Starting your online business can be daunting for people! There is so much to learn, so many phrases you’ve never heard before and if you aren’t careful, you could end up signed up for a monstrous hosting account when you really needed basic hosting from a reputable company.
As website designers we see and work with a wide variety of hosting companies for our clients and we often wish we could help people get started off in the right place for them rather than in the right place for their overpriced hosting company. So today I want to talk to you about how to choose the right hosting company and why.
And no you shouldn’t choose your hosting company based on:
- The cheapest price
- Fancy sales pages
- How much of an affiliate commission we could get
- Or having a race car driver as your spokesperson
You should make your decision on who to host with based on reliability, ease of use, speed and security.
That’s why we recommend and use Siteground over all the other fancy companies out there. Let me tell you why we quickly moved away from using other companies like GoDaddy, Bluehost and others and also recommend our customers do the same.
Our experience with GoDaddy Hosting
I loved GoDaddy for a number of years, at my previous job we used them ALL THE TIME! From domain names (URL’s) to hosting and backups, they were great..or so I thought.
But in the past few years I have noticed that GoDaddy hasn’t kept up with technology for their servers the way I would like for me customers. Their speed on basic hosting is slow and they always want you to upgrade to get better speeds but even doing that doesn’t make much of a difference! And don’t get me started on their customer service changes! Let’s just say they have tried to way over automate and it is frustrating to have to call or message them!
Most hosting companies have moved to SSD (Solid State Drive) servers, but with GoDaddy this only happens if you are paying $95+ per month for their VPS services. For most small businesses this isn’t something they are willing to do when other companies use SSD on their basic hosting packages.
In our experience they also WAY overcharge you for things and try to sneak in services that are over priced or unnecessary. So that great intro price you got – isn’t going to be so great when it renews. In fact, if you are like one customer we had, you may realize when all is said and done, you are paying thousands vs what you needed was really the $144/year hosting package. The basic hosting she signed up for now includes Microsoft 365 charges, security charges, backup charges, and upgraded speed charges! And you might not realize you are paying for all of these things until you see a big charge, and no they won’t refund you without a fight – though in her experience a quick letter from her lawyer and they quickly changed that stance!
And if you are on GoDaddy WordPress Managed Hosting – forget about keeping your site updated for security, being able to quickly move your site, access files when needed and even updating pages on your site could take you a lot longer than usual. This is the point that we are most concerned about addressing.
With GoDaddy WordPress Managed Hosting – on every client we have worked on their site that has this, we cannot do simple WordPress updates on plugins and software. Sometimes it will allow us to do 1 at a time sign out and come back to it later, but when you have 11 or more + updates this isn’t feasible to do 1 at a time taking hours instead of minutes to update. Even from the GoDaddy dashboard it often doesn’t work. It usually ends up crashing the site and we have to revert back to a previous backup.
You will also notice at times that the maintenance page that is displayed when you update plugins – actually doesn’t get removed after updating so your site could be “briefly unavailable” for a lot longer than “briefly” and often we will have to go in to the File Manager and remove that page to get back to the site and dashboard. But what happens when you can’t get to the File Manager from the GoDaddy WordPress Managed Hosting portal?? Oh, yeah, that is a thing too. OFTEN, the file manager will also be stuck somehow and you can’t access the file manager then you have to again revert to a previous backup to get your site back up and running (though without any of the updates you were hoping for). Not cool GoDaddy, not cool.
Think I am over-exaggerating? There are tons of messages like this in the GoDaddy forums and speaking from experience, it is not isolated. This happens ALL THE TIME. When sites are moved to a new host, updates can happen no problem so that tells you where the real problems are (don’t get me started on the hassle of moving them out of Managed WordPress sites from GoDaddy or to GoDaddy).
Our experience with Bluehost Hosting
This is a company that we have never personally had any of our sites with, but we have had a number of clients who have. The biggest problem with Bluehost we have found is reliability. For many customers, their sites would crash unexpectedly. When they would go to their website URL instead of opening up their site, it would download a file instead. So we would have to revert to a backup and for a few months that was good until it would happen again.
Bluehost didn’t use SSD servers either, not sure if they have upgraded since we dealt with them last but their sites were slower than most and things like support tickets took MONTHS to resolve through their customer service.
They would also get malware on their sites and then a call from Bluehost partners to help them remove it for $$$$ of dollars. In our opinion that is just shady business practices and way to coincidental!
I know a lot of people are affiliates for Bluehost and they pay a crazy high affiliate fee but again, in our opinion you shouldn’t host somewhere because of a fee, but rather because of the reliability and security!
Why We LOVE Siteground and Think Everyone Should Host There
When I was first introduced to Siteground a number of years ago after starting my freelance business, I thought all the other website designers I was networking with were just overhyping Siteground. No one can be that good can they?
Well yes, I am here to tell you they can.
- What we have discovered in moving all our sites over to Siteground is that realiability and 99.9% uptime really is a thing!
- Being able to do updates in minutes instead of hours is a thing!
- Customer support that is responsive and actually fixes things – a thing!
- Simple and affordable security, you guessed it, is a thing!
When we have moved clients sites from GoDaddy or Bluehost to Siteground they have noticed a few things too.
- Speed is usually increased – with SSD servers and now moving to Google Cloud Servers and constant improvements, we’ve found customer speeds only increasing.
- They won’t lock you into things you don’t really need or at higher prices that necessary. A basic website hosting plan will cost you on average about $50 your first year and $144 after renewal which is very on par with the market.
- They were able to setup emails easier without high prices!
If you have been using GoDaddy WordPress Managed hosting and are ready for a change (and less headaches!) give us a call and we can help you through the process of moving your site. It is not always easy with GoDaddy, but it is always worth it. I was reminded of that this week after moving a site that for months they have been unable to update. We got it moved and we said goodbye to our frustrations and were magically able to update everything that was months behind because of GoDaddy Servers. Yes, GoDaddy you really are the problem.
Her PHP level was able to increase to the latest version, all plugins are updated, theme is updated and we can do our own backups. She was able to get a SSL certificate without feeling like she was paying for hosting all over again, and it is costing her less for maintenance because we can actually get it done in minutes instead of hours now! Add to this we are able to do offsite backups now and she is one happy customer!
– Hint for WordPress websites don’t pay overpriced charges to your host for backups – use the plugin UpdraftPlus instead and store the most recent 2-3 backups on your Dropbox or Google Drive for safe keeping just in case. You will have saved hundreds a year with this one change.
And we can help customers keep their price low year to year if they join through us rather than an affiliate link, you will still have your own CPanel login but you can lock in a recurring payment of $100 so your price never goes up (unless something were to drastically change with their hosting pricing).
Are we an affiliate? Yes, and we make a small percentage off of any referrals we send to them but we love their service, and actually prefer clients come to us directly and we can help them move their sites and lock them it at an great rate for life.
We also use it ourselves and for as many clients as we can because of the reliability and service.
You pay the same price whether you use our link or not.