When you set up a new website, one of the most important decisions you’re going to make is choosing a web hosting provider. Your host will have a dramatic impact on your site’s speed and performance. This will indirectly impact your SEO rankings, conversion rates, bounce rates (how long before visitors leave), and various other metrics used to monitor your website’s performance over time. Indeed, a one second delay can reduce conversion rates by up to 7%!
There are dozens upon dozens of web hosts out there, over-complicating the decision process no doubt. To be honest, locating a good web host is like learning how to play guitar. It’s easy to find a “good” web host the same way you can put in some effort for a relatively short time and become “good” at guitar. On the other hand, it can take a lot of time, some pain, and a ton of learning experience to find a “great” web host. I have personally used and tested most of the big brands, leading me down the path of launching our own hosting service.
There are a number of rock star web hosting providers out there (with our favorites listed below). Unfortunately for startup founders and new website owners, there are many more poor hosting providers. These types of budget web hosts, often owned by the same parent companies, fail to deliver basic customer service, making it only a matter of time before they let you down. This is because their “churn & burn” business models depend on losing X percentage of customers and replacing them every quarter. Sounds like a headache waiting to happen, right?
FissionBlue is the Best Value, Without Breaking the Bank
Yup, you’re reading that right. After investing years into researching hosting features, control panels, and even the causes of high-profile breaches, I firmly believe that FissionBlue Creative offers the best WordPress hosting for small businesses and startups. As someone who has personally been burned by lesser providers, I proudly hold my company to the highest standard, and our competition comes from other higher-end web hosts.
Am I being biased? More than a little I’m sure, though co-founding a few successful eCommerce websites has granted me insight I might not have otherwise. I then went on to build FissionBlue’s server infrastructure from the ground up to be the best possible web hosting service for online businesses, local service businesses, & startups.
As a result, FissionBlue managed WordPress hosting delivers superior pagespeed, typically more than 2x faster than leading providers like GoDaddy, HostGator, & Namecheap. Since every web host in existence claims to be fast, it’s important for us to back up our claims of faster web hosting. FissionBlue also includes free SSL certificates, website backups, and better tech support at a price that small business owners can easily afford.
Even with the above strengths, it’s important to keep in mind we’re a small team and don’t offer live technical support 24/7/365 except in the case of critical emergencies. We do, however, begin work on support requests fast, solving tech support tickets in less than 2 hours on average. We also do not offer domain name registration or name servers (DNS). Though both services are planned on our roadmap, for now you must point your website domain to our servers. We’re also glad to help solve this for you—just open a ticket and we’ll do the rest.
Kinsta Delivers the Most Power, at a Price
Kinsta is a fantastic web hosting service and one of the industry-leading companies that I keep tabs on. Like FissionBlue, Kinsta uses the latest and greatest technologies. Their key defining benefit, as well as a core reason for their pricing, is that Kinsta’s entire system is built on top of the Google Cloud Platform. This makes Kinsta especially robust for large sites that need to handle truckloads of traffic and scale quickly. Like FissionBlue, Kinsta also offers free SSL & backups, as well as tons of enterprise-level plans to choose from. Not to mention Kinsta also offers great customer service.
WPX Hosting is a Fantastic Mid-Range Choice
WPX Hosting is another solid yet affordable web hosting service, with plans starting at $24.99 per month. Even as you scale up, the prices remain reasonable for what you get. WPX Hosting is well-regarded for their speed, and indeed my own testing shows that they are roughly as fast as FissionBlue. WPX Hosting offers free SSL certificates, great uptime, site migrations, and some advanced security features. Their customer service is generally well regarded as well.
WPX Hosting uses a custom, relatively easy control panel. Those of you who are more accustomed to the look & feel of cPanel’s UI may find yourselves more dependent on WPX support for basic settings & troubleshooting, however.
Siteground: the Best in the Bargain Bin
Siteground is a premium consumer-oriented hosting company. It is important, however, to understand their shared hosting is not built around the needs to meet enterprise or business customers. While Siteground’s speeds are plenty fast enough for a simple blog, their shared hosting plans will struggle with a large ecommerce store or even a busy local business website. Siteground doesn’t keep up with Kinsta, FissionBlue, WPX, and other medium-to-high-end web hosting providers.
While Siteground does not cater to established businesses or growing startups, they are engineered to serve personal blog owners, lower traffic sites, and new site owners—and they do it damn well. Siteground’s customer service is responsive, cheerful, and helpful. Since other “budget” hosts often have terrible customer service, this came as a pleasant surprise.
Though Siteground understands the importance of good customer service as well as the power of word-of-mouth among site owners, their servers run on older software. I’d estimate their cPanel dashboard is 10+ years old based on the UI alone. Though they do offer modern tech like PHP7+, the older control panel makes the overall user experience feel clumsy and archaic. They aren’t quite as fast as FissionBlue or WPX Hosting either, although they easily triumph over other budget hosts in terms of value, speed, & service (e.g. GoDaddy, EIG companies).