Having a good web host is as important – if not more crucial – than a great web site since it has everything to do with SEO.
A hosting plan that serves your data at a lightning fast rate, with minimal downtime, from a server that is free of bandwidth hogs and shady IP’s can make Google see your site in a more favorable way.
Most of us start our blogs on a shared server and pay $5-10 per month to eek out space there. After all, who can afford a dedicated server where we have full control over our data without competing with servermates?
But there is a middle ground in web hosting plans that offers control at an affordable rate. It’s called a virtual private server (VPS) and most of them are located in the Cloud.
VPS are still “shared” with other users, but the technology used to assign resources and keep users separate is much more sophisticated. On VPS servers, the memory is divided in advance, creating speedier response times, which leads to higher search ranking.
I’m planning to move this site to a VPS. For five years it’s been hosted at Bluehost on a shared server and now I’m looking for a change.
So, a couple months ago, I went on an online hunt for a new web host. I started with all the hosts I could think of, using reviews from popular blog sites who keep track of them.
Then it occurred to me: why not ask my friends on Facebook?
I asked the members of Advanced WordPress Facebook Group what hosts they use and was blown away by the response. Not surprised that they responded, but that most of the web hosts recommended were companies I’d never heard of!
So I decided to share them with you in case you are seeking new hosting and want to get away from the GoDaddy’s of the world.
Little-Known Web Hosts Recommended by Advanced WordPress
The company was founded in 2011 and has 50 employees in offices in Malta, Spain and UAE.
When asked what differentiates them from other supermarket-brand hosts, I got this response from Saad Ahmed Khan”
“Cloudways is an extremely easy to use platform to deploy, monitor and manage high performance web applications. You can think of Cloudways platform as a management and automation layer on top of cloud providers DigitalOcean, Vultr, Google GCE and Amazon AWS.
“Cloudways offers the following services to all customers that use our hosting platform:
- Optimized one-click deployments of popular PHP applications like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, Prestashop, Mediawiki, Moodle and Laravel
- Automated backups/restore facility
- One-click server/application cloning
- One-click server scaling
- Collaborating with team members
- Tight security and server patching
- Easy SSL certificates installation
- First free managed migration per account
- 24/7 live chat/ticket support
DigitalOcean was founded in 2011 in New York, but has since established data centers in San Francisco, Singapore, Amsterdam, London, Toronto and Bangalore. In 2015 they became the 2nd largest hosting company in the world, according to Netcraft.
Their site posts these “key differentiators.”
- “Simple Control Panel – DigitalOcean’s command center makes configuring cloud servers and development frameworks simple and intuitive.
- Active Developer Community – DigitalOcean’s community pages are continually updated and moderated. Developers will find numerous tutorials, a robust Q & A section, and myriad community projects.
- Professional hosting starting at $5 per month – DigitalOcean’s transparent and simple pricing model starts at $5 per month and offers hourly billing.
- SSD-only cloud – DigitalOcean’s servers use only high-performance Solid State Disks. Their speed directly benefits the performance of hosted web sites and applications. All DigitalOcean cloud servers are live and configurable in less than one minute.
- Linux distributions/one-click installations – DigitalOcean offers six popular Linux distributions that can be automatically pre-installed upon deployment of a server: Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, CoreOS and FreeBSD. A multitude of application packages can be installed with just one click, including LAMP, LEMP, and MEAN; also development frameworks Ruby on Rails, Django and Docker; as well as popular applications like eCommerce software Magento, CMS solutions WordPress and Ghost, and MediaWiki.”
FullHost is a Canadian provider based in Victoria, BC, in my fair province. They also have datacenters in Vancouver and Toronto.
Client Services Manager Chris told me, “At FullHost, our first priority is helping our clients and we work tirelessly to making that happen. Even if the situation is not something server side, if we can point you in a direction to help you solve the issue that’s a job well done. We’re not looking to push tickets through and on to the next.
“We’ve meticulously sourced the best data centers in Canada, giving Canadians a home-grown solution in either Toronto or Vancouver. With a fast network, and enterprise class servers to boot, we’ve got you covered from coast to coast and beyond.”
According to their site they work with data center partner, Peer1 Hosting. With over 20 Data Centers, 22 Points of Presence (PoPs) and 15,000 miles of fiber that link them together, they say customers benefit from the speed, redundancy and resiliency that a dedicated fiber network has to offer. This is done “through a combination of dedicated linking between the data centers though high-speed connections, and peering with more than 1000 networks as well as multiple upstream providers.”
Linode was launched in 2003 by founder Christopher S. Aker. According to its web site, Linode “helped define the cloud hosting industry, and continues to be a leader in virtualization hosting.” Based in New Jersey, Linode has data centers in Philadelphia, Singapore and Frankfurt.
Linode’s most recent press release states, “The company boasts more than 400,000 customers worldwide with eight data centers total – four in the US and four in Europe and Asia. Subscribers can create a cloud server with Linode in under a minute for as low as $10 per month. Users can then dynamically scale their environments to meet business demands – paying for only what they use, with no long-term commitments. BuiltWith.com ranks Linode in the top 10 largest web-hosting providers. CloudHarmony reports Linode exceeds a 99.99 percent average for service availability. WPress.io and Cloud66 found Linode’s performance fastest among competitors.”
LiquidWeb was founded in 1997 and remains a privately held, managed web hosting company with three data centers in Lansing, MI, and a fourth in Scottsdale, AZ. They received the INC.5000 Fastest Growing Companies award in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
- “VPS Hosting powered by SSD built on the Storm® Platform
- The Power of a Dedicated Server paired with the flexibility of Cloud Hosting
- Your own managed dedicated server, hosted in a Liquid Web Data Center
- Dedicated Add-Ons to Enhance your dedicated hosting with a variety of products, from load balancers to storage solutions.
- Storm Add-Ons that Customize your cloud hosting with specialized Storm® products, from block storage to VPNs.”
Scaleway is a cloud division of Online.net, a subsidiary of the French Iliad group and has three datacenters around Paris
Their website says, “It’s the first platform worldwide where you can start x86 64bit and ARM BareMetal servers from a unique and simple interface. With Scaleway, you can start developing on a small virtual servers and scale-up to a dedicated server in three clicks. Scaleway is the first platform worldwide to allow a seamless transition between virtual and BareMetal servers. When you need it, you can scale-out and automate everything using our API. With our flexible IP feature, you’ll never have a downtime.”
Togglebox is a brand of TekTonic, based in Plymouth Meeting, PA (love that name!) and “has been offering cloud hosting before the market became popular.” Togglebox was founded to offer new technologies without introducing radical change to TekTonic’s customers.
According to their website, Togglebox is powered by the OnApp Cloud and powerful, redundant SAN. They took their proven technologies, policies, and staff and combined it with fresh ideas to bring you Togglebox, a next-gen cloud hosting system.
Their Dallas datacenter offers:
- “Enterprise Connectivity: All of our connections are kept at a low utilization to allow high bursting and resistance to denial of service (DoS) attacks
- Smart Routing & Proactive Management: The network makes use of InterNAP Flow Control Platform (FCP) intelligent BGP to provide smart routing across the global internet. FCP adaptive networking software provides adaptive management for network infrastructure
- Gigabit Connectivity to Multiple Carriers: TekTonic datacenters all feature multiple gigabits of connectivity to multiple “Tier 1” backbones to handle even the most demanding needs. Use our test file to gauge network performance
- True Redundant Network: Built-in redundancy through multiple redundant network connections and redundant routers”
As yet, I have still not made up my mind about which host to go with, but by re-reviewing their information while prepping this post, I will say I’m getting close.
If you have any opinions to sway me, please offer them in the comments below.