Choosing a Hosting Company

Website Hosting Overview

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had with my SEO clients is working with their website hosting service.

The files for a web page (such as the text and images) need to be stored somewhere. Then when you try to access the page in your browser, those files will be loaded so that you can see the page. It’s similar to how you have folders on your desktop. When you open a folder, boom, the files are there for you to see.

A website hosting service does something similar for you. It serves the files needed to view a website from a server. So if your host is using slow, cheap servers, your site will load slowly and “go down” often. If your site is down when someone tries to view it, they will see something like this.

[SCREENSHOT OF ERROR MESSAGE]

I’ve also noticed that many cheaper hosting services make you pay extra for important things that should be included in the base pricing. Some examples:

  • SSL Certificate
  • Website Backups
  • Website Restores
  • Staging Sites

So you may feel like you are saving money but once you pay for all these services separately, you may end up paying more.

When bringing on a new client I always recommend that we migrate them to a new web host before getting started on their SEO. This is going to make things SO MUCH EASIER FOR YOU! Trust me.

I’ve personally used some of these hosts and I’ve work on client’s sites who were hosted at some of these hosts. Here are some of experiences I’ve had:

  • GoDaddy – Slow speed, website crashing often, poor support. They require you to pay an additional fee for tier two support.
  • Blue Host – Slow speed, poor support.
  • HostGator – Slow speed, poor support, website backup issues.

Am I against these companies? No. They can be a good fit for someone who is just getting started and can only afford $5/mo for hosting. But if you want your site to perform well and get great support, you need to be looking to pay more. It’s worth the cost. Think about it. If you are going to do all this SEO work for the site, what good is it if the site loads slowing and goes down often. Hosting needs to be taken seriously.

There are usually two hosts that I recommend; WP Engine and SiteGround.

Why I Chose These Hosts

  • Great Uptime
  • Decent Speed
  • SSL Certificate Included
  • Daily Website Backups Included
  • Website Restores Included
  • Staging Sites
  • Great Customer Support
    • Tickets
    • Chat
    • Phone

WP Engine vs SiteGround

Host Pricing Support UX UI Hosting Type Staging Sites SSL Certificates Backups and Restores Easy for Beginners Limits Plugins Email Capabilities
WP Engine Costs a little more but worth the price. The Best! Awesome! Custom Shared and Dedicated Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
SiteGround Excellent! Very good, but have been let done on several occasions. Looks old and unattractive. cPanel Shared, VPS and Dedicated Yes Yes Yes No No Yes

WP Engine

  • Great Uptime
  • Free SSL Certificate
    • This is super easy to install on WP Engine.
  • Free Daily Website Backups
    • Daily backups are automatic but you can do on demand backup very easily.
  • Free Website Restores
    • You can restore a website to a previous version with just one-click!
  • Staging Sites
    • You can create a copy of your site, work on it on staging and then push it live when you are ready. It’s super easy to make copies of your site and do this.
  • Great Customer Support
    • The support at WP Engine is the best I’ve encountered so far. They go above and beyond to make sure you are satisfied. Support is available via:
      • Tickets
      • Chat
      • Phone
  • Drawbacks
    • The only thing I don’t like about WP Engine is that they only offer shared and dedicated hosting, no VPS. They also limit you on which WordPress plugins you can use for security and performance reasons. You can see them here: https://wpengine.com/support/disallowed-plugins/

SiteGround

  • Great Uptime
  • Free SSL Certificate
    • Configuring this on SiteGround isn’t as easy as WP Engine but if you are somewhat experienced with cPanel, you can figure it out or ask for help.
  • Free Daily Website Backups
    • Daily backups are automatic but you can do on demand backup very easily.
  • Free Website Restores
    • They used to offer manual restores by the staff for free in the GoGeek package but took that away without notifying paying customers like me. I feel like that is not an acceptable practice but I can’t do anything about that. However, you can restore your site using the website restore tool. You need to be somewhat experienced in order to use this tool since it has you restore the website files and databases separately.
  • Staging Sites
    • You can create a copy of your site, work on it on staging and then push it live when you are ready. It’s fairly easy to make copies of your site and do this but quote a few times when I went to push the site live there were some kind of errors that required SiteGround support to manually do it on the backend.
  • Good Customer Support
    • Overall, their support is good and eager to help. A few times it’s seemed like they were not wanting to help solve the issue but that’s not typically the case. Support is available via:
      • Tickets
      • Chat
      • Phone
  • Drawbacks
    • I’d say the main drawback to SiteGround is that it requires you to be tech savvy. If you are a beginner, SiteGround may be challenging for your to set up and manage. I’ve also encountered technical issues every so often with them that requires support to fix.

What Hosting Do I Use?

I personally use SiteGround for my site. I do this because I’m able to use a VPS which is better quality than shared hosting. At the moment (October 2019) WP Engine does not offer VPS hosting. I’m also able to manage my email through SiteGround which you can’t do at WP Engine.

Am I an affiliate for these hosts? Yes. After recommending these two hosting companies to many of my clients, I realized that I could also get a referral credit for doing so. I am not recommending them for financial compensation. That’s just an additional bonus. If you don’t want to get me a referral credit for me vetting and referring these hosts to you, you can use these non-affiliate links here:

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