Searching for a web hosting company to host your blog or site can be a really time-consuming, frustrating, and draining task. That’s a fact. I know people who have been publishing sites for years and who have still not found a hosting solution that they are completely satisfied with.
Today I am sharing my experience to help you find a perfect host for your needs.
Yes, we need to focus on your needs in order to find the best web hosting solution for you. The biggest mistake you can make is to read page upon page of reviews on web hosting forums, without first carefully analysing your particular use-case. Sure, some web hosts are more reliable than others, some of them have great customer service and others seem hell bent on making their customers lives miserable, but that is not the most important thing to start from.
I started my adventure with web hosting many years back, and my first web hosting experience was far from positive. In fact, the first company I had chosen suddenly disappeared, taking with it all its clients’ data. Can you believe that? That cost me much grief as in those times I used to rely on backups provided by the hosting company itself. Which means that I had no access to my data and neither to the backups.
After that traumatic experience, I decided that I was going to change my strategy with hosting completely.
Here’s what I did.
First of all at that time I switched over to WordPress, and have been using this CMS for any website I build since then. If you’re building sites and haven’t used WordPress, you’re really missing out, go check it out immediately!
Anyway, the first step of my strategy was to take responsibility for my own backups. After much research I found a WordPress plugin that fit my needs perfectly: BackupBuddy.
With BackupBuddy I can backup all my websites easily and automatically, and send the backups offsite to another server, or even to my Dropbox account.
With backups taken care of, I proceeded to take a good look at the websites I needed to host. I had a whole range of sites, some of them my own, and others of my clients. Not all of them had the same requirements, a few would do with basic hosting while others like WPMayor needed specialised hosting to handle a large number of visitors. The budgets of each client were also different, and this needed to be put into the equation.
By now I’m sure you’re realising that you cannot go searching for the cheapest web hosting, the fastest web host, etc. because there ain’t no such thing.
There is no best web hosting provider.
There is a best hosting solution for each of your sites.
What are we saying here? We’re simply saying that your search for web hosting needs to start from the needs of each and every website you want to host, and once you know what you want, it’s relatively easy to find a good web host.
I told you that for a site like WPMayor I needed specialised hosting. Why is that? Well, that particular site has a global audience, so the site must be loading fast from any corner of the world. That suggests the need for a Content Delivery Network (CDN) so anyone can get the page elements loaded from a location closest to him.
What about server power? That site receives thousands of monthly visitors, and so I needed a server which packed a punch in its setup, and was able to handle sudden spikes of traffic. Caching was definitely on the cards here, together with raw computing power. Besides, I don’t have the time or knowledge to tweak a hosting setup for these specialised requirements.
A quick look around and it was fairly evident what the solution for WPMayor’s hosting was: a WordPress managed-hosting solution. I needed someone to host my site, someone who I could rely on and who had experience working with WordPress and tweaking the hosting environment to be perfectly optimised for this CMS. Turns out there is a hosting company which provides just that, and everyone who works there is knowledgeable at WordPress + Hosting. Just perfect!
Specialised WordPress Hosting: WP Engine
WP Engine turns out to be the most reliable WordPress hosting solution out there, with an equally reliable support staff who are always ready to help you out with any issue you might have.
The guys at WP Engine excel in so many ways that I don’t really have much to say about them apart the fact that they are probably the top in WordPress hosting, you can’t get anything better than this.
If you have specialised requirements for your blog, or run a high-traffic blog, this is your ticket to great web hosting, look no further because WP Engine will give you all you need.
The cheapest plan at WP Engine, which caters for 1 site and up to 25,000 visits/month, is available at $29/month, plus an extra $19.95/month for an optional CDN, which I recommend if, like me, your target audience is a global one.
If you want to host more than one site at WP Engine you can step up to the next package which will set you back $99/month but includes a CDN and hosting for up to 10 websites, with a maximum of 100,000 visits/month.
Now I’m totally convinced about WP Engine and think it’s a great deal for any website which is already making its own income. However, I know many of you are just starting out in the internet marketing business, creating their websites to test the waters or maybe creating a small website to advertise your off-line service/product.
In that case, you can probably save some money and go with something more flexible and cheaper. I’m talking about shared hosting and reseller hosting packages, which are super common nowadays. You will find thousands of hosting companies offering these packages, and so it becomes really difficult to make your choice. Let me go straight to the point and tell you about my choice…
Shared Web Hosting Provider: HostNine
I’ve been with HostNine for around 5 years now (a little after they started off), and I’ve found them to be very reliable. With HostNine I’ve always had a reseller account, which gives me a lot of flexibility at a very reasonable cost. HostNine have built a custom reseller control panel (Reseller Central) which looks great and is very user friendly. Their main site is also gorgeous following its recent redesign, and I always admire companies which invest in design, it shows that they care about details.
HostNine shared hosting packages start at $3.95/month and reseller hosting packages at $24.95/month. Uptime is excellent and I always get my support questions answered within a few minutes at max.
Using my reseller account I can host many websites and I can also choose where they are hosted, since HostNine has datacenters in the USA, UK, Netherlands and Asia. This is a great thing as I can vary the location depending on each site’s target audience. If a site’s main target audience is the US, then I will host it at one of the US-based HostNine datacenters. The entry-level reseller hosting package lets you host up to 100 domains, and that’s plenty to start off with. The next level is only $34.95/month and lets you host up to 200 domains. They have 5 reseller package levels in all, so you can choose according to your needs.
A basic shared hosting account is fine if you only have one website and don’t plan to launch any others. However if you are a developer who regularly needs to provide hosting for your clients, or if you’re an internet marketer who launches many small sites, the reseller hosting account would be perfect.
Check out a further 9 reasons why you’ll love working with HostNine for a more graphic explanation of what makes HostNine my favourite shared hosting and reseller hosting provider. I also suggesting following HostNine’s blog, they publish around 3 posts a week and they’re always a good read.
Another shared hosting provider which many of my friends use is Bluehost. This company is very serious and held in high esteem within the hosting industry, so it’s another alternative you can keep in mind if for some reason you don’t like HostNine’s offering.
Over to You, Go Get Your Perfect Hosting Solution!
That’s my web hosting story with a happy ending. Nowadays I have my mind at rest hosting all my sites between WP Engine and HostNine, and having them backed up to Dropbox via the BackupBuddy WordPress plugin. I’ve found this to be an absolutely fantastic setup that can be adopted by many of you out there, which prompted me to share my experience. Hope you can benefit from my experience.
Do you have any questions about hosting which I haven’t answered in this post? Please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out.