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.
My Recommended Shared Hosting: SiteGround
For low-cost shared hosting suitable for most small business and small nonprofits, I recommend SiteGround. When I migrated all of my personal WordPress blogs from a big-name competitor to SiteGround (I used the “GoGeek” shared hosting plan), I noted the load times before and after. On average, the load time was 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.
They also offer some perks like powerful caching (which makes your site even faster), and free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, which provides additional security for your site, and is indicated by a green lock in the browser bar. They also offer easy staging site generation and backups.
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).
SiteGround is based in Sofia Bulgaria (although they have data centers around the world).
My Recommended 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.
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.
My Recommended 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).
My Recommended Domain Name Hosting
If you’re starting a website, you’ll need a domain name. I recommend Namecheap. They have great prices and are highly rated in the industry.
Do not purchase your domain name from your web hosting company. 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
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.