This is a guide to help you make smart choices when selecting a web hosting provider for your business. Who you choose to host with makes a big difference in your bottom line. If you shop only by price you may get sticker shock down the road if your website goes down. You maybe forced a hire a developer to get your site back online.
I’m writing this post from personal experience running several websites. One of those is an e-commerce site where it is imperative that the site is up all the time, be highly secure, and PCI compliant.
I run my sites with SiteGround and here’s why. (Note: any link here is an affiliate link. It costs you nothing extra to buy through these links but I will make a small commission if you do so.)
Software Installation – It Doesn’t Get Much Easier Than This
Let’s start from the beginning and look at some of the technical challenges to getting your website up and running.
Let’s say you’re going to do the WordPress install with a Woocommerce extension. SiteGround makes this process relatively easy. Included with every hosting account at SiteGround are WordPress installers. These installers are pretty handy because you can get the software up and running in just a few minutes. If you have any issues, all you need to do is contact SiteGround’s top rated technical support and they will assist you.
Yes, SiteGround is the web host, but they are staffed with highly trained people who know WordPress inside and out. They’re familiar with all aspects of the running a website from install all the way through site customization.
If you were to install WordPress with other hosting providers, you may need to do this manually by downloading the files, uploading to your site, configuring the database and so on. Most of these steps are automated at SiteGround.
Issues arise all the time when you’re running your own website. One of the reasons is that the software never stays the same. Core files and plug-ins are routinely updated and it’s your job to make sure that there are no conflicts. Any conflict can cause a loss of functionality or worse, a site shutdown.
Typical response times
On average I can get a response from tech support in under a minute. It doesn’t happen all the time but SiteGround has a long-standing history of quick response. They know that their customers’ issues are time sensitive and they do their best to resolve them quickly.
The following 3 plans are shared hosting plans. Shared hosting is an affordable way to setup a website and is great for sites with less than 100,000 visitors/month. In a nutshelll you are sharing server space with other clients to reduce costs.
SiteGround’s entry plan is the Startup. It allows for one website. You get a free Let’s Encrypt SSL, SSD storage, Free CloudFlare CDN, and free auto daily backups. The plan has a discounted price of $3.95/month.
The most popular plan is the GrowBig. Unlike the Startup plan, you are allowed multiple websites. You get everything in the Startup plan plus faster speed and Premium backup with 1 click restore tool. The plan has a discounted price of $5.95/month.
This is the top of the line shared hosting plan and works great for e-commerce sites. It’s fully PCI compliant and has fewer shared sites. Therefore it is faster and that’s exactly what you need for e-commerce. The plan has discounted price of $11.95/month.
The GoGeek plan has geeky tools like one-click staging for WordPress and Joomla. With staging tools you can work in a staged environment while doing your development work, then push that version to your live site. No more working in the middle of the night when traffic is low to test various changes on your live site. That in itself is worth the few extra bucks per month.
SiteGround has just about the fastest server response out there. Your customers don’t want to wait so your first priority is to pick a fast host.
Speed does not stop there. SiteGround also has 4 levels of caching (Static, Dynamic, Memcached, HHVM) and provide a free WordPress plugin to configure your cacheing. Note that HHVM is only available on cloud hosting plans.
Cloudflare CDN is included with every plan and this has several advantages. You can improve your site speed by allowing it to be distributed all over the world on Cloudflare’s servers. This reduces web loading time by serving the page closest to the visitor. In addition, there is a feature called Railgun that is included at no cost. This feature optimizes the traffic between SiteGround’s servers and Cloudflare.
Cloudflare also has built in security and can help guard your site from threats. There is even a “under attack” mode that you can turn on with once click to throttle all traffic in the event of an DOS attack.
Backups are imperative. With all plans you get free daily backups for 30 days. For demanding sites, consider the GoGeek plan. With this plan you not only get all automated backups, you also can do instant backups on demand. This is useful to use right before you update plugins, or make a change on your site. If you experience any issue, it’s just one click to restore everything. Now that’s peace of mind.
As you probably know how outdated software is one of the things hackers rely on. At SiteGround, all of your websites are updated automatically – including their plug-ins. This is triggered from major releases of WordPress. This saves so much time because it’s all done in the background without intervention. As an added safeguard, SiteGround makes a backup of all of your website before the software upgrade is performed.
I will only recommend something that I truly believe in. I did a lot of studying before I chose SiteGround as my web host. I’m very happy that I did it and will continue to use them. Their support is unmatched, their speed is stellar, and the security is top notch. You can sign up using the link below.
One more thing. If you already have your website hosted somewhere else, SiteGround will move your site for free.