You have a lot of options for hosting your website on the internet. There are a few things you should be looking for to find the best web hosting though.
Not all recommendations are good ones though. If you look at hosting comparisons then you’re going to see some relatively honest reviews.
If you find someone who recommends one host but doesn’t mention any others then be skeptical. I see Bluehost (affiliate link) recommended all over the web and they just aren’t being honest with themselves. It’s what they’re comfortable with most likely and you can’t blame them for that.
This isn’t about bad hosting though, this is looking at what you should look into to find the best web hosting.
There are three things you should look at yourself when trying to find the best web hosting. I will call it the hosting trifecta.
Hosting Trifecta of the Best Web Host
There could be a huge list of things you have to look at to find the best web host.
That list can be boiled down quite a bit though in all but the most complex cases.
In fact, it can be boiled down into these three items for most clients I work with.
There are always exceptions to the rule though. For more complex needs there needs to be a much longer list of things to look at.
With websites and hosting it’s never as simple as it seems.
If someone says it’s a matter of getting the cheapest host (they’re not all the same, even now), slapping up a theme and calling it done, run!
The first two are the most important but when something goes wrong you want to be sure there’s somebody to go to.
This is arguably the most important part of finding the best web hosting for your business.
If you have a small, simple website that doesn’t get more than 100 or so visitors a day then a really good shared hosting account may meet your needs.
I say good shared hosting because not all shared hosting is created equal.
Why is speed so important?
It’s playing an increasingly important role in how Google ranks websites.
In fact, it’s one of the top ranking factors for search engine optimization. It’s one thing most SEO companies insist on for them to take on a website as a project.
You don’t need a website to be fast only for search engines though. Search engines don’t use your website, people do.
Part of the user experience is based on how fast your website is therefore you need to cater to them more than you do search engines themselves.
Google has found that most website visitors won’t wait around longer than 3-5 seconds. In fact, the point when up to 50% of visitors abandon a page that hasn’t loaded is at 3 seconds. That’s why website speed is so important.
Google will be taking into consideration website speed as a ranking factor for mobile search also. That means a slow website could kill your rank.
Speed is really important and will remain at the top of my list of importance for any website.
Uptime is just as important though because even speed isn’t useful if your website isn’t available at all.
It’s pretty common for hosts to give you a 99.9999999999999999% uptime guarantee. How does that hold up in reality though?
You’d be surprised.
For some of the top hosts it may hold true but you have to really do your research.
There are websites where you can see real customer reviews of the best web hosting and also see some of the worst.
They’ll tell you if their website uptime has been good or bad.
Some rating websites are questionable in their accuracy and slant though. Do they overpower customer reviews with “expert” reviews or not?
With some of my research I found a website review site that recommended Bluehost as the top “expert” recommended host. That wreaks of taint to me though. There’s no way an expert went through Bluehost and decided they were the top host. They’re not by a long shot.
There were sites that seem to have somewhat accurate recommendations. A site like Web Hosting Geeks has speed tests, uptime tests and more.
To find how good the uptime of a host is before you do business with them is nearly impossible.
That’s why you have to rely almost entirely on customer reviews.
The next one may or may not be really important to you but surely it holds at least some importance to everyone.
Without support then you’re sort of out of luck if something does go wrong. This is where most of the best web hosting differs too.
For those who are super techy and don’t need help doing anything, support is only important if your server goes down. That’s why it may only be minimally important to you.
For most though, support is the first line of help for an issue ranging from installing a plugin to turning a WordPress website into a multisite network. Some will be kind and help you while others will say that’s beyond our level of support, tough luck.
All support should be available at least by chat 24/7/365 for those times your site may go down. Aside from that it depends on your needs.
What’s the primary method of support?
Is the host available by chat, phone, and tickets or maybe it’s only one of those. You probably want to at least be able to chat realtime to someone.
That means you’d want to have at least chat or phone support available.
Quick support that you don’t have to wait for is great. I manage websites on many different hosts and they do vary a lot. Bluehost often makes you wait in a long queue to get help in chat. Siteground (affiliate link) on the other hand is almost instant.
Whatever your requirement is for support, make sure you’re getting what meets your specific needs.
Hosting Over Time
This one may not be something you think about but it happens a lot.
As you’re with a hosting company for some time, their service may degrade somewhat (or a lot).
It could be that their support begins to take longer and longer to respond or perhaps their servers get overloaded and slow.
If you see speed becoming unbearably slow over time then you may want to get in touch with support. If they don’t help you correct the issue then it may be time to move on to a different host.
Finding the best web hosting is a challenge but if you do the research and find something you love, stick with it as long as you can. Don’t go for cheaper.
Sometimes you need something specific for WordPress though. There are some hosting companies that do better with WordPress than others.
Given that WordPress powers the majority of the internet, most hosting companies put a focus on it in some way.
Managed WordPress hosting is the biggest trend and more hosting companies are jumping on that trend than ever before.
Unmanaged WordPress hosting means you’re on just a regular host that doesn’t take anything into account just for WordPress.
That means you probably won’t find the following:
- Automatic updates
- Security monitoring
- Plugin monitoring
- WordPress optimization
Even web hosting like SiteGround has hosting that they say is WordPress hosting. They don’t say it’s managed WordPress hosting but they do mention WordPress because of its popularity. They do offer a few features just for WordPress but it’s not comprehensive.
For smaller websites SiteGround does great and they give you the resources you need to have a fast, dependable, amazing website. For someone starting out with their online presence, SiteGround (affiliate link) does it the best.
Sometimes you need something a bit more robust and made just for WordPress though. That’s where managed WordPress hosting is more important.
Not all managed WordPress hosting is the same. GoDaddy has a cheap “managed WordPress” hosting solution but it lacks the speed and scalability that WP Engine (affiliate link) managed WordPress hosting has.
WP Engine has been my go to solution for larger websites with a lot of traffic and eCommerce websites also. It’s not cheap but that is for a reason.
Managed WordPress hosting should never be the cheapest.
Figuring It All Out
Sometimes figuring out hosting and where to turn for the best option is impossible. Luckily there’s always a lot of great information you can turn to in order to make the right choice.
For someone who is trying to get their business an online presence, worrying about what the best web hosting is isn’t something you should have to worry about.
We help all our clients make the right choice by allowing them to not have to make a choice.
Because your job is to run your business, website hosting is part of what we we do to remove the stress of find the best web hosting solution.