I’ll start off this thread saying, I know this has been done a million times, however, my opinion has never been said.
So, with that off my chest, I am going to go through 7 hostings companies I have personally used or know of people using.
You will notice there are a huge amount of hosting companies out there, and I have tried a lot of them.
Although my experience is primarily based on hosting WordPress websites, I feel that it is good to have that experience as they renowned for being insecure. Contrary to belief, this isn’t actually WordPress, more of the host and the webmaster.
After my stint with cheap hosts (~£1-3 per month), I bit the bullet with a very large American host for probably about 10x the price. This lasted all of 1 year maybe, and then I went to an ever more experience host, WP Engine, and I have been with them ever since (~3-4 years).
As such, we’ll start off with WP Engine, at the top of the pile. I will compare most back to WP Engine, as it’s my personal go-to WordPress host and it has been for several years.
I’ll start off with saying, WP Engine, is just WordPress hosting, as such I have 2 other cheaper hosts to run alongside for non-WordPress projects.
WP Engine has THE BEST support I’ve experienced. There is someone on live chat 24/7 and wait times are usually instant. Having live chat with a host is a absolute must. In the past of had to send emails at crucial times which turn into long and laborious ticket threads. It’s painful. Also when hosts try and hide ways to contact them, it really doesn’t fill you with confidence. WP Engine is out on their own here, it really is the perfect managed WordPress host in my opinion.
Free CDN, Free SSL, Free varnish cache set-up, everything you don’t want to mess about with is pretty much all handled for you.
The only negatives for me is their security is probably too good, with zero SSH access, it makes syncing between live and local a tad frustrating sometimes. They are opening up SSH though and I believe it to become available in 2018, it’s currently in BETA. I’m looking forward to that.
If you have a WordPress website, then WP Engine gets my vote above all else.
I forgot to mention, with emerging technologies, it’s always nice to see the hosting companies lead this. For example when HTTP/2 came about, WP Engine were one of the first to set-up on their servers. I still read articles about people wanting HTTP/2 setup but they are fighting against their hosts, this really should not happen. I personally have been running HTTP/2 for around 2 years now with WP Engine. They lead the way with hosting setups. PHP7, HTTP/2, custom caching, the very best with zero friction.
Price: From $29 per month.
Deal: WPE20OFF — 20% off.
Vida host and Bluehost are 2 very cheap hosting services, I personally have Vidahost running alongside my WordPress specialist hosting. This is for web-apps and other non-WordPress projects. I am very very impressed with it. I even ran a couple of high traffic WordPress websites on Vidahost for over 1 year and was never hacked or had any downtime or problems. Which says a lot considering the 5 or so other cheap (and expensive) hosts I had before that all failed.
Bluehost I don’t really know anything about, however, I’m sure it will be much of the same as Vidahost. So a good solid secondary hosting plan.
Vidahost: Price: From £3.59 per month. Deal: PROMO10 — 10% off.
Bluehost: Price: From $3.45 per month.
SiteGround use the same sort of model as WP Engine, so if you were to compare the 2 they would be very similar, but SiteGround is a lot cheaper. As they are not just WordPress specialist hosts, I would argue that they probably won’t be as good as WP Engine, but I can’t see them being far off.
They are based out of the UK, but have plenty of overseas clients, so do not let that put you off.
Annoyingly they advertise their rates as excluding VAT, which no other host does. So remember, you need to add 20% on, also, they always seem to be in sale, so your initial rate might only last 6 – 12 months and then it jumps up, as such there price is from £2.75 per month, but could quickly be £8.34 which is around $11 per month for their basic package.
Flywheel are very much like the WP Engine model, WordPress only hosting, pretty much exactly the same set-up. Although the only thing I can see is their higher plans still charge for a CDN, where as WP Engine offer free CDN, which is a saving of $120 p/a.
I would say the only one-up they do have if you have the cash is their WordPress local environment product, named Local. This application is brilliant. I personally use it for all my local development, it’s based on Docker and is basically a UI wrapper for it. My set-up includes using this for development and then the normal command line to push via GIT. However, if you would like an even simpler set-up, Flywheel offer push and pull via their app. I’ve not tried this as I don’t use them as a host, but it’s probably the simplest set-up out there to develop a WordPress website locally and push to your live or staging server and also pull down too. If you like GUI’s and are not hugely comfortable with GIT, then this is the setup to go for with Flywheel hosting.
Price: From $14 per month.
Kinsta being a new modern host on the block, they may have been around for sometime, but their modern branding and advertising on such networks as Instagram, it’s kind of hard to miss them. I’ve not used them and they look to be at the very high end of the price points, but with the backing of Google Cloud, I’m sure they cannot go too far wrong.
Much like WP Engine, they are a specialist WordPress host. And again, like WP Engine, if you have a client with a good budget and a website that you really don’t want to fall over, then I would most certainly be looking at these guys.
Price: From $30 per month.
And finally Digital Ocean. I haven’t tried this full time as it’s not something that I personally want in my stack, however I have tried a test run as every single developer rants and raves about it. It’s good, yes, but for my workflow it doesn’t work.
If you are after something with complete control for your side projects then this is the one to go for, there are so many options and so many add-ons, it’s completely up to you how you set it up.
As you can see when you visit the site, it might be a little overwhelming, if it is, I’d chose one of the options above, if it isn’t, then you probably aren’t reading this article.
Price: From $5 per month.
So that’s a wrap. I would certainly say they are the best hosting providers above for all hosting types. There’s hundreds more, but for various reasons I have left them out of this list. You are welcome to share your thoughts below.