Choosing the right host for your blog is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. If you choose a bad one, your website will constantly be “down” and the support might be missing in action when you need it most.
That being said, when first starting out, it’s not necessary to purchase the most expensive hosting option with all the bells and whistles.
In fact, we suggest you get started with a basic host and move up as your blog continues to grow.
If you do have the funds, and want to start with the ‘best’, there’s certainly no problem with that. But it’s definitely not necessary when first beginning to build your audience and you may want to invest elsewhere in the blogging process.
Now let’s dig into our review.
There’s a ton of competition out there and innovation on the hosting front hasn’t been particularly noteworthy of the last few years. You can choose from a handful of hosts and get for the most part the same exact product.
Reliability Is the host reliable? How often does your host have down time?
Ease of Use Is the dashboard clean and easy to use? Is it complicated to connect your domain to your host? Is easy to navigate and install 3rd party applications?
Support Is there good support when you have issues? Can you get answers to your questions in a quick and efficient manner?
Price Can you host your site or sites without breaking the bank? Do they try and upsell you as a way to make money? Or do they have your best interests in mind.
Additional Features Do they offer additional security or performance add ons? Do they randomly add services you don’t need?
When first starting out, your hosting choices don’t matter nearly as much as when you start to scale your blog and business. That being said, you do want to make the right choice to save you some headache.
The idea is the, the more traffic you’ll get the better host you’ll need. But in our expeirence, you don’t need to worry about a “premium” host for at least a few months if not longer.
Bluehostcontinues to be the leader in web hosting. They have a top notch support team and are always looking for ways to make things easier for you (for example 1 click WordPress install.)
Bluehost has been in the business for quite a while, and still has an extremely high customer satisfaction rate. While they did have a period of time where their support was lacking, their CEO stepped in and completely overhauled their support structure.
Another nice thing about Bluehost is that they have a 30 day money back guarantee and 24/7 support which is super helpful. When it comes to choosing a host, you want one with great support.
With each hosting package you purchase you also receive some Google Adwords credits that you can use to help drive traffic to your blog. They also automatically backup your website data weekly.
We have used Bluehost to host many of our WordPress sites, and can only recall a handful of times our sites were down, which is impressive to say the least.
All in all, their price and features make Bluehost our top recommendation for getting started.
Dreamhost doesn’t miss the top spot by much.
One downside is their shared hosting packages don’t load your site as quickly as we’d like. Every second counts. Though in our experience
Dreamhost also sets itself apart from the crowd with a 99 day money back guarantee, which is easily the best in the business.
One benefit of Dreamhost is their basic packages allow you to install WordPress on multiple domains. This is a nice feature to have, especially if you constantly come up with new website ideas etc.
While building one of my niche sites, I did find that my site started to slow down pretty quickly and I needed to upgrade. But for just testing ideas and building websites, Dreamhost is an incredible option.
Dreamhost does offer an uptime guarantee of 99.9 percent which is an incredible benchmark.
WP Engine definitely falls under a more “premium” hosting provider and is designed specifically to run super fast WordPress sites. They also offer free migrations if you are coming from a different hosting provider which is nice. If you plan to only build WordPress sites, they are a decent option to consider.
One benefit of WP Engine is their 24/7 support team are WordPress experts and are happy to help you with any WordPress questions you might have. We’ve reached out to their support team on numerous occasions and have always felt their support was helpful.
They also have a variety of helpful features such as free malware scans, firewall support, daily backups, and their hosting comes SSL ready.
The one big downside with WPEngine is they are pretty pricey, especially if you’re just starting out. They continue to tweak their hosting packages, but at the time of this writing be prepared to fork out a decent amount of cash to get started with them. That being said, if you’re looking to get off to the races with your blog, they might be a good option for you.
FlyWheel also falls under the “premium hosting” category. They have a nice “tiny” package to get started, but the cost does begin to rise quickly as your blog continues to grow.
Their user interface is surprisingly simple and intuitive. It’s very easy to get setup and connect your domain to Flywheel hosting.
One place Flywheel truly excels is user education.They continually put out a ton of free resources and guides to help you get the most out of WordPress and your blog. If you’re a “self learner” you’ll find their resources helpful. Like, WPEngine they also offer free migration if you’re coming from a different host.
In the few times we’ve reached out to FlyWheel support, we’ve always received a reply in a fairly timely manner. They also place a strong empahis on design so if your line of work is in the design space, you might appreciate their attention to detail.
FlyWheel is definitely a company to keep an eye on as your grow your blog and business.
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Linode is for the big boys. If you’ve got a bunch of site traffic & the budget for a developer on staff to manage your dedicated environment, this is a great optoin to help you scale quickly and affordably (it’s dirt cheap). Unfortuantely, there’s no cPanel or visual backend, so if you’re going to be using this, you better be uber-comf0rtable with command-lines or have someone nearby who is.
Best Web Hosting Honorable Mentions
A Small Orange – A small, home-grown company. They have great reviews and are a good choice if your primary concern is customer support.
HostGator – This is bluehost, but resold & using a different name. Good, but you might as well buy directly from Bluehost.
HostMonster – This is bluehost as well, but resold & using the color green instead of blue. Same situation as above.
FatCow – I know a few people who have used FatCow & have success – but I can’t get over the name (moo!)
Media Temple – Media Temple has great reviews, but can be pricey for what it is. It’s positioned somewhere between bluehost & WPEngine and it’s services are there as well.
InMotion – I used to use InMotion Hosting extensively. I don’t use them as much anymore due to support issues – but they’re not the worst out there. Check out our full InMotion Hosting review here.
Web Hosting Companies You Should Not Use
DreamHost – My biggest hosting nightmares have been with DreamHost. I have no idea how they are so popular & well reviewed. I’m convinced the inner circle of hell is having a problem with DreamHost hosting and having to use their support to “troubleshoot” it. I’m still having nightmares from my experience 2 years later.
GoDaddy – GoDaddy’s CEO hunts elephants, they have cheesy commercials and they try to upsell you at every possible turn. I’d use GoDaddy to buy domains for cheap (they have good prices for domains), but would do my best to keep everything else somewhere else and not deal with their shady business practices.
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