When it comes to building a website, the first thing you typically look for is a host. A host is a person or company that has a web server. You rent space on the web server for your website and in return your website is accessible on the open web.
However, not all hosts are “created equally.” Some hosts have a bad reputation from a security standpoint. Other hosts are incredibly slow. On a fresh installation of WordPress, a slow host, is evident if it takes forever for the admin panel to load.
I am going to walk you through a typical checklist of things to look out for when trying to figure out which host is right for you and your company.
1. Avoid GoDaddy
GoDaddy is a solid domain registrar and their U.S. based customer support is more than helpful. However, the biggest issue with GoDaddy is their outsourced customer support, who often tell me incorrect information.
Their customer support has told me on several occasions that a client site is not hosted with them, but with Cloudflare. For those unaware, Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN). They do not host websites. The outsourced GoDaddy customer support has such little knowledge that I’ll avoid contacting them.
It’s better most days to avoid talking with the outsourced support and wait until U.S. business hours. That aside, GoDaddy has a great email and domain registrar business. In conclusion, if you are looking for a fast and secure website, GoDaddy is not for you. GoDaddy may be tempting because of their cheap pricing, but compared to similar hosts they fail to impress.
2. Avoid Endurance International Group (EIG)
Endurance International Group (EIG) is a collection of web hosts that almost all universally suck. The one exception to this is Bluehost. Bluehost is a diamond in the rough. Their servers are quick and their support is knowledgable.
Unlike other EIG brands, Bluehost seems to care about improving customer experience and is quick to adopt new technologies. For example, they added varnish caching to their shared plans, updated to PHP 7+ and offer free SSL certificates.
EIG as a whole is abysmal. Imagine a big corporate web host that only cares about making as much money as possible. That is EIG.
You can check out this Wikipedia article to see other brands that EIG owns.
Let’s discuss what you should look for.
Every good host needs to quickly adopt new technology and have fast server response times. If you are looking to start a blog for fun or you are creating a hobby site, price is another factor to consider.
One aspect of hosting that the average user is not going to look into is the more technical features each host offers. There are also hosts where the service is great, but you are paying a hefty premium for it.
My challenge to you is to figure out what your budget is and what level of support you need and go from there. I am going to recommend a few hosts based on what website niches I feel they excel at hosting. Although, any of them can host any type of website niche.
Siteground is my host of choice. They have fast server response time, a helpful and responsive support team, and they adopt new technologies quickly. They also create their own features, like the SG Optimizer, SuperCacher, and Anti-Bot AI.
Siteground has a shared hosting platform that is best suited for small to mid-sized blogs and e-commerce stores. They are not the cheapest host. The price on their shared hosting page is for your first year only and that is at 60% off. However, they are incredibly reliable. Host reliability is an important factor to consider.
Siteground is the host I use for all my websites.
Dreamhost is an odd-fit, but they have an amazing support team. Their general shared hosting plan is great. With the shared hosting plan, you get all the “unlimited” features like a budget host, but with better infrastructure.
The standard shared hosting is great for small to medium sized blogs. However, I would avoid hosting any sorty of e-commerce or database taxing operations on their shared server. This means no forums, membership sites, or BuddyPress, etc.
Dreamhost also offers the DreamPress plan. This is meant to be similar to managed WordPress hosting, however it ranges from being too expensive to just fine. If you only have one website, DreamPress is more than competitive for the space. The issues come in when you have multiple websites, then the pricing seems to fall a bit flat. But, DreamPress is certainly worth a look.
Kinsta is like taking a WordPress hosting environment, taking out all the technical stuff, and pumping the server with steroids. In my experience, Kinsta has the most expensive hosting, but they have the fastest server response time. Kinsta is a premium host as you will be nickeled and dime everywhere, but they are unbeatable in terms of raw performance.
I recommend Kinsta for companies that can afford premium hosting, but are also in desperate need of results. If you throw enough money into it, Kinsta will give you the results you need.
What About XYZ Host?
I could sit here and dissect every website host out there from WP Engine to Pantheon. Most website hosts are great, just avoid the commercialized corporate hosts who overcrowd their servers. If you do that, you will be fine.
Look for a website host that gives you the most bang for your buck. Ignore a lot of the reviews online about one host being superior to the rest; namely WP Engine. WP Engine pays bloggers $200 for every client they send to them. My best advice is to do your research.
There are many WordPress support groups on Facebook where you can reach out for help. You can also comment on a developer’s blog and ask for help. Or you can pay a professional for an hour of their time to consult with you on your needs.
That way you can get personalized recommendations that are unique to your website needs and not from the generalized blog your reading.