Who you choose as your website host is an important decision. Here are some things to consider, what to look for, and who I recommend.
I’ve been creating websites and working with clients for many years, and I have quite a bit of experience dealing with various hosting companies.
In a Nutshell
- You have three choices when it comes to type of hosting.
- There are plenty of hosting companies, and I’ll tell you which are the best and why.
- There is one I do not want to work with at all, and I’ll tell you why.
Some of the links here are affiliate links.
1. Domain Name
I’ve used several domain name companies, and the only one I really recommend is namecheap.com.
- They’re so easy to use
- They have great and fast support
- They’re usually much cheaper than if you buy your domain name through your hosting provider (like Bluehost, Godaddy, InMotion, etc.). Most domain names are around $11/year there. And if you go with the non-traditional formats, like .co or .me or .store, you can get one for $1.88/year.
2. Three types of Hosting
You have 3 basic choices:
- Shared hosting
- Virtual Private Server Hosting (VPS)
- Dedicated Hosting
Let’s look at some of the main differences and pros and cons:
A. Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is the cheapest hosting you’ll find. Prices range from $2.95/month (paid annually) to around $12/month (again – annually).
Here’s what you should know:
Economical for starting out when your traffic is rather low and you’re just getting started. When you get to a significant amount of monthly traffic, you’ll probably want to move to a VPS server.
Site Speed: Most websites are accessed on mobile today and site speed is crucial. If you site takes more than 7 seconds to load, people will not wait. They’re gone and won’t come back. Google also bases a small part of its ranking factor on site speed. I know LOTS of hacks for increasing site speed, but server speed is part that I cannot control.
Shared hosting will always provide slower site-loading speeds.
Example: I had a site once hosted at Bluehost. When I moved the site to InMotion’s VPS server, my site loading speed immediately decreased by 3.6 seconds!!! There were no changes. That was the difference between Bluehost’s server speed and InMotion’s VPS-server speed.
Support: Support is a critical consideration. When you have a website, things WILL GO WRONG, and a lot of times, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the server (i.e., website hosting company’s hardware). There will always be times when you have to contact support.
The main reason I left several shared hosting companies was the looooong support wait times and the operators who could not adequately speak English to understand the problem or effectively communicate the solution.
For example: I hosted a few websites at one shared hosting company for around 4 years. Their servers had SO many problems, and I was on the higher-tier WordPress-managed platform, not the regular, cheaper, shared hosting servers. There were so many days when I’d contact support because something on their end was not working, and I’d sit. And wait. I’d wait 40 min – 1 hr for someone to respond in the chat. Then, because of language deficiencies, they would not understand or not provide a solution, and I’d have to contact them THREE MORE TIMES in the same day.
And every time I initiated contact, I’d sit and wait for another 40+ minutes. It consumed my entire day!
Time is our most precious commodity, and that is unacceptable.
In the example above, I canceled my hosting account and moved my sites to InMotion’s VPS hosting. InMotion responds IMMEDIATELY to support requests, 24/7. I have never waited for more than 2 minutes for a response for support at InMotion. And they have ALWAYS provided me with the correct solution on the first contact. They know what they’re doing there. Quick and efficient support, my friend, is priceless. Consider that when signing up for a website host.
With shared hosting, the companies pack as many websites onto one server as they possibly can to maximize profit. Most shared hosting servers hold data for over 10,000 websites on a single server. The bad part of that is, when one of those 10,000 websites does something bad or gets injected with malware, YOUR server and YOUR website is now down and/or affected. Not good.
Most shared companies will promise you “unlimited bandwidth” and “unlimited storage” and “unlimited websites”, but that is not true for ANY of them. Once you reach a certain threshold for storage space or bandwidth, they will either throttle your site’s speed or suspend your account completely, taking your website offline.
And when a visitor comes to your website and encounters a 404 Not Found error, chances are they WON’T come back later to see if you fixed the problem. So, look at the fine print that they won’t tell you about when you’re signing up and check what those limits are on your proposed server.
Remember: you get what you pay for, in most cases. Shared hosting is economical and great for starting out, in general, but plan to move once traffic and income increases.
Also, not all shared hosting companies are equal in terms of service, speed, support, and benefits.
Your income will (soon) depend on this website. It will become your big money-maker. So, choose carefully and invest the extra amount if needed to make sure you have one that will help you increase your income, not hamper it.
B. VPS Hosting
VPS hosting is more expensive than shared hosting, but with that comes more benefits. Here are a few:
Way more control over the backend. With managed VPS, you get access to the root and can control many aspects of the server. Not very important when you’re starting out, but much more important once you grow.
Awesome support. When you pay more, you’re more valuable to the hosting company and most will bend over backward to provide fast, reliable support to keep you as a customer.
Faster. VPS servers take one whole server and segment it into like 3-5 sections. You get your whole section to yourself. It’s almost like having a whole server to yourself. This means much faster loading times. Also, there are only 3-5 other websites sharing your server instead of 10,000+, so when one person does something bad (like spamming emails or getting hacked or infected with malware), you have much less chance of your website going down with it.
VPS costs more. At inMotion (the best there is for VPS in my opinion), the first year costs like $25/month and after that, it goes to like $45/month. Paid annually, of course.
3. Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting is when you get your own dedicated IP address and your own whole server all to yourself. Managing it becomes technical, though, but you have options sometimes to pay extra and get others to manage it for you.
Dedicated hosting is expensive – in the range of $150/month and more. So I won’t talk about it here. It’s not necessary until you have massive traffic and special circumstances (like hosting your own SaaS programs and such).
Who I Recommend and Who I Do NOT Recommend
First, make sure your server meets these minimum requirements:
- PHP version 7.2 or later
- mySQL version 5.6 or greater
- SSL availability (Is it included, or do you have to purchase your own and install it?)
- Maximum number of websites allowed on one account
- Storage space limits
- Bandwidth limits
- Reviews on the quality of their support (google it and look for reputable comments and reviews, not just the plethora of “reviews” disguised as affiliate salespeople trying to get you to sign up thru their affiliate link so they can make money off you)
My #1 Recommendations
SHARED: Bluehost or Siteground
Shared Hosting Companies
Bluehost is a long-standing, popular hosting choice. You can contact support through chat at any time, although at peak times, there can be a long wait. They’re affordable, their uptime is excellent, and they offer a lot of storage space and bandwidth, depending on which plan you choose. I used them for many years.
Siteground‘s support is fast and amazing. They provide you with a free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate (which saves you at least $29/year and the headaches that often come with installing it). Their plans are affordable, and the site speed is pretty good. Uptime is near 100% (meaning no visitors coming and seeing a 404 Not Found – site is Down error).
InMotion is also an excellent choice for shared hosting, although they’re not the absolute cheapest option. But you certainly can’t beat their support! A while back, I tested server speeds across 5 different shared hosing companies, and inMotion’s was #1.
InMotion is incredible for VPS hosting. Their servers, support, and helpful do-it-yourself articles are unparalleled. If you want more info about them, just ask. I’ll tell you.
DOMAIN NAME & SSL Certificates:
I definitely recommend namecheap.com. High quality, most affordable, great support. If you’re on VPS, you’ll have to purchase and install your own SSL certificates. Get them from namecheap. Much cheaper (but same issuer / same quality as what you’ll get from your hosting provider).
WHO I DO NOT RECOMMEND:
There are two:
Dreamhost is great in other aspects, but they DO NOT HAVE cPANEL. I won’t go into detail, but that makes editing files and adding stuff 10 times harder and time-consuming. It’s a nightmare, actually, when you’re trying to get things done in a reasonable period of time.
When I first started out, I used GoDaddy. And I’ve had lots of clients who were set up on GoDaddy. Their service, their customer support, their prices, their red tape, their bullcrap was insane, and I got to the point where I SWORE I would NEVER EVER work with GoDaddy again. Not for myself and not for clients.
They are, without a doubt, the absolute worst shared hosting company you could choose if you want a long-term, healthy, happy, growing website server.
Don’t do it.
If you have GoDaddy, see if you can get a refund and move your site elsewhere. If not, I would seriously consider “taking the loss” and just setting up your website elsewhere.
It is NOT worth the hassles, the headaches, the constant problems, the bad service, the inflated prices (on some of their services), and just the overall nightmare you WILL encounter at some point should you opt to stay with them for a few years.
You can make your own choices, of course. This is based on my many experiences with GoDaddy.