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In the world we live in, a business without a website is like a car without wheels…it’s not going anywhere! Your website provides you with a way to connect with potential clients and convince them that your products or services are just what they need.
If you’re at the point where you’re putting together a website for your company, you’ll no doubt be aware of the importance of choosing the right web hosting provider. The only trouble is, there are literally hundreds all vying for your business. So just how do you pick one over all the others and make sure your website is built upon solid foundations?
We wanted to try and make this decision a little easier for you, so you can spend less time trawling the web and more time running your business. And we did this by reaching out to nearly 100 people that deal with web hosting each and every day…professional web design and development experts. We quizzed each of them about their recommendations for the best web hosting for small business. Each expert was allowed to name up to 3 hosts they think are a good fit.
This article is the result of those conversations, and we’re going to show you which small business web hosting services came out on top, as well as what the experts had to say on the matter. So whether you’re creating your business’s first ever website or your current web host has been a let-down and you’re looking to change provider, the advice on this page should help you to figure out where to start looking.
***Who knew that definitions for “small business” vary so wildly?! For the purpose of this article we defined a small business as “any business that has an annual turnover of $0 – $1.5 million and 1-25 employees.”
Top Small Business Web Hosting Solutions: How Our Experts Voted
|Hosting Provider||# of Votes|
|#1. SiteGround||31 Votes|
|#2. WP Engine||24 Votes|
|#3. Flywheel||14 Votes|
|#4. GoDaddy||11 Votes|
|#=5. HostGator||9 Votes|
|#=5. Bluehost||9 Votes|
|#6. DigitalOcean||7 Votes|
|#7. 20i||6 Votes|
|#=8. Amazon Web Services||5 Votes|
|#=8. Cloudways||5 Votes|
|#=9. A2 Hosting||4 Votes|
|#=9. Liquid Web||4 Votes|
|#=9. Heart Internet||4 Votes|
|#=10. tsoHost||3 Votes|
|#=10. InMotion Hosting||3 Votes|
|#=10. Pantheon||3 Votes|
|#=10. Rackspace||3 Votes|
|#=11. CloudAccess.net||2 Votes|
|#=11. DreamHost||2 Votes|
|#=11. UKFast||2 Votes|
|#=11. WPX Hosting||2 Votes|
|#=11. 1 & 1 IONOS||2 Votes|
|#=11. WiserHosting||2 Votes|
|#=11. 34SP.com||2 Votes|
|#=11. KnownHost||2 Votes|
|#=11. Vultr||2 Votes|
|#=11. Fasthosts||2 Votes|
|#=11. Kinsta||2 Votes|
|#=12. Big Time Host||1 Vote|
|#=12. VersionPress||1 Vote|
|#=12. Google Sites||1 Vote|
|#=12. HostDime||1 Vote|
|#=12. NameHero||1 Vote|
|#=12. Hostek||1 Vote|
|#=12. Raid Host||1 Vote|
|#=12. NameCheap||1 Vote|
|#=12. FastComet||1 Vote|
|#=12. Nimbus Hosting||1 Vote|
|#=12. catalyst2||1 Vote|
|#=12. Digital River||1 Vote|
|#=12. UK2||1 Vote|
|#=12. zenbox||1 Vote|
|#=12. Blacknight||1 Vote|
|#=12. domainname||1 Vote|
|#=12. GreenGeeks||1 Vote|
|#=12. HostPapa||1 Vote|
|#=12. Media Temple||1 Vote|
|#=12. TMDHosting||1 Vote|
|#=12. Datacentreplus||1 Vote|
|#=12. Krystal||1 Vote|
|#=12. Unlimited Web Hosting||1 Vote|
|#=12. Microsoft Azure||1 Vote|
|#=12. Anchor Hosting||1 Vote|
|#=12. Infomaniak||1 Vote|
|#=12. OVH||1 Vote|
|#=12. Smart Hosting||1 Vote|
|#=12. Atrema Technologies||1 Vote|
|#=12. Wirehive||1 Vote|
What did we say about their being a ton of small business website hosting options to choose from?! There were 58 different hosts mentioned in total by the web design and development experts we surveyed, but if you check out the table above, you’ll notice that just a handful got a majority of the votes. And it’s this small group that we’re going to focus on in this quick summary.
SiteGround was the clear winner, and as an all-round package it would appear to offer everything most small businesses would want in a hosting provider, all for a very attractive price. Fast, reliable servers, coupled with solid security features (free backups, malware scans, updates, SSL certificates), and quality live support (24/7 – primarily via live chat) if you do run into any problems – SiteGround does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. And if like many small businesses, you’re on a budget, but want to make your money go as far as it can, then you won’t go far wrong with the packages offered by SiteGround, with many of our experts saying that they offer the best price-quality ratio they’ve come across.
Beyond SiteGround, two dedicated WordPress hosting services came very highly recommended, in WP Engine and Flywheel. As these hosting providers focus solely on hosting WordPress sites, this has allowed them to really optimize the performance (so expect very good page load speed) of websites built using this platform, which is great for your visitors and, in turn, for SEO. The overall consensus we got from conversations with our experts is that WP Engine is the slightly more heavy hitting of the two (particularly at entry level), and while the base plans are more expensive, you get a lot for your money, with dev/staging environments included, automatic backups, CDN, free restores if you get hacked and premium quality support (WordPress experts available 24/7 over the phone!).
Flywheel is still top drawer though, and entry level plans are quite a bit cheaper than WP Engine’s, so if you want that next-level performance, but need to keep your hosting bill as trim as possible, this is the option you should check out.
If price is your main criteria and you’re on the lookout for affordable web hosting for small business, then GoDaddy, HostGator and Bluehost are some solid options worth checking out. All were recommended by a good number of the experts we asked, and all offer extremely cheap starter plans (less than $3/month if you commit to a longer period). They aren’t likely to match the performance of the hosts we’ve already discussed (at least not on their shared hosting plans), but they offer a trouble free route to getting your business’s website online, without significant expense, which is the important thing.
Rounding out this summary of the results are a couple of powerful options for the more technically able small business owner- DigitalOcean & Amazon Web Services. These options will require you to “get your hands dirty” but they are extremely customizable. Probably overkill for a lot of small businesses, but if you need hosting with significant firepower and virtually endless possibilities, they are worth a closer look.
Other Articles You May Find Useful:
1) If you have a small to mid-size website and don’t want to pay the big bucks, but still need a package that offers all round solid performance (speed, reliability, security), coupled with decent live support any time you need it, then this really is a great option:
2) If you’re running a more complex website and it’s built on WordPress and you need next-level performance in terms of page speed, security features and hosting support, then check out these options:
3) If you just want to put up a fairly basic website, aren’t bothered about having “best in class” features, and affordability is a priority, then try one of these:
4) If you’re a bit more tech savvy or have a developer on staff, are prepared to be more “hands on” with your web hosting, and need a more flexible, powerful hosting solution that is also affordable, these options may be worth a look:
Read What The Experts Said
Below we’ve posted exactly what each expert had to say when we asked them for their recommendations on the best website hosting for small business. You can check the hosts they nominated, plus why they like these hosting companies. There’s also a whole lot of hints and tips to keep in mind when choosing hosting for your website sprinkled in there too!
And if you’re interested in reading what was said about a specific provider, just use the filters below to quickly jump to them.
- 1 & 1 IONOS
- A2 Hosting
- Amazon Web Services
- Anchor Hosting
- Atrema Technologies
- Big Time Host
- Digital River
- Google Sites
- Heart Internet
- InMotion Hosting
- Liquid Web
- Media Temple
- Microsoft Azure
- Nimbus Hosting
- Raid Host
- Smart Hosting
- Unlimited Web Hosting
- WP Engine
- WPX Hosting
“Hosting is a critical factor for any website that wants to perform well for its visitors and in search. It is often overlooked and budget hosting will cost you more than you think.
Page and site speed are very important factors for both user experience and a Google ranking factor. For example, the retail giant, Amazon, recently calculated that a one-second delay in page load speed could cost them $1.6 billion in sales each year. People will abandon carts and even never return to a site again if it’s slow. Especially for those users on mobile devices, speed matters. If a high-quality hosting provider is used, then we see a direct impact of increased rankings, traffic and lower bounce rate.
We have tried many companies and currently recommend these two hosting providers:”
- WP Engine – “These super dudes make hosting a WordPress site a breeze, with unparalleled support. It seems any issue is never too much hassle. Hosting of this quality helps me sleep at night with their hack protection guarantee. They are a little more money than others, but you get what you pay for.”
- SiteGround – “SiteGround is a great budget option. It is robust and much faster than your other typical shared hosting providers. Support is via chat, but they are quick to respond and often quick to find a solution, unlike many other providers. SiteGround seems to be proactive in adding features and improving its systems.”
- Datacentreplus – “Naturally web-hosting is a technical subject, and as such is rather a daunting prospect for many small businesses. The reason we like to work with DataCentrePlus is that they clearly understand this position, with great straight-talking support; so-much-so in fact that we have total confidence in them handling client issues, therefore we don’t need to get involved in hosting issues at all, letting the experts do their jobs.”
- Krystal – “If it’s affordable, simple hosting you’re after – which many start-ups and small businesses are – then Krystal do a great job. UK-based and perfectly reliable, and they’ll help with things like email setup, SSL certificate installation and WordPress optimisation.”
- SiteGround – “Amazing customer support, very reliable. SiteGround has a monthly limit for visitors, so if people build high traffic sites, they might be better looking at WPX. For local businesses, SiteGround is a great option.”
- WPX Hosting – “WPX is probably my number #1 choice with great customer service and no traffic limit.”
- DigitalOcean – “Buy a $10 per month VPS and host your site on it. It’s more technical to setup and people need to understand what they are doing. You will have to do most of the things on your own by using this option.”
- 34SP – “My number one choice would be 34SP.com, a UK Hosting provider based in Manchester. They are not the cheapest, but the service they provide is top notch and value for money. They offer specialist WordPress hosting on fast servers and will make regular platform updates automatically taking away the worry about security. Backups and a secure certificate (a necessity these days) are included. If you want to make changes to your site, you have a staging area where you can test and experiment on a copy before going live. When switching, they will migrate your site over for you and you can talk through setting up your email with a friendly member of staff.”
- SiteGround – “If you have less budget or if you want to host more than one site, then I recommend SiteGround. They offer similar features on their packages, although they don’t have the staging facility. When needing support you can speak to someone on the phone but often ‘chat’ is faster.”
- HostPapa – “The web hosting provider that I constantly recommend to my clients is HostPapa. I have been using HostPapa for my own business for over 8 years and I have always been impressed at their competitive prices, great customer service and impressive hosting package options. A huge bonus for my Canadian clients, is that HostPapa are a proudly Canadian company who base their servers in Toronto, Canada, rather than in the U.S.A.”
- SiteGround – “SiteGround is one of the larger Canadian web hosting providers. In my opinion, they are a great web hosting provider for small businesses looking for an ultra-fast and highly secure hosting plan. They provide some awesome packages at very reasonable prices including dedicated web hosting and cloud hosting options.”
- GreenGeeks – “GreenGeeks was recommended to me recently and I have to say, they look like an impressive web hosting provider option. GreenGeeks servers are in Canada, the U.S and Europe and they claim a 99.9% uptime! Why “Green” Geeks? If you care for the environment, you’ll love the fact that they buy wind energy credits to make up for the energy they use to power your website. With pricing a little higher than other providers, I would still recommend GreenGeeks over some of the larger, highly advertised U.S. hosting companies.”
“Depending on the company’s budget & or their outsourcing web partner competencies I would recommend one of these 3 solutions:”
- OVH –
OVH with their Cloud Web hosting service. Why? Good speed thanks to the SSD disk combined with the simplicity of managed hosting & a relatively low price. For whom? Best for beginners with almost zero knowledge about hosting & people looking for a good but cheap service.
Again OVH with their Cloud SSD VPS. Why? Great in terms of value for money. My personal favorite is the VPS SSD 3 because of the 2 vCore processor and 8GB RAM. It will give you a much, much better performance than any standard hosting service. However, you must have the server configuration done by someone who knows how to do it in order to benefit from this. For whom? Businesses that are looking for high quality, but want to keep their costs down.”
- Infomaniak –
Managed Cloud Server from Infomaniak. Why? Great powerful and fast servers that can be easily upgraded according to your needs and much better than OVH for customer support. For whom? Businesses that are looking for the best quality even if you have to pay for it.”
- SiteGround – “We build all of our websites using WordPress and always steer our clients to SiteGround for hosting. They are easy to work with, they backup sites daily, they provide automatic security updates, they provide free SSL Certificates (simply a MUST HAVE for today’s websites!), powerful performance and unlimited free emails. What is not to love about SiteGround?!”
“Don’t be fooled by the low prices, unlimited usage or any other sales tactics that competing hosting providers use to gain new clients. You really need to understand what you “need” for your website as most generic, small and inexpensive hosting plans will do for just about any startup website. Mostly because you have no real traffic, so the key here is to start small and have the ability to upgrade as needed.
I’ve personally have been a client of many, many hosting providers and some for a few months to over 15 years. I’m just going to provide you today with the top 3 that I would consider using for my own projects and clients.
When I started my online business offering web design and hosting to my clients, I did not like the idea of keeping all the clients in one datacenter so i decided to use 3 different ones. This way, if one of the services went offline I would not be bombarded with tons of support tickets. Another thing is to have a 4th hosting provider for my own website. Idea here was that if I was hosting my own website on one of the 3 and they crashed.. my own website and ticket system would not work either. Of course nowadays things are different and not an issue for the most part. Simply sharing how it started long ago to show I have lots of experience dealing with various hosting providers.”
- HostDime – “They are absolutely my favorite hosting provider. One of the original 3 that I joined 15 years ago and still with them today. The service is key; they go beyond the typical support and actually take the time to offer solutions, educate as to what is wrong with a website and even at times provide detailed instructions as to what I need to do to resolve the issue quickly. Recently they built their own building with over 75,000 square feet. They are in this for the long haul.”
- NameHero – “Recently joined their re-seller plan and the affiliate program. I’ve interacted with them before via one of my client’s projects as they continue to host with them. I do not mind as I can design a website and host for a client however they like. They do offer unlimited plans as the owner understands that not all the accounts will use up all the space, but if you go over they’ll contact you to upgrade and rightly so. Otherwise, the support is very good and reliable servers.”
- HostGator – “Huge selection of pre-packaged hosting plans, actually so many you should contact the sales department to make sure you select the best fit for your project. They also offer very affordable shared hosting plans that are great for newbie webmasters and site owners that seek to build a website themselves. Good website building software for those who edit via browser without special software. Reliable support and maintain an excellent uptime for all clients big or small, so everyone’s online most of the time.”
Overall it’s important to read the fine print, terms of service and make sure you understand the rules of the road. There are some hosting providers that started charging cycling fee’s. This is mostly a hidden fee, and one that I have had personal experience with in the past with a “now closed provider” – I was paying $80 a month then a shocking invoice came in for 1 month for almost $900 – it was due to one of the websites being hacked. It was using the account for 3 weeks without me even noticing it. But, you know they noticed it and simply let it ride. I fought that bill and won, as they should have provided alert or even reports in my dashboard, but that was “still in development” so they could not even prove it. Thus I was credited the difference and I instantly moved to another provider.
If you’re not happy with your current host.. move to any of the above and you’ll be happy you did!
“As an experienced web designer, I’ve used many hosting companies over the years, some good, some not so good. They all do things a little differently and obviously the price reflects on this. When it comes down to your website, the main marketing tool that represents your company, brand or organisation online, it is crucial to have a host you can trust, rely on and even get support from, should you need it. This may sound pretty straight forward, but over the years I’ve experienced some of the best and worst, and trust me you do not want to experience the worst (no naming and shaming).”
– Their level of support is like none other I’ve experienced. They claim to answer the support line within 3 rings. When I first heard this I thought, hmmm, that’s quite a bold claim. They answer every time, sometimes it might be 4 rings, but who’s counting. The point is they always answer.
– They care. When you are in need of support this matters a lot. I’ve used the support line several times now, each time usually a different employee, but each and every one of them has dedicated the same level of care into getting any issues resolved ASAP.
– Free events. I’ve been to many ‘free events’ over the years. A lot have a been a waste of time. UKFast host events, which to anyone who doesn’t host with them costs per ticket (I think the last one I attended should have been £75 if I remember rightly). You always learn a lot, they’re useful and feature some big name speakers. They cover hugely relevant topics for online businesses; Cyber Security and eCommerce Live being the last two I attended. Events include free refreshments, food, a free goodie bag and you get to ride the slide out of the event at the end if you wish too – obviously I did!
– I’ve struggled with any cons for UKFast. Some may put the cost down as one, however I wouldn’t – it’s worth every penny.”
– Pound for pound, what you get is very reasonable.
– Servers are UK based. As a UK business it’s beneficial to have a UK based server for search rankings, otherwise Google will read your website as a business based in the country of the server’s origin. I’ve found quite a few other hosting companies that businesses think are UK based, however run a few tests and find out they are based overseas.
– Support is good to a certain level (ticket based)
– Searching for new domain names. When searching for a domain name, I’ve heard others experience a scenario whereby the domain name that was available 24 hours earlier, isn’t available any longer and has been registered by the domain registrar they used for the initial domain search. And you can now buy it from them at an inflated price. Heart Internet do not do this. I’ve never personally experienced it either, but it’s better to be safe that sorry. If you want to be double safe then use http://whois.domaintools.com for any new domain searches.
– Support, although I’ve put it as a pro, it is also a con. It depends what level of support you need. Heart Internet ran a ticket only support system when I was a customer, and as far as I am aware they still do. When something goes wrong, which sometimes it does, sitting waiting for a support ticket reply can be very frustrating. When a reply is received, it generally went along the lines of, ‘This is not something we cover within support, if you want one of our senior technicians to look at this it will cost £xx per hour….’ Not helpful when in the middle of a crisis.”
– Scalability. If you have a business that is scaling fast and you need a hosting provider that can adapt to this promptly and efficiently without any disruption to service, Digital River offer a cloud service which can fully facilitate your growth plan.
– Cost efficiency. This is based on your requirements, so as you grow you can easily upgrade your server, then the cost of the server increases based on your upgrades. The benefit of this is that you’re not paying for a server that that has lots of unused space; just pay for what you need, rather than paying for a server you plan on growing into.
– eCommerce, they hold a wealth of knowledge and experience in the eCommerce hosting sector.
Cons (these are more the cons of cloud based hosting in general not just of Digital River)
– Search engines will typically give higher priority to servers hosted locally with a fixed location compared to cloud based hosting when calculating the page rank.
– Cost. Cloud based hosting tends to be more expensive.
– Vulnerable to attack. In cloud computing, each and every component is potentially accessible through the Internet from anywhere in the world. There isn’t anything connected to the Internet which is completely secure, and this makes it more vulnerable than a fixed location server.”
- SiteGround – “I highly recommend SiteGround as a hosting provider for small businesses. As a web designer, my reputation is on the line when I endorse hosting providers and I can say with full confidence that SiteGround is one of the only companies I recommend without hesitation. They aren’t the biggest game in town (which makes them more responsive to their customers, in my opinion) but they are highly respected and provide excellent customer service. Their packages are affordable, their servers are able to handle shared hosting challenges and they have enough options that soloprenuers and small companies can find something that works for them.”
- Anchor Hosting – “For a WordPress website, I always highly recommend Anchor Hosting to my clients and network partners. They are local and very knowledgeable and have always done a very good job at troubleshooting and helping me with server related issues when there is a problem. I would rather not work with servers, I’d rather focus my energy at what I do best and enjoy the most: design and development. Managed hosting is not your cheapest option, but using it would eliminate spam, need for backups, WP core and plugin updates, and is always very secure. Don’t waste your own valuable time, let the experts handle these issues.”
- Kinsta – “Kinsta is my number one pick for WordPress hosting. Their infrastructure is built on the Google Cloud Platform and every WordPress site is contained in its own isolated area and is 100% private. Kinsta is blazing fast, developer friendly and known to have great customer support.”
- WP Engine – “WP Engine is a great choice for WordPress hosting. The staging environments are easy to setup. They offer their own caching technology, easy SSL cert installation, automatic backup and restore points and good support.”
I’ve testing many hosting solutions out over the years and have finally found one that is perfectly designed to host WordPress sites. WP-Engine has so many features for WordPress users; Backup points, each WP site gets a dedicated IP address, CDN (Content Delivery Network), Free SSL Certificates, Staging & Production environments, site migration, environment stats, redirect rules, GIT push and many more great tools specifically designed for WordPress sites.
Just note that this is not the cheapest hosting option out there, but you get what you pay for and WP Engine makes sure all of my 50+ client WordPress sites are always running fast and smooth!”
- GoDaddy – “This is my second choice based purely on the great support they provide. I’ve used GoDaddy several times in the past for cheap, easy to use, shared web hosting and email. If you have simple HTML5 websites, this is the hosting company for you. However, if you’re running complex WordPress themes, for multiple clients, I would only advise using GoDaddy if you’re trying to get your business off the ground and don’t have a huge budget. As with any cheap, shared hosting packages, you can’t expect your websites to be lightning quick, but with GoDaddy they have a decent back-end with access to everything you need (cPanel, SQL’s, Backups, Installation etc).”
- tsoHost – “Very similar to my number two pick in price and options, although they do not have the same level of support as some of the other hosting companies. On the plus side they do have a simple and intuitive backend for hosting multiple domains, hosting accounts and email accounts. Navigating your way around software installers to custom DNS settings is a breeze.”
- Flywheel – “My top recommendation for website hosting for small businesses would be Flywheel (www.getflywheel.com). Flywheel offers high-quality managed WordPress hosting. My experience has been that Flywheel is easy to use, reliable, has a good feature set, and is backed by a high-quality support team. You might pay a bit more than some other companies, but I feel it’s worth every penny. Features like staging for site redesigns, easy SSL certificates, managed WP updates, etc. are very useful. I will say from time to time the interface has been slightly buggy, but that’s to be expected with any web interface and it’s always been quickly remedied. For small businesses looking for a WordPress host, I would start your search with Flywheel.”
I built my first website in 1997, and I have worked with many website hosting companies over the interceding 22 years. I’ve dealt with GoDaddy, Network Solutions, 1&1, WPEngine, and Media Temple on behalf of my clients and found they all have strengths and weaknesses.
Whenever I’ve had opportunities to recommend hosting to my clients, I often suggested Directnic, based near New Orleans, LA, starting in about 2005. They have a solid platform, and are renowned for having gotten their service back up in 45 minutes following the devastating blow from Hurricane Katrina. I moved away from Directnic due to their limited call-in tech support hours (9am – 6pm CST, M-F). They have added chat since I left and operate it along with tickets now, 24×7.
I recommended Bluehost to my clients and hosted my own websites there for years, but I feel the company has grown too fast. I have gotten erroneous and conflicting support information, and honestly, have found my new love, SiteGround, superior across the board.
What’s so great about SiteGround? They are geared beautifully for small- and medium-sized businesses, and their support is simply fantastic. You rarely have to wait more than a few seconds for a chat or phone call to be picked up, and their friendly, courteous technicians will stick with you until your questions are answered or your issue is resolved. Want to try a suggested solution while they wait? No problem. Want a transcript of your chat? You got it. Want to file a ticket instead? Go ahead … and expect an answer in about 15 minutes. They honestly act like you’re one of just a few hundred clients; many of their techs, however, have served tens of thousands of clients.
SiteGround delivers fast-loading websites from ultra-modern servers with solid state storage, positioned on three continents, utilizing a free content delivery network (CDN). They provide terrific security consisting of anti-hack systems, pushed auto-updates, free daily backups and an anti-spam application called SPAM Experts that works great protecting your email.
They specialize in WordPress websites with one-click installs, a free migration tool (or they’ll migrate your website for you for free on the GrowBig plan and above). As if all of this wasn’t enough, they offer domain registration as well. Ask in any online website design community what hosting provider designers and developers prefer, and SiteGround will come up over and over.
In my book, and looking back over 22 years of building websites and working with various web hosting companies, SiteGround is tops!”
- Bluehost – “I would recommend Bluehost to any small business owner that has limited technological experience/ knowledge or has a limited marketing budget. Bluehost offers free domain registration for a year to protect your business, as well as a free SSL Certificate to protect your customers. If you like to work at all hours of the day and night like me, you do not have to worry about things going awry with your website because Bluehost provides round-the-clock support services. The WordPress installation and low-budget services should be good enough reason alone to choose Bluehost, as WordPress is essential to the success of any small business.”
- DreamHost – “If you don’t quite know what you are looking for in a hosting provider, I would recommend Dreamhost. With Dreamhost you get more than just web hosting; they offer a wide variety of hosting solutions set to fit any small business need. They also prioritize fast and reliable website loading services, which allows for improved user experience and optimal traffic. From experience, I can confirm Dreamhost is committed to providing their customers with the very best rather than focusing on making a profit, which is something I value in a company.”
- Google Sites – “I know recommending Google may seem cliché, but that is only because Google has proven itself as a superior hosting service time and time again. The digital world is constantly changing, and I am constantly learning new things to provide my clients with the best services I can. The web provider I see changing the most is Google; every day I discover a new plugin, a new update, or a new service. If you are a small business that is looking for a versatile hosting provider, I would highly recommend looking into Google Sites.”
With UKFast, you’re not going to be paying £2.49 a month for your server, but then you’re not
going to be getting that £2.49 service, i.e. you won’t just be a number on a spreadsheet. The servers that your websites will be on will not be crowded or slow, they will be quick, efficient and reliable. You will be able to choose between different operating systems and visual control panels, Plesk or cPanel/WHM. I have an eCloud Public Service with UKFast, giving me control and flexibility to scale the server up as my own business grows and to meet the needs and requirements of my clients.
The account manager (you will be assigned one) will be your point of contact at UKFast for anything relating to your account, your business and even on hand to ensure you’re satisfied with their service. Their support team is on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and believe me I know that as I have often rang them at 2am in the morning. Yes you did read that right, a support team you can actually ring – no need for a ticket just pick up the phone and call.
What I love about these guys is the fact that they are never too busy to respond to questions, no matter what they are. So whether you’re just setting up a WordPress website or transferring 200 clients over to their eCloud services, they really are the company you need to speak with if you value your website and reputation. For me, ensuring my client websites are online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year is vital.
Whether you’re a small start up business or a company that is large with offices in multiple
locations, before you sign up to any provider give the team at UKFast a call and see what they can do for your business. Honestly you will be surprised.”
I initially joined Hostgator as I, probably, like a lot of young and still wet behind the ears programmers, wanted somewhere cheap with a no frills service whilst I was completing my degree. I can remember paying $4.97 per month back in 2006, and with the £ to $ rate being so amazing I think I ended up paying around £60 for the year as a reseller, which enabled me to make a bit of money on the side for the Student Union Bar.
If you’re a small business and you’re looking for somewhere to just basically put up your website and you’re not too worried about SEO, for me HostGator would be my recommendation. Their servers were reliable, I think there was only 2 or 3 outages that I had, and that was over a 4 year period. They have an online chat service, and their support team and sales team are fantastic. I cannot fault HostGator’s customer service team as they did deliver what they said they would. If my memory serves me correctly you could also manage your billing via a dedicated billing system and the support team was available via a ticket system.
Servers weren’t too shabby, however, I learned over time that some of their servers were rammed with lots of websites, which for me meant the server was a little slower. But as I say, if you’re looking for somewhere to just host a website and you do want a basic, no frills service, then definitely give Hostgator a try.”
“I help sales professionals by providing website tools and pre-made websites to help them automate their lead generation. After selling thousands of tools, typically the next question I get is, “Where should I host my website?” I’m happy to share my recommendation not only based on my own experience of hosting websites since 1996, but also based on the feedback of my 5,000+ clients to date.
My strong recommendation is to only use a hosting company that offers cPanel support. It is widely used and most website managers will know how to use it. Among other features, it will help you setup emails, view website logs and run backups. The most important feature in my opinion, is the ability to download the websites and settings, and easily move your hosting to another company. In fact, migrating your website between cPanel hosting is so easy, many companies will offer migration for you. It’s a small effort on their part to gain a new client.”
- Namecheap – “If you are an absolute startup and want the cheapest way to get started, I’d recommend Namecheap.com. As of today, their cheapest shared hosting is $2.88 per month for up to 3 websites or $4.88 per month for unlimited websites. They offer email support and I’ve had most of my issues resolved in a few hours. After you signup, it takes a little bit of effort to get access to your cPanel account, but once you do, everything works the same with namecheap.com as it does with any other hosting company. If you are starting your first website and looking for a solid hosting company and dirt cheap prices, this is the way to go.”
Another nice feature of a2hosting.com is they offer FREE SSL certificates, which are recommended for all websites by Google. While other companies may be a bit cheaper per month for hosting, when you include the SSL certificate cost, the prices may be cheaper with a2hosting.com in the end.
A2hosting.com also offers reseller packages, which is the primary reason why I use them. If you want to host websites for your clients or become a website wholesaler, these reseller packages will allow you to set up separate cPanel accounts for each client. Their cheapest reseller account is $30 / month and will allow you to create up to 40 cPanel accounts.”
- Liquid Web – “For high volume websites or websites that require HIPAA certification, I’d recommend liquidweb.com for hosting. They are known for their support and guarantee you can reach support within 59 seconds. My experience is that I can reach support within 15 seconds typically, and most issues are resolved within a few minutes. Their hosting starts at around $60 per month and they offer hosting for: Managed WordPress, HIPAA compliant Servers, Dedicated Servers, VPS (Virtual Private Servers), Multiple Server Configurations with Failover for 100% guaranteed website uptime and more. They also offer a SLA (Service Level Agreement) so that if your website is down for even an hour, you will get a credit for the entire month. In the 8 years that I hosted with them, I only experienced one outage of a few minutes. By the time I had reached their technical support, their monitors had already discovered the issue and were in the process of fixing it.”
“While there are hundreds of hosting companies that may work for you or your business, these are the 3 hosting companies I would recommend without hesitation. I have experienced multi-day outages with some other well-known companies, so along with shopping for price, I would also do research into their technical support, service level agreements, and average time to resolve an issue.
My recommendation is to stick with cPanel hosting and backup your websites before and after any major updates are done to your account. You will want to back up your account before any major updates because if your website designer makes a major goof, you can restore the last good working version of your website on your own.
My other recommendation is to use Godaddy or another domain name registrar to register your domain name. If you register your domain at the same place you host your website, the hosting company may hold your domain name hostage to continue hosting your account.
In short, if you are working on a bare-minimum budget, namecheap.com is the cheapest way to start. For 80% of companies that are looking for an affordable price and solid support, a2hosting.com is the way to go. If your business is making a significant income on your website, want your own server and need the best support available, liquidweb.com is the place to go!”
- Flywheel – “When we have a mission critical WordPress website that needs lightning fast speeds and 24/7 support that actually like their jobs… we choose Flywheel. The size of site doesn’t matter, but the more important the website – the better it is to trust Flywheel. They also feature an amazing user control panel and a ton of tools that make our lives easier AND more secure. A few great examples are Force-SSL and their built-in inherent website security. A company well worth checking out.”
- Atrema Technologies – “For the majority of our projects we work with a local Canadian partner called Atrema Technologies. Their data centre is located within Canada (for those that do not want their data in the US), and they are a team that is incredibly easy to work with. From WordPress sites to custom servers, I get to talk with a technical expert anytime I need anything. The Atrema team is extremely hands-on; I’ve gotten to talk with and know the team there, and it is just refreshing to work with a company that isn’t so big they don’t really need to care about you. These guys treat every project I bring them with respect.”
The only possible downside with them is that you do need to have some technical skills to set up the servers, as there’s no control panel like you’ll find elsewhere, so once you’ve gone through the one-click process of setting up a “droplet”, the rest of the configuration is done using a terminal window with Linux commands. Having said that, their documentation is absolutely fantastic, so you’ll easily find the steps that you need online.”
SiteGround would make a great lower-cost option, but may come at the expense of slower access speeds for site visitors and less control of server components.”
“I have used a few hosting providers over the years, some I really haven’t liked and others have been good for a while, but then seem to stand still when a competitor comes along with a more advanced service at a better value.”
The crux of the swap was 20i provide more advanced tools, which are really easy to use. Discounts for resellers on most services and excellent technical support. The added bonus was 20i were also 30% cheaper than my last supplier. I have recently also taken on a VPS with 20i too and had had no issues at all.”
- Heart Internet – “If I had to give a second-place supplier it would be my last supplier, Heart Internet. If 20i hadn’t come along, I would have been happy to stay with Heart Internet and had been with them for about 8 years. It is just a shame they don’t seem to have kept up with advances in tools and competitors’ pricing.”
- SiteGround – “I like using SiteGround and use it for hosting on almost every website I build. Most of my sites are WordPress, and SiteGround has great servers and a cache system that works great with WordPress. They also give you a free SSL. I don’t have any affiliate deals with any hosting providers and I still always recommend SiteGround. They are a tad bit more expensive than Godaddy, but the fast servers they offer is worth it to me. With all the focus on site speed, SiteGround is my best option. If you aren’t using CDN’s and need a fast hosting service out of the box then SiteGround is for you.”
- GoDaddy – “GoDaddy is ok, but not great. They are a good company for beginners and small business owners who are doing a lot of the website work themselves. GoDaddy can get annoying because they try and sell you on every little thing. They make you pay extra for an SSL and every little add on will cost you. The good thing that they offer is relatively reliable customer service. You can always get hold of them if there’s a problem. I have had some ongoing issues that took me a few calls to resolve. But for the average person they are a good option”
- SiteGround – “For small businesses just getting started, I recommend SiteGround. They offer outstanding service for an affordable price and their support is always helpful and quickly available. Sites load quickly and they scan for malware and hacks regularly. I personally use SiteGround and have many clients using them as well. SiteGround is also supportive of the web development community, and supports conferences and other efforts to bring developers together and help them learn new skills.”
- Pantheon – “Pantheon offers top-notch hosting and support and is super developer-friendly – that means less time and frustration for the web developers you hire to work on your site, which in turn leads to less web development expenses for you. Pantheon has great support and has a track record of being really supportive of the web development community and helping developers learn new skills. Plus, anyone you meet who works at Pantheon is just a really awesome and amazing person. I encourage everyone to support companies that treat their employees well and support the community. This is definitely the host to go to for mission-critical websites.”
- WP Engine – “WP Engine has a team of great people who are friendly and who support the community. They make an effort to send you to the same support person each time, so you get someone who builds up knowledge of you and your business over time, which is really helpful for getting issues resolved quickly. They focus on getting your site to run as fast as possible, which helps keep your customers happy and maximizes your SEO efforts. They also make improvements to their offerings all the time in an effort to make things faster and easier.”
Whereas other shared hosting providers often charge for items such as large mailboxes, SSL etc., 20i allow very generous resources right from the off. HTTPS wildcard certificates are offered as standard within packages and these pass all necessary browser tests for everyday websites. This is a great saving for you and your clients if you wish to have a secure website – really a must for most websites.
Support is very important when hosting sites, and knowing that you will get highly responsive, helpful and top-notch support staff really makes a difference when issues arise, as they inevitably do.”
Another benefit for WPE is a staging site. Whenever one of our clients needs an overhaul or some testing of a new plugin, we copy the site down to a staging location to make all the changes we want. This way we don’t have to touch the Production site and our developers can safely make the changes they need to without worrying about breaking the live site.
Lastly, WPE has live technical support and the agents will dig into the problem with you and work to find a solution as quickly as possible.”
- Flywheel – “Flywheel is the best web hosting for WordPress sites as it a managed platform with its own caching hardware, which makes your site lightening fast via PHP7.2. They have a great real-time 24 hour support and a live chat facility.”
- Blacknight – “Blacknight is a very established web hosting provider based in Ireland and has customers around the world. They have great customer service and decent prices.”
- domainname – “DomainName.ie is a great platform for sourcing the best .ie or .com domain and affordable hosting for your business. They give great advice on buying the best domain and hosting package to suit businesses of all sizes.”
“Hosting is not something that should be seen as a cost-saving exercise. You need a reliable hosting provider to ensure your website / shop front is open 24 hours a day. We would recommend Heart Internet, Rackspace and UK 2 NET.
As with most hosting, you will find negative reviews and this can be the result of people purchasing web space and not understanding how to use it. For example, someone will pay for £4.99 a month expecting 24-hour support and someone on the end of the phone to help them figure everything out. This would be £59.88 per year in total which doesn’t cover the average IT hourly rate for 1 hour of support, yet people judge hosting companies negatively for lack of support.”
- Heart Internet – “Heart Internet provides cost-effective web hosting services that are as reliable as they come in the shared world, and then for a little more money you can purchase a VPS server which is going to give you more power and speed. However, with a VPS server you do not get support like you do on shared hosting so be aware.”
- Rackspace – “Rackspace is a solid company to trust and have become a leading name in the hosting world. If you want a server then Rackspace is worth a look, but this comes at a cost.”
- UK2 – “UK 2 NET is another solid choice for hosting and the servers they offer come with varied power options and costs, which are again relatively high, but they offer great support.”
“Chameleon Web Services has servers of all types at many leading hosting providers and also uses hosting provided to us by clients and we feel that often the hosting company reviews do not do the companies justice and most of the websites ranking the best hosting providers are built on a pay more system to be top.”
“At adchitects, we carry out website and branding projects for companies from around the world. They are companies of all sizes, ranging from one-person startups to corporations working on several continents. Our website designs are based mostly on WordPress CMS.
Very often, the client suggests WordPress as a content management system for their new website in the offer inquiry. The reason they give is understandable – “I had contact with this system before and I do not want to learn a new one (eg Craft CMS)”
Personally, I think WordPress is a great CMS system, especially when we think about the availability of developers, but also about the flexibility in the field of marketing – probably for every tool there is a ready plug-in that you can connect to your WordPress website. Thus, merchants can do what they should and not contact the IT department.
Where “WordPress” appears, there usually appears the statement “And what about security? I heard that it is not a secure system.”
The fact is that WordPress is the most popular CMS on the global internet. Hence, most exploits are written just for this system (it’s logical, right?). But the problem of a non-functioning website does not come from the fact that it is based on CMS WordPress, and that the system owner (or the person responsible for it) simply did not care for it – did not update the main system, plugins did not perform backups, etc.
When it comes to WordPress security, hosting is the key decision. Currently, there are many websites on the market that offer WordPress dedicated hosting. As a result, the entire server configuration is set for this system, including all security features.
Dedicated hosting also gives you plenty of options for automating basic maintenance activities – automatic backups, staging (separate test and production environments), etc.
In most cases, we offer our global clients two solutions – WPengine (www.wpengine.com) and FlyWheel (getflywheel.com). These are dedicated hosting solutions for WordPress. For us – the web-design & development agency – support is very important, which very often helps to fit (of course if possible) to the installation of the client’s system, but also helps to solve problems sometimes occurring between the CMS system configuration and the server. Both support services work very well.”
- WP Engine – “WPengine is probably the biggest hosting provider with WordPress-only solutions. The pricing plan is reasonable (you receive what you pay for). With the most basic plan (Startup – from 35 USD/mo), you receive the possibility to set up 1 website with 3 environments (dev/test/production), 25000 visits/month and 50GB of bandwidth. CDN & SSL is included.”
- Flywheel – “FlyWheel gives you cheaper solutions, but with fewer possibilities. For 14 USD/mo, you get 5000 monthly visits and no staging. But it’s a good solution if you need more bandwidth – you get 250GB of bandwidth/month (5 times more than WPengine).”
Basically, each one is a good solution, but you need to take time and think, what do you (and your site) exactly needs. The best way is to ask the specialist (for example, the agency that develops the site for you).
- zenbox – “To our Polish clients, we recommend a local provider of hosting services dedicated to WordPress – Zenbox (zenbox.pl). It offers interesting hosting plans that increase depending on the UU of your website. The account management panel is not as transparent as in the case of FlyWheel and does not offer staging, but support works quickly and efficiently.”
If I had to choose the best WordPress kit, I would choose:
Domain – GoDaddy.com
CDN – Cloudflare.com
Hosting – WPengine.com
With such a set, every WordPress owner can feel safe (of course remembering about maintenance from time to time 🙂
- SiteGround – “SiteGround has been a preferred partner of mine who I strongly recommend for your business. I’ve been collaborating with them for a number of years now. They offer a variety of add-on features and free tools such as SSLs and CDNs at a very competitive price. They have good performance, fast servers, 24/7 support and security features that you won’t find among other competitors. Support should be a primary factor when making a decision to partner with a 3rd party hosting provider, and SiteGround seems to be on top of their game with their customer support calls and chat. Highly recommend these guys to any business looking for premier hosting at an affordable rate.”
- WP Engine – “WP Engine specializes in WordPress Hosting, and with about 75,000,000 websites powered by WordPress, WPE is a viable option for any small business looking for a flexible solution online. They’ve developed an outstanding reputation for being a premier hosting solution for WordPress sites. I have worked with them on a handful of websites and have found their customer support to be top-notch. WPE offers several features such as CDNs and SSLs at no additional cost. Some small businesses may see WPE as being pricier than their neighbouring competitors, with the most basic plan starting at $35/mo. However, note that WPE’s most basic package also includes a Dev/Stage and Production environment; an important feature that often comes at an additional cost with competitors. This alone makes their solution worth the price – having a very friendly environment and support team for development.”
- SiteGround – “This would be my first recommendation just because I have so much experience using them and is always the first one I recommend to someone needing an affordable but quality host. Have been using them for years and have had nothing but a good experience with them.”
- Bluehost – “Another very reputable company that has great uptimes and an affordable rate for small businesses. Have only worked on one site hosted here in the past, but was a smooth experience.”
- DigitalOcean – “Wanted to include something a little different rather than just list another of the many hosting companies out there. This is a newer player in the game and might be a little more targeted towards developers. It is cloud based, so it is able to grow with you while being reliable and affordable.”
- WiserHosting – “I have been using Wiser Hosting for about 15 years and they are my go-to web hosting company. Their prices start at £24 + VAT for a year’s hosting, which is extremely affordable. I have hundreds of clients using their services who I believe are all very happy. If there are problems, I am able to email and get a prompt response. There is also a contact phone number and I know that some of my clients have spoken to them direct.”
If I’ve ever encountered a problem – whether user error or otherwise – Nimbus have always been quick to respond. Their staff regularly go above-and-beyond, and having since met some of the team personally I can say they’re as nice in real life too.
Nimbus understand their customers so well, that they have gone on to create their own ‘STORM’ hosting platform. STORM is great for setting up websites quickly (complete with WordPress installation and database), with plenty of customisation options right at your fingertips.”
TSO’s service is also robust; for years I never experienced a single issue. There was no downtime, and no problems importing databases. Put simply, hosting with TSO just works.
Shortly after moving on to a new role I signed up for my own TSO account. I moved all my personal and client websites across with no fuss whatsoever and have recommended them to several freelancers, individuals and small organisations since. Everyone picks up on the ease of navigating and managing sites through the service.”
- WP Engine – “WP Engine has emerged as one of the best hosting solutions for WordPress. Their plans include separate enviroments for development, staging and live sites, malware scanning and removal, and an easy-to-use backup system. Their page-load times are pretty much unparalleled, and for the most part, their customer service is fast, knowledgeable and helpful. There are cheaper alternatives out there, but WPE truly offers a great value for your money.”
- DigitalOcean – “For those with some Unix skills, Digital Ocean offers a fantastic value for anyone wanting to set up their own servers. They have consistently added to their offerings, so there are very few limitations to what you can build or host on their infrastructure. Their documentation is really robust, which allows even those with just basic Unix skills to get started. Based on my own experience, the barrier of entry is much lower than with AWS, and therefore maybe more suitable for smaller operations. Digital Ocean is also very affordable, which makes it a strong contender.”
- A2 Hosting – “Having used them for a couple of years I can say that the level of services they offer and the support provided will give peace of mind to any small business. Importantly they provide data centres in Europe, as well as dedicated systems to boost the speed of your website. They use cPanel for shared hosting accounts, which makes it pretty easy to implement various things including email accounts, SSL certificates and sub domains.”
- FastComet – “This list was not placed in any order of preference. These guys are also on the ball when it comes to services they have and their level of customer care. Support staff are always online and attentive (which is really important!); and when they cannot fix the issue immediately the technical department (via the ticket system) are also quick to respond. Servers are located in London, which again is a huge bonus for speed of your website if you’re in the UK. And importantly their prices are competitive too.”
- SiteGround – “Although I have not used them myself – I have heard many positive things about them from others in the industry. Whilst they do make the top lists on various recommendation sites – this company is definitely one to consider. Great speed and coverage, reliable servers, as well as competitive packages.”
- Bluehost – “This is now my “go to” web hosting company for any smaller projects I’m working on. My business web site is hosted through bluehost.com and all of my more recent personal web site projects have been hosted through bluehost. They have great customer service, an easy to navigate cPanel, SMTP servers, email servers, domain names, PHPMyAdmin, and much more. They also offer WordPress as a pre-installed option, which really makes setting up your small business web site super easy. They even have dedicated hosting servers for more large scale web sites which garner lots of traffic. These dedicated servers do cost significantly more money, however. All in all, Bluehost is a great option for a small business web site.”
- VersionPress – “For any small business web site running on WordPress, Versionpress is a great hosting option. They offer unlimited test sites, and a one click deployment option to push code changes to the production instance of your web site. I was very impressed with how user friendly Versionpress is, and they offer git like diffing functionality which really helps when resolving code conflicts, and merging from a test instance and ultimately deploying to your production instance. The only drawback I found is that not all WordPress plugins have full support within Versionpress, so you will need to do some research before choosing them as your hosting provider.”
- CloudAccess.net – “CloudAccess provide excellent services and support at a great price. Their WordPress hosting comes with a free SSL certificate, automated backups and they’re the only provider on my list that offers free email hosting as well.”
- WP Engine – “For WordPress based sites, WP Engine is an industry recognised hosting platform for WordPress sites with various pricing options that can work well and grow with a small business. WP Engine offers a free SSL certificate with each package, along with free backups and their technical support is excellent.”
- CloudAccess.net – “My number one choice for small business web hosting is the lesser known, but highly capable CloudAccess.net. This US-based host specialises in Joomla and WordPress hosting and is currently the provider of the official Joomla demo site. A potential problem for small businesses websites that are powered by a content management system (CMS) is who to contact when things go wrong. It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of the CMS project blaming the web host and the web host blaming the CMS. That doesn’t happen with CloudAccess.net because, in addition to their normal support, they also support the CMS (on their Standard and Business plans). One particular standout feature is their choice of email hosting platform called CloudMail. The interface and anti-spam/anti-virus features are far superior to what you’ll find from other hosts. Your website is the front door of your business, so pay a little more and entrust it to the experts.”
- SiteGround – “It took me a long time before I was comfortable enough to recommend a budget web host who provides a quality service suitable for small businesses. SiteGround ticks all the boxes and they have established a reputation for providing fast service and a rich set of features, even on their cheapest plan. By using their free staging site feature, you can experiment making changes to a copy of your website, rather than risk messing up your live site. As with the other providers in this list, they also include free SSL certificates, which these days are an essential feature. On the downside, their customer support can be a bit hit and miss. Although their response time is extremely fast, it can take some time for them to understand the exact nature of your problem. The better you can communicate the problem, the faster it will get resolved. If price is your number one priority, then SiteGround is worth a look.”
- Cloudways – “There are now several platforms offering powerful and versatile hosting solutions that ensure websites load quickly, are well protected and can be easily scaled up as necessary. However, their platform essentially just provides the infrastructure – all the setup and management is left to you. You need significant technical experience to operate these sites which is often beyond the scope of the typical small business. That’s where Cloudways comes in. They provide a user-friendly interface to these platforms making it far easier to deploy and manage a website. Despite this, it is a more technically demanding solution and it’s likely that you’ll need someone on your team with some hosting experience to get you going. Should things go wrong, technical support will only get you so far, so Cloudways hosting is best suited for a business that has one or more IT people on the team.”
1. Solid performance
2. Reasonable prices
3. Options & ease of use
Many hosts, large and small can stake claim to owning top spots in any of these categories, but I feel that GoDaddy has proven itself enough in each to get my thumbs up.
A recent test of their economy package with a fresh WordPress install yielded 99.96% uptime over a 10-month period with an average load time of 455ms. Each of those results would likely be considered Top 5-ish among major web hosting providers.
Performance aside, GoDaddy’s economy package is still seen as expensive at $7.99 p/mo compared to Bluehost or HostGator, which have economy packages under $3 p/mo and post similar performance metrics. GoDaddy has responded with promotions frequently, such as the current offering at a $2.79 p/mo first year rate with the standard $7.99 renewal. Where it starts to shine, however, is on the Deluxe and above plans where GoDaddy offers unlimited sites, storage and subdomains for a $3.99 p/mo 12-month teaser with a $10.99 renewal, more or less matching the other large providers.
If you take your small business seriously, you probably shouldn’t be on a shared economy plan with any provider. GoDaddy offers an entry-level VPS (Virtual Private Server) business hosting package at $22.99 p/mo, and with unlimited bandwidth, that becomes easy to recommend.
One downfall of GoDaddy is the annoying and often confusing onslaught of upsells during the checkout process. But if you can make it through the cart and figure out all the components you need, the setup and integration of your options should be seamless, even with 3rd party products like Microsoft Office 365. GoDaddy offers their own easy-to-use product user-interfaces along the way, many times eliminating the need to ever log into cPanel. Installing WordPress is an absolute breeze.
Lastly, I give GoDaddy 5 stars in the one area which is often seen as their shortcoming; Support. Ignoring any quantitative or qualitative data about this subject online, I will speak from personal experience. In the dozens, if not hundreds of various contacts I’ve made to GoDaddy support over the years, be it Live Chat, Phone or Email; whether the issue seemed to be on their end or one of my many “Doh!” moments, I have NEVER left the session disappointed.
As a PostScript, I’d also recommend GoDaddy web hosting to small agencies, like mine, where you can become a reseller of virtually all their products. Their domain name registration tools and online ordering are white-boxed, easy to setup and maintain (as well as integrate with your own website) and offer generous revenue shares. While this does not influence my personal review of its service, and certainly won’t make me a millionaire at my level of resale, it is a nice perk for small agencies.
So, in conclusion, there are some hosts out there with better performance. Many with cheaper points of entry. But at the package price point where it matters for small business, the variety and ease of option management and accessible, helpful support make GoDaddy my #1 choice for small business web hosting.”
Best if you’re a little bit tech-savvy or work with someone who is, as they don’t have the 24/7 chat/tech support that some larger companies offer. True story: I developed a site on a BigTimeHost server, then published it to the client’s old host to replace their live site. Their GTMetrix score showed a page load time of nearly 8 seconds when on their old host. On the development site – the exact same site – loaded in 2.3 seconds. They quickly moved to Big Time Host.”
The only thing I am not that fond of (this was a recent change), is that a WordPress database is set up for you before you even have a chance to install one yourself. If you’re moving a site to their server, the pre-installation can cause headaches. Their setup comes with nasty junk pre-installed such as JetPack, best to be avoided if you want a clean, fast site without software bloat. If you have no technical skills at all and need a lot of assistance, they are there for you.”
- Bluehost – “My first recommendation is for Bluehost Hosting. They have an enhanced c-panel that is easy to use. Their pricing is fair, and they give you a free domain name with your purchase for a year. Pcmag.com has also given them excellent uptime scores in testing.”
- SiteGround – “My second recommendation is SiteGround. They offer shared hosting, and as you grow, you can migrate to their dedicated hosting plans. They have fast WordPress hosting with easy one-step WordPress installs. And I think they have one of the best records when it comes to customer service – it’s great! This can be very helpful if it is your first website.”
- Flywheel – “My third recommendation is Flywheel Managed WordPress Hosting. I found their prices to be cheaper than WP-Engine; one of the most popular web host sites for professional web developers. I like the way they have laid out their website with an easy to use sign up and payment process. Flywheel offers tools for agencies, regular backups, built-in security features, and one-click staging sites.”
Using their dashboard to manage and customise your account settings will either be very simple for you if you’re somewhat conversant with hosting jargon, or you’ll find that the learning curve will not be very steep if you think that you’re not very tech savvy. These days, we all want something quick and simple that does not require too much thinking time, and Smart Hosting have worked hard to provide that.
They weigh in just as heavy as some other brands when it comes to server uptime, speed and all the other goodies that you could want from website hosting. One of the reasons why they would be so good for your small business is that they have extensive FAQs and articles to help you troubleshoot any niggles that you may encounter, and they do so in such a way where you don’t have to be digesting heaps of info…especially when you already have so much going on when it comes to keeping your business going.
They may not be as well known as some other hosting brands that I could mention, but I can say that they are the most uncomplicated. I think you’ll come to appreciate how they work to keep you updated on changes that they are making to hosting packages, and what your options are to make sure that you are still getting the best value for money.
If I could sing… correction… if I could sing well… I’d be the lead soprano with a praise chorus about Smart Hosting, and how much time they have saved me (for my own personal website and as a reseller) and also my clients. Sometimes the bigger names don’t always have it right as we can be led to believe. Sometimes it’s the smaller names that save the day!”
In regards to pricing, Go-Daddy has many easy-to-use and inexpensive hosting options for beginners and small businesses. We especially like their $8.79/month, “Deluxe Web Hosting Plan”, which features unlimited websites, unlimited storage and unlimited subdomains!
Go-Daddy is one of the biggest names in web hosting, which means their online communities are really big too! Have an issue and you don’t want to place a call? You’ll be sure to find a lot of answers on online forums!”
In our experience with BlueHost, their customer service can be a little slower to get on the phone than Go-daddy. However compared to other hosting providers, their customer service is definitely a close second!
As far as user-friendliness goes, BlueHost takes the cake with their extremely user-friendly interface. Whether it’s editing important hosting files in the backend or simply setting up a WordPress website, BlueHost makes it as easy as it gets!”
- HostGator – “HostGator is a very affordable option. They offer cloud hosting and 24/7 customer support like GoDaddy and BlueHost. HostGator is up there in the top tier of web hosting companies, however, their page loading times are not very fast. They also charge for backups.”
When investing in a new website it’s easy for designers, developers and clients to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of the design, features and functionality. However, one element that often gets overlooked, and possibly the most important element, is to find the right hosting solution for the needs of your website.
We’ve seen it time and time again; clients who have amazing websites but are let down by poor quality hosting, resulting in a bad user experience and in some cases, major security issues. There is nothing worse than being contacted by a potential client who informs you of an error with your website!
When looking at website hosting companies there are two main things to consider; fully managed services, where you pay a slight premium, but everything is done for you meaning you can sleep at night knowing your website is safe. Or, a self-managed service, which is often a much cheaper solution, however, you do need to be prepared to get your hands dirty should there be any problems with your website.
As a web studio, we always prefer to manage hosting for our clients rather than letting the client find a hosting provider. If you are going through the process of a new website build or have a company managing your current website, speak to them first about which companies they recommend, as they will often have a good relationship with a a preferred hosting provider.
The only thing you really need to know about hosting…
Web hosting comes in two main forms; shared hosting and dedicated hosting. As the name suggests shared hosting is when your website is shared on a server with lots of other websites. For shared hosting to be commercially viable the servers need to host the maximum number of websites as possible – a bit like how budget airlines cram as many people onto one plane as possible. However, the more people on that plane, the worse the experience will be. Shared hosting works in much the same way, but for your website.
On the other end of the scale is dedicated hosting. Dedicated hosting is when your website is the only site on the server, meaning your website benefits from all the resources that server has to offer. Think of dedicated hosting as a private jet; super fast, amazing experience but it is more expensive than a commercial airline, or in our example – shared hosting.
Just like in the world of air travel, some people need private jets and can justify the cost, however, most of us are just fine on commercial airliners – your website hosting requirements are just the same. At this point if you are unsure whether you need dedicated or shared hosting, we would strongly advise getting the opinion of whoever is building or managing your website.
So on to the recommendations:
20i offer both shared and dedicated hosting, but we’ll focus on their shared platform as this is an amazingly low-cost hosting solution, which gives dedicated hosting provided by other companies a run for their money. What we love about 20i is they have taken the pricing model of mass-market shared hosting, but created a platform which auto scales as and when it needs. Should your website require more resources due to an increase in traffic, more resources will be allocated to ensure it runs as fast as possible. Likewise, when your website has fewer visitors and is idle, the resources are scaled back and made available for other websites on the same platform.
Super Fast Technology
Some other things we really love about 20i is their commitment to not cut corners. Their hosting environment is made up of superfast servers all fitted with solid state hard drives which can deliver data quicker. In addition, their load balancers are constantly working out how and where traffic should be routed to ensure every website runs at its best.
20i have a really nice dashboard which they have designed and built from scratch, which is always evolving with new features being added all the time. You can manage any aspect of your hosting from SSH access, SSL certificates, auto timeline backups, malware scans, and one-click installers for all the popular content management systems and e-commerce shops.
As a reseller with 20i it’s very easy to manage multiple sites and allow clients access to their own website, while restricting some of the things they can and can’t do themselves.
Finally, the support 20i offer is second to none, from basic setup and configuration to advanced requirements and very specific requests, they have always been able to resolve issues fast and keep us updated throughout the process.
If you are looking for a self-managed hosting solution that won’t cost the earth with great support, 20i is the hosting company for you.”
Flywheel has built their hosting network on the top of Digital Ocean, which is one of the world’s leading dedicated server (technically virtual server but we’ll call them dedicated) providers and more recently have partnered with Google Cloud to offer the next level of premium hosting.
Flywheel do all the difficult and technical server configuration, security and caching to ensure super fast, super secure sites. All of which would normally have to be done by the website owner or web agency hosting the site. As managing servers isn’t a skill most designers or developers possess, Flywheel is essentially your in-house server team, taking away the stress and pressure of running an enterprise level website.
Flywheel offers a dashboard with all the tools you need to get a site up and running quickly. However, due to the nature of their service being a ‘managed’ solution, you don’t have all the controls you do with standard shared hosting. This is partly because the platform is optimised and configured so you simply don’t need to make advanced changes, however, if you have specific requirements, they are more than happy to implement them for you. These requirements typically include; advanced server redirects, code that needs to be placed in the ‘htaccess’ file, configuring the wp-config.php file and scheduled tasks (CRON jobs) – all of which are pretty advanced things and not required by most websites.
Flywheel offers a range of packages based on the volume of traffic and space required along with some upgrade options including content delivery network and the ability for the end user to manage billing directly. Considering the speed and performance of websites hosted with Flywheel, the costs are very attractive and we would urge all clients to consider using Flywheel.
As previously mentioned, dedicated hosting provides a much better experience for your users as the page load time will be significantly faster compared to shared hosting. If load time and website speed is important for your website, we would definitely recommend a dedicated solution like Flywheel.”
As you can see the two recommendations are very different, but in our experience and opinion, both offer the best level of service and quality for the solutions they provide.
As a last note, I would always recommend the best hosting you can possibly afford. You will always see a vast performance increase in dedicated hosting compared to shared hosting but for some sites, the additional cost isn’t always justified. When looking for the right hosting company do your research and seek an expert’s opinion on the requirements you need if in doubt.
- SiteGround – “Currently, I’m using SiteGround for my business clients – a rollover from a previous company that closed and I inherited the clients. But I’ve been extremely happy with SiteGround. Their hosting is affordable, easily scalable, and reliable. Their customer support is always quick and helpful.”
- WP Engine – “A handful of clients are using WPEngine, which I absolutely love. I was fixing to move 20+ clients to an Enterprise solution with WPEngine, but the cost was too much of a barrier for me (it would have been in the neighborhood of $600/mo). But the services WPEngine offers are top-notch (assuming you can host email elsewhere). I love the ease of their production, staging and development environments. Plus, their support staff is always immediately available.”
- TMDHosting – “I’ve been using TMDHosting for a few small personal sites. After Bluehost was acquired by EIG and the service went south, I was looking for a very cheap but US-based service that had no intentions on joining EIG. TMD has performed well, all things considering. Support can be a bit slow, and not always US-based, but for the needs of my personal, low-traffic website… it’s fine.”
“The only other thing that I mention to EVERY potential client I speak with, is to avoid any EIG-owned hosting company. I’ve worked with several in the past, and always been disappointed. I had accounts with both Bluehost and Site5 before they were acquired by EIG, and watched the service and support nosedive a few months after the acquisition. These are things no business owner wants or needs to deal with, and as a result I pretty much exclusively recommend either SiteGround or WPEngine for hosting.”
Richard A Marti Jr
“When you look at the success of virtually any small business, it is the relationships of the key people that form the foundation that great businesses are built on. Websites, SEO, Social Media, are just the tools we use to help create and nurture those relationships. We take a comprehensive and integrated approach to traditional and digital marketing, so we can concentrate on those important relationships and build business as a natural result.
If I had to recommend a web hosting provider for small business, it would be Inmotion Hosting for the reasons ill outline next. For this post, I chose three web hosts: Inmotion Hosting, Hostgator and GoDaddy. I feel strongly that running a small business is hard enough. We shouldn’t have to worry about our website. A word salad full of acronyms and bunches of options does not make our choices clearer.
Across the three options that I have experience with, I wanted to concentrate on the 5 key elements for the most worry free solution. The key elements are uptime, speed, customer service, automatic backups and security (including ssl and recovery.) As a bonus, email accounts included are a nice addition.”
For customer service they offer toll free call in number, user support groups, text support, email support and a support ticket system. Their support is from here in the US. If things do go wrong, Inmotion Hosting seems committed to making things work again quickly and easily. Along with easy access customer support, they provide free backups.Just one more thing we can rest easier about.
Security. Protecting our data along with our customers with their included SSL helps our peace of mind. Google pretty much considers that all sites have an ssl certificate to protect visitors. With hack protection, we can rest easier. As a little bonus for those of us that need it, they include a generous email package.”
- HostGator – “Hostgator offers similar specs to Inmotion Hosting with some differences. Uptime is comparable to Inmotion Hosting. Hostgator offers backup and restore as an additional option. There are mixed reviews on their customer support. They do include an SSL certificate. Hostgator offers security with Sitelock to protect against threats. Hostgator does have an email package included.”
- GoDaddy – “Godaddy seems to have a good uptime record. Some people have different experiences depending on the applications they are using. Generally a sites are up within 10 mins. Google site speed is good compared to the other hosting companies, maybe even faster. Customer service is located here is the US, which is helpful. I have found them very helpful. Depending on timing, the wait can be a little long, but they do offer to call you back when a rep is free. Site backup and restore is an additional $2.99 per month. You can get an SSL for free with Godaddy’s Ultimate plan (which can have a significant price increase at renewal time.) Godaddy does include security with their plans but I have not needed to use it.”
- WP Engine – “WP Engine is a relative newcomer in the world of WordPress hosting. I have heard a lot about WP Engine and have seen flawless performance from WP Engine working with clients who hosted their sites with them. Their recent acquisition of StudioPress allows them to offer super-premium themes built on the Genesis framework as a perk of their hosting packages. They are not the cheapest hosting option, but they are great value for the money. “
- SiteGround – “SiteGround is another boutique hosting company offering hosting platforms for WordPress, WooCommerce, Magento, Joomla, and Drupal. How good is their hosting? SiteGround is one of the three web hosting companies officially recommended at WordPress.org. Competitive pricing also makes SiteGround one of my web hosting recommendations for small business.”
- Bluehost – “Bluehost is the largest of my recommendations powering approximately 2% of websites on the Internet. Bluehost is also recommended by WordPress.org. Extremely competitive pricing is one of the perks of working with Bluehost. You’ll also enjoy 24/7 telephone support, free SSL certificates, and free domain name registration for the first year. If you are starting a new WordPress site or starting a new business, I recommend Bluehost as one of your options.”
“Hosting companies offer similar solutions. However, hosting companies are NOT the same. The difference lies simply in service.
When you have a problem, which is inevitable, do you want a helpful, courteous and knowledgable person on the phone? A person who can get your website issue resolved in a matter of minutes or hours? Or do you want to be routed across the ocean, talk to multiple reps who don’t understand your problem, and spend 2 days fixing that same problem?
I don’t have time for the games, so I have two go-to hosting recommendations.”
- GoDaddy – “The first is GoDaddy.com. They have 24/7 service. They are extremely knowledgeable about their own services (not always a given with other host companies!) and they’ll even go above and beyond by helping you with your own website at times. Their prices are the lowest, or close, in all scenarios. They also offer both Windows and Linux hosting.”
- Your Web Design Agency – “The second is to use a small, independent “web guy” such as services I offer. The reason is, we usually not only host the site, but update it, including the CMS (software), plug-ins, and other technology. Those updates help avoid spam and hacking, and we can always “roll back” the site to a back-up that we have happening on a daily basis. So you can never ruin your website with an update.”
- 20i – “20i.com offer great value, and a superb service ideally suited to smaller businesses (though they can cater for anyone). Their whole process is very simple and straightforward to get started, and their hosting control panel is easy to use if you’re familiar with cPanel, Plesk etc. I moved everything of mine to them last year, and haven’t looked back.”
- Rackspace – “I used Rackspace to set up an entire hosting environment for a design agency I previously worked at. While perhaps a little more involved in getting setting up, their support is second to none, and the performance is outstanding. They’re quite expensive compared to most other hosting providers, but I’d say the cost is worth it if you’re looking for a very powerful hosting environment.”
- tsoHost – “I used tsoHost for years, and was one of their earliest customers around 10 years ago. Their standard web hosting options are great, and they offer classic cPanel hosting, as well as their own proprietary platform.”
- WP Engine – “If your website is built in WordPress, this hosting platform is targeted towards optimum performance for WordPress websites.”
- Microsoft Azure – “If your website is an enterprise web system then Azure was created with your developers and your website visitors in mind.”
- Your Web Design Agency – “The hosting environment provided by your web design agency – because they will have ensured that it is set-up to run the website that they have built for you in the most optimized format possible.”
- DigitalOcean – “If you are a fairly technically-savvy business owner or you have people on your team with technical skills, Digital Ocean is a terrific hosting company to consider. The pricing is very hard to beat, and the performance you will get for the cost is truly impressive. You will get a hosting environment that you can completely customize and tailor to your specific needs.”
- Liquid Web – “I like LiquidWeb because they have a variety of hosting types (dedicated servers and cloudsites are the most useful) and their service is excellent. Live chat is available 24/7 and they respond very quickly to concerns and questions you may have. LiquidWeb can support a wide variety of website types.”
- Pantheon – “If you have a WordPress website to host, consider Pantheon. They are not the cheapest solution, but the performance you will get is truly awesome. They have a unique approach to hosting that provides you development and test environments already included, along with a process for pushing code updates from dev -> test and from test -> live. This methodology enforces good code editing practices. It’s very easy to migrate to Pantheon as well; you simply install a plugin on your WordPress website and they pretty much take care of the rest. Finally, the live chat support is extremely responsive and helpful.”
- Pantheon – “Pantheon is a great hosting option once you’ve outgrown the entry level stuff like GoDaddy. The nice part about Pantheon is that they build in development, staging, and live production environments out of the box. They also include many DevOps (Developer Operations) tools that are normally associated with much more sophisticated hosting operations. And they use containerized and distributed systems to get the best of shared and dedicated cloud hosting paradigms for a fraction of the cost it takes to set up all this infrastructure yourself.”
SiteGround also offers free security certificates by Let’s Encrypt. Whether you have one website or are a serial entrepreneur, having a cost-effective security certificate for every domain is important for the credibility of your visitors and Google’s algorithm.”
“I come at this problem from the point of view of someone who LOVES WordPress, and believes it’s the best possible option for small business. #1 because it’s extremely easy to find a developer to work on your WordPress project (even if your former developer goes AWOL), and #2 because there are so many great extensions (plugins) to WordPress allowing you to use open source awesomeness to help with SEO, image optimization, and thousands more things – Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and Webs aren’t open source, so they could never create all of these tools for their platform.”
- WP Engine – “Wp Engine is our #1 recommended hosting platform because of its emphasis on security, daily backups, and having a super intuitive staging system, that allows you to test your changes before moving them to live. We love how simple WP Engine makes everything, and that it saves us time!”
- GoDaddy – “Mainly for its extremely helpful customer service, I think GoDaddy still deserves props for its commitment to hosting, and domain registration. It’s upped its game to compete with the likes of WP Engine with Managed WordPress Hosting, and is a solid option for hosting in my opinion.”
- Flywheel – “A fast follower of WP Engine, Flywheel allows you to create ‘blueprints’ or basic setups of starter theme, and plugins so you don’t have to start from scratch every time with your WordPress instances. I think Flywheel is an excellent third option, particularly for WordPress.”
- Liquid Web – “I’ve been working with different hosting providers for almost twenty years and Liquid Web is the best I’ve ever worked with. I know a lot about servers and can usually handle most things on my own, so when I have a problem that stumps me, I need to be able to talk to someone who really knows their stuff. Liquid Web has solved every crazy issue I’ve ever thrown at them (which is quite a few since my team and I manage a lot of websites). You can get in touch with a knowledgeable and friendly technician in a very short period of time, which is extremely rare in the hosting business. Great products and solutions at affordable prices with the best support team in the industry makes this my #1 recommendation by far.”
- Flywheel – “While a lot of hosting companies focus on an “any type of server you can imagine” business model, Flywheel is hyper focused on creating the best platform specifically for WordPress websites. With lots of built-in features like free SSL certificates, nightly backups, and server-side caching, Flywheel takes all the effort out of hosting for WordPress. They’re also reasonably priced for what you get, and have great plans for hosting just a single site or for agencies like mine that host a lot of different clients and projects. There are a million reasons to be using WordPress for your small business website and Flywheel takes all of the stress out of WordPress hosting.”
- SiteGround – “Simple, reliable and extremely affordable. SiteGround is an excellent choice for any small business and especially those on a budget. They have both basic and easy-to-setup options, as well as a “geeky” options for developers like WP-CLI and Git integration. They also have a friendly and helpful support team, which is pretty much everything you need for a small business hosting solution.”
“I’ve used many hosting providers in my 20+ years and with all of the ups and downs of my experience, I have only 2 that I now recommend to my clients.”
- WP Engine – “My top choice is WPEngine. Their hosting is exceptionally fast, they don’t spread their resources too thin, and their support is second to none. They offer development environments and SSL certificates. They are more expensive than other providers, especially if you have more than one website, but after the first year of discounts with other providers, the difference isn’t nearly as significant.”
- SiteGround – “My close second is SiteGround. I could say all of the same things about SiteGround as I did for WPEngine, but they aren’t quite as fast, spread their resources a bit thinner and do not offer a development environment until you get to the higher packages. However, if your budget is super tight, they are the best choice out there.”
“I’ve used many hosting providers in my 20+ years and with all of the ups and downs of my experience, I have only 2 that I now recommend to my clients.”
- SiteGround – “GoGeek package is a good starting place for hosting a large amount of small traffic/requirement websites. The cost is good and yearly deals are often available. There is room to grow and standard optimisations which mean that you can have performance websites without too much work. I would NOT recommend using them for the mailing accounts, as there was no end of problems and inconveniences encountered with the configuration of the mail servers. Nor would I recommend their “upgrade” to the business cloud. If you need more space for small sites, simply purchase another GoGeek account. Support is quick, but very variable in terms of quality.”
- Kinsta – “For our busiest e-commerce site we use Kinsta, which is a fully WordPress optimised and managed hosting service. It is more expensive on a monthly basis, but we have found the support to be very quick, personal and the information and advice is always spot on. Night and day in comparison to SiteGround! The extra money is well worth it for a higher value site.”
- Cloudways – “For those who have the technical skills in house to manage a server without a cPanel, cloudways is an excellent option to explore. Performance and price are fantastic!”
“I highly recommend using a premium hosting solution that takes care of security and performance (site speed). A lot of businesses treat their hosting like an afterthought, going for the cheapest solution such as GoDaddy. Isn’t your business worth the $30-60/ mo investment? Most people spend more than that on their personal cell phone.”
- WP Engine – “WpEngine.com , for WordPress are the absolute best solution for WordPress security, performance and specialize in WordPress websites only. Their support is 24/7 – you can call them up any time and a WordPress expert will pick up the call. I’ve called at 2am in the past to test this out. That is huge! Not only will they pick up the phone, but they will get your technical problem solved usually doing it for you. They will restore your site free of charge if it gets hacked. Site speed/ performance is top notch – best I’ve seen in my 10 years of WordPress work. Lastly their staging environment, a copy of the live site for testing, is a great asset for professional management of your website and testing software updates.”
- Flywheel – “Flywheel is the next best solution for WordPress. Price is a little better than WP Engine, but it’s not as good imo ($28/mo personal plan vs. wp engine $35/mo). They offer a staging environment as well, great collaboration tool for all the stakeholders. Their support isn’t as great; still 24/7, but chat only and not as good technical staff. CDN is extra vs free with WP Engine, and they won’t restore your site free of charge if you get hacked. But outside of that, it’s similar to wpengine.com.”
- SiteGround – “More of a general hosting solution, but they do WordPress hosting really well and are recommended by WordPress.org. They offer similar features like daily backups, staging, but also include email hosting. The downside is that the support is not nearly as good as the two above. Yes they offer 24/7, but you have to submit a ticket or chat online. You have to wait and wait and wait. The staff isn’t nearly as knowledgeable about WordPress, and less willing to help “just do it for you.”
Their Cpanel dashboard is a bit out of date and not as intuitive as WP Engine or Flywheel, but the price is far less at $11.95/ mo. for the GoGeek solution.”
- WP Engine – “For ecommerce sites I use WPEngine in the UK. WordPress specific hosting, really strong security, always looking out for their clients, amazing phone, chat and email support 24×7. Not the cheapest but a great package.”
- catalyst2 – “For information sites I use Catalyst2 in London. The best customer service I have ever come across, phone and email. Always willing to help even when the issue is not hosting related, but a WordPress problem or a DNS problem. I have a VPS with them, but they offer Linux and Windows hosting from £11.99 a year including a free SSL certificate. What’s not to like, exceptional.”
- 20i – “At No3 we have 20i. I use these guys when a client needs multiple email addresses, as their £5.99 a month option gives 100 email accounts. If a client only has 1 or 2 emails, I recommend Catalyst2 and Office 365 or Google Suite. There is no phone support, but good email support.”
Cloudways is the perfect balance between affordable shared hosting and Virtual Server. I also like the fact that Cloudways does not provide email hosting. Email hosting is a very different platform than web hosting. Cloudways specializes in web hosting. Clients can set up their email with a business class provider such as Rack Space or Google Suite.”
“It can be tempting to look for lower priced options when it comes to hosting your website. Typically these lower plans ($15 a month or less) are what we call “shared hosting.” Shared hosting means your website is hosted on the same machine as thousands if not tens of thousands of other websites — all sharing the same resources. This is how companies can offer such low prices.
The low price comes with a trade off. You’ll experience poor performance and intermittent outages. Your website is too important for that and there is no reason you should spend less on hosting than you would your cell phone.
Look for either “managed hosting” or a VPS. If you’re using a platform like WordPress the best solution is almost always “managed hosting” where the hosting provider helps manage the security, software and performance of your website.”
- WP Engine – “For WordPress managed hosting we recommend WP Engine. They offer excellent performance, support and capabilities.”
- Flywheel – “Flywheel is another dedicated WordPress hosting service we recommend, also providing good features, performance and support.”
- Liquid Web – “If you need more flexibility or aren’t using WordPress, we recommend LiquidWeb. They have a wide range of plans and have hands down the best support we’ve ever encountered.”
The hosting package I have provides a strong, flexible chunk of fast, reliable, non-shared server power, but I don’t need to worry about server updates, security, management, and so on. This works very well for me!
SiteGround also have excellent customer service and have helped several times with specific, technical questions – unlike other providers who simply send links to (unhelpful) articles, their support staff have investigated and worked on my actual issues and reported back their findings in a useful and informative way.
While the Siteground package doesn’t provide everything – for example, I can’t run Python/Django, which I was exploring for a project recently – I feel that compared to other providers, a couple of small downsides are outweighed by largely problem-free hosting.”
I cannot recommend 20i enough. They offer a cutting-edge service using state of the art load-balancing servers and super-fast response time with SSD drives on all servers. The support cannot be beaten. The techs at 20i are patient, knowledgeable and extremely helpful, often replying within 10 minutes and always within the hour.
They have an excellent website and email migration tool. That makes migrating from your current host to 20i seamless and painless. You migrate a copy and when you’re completely satisfied all is well, you then update the DNS and it’s done with virtually no downtime.”
The infrastructure is designed to be N+2 resilient on hardware, meaning should a server fail, another will automatically take over. They offer a realistic 100% uptime SLA on power and 99.999% on connectivity. If your hosting requirements are pretty straightforward, the sales team provides you the most cost effective and efficient set ups with the ability to scale.
All aspects of the service we have found to be of the highest quality, be it the sales team, server and data centre support, account management or marketing department. They also throw great events from industry seminars to award ceremonies.
Wirehive is for all levels and requirements via AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, dedicated or virtual hosting.”
- Raid Host – “I used to host all my websites with a major player for website hosting, but discovered this company through Team Treehouse when they had a special offer on for members. Having tested the water with the company, I think their customer service is second to none. Always on hand, always helpful and always more than willing to go above and beyond. I also like the fact the company is based in the UK, so if I do have an issue, I can phone them quite easily.”
- HostGator – “Before moving to raidhost, I used hostgator for all of my website and found their service to also be excellent, particularly as a global hosting provider. The advice on how to do certain aspects of server management and hosting was useful, particularly as I was new to the industry. The expertise can be very useful when you are a solo designer.”
“I’ve utilized dozens of hosting platforms over the years, and worked within many more on host providers that our clients use.”
- Bluehost – “Bluehost is at the top of the list because they have what a good host should have: experience, little/no downtime, a variety of affordable packages, free SSL, Cpanel, and solid support. The free SSL is a big one.”
- Flywheel – “The second host I would recommend, and this is for WordPress only, is Flywheel. It is by far the best host for a WordPress site because it includes CDN capability, automated daily backups, and staging site support. They’ll also migrate your site for free!”
“Not all hosting companies are made equal and in my experience you do get what you pay for. If your website is critical to your business, which it most likely is, then hosting is not something you want to scrimp on!”
They are at the higher end of the hosting price spectrum as their WordPress hosting is fully containerised for maximum security and performance. But they are not unaffordable for small businesses. Their customer service is great too – their team are always happy to help, restore backups or even migrate your website for you. They have clearly taken their time to create a simple, clean and easy to use dashboard for your hosting accounts – something which is often overlooked by cheaper hosting companies. 34sp are the go-to-guys for WordPress hosting, no other recommendations necessary!”
“At Priority Pixels we have always used a range of hosting providers and there aren’t many we haven’t tried out over the years. You may think most hosting is the same, but each host has a slightly different setup, so it’s important you choose the right one for your business.
The core three hosting providers we use are Media Temple, SiteGround and WP Engine, and we use each for slightly different reasons based on the business needs of our clients.”
- Media Temple – “Media Temple is a good solid hosting provider. They have some cheap hosting options available, but more importantly the support is solid. We use the grid hosting platform, which is perfectly adequate for small to medium size websites. The hosting admin area isn’t as user friendly as other hosting providers, but you do have access to everything you need without certain bits being locked down as some hosting companies do.”
- SiteGround – “SiteGround is a step up from Media Temple. Their cloud servers are scalable, so you never need to worry about running out of bandwidth or storage space. We recommend SiteGround to small businesses that need a fast website with good uptime. Their support is top notch too.”
- WP Engine – “WP Engine is the gold standard in our opinion. If SEO is important to your business, then making sure the server your website is on is super fast should be your top priority. A super-fast website will help lower your bounce rate and keep your visitors on your site longer. WP Engine isn’t cheap, but as with everything in life, you get what you pay for.”
“Small businesses need website hosting providers that are capable of running a CMS or e-commerce platform safely and securely for both themselves and their customers. Platforms which feature simple, intuitive layouts and HTTPS hosting are ideal for small business owners.”
- InMotion Hosting – “InMotion Hosting gets my vote for best website host. Unlike some of their competitors, InMotion is all about hosting, and their packages are catered to just that. All of their small business hosting packages include an SSL certificate, which is essential for HTTPS. Finally, they have glowing reviews, and provide some of the best customer support available.”
- 1 & 1 IONOS – “1and1 Ionos provides extremely reliable and cost-effective website hosting services to small businesses. Their prices start as low as $1 per month for website hosting, so you can keep your overhead as low as possible for your online store. However, packages don’t include SSL certificates, so domains won’t be secured initially. But for companies just starting out, 1and1 is a great option.”
- GoDaddy – “GoDaddy is one of the world’s largest domain registrars and web hosting providers. Their website is simple and intuitive, and their small business packages include the SSL certificate required to be HTTPS. As the largest of the three, GoDaddy is less capable of providing customer support, which is why it’s #3 in my list.”
Although there are times where the customer service could be improved, most of the time, the people I’ve spoken to have been helpful and friendly, and always willing to educate me on how to fix site problems and bugs. Their customer service on the phone is the best too. For example, I had a client whose site I needed to migrate over from another hosting provider, and I was able to reach a representative within minutes. They made it clear what would be required to transfer a website domain, and the breadth of knowledge they had was impressive.
A few months back, I upgraded the hosting on my website to their business plan and saw a massive difference in the performance. For just $16 a month, I get outstanding hosting which has helped my site score in GTMetrix and it loads in less than 2 seconds. I have nothing but glowing words for Hostgator, and would highly recommend them to anyone looking to build a new site for their business. Look into their business hosting, and you’ll be astounded as I was when I made the upgrade.”
So one day, I looked at Flywheel’s site and decided to try out a plan costing roughly $30 a month. This was the perfect solution for my needs, as I was able to transfer the client website onto their platform easily and have a staging environment to still work in. The website speed of my client site was unlike anything I had ever seen. In GTMetrix, a popular site speed measuring tool, the site was able to load in a little over a second! Because their platform doesn’t rely on Apache by default, there’s no need to have as many caching plugins on WordPress. Your code is already minified and compressed, for the most part, so you can focus more on ensuring your site is mobile-friendly, and the on-page search engine optimization is in order.
If you can spare at least $100 a month for Flywheel and have multiple business sites you need hosting for, the platform is entirely worth the price. Their customer service is a cut above the rest. You can even reach out to them on weekends, and they’re there to answer any questions you might have about their hosting and other products.”
- Amazon Web Services – “AWS offers shared hosting plans for great prices. You’ll need to have your own back-end developer that can handle the setup and maintenance, but it’s what most ad agencies are using for large corporate projects. You get plenty of space and lots of control.”
- GoDaddy – “For non-developers that want to use a WordPress theme, I recommend WordPress for business. It’s a fairly low monthly cost and you get access to Go Daddy support nearly 24/7. You can easily create staging environments and push those changes up to your live production site. They also have built-in backups. It’s as simple as choosing which date you want the site backed up to and it will do it through your hosting, not in the WordPress dashboard.”
InMotion Hosting – “My company, Sneaker, has been using InMotion hosting since the 4th quarter of 2013, which is unbelievable. Since 2000, we’ve been through many hosting companies to finally arrive at a company that manages their growth and administrates their servers with consistent excellence. We have tried just about every major hosting company, or at least the top 20, in that time frame.
A pattern we always see is that a hosting company starts off with super fast hosting, great support, good internal organization and a lot of enthusiasm. In our world, IT and web companies talk and word of mouth gets these start-up web hosting companies off the ground. Then the hosting company will experience tremendous growth at about 1.5 yrs to 2 yrs after their glorious introduction. That’s when the majority of them take the dive, because they can’t handle the growth. They hire server admins that they shouldn’t have hired, and things get messy. Things don’t work the same anymore. Servers are filled with too many websites.
But InMotion is not that kind of company. They have some internal business goals that have kept them on track. They work with me on my hosting pricing. They help us with Unix/Linux migrations from other hosting companies to their hosting, and their support has worked through every issue we’ve had since we started in 2013. The issues have been rare. We have a Dedicated Server on InMotion, and it’s been very solid, and we run a VPS server at InMotion. We were running 2 VPS accounts, but one of the servers was having some issues. The other one has been steady since we started using it in about 2016. We can perform automated backups through WHM, we have access to SSH to move files quickly within the InMotion network, we can secure access to server and hosting administration with white and black listing of IP’s and subnet masks, etc.”
GoDaddy – “We have a lot of clients on Godaddy. I would recommend getting on a VPS plan. GoDaddy seems to be fairly consistent. The shared hosting plans are sufficient for companies that are just starting out with basic websites and few visitors, but not recommended if you really want your business to be taken seriously. If you go beyond a few visitors and a 10 page site with static content, you need to step up your game and get on a VPS, because at that level, you have a lot more flexibility. It will end up paying for itself if you’ve got a web development company that’s trying access things like the php.ini, or the database. Adminstering websites can be a lot easier through cPanel, with root level access, on a hosting plan that offers SSH and allows php settings to be adjusted. A step further is having control over your versions of PHP and MySQL. If you’re website has a user base, or ecommerce, then you’re probably going to need all of this stuff.
The good thing about GoDaddy is that they’ve been a big company for a long time, so their infrastructure has already been through the trials that smaller hosting companies experience when everyone abandons their web host to migrate to the latest and greatest new hosting company. GoDaddy’s way beyond that. Their support is easily accessible. They will be here tomorrow and the next day. There isn’t a day that goes by that we’re not doing something on Godaddy, and in general, things are easy to do there.”
- Bluehost – “We have a few clients on BlueHost. We’ve never had problems with them. As usual, if you’re on a shared hosting plan, performance, access to hosting management tools, and access to adjust server settings can all be issues. That’s across the board, happening with any shared plan on any hosting company, for the most part. It doesn’t matter what hosting company you’re on, if they are one of the top 20, in general, their shared hosting is going to be slower than VPS or Dedicated, hence the pricing structure. I don’t recommend shared hosting for any serious business. Bluehost has been a pretty solid solution for our clients that have sites hosted by them. We haven’t had any issues with them in the last 3 years.”
“First, talk to your website developer. They’ll know more about your web platform than you do, so talk to them about the capacity, scalability and performance that you’ll need for your business. Developers work with hosting platforms every day, so they’ll know what you need to look for to get the best out of your site.
Second, understand that there’s a difference between personal and professional web hosting. ‘Shared’ hosting, which is what you get for those offers that are less than $10 / month, is slow, has poor uptime and is insecure. Your business is professional, so it should use professional hosting to make sure your potential customers get a snappy, reliable experience.
Lastly, know what you’re looking for in a web host. SSL is vital to avoid alarming ‘insecure’ warnings. A global Content Delivery Network will help your site stay fast wherever in the world someone is accessing it from. Uptime should be at least 99.99%. And your host should be scalable — avoid hosts that cut you off or over-charge you when your website becomes popular, look instead for hosts that let you instantly upgrade your plan to cope with your level of traffic.”
- Amazon Web Services – “Without a doubt, the best performance and reliability we’ve had for our sites is Amazon’s AWS. It’s fast, secure and has excellent uptime. It has an excellent backup system to help you avoid catastrophes. It’s also more scalable than any other host we’ve found, with lots of plan levels that start very cost-effectively and only need to increase once your business is attracting lots of visitors. It supports lots of operating systems and platforms, including WordPress, Magento, Drupal and Joomla.”
- WP Engine – “If you’re using a WordPress site, you won’t go far wrong with WP Engine. They cover all of the professional basics like SSL and CDN, and have generous visitor capacity in their tiers. It also helps deal with some of WordPress’s weaknesses, providing strong backup and caching tools. It’s not the cheapest service out there, but the customer service and added value it offers your business makes it well worth the investment.”
“If you are a startup or small business, price will always be a concern when looking for web hosting services, but it shouldn’t be your only concern. Looking for a host company can be very confusing when you don’t know what to look for in a provider. Some hosting providers may have some of the best marketing out there to get your business, but they aren’t always the best option. On a typical monthly subscription, pricing plans can be as low as single figures or reach as high as triple digits, depending on the hosting plan you need.
The 3 most important factors you should consider when choosing a host company are speed (how long it takes a site to load), uptime (needs to be at least 99.94%), and customer support.
Two great host companies are:”
A2 provides a few helpful, preventative measures to keep hackers out of your site with HackScan; a free service that includes virus scanning, 24/7 security monitoring, and a brute force defense.
A2 Hosting offer very fast, high performance web hosting services suitable for websites of all sizes.
On average, A2 Hosting’s prices are slightly higher than what you’ll find from other companies, they come in around the middle of the pack, but worth it because they offer good value for your money and have package plans that work with your budget.”
SiteGround takes pride in their customer support; their knowledgeable support staff is available 24/7/365.
All SiteGround servers are highly optimized for speed and are super-fast.
Worried about getting hacked? (it happens all the time) Another great feature, SiteGround sets all of your websites to auto-update so that you no longer have to worry about installing the latest patches or software updates.
SiteGround’s pricing is also a bit more than the average, but well worth the price. The best pricing you receive is when you first sign up, so sign up for the 3 year plan. However, with no hidden fees, the price is actually significantly less than companies like GoDaddy.”
When it comes to hosting providers A2 Hosting and SiteGround are 2 of the best companies; they both have blazing fast hosting with amazing uptime and great support.
- WP Engine – “WP Engine have incredible support, available 24/7. I’m yet to have an issue with them that hasn’t been solved in 15 minutes or less. Their staging server makes doing developments and deployment to your live web hosting a breeze with just 1 click and is often completed within 30 seconds. Being WordPress hosting specialists they are perfect for those smaller websites built on the WordPress platform.”
- Heart Internet – “Heart internet are a solid UK provider. They have great support, are available on the phone and have great packages for smaller businesses that cost less than £120 a year. Their support and live chat are very helpful, they have next to zero downtime and are very flexible with what you can host on their servers. They also have great fully-managed dedicated solutions, so if your business requires a more powerful platform, then Heart have the solution across the board.”
- HostGator – “If you’re a new business that’s just starting out, you might be ok with basic popular hosting providers like HostGator. I’ve been using HostGator and GoDaddy for many small business clients for years without any major problems. The sites might not be the fastest, but they reliable and offer easy installation and customer support. For many small businesses, this is all they need, especially if the cost is a factor.”
- WPX Hosting – “If you’re looking for slightly more expensive hosting that’s faster, WPX hosting is a good way to go. They’re only slightly higher priced, but from my experience, the sites hosted on WPX tend to load much faster.”
- WP Engine – “Finally, if your budget allows spending more on hosting, WP Engine is always a solid choice. WP Engine offers many benefits including faster loading sites, automatic backup and restore, and includes other great features specifically designed for hosting small business WordPress sites.”
I have dealt with a number of hosting companies and I find some are just server mills, employing less informed support and unable to help when more technical issues arise. I have never experienced that with Hostek.
They have standard shared plans for entry level, VPS and Dedicated Servers for more advanced needs. They also offer Optimized WordPress plans. They have multiple Data Center locations in the USA and UK, as well as providing CDN services for faster website performance. The control panel is standard fare and allows for easy management of your site.”
- HostGator – “I have had a couple customers who hosted with HostGator. The experience dealing with the host was good. We have never had any major problems and support has been responsive. They have good prices and a nice control panel to manage the site. Although there have been issues here and there, the HostGator support team has been pretty good about resolving them quickly.”
“As our clients are largely UK based, we only use UK hosting.”
- Unlimited Web Hosting – “I recommend unlimitedwebhosting.co.uk for very small businesses that are arranging their own hosting. Their shared hosting is very reasonably priced and their online support is excellent. They also offer more premium services and reseller accounts. This makes them great for web designers with small clients that do not need a lot of hosting power. Everything you require, including cPanel or Plesk, is available and they work well with WordPress, Joomla, Magneto, OpenCart, Drupal etc. We used to use Unlimited Web Hosting and were happy with their services when our clients were all very small businesses.”
- Fasthosts – “I recommend fasthosts.co.uk for smaller businesses that need good hosting power for faster sites and busy eCommerce etc. With the expansion of my business, we wanted to provide faster hosting and move to dedicated servers. Fasthosts’ pricing is very competitive and their excellent support is a phone call away. They also offer a range of other hosting options if dedicated is not within your budget. They do not offer managed dedicated servers, but they will carry out work for you at a quoted price that is reasonable.”
“Our company designs only WordPress websites so our clients typically are going to be using WordPress specific hosting. With that in mind, the 3 hosting companies I would recommend are going to be Flywheel, WP Engine, and SiteGround.”
- Flywheel – “Flywheel is my favorite host and now includes 24/7 tech support. The biggest difference is they do a great job of getting things right the first time you ask for their help. I’ve used them for 5 years on websites that have very small amounts of traffic, and for websites that have a million visitors a week and they can scale accordingly. We focus more and more on website speed and they are among the best hosts for speed in the tests that we have done. They also offer free SSL licenses, which they make extremely easy to set up. I would say they are relatively easy for newcomers to use.”
- WP Engine – “WP Engine provides great WordPress website hosting. Their price point starts a little bit higher than Flywheel, so usually I would go with Flywheel if it’s a smaller client I’m working with. And by small, I’m talking about the web traffic to the website, which is how both companies set their pricing. WP Engine just started offering a great partnership whereby they provide the entire Genesis WordPress theme framework as part of their regular hosting price. That’s hard to beat. These guys are fairly easy to use as well, but have more technical switches and levers you can pull without asking for help.”
- SiteGround – “Neither of the two options above have the ability to do hosting above and beyond WordPress websites. So for clients that really want us to be able to handle everything in one single location (email addresses, domains, etc.), I can recommend SiteGround. While their support isn’t quite as good as either Flywheel or WP Engine, they do provide a good service and the pricing is very reasonable.”
“There are literally hundreds of web hosting providers nowadays. So much so that it can be daunting to figure out how to even begin to choose the “right” one.
It is often a good idea to ask yourself what kind of website you are hoping to have. Is it going to be on WordPress? Is it going to use a specific language (I use a lot of PHP for example); you need to make the sure that the host you are going to use can support your preferred method of building a website. Not all web hosts support all coding languages.”
500 MB Disk Space
20 GB Monthly Bandwidth
10 Mailboxes POP3/IMAP
10 MySQL Databases
5 FTP Users
This would be more than enough for a first website and can be upgraded fairly easily if the need arises. Questions and support are answered promptly. Downtime is virtually non-existent; it has happened once in the last 7 years U+I have been using them, and this only lasted 4 hours.
The downside to this web plodder is that you do need to be able to code. The file and folders you create need to be in a computing language (at the very least HTML); if you are not a coder and want to build your own website, this is not the web host for you.”
The downside is that the website will not be bespoke to you. The templates are pre-made and are equally available to everyone. You will not get the bespoke site of a web developer. Also beware of costs. The introductory prices are just that, and after that the price can go up considerably. If you are using the website builder it would be £12 PER MONTH.
Even if you just wanted to use the hosting, this goes up to £5 per MONTH. This excludes VAT at 20%. A lot higher than the prices of Wiserhosting”
“SO beware. Read carefully (especially the small print) on what a web host can provide before signing up. Make sure how long you are committing to (can you change providers easily?) How much support do you need / want and does the web hosting service support the language you want to use. Cheapest is not necessarily the best!”
Brian G. Bearden
I have many clients that host with GoDaddy because they are reliable and very affordable. I recommend that you purchase the domain name and hosting under your name with your credit card. This way, you own everything in your name. Don’t let your website design company register your domain or hosting under their name. Again, you need to own everything under your name.”
Like GoDaddy they have additional services that can be added on, but unless you have a unique website, I would recommend discussing these additional services with your webmaster or web design company before purchasing any of them. I have experience with their support team and they have been quite responsive to my needs.”
I’m not that familiar with their customer service personnel because I have not had any issues that made me need to contact them.”
- SiteGround – “When it comes to web hosting, especially for the average small business owner, I think having great customer support is key. My top recommendation is SiteGround hosting. They have consistently crushed it on the support side of things, and are always working to improve their hosting services as well. The combination of advanced feature set and ease of use makes it a win time and time again. We host the majority of our customers with Siteground and love using them on a daily basis.”
- Amazon Web Services – “If you are looking for a high end solution that scales with your well established business, then I think Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the way to go. I love how reliable their hosting is and the wide variety of features and addons they provide to really help expand a quickly growing business with a larger user base. Efficiently scaling is key to an enterprise level business and AWS provides all the tools and then some to get the job done.”
“The majority of my clients take advantage of the free hosting that comes with my WordPress Maintenance Plans. On the occasion that they do prefer to go out on their own, I recommend one of 2 places: SiteGround or WP Engine (these are the same hosting providers I use for my maintenance clients).”
- SiteGround – “I tend to recommend SiteGround for small to medium websites that don’t include complex functionality or ecommerce. Their entry level hosting for 1 site is less than $150 for the year. They also include their SG Optimizer plugin for WordPRess with every install. I’ve found it to be one of the easier to use speed optimization plugins available. Customer service has always been top notch as well.”
- WP Engine – “For more complex sites & ecommerce sites I recommend WP Engine. They only host WordPress sites, so all of their servers are fine-tuned to get the best performance possible from the platform. On top of that, the user interface is very simple to use, but does keep some of the more esoteric settings hidden from the user. However their customer support has always been quick in helping make any tweaks you might need for your site. This does come at a price, as it is 2-3 times more expensive than SiteGround.”
- Fasthosts – “As a small business owner, the importance of reliability and flexibility cannot be overstated. This is the reason we recommend Fasthosts to all our potential web clients. I have been using their different packages for over 10 years. Their customer support is second to none. I have spent many hours on calls with their dedicated support team, but never longer than 5 minutes in a queue. They offer great, low price packages perfect for service based businesses requiring a simple, static website right up to dedicated servers capable of supporting multiple sites and large ecommerce stores. They also offer a great, cloud solution for businesses who experience fluctuations in traffic due to seasonal shopping, events or other factors. You can easily adjust the memory and disk space to accommodate the extra traffic and reduce it back down after with no need to pay for a larger package all the time.”
- SiteGround – “If you are using, or planning to use, WordPress or WooCommerce for your website then you should be looking at SiteGround. Recommended by WordPress themselves, they offer three great value, managed hosting solutions. All three include an automated WordPress installer and setup to help you get up and running faster or if you already have a site, you can make use of their free migration plugin. We once had an issue with the plugin; the site we were working on was very large, and they manually transferred the site for us. The primary benefit of their managed hosting is that they automatically take care of the security and updates of your site for you at server level. Knowing your site is secure is a massive stress reliever for any small business.”
- SiteGround – “Finding SiteGround was a bit of a revelation. I build sites on WordPress and some hosts can struggle to serve it up fast. Not SiteGround, lightning fast, especially when using their own optimiser plugin. The live chat support is also second to non. 9/10 times they solve the issue you’re facing there and then on the chat.”
“Hosting is no longer simple as it once was. A growing business needs stability, security and the ability to grow with their business. From personal experience I would recommend Amazon Web Services, Digital Ocean and Vultr in that order. Each one offers great selection of worldwide data centres, once click app installs and additional cloud services on which you can grow and expand your business.”
- Amazon Web Services – “I’m picking Amazon Web Services as number one because nowadays it is not just about having a web presentation anymore. Growing business needs a reliable, secure and scalable platform of technologies and AWS offers just that. The sheer choice of services could be overwhelming at first with a steep learning curve, but once you establish your business goals, AWS can definitely help you achieve them. I mean just think about it, AWS now has 166 Points of Presence and support in 69 cities in 29 countries. That’s insane! You can even implement machine learning and AI into your business; everything is there and ready for you. Imagine that next year you introduce a new service or product to your customers, and you discover your business has new requirements and AWS is there with vast range of services to support it. Everything is integrated together and building your business therefore has virtually no limits – that’s why companies like Netflix and Airbnb use AWS. We often have clients that require such flexibility, to create new rich features for their business and if you want this level of flexibility then definitely pick Amazon Web Services.”
- DigitalOcean – “Digital Ocean would be my personal choice for number two because it offers more transparent costing than AWS and offers a much smaller selection of services. You can still choose from a wide range of data centres, such as London for the UK or when your business expands you can get closer to the client and set up new operations in their regions. Digital Ocean focuses more on the “hosting” part of cloud services and storage and they do this really well. But you can forget server-less services for example. There is an object storage service available now too, but at the time of writing it still does not support bucket DNS endpoint – a feature readily available on AWS for almost a decade.”
- Vultr – “Vultr would be third and the smallest of them all and offers a very similar service set as Digital Ocean, but is considerably cheaper, and arguably offers better performance than Digital Ocean on some servers. Vultr runs a transparent costing model just like Digital Ocean and focuses on servers only. So if you only want to configure and run your server without any other services, then Vultr could be the right fit.”
- KnownHost – “I run multiple websites, so service and support is important to me. I have been using KnownHost for 2 years and the experience has been great. The hosting they offer is top of the line and their service and support is great. I’ve never had to wait more than a few minutes to hear from their support team. I like that they aren’t as big as some of the other companies because I feel they offer more personal attention.”
Their support is fairly minimal, based on a knowledgebase system rather than direct support, but their documentation is extremely extensive (in fact their articles on systems administration are some of the best guides around) and anyone with a basic grasp of the command line should be able to get a server set up in a few hours.”
- Cloudways – “For those who feel a little intimidated by the terminal, Cloudways offers a friendlier interface for DigitalOcean (and several other VPS providers). Not strictly a hosting provider in the standard sense, Cloudways acts as a fluffy “wrapper” for your VPS and provides thing like a “proper” command panel, 24/7 expert support, stack optimisation and super-fast caching that may otherwise take you hours of valuable time to put into place. It’s a great option for those a little less technically minded and the pricing is very competitive.”
- Flywheel – “For those who need a more managed solution, Flywheel is an excellent option. Specialising in WordPress hosting enables Flywheel to do this one thing extremely well. Offering priority support, a 99.95% uptime guarantee and ongoing technical account management to proactively assist you through every stage of a project, Flywheel can help your site progress and build with your business.”
- SiteGround – “The best hosting provider I’ve ever done business with is SiteGround. Hands down the best from both a technical standpoint and with regards to customer service. Great host for WordPress. Fast load speeds, etc… But their customer support is amazing. I love dealing with the folks at SiteGround. They always seem to go above and beyond the call of duty in helping me with any issues I may encounter. I strongly recommend them for small businesses.”
- KnownHost – “KnownHost.com is my pick of the litter, especially for Managed VPS boxes. Great price and truly amazing support. 3 data centers to choose from in the US. Too many other hosts sell “Managed VPS” products that aren’t well managed at all. KnownHost support and responsiveness on any server issues that I run into are what really set them apart. I’ve heard good things about Liquid Web in this regard as well, but their prices are quite a bit more than KnownHost’s.”
- Vultr – “For unmanaged server space for development purposes or temporary hosting I like vultr.com quite a bit.”
- WP Engine – “For pure WordPress hosting where the client wants their own hosting and I don’t have to worry about leaving them with a subpar host, wpengine.com is the way to go.”
- Rackspace – “I really recommend Rackspace. I’ve had servers with them for about 12 years — both dedicated and cloud. The servers are fairly priced and reliable, but this is not a do-it-yourself solution for the uninitiated. I would say you need someone with an IT background to configure and manage the servers, unless you opt for their full service option, which is expensive. Their service is outstanding, though expensive. If you can do some basic Linux administration then I think you can manage your own cloud server and forgo their full service option. Even so, whenever you call them you get a real person and quick resolution to any problems. Not the cheapest hosting solution, but they are a pleasure to do business with.”
- DreamHost – “My first suggestion for small businesses would be Dreamhost. The customer service has been excellent and they have multiple packages that can meet almost any small business need. They can start with a simple shared hosting for most small business needs and can scale up to a VPS or dedicated server for those needing more power to run an e-commerce or more complicated site. They also have data centers in most states, so you could have your server host be local to help with local page speeds and more.”
- Cloudways – “Cloudways is also an exceptional hosting option. They are a great solution for smaller businesses that may have more website based needs, as they allow you to choose the type of server setup you need. Cloudways servers can also easily scale and allow for setting up staging sites for testing and site change deployments. Some of their packages also provide managed hosting, which is great for small businesses that need one less thing to worry about. In all the dealings I have had with them, from hosting sites that get a couple thousand views a month to sites that get three million views a month, their customer service has been outstanding.”