Website Hosting: Are you giving your site a good Home Sweet Home?
This page may contain links to Amazon.com or other sites from which I may receive commission on purchases you make after clicking on such links. Read my full Disclosure Policy
In the excitement of planning the content and design for your website, it might be easy to think choosing a hosting service is a minor decision. It’s not. Your hosting service is your website’s home!
When you chose your home, you probably considered things like security, whether everything was kept in good working order, and location. Your website works for you 24-7; doesn’t it deserve the same consideration?
Someone recently asked me, “Do you have any recommendations on good web hosting companies and is there anything in particular we need to consider when making our choice?”
Watch this video to hear what I told them, or scroll past it to read about the types of website hosting services and my recommendations.
Just like homes for people, hosting services come at all price ranges.
There are many different types of hosting services, but probably only two that would be well-suited to a small service-based business.
Shared hosting is like a small rental apartment. You can keep your costs down by sharing a building or a server with other tenants or website owners.
When you live in an apartment building, you can hear other people. You might never see them, but you can smell their cooking and their cigarette smoke. And you have to share the elevator, laundry room, and other resources with them.
Shared hosting also has its downsides. Websites load more slowly when server resources are shared with several thousand other sites. That’s so frustrating for your visitors that many will not stick around. Knowing this, Google factors in page speed when indexing your site.
If there’s been a lot of trouble in your building, people might be reluctant to visit or deliver to you. And if another website sharing your hosting space is flagged as a security risk, your site might be flagged as well.
You can make your own apartment or website as nice as you like, but you can’t escape bad neighbors or a crumbling infrastructure.
Shared hosting services aren’t all the same! And even when you’ve found one you’re happy with, that can change. Here’s what happens when a good one goes bad. There are tens of thousands of hosting companies, most of which I have no experience with, so I hesitate to make a recommendation.
That said, several of my clients host with Siteground and are quite happy with them. Some of my Canadian clients host with HostPapa out of Burlington, Ontario, and I consider their support and prices to be very good. Plus, their data centres use green energy!
Sharing is a good option when you’re just starting out and need to keep your costs down, but eventually you’ll want probably want to “move up.” This will happen earlier if your family is growing or, in the case of your website, if you’re adding an online store, course, or membership site.
When your shared hosting no longer meets your needs, it’s time to consider Managed WordPress Hosting.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Please note that WordPress Hosting is not the same as WordPress Managed Hosting. “Managed” means that the hosting provider looks after all or some of your technical updates. It’s like living in a condo with concierge and security services!
While shopping for a new home sweet home for your website, look for the following:
- Web Application Firewall to stop malicious traffic before it reaches your site
- Automated backups, stored separately from your website
- The latest technology to enable fast load times
After struggling with various hosting providers over the years, I’ve finally found one I’m happy to use for my clients’ websites and, combined with my Website Care Plans, am happy to now offer Managed WordPress Hosting myself! Give me a shout to learn more.
If you’re interested in Managed WordPress hosting, but don’t need a Website Care Plan, WPEngine is definitely one of the best.
Looking for a Canadian Managed WordPress Hosting provider? Check out WPCloud.
Featured photo by oneinchpunch / Depositphotos
We need to talk more about this “live.” Every time I read a post like this I realize how much I do not know!!
I’d be happy to talk about this, Seana.
I love the analogy of apartments and condos to help me understand a little more about hosting. However, as you know when it came to hosting my second website and hired you. If it doesn’t load right, people can’t find your site, it goes down a lot or gets viruses people are going to give up trying to find your website. Get good hosting so your website can work well for you.
Thanks, Julie! I’m glad you’re pleased with the new hosting.
You always do a great job of explaining these issues. I’ve got a shared account with one of those “big American companies” and while I usually get problems solved quickly (with gentle appreciation from the person on the phone that I’m freaking out), I’ll be bearing all this in mind going forward. I don’t anticipate moving to managed WordPress hosting anytime soon, but at least you’ve made it really clear how all of these moving pieces work.
I’m glad it was helpful. I think a lot of people sign up for whatever hosting company is offering a good deal at the time, and I understand totally. There is just so much information on their websites that it’s difficult to compare them apples to apples.
I stayed with my prior hosting company way too long. Last year, I signed up for WPEngine, and it was a seamless transition. Their customer support is great. They offer things like, Site content in the cloud (CDN), Free SSL and SSH, StudioPress Genesis Framework and Genesis theme options, and daily backups automatically, which I was looking for. I found that they did have a list of unsupported plugins, but I did not have to change any plugins after review because I did not use them. I was already using the StudioPress themes on my sites, so it really was a no-brainer. I would suggest doing your research on the hosting company – what they offer and what they do not. Also, some may offer other options at additional costs like e-commerce fees. You may think the transition will go smoothly, but really there can be some areas you did not even think about and will create another headache when migrating.
If you don’t have support with your website and think it is all foreign to you, Janet is a great person who is super knowledgeable about this area and can easily help you find a hosting company that works best for your business.
It’s like day and night, isn’t it? And if you’re a Genesis user, you’re right, it’s a no-brainer, since it’s all the same company now.