHP code or programming new extensions. Site owners are advised to follow the developer and programmer recommendations for server configuration on these sites, though typically development may be done in a sandbox on a shared hosting plan for testing and then deployed as a live site on a different cloud host or VPS as a web app.

Performance optimization settings can be used to keep a Joomla site running under the cost advantages and limitations of a shared host or VPS. This includes page caching through third-party Joomla extensions; compressing the Javascript, CSS, images, and html; or the use of Varnish, Redis, Memcache, & APC in custom server configurations. Developer tools like Google Pagespeed can be used to test the live site and see what changes need to be made to optimize the site performance.

Joomla High Performance with Nginx

Dedicated servers with Nginx for enterprise and sites with consistently high traffic or a large user base can be recommended as a high-performance solution. However, this requires technical systems administration in addition to the web developers and PHP specialists, which equals a very high cost that may be out of the range of most small business and start-up sites. Another problem is the LNMP stack runs PHP as Fast CGI which may cause conflict with some 3rd party Joomla extensions which require the use of the Apache .htaccess file (Nginx uses nginx.conf). Because of the cost involved with the extensive level of custom configuration of the server, a Dedicated server solution running Nginx is usually only possible for the largest companies running the most popular sites on the web.

Nginx for Joomla

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

Final Thoughts & Recommendations on Joomla Web Hosting

Shared web hosting is generally sufficient for maintaining most small business sites running Joomla, though it is important to compare the plans and configurations between the companies to get the most value for the investment. Hosting plans advertised as “unlimited” may include strict limitations on the use of server processing power, which can shut down sites during times of peak traffic. Generally, if the site is expected to generate less than a few thousand page hits per day and not subject to traffic spikes with large number of simultaneous users consuming sever resources, a shared hosting plan will be sufficient. Customer service and tech support can make a critical difference in choosing between the different web hosting companies, especially when developing sites with custom solutions.

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

Cloud hosting solutions are based on load balancing, database management, and advanced page caching in order to manage traffic spikes effectively, but both managed cloud services and “pay as you go” options can be significantly more expensive than shared hosting accounts. Cloud servers are the mid-range options available for small businesses and start-ups running Joomla who need the advanced scalability to meet the requirements of peak traffic and spikes in the number of page loads with special promotions or press releases. Only large corporations and huge media sites will need the resources of a dedicated server to host a Joomla site—though even with these sites, there is some debate as to whether a cloud offering will provide better performance under all situations.

Small businesses and start-up companies using custom development for sites can start with a VPS plan from a reputable company for advanced Joomla configurations rather than investing in owning their own server hardware. This is most appropriate for Joomla sites with development requirements related to multimedia archives, video hosting, web cams, or chatrooms that can require specific server configurations that a shared hosting plan will not support. A VPS server will not provide the performance optimization benefits of a cloud server or able to launch into multiple server instances if peak traffic overloads the account. For this reason, it can be beneficial to develop a new Joomla site in a VPS sandbox environment and then move it to a cloud host when the site is launched to live production.