What is the best web hosting provider?
Hosting is a necessity for anyone wanting a website of any kind. Whether you’re a big company like Sky with a huge customer base or a sole trader wanting a small site to advertise yourself, you will need to host your site with a company.
The trick is to choose the right hosting company for your requirements. There are a lot available and it can be a little confusing, so with that in mind, we shall take a look at some of the major players and see which has most to offer.
Before you start looking, it is important to decide what your exact requirements are and how you see your site growing in the short and long term.
Let’s have a look at some of the terminology you’ll encounter and what it means.
Shared Hosting – This refers to a hosting platform that houses your site on a server with other sites and hosting customers. It’s an important term to know, because if you need a lot of bandwidth, then it won’t be suitable.
Dedicated Server – This is the alternative to shared hosting and means that all of the server’s resources are for just one client. As you have the whole server to yourself, it is invariably faster.
Bandwidth – This refers to the amount of data transfer that occurs on your account. Every time you have a visitor to your site or you send/receive an email, you’re using bandwidth.
There will be other terms that are thrown up, which we will cover when we encounter them.
Other Important Vital Features to Look Out for
With many web hosting deals, it is imperative that you read the small print of the headline offers as it’s here that you will find out if some of the features that your hosting absolutely needs to have is included with your package.
Backups – Having a ‘backup’ of your site, should the worst happen, is such an important feature of hosting, which you will find isn’t something that is provided as a matter of course. If you hosting doesn’t offer it as standard, then your site will be lost forever in the event of your data being lost.
User Interface – When looking at a prospective web hoster, you need to look at how the support is set up. What happens when you hit something that you don’t understand. How do you converse with your hosting provider and is it a convoluted process? Even those with high levels of tech knowledge will need assistance from time to time and it is so important to see how that help is supplied.
Contract Small Print – Another hugely important factor to consider is the contract terms that you are signing up to. You may be required to remain with the hosting platform for a lengthy period or obligated to pay a final early termination fee.
The Providers and What their Customers Say
So, let’s take a look at some of the hosting companies and how they’ve been reviewed by customers past and present.
An economy provider that offers an ‘easy to use’ web builder for a little under £4 per month ex vat and web hosting for as little as £2 per month ex vat. Providing a range of services, including wordpress hosting, SSL certificates and SEO an optimising tool.
Whilst building a domain is easy, transferring a website from a different hosting company has proven a little tough for a few customers, with others citing difficulties with the web builder tool freezing during construction, losing everything up to that point.
A below average experience for some clients, so proceed with caution.
Another provider offering great speeds, 24/7 support and great customer service.
Having taken a sample of the reviews we found, it seems that the customer experience isn’t the best with a number of technical problems that were unable to be resolved.
A hosting company lives and dies by its support, so we advise giving Fasthost a miss.
A giant of the hosting world purporting to offer fast, reliable speeds from everything from a ‘basic blog’ to a ‘high-powered’ site. The deals they offer are on the value side, but the size of the company seems to have compromised the quality that they offer, with one customer reviewer stating:
“Load time is pathetic, especially on mobile. Call customer service and they just blame your website and want to sell you something to fix their own problem. Worst hosting ever”.
You will see a Godaddy.com advert on the TV often and for the most part, they seem to be satisfying their customers, but there’s a fair number of reviews like the one above. So, it’s seems like they’re a good hosting company until you run into a technical issue.
Our advice – Avoid them if you are after anything other than a basic website.
Again, a value provider offering the world on a plate for next to no cost. In experience however, there seems to be no real support offered to the client when things go wrong. Numerous phone calls from separate departments within 1&1 who don’t seem to keep a note of what is happening during a ticket escalation, meaning details have to be taken again and again.
All in all a very frustrating experience for most 1&1 users and one we would recommend that you give a wide berth. If a web hosting company can’t do support well, then you’re going to be stuck when the inevitable happens and you run into a technical issue.
Siteground – Our Hero Web Hosting Provider
So, we thought that we would leave the pick of the bunch until last:
Sitting, we believe, at the top of the pile is Siteground www.siteground.com and for a number of reasons.
Free Site Transfer – Siteground currently offers a free transfer service. They can move everything from your existing provider to them absolutely free of charge.
“24/7 support with a heart” – Their support agents are available around the clock and you rarely have to wait to be heard. They deliberately ‘overstaff’ their support shifts so that there is always someone at hand to help. Phone or ‘live chat’ with a Siteground support agent and you will get spoken to instantly. If you then find you have to open a ‘ticket’, you’ll wait no longer than 10 minutes. Not too shabby.
Performance – Siteground has very little if any downtime, in fact we think it’s the most reliable hosting out there and it’s most definitely the fastest, so you won’t have any issues with slow load times due to the server. Faster loading sites can play a role in your SEO performance too.
Do you have to pay through the nose for it?
Not at all. With hosting costs from just £2.50 per month, the prices are in line with most of the ‘value’ providers on the market.
Not only that, but Siteground has a wealth of experience in a full range of hosting services:
- Cloud Hosting
- Free SSL Certificates
- The latest in speed optimisation technologies
- And SSD drives for ALL plans
If you’re worried that we’re biased and we’re just getting paid to say nice things about Siteground, you should know that over 774 reviews, they averaged out at 4.98 out of a possible 5.
Siteground ticks all the boxes and we would recommend them above all the competition as they have a ‘human’ approach to customer support and the expertise needed to back it up.
Don’t even bother with the others, just go straight to siteground, we promise you will not regret it. Check out siteground for yourself, you will not be disappointed – www.siteground.com