Which Web Hosting Company Should You Use?

Updated on Dec 17, 2021

If you want to put your content on the Internet, you’ll have to choose a web hosting provider. This is the company that will store your website on a computer which is connected to the Internet and can serve it up to visitors.

If research hosting companies on the Internet, you’ll find so many conflicting opinions about hosting companies it will make your head spin. I’ve used all of the large hosting companies on dozens and dozens of websites.  Here are the companies that have the reliability, speed, and cost in my experience.

Budget Hosting: Namecheap

Namecheap has a good reputation in the industry for domain name hosting at really low prices, but they’re only starting to become known for great low-cost web hosting. I tried their ludicrously cheap $2.88/month Stellar web hosting plan for a client with a rock-bottom budget and was impressed. It had good speed on a WordPress blog I installed, scoring of 84 out of 100 on Pingdom with under 2s load time for a heavy 6.3MB page… out of the box with no speed optimizations!

SSL is extra after the first year (so add a buck per month), but even with that, it’s still a great deal for hobby sites, personal blogs, or small business websites. Email with 10GB storage is included.

An added convenience is that Namecheap offers great domain name prices, so you can get your domain and web hosting all from the same company.

So what’s the catch? In my experience, I’ve noticed a short period of downtime every couple of months, usually lasting fewer than five minutes (probably for a server reboot). Still, that’s not bad at all!

Another low-cost host that I’ve heard good things about is NameHero. They offer Lightspeed cache, SSD storage, and free SSL included. I’ve also been hearing folks recommend A2 Hosting and MechanicWeb, both of which also offer Lightspeed and SSD.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. I test or research each service before endorsing it. I own this site and the opinions expressed here are mine.

Professional Hosting: SiteGround

For reliable shared hosting suitable for most small businesses and nonprofits, I recommend SiteGround. When I migrated all of my personal WordPress blogs from a big-name web hosting company to SiteGround (I used the “GoGeek” shared hosting plan), on average, the load times were cut in half from around 5 seconds to a little over 2 seconds with SiteGround! After that, my sites were a joy to use and maintain. Click below for more details:

They also offer some perks like powerful caching (which makes your site even faster), and free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, which provide additional security for your sites. They also offer easy staging site generation and backups, and email accounts!

Another important factor is customer service. Last time I had to talk to them, I was able to get a real person on chat in about a minute. She was able to solve one of my problems right away. She created a ticket for my other one, which was solved in about ten minutes.

These are the reasons why I’m a huge fan of SiteGround! They are perfect for small to medium traffic sites (100,000 visitors per month of fewer).

Premium Managed WordPress Hosting: WP Engine

If you need a more premium WordPress hosting solution, I would recommend WP Engine. Yes, they’re more expensive, but their servers are insanely fast and they offer really easy staging sites, backups, along with all of the amenities that SiteGround offers. Click below for more details:

WP Engine is based in Austin, TX. I’ve visited their headquarters and spoken with their employees there. I recommend them for high-end WordPress hosting, if you have the means.

WordPress Cloud Hosting: Gridpane with Vultr

If you need more powerful, scalable, hosting, you’ll probably look to a cloud hosting solution like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Digital Ocean. However, these companies provide unmanaged servers, meaning you’ll need sysadmin expertise (or an IT person) to set up and maintain your servers.

One solution is to use a hosting control panel service on top of your cloud hosting. This provides a slick interface to your server with simple controls to create servers, install WordPress, set up SSL, and so forth, so you don’t need to do any command-line work to set up your servers. Unless you’re a server expert, these are worth every penny!

Gridpane is my recommended WordPress control panel. Gridpane is specifically geared to WordPress hosting only, so they’ll take good care of your sites. I use them along with servers from Vultr, which provides super-fast cloud hosting (check out this speed comparison). Click below for more details:

Probably the most popular hosting panel company is Cloudways, also worth checking out. Cloudways allows you to scale up OR down your CPU if you use it with AWS or Google Cloud, which is a nice feature. Another highly-regarded cloud hosting company is Runcloud.

Domain Name Hosting

If you’re creating a new website, you’ll need a domain name. I recommend Namecheap. They have great prices (about half the cost of GoDaddy) but they’re also highly regarded in the industry. Don’t be put off by the name – they’re a good deal for domain names. Click below for more details:

Do not purchase your domain name from your web hosting company unless they are also known for their domains (like Namecheap is). Someday, you might want to move your web hosting and you’ll have to go through the painful process of moving your domain name as well if you want to be free of them.

Companies to Avoid

I don’t want to mention any hosting companies by name, but many of the most well-known hosting companies cram so many users on a single server that the sites on them are as slow as molasses. If you message me privately I can steer you clear of these. Unfortunately, some of the largest, most popular hosting companies are now among the worst.

I hope this has helped! – Brian

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Kurt
9 days ago

Wow, this post resulted in my finding two great WordPress related sites. I thought I’d share:

Online Media Matters – Super simple WordPress speed and SEO tutorials (and reviews)
https://onlinemediamasters.com/

WPJohnny – WordPress performance guides and reviews
https://wpjohnny.com/

Thank you Brian!

Last edited 9 days ago by Kurt
Kurt
9 days ago

SiteGround seems to be going down the tubes based on the following review: https://onlinemediamasters.com/siteground-wordpress-hosting-review/

Kurt
9 days ago

I didn’t notice the mention about NameHero when I was last here. Their hosting service has been great. Where they fail is in the tech support dept. In fact, fail is too nice of a word. I wouldn’t recommend them to someone starting out blogging or someone who needs some hand holding.

The good: they offer free LiteSpeed Web Server for all Web Hosting plans, free QUIC Cloud CDN for all Web Hosting plans (not mentioned currently in their pricing plans; they just implemented the service last year), unlimited storage, free Let’s Encrypt SSL, and their prices are very budget friendly, especially if you’re a new user.

I used SiteGround prior to using NameHero. Their hosting service seemed great and the tech support was better than NameHero, but there was one instance where they couldn’t tell me why I wasn’t able to log into my WP Admin account other than that there was an outage for my ISP in my area. They couldn’t explain to me why if my ISP was experiencing an outage I was able to access other sites, but not my WP Admin account.

An additional gripe I had about their tech support was that English was not the native language of some of the tech support personnel. The language issue wasn’t that bad, but it was annoying sometimes.

Two big beefs with SiteGround. First, the auto-renew option for my plan was enabled shortly after I had disabled it. I got a nasty surprise on my credit card statement. They did reverse the charge, but I thought it was really deceitful that the option was enabled after I disabled it.

Second, SiteGround’s introductory rates are only good for one year. Most other hosting providers offer introductory rates for 3 years.

Last edited 9 days ago by Kurt
Kurt
9 days ago
Reply to  Kurt

A2 Hosting does offer LiteSpeed Web server, but only on the higher tier hosting plans. Thanks for the mention about MechanicWeb. I haven’t heard of them before.

Last edited 9 days ago by Kurt
Kurt
2 months ago

I came across a blog built with Jekyll last year and the team that built the site mentioned using a company named Opalstack for their hosting. Opalstack is a bit more expensive than most other providers, but I like what I’ve read on their site.

https://www.opalstack.com/

Kurt
2 months ago
Reply to  Kurt

Forgot to mention…when I was looking for another provider almost 3 years ago, I looked at Namecheap. I was told by someone involved with professional WordPress development and support to stay away from them.

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