Best Web Hosting (UK) in 2020
We tested the top 15 hosting providers in the UK
to help you save time and money.
Share this Post
So what’s on the menu today? The best UK web hosting available right now, served just for you?
This guide will provide simple answers. Just remember that behind every simple answer is a long laundry list of factors.
Here are just a few:
- ☑️ Uptime (fancy word for how available your website is)
- ☑️ Customer support
- ☑️ Speed
- ☑️ My first-hand experience
Guide to the Best Web Hosting (Revised January 2020 📜)
At this point, you might be thinking "why do I need to bother with all these factors? I sell cupcakes for a living. I don't need to meta-analyse server uptime scores".
That's a fair point, but hear me out.
Web Hosting is now a huge industry, and it keeps expanding. Because of that, there's a lot of cowboys out there. And some great companies as well, of course.
That's why you need a guide like this.
My goal here is to save you the hassle of trying all of the web hosts out there. A fast, reliable web host with great customer service will save you money, time, and a whole lot of hassle. Trust me, I know.
“Thanks?” you say.
Well, you're welcome. Let's get started.
Meet Your Tech Host 👋
The name’s Alex Williams, maker of puns. My official title is Front End Developer aka Person Paid to Code.
Mostly, I build websites. But I also help companies with everything from designing their logo to getting their e-shop live.
Because of that, I've dealt with dozens of web hosts over the years: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
In the mean time, plenty of my clients come to me to ask which web host they should choose. To save them the hassle of phoning me (so 2010s), I started writing guides like this.
Independent UK Web Hosting Reviews
For the last three years I've tracked hosting uptimes and downtimes across over 15 major hosting companies.
Each host was tested from various cities in the UK. London, Birmingham, Bradford, Belfast, Liverpool, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Sheffield ... To name a few. Yeah, I travel a lot.
Below, I’ve ranked the sites in terms of my overall recommendations. The company at the top is the best.
In general, that is.
The top web host might not be the best if you’re looking for something specific. To help you out, you’ll notice hosts are also ranked by category.
All of the hosts on my list are GDPR-compliant, meaning you won't have any legal trouble starting your website.
Other than that I’ve trimmed the fat, kept the information nice and lean.
One final point: every host in this guide is great. It's just that some are better than others, which is where details come into play.
So let the geekery begin ...
Best Web Hosting (UK 🇬🇧) in 2020
1. HostPapa: The Best Web Host for UK Citizens
A Special 82% Discount for Our Readers 🤩
Uptime average: 99.95%
Cost: £1.79/mo (Regular is £8.95/mo)
HostPapa Review 🍕
HostPapa currently powers over half a million websites across North America and Canada alone.
They perform against all of the key criteria solidly, ranking as an overall stellar value-for-money option. Basic plans are very competitive, considering the infrastructure offered (notably the customer support options).
Customer Support ☎️
On that note, they've accrued a great following, despite only being around since 2006.
One reason for this rise to stardom is that they provide pro customer support options, even in a few international languages, including French, Spanish, German and English.
Let's have a closer look at exactly how they perform, measured up against the key criteria that makes for a world-leading hosting company.
Only £1.79 on Basic Plan 📉
We really like the value for money of the starter plan, which is under £2/mo. Just note that you have to go for a longer-term contract to get that deal.
The 3-year plan gives you the most value for money. Just know that the renewal prices sometimes go up quite a bit on some plans, so check out the small print.
Despite that, they do provide great value for money.
For example, on the basic starting plan, you get two websites, whereas most hosts offer only one. Plus they register your domain name for free, with 100 GB SSD storage and unlimited bandwidth.
Reliably Fast! 🎿
This is a major factor when it comes to getting great user engagement with your website’s content. The more speed you have, the more likely you are to convert visitors to customers.
A dedicated two-year tracking of their average page loading speed shows sub one- second times, of 705ms.
This is miles under the industry-standard of under 3 seconds.
Anything above 3 seconds is very bad for conversions. That means HostPapa is a clear industry-leader.
Great Support Options ☎️
HostPapa's support gives the illusion that you are dealing with a local family business, rather than a massive web hosting company.
You get everything, from email to phone to live chat - even fax. As well as a massive library of self-help videos.
Support is 24/7. They have an immense level of phone-support, native to 18 countries. (This is far larger than most, and more than any other web host).
As mentioned in the intro, they have a wide selection of supported languages. Agents are fast, knowledgeable and chirpy -->>
STRONG Uptime 🆙
Any ‘Host Father’ needs to have 5 out of 5 stars in uptime, in order to be seen as a classic. HostPapa boasts a 99.95% uptime score, which is Godfather-worthy.
A year’s worth of monitoring shows that the most they have fallen - over the last year - is to 99.63% (in the month of February 2019).
Uptime is the amount of time that you are actually hosting a website live — and actually allowing visitors to visit!
Protection Power 💪
That's the name of their proactive, automatic monitoring systems, which are used to give you security for any websites hosted with “the Papa.”
Once you set up a plan with them, Protection Power becomes a potential add-on feature. This puts an extra layer of security between you and potential hackers.
Protection Power is not free, but the basic plan is cheap, at £2 pounds / month. Definitely recommended if you’re concerned about your privacy being compromised.
Month’s Money-Back Guarantee 🗓️
Another hallmark sign that they are an industry-leading company: HostPapa honour their money-back guarantee, which is available on most of their hosting packages.
This gives you peace of mind, as it’s a no-risk commitment. Plus, when you first sign up, support will automatically transfer any website you already own, and link it to your free domain name.
➡️ And that's it... An all-around strong choice that’s pleasantly reminiscent of pizza, and offers the works - without a crazy charge. Oh - and with top support!
2. SiteGround – Has Everything You Need (on a Budget)
Does the Cheap Without the Dirty 🔨
Uptime average: 99.99%
Cost: $6.99/mo (Regular is $14.99/mo)
Check out SiteGround
SiteGround are a gourmet host 🍔 who offer Michelin-worthy service without the cost.
Alright, food analogy out of place. But cost matters a lot to me, is my point.
That's why I like SiteGround. They’re solid as a rock—even recommended by WordPress, as mentioned in our SiteGround in-depth review - and offer superb plans across the board.
We’ll talk more about WordPress later. It’s just what you use to build/design your site.
Why Am I a Fan, You Ask? 🏟️
SiteGuard’s reputation. (Do not base on image).
Bad pun. You were warned.
Here are the reasons. This Bulgarian company’s been around since 2004, and have seen a steady growth. Solid infrastructure. Top contender in the game, not yet money-hungry. Razor-edge features and free upgrades ☺
Lots to choose from, including a lovely data tracker to check your site’s progress.
Delivers the whole shebang: 24/7 customer service, unlimited traffic, fast loading speed.. that last one #FTW.
#1. Creation Tools 🧰
Construction site tools?—No, tools for your web site.
WordPress/Weebly = two options that come part-and-parcel (You can also pay for premium versions. Simple install).
Knock something out quickly for your business card. Weebly is a drag-and-drop way to skip as much tech stuff as poss.
Create a site with a picture of a paintbrush gripped between your sparkling white—coffee-stain-resistant—teeth. Done. Check out these high-quality UK-based website builders to sparkle more.
Once you have your key pieces of info —plus your legally obtained pics—Weebly saves you time, getting you up and running fast. No fuss, no nonsense.
I normally recommend WordPress over drag-and-drop editors. To have a look at #bigboys scroll down.
#2. Excellent 24/7 Customer Service & Team Tools 📱
On the ball. Customer support is always a god-send, and SiteGround seem to be enthusiastic about it.
This team ethos extends to the layout: slick menus, organized—clean and concise.
Let’s start with a standout tool. Go to the account area, find the collaboration feature. This one’s a close call for number 1 benefit.
The GrowBig/GoGeek plans give you this in your chosen domain (domain just means your website’s name).
If you’re managing people who all support different football teams—like me—then you’ll want solo login abilities.
Got a writer, editor, and a pro designer you call for updates from time to time? Splendid: just give each of them their own defined user role.
That’s the other point of the name I suppose: GrowBig. Easier to do that if you're in a team. Create a registry of users, choosing what Site Tools they access.
Are you an agency, developer or designer? Send the sites you’ve created to your paying clients. Give what’s called a “White Label Access” handover.
With all of the above, the excellent support team is happy to help you with this process. Unless your team beat theirs last weekend.
#3. User Interface 👁️
Works simpler than the name sounds.
Now, just a last word on the user interface—here’s a screen:
SiteGuard originally used cPanel, which is rather bland. You’d normally see it when logging into any host.
Now, they’ve made a customized setup, shown above. The home screen’s stylish and miles more interactive.
Now, you can pin down your fave site tools to the dashboard. This type of usability should be the gold standard for all hosts imo.
Employing someone superb at another skill like guest blogging or photography but who hates tech?
Welcome to a home screen that’s more welcoming than c-panel. 👍 👍 Average non-techie user FTW.
#4. Loading Times ⏱️
Still time for a final benefit. Couldn’t leave this out—nothing more I dislike than a website taking forever to load.
As the tiny text says, SuperCacher boosts your page loading times.
3. Hostinger – Best Discount
Both Cheap & Reliable 🧮
When I did research for our Hostinger review, I was happy to find out that it was cheap as chips, with a 30–Day Money Back Guarantee thrown in.
In other words, these are the masters of marketing at the micro-budget level, which I’m not arguing with.
Please note: monthly costs change, but you can secure two years at your chosen price if you’re willing to pay ahead.
Hostinger have a clear plan structure, and are super cheap at the small website/blog level. Grab a mid/top-tier plan get a domain for free.
Enough discounts to make you dizzy—there can’t be a financial excuse not to get a host when Hostinger’s about.
It's one of the absolute best cheap web hosts around.
Why I’m a (Part-Time) Fan 🎎
I’ll just take a brief second to point out that these guys offer Bitcoin payment. Bravo. Absolutely bravo.
As the man responsible for this guide—and a crypto enthusiast—that’s a cool sign of innovation.
I’m just a tad hesitant to go full hog on recommending Hostinger as they have a smaller user base than the other hosts on this list, though they’ve been around since 2004.
On the other hand, I’m also an entrepreneur. If your goal’s to start up by hook or by crook and your margins are by the pennies ➡ proceed
With a tiny bit of caution. The discounts may put you at 80 pennies per month but usually you’re hooked into a 48 month deal, which may contain hidden costs.
Eventually, the costs may hike up to say 6 or 7 squid a month—so read the small print to avoid that surprise. Know exactly what’s in store.
Other than that.. they’re a Lithuanian company with about 29 million users, originally under the name Hosting Media.
As said in earlier in this guide, everyone on this list is a top dog. Hostinger’s reached international status—129 countries use them.
(You won’t find the same names: Hostinger goes under at least four different aliases, depending on the country).
Many companies use pricing gimmicks and schemes, but not Hostinger.
#1. Actually Good Service ☎️
Get what you don’t pay for.
Get the basic features that you’d expect from any hosting provider.
That’s what Hostinger offers: a no-thrills, fast service that gets you going. You won’t have think about it even if you’re near bankruptcy. Probably.
You also won’t have to worry about your site suddenly disappearing for a week, as they have a 99.1% uptime score.
99.1% is still a good score. Remember, “uptime” is basically the same thing as reliable. Their load time is also surprising good.
This is probably the most important factor to think of when choosing a site. eCommerce sites might want to think carefully about this host.
I’ve also heard rumours of long drops in the past but recently, no problems.
Still, if your business relies on site sales then it’s generally wise to pay for the best uptime you can find. Cheap might not be cheerful in that instance.
#2. Speedy Gonzalez 🚅
Hostinger’s load time is 389ms average, which is a little above the average for host providers.
Despite the lack of certain features that you find in other host providers, you can expect stability and speed for your site.
On the topic of features, let’s have a nip inside this CMS to see what it has to offer. Not bad.
Fast page loading is a user’s dream. User clicks your page and—assuming no lag on the network end—it loads instantly.
Statistics show that—in the age of distractions—users click out of a page if it takes more than a few seconds to load.
Hostinger uses a 1000 Mbps connection to secure their loading, which is a very cool selling point.
* Over the last 16 months, they’ve been well ahead of the average for page loading times, if you were wondering.
#3. Customer Service Support for Different Languages 📞
Once again, customer service is one of those things that you don’t need until you do, so I always say.
With Hostinger, you have loads of options.
You can speak to an agent through live chat once logged into your account. Find it by clicking the smiley speech icon in the lower right side of the main page. It looks like this –
Boom—you’ll also be supported by a substantial database of Q&A articles, which can save a bunch of time in finding the specific solution.
#4. A 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee 💱
Try your luck with no risk. I doubt you’ll have any site crashing or page loading issues, based on Hostinger's track-record.
But perhaps you’re unsure on whether the features will be sufficient, or are concerned about compatibility issues with your CMS of choice.
I believe some of their services are non-refundable, so please have a look at their refund policy if you want to be safe.
#5. Free Domain name & Site Creator 🔧
To the business card enthusiasts who just want something up and running—Hostinger’s site creator is right up your alley.
They give you a good selection of templates to choose from, based on theme and industry niche. Point and click.
It’ll populate a site for you, which you can just tweak and fill out: adding headlines, words and adding your own photos if you choose.
The domain name is free too—yet another expense saved—though more than one domain does cost.
Zyro comes with a dozen never before seen features, like Zyro AI Content Generator and Logo Maker, both of which will allow you to focus on growing your business.
Classic features include a free SSL certificate to authenticate your domain, unlimited SSD storage, and unlimited bandwidth.
If you are looking for a website builder that doesn’t require you to have any coding experience you have come to the right place.
Finally, you can create a professional logo in seconds. Put your creativity to good use with Hostinger’s new Logo Maker which allows you to create logos for your brand in no time.
4. HostGator – Best Cloud
Because I Dream Big 💤
Uptime average: 99.9%
Cost: £2.13/mo (Regular £5.56/mo)
Check out HostGator
If you have any confusion about cloud computing—or other hosting types—scroll down to the supporting section of this guide. I break it all down simply. Moving forward, even if this is the first time you’ve delved into the world of hosting, you’ve probably heard of HostGator.
They have over a decade in the game and are about as professional as you can get. You can expect lots of freebies: e.g. unlimited emails, disk space, and bandwidth.
Easy WordPress installation: use the one-click install.
Another impressive freebie is over £70 in Google Adwords marketing credit to promote your site.
Why It Has My Attention 🛎️
HostGator are not just known due to their relentless marketing strategy in different mediums, and promotional deals.
The mega company has been around since 2002 and built serious infrastructure in that time. This allows them to make pretty big guarantees.
Their datacentre is cutting-edge, with checks and balances in place that no single failure will put down the network. Very cool. They need more 😎
You shouldn’t expect issues with traffic capabilities, uptime or loading speed—particularly not with their cloud hosting service (not to be confused with cloud storage options). This takes things to the next level.
Over 12,000 servers in fact, with high-end support. This is one of the biggest around. They’ve won multiple awards and are very consistent— which is why they've become a household brand.
#1. Cloud Hosting 🛠️
Cloud computing is mostly just called “the cloud,” which involves many computers or servers communicating in a virtual, non-physical space.
Because your virtual space can mimic having a quality dedicated server (see this guide’s supporting section), the level of security and speed are greater.
We call this a cluster cloud.
HostGator’s cloud service is standout, letting you climb into a higher plane of performance and flexibility so your customers get a stellar service.
Avoid resource constraints, because you’ll be guaranteed a level of single tenancy-style security that you simply can’t get in shared space. This gives you the edge against your competition.
You have more control: quickly increase or decrease your site’s resource capacity, based on demand. If you’re a YouTube superstar or bustling eCommerce store, this option may be critical for business, though VPS models are closely competitive.
Think of a marketer selling an online course for one week. You’ll want to take full advantage of traffic spikes.
Scroll to the supporting section of this guide—called Extra Credits—for more info on cloud hosting, VPS and other types. It could be crucial to your biz.
#2. Cloud Uptime & Stability 🟢
HostGator are at the 99.99% range for Uptime—this is even in their contractual guarantee—which is a bleeding good figure.
If you use the cloud hosting package, you’ll be left with an even more robust setup—though at more cost than a shared setup (again see the end of this guide for proper explanations).
NB. Go to the host next down on the list if you are running a small up-and-coming biz and want as much guarantee as possible with less costs.
I wouldn’t go so far as to rule HostGator out—and certainly not if you have extra money for cloud hosting. HostGator even has ecommerce features, which I’ll go into in the next benefit.
They’re a serious contender, though cloud hosting is recommended more for mid-tier businesses, or those who hope to expand in the near future.
If you want to pay the cost, there is also the option for VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting which gets even more technical and costly—see the bottom of this guide for more.
#3. Cloud Speed & Security 🛡️
You can expect remarkable speeds that are higher than average on the hosting market—this with a competitive price if you’re a mid-tier company.
This goes double if you choose to opt for a cloud hosting setup—it’s perhaps the second-fastest hosting plan available anywhere.
Dedicated servers are the very best, which I go into in the supporting section of this article. But that’s for the real big wigs.
You want to think of your cloud service as having all of the benefits of a dedicated server (again, see the supporting section) with fewer weaknesses.
#4 Cloud Customer Service 📟
A staple of any good host—I won’t stop pointing it out. In this case, it’s clear that Gator’s team are knowledgeable.
You can expect to talk to professionals who can get to the heart of your technical problem, when one arises.
Because of Gator’s sheer size, there may be some delay in getting through to support, but if you choose a cloud hosting plan—which costs more—you get speedier, more tailored attention.
Medium to large bizzes doing much of their business online—even indirectly—are going to want to climb the rungs of hosting types. One crash could cause irritating money losses.
#5. FREE Website Creator & WordPress One-click Install ⚒️
You don’t need to have a fancy premium theme to attract customers to your site, which is why I never write off drag-and-drop editors.
If you’re advertising in other ways—or do not need to win over clients through branding—having a place to share details is good enough.
HostGator lets you rustle something up—there’s over 4,500 mobile-friendly themes to help you make a splash.
Using the native apps, you can have WordPress up and running in a few hours through the c-Panel dashboard.
Non-techies may not like c-panel but for technicians accustomed to it, they may prefer to have this as the homepage, rather than a customized version.
Choose a WordPress hosting plan specifically for increased loading speeds of up to 2.5 times—always a good way to get ahead of the competition.
#6. Cloud eCommerce 🏪
As Amazon has taught us, it’s not just about building something that looks good when you’re in eCommerce. It's all about converting visitors into sales.
eCommerce means selling online by the way. It’s the easiest it’s ever been; you don’t need to spend thousands on hiring a developer or learn to read the Matrix.
As people mostly shop on their mobiles, a responsive site is of prime importance... but most pages are nowadays anyway, so don't worry too much.
With all the benefits we’ve already listed regarding cloud hosting, choose to use HostGator’s awesome free website builder and you’ll also find options for eCommerce.
Here’s what you get – a shopping cart to buy the selected product(s), review functionality to rank customer satisfaction publicly.
We’re not done - cool checkout options like promo codes, a search bar, and categorization options for your products based on how people shop.
Grab traffic and ensure you serve them optimally through a page with fast cloud loading times and reliability.
Should be said, I still recommend WordPress for site design, especially when you’re making sales through it (see support section of guide).
#7. Long-Term Discounts/45-Day Money-Back Guarantee 💶
HostGator didn’t get as far as it did by not knowing how to market. The guarantee is notable not only for its long length but because it covers the 99.9 % uptime guarantee. You don’t need to sign a contract—also, if you buy 36 months hosting, they’ll cut monthly hosting by 62%.
5. Kinsta – Best for Small Business / Performance
It’s the Size of the Heart Not Wallet 🧡
Uptime average: 99.9%
Cost: £20/mo for WORDPRESS HOSTING (starting price)
Check out Kinsta
I’ve heard this described as the best premium WordPress hosting service out there…now, that’s a pretty bold claim, but with a five-year consecutive award streak to back it up, Kinsta might be onto something.
This is a provider for serious business. From a small and rapidly growing team to an established company looking to streamline their performance, Kinsta has a plan for everyone. They’re fast, secure and comprehensive—words to make any CEO’s spine shiver with excitement.
I’ll get into loading times in the benefits section below. But first, with so much marketing gimmickry out there, let me give a smidgen of attention to who this company are.
Kinsta isn’t the only host provider that offers WordPress hosting—which we’ll discuss below—but they do some key things differently, putting themselves in a different league.
Why My Eye is on Kinsta 👀
I love innovation. People don’t often associate creativity with programming and web development. Those people would be wrong 😎
Kinsta’s the true new kid on the block. They were only founded in 2013 with a central office in LONDON TOWN (WAHEEYY!) –amongst other countries.
No, in all seriousness, this company really is standout and the speed with which they achieved their reputation says something about how innovative they really are!
But you’re a business owner, not a nerd, so I doubt you really care how cool their coding is. Well let’s put it in another language, Kinsta is robust, boasts impressive performance, and is guaranteed* to make your business grow.
*(may not actually make your business grow unless you’ve got something worth buying…but it’ll definitely help).
On the WordPress Hosting package, their team handles things like backing up and securing your website, in case something goes wrong (it can be done manually if you want, though).
Kinsta offers a pretty comprehensive range of hosting services, whether your business is just starting, or already in need of some heavy-lifting hosting.
So, whatever your circumstances, if you want some serious, premium hosting and have got the cash to splash, Kinsta is the service for you.
#1. WP Hosting—Faster Loading Times ⌚
I mentioned HostGator earlier as my top cloud hosting pick. Kinsta is a bit of a mixed bag in this regard—a better expression might be “Best of both worlds.”
I’ve seen page loading speeds of 307ms over a 30-day analysis, which is well ahead of the average #ftw –that’s under a third of a second.
The loading speed may be higher with the more comprehensive “multipurpose” WordPress themes with tonnes of features. That’s to be expected, however.
Their WP plan runs on the Google Cloud Platform, which is essentially a cloud network that many companies use, including Philips, Best Buy, Snapchat, and Spotify.
Cloud hosting—also known as cluster cloud hosting—gives you the benefit of a personal virtual space without having to rent a whole server.
Kinsta uses 20 servers located across the globe, with more added all the time.
If you’re a start-up, you’ll want to attract lots of customers, and you’ll want them fast. Likewise, if you’re a big biz and you’re feeling the strain of huge customer loads, you want things sped up and optimized. Get the right package, and Kinsta’s cloud-based service will excel in either of these needs.
#2. WP Hosting—Less Downtime ⏲️
With so many computers speaking to each other—“cloud computing” is another alias for cloud hosting—the chances of crashes dwindle.
It’s simply far less likely that several servers all across the world will crash at the same time, thus send your web site down the chute.
Plus, the automatic systems check for downtime issues every five minutes, while the 24/7 support team is on call to deal with any problems.
If your site suddenly needs a surge of resources to handle a spike in traffic... no problem. This is the beauty of combining WP optimization with cloud hosting.
Take advantage of viral attention without worrying about your site squeezing your bandwidth, as a shared hosting setup would automatically do. (MAJOR).
#3. WP Hosting—Outsourcing & Customer Support 🎧
The Kinsta team places your website in an environment optimized for WP websites, which explains the boosted performance metrics.
The customer support are also specialists in WordPress-related issues. Some are even WP developers!
Backups are automatic—on file for at least a fortnight (and up to a month). If you want to find lost information, it’s a straightforward process. They take place each day, with the option of making it hourly available as default.
As a last tidbit, there are data centres in Europe to choose from. If your customers are mostly in the UK, grab one closest to it. That’s a useful bit of control.
#4. WP Hosting—Testing (Staging Site) 🔦
Very cool feature. The staging site lets you test out experimental and everyday edits to your site, before publishing or adding to your main site.
Maybe you have new bits of code, plugins (special features/capabilities), or changes to your look. You can quickly test these out before going live.
Kinsta’s basic plan covers you for 20,000 visitors a month, a reasonable amount for a new and growing business. Should you overshoot this (the pains of success, I know) there’s an overcharge fee. But at 76p per 1,000 extra visitors, it isn’t going to break the bank.
The plans scale up from roughly “I’m a small business owner” (20,000 visitors per month) to “I own business itself” (3,000,000 visitors per month). Like I keep saying, whatever the scale of your hosting needs, Kinsta’s got you.
All these plans come with a 30-Day money-back guarantee with all the typical bells and whistles thrown in.
You won’t get an entry-level pricing plan here, but if you’re serious about getting the best service possible, then that shouldn’t really matter.
And you’ve graduated from the first semester of our class. Now it’s time to round out our knowledge so that all the terms I'm using start to make sense. 🎓
Clearing Up Any Confusion With the Terminology 📔
For the fellow boffins out there 👨🎓
The difference this guide and your average one is that I’m here to make sure you graduate with true know-how.
I hope I've mostly done a good job explaining tech boffin terms as they came up above.
In case there were a few important things lingering around, though, hopefully this section will clear them up.
From WordPress to Cloud hosting and free web hosting plans–I’ve got you covered in this extra credits class. Class is in Session!
Buying Guide 💰
A Short Discussion 📀
Designing your website 📘
The most popular site creation and design tool today is WordPress. I always recommend WordPress for people who expect something unique, branded and tailored for their site.
Your website represents you. Like SiteGuard in overall hosting, WordPress is the best of the best for site creation—whether you use an easy customizable “theme” package, or pay an expert like me to customize it for you.
It’s a one-click installation. Having SiteGuard’s native interface come with WP means you save time and hassle—with automatic updates. That falls in the Every Little Helps category.
You can ask SiteGuard’s experts to handle the migration of any old site you had over to their hosting plan, and to provide general WP support.
I’ve blathered on about this a few times in the guide. As it says on the tin, it’s a no fuss way to start building your WP site.
1-click installations are actually a standard now with most hosts. Once you’ve bought your web hosting, you’ll find the option to install WordPress with one click.
Hey presto—you’ll have your WordPress, domain and hosting accounts linked up, ready for mobilization.
The app itself will either be through c-panel or a customized version that your host has created—use WP itself to enter.
Because you’ve got your domain—if you haven’t here’s a guide on purchasing a web domain—you can begin on a free WP account.
Why WordPress is (Probably) the Best for You 🔎
If you were to go directly through WordPress for everything, you’d need to pay them for hosting and a domain.
But to me, WordPress is a speciality service. They do one thing very well: design your place of business.
If you decide to go the WP route, make sure to get the best hosting for WordPress.
In terms of themes, you want to think of WP as like the Google App store: unlimited. Thousands and thousands of templates.
“Themes”—aka pre-designed sites that you can customize—are a business unto themselves that range from basic to Fortune 500.
- ☑️ Open a store
- ☑️ Create a membership site
- ☑️ Display your portfolio
- ☑️ Create a browser version for your app
Endless possibilities. But this might not be ideal for your business. Let’s briefly talk about three more CMS’s—Content Management Systems.
It’s important to note that all of these coding types can be incorporated into WordPress. Indeed, one of WP’s coolest features is its expandability for scaling up or customization.
PHP Framework 🧰
Actually, your WordPress website might contain PHP elements. What we’re talking about here is a complete Custom PHP website framework versus a WordPress Website framework.
A PHP framework is more secure versus your regular CMS’s. The code is customized just for your site, so hackers can’t send automated problems your way so easily.
Some of the most creative programming minds have used PHP to create unique, irreplaceable websites. This obviously means lots of time and programming expenses.
Java Script 📓
You’ll find it’s the standard for every player on the front-end: Google, Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Twitter, eBay. The list goes on forever.
This will be incorporated into some of your WordPress themes—if you choose to use that for your site design—which are focused on enhancing user experience across devices and browsers.
These guys are running the closest second behind WordPress though they’re several hundred metres behind in the race.
The reason is the lack of user-friendliness in their CMS. It’s hard for me to recommend this designer as there is no real benefit over WordPress.
They’ve been around since 2005. While WordPress were started at around the same time, WP has 60% market-share and Joomla only 5.
In general, if you’ve used Joomla for some time and love it then continue—especially if you are a developer. But there’s less easy entry for non-developers.
The supporting features are also less appealing by a large margin: fewer themes, plugins, a less active community, and fewer ways to easily expand and scale up your website.
The main advantages Joomla has are multilingual support, multiple templates for different pieces of content, and more advanced access/management controls.
Hosting Types Explained 📕
Welcome to the wonderful world of being a boffin. If you’re here and reading, you are now one of us.
As you tumble down the rabbit hole, even the question of hosting type unravels—that’s this section #TheMatrix
People tell you to go get hosting, but the question of what type is less commonly asked—as though you’re a rookie.
Each type is very different with defined strengths and weaknesses that affect overall capabilities.
Your most common and expected type is shared hosting, which we’ll look into first as it fits most needs. But there are specialized alternatives for the big wigs. Five, roughly speaking:
- ☑️ Shared
- ☑️ VPS (virtual private server)
- ☑️ Dedicated
- ☑️ Cloud
- ☑️ Reseller
Shared Hosting 🥇
This is the most popular, common and least expensive type—and probably the hosting you’ll buy as a newbie or small-to-medium sized business.
Of course, with less cost comes less resources, so shared hosting offers the least amount of power. But it does come with great user friendliness, with features like 1-click install.
You have what you need to manage your own site—creating a unique look without needing years of coding experience.
For the vast majority of sites you won’t need to worry powerwise, with low amounts of traffic coming in (Traffic = visitor count).
Unless you’re YouTube. If YouTube are reading this, forget what I said above—proceed to the next type pronto!
Your Shared Hosting Team 🤞
On a shared hosting plan—ideal for smaller and newer sites—you are just one user of many sharing a server’s abilities.
Once you sign up for a plan, you’re slotted into a space in a datacenter, with your host promising to look after the performance of your site.
Right now, there are technicians in lab coats monitoring your server’s hardware, software, hacking security, updates, and so on.
If your host doesn’t uphold their end of the bargain—such as by too-frequent crashes—you may be entitled for reimbursement.
Though the communal arrangement has limitations in capacity, self-starters with a creative idea can hop online rapidly on a budget.
This massive pooling—like Uber—lets these hosts offer continuous promotional offers and discounts to their new customers.
Shared Hosting Limitations 💿
There are a few. For sites that handle very sensitive data, shared hosting plans may be a large concern.
The server’s very communal nature may allow viruses to spread across a server site, infecting those linked to it.
You have no way to personalize your security. You’re essentially relying on your hosting team to protect you.
There are also restrictions in the fine-print that you may not be aware of in your shared hosting contract.
The small price often goes hand-in-hand with annoying pricing schemes that may suddenly see your charges quadruple.
Your hosting plan can also be terminated for a broader number of reasons—in some cases—if you exceed your traffic quota!
One day swimming in new money, next day site crash. For online product creators with sharp time windows … yeah, be careful.
A sudden spike in traffic might break or slow your site, due to the server’s cap, killing golden opportunities.
It takes three seconds of waiting for a user to click out of a site in frustration. Servers limit individuals so that all have good average performances.
Spam is another issue—spammers target a certain site and all those tethered to it become targets also.
Overall, it’s still a very capable and useful plan, which suits most businesses. If you expect great spikes in traffic, it’s worth considering an alternative.
Virtual Private Server Hosting - VPS Hosting ⚙️
If you like bottle-service, VIP-lounges and limousines, welcome to VPS. It stands for Virtual Private Server.
This plan is a rung up in terms of power—and as you might have guessed—also in the price tag
(There are some great VPS hosts that are free/cheap but they lack the quality of ones with expensive plans.)
You’ll also get features, integrity and capabilities not possible in shared hosting, though the physical differences are not so wide.
You’re actually still on a single server, but a portion of it has been cut off just for you—so you can put your feet up.
You get enhanced control—remote control—to manage your site, letting your scale your plan up or down depending on current need.
The control panel is expanded. For technical people, this gives you self-tailoring options not available in shared hosting.
Security is less of a concern and more robust. VPS goes to an intense standard to prevent causalities.
Cyber-crime is an exponentially growing industry. If you expect to deal with large assets, getting the best VPS hosting available is probably essential.
Your VPS Hosting Team 💪
Aside from the caviar and chauffeurs, VPS offers you majorly increased bandwidth (traffic allotment) and space. Your VPS team works to ensure your slice of the server pie is powerful enough to give your users an outstanding user experience.
If you plan to be in the big league—or to get sudden traffic spikes—and want to secure performance regardless, say no more. I’m very big on this principle as—in my experience—one of the markers of success is quality.
Getting to the next scale of high-paying client can often involve scaling up your infrastructure in kind.
VPS gives you performance you can rely on. This is a hallmark of stellar business performance and customer service.
Downtime costs to your business are limited several times over—something even smaller businesses could benefit from.
Also - PEOPLE LOVE SMOOTH, QUICK SITES. Sorry for yelling there—bad habit picked up as a kid.
The support teams in VPS solutions are also (usually) very quick to help you out with any queries. Just don’t yell.
VPS Hosting Limitations 📡
It isn’t all roses and sunshine. I’ll give you extra credits in this class if you recall the negative by the end of this sentence.
Dosh, fella. You gets what you pays for, as they say. As you get a whole lot more, you’ll pay lots more too.
VPS hosting is still generally suitable for mid-to-large businesses, as the optimal boost in performance pays for itself.
You’ll also need to pay for tech support if you want to utilize all of the increased controls on offer—unless you’re already savvy.
This may amount to hiring a team in a 24/7 tech admin support role. No point in having capability if it’s unmanaged.
To Buy or Not to Buy VPS 🛍️
- ☑️ You’ll want VPS hosting if:
- ☑️ You expect to grow your biz substantially over the coming year
- ☑️ You require optimal security
- ☑️ You want as much control over traffic adjustments as possible
- ☑️ You want full specialist customer support 24/7
- ☑️ You want the capability to handle a large audience or large bursts of traffic
- ☑️ You’re already edging into the mid-tier or higher category of business
Are you not entertained? Well, then let us PROCEED deeper into the depths of hosting boffinery. Two more types.
Dedicated Hosting 📗
Yep, we’re here. The top of the mountain. The pie in the sky. Your bestest possible hosting setup. YouTube, welcome.
They give you a server to yourself—or more—and look after it with the attention of a shepherd watching his flock.
Yes, there’s a reason YouTube doesn’t go down. Ever. The risk of crashes and downtime issues depletes the bigger and more dedicated the resources.
Of course, this is the most complicated and costly hosting option, but also the most powerful, robust and secure.
Security is extreme in this setup, to safeguard sensitive data stored on the server network site.
In one sense, security risks are lower as there are no tethered accounts transferring potential infected files across the server.
On the other, providers take great care to use the most state-of-the-art scanning systems to search for spammers, hackers and viruses.
Your Dedicated Hosting Team/Limitations 💻
Your team will give you full control over your server, which includes the hardware and operating systems used.
Ironically, opting for a dedicated server puts more of the managerial responsibility in your hands, though you may be provided with dedicated engineers. Other hosting setups come with a preexisting team supporting the server, while this plan expects you to build your own.
You should have more technical knowledge—or hire a team with it—so they can customize your setup.
This is ideal for people experienced in web development and system administration. You’ll have freedom to define your plan to a fine point.
The role of dedicated service providers at this level is a little vague, with a lot of variability and fewer industry standards.
Maintenance of the operating system and server may include security patch and monitoring updates. But you can also opt to move your team onto the site instead.
There are four main level of support available:
- ☑️ Fully managed – you, as the customer, put complete faith in the service provider to handle the server
- ☑️ Managed – you involved yourself in certain aspects, while leaving most of the job to the provider
- ☑️ Self-managed – you handle most of the operational going-ons, with some support from the service provider
- ☑️ Unmanaged – you handle everything, from monitoring, security, upgrades and maintenance
For the dreamers, the square pegs in a round hole...
We’re not done, not by a long shot.
Chances are you have a rough idea of what “The Cloud” is. Now we'll talk about cloud hosting.
There’s some similarity with VPS here. But rather than being on one site, servers/computers are pooled together from different locations.
You end up with very quick loading times and lots of flexibility in climbing up or down the scale ladder.
This goes for space. Upgrades are immediate, which is why cloud hosting has boomed in popularity recently—we’re still waiting on a single.
Your Cloud Hosting Team 🧑🤝🧑
Though there are similarities between ordinary web hosting and “cloud computing,” which is another name for cloud hosting, they can be complex.
Here’s how ordinary hosting works. First, your chosen team will give you access to their servers for a fee.
On that server, you can store website files and info. This is then beamed across the world—onto the World Wide Web. Cloud computing/hosting differs by turning many physical servers into ones connected by a virtual thread.
This is also called cluster hosting. One way of thinking about this is that one site may have traffic problems, causing your site to go/slow down.
But many differently located sites working together would have to all go down to affect you. Much less likely.
Many computers are locked together in a virtual space that can be toggled and controlled very rapidly.
Overall, this offers superior control, very suitable for people who expect sudden and specific traffic increases.
The cloud setup multiplies the hosting capacity to levels that a non-cloud server cannot keep up with.
You’ll have increased power available, with even more decreased risk of downtime (crashes) in demanding periods.
Cloud Hosting Limitations 🚫
In truth, cluster hosting resolves many of the issues that can occur in VPS or shared hosting setups.
Despite the instability of actual clouds, cloud computing is a very solid and reliable hosting solution.
In a sense, it’s more communal than shared hosting minus the security, power and space negatives. Though virtually shared, you still have a personal space.
Reseller hosting 😏
Deep boffin territory.
This last type is for you if you want to share some of your paid-for hosting resources with a third party, as a source of income.
You allot a portion of bandwidth, email accounts or space etc. for a fee. This is similar to being a landlord, renting out a place to tenants.
Perhaps you’re looking to offer WiFi in a certain location for a daily charge. In that case, reseller hosting could be ideal for you.
The Path That Lies Ahead 🛣️
Aaaand we’re at the end of class, and the bell has rung.
Well done, you’ve managed to stay awake. We’re handing out graduation caps outside. With robes. Possibly broomsticks too.
Closing out: “Dum duh-duh dum, duhh dum dumm..” (That’s Harry Potter’s theme, for all those with #confusedfaces now.)
You should now know all you need to make an informed decision. There’s no perfect way to get started—action’s the greatest driver.
I did warn you about my world of geekery, earlier. And my multiple personalities...
But for now, that's...
See you next time folks..