PCI compliant hosting – providers for secure online transactions
This article highlights the 5 best PCI compliant hosting providers out there and also covers everything you need to consider before picking a host.
If you’re selling online, PCI DSS, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, compliancy is a must. It’s a set of guidelines established by credit card companies to protect cardholders’ information when used online.
But, PCI compliancy isn’t exactly a one-person job for online merchants like yourself. Sure, it isn’t impossible but, trust me, a PCI compliant hosting provider will make life a lot easier for you.
Here’s a problem, though: it can be difficult to find providers, especially shared hosting ones, that are PCI compliant. It’s even more challenging to find good-quality ones.
This is where this article comes into play. First and foremost, I gathered all PCI compliant hosting providers. Based on their price, features, and performance, I came up with a list of the 5 best candidates that will make it a lot easier for you to abide by the guidelines.
Best PCI compliant hosting: ranked
- Liquid Web – best overall PCI compliant hosting
- Bluehost – cheap beginner-friendly PCI compliant host
- DreamHost – feature-rich provider with PCI compliant servers
- InMotion Hosting – best configurable PCI compliant VPS hosting
- GoDaddy – easy and secure PCI compliant hosting
Use this list to explore your options. Or jump to the bottom to find out how to choose the best PCI compliant hosting provider.
1. Liquid Web
|Features||Fully managed, free SSL, automated backups, choice of a control panel|
|Best for||Fast and secure eCommerce hosting|
Liquid Web establishes itself as the go-to company for large businesses looking for fully managed PCI compliant hosting. Among its appeals are its fully managed service with swift support, quarterly PCI scans, and strict security measures.
Liquid Web recommends its dedicated and cloud hosting for PCI compliant hosting. It even offers PCI compliant dedicated server bundles that include PCI Compliance Scanning service for free. However, since all of its servers are on PCI compliant data centers, you’re covered even if you opt for a managed VPS plan, which is exactly what we are recommending for starting a business site.
This is what you can expect from its managed VPS hosting:
- A fully-managed platform with a control panel. The host will handle the backend, but you’ll still have full root control. Additionally, you get a choice between control panels – opt for either a cPanel, InterWorx, or Plesk.
- Liquid Web’s SLA agreement guarantees that it’ll answer both phone and live chat within 59 seconds. Besides that, the SLA also promises 100% uptime.
- Advanced security measures, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection, ServerSecure, and integrated firewalls.
- For effortless PCI DSS compliant hosting, Liquid Web offers a PCI Compliance Scanning service. For an extra charge, you’ll get quarterly scans performed by a PCI Authorized Scanning Vendor. In addition, Liquid Web’s team will help to solve any detected issues and rescan if needed.
Fully managed convenience, strict security measures, and PCI-related perks – Liquid Web has all the makings of a first-rate PCI compliant hosting provider.
Liquid Web performance
Liquid Web is the most reliable provider of the lot. During testing, the provider displayed unparalleled reliability with a 100% uptime – effortlessly staying true to its 100% uptime guarantee. Meanwhile, Liquid Web also demonstrated a very good average response time of 521ms and had no trouble handling big traffic spikes.
For a detailed analysis of its performance, give our Liquid Web review a read.
Liquid Web pricing
Liquid Web’s 4 fully managed VPS plans are the most popular options for PCI compliant hosting. They cost between $15.00/mo and $95/mo. Other alternatives include PCI cloud hosting (from $265/mo) and dedicated server hosting (from $169/mo).
Let’s check out its managed VPS plans. All 4 plans come with:
- 10TB bandwidth,
- Choices of the control panel – cPanel, InterWorx, or Plesk,
- Root access,
- SSL certificate,
- DDoS protection,
- Cloudflare CDN,
- Standard ServerSecure Advanced Security,
- Dedicated IP address.
For easy PCI compliance, you’ll also want the scanning service. This is a paid add-on that starts from $50.00/mo.
Meanwhile, the plans’ resources range from 40GB to 200GB for storage, 2GB to 16GM RAM, and 2 to 8 CPUs.
Most people on the hunt for PCI compliant hosting will find that the 16GB RAM plan offers the best bang for the buck with its rich resources. To max out the savings, opt for the 24-month billing cycle.
- Big introductory discounts
- 100% uptime guarantee
- An extensive set of security features
- All servers are on PCI compliant data centers
- Premium-level prices after renewal
- No free custom domain
|Features||Managed WordPress, free SSL, domain, dedicated IP, cPanel, email account, automated backups|
|Best for||Growing PCI compliant WooCommerce website|
Bluehost is one of the few names whose shared hosting solution can be PCI compliant. With a laser-sharp focus on beginners, the provider offers cheap, simple, and scalable PCI compliant hosting to attract the group. Plus, its solid performance is definitely a tempting lure, too.
Bluehost supports PCI compliance on all of its solutions, including shared hosting. However, for online stores, I’d absolutely recommend scaling up. Advanced packages like managed WordPress and WooCommerce are better fits with their greater resources and liberal eCommerce features.
In any case, this is what you get from Bluehost:
- Beginner-friendly help with customer support that will assist with the PCI compliance tests and resources for troubleshooting.
- Bluehost puts ease of use at the forefront of things. The host uses a mix of its native user interface and a widely beloved and simple cPanel control panel.
- Heavy emphasis on user experience. If you opt for its managed WordPress service, your account comes with pre-installed WordPress. Meanwhile, those on its WooCommerce plans get the pre-installed plugin, storefront themes, and other premium plugins like Jetpack. Plus, the staging environment is also included in all the plans.
- Various business-oriented tools – especially if you’re on one of its advanced solutions. This includes Google My Business, marketing credits, and SEO tools.
Overall, Bluehost’s ease of use and generous handy features make it an ideal provider if you’re new to PCI compliant hosting. Plus, it offers many options to scale once you’re ready for a more advanced solution.
Performance-wise, Bluehost definitely holds up its end of the bargain with excellent reliability and fast response times. The provider maintained a 99.99% uptime for months, while its response times averaged out at a very swift 361ms. Although Bluehost lacks an uptime guarantee, the provider proves to be reliable and very fast. This combo is exactly what you want to see in a host.
Check out our in-depth Bluehost review for more detailed coverage of its performance.
Bluehost offers 4 PCI compliant shared hosting plans with prices between $2.95/mo and $13.95. However, the better option for online store hosting is its 2 WooCommerce plans – Standard ($15.95/mo) and Premium ($32.95/mo).
Both WooCommerce plans include:
- Unmetered bandwidth,
- Free domain,
- Pre-installed WooCommerce,
- Staging environment,
- Free Jetpack plugin,
- Free store-front themes,
- Website traffic analytics,
- Payment processing,
- Dedicated IP,
- CodeGuard backup basic for 1st year,
- Free Office 365 for 30 days.
In any case, Bluehost lets you either host 1 website on its entry plan or unlimited websites on its other plans. Meanwhile, the plans’ storage ranges from 50GB to unmetered.
If you’re set on Bluehost’s PCI compliant shared hosting plans, Plus offers the best value at $5.95 for 36 months. Just barely pricier than Basic, it offers unlimited websites and storage, as well as a free Office 365 for 30 days.
- Supports PCI with shared hosting plans
- Includes staging environment
- Offers an easy-to-use cPanel
- Slightly more premium prices
- No uptime guarantee
|Features||Website staging, website builder, caching, daily backups|
|Best for||Secure fully managed WordPress online store|
With DreamHost, you can freely choose a plan and make it PCI compliant as the service provider’s servers are up to date and meet all the requirements. However, its managed WordPress plans (DreamPress) are the ultimate choice for most WooCommerce stores looking for a PCI compliant hosting partner.
Here are some of DreamPress’ key features:
- High-level security as the plans come with a boatload of security features. You get pre-installed SSL certificates, daily automatic backups, on-demand backups, 1-click restore, firewalls, DDoS protection (via Cloudflare CDN), domain privacy, and automatic updates.
- Fully managed convenience to make things much easier for beginners and those that prefer a hands-off approach. The provider will take care of all backend matters for you.
- Diverse WordPress-focused features to enhance and simplify the CMS. For starters, WordPress is already pre-installed out of the box. Alternatively, there are also free automated WordPress migration services. Other highlights include built-in caching, Jetpack, and WordPress website builder.
- DreamHost is pretty generous in terms of features. The provider includes all the necessities like a free domain, SSL, unlimited email accounts, staging tool. More so, you get a custom control panel for simple and fast website management.
There’s one very important caveat to note with DreamHost, though. While its servers are PCI compliant, the provider will not actually help to make your site compliant. Instead, you’ll need to be the one to take the steps to ensure that your site passes the test.
DreamHost absolutely excels performance-wise. It’s the fastest provider on this list and also extremely reliable. Tested for months, DreamHost showed almost-perfect uptime of >99.99%, with only 1 outage lasting a minute. As for speed, it leaves plenty of other providers in the dust with a blazing-fast 231ms.
For a more comprehensive analysis of the provider’s performance, have a look at our DreamHost review.
For PCI compliant WordPress hosting, I’d recommend DreamHost’s DreamPress packages. There are 3 such plans, ranging from $16.95/mo to $71.95/mo.
All 3 plans let you host 1 website, specifically WordPress, on a cloud server environment and come with:
- Unmetered bandwidth,
- Free SSL certificate,
- Free domain and domain privacy,
- Server-level caching,
- Free automated WordPress migrations,
- WordPress website builder,
- Automatic core and security updates,
- Jetpack plugin,
- Automated daily backups,
- On-demand backups and 1-click restore.
As for storage, it ranges from 30GB to 120GB depending on the plan.
Most online merchants will get the most value out of DreamPress Plus. At $24.95/mo, its price is still very affordable. In return, it offers 2 times the storage amount of DreamPress and can accommodate 3 times more visits/mo.
- Offers PCI compliant servers
- Comes with resource-rich plans
- Many WordPress enhancing features
- Slightly more premium prices
- Allows hosting only 1 website
4. InMotion Hosting
|Features||Fully managed, cPanel, free domain, SSL, DDoS protection, firewalls|
|Best for||Powerful and secure VPS hosting with PCI compliant servers|
InMotion Hosting is a well-rounded PCI compliant provider with many options to scale. The provider simplifies hosting for its users with plenty of beginner-friendly features and assistance. Additionally, it also offers loads of security measures to meet even the strictest compliance standards.
InMotion Hosting’s servers are PCI compliant. However, you’ll actually need to go for its VPS or dedicated plan for all the required modifications to be possible.
So, here are some of its managed VPS packages’ main attractions:
- Fully managed VPS services with a cPanel control panel for beginner-friendly and no-fuss management.
- InMotion’s team of professionals will take care of all server configurations and even offer PCI-related help such as compliance report reviews.
- Plenty of measures to cover security vulnerabilities. Among them are Corero DDoS protection, brute force protection, firewalls, and server snapshots.
- 2 hours of free Launch Assist. Here, a dedicated agent will help you to set up and configure your site’s server for specific needs.
Do bear in mind, however, that InMotion Hosting doesn’t provide PCI compliance scans. That said, it’ll help to review the results of your compliance report if it’s from a specialized security company. In fact, it’ll even help fix the issues and make any necessary changes.
Convenient, secure, and very generous with assistance – InMotion Hosting is a great option for beginners and those who prefer a more involved host. It’s suitable for different CMS’s with the most popular being WordPress and Magento PCI hosting.
InMotion Hosting performance
Keeping a close eye on InMotion Hosting’s performance for well over 2 weeks, I can safely say that the provider is very reliable. It was up for 100% of the time – much better than the 99.9% guaranteed it issues. Additionally, the host managed to keep a very reasonable speed, with the average response time being 585ms.
To know more about InMotion Hosting’s VPS hosting, you might want to have a look at our InMotion Hosting review.
InMotion Hosting pricing
InMotion Hosting has 4 VPS plans that are recommended for those looking for PCI compliant hosting. Their prices range from $17.99/mo to $72.99/mo.
All 4 plans include:
- Unlimited bandwidth,
- Free SSL certificate,
- Free website transfers and server setup,
- cPanel & WHM,
- 3 dedicated IPs,
- DDoS protection,
- Server snapshots.
As for resources, they range from 45GB to 140GB for storage, 2GB to 8GM RAM, and 2 to 8 CPUs.
For the biggest savings, InMotion Hosting’s 6GB RAM is the way to go. Sign up for a 3-year subscription to make full use of its introductory discount.
- Fully managed and all-inclusive service
- Professional customer support for PCI
- Free Launch Assist session
- Premium-level prices
- Complex pricing structure
|Features||Free domain, SSL, email accounts, daily backups, malware scanning, staging|
|Best for||Medium-sized PCI compliant online store hosting|
For small business owners, GoDaddy is on the top of the list for PCI compliant providers. The host offers a very streamlined platform with tons of eCommerce-focused features. It’s ideal for busy business owners looking for a no-nonsense approach.
The good news for GoDaddy PCI compliance is that it’s possible on the host’s VPS and dedicated plans. If you ask me, though, my go-to option will have to be GoDaddy’s managed WordPress Ecommerce hosting.
It’s just 1 plan, and it’s eCommerce-ready out of the box. Here’s what you’ll find with the plan:
- Immediate PCI compliance and with excellent attention to security vulnerabilities. Some of the measures included are daily malware scans, removal and hack repair, daily backups, an SSL certificate, and automatic updates.
- The ability to customize your online store to reflect your needs with 75 premium WooCommerce Storefront themes and extensions included in your plan.
- Getting started is a breeze as GoDaddy has streamlined and simplified its setup and launch processes. To further highlight the simplicity of it all, you get to use widely beloved cPanel for your website management.
- managed WordPress Ecommerce hosting plan comes with all the necessities you might need. It includes a free domain, an SSL, a single professional email account, as well as unlimited storage and bandwidth.
Easy, PCI compliant, secure, and comes with various eCommerce features, it’s no surprise that GoDaddy appeals to so many users – especially those who just ventured into online selling.
GoDaddy’s performance is one of the best ones you’ll see among the providers on this list. During my testing, the provider maintained a remarkably reliable 99.98% uptime. Plus, it’s definitely no slouch in the speed department, either. GoDaddy response times never once exceeded 450ms and instead averaged out to a very fast 341ms.
Hit up our detailed GoDaddy review for a more thorough analysis of its performance.
GoDaddy’s best candidate for PCI compliant hosting is its Managed WordPress Ecommerce Hosting. The plan is priced at a very affordable $15.99/mo and will renew at $24.99/mo.
It comes with:
- Over 75 premium WooCommerce extensions,
- Pre-installed WordPress and WooCommerce,
- Free SSL installed and configured,
- Free business email,
- Domain for the entire duration of the plan,
- SEO optimizer,
- Daily backups,
- Daily malware scans, removal, and hack repair,
- 1-click staging,
- Automatic WordPress core updates and security patching,
- Free CDN Boost.
Meanwhile, for resources, the plan hosts a single site that can accommodate unlimited visitors and comes with unlimited storage plus unlimited product listings.
For the best deal, subscribe to its 36-month plan to lock the plan at the introductory price of $15.99/mo.
- Strong security features
- Resource-rich plans
- Reliable and fast performance
- Allows hosting only 1 website
- More premium price
Best PCI compliant hosting: final recommendations
There’s no doubt that finding quality PCI compliant hosting providers is a challenge. Not only are the requirements strict, but the hosts also aren’t exactly the most transparent when it comes to security policy or their security systems.
So, here’s a quick recap of the providers and their strengths:
- Liquid Web offers a secure and advanced VPS PCI compliant solution with quarterly PCI scans.
- Bluehost delivers a cheap, beginner-friendly, and scalable PCI compliant shared hosting service.
- DreamHost offers fast, reliable, and feature-rich WordPress plans on its PCI-compliant servers.
- InMotion Hosting provides great assistance for those working towards PCI certification.
- GoDaddy provides user-friendly PCI compliant hosting with generous business-oriented tools.
PCI compliant hosting: key things to consider
PCI DSS is a set of standards that outline the minimum security requirements for merchants, hosting services, and others in storing, handling, and processing credit card payments and any related information.
PCI compliant hosting providers are extremely helpful here as they have already been assessed and are deemed to have met PCI standards.
But, of course, not every provider is up for the job.
So let’s see whether PCI compliance is really needed and what kind of factors you should consider when choosing one.
Do I need PCI compliant hosting?
PCI compliant hosting is extremely helpful but isn’t strictly necessary. It’s only required for online merchants who want to process payments and store data on their own server. And, typically, this is only common with larger eCommerce sites.
Meanwhile, most smaller online stores don’t necessarily need PCI compliant hosting. This is a good thing as most providers, especially shared hosting ones, are rarely compliant.
However, if these stores handle credit card transactions, they’ll still need to meet PCI security standards. In such cases, merchants can use third-party payment gateways, such as PayPal and Stripe, to comply with the PCI DSS standards and guarantee secure transmission of cardholder data.
How to choose PCI compliant hosting?
Some of the things you need to consider when you’re looking for PCI compliant web hosting include hosting type, management level, and type of PCI compliance.
Type of hosting
Generally, most hosts have configured their cloud, VPS, and dedicated servers to be PCI compliant right out of the box. Or, at least, make it much easier to pass the test.
Of course, these solutions are more costly than shared hosting, which could be an issue for budget-hunting users.
But, while shared servers might be more wallet-friendly, compliance is much tougher to achieve. See, shared servers usually don’t have the strict security measures necessary to meet PCI Data Security Standards.
This is why many online merchants who are on shared hosting plans turn to third-party payment processor services to ensure compliance instead.
Choosing between unmanaged or managed hosting also decides how much help you’ll get to be PCI compliant.
Unmanaged hosting means that you’ll be the one doing the security configuration to meet the requirements. And, even if your provider is PCI compliant, your tweaking could alter the status of your online store.
Meanwhile, managed PCI hosting takes the weight off your shoulder, with your provider handling everything security-wise and offering PCI-related perks. For instance, some of GoDaddy’s plans are already PCI compliant.
Type of PCI compliance
Certain providers offer full PCI compliant hosting, while others only have their servers ready for their users’ compliance tests.
Take DreamHost as an example. Its servers are up to date and meet the PCI requirements, but you’ll do the heavy lifting as it’ll not offer assistance in this regard.
PCI compliant hosting FAQs
What is PCI compliant hosting?
PCI-compliant hosting is a hosting solution that meets the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Usually, hosting providers will implement internal and physical security measures to make sure that all online transactions are secure.
What makes a website PCI compliant?
A website is PCI compliant if it meets all 12 requirements of the PCI DSS.
What if website is not PCI compliant?
If a website is not PCI compliant, it risks exposing its customer’s data to credit card fraud. Plus, the site could also be fined for non-compliance. Ultimately, the site could lose its credit card processing privileges, too.
Is PCI compliance mandatory?
Yes, PCI compliance is mandatory if your site stores, processes, or transmits cardholder data.
What cards are covered under PCI?
The cards that are covered under PCI include debit card, credit card, and prepaid cards from the following companies – American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, and Visa International.