If you aim to have a web presence, you've got to have email. It's a convenient way for potential customers and clients to send you a message, Word document, or other files. Thankfully, most web hosts include email in the price of their hosting plans. Some web hosts offer unlimited email account creation (which is great for future growth), while others offer a finite amount. You, naturally, should want unlimited email.
Note that we're speaking here of the WordPress.org CMS that acts as the foundation for your self-hosted website, not WordPress.com. The latter CMS has more in common with website builders than traditional website hosting. In effect, WordPress.com is a turnkey (and more limited) WordPress solution, whereas the services in this roundup offer a vastly more flexible (and labor-intensive) DIY approach.
If you're planning to create a WordPress-powered site, there's no reason not to invest in WordPress-specific hosting. It's chock full of benefits. That said, a WordPress environment won't allow you to set up a non-WordPress site—that's something else to keep in mind, especially if you have a site in mind that will rely on specific frameworks, for example. In such instances, you'll want to go build your site on shared hosting, VPS hosting, or dedicated hosting services. And, if you want to start your own web hosting company, reseller hosting is the way to go.
Before you sign up for a WordPress web hosting service, you should look for these attractive—and possibly essential—features. Ideally, you'll want to invest in a WordPress host that provides unlimited monthly data transfers, email, storage, and 24/7 support. Many WordPress web hosts that place caps on those features, particularly on the managed side of things. WP Engine ($35.00 - 20% Off with Promo Code PCMAG20 at WP Engine) , for example, limits sites to 400,000 visitors and a relatively paltry 30GB of storage. If you expect lots of site growth, you'll want a host that can properly accommodate your website's future expansion.
You can also host your website on WordPress.com, but that's different from the kind of hosting mentioned above. WordPress.com uses the same code from WordPress.org, but it hides the server code and handles the hosting for you. In that sense, it resembles entries in our online site builder roundup. It's a simpler but less flexible and customizable way to approach WordPress hosting. It's definitely easier, but if you want to tinker and adjust and optimize every aspect of your site, it might not be for you.