First of all we have to define what we mean by “great”. Do you mean, most affordable, most effective or most cost effective quality host. Don’t worry, I’ll share a bit in all three categories of host.
My Good and Bad Hosting Experiences
Being a web developer for nearly 15 years now, I have seen a lot of different hosts with different clients. When I started my career as a web developer, we actually hosted our own sites. We had an old Window NT box that we worked from. Boy, those were the days. Then came the headaches of trying to manage this server and new technologies like ASP! That’s classic ASP not ASP.NET. Sorry, I digress. Eventually, I needed outside hosting and there were so many options. I picked up a host that was cheap, appeared to be good and sounded impressive. I’m afraid to take a stab at their name for fear that I will get it wrong. Anyway, their servers were confiscated for not paying their lease was my understanding and my site was gone with them. Yep, you heard it right confiscated, removed, gonner! Lesson learned, never go with a small hosting company that does not have solid financial footing and always have a backup.
Okay, let’s get to a more applicable review of hosting experiences. I have used the following host over the years. Network Solutions, GoDaddy, 1&1, Hostgator, Dreamhost, iPage, BlueHost, Yahoo Web Host, AWS, InMotion and a handful of other host. Many of these I inherited from clients.
It’s hard to fairly judge all of these host as some are completely different beast. But based on my experience here is how I would rank these host from best to worst.
- Hostgator – Decent speeds most of the time. They limit concurrent processes. Avoid it your client is running Apple mail and you are providing hosting and mail. Very irritating issues with Apple spanning extra processes that can actually kill your site.
- BlueHost – Same parent company as Hostgator. Actually, you may be surprised as to how many host are owned by what you would assume is a competitor. Check out EIG and their list of host.
- Network Solutions – I had a good first experience…but that was probably 10 years ago. My most recent experience was underwhelming.
- GoDaddy – Registering domains here works great, hosting here is frustrating to say the least. They do have quick and helpful support though which is why I don’t put them lower and they tend to work for a new simple user that needs hand holding but they are not at all developer friendly. (I hate making a change and seeing “pending”)
- AWS – Amazon is a great company and AWS is good but not for most. You only pay for what you use but this can be difficult to set for your customer and using AWS requires a Nerd degree. I am a Nerd and I still find myself muddling through documentation at times to build the appropriate stack for a WordPress install. I prefer a one-click install to save my time.
- InMotion – SLOWLY in Motion. Don’t need to say anymore.
- Dreamhost – One of the most frustrating experiences with a host. Down for more than 3 days at one time while they upgraded their facilities. Outages were frequent and it was a pain to get away. The client came with them and I will never select them. I see good reviews for them but I have a bitter taste in my mouth from my experience.
- 1&1 – Can you create a more irritating backend for a host? Again, a client came to me with this service. Perhaps my frequent use of Cpanel was just too comfortable, but their backend management solution made me want to rake my face with a track spikes.
- iPage – Throttled to useless was my experience. I don’t like host that throttle bandwidth and sell the mess out of their servers…well, most shared or budget hosting that offers unlimited anything finds ways to throttle what they deliver but iPage hit you where it hurt most.
WP Engine is High Value Hosting
Why mess around. It is more expensive. It almost feels insanely more expensive. However, have you been hacked? Have you spent countless hours backing up, updating plugins and core features, double checking for breaks and cringing when updates run? I certainly have. WP is pretty good these days about updating without breaking but I still run into that troublesome theme, core update or just something random that takes the site down and I need a backup. I always have backups but again, time, time and more time is spent managing each month. Why not just let the customer manage? Well, if you’re in a shared space like a reseller plan or VPS you are risking all of your other clients.
WP Engine is the Most Effective Hosting
If you search the web looking for the best WordPress hosting and you are able to weed out the affiliate links or self-serving reviews that rank sites only well for their group of hosting companies…uhhumm, perhaps I believe in conspiracy theories but I sure have noticed a lot of list that have EIG companies at the top and I suspect they are less than unbiased ratings. Anyway, I move on. Before I do though, I should also mention that the link above is an affiliate link. I also have links for Hostgator, GoDaddy and a few others. They pay well, but I’m not listing them on my review because they are not the best. I use them, but I cannot recommend them as the best or even the best value.