Of course I don’t mean that web hosting companies can commit actual murder. Nor do all web hosting companies do bad things.
But many web hosting companies are raking in the big bucks selling the wrong product to the wrong people.
I’ve got a problem with that.
Know what, though? These hosting companies are only half the problem.
A good chunk of the blame for choosing the wrong kind of web host sits squarely on our shoulders.
When we want a website but think (if we’re normal, anyway) hosting is such an un-sexy part of it all, we pick whatever John Lee Dumas says is good and move on.
John Lee does know a thing or two about monetizing a blog. He’s not, however, a good source of advice on technical decisions that affect your business or blog.
We’re accessories to the crime
Here are three ways the average person shoots themselves in the foot when it comes to hosting decisions.
1: We love cheap rent
Sure, not every site needs a server all to itself, or to be on the fastest server in the universe. But nobody who’s serious about their website ought to house it with a web host that essentially invites the cretins of the internet to move in next door.
2: We don’t know enough to advocate for ourselves
All websites and all web hosting companies experience hiccups at times. When they do, you need actual customer service instead of an underpaid CSR who blames your problem on WordPress.
Your needs, my friend, cannot be met by a shared hosting plan for $5.95/month. Or even $8.95. Unless you’re just playing around with a website, shared hosting is not for you.
Companies that sell shared hosting plans will never tell you this.
3: We won’t learn…until we’re forced
If you’re the average solopreneur/blogger you probably won’t research hosting much. When you do it all begins to sound the same. As a result, you don’t figure out how inadequate your host is until you have a problem.
Hopefully it isn’t a big one.
The Bluehost racket
I cringe when I see popular bloggers – who know nothing about the technical side of hosting – recommending Bluehost.
They do it for two reasons: 1) Bluehost has an extremely lucrative referral program; 2) These bloggers haven’t yet experienced the downside of Bluehost.
If your website is built on WordPress, and you don’t have an IT department at your disposal, you need managed WordPress hosting.
Managed WordPress hosting is more expensive than shared hosting, so losers building spam/referral websites don’t use it. The cost also deters people who aren’t serious about their websites.
When you share hosting space with hobbyists or spammers/scammers, you’re affected by every bad decision they make with their site.
Three big reasons to use managed WordPress hosting for your site
Although no one knows for certain every element of Google’s search results algorithms, there’s evidence that sites are trusted and ranked higher or lower according to the servers they sit on. Build in a good neighborhood – not in a hosting ghetto.
Managed WordPress hosting is speedier than shared hosting – important for visitors as well as SEO. On shared hosting, when a site on the same server as yours gets a traffic spike or struggles with poorly configured software, everyone else on that server gets dragged down with it.
Hackers, scammers and spammers are to a degree locked out of your site by specialized security measures built into managed WordPress hosting (although you DO still have to update plugins!).
Why I don’t trust my websites to hosting giants
Although at least a few shared hosting behemoths have developed their own managed WordPress offerings, I cannot recommend them.
That’s first of all because I’ve dealt with all of the major hosting companies over the years, and I’m skeptical about their newfound love for WordPress. And lastly because with one notable exception, I have no experience working with their managed hosting offerings.
That one exception? Bluehost.
When I moved my client from her shared Bluehost account to their “Optimized Hosting for WordPress” service, we had one problem after another.
Stuff happens, I know. But it seemed like no one at Bluehost besides the tiny WordPress division knew what they were doing.
Even more maddening was that I couldn’t reliably reach the specialized team the client was paying for, because for whatever reason support was provided by the same low-level reps that served the shared hosting customers.
When Bluehost failed my client, I reached out to Lightning Base, the hosting provider I’ve used since 2013.
BOOM – site migrated to Lightning Base hosting (for free!) where it’s been running nearly problem free ever since the summer of 2016.
A managed WordPress hosting company that ticks all the boxes
Lightning Base knows WordPress inside and out, so when I have a problem they pretty much always have advice that helps me solve it.
I say “pretty much” because a couple of times after I’ve contacted support their investigation into the matter reveals I did some dumb-ass thing. And then they’re still helpful with the suggestions about how to undo what I’ve mucked up.
They say they have “lightning fast” servers, and they do. But they also have easy integration with Cloudflare to make your site even faster. Easy/free SSL is available, too.
The free site move wasn’t just something they did for me, either – they’ll move any WordPress site to their servers for free.
Bonus: Unlike the market-leading managed WordPress hosting company (WP Engine), Lightning Base doesn’t cost much more than shared hosting.
10/10 would recommend
All three of our self-hosted WordPress sites (along with an equal number of client sites) are with Lightning Base. I highly recommend Lightning Base hosting for any site you’re serious about that isn’t backed by a dedicated server or IT team.
I don’t say this because I’m an affiliate, but because they offer what you need.