What happens when your electricity suddenly cuts out? The generators kick in, giving you enough power to make it through the blackout.
A Scalable Hosting Solution operates in much the same way – They stretch to fit your needs when the unexpected happens, like a spike in website traffic or the launch of a new product.
Hosting services with good scalability offer the flexibility to quickly and easily move up or down in capacity, depending on demand. I once heard them compared to a puffer fish – but instead of inflating or deflating to protect itself from predators, the hosting solution can expand and contract to accommodate your growth.
One significant problem is that not all scalable hosting solutions provide the same advantages. For example, you may find downscaling more complex on specific platforms. Your best bet is to check out this list of our recommended hosts and take them for a trial run.
Digital Ocean's Cloudways is ranked the number one scalable hosting solution for small businesses. It's a managed cloud platform, meaning you don't need to worry about the technical aspects of server management. Their solution offers many CMS-centric advantages but it also works well with other applications.
Cloudways has an excellent reputation for performance. I use them for one of my medium-traffic sites, and my virtual server handles well over 1,300 users in a 30-minute block. The pay-as-you-go pricing model is ideal for gradual scaling.
Let's dig into some of the best features.
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Cloudways Key Features
- Create staging sites for testing and development
- Built-in Content Delivery Network for faster website loading times
- Pay-as-you-go pricing model for scalability
- Duplicate websites with site cloning feature
- SSL certificates included at no additional cost
- Breeze WordPress plugin gives a caching boost
Cloudways Pros & Cons
- Excellent performance and scalability
- 24/7 customer support
- Robust security and reliability
More complex problems may take longer for customer support to address
Cloudways supports DigitalOcean, Linode, AWS, and Google Cloud for an excellent scalable hosting experience. The control panel is simpler to use compared to cPanel and is easily navigable. You can migrate WordPress sites quickly (and for free) with a Cloudways plugin.
- Best for: Easily manageable, low-resource servers that can scale as you grow
- Price: Starts at $10/month after a free trial.
2. Liquid Web
The team at Liquid Web is known to be one of the most forward-thinking in the industry. What started as a traditional hosting provider in 1997 has grown into a managed cloud hosting powerhouse, with five sophisticated data centers supporting 32,000 users across 150 different countries.
An appealing feature of Liquid Web is that users can choose whether to outsource or completely self-manage their hosting; most hosts offer one or the other. The company also owns all of its hardware – which might not seem groundbreaking at first, but it can offer a much broader range of custom services for businesses that need something more specialized.
Liquid Web features a 00% uptime guarantee that not many in the industry are willing to offer.
Liquid Web Key Features
- Choose between InterWorx, cPanel, or Plesk
- Managed WooCommerce and WordPress products
- SSD storage is RAID-protected
- Customer-focused VPS infrastructure
- DDoS protection and CDN free of charge
- No upcharges on increased traffic
LiquidWeb Pros & Cons
- Intuitive central dashboard to easily monitor site status
- Instant provisions made for upticks in traffic
- Lightning-fast loading speeds
- More expensive than other comparable options
Liquid Web is an optimal choice for businesses that need to scale quickly and efficiently. The company offers a variety of plans and options to suit the needs of different websites – and all come with a 100% uptime guarantee. They also have one of the most comprehensive customer support teams in the business.
- Best for: Medium-sized businesses who want high-performance hosting
- Price: Starts at $59/month for managed VPS hosting
I wanted to include a more budget-friendly host in the top 5, and Hostinger is definitely one of the best value-for-money solutions. The company was founded back in 2011; a decade or so later, it now serves over 1.4 million users with 2.2 million WordPress installs.
Why so many WP installs? Hostinger is optimized for WordPress, meaning that any site running on the platform will run more smoothly and securely than if hosted elsewhere. Hostinger is a crowd favorite among web developers because its servers are advanced and secure enough to handle any CMS.
Hostinger's main drawcard is high speeds at a low price point, but in saying that, it certainly doesn't cut corners.
Hostinger Key Features
- Install WordPress in one click
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth on premium plans
- 99.9% uptime with attentive customer service
- Free SSL and site builder
- Extensive guides, resources, and tutorials
- Can host up to 100 sites
Hostinger Pros & Cons
- Free domain, site builder, SSL certificates, migration, and email
- Has a range of budget-friendly options without cutting corners
- Sophisticated infrastructure supports high run speeds and uptime
- Non-traditional panel can confuse some users
Hostinger is a reliable and cost-effective option for those looking to get their feet wet in the web hosting world. Its WordPress-specific optimization allows new users to set up an efficient site without any technical know-how quickly. It also offers 99.9% uptime, unlimited storage and bandwidth, and free SSL certificates, all at wallet-friendly prices.
- Best for: Beginner to mid-size bloggers who want budget-friendly hosting with no skimping on features
- Price: Starts at $3.49/month
4. A2 Hosting
Next up is A2 Hosting, a long-standing host that has been around since Bryan Muthig founded it in 2003. The company’s mission is to streamline business processes and internal communications by incorporating technologies and methodologies that are efficient and effective – and they definitely deliver on that promise.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that A2 is essentially the utility knife of the hosting world. WordPress and WooCommerce are its specialties, but it caters to everything from dedicated hosting to reseller hosting.
One of its trademarks is its Turbo Hosting solutions that come with top-of-the-line hardware. With next to no downtime and blazing-fast speeds, A2 Hosting gets rave reviews online. Unmanaged plans at A2 Hosting are cheap and stand only slightly above Hostinger's if you select a long-term plan.
A2 Hosting Key Features
- Affordable shared hosting plans for scalability
- Staging capabilities for WordPress sites
- Free Jetpack License and auto-backups
- Range of VPS options
- Turbo boost package offers better speeds and extras
- Choose from three different server locations
A2 Hosting Pros & Cons
- Relatively low price points for unmananged plans
- Consistent and reliable speeds with 99.9% uptime
- Top 3 plans offer unlimited bandwidth and storage
- Add-ons can easily result in nasty price hikes
A2 Hosting has a top reputation among web developers and online entrepreneurs, mostly for its speed, consistency, and reliability. The scalability is another big plus; you can start from the ground up with shared hosting, before graduating to more advanced VPS and dedicated hosting plans as your needs increase.
- Best for: Online entrepreneurs who need reliable speeds and scalability
- Price: Starts at $11.99/month
Last but certainly not least on the list is Hostwinds, a breath of fresh air compared to the clunky, archaic providers I often come across while researching – and it's got a convenient pay-as-you-go model for total scalability.
Customer service is a definite strong point for Hostwinds; I found the agents to be friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful, a sentiment backed up by hundreds of online reviews.
Hostwinds Key Features
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth
- Business packages with Litespeed servers
- Linux and Windows servers are available
- Sites backed up every evening
- Weebly website builder included
- VPS, cloud, and dedicated hosting options
HostWinds Pros & Cons
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- Offers a 99.9999% uptime and upholds it
- Owns 100% of its servers and systems
- No option for eCommerce hosting
Hostwinds easily supports most types of hosting and offers great scalability, with an hourly pay-as-you-go model for VPS. Customer service is excellent and control over their servers results in maximum reliability and performance.
- Best for: All types of hosting, from VPS to dedicated (excluding eCommerce)
- Price: Hourly starts at $ 0.006931/hr, monthly starts at $5.24/month
How to Choose: Things to Consider Before Buying
After presenting you with five of the best scalable hosting solutions, I know it can be a bit overwhelming to narrow down the choices. It's easier to decide if you know what features you need.
Scalable or Unlimited Resources
If you’re looking for a hosting solution that can grow with your business, you’ll want to look for a provider that offers scalable resources.
Some providers offer unlimited resources, which is great if your site needs plenty of space – but it can be more expensive than other options. It's usually more cost-effective to find a pay-as-you-go solution.
Compatibility With Your Platform
Before settling on a provider, make sure they support the platform your website is built on. While many apps today can work on either, some may perform better in their native environment.
It's important that your website is always available; customers expect it and search engines reward websites with higher rankings when they have consistent uptimes. Look for hosts that guarantee 99.9% or better uptime.
Managed or Self-Managed?
When choosing your host, consider the level of involvement you want. Do you prefer to have the host manage all aspects of your website, or do you want to take care of things yourself? If you are self-managing, don't settle for a host with an archaic or confusing user dashboard.
Finally, you'll want to consider the cost. Most of the providers on this list offer different levels of hosting, so you can choose a plan that meets your budget and needs. Some hosts also offer discounts if you pay for multiple months or years upfront.
Ultimately, the decision should come down to which provider offers the best combination of features, scalability, and price for your specific business.
Choosing the right scalable hosting solution is a crucial part of running any website. Scalability is your ticket to successful growth; without it, you are confined like a tree trying to spread roots past its tiny plant pot. Choose a host that offers scalability and guarantees uptime, customer service, and platform compatibility.
Web hosting essentially stores your website's files on a server so they can be accessed online. It's the foundation of any website and allows it to be viewed by anyone worldwide.
Scalability refers to the ability of a hosting solution to grow with your business as you add more traffic, content, or services. Many hosting providers offer scalable plans that allow you to pay for what you use, nothing more, and upgrade when necessary.
No, they are not. A hosting provider is a company you sign up with to host your website. The host refers to the physical server that stores your website files and makes them accessible online.
It depends on your needs and budget. While I personally recommend Cloudways, Hostinger, or Liquid Web, you should consider your specific requirements before making a decision.