Yes, there are a million and five hosting companies out there and it’s very easy for a small businessperson to look out at the vast landscape and feel like all hosting providers are the same. Unfortunately though, this isn’t the case and selecting the wrong hosting provider can prove disastrous — and may even cost you your website.
Anyone in the process of building a website deserves to know who, right now, is the worst hosting service provider out of all the ones you will commonly run across. And it’s not GoDaddy anymore.
Forget about the tacky strippertastic Super Bowl ads, forget about the dumb elephant-whacking incident, I’ve always hated GoDaddy’s hosting service primarily because they have the poorest, most ineffectual and frustratingly helpless support staff in the business. If you’re hosting with GoDaddy and you’re lucky enough to have your site just work all the time and never go down, you’re in the clear. But as soon as you have any sort of issue — any at all — prepare to flush the better part of your day (or possibly week) down the toilet. GoDaddy’s hosting service has cost my clients thousands of dollars in unnecessary work and mind-numbing frustration over the years.
But they are NOT the worst hosting company in the business. Not anymore.
That unhappy distinction belongs to DreamHost. Their woefully negligent security practices have left thousands of customers vulnerable to some of the nastiest, most malicious scripts I have ever seen in all my years building websites for small and midsize businesses. Small businesses generally don’t need to worry about their sites being hacked or vandalized — most techno baddies have bigger fish to fry. But on DreamHost, we’re seeing clients and friends having their sites eaten alive by vulnerabilities that simply shouldn’t be there. One client in particular may not be able to salvage their site at all.
So who DO we recommend?
There are actually good firms out there and here are just a few that we trust with our clients:
- Hostgator: Affordable plans, competent support staff, really great service all around. We really love these guys because they make our lives easy and we’ve come to trust them over the years.
- WPEngine: If you’re running a WordPress site (and you should be), it’s hard NOT to consider these guys. Yes, it’s a little on the pricey side compared with what many small businesses are used to paying for shared hosting but the speed and performance are absolutely mind-shattering. The one negative in dealing with these guys is that their tools are a little janky and their setup is a bit unconventional which takes getting used to. Getting your site up with these guys will be a significantly bigger pain in the behind. But you tend to forget about it when you see how fast your site runs.
- BlueHost: Not the greatest support in the world, they can be a bit frustrating sometimes. But their service is affordable, easy to use and usually pretty darn dependable.
But even with your site backed by a reputable hosting firm who genuinely cares about the safety of your intellectual property, always have backups. Multiple backups if possible. Several hosting providers including WPEngine and HostGator have some level of backup strategy built into their solutions, but I also recommend checking out VaultPress which is a cheap and hassle-free way to cover yourself.
Don’t forget: ALWAYS Practice Safe Site, people!