My Experience With Hosting – The Good, The Bad, The Awful
Over the last couple of years, I have probably used or tried to use 20+ hosts. In this post I thought I would share my experiences with those hosts in case they are helpful for others trying to find a good one for their new website. While I often recommend hosts for my clients (you’ll find my recommendations under ‘The Good’ listed below), non clients come to me with problems from time to time. Many times they have been hacked or want/need to move their website for some reason. Those situations typically involve me utilizing or often trying to utilize the host’s support processes which has provided me some insight into what works/doesn’t. One caveat, my experience mostly relates to WordPress-based websites.
Economy – You have a website with fairly limited server needs. These economy hosts run $5-10 per month and are a great fit for this type of company.
Both of these companies provide pretty great support – especially for the price. Belira goes above an beyond for me and are perfect for small clients/test servers. They have, bar none, the best support I have ever seen from an economy host and I have used them for nearly 6 years. As with many shared hosts, Belira can struggle from time to time with getting your emails in people’s inboxes which is why I always recommend clients use Google Apps for email (I use it for all of my SharpGuys email addresses). SiteGround costs a bit more but handles website migrations for you which can save some time. They are also pretty good about getting back with you when you need assistance. I did have a situation where a company came to me after their site was hacked that was using SiteGround. After asking for Siteground for help, they simply said that the company needed to pay Securi $200 to get their site fixed without offering any additional assistance or options. And not only did they not help, they took the site down immediately without any warning until we got the hacked site fixed up.
Premium – You are a company that takes its web presence seriously. These hosting options begin at $15/month and increase based on the number of visitors you get.
I have clients that range from 100 visits to 2 million visits per month on these services. One is a news website – when a story goes viral, they can miss out on 300k impressions in an hour if it goes down so it is crucial it stays up. GetFlywheel has some pretty amazing emergency help (24 hour support) and handles the transition from taking a client from a test server to the production site incredibly well. They also offers automated daily backups, a staging website, and automatic caching. WPEngine also has great support and similar features but they cost a bit more for larger clients. Between the two I would say GetFlywheel is a bit better at this point. Neither of these hosts provide domains or email so that will have to be handled somewhere else. This can be a bit frustrating if you would like to minimize the number of logins you have. Also, both of them will charge ongoing costs for giving you the ability to use an SSL license (they will also charge you extra for the license) which needs to be built into the cost.
These services I have used extensively – I have not had good experiences and it is likely you will not either.
- Arvixe – Fast servers but poor support.
- BlueHost – I have never seen servers run slower on so many different types of websites.
- Dreamhost – Awful support and a tendency to have their websites go down.
These services I have used extensively – I am nearly sure that your one good experience will be followed by 10 bad experiences.
- GoDaddy – Simply atrocious support and they will screw people over to try and make a buck on the initial sale. They will ALWAYS oversell people that don’t know any better via chat or phone. “Yes sir, you definitely need to buy the .biz,.info,.net,.garbage domain extension versions of your domain along with the highest level SSL license” (for your personal blog that will not sell e-Commerce items).
- Network Solutions – (Horrible, HORRIBLE support – tickets take 2 days to hear a reply and then it will be automated and not even be applicable to the problem).
- HostGator – 24-48 hour support tickets answered by computers. When they are answered by humans, they can’t help you.
A Few Others
DiscountASP – The oldest backend tech I have ever seen but their support is pretty good.
phpwebhosting.com – Also incredibly old tech. Pretty decent support but they will charge you extra for it.