Is There Really A Best Web Hosting Service?
Maybe, maybe not. In my experience, I believe that the best way to recommend “something” is by having a hands on experience about the product or service. Obviously, I can not recommend all the hosting services available out there, as I have not had the pleasure of testing them all. While, my personal favorite is BlueHost (there’s a reason for that), I do use other web hosting services, including: Hostzilla, iPage, and free hosting sites such as WordPress.com, Blogger.com, and Google Sites. The latter, which probably many of you don’t know is actually Google’s very own free web hosting service (aside from blogger.com) and it is powerful enough for a company intranet, yet simple enough for a family website. Nonetheless, if you are thinking of running a business, perhaps you should try some of the recommended ones below.
In addition to my own reasons, recently, a survey of over 5000 bloggers has been conducted by blogging.org about the best web hosting companies in the planet.
According to the survey, the preferred choices of most bloggers revealed the following:
My Preffered Choices are (yup two #1s):
#1 WP-Engine (bonus) Get 2 months free hosting with WP Engine on any shared annual plan
Note that I mentioned preferred and just like anything else, some prefer one over the other. There is really no such thing as 100% guaranteed satisfaction. What you are looking for is which of them is reliable and which one would suit best your needs (including your budget). I like a lot of things, then again, I don’t like a lot of things too.. Ultimately, it is your decision. I am just here to help you and provide a bit more of information.
So what is web hosting and why do you need one?
In simple terms, web hosting is where you will have your site up and running. Think of it as the home for your content, organized by drawers. It is where all your files, images, etc. will be stored, so that when an internet user visits your site, the web hosting provider will be able to serve the information that contains in them.
As far needing one, I guess that the answer is pretty obvious. Regardless if you are going for a free hosting or premium hosting, if you want to have your own website, you need hosting, period. As I mentioned before, there are free options of course (see above), and choosing free from paid will depend entirely of what you are thinking of doing. If you are thinking of running an online business, your company blog, or become a problogger, having a paid hosting for your site is probably the best way to go. Free hosting, although good, has the drawback of not being yours. They can take you down anytime they deem necessary, among other things. Something to think about.
Web Hosting Main Decision Factors
Many will probably go for the easiest route to choose a web hosting provider. The shortcut will most likely be the price. Go for the cheapest one and you are good to go. Really? Is that a wise business decision? Flat out NO. If you go via this route, you seriously run the risk of having to spend more in the long run. Seriously, there is a lot more than “only $2,95” per month. Look at the hidden fees, before hand. Security, backup, bandwidth, disk space, website builders, uptime, etc., are the most common features and services that may cost you extra in many cases. So read the fine lines and make a wise decision. You are entrusting your valuable content and business to someone else. Poor hosting has many side effects, and that goes from securing your data, to user satisfaction to SEO and ultimately, your business running smoothly.
BlueHost Web Hosting Highlights
Support – You got a technical glitch with your website and you need help (its down, you got hacked, you need a backup restored, you got malware somewhere, etc.). Whom will you seek for help or advice? Common sense dictates that you should first ask for your hosting company. This is where the all important technical support feedback is your only friend. Bluehost support excels in this and they actually go the extra mile to help you. I had things done by them that it would be imaginable in a normal “support” standpoint and in some cases, may probably cost extra. No fees, and under 24 hours. They have an extensive library of actionable video tutorials and the FAQ section is great.
Ease of Use – Like I mentioned earlier. I have other hosting accounts, and BlueHost cPanel is the most user friendly in my experience. Need WordPress installed on a new site? No problem, just use the “simple-script software” (similar to Fantastico, only better) and you are done in a matter of minutes. Not convinced, Bluehost has a “demo cPanel” where you can take it for a test drive as much as you want. See how that “command” center works and compare to others.
Soon, I will put a video here, just to show you how simple and easy it is to setup your WordPress site. Stay tuned…
Bandwidth & Disk Storage – This is one of those items that some other hosting companies fail to be transparent with. Sure they mention it somewhere, but you will need to have Sherlock Holmes DNA to discover where the h**l its hidden. Bluehost has no limitations (within reasonable use) in this category. Note that I mentioned “within reasonable” use. You won’t want to build an “Amazon” like eCommerce site and expect Bluehost to run it for you.
Security – Bluehost is security conscious. Constant alerts are shown when you log in your account and if need be, they do it themselves. They do this because they want to ensure that no one is affected. The recent zero day timthumb vulnerability is one exampl. They sent emails asking everyone to fix the issue and how to do it. I did on almost all my sites but forgot on two of them. Day later, they sent an email saying that they fixed it. This is great. Some companies will charge you for doing these kind of things.
Website Builders – Aside from the most common ones, a new partnership with Weebly, had made the service even better. All Bluehost customers now have access to create websites using Weebly’s features for free. Cool!
Backup Solutions – The one that is included in the service (part of the hosting package) is quite good. They do it on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. You can go the extra mile and upgrade your service to PRO and have more control over your backups and restore functionalities. How much does it cost? A little over $1 a month. Don’t know about you, but my data is worth that many times over.
CloudFlare Integration – If you have not yet heard about CloudFlare, perhaps you may want to take a moment to read what I have to say about it, and why I am using it. CloudFlare in essence is a free CDN service and it is now being offered standard to BlueHost customers. See also below for more info about CloudFlare on the “cons” section.
Setup is really easy and you can watch a video tutorial I did a while back. The interface I used in that video has been updated, but the steps are just the same.. Click here to watch on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJECSwHhz2I or see below:
And a lot more…
Why am I recommending Bluehost?
Simple. I am giving you right here, over three years of my experience with them, on a silver platter. I have four hosting accounts with different providers and Bluehost has been by far my “best business partner” ever since. Obviously, not everything is juicy. I had my share of problems (see cons below), but fortunately, not to the extent that I lost a good night’s sleep or having a negative impact on my business.
Remember that cheap can cost you more in the long run. Moving from one host to another is not only time consuming, it can be a disaster, specially if you do not know what you are doing. Just be aware that this is “shared hosting” and not a VPS, CDN, or anything like that.
They provided me with what they said they will. Unlimited hosting for unlimited domains and sub-domains. I am running over 30 websites in one shared-hosting account, five of which are small eCommerce sites. Never had any problems with bandwidth and disk space utilization. Uptime, which Bluehost says is 99,9%, is so, so. The 0,01% is the troubling part (see CPU Throttling below)
They are partners with many free and useful services. Weebly, SiteLock are examples. Their free backup solution works and I have made use of it several times. And oh, they did it for me. Excellent for non-tech savvy people. They also have a PRO backup solution as I mentioned earlier. A small investment that gives you peace of mind. Having adequate backups for your site or sites, is crucial and I can not stress enough on how important this is. Think of it as your “site insurance policy”.
CPU Throttling – According to Bluehost, this is actually good for their customers. There are only but a few web hosting companies that does this. Essentially, your websites loading time is decreased in speed, to ensure that it is always available to users, rather being taken down, like other providers do.
Throttling is triggered when you use up many of their CPU resources. This commonly occurs when you have a big spike in traffic, or when you have so many other things that use make their servers work extra time. These includes, SQL queries, excessive use of plugins (WordPress), etc. In any event, the biggest culprit is traffic spike and SQL queries.
Which is better? Slow or no where to be found? You be the judge, but for me, neither is acceptable. So I had to find a better solution to solving this problem. I made use of CloudFlare’s free CDN service in conjunction with BlueHost and voilá, all CPU throtlling is gone. Saved time, money and did not risk loosing any data, had I decided to shift to another company that may or may not be better.
Anyway, from the business owner to the individual who desires full functionality on a small budget, Bluehost provides your complete web hosting solution. With that said, and overall, I think that Bluehost is an excellent choice. Obviously, you can do all the research you want, and I encourage it. Ultimately, I hope that this article will provide you with some information that can help you make a well informed decision.
Finally, I just wanted you to know that Bluehost is recommended by even WordPress.org themselves. That should be worth something 🙂
Good luck and to your success!
image credit: e3power.com