If you want to put your content on the Internet, you’ll have to choose a web hosting provider. This is the company that will store your website on a computer which is connected to the Internet and can serve it up to visitors.
If research hosting companies on the Internet, you’ll find so many conflicting opinions about hosting companies it will make your head spin. I’ve used all of the large hosting companies on dozens and dozens of websites. Here are the companies that have the reliability, speed, and cost in my experience.
Budget Hosting: Namecheap
Namecheap has a good reputation in the industry for domain name hosting at really low prices, but they’re only starting to become known for great low-cost web hosting. I tried their ludicrously cheap $2.88/month Stellar web hosting plan for a client with a rock-bottom budget and was impressed. It had good speed on a WordPress blog I installed, scoring of 84 out of 100 on Pingdom with under 2s load time for a heavy 6.3MB page… out of the box with no speed optimizations!
SSL is extra after the first year (so add a buck per month), but even with that, it’s still a great deal for hobby sites, personal blogs, or small business websites. Email with 10GB storage is included.
An added convenience is that Namecheap offers great domain name prices, so you can get your domain and web hosting all from the same company.
So what’s the catch? In my experience, Namecheap hosting is not as reliable as the more expensive hosts I recommend below. I’ve noticed about one occurrence of downtime per month, usually lasting less than ten minutes (probably for a server reboot). But that might be perfectly fine for your personal blog!
Another low-cost host that I’ve heard good things about is NameHero. They offer Lightspeed cache, SSD storage, and free SSL included. I’ve also been hearing folks recommend A2 Hosting. I have not tried either of these myself yet though.
Note: I receive compensation from service providers when you purchase through the affiliate links (at no extra cost to you). I test and/or research each service thoroughly before endorsing it. I own this site and the opinions expressed here are mine.
Professional Hosting: SiteGround
For reliable shared hosting suitable for most small businesses and nonprofits, I recommend SiteGround. When I migrated all of my personal WordPress blogs from a big-name web hosting company to SiteGround (I used the “GoGeek” shared hosting plan), on average, the load times were cut in half from around 5 seconds to a little over 2 seconds with SiteGround! After that, my sites were a joy to use and maintain. Click below for more details:
They also offer some perks like powerful caching (which makes your site even faster), and free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, which provide additional security for your sites. They also offer easy staging site generation and backups, and email accounts!
Another important factor is customer service. Last time I had to talk to them, I was able to get a real person on chat in about a minute. She was able to solve one of my problems right away. She created a ticket for my other one, which was solved in about ten minutes.
These are the reasons why I’m a huge fan of SiteGround! They are perfect for small to medium traffic sites (100,000 visitors per month of fewer).
Premium Managed WordPress Hosting: WP Engine
If you need a more premium WordPress hosting solution, I would recommend WP Engine. Yes, they’re more expensive, but their servers are insanely fast and they offer really easy staging sites, backups, along with all of the amenities that SiteGround offers. Click below for more details:
WP Engine is based in Austin, TX. I’ve visited their headquarters and spoken with their employees there. I recommend them for high-end WordPress hosting, if you have the means.
WordPress Cloud Hosting: Gridpane with Vultr
If you need more powerful, scalable, hosting, you’ll probably look to a cloud hosting solution like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Digital Ocean. However, these companies provide unmanaged servers, meaning you’ll need sysadmin expertise (or an IT person) to set up and maintain your servers.
One solution is to use a hosting control panel service on top of your cloud hosting. This provides a slick interface to your server with simple controls to create servers, install WordPress, set up SSL, and so forth, so you don’t need to do any command-line work to set up your servers. Unless you’re a server expert, these are worth every penny!
Gridpane is my recommended WordPress control panel. Gridpane is specifically geared to WordPress hosting only, so they’ll take good care of your sites. I use them along with servers from Vultr, which provides super-fast cloud hosting (check out this speed comparison). Click below for more details:
Probably the most popular hosting panel company is Cloudways, also worth checking out.
Domain Name Hosting
If you’re creating a new website, you’ll need a domain name. I recommend Namecheap. They have great prices (about half the cost of GoDaddy) but they’re also highly regarded in the industry. Don’t be put off by the name – they’re a good deal for domain names. Click below for more details:
Do not purchase your domain name from your web hosting company unless they are also known for their domains (like Namecheap is). Someday, you might want to move your web hosting and you’ll have to go through the painful process of moving your domain name as well if you want to be free of them.
Companies to Avoid
I don’t want to mention any hosting companies by name, but many of the most well-known hosting companies cram so many users on a single server that the sites on them are as slow as molasses. If you message me privately I can steer you clear of these. Unfortunately, some of the largest, most popular hosting companies are now among the worst.
I hope this has helped! – Brian