Finding the right web hosting provider can be a very confusing task. There are tons of options out there offering seemingly similar services and there are tons of sites recommending their “Top” 5 to 10 picks. The fact is, trying to make a decisions between 5 to 10 different “Top” options does not make your life any easier.
So which web hosting provider should you go with?
The nuances between each provider can be very subtle, so I created the list below highlighting the best hosting options for your specific needs. I have personal experience using each of these providers and have tested them against their competitors. My recommendations are based on the price, value, reliability, customer support and features that each offers.
So without further ado, the following is my list of award winning web hosting providers for your specific needs.
Just for Beginners: Bluehost
If you are new to building websites than I recommend getting a basic web hosting plan that will allow you to learn and make mistakes along the way. That’s really the only way you are going to develop your skills as a website developer. I along with many other expert content creators will recommend Bluehost as the best choice for beginners, because they offer cheap plans with an easy to use interface that will allow you to get your site up and running very quickly.
You may be wondering why I do not have a “Top 10” list like many other sites.
Here’s something that those sites don’t disclose. Most of the providers on those “Top” lists are all owned by the same company, Endurance International Group. EIG owns over 80+ different web hosting brands, so those “Top” lists are trying to differentiate between these brands, when in reality they all offer essentially the same products and services at similar prices.
So why choose Bluehost?
Because they are one of the biggest brands under the EIG umbrella and I have personally had very good experiences with their products and customer support. The popularity of Bluehost also means there is a richer community of users that will be able to provide you support as you develop your site.
Check out my step-by-step guide on buying a web hosting plan on Bluehost and setting up a WordPress site on it. You should be able to get your site up and running in under 5 minutes!
Scalable Hosting for Future Growth: Cloudways
Looking towards the future and see a potential for growth with your site? Then you need to focus your search on hosting providers that can give you the ability to scale your infrastructure needs with the flip of a switch. Skip the VPS & Dedicated Hosting offerings from Bluehost and the like and choose Cloudways, the best cloud managed hosting provider out there.
Cloudways makes it super easy to buy the right amount of resources for your needs with the click of a button from top providers such as DigitalOcean, AWS and Google. Plus you pay as you go (hourly) and can spin up and shutdown servers with a few clicks of the button, which makes it a great way to test out new projects without committing to long-term contracts with typical hosting providers.
Setting up new applications such as WordPress, MediaWiki, Magento & Drupal on your Cloudways server only takes a couple clicks of the button as well. They always keep their technology up to date and their customer support is also top notch. I use Cloudways for all of my commercial WordPress projects and can’t imagine utilizing any other provider.
The entry-level DigitalOcean cloud hosting plan is $10/month, which is only a few bucks more than the premium shared hosting plan from Bluehost. Although setting up a new website on Cloudways is just as easy as Bluehost, there are a few reasons I would not recommend Cloudways to everyone. First, optimizing your server for your specific needs will take a little more technical know-how. There is a enough documentation and support available to get you through this process, but it might be scary for beginners. Second, Cloudways does not utilize the cPanel interface that is very popular with many of the shared hosting providers such as Bluehost. If you want direct access to your application directories, you will need to access them via SFTP.
These are two small reasons, why I would not recommend Cloudways to everyone, but if you are looking for a long-term solution to your hosting needs that will allow you to scale up your infrastructure needs as your site grows than I 100% recommend Cloudways. No question about!
Hands Off WordPress Hosting: WPEngine
If you are the type of person that just wants to create content and not have to deal with any of the technical aspects of setting up and managing your WordPress site, than a managed WordPress hosting provider is probably what you need. A hosted WordPress solution not only gets you up and running faster, it also makes your life easier, going forward. Managed WordPress hosting providers continually makes sure that your site is safe, secure and up-to-date. In this arena, I recommend WPEngine.
They offer automatic security updates, daily backups, one-click restore points, automatic caching, top-tier security, one-click staging area, and more. WPEngine is like having an army of WordPress experts on your side for assistance. Brands like HTC, FourSquare, SoundCloud, Balsamiq, and many others use them for their WordPress hosting.
You will pay a premium for this white glove service. Their entry-level plan starts at $35/month, compared to $3-8/month for Bluehost and $10/month for Cloudways. But if you are someone who does not want to deal with the technical side of running your blog, than WPEngine is the solution for you.