Web hosting service can make or break a blog or small business. I didn’t fully appreciate this when I started the Dough Roller more than four years ago. Since then, however, having built many websites and used several different web hosting services, it’s clear that picking the right web hosting for a site is critical.
So I thought I’d share my experience with three hosting services that I think are the best web hosting for a blog or small business: Blue Host, WP Engine, and DreamHost. Each serves a different but important niche, and it’s important that you pick the right one for your website.
In a nutshell:
Blue Host: Low cost and excellent telephone support. I used Blue Host when I started blogging in 2007, and I still have my account today. By far the best option if you are just starting out and don’t want to spend a lot of money.
WP Engine: Without question the best web hosting for WordPress blogs. You pay a bit more, but you get free backups, a second staging site to use as a test site, and excellent customer service. It’s the hosting service I use today for Dough Roller and several other blogs.
DreamHost: Low cost (although a little more expensive than BlueHost), excellent user interface, and the ability to expand as your site grows.
So with that, let’s take a look at each web hosting option in more detail.
Blue Host Web Hosting Service
There is one reason Blue Host is popular for new sites and blogs–cost. With a one year commitment, the cost comes in at just a few dollars a month.
Blue Host is also very easy to use, which was important to me because I knew absolutely NOTHING about how to start a blog or website when I launched the Dough Roller. I’ve written a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to set up a WordPress blog with Blue Host, if you need some guidance.
The other key feature Blue Host offers is free telephone support (it’s an extra cost with Dreamhost). When I was starting out, Blue Host’s telephone support was critical on several different occasions. Coupled with its low cost and ease of use, the telephone support is why Blue Host is great for new bloggers and website administrators.
You can check out Blue Host by clicking here.
Recently I moved this site and several other blogs over to WP Engine. This web hosting company is one of several fairly recent hosts that specialize in WordPress sites. WP Engine only hosts WordPress blogs. That’s it. And if you run a WordPress blog, WP Engine offers several unique benefits.
First, WP Engine’s servers are specifically configured to run WordPress sites very fast. The speed of my site increased significantly when I switched to WP Engine. Second, they backup your site for you, and they will restore your site if needed. Third, they create a staging site, which is a duplicate site you can use as a testing site. And finally, the let you know which plugins are ok to use, and which ones can actually hurt your site.
Here’s a quick list of the features you get with WP Engine:
- Incredible Speed
- Free Backups
- A Test Version of your Site
- Expert WordPress Specialists
If you want to check out WP Engine, click here.
DreamHost Web Hosting Service
Dreamhost is also a low cost web hosting service with an excellent user interface. While Dreamhost costs a bit more than Bluehost, it offers greater flexibility as your site grows. Dreamhost does this by offering what is called VPS, or a virtual private server. Rather than sharing server resources with other sites, you can obtain your own dedicated resources through VPS.
VPS is not necessary for most new sites with little traffic. As sites grow and start receiving thousands of visitors a day, however, VPS may become necessary. At Dreamhost, VPS adds at least $15 per month to the cost, and it can go up to an extra $400 per month depending on how much memory your site demands. This cost shouldn’t scare you away; only an extremely large site would ever need to spend $400 a month on VPS.
For shared hosting, Dreamhost costs $9.95 a month on a one year contract, or $8.95 a month for a two year contract. If you lock in for 10 years, the price drops to $5.95. These prices include one free domain registration.
Here’s a quick list of the features you get with Dreamhost:
- Unlimited domains
- Unlimited e-mail accounts
- Unlimited disc storage
- 1 free domain registration
- PHP5 Support
You can check out Dreamhost at www.dreamhost.com.
If you are just starting out and no little or nothing about building websites or blogs, I’d recommend Bluehost. The free telephone support will come in handy and the cost can’t be beat. If you are more comfortable with building sites, Dreamhost is probably worth the small extra cost in exchange for the VPS option down the road. And if you know your site is going to need more than shared hosting right from the start, WP Engine can’t be beat.
If you have any questions or want some help getting started, just drop me a line.
Published or updated March 5, 2013.