When I decided to move from Squarespace to WordPress, I had not the smallest idea of what is “website hosting” and how should I decide which hosting provider will be the best one for me. A blog post like this would’ve saved me big time! Now, as a website designer myself, I’ve had tons of first-hand experience with plenty of website hosts. So here are the answers to your questions: what is website hosting? How to choose the best hosting?
WordPress is a website creation platform with around 20% of all of the world’s websites created on it. Currently, it’s 74.6 million websites. Yes, even the big and well-known companies choose WordPress as the base of their site.
On WordPress, you can design your website, add blog posts, create an online store, even build subscription services and forums.
To create a WordPress website you need 3 things:
- Hosting (storing the information)
- Domain (name/url of the website)
- WordPress (platform to work with)
When signing up for hosting, you can choose your domain name and after you’ve purchased your hosting plan, you get access to WordPress.
If you are lost on how to start your own website, make sure to download my free eBook: Blog Creation Simplified.
You can also learn more about the must-have features to have for your hosting but now – let’s review some of the most popular website hosting services!
This post includes affiliate links. They cost nothing to you but could provide me the very necessary caffeine boost for my next articles. Thank you!
What is website hosting?
Website hosting is the most important part of your site. It’s the base of it. You can’t build a house without the base, without the ground floor. Without something holding it all together!
Let me remind you: you don’t need to code to build a site! You don’t even need to understand it. CTRL+U and you will see the source code of ANY page you’re on.
The code “on the other side” of our visible screen is the one that puts things in places on your website and makes actions happen. These days, you can easily control the design elements of your website with drag & drop options, without going “on the other side”.
Website hosting is a server that is holding all of this code for you. Your website’s code can’t be stored in a Word document or your email. It has to be on a server for it to work on the internet, as we see it on your website.
The website hosting server is storing all this data for you and working with all kinds of back-end solutions for your website. Everything “code“, “development“, “storing” related will be held by your hosting company.
Therefore, the term self-hosted is a bit misleading. Having a self-hosted website doesn’t mean doing the actual hosting yourself. And the system is actually really easy for everyone to understand.
Here’s the official version of what I said:
“Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page on the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers.”
When I first saw all the choices of hosting services, I was, no kidding, absolutely without the smallest idea how to choose the best one.
Now, I’ve been a website designer for 3+ years and have had the first-hand experience with all the most popular hosting platforms.
Here’s what I have learned.
NEVER CHOOSE GoDaddy!!!
I can’t express this enough.
This platform had many referrals but there are also TONS of bad reviews (and my own worst experience).
The most important thing I took from all these reviews – it tends to crash a lot. Also, while working on this platform for my clients, I have experienced a lack of support. Their support team hasn’t been able to solve most of my hosting problems.
Recently, I had one more terrible experience with them (my client’s website just wasn’t accessible and they couldn’t solve it). I started a discussion in one of the Facebook groups and here are a few more bad experiences people have had:
Blogger-friendly option: Bluehost
This is another very popular hosting service, especially for bloggers. They have put a lot of focus on advertising for the blogger industry, including a well-established affiliate program.
I never really considered it for my own hosting services since their prices were average and no super-amazing reviews were coming from their users.
Basically, it’s not bad but it’s not great either. You might find 50/50 reviews online. Some people praise them while others have had various problems.
Another reason to be careful – they are one of EIG companies and the industry standard is to stay away from companies owned by EIG. EIG is a big company that takes over smaller players to “improve” their performance. What they end up doing is reducing costs on their end and causing problems for users – slower sites, lack of personal attention, etc.
The best choice for high-end websites: WP Engine
While it’s hard to consider WP Engine being budget-friendly, they do have a great offer! Besides hosting services, you can also get Genesis Framework and Themes. Genesis Framework costs around $100 on its own, therefore, it’s a great bargain if you’re up for some website rebranding and want to work with these themes
The best choice for starters and online business owners: Siteground
One of the most important reasons why I chose Siteground was simple – I read TONS of amazing reviews. And amazing reviews only. It was hard to find anything bad about this website and I’m pretty sure I never really did.
I’ve worked with tens of my client websites on Siteground – and never have had any problems or doubts about them!
The best monthly-payment website hosting: Dreamhost
If you’re searching for an opportunity to pay monthly instead of yearly, check out Dreamhost!
They are my second favorite hosting right after Siteground and their plans are very affordable costing only $4.99/monthly. It’s the best Siteground alternative for budget-friendly hosting.
They are providing a very trustworthy and easy to use platform.
My experience with Siteground
1. They have THE best support. I’m not even kidding. Since I was a complete starter, I’ve been asking them TONS of silly questions and I’ve also requested some help. They are always very responsive and understanding. Besides that, if there’s anything you can’t do on your own, they’ll offer to do it for you. Any URL address changes or setups, WP Instal, etc.
2. My site has never been down. It’s been several years and my website is still standing strong without any hosting-service-caused disturbances.
3. The price IS right. One year hosting cost me 57 euros (~$63) which is around $5,25 per month for an AMAZING & super trustful service. I also paid 15 euros for a domain transfer that was necessary for me at that time which was a one-time cost of things I’d never be able to do myself.
4. Their user interface is very straight-forward. What’s annoying for many other hosting services, they have too cluttered websites where it’s impossible to understand what are you searching for. Siteground is keeping it simple and that’s something I really love there!
Related article: Start your self-hosted website in 5 easy steps