The Best Website Hosting - Sifting through the Trash.
I walked away from free deals.
EIG was revealed as the Devil.
I found two companies worth referring.
Here is my Personal Emotional Quest
Finding the best website hosting has been and will continue to be an endless battle. Hosts that are reliable today can become unreliable tomorrow. I should know, I went through 4 providers in just 2 years.
In 2012 I started with GoDaddy. That didn't last. They are extremely slow. It was so painful I couldn't build my website without wanting to murder someone.
I was offered free hosting, so I gladly moved. It was a small hosting company owned by my Design Partner's friend. The speeds were Okay (not great). When my site did go down I couldn't reach him. He was also pretty snotty and talked down to me.
I moved my sites to another company and paid for service that was even worse. I was with them so short of a time I can't even recall who they are. I know it was one of the top 10 in several lists at the time.
I didn't have to do a search to replace this last failure of a hosting company though, because I won a free year with Media Temple at the Los Angeles September 2013 WordPress Camp after party. I was so excited. It all sounded so great. The "grid" they tout, ... etc. But, I walked away from that one by March of 2014. Customer service could not get my server to respond under 200 ms. Yes, I did say 200 ms server response time. Google put out that number years ago. I got pretty snotty and was talking down to them. It was time to go, again. That was the 4th try in about 2 years. On try #5 I found what I was looking for - for a while.
How I discovered EIG - Website Hosting Conglomerate
My clients need great hosting to get to the 200 ms response time - which is one of the many, many SEO ranking factors (especially on mobile).
The bad hosts, I felt, had to have Something in common. When you google "best website hosts" expect to get lists of top 10s. I looked at these and wondered.... is the person writing this Affiliated with these? Every single link had extra tracking numbers after the URL. They were all Affiliate links, so if I picked one of the website hosting companies from their list they get paid. I ignored the lists and asked my peers. They would say that this one or that one WAS good but now isn't. I dug deeper. Who Owns all these companies that were good but now aren't?
I discovered that EIG buys up the website hosting companies that get into the top 10 lists. Then they remove hardware and replace the great staff with people they can pay less, because they know less and / or overseas call centers. They funnel all traffic to their data farms, where performance drops. My new company, I decided, would not be EIG no matter what.
Arvixe - Why so Painful?
The 5th website hosting company made me happy. They delivered the 200 ms average server speed. It was Arvixe. Arvixe was everything to me. It was an end to my own personal search for great, fast hosting that didn't go down and had very educated and helpful customer service agents. It was relief from a marathon of migrations.
They Literally had a blog about how they would not go EIG. They directly addressed my fear. Therefore, around May of 2014, after a month of a trial run ... I paid for a year in advance and sang their praises to all my clients. I didn't make $1 from the referrals. All I cared about was their sites doing well.
I forgot about EIG.
Then in November of 2014 my site was going down, according to the website monitoring service called Monitis. My speed tanked. It was taking the server over a second, sometimes up to 13 seconds to even begin to respond to requests for my site. Everyone I reached at Arvixe denied I had a problem. During this battle with customer service, I got a mass email saying I was going to be moved to a newer server, mine was being decommissioned ..... After the migration my site had even more problems. I wasn't moved to a newer server, I was stuffed onto an already full server and my great performing server was gone.
I walked away from several months still paid and found another website hosting company. Too bad I couldn't walk away from the shame I suffered by recommending Arvixe to everyone and migrating their sites.
4 months later, sitting at my computer and writing my heart out, I suddenly thought, "OMG did Arvixe get bought by EIG?!" Yes, yes they did - the exact month I began having trouble with them.
HostDime - Why you gotta do me like that?
After Arvixe sold out to EIG and turned its back on us customers for a fat 1-time check, I found HostDime. I moved to them December of 2014. They were recommended by my Developer. He is a reseller but he suggested I go with them directly so I could have 24 hour support and email. He doesn't do email.
I was so happy the instant I moved. Ecstatic even. They were better than Arvixe had ever been. THEN HostDime decided to not do any new accounts on shared servers in May 2016. No more $30 a month Business accounts that rock. Only $65 and higher VPS and better accounts. This one broke my heart. I will never forget the years I spent migrating to new website hosting over and over again. I was with HostDime for a year and half. It was like a betrayal. I felt safe recommending them to clients and migrating my clients to them.
If $65 a month is fine, then your search is over. HostDime is Amazing.
Most small companies that aren't eCommerce really don't want to shell out $65 a month. I wanted to scream.
Siteground - Finally measures up
Along all my trials and tribulations my designer friend kept saying go Siteground. Out of the companies still around, he loves their customer service beyond all the others he has experienced in his 15 + years. In 2012, when I started monitoring a client who used Siteground, they weren't that hot. I need 200 ms. I have my mind set on it. At that time they had mediocre servers and a restriction on caching plugins. Since then their servers got an upgrade and they added a WordPress toolkit with lots of handy tools.
I always monitor my client's sites to be sure they don't go down. After all, how can I keep good ranking on a site and attract traffic when it isn't up? Lucky for me, every time a host lets me down I have that pool of data to help me evaluate and re-evaluate a range of other providers.
I knew Siteground put out some emails a long time ago saying they were making changes and upgrades. I saw they made a major impact. There is proof from my own monitoring tools. Now it is a new ball game, all around. I can use my favorite caching plugin WP Rocket and, most importantly, their server response time dramatically increased. I don't call their customer service line very often, but when I do it isn't as painful as GoDaddy, Arvixe or BlueHost.
Yes, I am an Affiliate of Siteground but am on a HostDime reseller
I have a feeling that HostDime won't keep the shared servers for their pre-May 2016 clients forever. I think they will keep their reseller shared servers longer, so I took action. Not willing to leave HostDime website hosting infrastructure, I decided to go with Cova Services (owned by my Developer and Friend Matt Conkle). He is a HostDime reseller. I bought a separate service to handle my email.
HostDime rocks but I can't pay the $65 a month without cringing. I get my clients from word of mouth, not from lots and lots of traffic to my site. I don't have tens of thousands of visits each month. With my reseller, I don't have 24/7 support but my server is blazing fast. So, no I'm not moving my website hosting until I am forced to.
Clients want 24/7 service and email from the same company, though. I can't recommend them to Cova Services, who literally screens his clients. He keeps clean servers and no email - and EST Business hours. You are VIP or nothing with him.
I quickly discovered a new recommendation when the HostDime $65 a month offer is too steep. Siteground is it. They offer very fast server speeds at the GoGeek level. My own data spanning years back shows they deliever the 200 ms response time I demand.
Best Website Hosting Advice You'll Get -
Never Give up, Battle On until 200 ms.
Whoever you choose, remember to avoid EIG at all costs! Don't expect to pay less than $10 a month and get great service. GoDaddy? yeah, they should Go. Cheap cost means cheap quality.
Always, always monitor your site so you know when it goes down and how fast the server is responding. Monitis is a great monitoring tool, but might be overkill. iThemes sync plugin with pro account is perfect for most small business WordPress sites. Even Pingdom is better than nothing!
Oh yeah, and as I learned the hard way - don't pay for a year at a time. Go monthly so you can jump ship. Watch your server's performance and be ready to actively pursue a new host if your's won't keep up to standards.
If you want the best service ever go with HostDime's Virtual Server @ $65 a month. If that is way more than you need, then GoGeek with SiteGround for $14.95 a month.
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