Web Hosting leaders come and they go. For some their fall from grace is they’re too BIG! Others decide to offer less and less for their shared hosting customers, which slow down the speed of a website, so you will pay for a higher costing package.
Then there are the ones who make everything right, for now anyway.
This article is mostly about Shared Hosting packages.
When Beyond Web Design started some 21 years ago, it was a small Cambridge MA hosting company that we used called, Spiderweb Hosting. They were far and above the rest, because the rest were never looked at. Met them at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. They were a solid web hosting company. They were local. They were a perfect fit. Then they were bought out. Service went to Hell after that and a new company was needed.
That was Godaddy. They were lightening fast (html sites), the up-time was incredible. Customer service picked up the phone when you called and even better, they were knowledgeable. Then slowly databases began creeping into our every day world of web design. That was when the cracks started to show with a Shared Hosting package. If you had an html website, life was still perfect. Because GoDaddy stuck so many people on one server though, if databases were part of a website, the server could run reeeeal slow. They even started to turn off database websites that were causing a slowdown. So GoDaddy became the place NOT to go for Shared Hosting if your site had a database. I took most of the database customers off of their servers, but some remained because the server they were on still worked. Unless you were willing to upgrade to a much higher service, most of my customers needed to move.
Hostgator was next, then Bluehost. The latter was the better of the two, even though both were owned by the same company. Bluehost quickly became the leader in hosting WordPress sites. For good reason, too. They were mostly running at a good speed, and when Cloud Hosting came along, they got even faster. SSD helped, along with them stating there will not be as many people on one server. Why is that important?
You throw a party and invite 10 of your friends to it. They decide to bring dates, friends, people they met at the bar the night before. That 10 now turns into 50. You only bought enough food for 10 people. There are going to be a lot of hungry people. Tie this to a web server. They give you enough resources to cover 10 database websites very well. They put 50 database websites on there. They don’t increase the resources to cover the 50. That means the databases are starving, go hungry, and your site runs slow.
So Bluehost is the answer… until they weren’t. There are other parameters that used to be set high, or could be changed to higher numbers, that are now set lower than they were before and untouchable. That resulted in either paying about $500 upfront for 2 years for a Virtual Private Server (not shared hosting), which is what I did, or living with the slowness.
Remember, today we run mostly Database driven sites on Shared Hosting packages using WordPress, Drupal and Joomla alone! Never mind the databases needed for online stores or stats-based websites.
Now there is a new old kid on the block that is kicking everyone’s ass. SiteGround has lightening fast servers (one customer had 8 seconds of delays at GoDaddy to almost instantaneous siteload at SiteGround) with a sweet price ($5.95/month) for their mid-ranged Shared Hosting package.
While setting up a test server there to showcase 3 customers who were looking for a new web hosting company, I built each of their current sites on SiteGround. The site load times ran about 75% faster. Making edits went from clicking, waiting, finally being able to add the comma in, waiting again for it to save, to click, add comma and save instantly. More and more people make their own edits today, and SiteGround really speeds things up for them.
Calling customer service was a breeze. I called about EVERYTHING. Their control panel had everything laid out and was easy to use, but I wanted to test them. Everyone I spoke with was courteous, helpful and knowledgeable. Not once did I refer to them as the front line of defense (people who aren’t very tech savy and read the answers from scripts).
Their hosting plan for one customer was $212 for 3 years, vs $267 for one year at GoDaddy. Bluehost cost $322 for three years.
For right now the best place to go if you want lightening fast Shared Hosting, dependability, a great price with a knowledgeable customer service center is SiteGround. Will they always be the best? That will depend on them. I’m always hoping for the best to remain at the top.
Disclaimer: I do get something from SiteGround in way of compensation. Piece of Mind. That’s it. The amount of money (and frustration) I save from having everything run smooth and keeping my customer’s happy is an outstanding compensation package!