I love vanilla ice cream. If there is no vanilla, I will consider a different flavor. My wife loves chocolate, but she will rather pass on icecream all together than have vanilla.
Why am I telling you this? Because, choosing a content management system is similar to ice cream: People tend to have a strong preference and stick with it.
Here at Organic SEO Press, we love WordPress because it is extremely powerful yet easy to use.
But WordPress is not all puppies and rainbows.
Picking who hosts your WordPress site is as important as how it is built when it comes to security, speed, and management. And with so many hosting companies and plan options out there it can be really hard to make a choice as to which you should go with.
What Are My WordPress Hosting Choices?
There are almost as many choices for hosting your WordPress website as there are ice cream flavors. But your first decision that you should make when choosing the right hosting for your website is not your hosting provider, but what kind of hosting you need.
- This is the most basic hosting option, up to 2,500 websites on one server
- Can share IP addresses with other websites (potentially spammy ones)
- Economical and reliable, usually a guaranteed 99.9% uptime
- Prices range from $3 to $20 a month
WordPress Managed hosting
- On a server with about 25 other websites
- Usually no shared IP addresses
- Enhanced security, server configured to run WordPress faster and more efficiently
- Server is maintained by hosting company
- Prices range from $7 to $170 a month
VPS (Virtual Private Server)
- On a server with about 25 other websites
- You are carved out a "virtual" portion of the server to act as your own server
- Maintenance of server, i.e. updates, configuration is on you not hosting company
- Prices range from $15 to $140 a month
- One whole server just for you, no sharing
- The most powerful option you can choose
- Price ranges from $130 to $350 a month
For most of our clients, a dedicated server is overkill, and VPS is too technical and time-consuming, so managed hosting is the preferred choice. It costs more than shared hosting, but that cost is more than made up for in time saved, security and customer support.
We used standard shared hosting for years until our website was a victim of a DNS Denial Attack. We decided to switch hosting to a more secure, managed hosting provider.
Let Me Introduce You To Flywheel (And Managed Hosting)
Flywheel started in 2012 with a mission to improve the lives of web designers and web developers (and in turn their clients) that build on the WordPress platform.
And I kid you not when I say Flywheel has improved our sanity! The first thing you will notice about Flywheel is their outstanding customer service! They don't talk down to you, or over your head - they don't tell you they are going to quickly Google it (yup, GoDaddy's customer support representatives have said that to us before). They talk to you like a human, instead of a number.
They Focus Only On WordPress Hosting
That means that their servers are built based on WordPress best practices to optimize the WordPress experience. Simply put, your WordPress site will run better here than on a shared hosting account from one of the big guys.
However, they will not host your email. Now some people might get a little turned off because they have to host their email elsewhere, but I think this is actually great. First it means their servers don't get bogged down by email. Second it lets you sign up for Google Apps for Business or something similar. We were already using Google Apps before we switched to Flywheel, and we love it.
Sure GoDaddy picks up the phone quickly, but usually the person picking up knows less than I do about how servers and websites work and is googling all the answers. Bluehost has very good support people based out of Utah, but the wait times of more than 30 minutes have become unreasonable.
The big guys have a lot of people working customer service with a lot of turnover. Flywheel's dedicated customer service team is helpful, extremely educated, courteous (Hi, Josh, Dan and T-Rave :)) and if your issue isn't solved immediately they will follow up with you when it is.
Security & Speed
One of the biggest security issues with any WordPress site is if WordPress is out of date, the site is poorly built, or uses spammy plugins. With Flywheel you don't need as many plugins as they have security and speed built in. Plus, plugins that they know are bad news, they don't allow.
With less websites on per server, plus the server configured for WordPress, and CDN options, your site will have a noticeable speed difference from a previous host. And site speed is not only a Google ranking factor but a big user experience factor. How many times have you clicked away from a site because it took forever to load? And by forever I mean an extra second or two of course.
Has your site been hacked? Let Flywheel migrate it over, they will scan it and remove all the malware and then protect it.
Don't worry that the customer service guy is also the malware guy, he's only plays malware in promotional videos.
Free Migrations, Staging & Collaboration
For a WordPress designer, these are probably the best reasons to exclusively use Flywheel. For your migration, just give them your credentials to your old site and wait. They do all the dirty work of bringing it over for you to review. Then once you go live with the website, you can have them replace all the old links. So easy. That right there is worth the cost over shared hosting to me.
Wait there's more, you get a staging site also, with the click of a button. Make all the changes you want, make sure it works, get approval from your client, then with another click of a button, take those changes live. Sure beats experimenting on your live site and shooting it down.
Building a new site? Create the account, start building, then give access to your client. Let them make comments, even content changes. Once you are all done transfer billing over to them and presto another beautiful WordPress site. All in a few clicks.
Oh, Did I Mention A Free Shirt
Who doesn't like a free shirt? Every time you wear it you can think of all the time they saved you on your website and a trip to the store to pick up a new shirt.
Overall my experience with Flywheel has been great, I have several clients on it as well as myself, and haven't looked back since.
(Please note that I am an affiliate of <a href="http://getflywheel.com/?utm_source=organicseo&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=organicseo" target="_blank" title="Flywheel Hosting">Flywheel</a> and <a href="http://goo.gl/GOyxNS" target="_blank" title="Email hosting">Google Apps for Business</a>, so I will get a small commission if you click on my links.)