Your web hosting matters.

It affects page loading time, search rankings, visitor experience, ease of website management, updating and reliability. It affects your bottom line.

After decades of experience and working with hundreds of different websites on many different hosting companies, here is my #1 web hosting recommendation:

If you’re starting out and not sure where to start, get “Shared Hosting” from a high quality hosting provider. Here’s the one I recommend first: SiteGround.

WebsiteDoctor.com is hosted at SiteGround and they’ve been absolutely awesome. They’re based in Europe but have servers worldwide so are suitable for US customers too. They have great prices, services and support, a friendly control panel, and easy to use, free, SSL security certificates. Highly, highly recommended. Yes, that is an affiliate link and I’m happy to recommend them without reservation. They will migrate your website for free, and without hassle (they do around 100 website migrations per day).

Get Hosted at SiteGround

Here’s what a client I referred to SiteGround had to say:

“Have set up account on SiteGround. Decided to go with GoGeek for extra speed and staging. I had one small thing to correct in the setup and support had it done in no time – impressed so far!” – Liam

And another friend of mine who I helped move hosts after her terrible experience with some of the big names in the industry:

In fact here’s the actual speed tests I ran at the time, Before on the old host, and After on SiteGround:

SiteGround hosting speed way faster than original host

I also recommend Blacknight. They are Ireland’s number one host (and probably up the charts in the UK too). They have great support, and are based on the east coast of Ireland. They follow technology closely, staying up to date with new developments.

My Web Hosting Rules of Thumb

Website hosting is a topic for a book all to itself but here are my rules of thumb that might help when choosing a hosting provider:

  • Don’t use a company that is regularly listed in “Top 10 Web Hosts” lists you’ll find online – their position is usually solely based on their affiliate payouts and rarely on merit. I’m not against affiliate promotions in general, and I’m an affiliate for several hosting companies myself, but it must be transparent and recommendations should not just be based on who pays the most commissions, as it is on many sites, unfortunately.
  • Don’t use a company that offers unlimited anything – you’ll find that there’s always small print that means the opposite in their “Fair Use Policy” or Terms & Conditions.
  • Don’t use a company that advertises on TV – these are rarely good suppliers to work with as they tend focus on mass market and their business is often a low quality “numbers game”.
  • Don’t use a company that is less than 2 years in business – I’d rather trust a key service to someone in business a bit longer.
  • Don’t use a company that has less than 5 employees – similar to above.
  • Don’t use a company that buys up smaller hosting companies, but conceals its ownership.
  • Don’t spend less than $50/year on business hosting – any less and they’re not charging enough to deliver a quality service.
  • Don’t buy your domains from your hosting company – it’s easier and safer to use a domain name registrar for these.

As I said, these are my personal rules of thumb, and many people (particularly hosting company owners/staff) will disagree with these.

For example, I know that there are good hosting companies with less than 5 employees. There are also some good shared hosts with plans for less than $50. And there are some really good hosting companies who are also domain registrars.

But my personal experience with a smaller supplier shutting down operations literally overnight has shifted me more toward the larger companies, and while I’d be happy to put a personal blog on $20/year hosting, I just wouldn’t use it for a business critical website. And I find that it’s better and safer to buy your domain name from a domain name company, and buy your website hosting from a different company, ideally who specialise in website hosting.

Likewise, a company younger than 2 years old might be a trustworthy supplier, but they may also be still in start-up phase and pivoting to a different direction. If they’re new to the industry do you want to be their learning curve? Maybe you do, if the price is right — that’s a business decision for you to make.

Server hardware resources and network bandwidth have a maximum possible value, hard disks can be big but they’re not infinite, and if you read the small print you’ll find they’re limiting your account in a different way using CPU throttling or another technique.

What about Domains?

You can buy the domain and hosting from the same company, and it will save you a tiny amount of time — and maybe even save you  $10 if they include the domain in the hosting fee — but you do run a small (perhaps tiny) risk of having your domain name held to ransom or even hijacked by unethical providers, and in my opinion that’s a good enough reason to keep them separate. Your domain is the single most important online business asset, keep it safe.

Here’s my recommendations again

  1. For hosting: WebsiteDoctor.com is hosted at SiteGround and they’ve been absolutely awesome.
  2. For hosting: I also highly recommend Blacknight for hosting in Ireland.
  3. For domains, I’ve been using NameCheap.com since 2007 and highly recommend them.

Note: some of the links on this page are affiliate links – that means WebsiteDoctor gets a small commission payment if a new customer signs up through our link. We only recommend products that we use or have thoroughly researched.

Our credibility online means everything to us and we take our responsibility as affiliates very seriously. For any affiliate links, we make reviews and any and all recommendations are in good faith.

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Website Roadmapping

Hi. I’m Alastair – The WebsiteDoctor.

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