Ah, website hosting-- the aspect of website building that doesn’t get enough love.
If you’re a web designer, you probably spend a vast amount of time designing and developing websites. Designers tend to overlook another important part of a successful website: website hosting.
In this article, you’ll learn why web hosting is important for your website, what to look for in a quality host, and the four best website hosting options for you and your clients.
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Why Does Good Web Hosting Matter?
When you’re thinking about creating and building up a new website, your choices when it comes to hosting is probably the last thing on your mind. However, failing to choose the right host as early as possible can have adverse effects on your website and your brand.
With so many choices out there for hosting, it’s easy to just go for the cheapest option available. This isn’t always a wise choice. Web hosting should realistically be seen as an important investment in your brand and business.
When it comes down to it, web hosting is the real foundation of your site. You wouldn’t build a property on a foundation that is cheap or crumbling. You shouldn’t build your website on a hosting platform that isn’t reliable and secure.
How to Choose the Best Website Host
When you start shopping around for a high-quality hosting platform, look for a few key qualities:
- Ample space
- Ample bandwidth
- Excellent customer support (sort through reviews!)
- Accurate, affordable, and transparent pricing
- Plugin and web design-friendly
For web designers specifically, it is very important to take into account what you will uniquely need for your website portfolio. Your hosting platform will need to handle large image sizes, side pages that boast design examples and demos, ample security if you plan on selling your services directly through your website as a couple of examples.
Too Many Website Hosting Options
We’ve established that you probably haven’t been thinking about your hosting platform enough. Now that you’re actively looking for website hosting options that are worthwhile, you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed.
There are hundreds if not thousands of hosting platforms out there. They vary significantly by price and quality, and comparing them is a chose that a lot of web designers probably don’t have the patience or time for.
It really shouldn’t be so difficult. But it is extremely important to select a hosting platform that can handle the type of responsive and detailed design that your website portfolio will be presenting.
The root of the problem is simply too many options. Luckily, we put together a solution.
We pitted some of the best website hosting options out there together and compared and contrasted their pricing and quality. The top four that came out swinging are by far the best options for web designers to choose from.
These four website hosting options all have great unique qualities that you’ll have to compare and contrast on your own-- but we bet at least one of these platforms will be perfect for your website hosting.
The 4 Best Website Hosting Options
First up is Bluehost. This web hosting platform is popular for being extremely easy to set up and is one of the most popular web hosts in the world. This option would be perfect for web designers who don’t know much about hosting and want to get set up as quickly as possible. Simply find a domain name through their step-by-step guide, select a hosting plan, pick through some bells and whistles, and purchase! You’ll be transported pretty quickly to your portal when you can set up WordPress with extreme ease.
Bluehost offers shared hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, cloud hosting, WooCommerce hosting, and many other types of hosting and domain services for web designers. Bluehost servers are powered by PHP7, HTTP/2, and NGINX+ caching.
Pros of Bluehost
- Customized WordPress Dashboard
- Guided Website Creation for WordPress Beginners
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL
- Automatic WordPress Installation
- Automatic WordPress Plugin and Theme Updates
- Performance Caching
- Free SiteLock CDN
- Unlimited Storage
- Unlimited Data Transfer
- Unlimited Domain Hosting
- Responsive Live Chat Support
- Customized cPanel Interface
Cons of Bluehost
- Requires Plus or Choice Plus Hosting Plan
- Need to Close Some Ad/Promotion Boxes in their Dashboard
- Less Control over Automatic Data Backups
- Can’t Use Both HTTPS and SiteLock CDN
Bluehost is an ideal choice for freelancers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs hosting a WordPress website. If you don’t currently have a website and you’re shopping around for hosts, this is a great option. They host over two million sites; they have a greater than 99.99% uptime and fast loading times around 406ms.
They also offer 24/7 customer support via telephone or live chat and a free domain for one year. Their pricing packages start around $3.95 per month, but they don’t offer a monthly plan, which means you have to pay for the year in advance.
SiteGround is a web hosting company that is becoming increasingly popular. This platform provides shared hosting, cloud hosting, dedicated servers, email hosting, and domain registration. SiteGround has invested quite heavily in superior speed, security, and customer service when compared to Bluehost, which has helped them become a bigger and better web hosting company over time. If you really want a great website for displaying a portfolio or running your web design business, Siteground would be an excellent choice in the long run.
Pros of SiteGround
- Free CloudFlare CDN
- cPanel Interface
- 99.9% Uptime
- Data Centers on 3 Continents
- Secure Account Isolation on Shared Servers
- Shared Hosting Utilizes Linux Containers
- Improved Server Restore Technology
- Proactive Server Monitoring
- Unique Anti-Bot Artificial Intelligence System
- Fast Responsive Support
- Free Domain Name
- Free Daily Backup and Restore
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL
- Solid State Drives
- SuperCacher for Increased Speed*
- Last 30 Backup Copies Available for Restore
- Staging for WordPress and Joomla
- Automatic WordPress Plugin Updates
Cons of SiteGround
- Web Spaced Capped at 10GB – 30GB
- Managed Hosting Features Require GrowBig or GoGeek Plans
The only real downside to this web host is the way they break down their pricing. They are much more expensive than Bluehost because they don’t offer as much for the lower tier pricing packages. For example, their startup package is $3.95 per month, but they only allow you 10 GB of space and 10,000 monthly visits. If you’re doing more than that you can probably afford to upgrade.
WP Engine is one of the leading WordPress digital hosting platforms out there. They’re a fairly a new type of hosting business at the intersection of software innovation and WordPress-based service. Their platform provides brands a number of solutions to create websites and apps on WordPress that drive business.
WP Engine dedicates themselves entirely to WordPress, in order to provide the best service possible for those users. This could be a “con” in a lot of ways. If you’re a web designer who isn’t entirely keen on using exclusively WordPress, WP Engine may not be a good choice.
Pros of WPEngine
- Free 60 Day Trial
- No Long-Term Commitments Necessary
- Excellent Support Response Times
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL
- Free StudioPress Themes
- Free Global CDN
- Transferable Installs and Billing Transfer Features for WordPress Consultants and Developers
- WP Engine Solution Center
- Managed WordPress Hosting
- Expert WordPress Support Staff
- EverCache Technology for Faster Page Loading
- Hacked Sites Fixed at No Charge
- WordPress Updates Automatically Installed
- Free Data Backup and Restore
- Separate Staging Area for Testing Plugins and Themes
- Development, Staging, and Production Environments
Cons of WPEngine
- More Expensive
- Not Applicable for Non-WordPress Platforms
- Some Plugins and Themes are not allowed
- Exceeding Set Number of Visitors and Storage will Result in Additional Charges
WPEngine is a powerful hosting company. They essentially have all of their bases covered. They have many hosting plans available, all of which are optimized to provide the best performance possible for WordPress. With all of their hosting packages, they offer decent security and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates to help encrypt user data. WP Engine offers solid and responsive hosting, as well as a decent customer support team.
Fast loading times are vital for web developers. WordPress loading speed is more or less the reason WPX Hosting was created in the first place, and it was also created by an SEO expert with a focus on business-oriented website hosting. WPX Hosting is able to address the common issues search engine optimizer run into when hosting WordPress websites-- web designers are usually not well-versed in marketing, so it’s a breath of fresh air that this hosting platform has some useful tools built in to make SEO easier.
As part of the services WPX Hosting offers, there are daily website backups. The storage itself is on a separate server in order to make sure that whatever is backed up from any number of hosted sites is safe, and stays there for a full fourteen days. If a failure or technical issue happens (and it certainly does happen sometimes) the retrieval of backed up files is completely free. If you’re a website designer that really needs security and peace of mind when it comes to preserving your work, WPX Hosting could be an awesome choice.
WPX Hosting is a web hosting solution for WordPress websites. If you don’t want to be tied down to WordPress like WPEngine, WPX Hosting won’t be for you. However, if you work mostly with WordPress, WPX Hosting could be an excellent choice. WPX hosting is a fairly well-established company that has been in the hosting business for some time, which is always a good sign.
Pros of WPX Hosting
- Fantastic Response Times from Most Locations
- Holds 1st Place on Trustpilot Ranking
- Free Site Migration
- Fully Compatible with WooCommerce Sites
- Industry-Leading Speed
- Daily Backups and Fully Secured
- Outstanding Customer Service
- Optimized Hosting
- FREE SSL Certificate
- DDOS Attack Protection
- Continuous Malware & Hack Scanning
Cons of WPX Hosting
- Very Expensive
- No Free Trial
- No Free Version to Test
WPX also offers 24/7 customer service via phone and live chat. You also have the luxury of multiple site plans even on their basic option. With the basic plan, you get hosting for seven websites, which is six more than the rest offer.
Overall, WPX Hosting is the cream of the crop with web hosting. With that comes a high price, somewhere around $25 per month for the basic hosting plan. Since it’s pricey and brings a lot to the table even for the basic price, I would recommend this hosting provider to someone who already has high volume traffic coming through their site.
Now It's Your Turn!
You now understand the importance of website hosting for your website, what to look for in a quality host, and the four best website hosting options for you and your clients.
And now I’d like to turn it over to you:
Which website hosting service will you choose?
If you're already using one of these web hosts, what has your experience been like so far?
Or maybe you have a question.
Either way, leave a comment below right now.
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