Let’s talk about hosting, shall we? A hosting service is where all your website information is physically stored on a server. When a person types in your url it points to the host and retrieves the information it needs to display on the internet. There are many hosting companies to choose from. There are also different types of server options including Shared, VPS, and Dedicated. Keep in mind that both WordPress.com and Blogger offer free shared hosting. However, if you are using WordPress.org there are many hosting options available. Let’s explore the options by looking at website hosting companies compared and website server options.
At this point it’s really hard to say what hosts are really great. Based on word of mouth it’s typical to have friends that give you opposite opinions on the same host. Every blogger has their own opinion based of personal experience with hosts. Try to keep in mind a host may be the right choice for you and your business, but it may not be the best choice for others. Hosting is all dependent upon your individual needs and what you feel is important for your site and business.
The four types of hosting options we are going to explore are Shared, VPS Dedicated, and Cloud. There are several factors that determine the type of server that your site will need. If you are a new blogger you will likely start on a shared server. As your blog traffic grows and your site has more data, content and files associated with it, you may need to move to a cloud or VPS server. If your site is using a large amount of resources and you have high traffic you will likely need a dedicated server. Your hosting provider will be able to advise you on which hosting plan is the best for you.
Shared Hosting $
Shared hosting could be compared to living in an apartment. On shared hosting many sites are hosted on the same server and sharing the pool of resources. Like in an apartment; the water, laundry facilities, the parking lot are all shared by tenants. That’s exactly how shared hosting works. “Tenants” will share things like CPU time, disk space and memory. That means if one tenant hogs up the resources it could cause sites to go offline. In most cases hosts catch this first and kick the resource hog off before other sites are affected.
VPS Hosting $$
VPS Hosting is the next level of shared hosting. It’s like living in a condo. You are still sharing resources but with fewer site owners. On VPS the physical machine is divided into several virtual compartments, and server software is set up on them separately, making each unit capable of functioning independently. While other websites may be hosted on the same physical system, yours would be the only website hosted in the virtual compartment allocated to you, and other websites on the machine won’t affect the performance of yours.
Dedicated Hosting $$$$
Dedicated hosting is comparable to having your own house. You are the only one using resources and therefore have access to all the resources your hosting account allows. With dedicated hosting you are own your very own server.
Cloud Hosting $$$
Cloud hosting is also an option worth exploring although it doesn’t really fit in to my housing analogy. Cloud hosting offers nearly unlimited ability to handle high traffic or traffic spikes. Cloud hosting works like this, a team of servers (called a cloud) works together to host a group of websites. This allows multiple computers to work together to handle high traffic levels or spikes for any particular website.
Website Hosting Companies Compared Survey Results
Hosting can seem really complicated and frustrating. That’s why I compiled data from over 100 bloggers to see what their experiences have been with hosting companies. Keep in mind when looking at the chart that this is based on each individual blogger’s response. For example, Bluehost had 22 bloggers state that they used them for hosting and of those 22 their costs range from $2.99 -$45. (this doesn’t mean they don’t offer higher or lower plans). Under server type those 22 bloggers indicated the type of survey they used (this doesn’t mean the company only offers those servers). Lastly, the overall satisfaction is an average from the last question on the survey. The individual responses were very interesting however I couldn’t upload 108 results, instead you can sign up for access to all the individual results below. They were quite interesting!
Interested in seeing the Individual Results?
The huge price gaps are typically because some are on shared and some are on dedicated. As you can see hosting can range from $1.99 to $679 a month. INCREDIBLE! When looking at the cost, keep in mind these are based on what bloggers said they are paying. Each company may offer even higher or lower plans. Also, when looking at the “Overall Satisfaction” this result is based on the number surveyed and their response. Most of the 3 star scores are an average of several that rated the service very poorly and several that rated the service very well (the average ended up 3 for many).
Orange Geek and Siteground were the only two hosting companies with more than one entry that were able to pull out a 5 star score! Although RFE has had some major server issues lately, I was still quite surprised by their score at a high 3.53 stars. The RFE responses were overwhelmingly supportive and positive overall. Those hosts that only had one survey submitted for them were rated very well for the most part. There were several hosts I have not heard of, but again these were all based on one person’s opinion. You may want to take stock in the unknown hosting companies as they were rated pretty well. One other thing that I was surprised to see was that quite a few bloggers did not know what type of server they were using. Hopefully, after reading this post those of you that don’t know will either know now or go and find out. It’s very important to know every thing about your business, even the technical stuff!
How to Choose a Host For Your Business
Although hosting is dependent upon your business needs, some things are a common factor, like customer service, response time and knowledgeability. I think it’s safe to say we all want an excellent customer experience no matter what the company is. Another factor in choosing the right web host is understanding what your particular needs are and if that host offers a plan that will be best for you.
To choose the right web host, you have to first understand your own needs.
• What kind of website are you building?
• How big or small is your traffic, and does it spike frequently?
• Do you plan to host multiple websites on the same hosting account?
• Is security a concern?
• Do you need a dedicated IP for your site?
• How fast do you need the hosting server to be?
Keep in mind these are just a few questions you may need to explore while picking out a host and a hosting plan. You may have even more things to consider than those listed above. As I mentioned before, if you are a new website owner a shared server is a great place to start and as you grow you can move if necessary.
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Bluehost is absolutely, no joke, completely AWFUL. I have had such a terrible experience with them and am switching this month (even though I will lose money) because they are so bad. Thanks so much for this post because I am shopping around for a new hosting company and this really helps!
Lesley @Chaotically Creative says
Suzanne, You are so welcome. This survey was so interesting because for the companies a lot of people rated there would be half raving reviews and the other half would be horrible reviews. Good luck in your search for your new host!
Nice writeup! I’ve heard lots of good things about SiteGround lately.
We have Synthesis and it’s been great. We’ve used Media Temple in the past and it’s been great too. We’ve used Bluehost in the past and we loved that as well although it didn’t have the speed out-of-the-box that we had at MediaTemple or Sythesis. Lots of good choices out there!
Lesley @Chaotically Creative says
I’ve heard great things about those two as well. I had a good experience with Bluehost but like you needed more speed. The one complaint I’ve heard about synthesis is that they block your CSS stylesheet I’m guessing for security so for changes you have to do it all via FTP. Otherwise I’ve heard great things!