Article by Jerry Low
Geek dad, SEO data junkie, investor, and founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Jerry has been building Internet assets and making money online since 2004. He loves mindless doodling and trying new food.
Looking forward to start a web host? Can’t decide on which web hosting company to go with? Then this post is a must-read.
About two weeks ago I reached out to a group of Internet savvy users – pro bloggers, WordPress developers, book writers, WordPress designers, Internet marketers, and web developers – and asked one simple question:
I want to know what hosting service are the other website owners are using. And moreover, I want to get real names and real hosting advice from trustable sources.
The responses I got were very positive.
More than half of the interviewees replied my email almost instantly and they sent very helpful feedbacks. Hence before we go deep into this post, I would like to send out a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated.
Ian, Colette, Debra, Paul, Michael, Lori, Kevin, Sharon, Jamie, Veerle, John, Andrij, Steph, Kristi, Chris, Jason, Bryan, Kathy, Rochester, Adam, Nile, Gina, Hong Kiat, Seng Yin, Jacob, Konstantin, Kane, Shreice, Ross, Rob, Tom, Melisa, Gregory, Ryan, Jeff, Daniel, Darren, Ralph, and Jeremy.
Thank you very much, you guys are awesome.
In summary, here are are the votes casted to 16 different web hosting companies.
As you can see, Hostgator, Media Temple, and BlueHost are the three obvious winners in this survey. While I am not surprise that Hostgator and Media Temple had stolen the dime light in this round survey; I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting this much of love on BlueHost.
Without wasting any more time, here are the feedbacks I got (arranged according to hosting names in alphabetical order) from this round of survey.
Click links below to skip to reviews on a particular web host.
Disclaimer: I am affiliated to some of the listed hosting companies, namely WP Engine, WebHostingHub, InMotion Hosting, BlueHost, Hostgator, and Media Temple. I make a small commission if you order these web hosts via my links (at no extra cost). These commissions help me pay the writers, develop new web apps, and keep things run smoothly (and FREE!) on WHSR.
Company profile: BlueHost was founded by Matt Heaton, who also owned HostMonster and FastDomain, about a decade ago. Back in the 2000?s, BlueHost was the go-to host for small-to-mid size websites – the cost is cheap and the company provides excellent hosting service and customer support. In 2010, BlueHost and its sister companies FastDomain and HostMonster were sold to the Endurance International Group (EIG), an U.S. conglomerate based in Massachusetts.
Lori Soard, Paul Crowe, Kevin Muldoon, and Sharon Hurley recommend BlueHost hosting. Below are their feedbacks.
“For a first-time blogger, I would recommend BlueHost.
Although this hosting company gets a few mixed reviews, they come recommended by WordPress, which is one of the most popular blogging platforms. The hosting company also offers a WordPress auto-install, which makes getting set up quick and easy for someone without a lot of webdesign experience. Unlimited disk space and bandwidth transfer are also a nice addition. Rates start at $4.95/month (if you pay in advance), so it is also reasonably priced for someone trying things out. I also like the fact that newbies can get support 24/7 in a variety of ways (online, via telephone or via e-mail).”
– Lori Soard; radio personality, published author, writer and social media marketers at Lori Soard.
“For my WordPress hosted sites I have gone with Blue Host.I have used HostGator in the past but I find Blue Host provides the best packages for my needs.
They have the easy install of WordPress we expect from all hosting services but also a great uptime record and costumer support.
– Paul Crowe, blogging guru at Spice Up Your Blog.
“First time bloggers should not use a lot of resources at first.
Due to this, I would recommend a good shared hosting company such as BlueHost. Once their website has started generating more traffic, they can then review their hosting requirements.”
– Kevin Muldoon, pro-blogger at Kevin Muldoon.
“I’ve used 5 or 6 web hosting service providers over the last 7 years, including many of the popular shared hosting providers.
The one I keep coming back to is Bluehost, where I currently host more than ten domains. It’s a great host for sites with low to medium traffic and everything you want is easy to set up. I’ve been impressed with their uptime and their tech support department is extremely responsive and helpful if there’s ever an issue.”
– Sharon Hurley, professional web writer at Sharon HH.
“If you use WordPress as I recommend, you will need a hosting service too.
And, BlueHost is the best web host for WordPress.”
– Michael Hyatt; NY Times Bestseller Author, Former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Jerry’s note: I wasn’t able to reach Michael Hyatt in person. His personal assistant Trivinia Barber replied my email and pointed out that Michael has repeatedly recommended BlueHost on his blog in the past. The feedback above is quoted from Michael’s blog. As for BlueHost, unfortunately I don’t have that much of good experience with them in recent years. I have been using the web host for more than 5 years, you can read my BlueHost review here.
Company profile: The two co-founders of Engine Hosting, Nevin Lyne and Rick Ellis, first met in 2002, and setup a deal which opened pMachineHosting.com. In 2007, pMachineHosting.com changed its name to EngineHosting.com to better communicate the company’s focus on clustered web hosting solutions for ExpressionEngine, and other apache/mysql/php based web applications. Engine Hosting currently operates out of four state-of-the-art data centers in three different cities in North America: Minneapolis, Minnesota; Edina, Minnesota; Fremont, California, and Reston, VA.
Engine Hosting reviews
“I would recommend Engine Hosting because they keep my site up and running.
It’s really that simple. They are the first that live up to the promise of handling a high traffic site. Great support too if you need it.”
– Veerle, graphic/web designer, co-founder of Duoh.
Company profile: Established in 2006, Fused provides web hosting for over six thousand websites and serves an average of one billion visitors monthly at time of writing. The company is eadquartered in San Diego and host clients in over 65 countries worldwide.
“Without hesitation I’d recommend Fused. Almost always 100% uptime and good, fast support. “
– John Boardly, Typography artist and blogger at I Love Typography.
Company profile: Founded in 1997, GoDaddy is a company that needs littel introduction. With more than 4,000 employees, 55 million domains under management, and 12 million customers around the world; the company is currently largest domain registrar in the world. GoDaddy operates business from 9 different facilities in United States (Arizona, Iowa, California, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts) and India.
“So, for quite a while I have had a regrettable guilty pleasure of using GoDaddy. I know, noob move, yes. However, although I don’t agree with many of their political stances they have taken over the years, I can’t fault their constant availability through customer service, never waiting long to talk to tech or sales rep, quick to resolve issues – I mean, that is one thing you get with a behemoth company like that. However, to avoid being chastised, I finally decided to make a move. I am going to transfer over to BlueHost.
It’s well priced, and most users rave about the reliability and up-time. As with any hosting provider there are some who complain of lost data, but it happens everywhere. BlueHtost seems to be fast to respond to customer service requests, and handles most everything in house rather than with outside companies, so they’d rarely ever have to wait for a third party to resolve a conflict. That really is what did it for me, when I was comparing it to other providers. If you are a small to medium sized business, it really seems to be the way to go, in my opinion. You also get bonuses which are usually relegated only to GoDaddy hosted accounts: advertising credits, website builders, easy integration with things like: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, RoundCube, Zen Cart, PrestaShop, and they even advertise some web stats, though I can’t imagine it’s any better than Google Analytics. :)
In the end, it seems like the winner.”
– Andrij Harasewych, founder of Go Socialize Me.
Company profile: Hostgator was founded by Brent Oxley in his college dorm back in 2002. The Gator grew from a one-man operation to one with hundreds of employees over the years; and was ranked 21st on Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company in year 2008, 239th on Inc. 5000 in year 2009. The company was sold to Endurance International Group (EIG) for, unofficial figure, $225 million in 2012.
“Regarding your question, I’ve tried quite a lot of hosting services and to be honest I haven’t found one that I could say 100% that it’s great.
But right now I’m using Hostgator for my personal site and they have quite a good platform for first timers and a “good” technical support for advanced guys also so I think they can help you well when you blog grows.”
– Rochester, writer and WordPress developer at Roch.
“There’s been pros and cons to all the services I’ve used, but HostGator’s Baby package has always been a great, reliable service that I use for small personal websites and client projects.”
– Chris Spooner, professional blogger and designer at Spoon Graphics.
“I recommend and use Host Gator for anyone deciding on starting or moving to a new host. Why? They are dependable, affordable, and they are on par for performance from other hosting plans out there. Along with their additional services they offer such as a full featured cPanel, email, free SEO services, and now Domain Management they are a great one stop shop for those looking for a self host solution that doesn’t break the bank.”
– Jason, IT expert and game junky at Avg Joe Geek.
“If I had to recommend one web host, it’d be HostGator. I’ve been on it for two years, and I’ve never had a problem. It’s reliable and cheap. WordPress installs are a snap, their online help pages are helpful, and I love that they allow geeks like me to have shell access to their shared servers.
Full disclosure that HostGator is the only host I’ve ever used, and I’ve only had experience with their shared hosting. That said, I have no intention of looking elsewhere for web hosting.”
– Bryan, blogger at Hobby Blogger.
“I’ve used both Blue Host and Host Gator.
At the moment I’m using Host Gator and it’s never let me down. The support staff have also been very helpful when it’s asked them questions over live chat. I’d definitely recommend it to beginners because it’s easy-to-use and reliable. I’m thinking about upgrading to a new host soon, so I wouldn’t recommend Host Gator to anyone who’s been around for a while.”
– Jamie, freelance writer and blogger at Lucid Ability.
“My site is hosted on HostGator, and I’ve had no trouble with them.”
– Kathryn Aragon, editor and professional writer at Kathryn Aragon.
“HostGator because they’re the only ones I have personal experience with. Been using them for 6+ years for my sites (and some client’s sites) and they’ve never given me a reason to look elsewhere.”
– Adam, Internet marketer at Words That Click.
“Asking me which web host, it really depends on what type of service you need and whether you’re a startup that is bootstrapping, or have investors, or you’re an established site that has grown beyond a regular shared plan. While there have been some hiccups, I recommend the dedicated server hosting at HostGator. I recommend them because at that level you can keep growing and adding more features or resources to your server. I’ve been a client of HostGator since 2008, and they have gone beyond what other hosts I’ve known. I’ve been compensated twice on severe downtime issues that they accepted responsibility for. I’ve never had that with other web hosts.”
– Neil, web designer and developer at Blondish.
“I used to use GoDaddy for my hosting needs. As a beginner, they were cheap and ‘ok’ but I grew tired of their confusing emails (too many!) and the portal was very complicated for newbies. So this year after reading some reviews, I found a discount to Hostgator and signed up with them. I am thrilled with them–their customer service is excellent and I find it a lot easier to navigate. (I think they’re even cheaper than what I was paying at GoDaddy.) I’ve been using them since May, so it’s still new, but I’m quite happy with the switch.”
– Stephanie Martel, blogger at Vibrant Living Project.
Jerry’s note: Guess what, I’m also a Hostgator fan and I have been using the web host since 2007! If you are interested in reading some of the latest updates and changes at Hostgator (the company was bought over by Endurance International Group recently), check out my review on Hostgator hosting here.
Company profile: Idologic is a global data center services company and maintains data center space in prime telecommunication hubs across North America and has highly skilled employees from and working around the world. Idologic offers industry leading reseller, dedicated, and co-location hosting services.
“Idologic.com, recommended by many of my web designer friends when I was experiencing too much downtime and service slow down at another company. They did EVERYTHING for me, free of charge, so I went to bed with one host and seamlessly woke up with all my sites on the new host. No issues, no hiccups, and no more downtime.”
– Gina Badataly, professional blogger, brand ambassador, and awesome mom who blogs at Mom Blog.
Company profile: Based in both Carlifonia and Virginia, InMotion Hosting has been around for more than a decade (established in year 2001). InMotion Hosting offers a wide range of web hosting services (shared/vps/dedicated) in dozen of different packages. The company is best known with its superior customer service – the company is BBB Accredited since 23/6/2003 and scores A+ with BBB Busines Review at time of writing.
InMotion Hosting reviews
“I use Inmotion Hosting as my business host. Therefore 2 things came into my considereation:- 1) business cost and 2) quality. I wanted to achieve a balance in these 2 things. I wanted a cPanel hosting for it’s an established control panel in my opinion. Also I needed the hosting to be stable and have excellent uptime. It has to be at least 99.9%. Speed was my concern too. I do not want my websites to have low speed. The Max Speed Zone of Inmotion Hosting does get my attention. With this feature I can choose the location of my data center to better serve my visitors. So I’d eventually decided to try out Inmotion Hosting. In short, I chose Inmotion Hosting for quality. And I think I’ve made the right move.”
– Darren Low, professional blogger at Insider Host Review.
Jerry’s note: I’m a big fan of InMotion since 2008. This site, Web Hosting Secret Revealed, is hosted on InMotion Hosting. I am using both InMotion’s shared and VPS hosting plans at this time of writing and highly recommend the web host. If you wish to learn more about the company, go read my InMotion review.
Company profile: Media Temple, often known as (mt), is a web hosting and cloud services provider headquartered in Los Angeles, California, and founded in 1998. They provide hosting for websites and applications as well as virtual servers, email, and other Internet content. They serve over 125,000 customers in 100 countries, powering over 1.5 million websites in its datacenters on the East and West Coasts of the United States.
Media Temple reviews
“@WebHostingJerry I’d recommend @mediatemple – been using their VPS for years, and it’s pretty solid.”
– Konstantin, Automattic WordPress developers, blogs at Kovshenin.
“Moving around from host to host over the course of my 10+ years online, I’ve found Media Temple to provide affordable, awesome hosting and excellent customer service. It was around 2009 and I had been hosted at “A Small Orange” (on a shared server) for a couple of years.
The servers were inconsistent and the support staff (with an exception or two) was pretty horrible, so I finally got fed up and decided to find something better. After much research I finally chose Media Temple because of their reported 1) consistency/uptime, 2) excellent customer service, 3) not too crazy expensive pricing. So at that time I stepped up from mediocre shared hosting to Media Temple’s VPS (dv) hosting.
I’ve been happy ever since.”
– Jeff Starr, WordPress experts at Perishable Press.
“I don’t see much of a point in asking what the best web hosting provider is, since everyone’s needs are different. For whatever it’s worth, I like mediatemple and Wired Tree for my own business.”
– Kane Jamison, blogs at Content Harmony.
“Since 2009, I have been using Media Temple as my web hosting provider, first on their grid shared hosting service, and now on their managed DV VPS server. Why? One, they provide great customer support; two, their service is highly scalable; and three, their hosting plans are great value for money.”
– Jacob Cass, professional graphic designer and founder of Just Creative.
” I’m going to go with MediaTemple on this one.
It may be a little more expensive than the others out there, but MediaTemple can give first-time bloggers peace of mind. Their grid hosting technology minimizes downtime and they have pretty responsive support.”
– SingYin Lee, senior editor at HongKiat.com.
Jerry’s note: Jeff Starr’s statement is quoted from this recent interview on WHSR. I got a free Media Temple account for two months and ran some basic testing when I was making this post, you can check out my findings and opinions in this Media Temple review.
Company profile: Site5 founded their business in California in 1998. Site5 is qualify and reliable Linux Cloud hosting provider. They have various of featured hosting plans which will handle requirements from personal to large business websites. With over 200 dedicated servers and nearly 200,000 domains hosted, Site5 knows how to bring their vision to life.
Site 5 reviews
“If I were to recommend only one, for beginners, it would be Site5.com .I’ve been with them for years and my clients have as well. Support is fast and thorough, and updates/outages are announced well in advance, and tracked on support forums. I’d recommend a reseller account if you have multiple websites.”
– Sherice, copywriter and designer at iElectify.
Company profile: Founded in 2003, SiteGround began, and continues to be, a privately held company headquartered in Humble, Texas and New York City, USA. SiteGround also has a European presence with an office in Sofia, Bulgaria. Siteground currently hosts about 250,000 domains. They maintain an active Facebook page, Twitter account and blog with interesting posts that don’t just push their product or respond to service complaints.
Site Ground reviews
“I had used a lot different hosting companies in the past but they all had the same problem for me: inaccessibility outside “normal” office hours. Once I had a problem with a website and in order to solve it I needed to contact the hosting company for one simple request. It was a Friday late in the afternoon, and I had to wait until Monday morning to contact them.
At that time I decided to look for a hosting company that suited me better, one with the same mentality as me: helping clients and treating them as you would your best friend, your father or sister. SiteGround does this. I’m not a server-guy, and I don’t want to become one, so I needed a hosting partner who would do that for me, SiteGround does and they are fast and affordable as well.
At this moment I have over 50 reseller hosting accounts and I host 60 websites. I started using SiteGround in 2008 so I’ve been with them over five years. I signed up with them and within five minutes I was ready to go.”
– Ralph De Groot, SEO and hosting reseller at Web Pepper.
Company profile: SoftLayer, an IBM company, is the cloud infrastructure provider of choice for companies building for Internet Scale. The company provides global, on-demand data center and hosting services from world-class data centers in Amsterdam, Dallas, Houston, San Jose, Seattle, Singapore, and Washington D.C., with network Points of Presence nationwide.
“Without question I would recommend SoftLayer which does a fantastic job of covering the bases of a web site marketing company like my own which has several websites with significant traffic and hosts a few clients (just out of convenience – not as a published service).
What do I mean by covering the bases? In short, I expect near-to-perfect uptime along with top-notch/responsive support and a service that doesn’t ever make me wonder if my money is being spent unwisely. That last bit is all about reliability; I expect my hosting company to be an extension of the rock-solid reliability I offer my own clients and site visitors.
You may have noticed throughout all of that I didn’t mention price. That is because price is all too often the first consideration for anyone looking for hosting but in our case as important as it is, (I don’t care to be gouged) it is not the number one consideration. That said I find SoftLayer’s pricing to be reasonable for the quality components and outstanding service I and my team receive.”
– Ross, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing Inc.
Company profile: Synthesis is a WordPress hosting company recently co-founded by Brian Clark (CopyBlogger) and Derick Shaefer (OrangeCast).
“Currently, I am in love with Synthesis from Copyblogger. While I never had any significant problems with my previous hosting company and still use them for my smaller websites, I wanted something more powerful for my main blog (http://kikolani.com) and new membership course (http://blogpostpromotion.com). One thing that really convinced me to switch was how awesome their support team was – I hit them up with a LOT of questions before I purchased anything, and they were always happy to help.
Synthesis is fully focused on WordPress websites, with built in security, backups, and site monitoring. So instead of having to have my hosting company, Sucuri, and VaultPress, I now just have my hosting company. I used their paid migration service to move my main blog, and I manually transferred my membership site. Both went smoothly – it took 3 business days for the paid migration service to move my bog and only an hour to move my membership course myself. Both sites are running faster and smoother than they ever have.”
– Kristi Hines, professional blogger and freelance writer at Kikolani.
Company profile: Vida Host is part of Paragon Internet Group and we run some of the UK’s best known internet companies. At time of writing, the company hosts over 100,000 websites for over 20,000 active clients in over 100 countries.
Vida Host review
“I would have to go for Vidahost, I’ve tried a variety of hosts and they are definitely the best. Not only supremely good page speed times but also extremely responsive support. And I always get a good and fast support response from them – whether the problem is their fault or not.”
– Rob Cubbon, web designer and founder of Rob Cubbon Ltd.
Company profile: Based in Virginia Beach, WebHostingHub (WHH) is a new brand established by InMotion Hosting back in 2002. Like most other budget hosting companies, WHH offers only one simple hosting plan – the All-In-One Shared Hosting Plan.
“Web Hosting Hub had very comparable and affordable pricing. I never felt that I would be getting in over my head. Plus the 24/7 U.S.-based tech support gave me added comfort if something were to happen. Most e-commerce website owners rely on their site for main income. We can’t afford to lose our online presence. Plus, I have access to the design team as well. It’s not a case of their team just building my site but also assisting in the ongoing updates and maintenance.”
– Daniel Sumelin, freelance designer at Daniel Sumerlin.
Jerry’s note: Ralph’s feedback on Site Ground and Daniel’s feedback on WebHostingHub is quoted with permission from this and this interview. WebHostingHub is selected as one of the two Best Budget Hosting. In case you wonder why, go learn more about WebHostingHub in my review.
Company profile: Established in 1998, Headquartered at Providence Utah, WebstHost claims itself to be one of the best budget hosting companies. The company was acquired by UK2 Group, a large worldwide Web hosting provider, in 2008.
West Host review
“The web hosting company I use for all of my sites (including Leaving Work Behind) is Westhost.
I have been with Westhost for the past year or so and haven’t regretted it for one moment. Not only did they handle the migration from my previous hosting provider at no extra charge, Leaving Work Behind’s load speed increased by 10% immediately after the switch.”
– Tom, professional blogger at Leaving Work Behind.
Company profile: Founded by Aaron Brazell and Jason Cohen in July 2010, WP Engine is a powerful hosting platform for WordPress users that focuses on three main WordPress site issues: Security, Speed, and Scalability. HTC, FourSquare, Balsamiq, SoundCloud are some of the popular brands that are now WP Engine-hosted.
WP Engine review
“As a WordPress user, it’s quite obvious I like things simple and turnkey. I run a blog with 100,000+ unique monthly visitors (Sparring Mind), and I wouldn’t spend my hosting dollar anywhere other than WPEngine. I view hosting as a necessary evil, and I’m happy to say that the WPEngine crew takes a lot of the “evil” out of the process by having great support and uptime. I’ve done a more extensive review of them in the past, but all you really need to know is that they deliver where it matters.”
– Gregory Ciotti, founder of Sparring Mind.
“WP Engine – Okay price, fast, good service; Linode – Cheap, fast, reliable and excellent service.”
– Ryan, software developer and WordPress expert who blogs at Ryan Hellyer.
“We recommend WP Engine to our clients when we referred them out for hosting. They are an extremely capable team, and we back them up 100%!”
– Melissa Hoppe of Web Dev Studios.
Jerry’s note: I LOVE WP Engine. I switched and started using WP Engine a few years back and my experience with the company is nothing but pleasure. For technical details such as uptime and site speed info, please read more on my WP Engine review.
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Debra from MultiChannel Magic did not gave us any names but she shared some really good advice on how to choose the right web host:
“My answer isn’t as simple as the question because I have yet to see a web hosting company that warrants being the only recommendation. I have extensive experience with different companies from personal experience and client challenges. This is what I tell my clients:
The best way to choose a web hosting company begins with defining your needs and budget for the next five years. Once you know what you need, you can evaluate how well the hosting companies match your specifications. After narrowing the list down to three or four candidates, interview current users to see how responsive the company is to issues. Questions to ask include:
- How long has company XYZ hosted your site?
- Why did you choose company XYZ?
- Did you have a relationship with anyone at the company prior to choosing it?
- Have you had any issues with your service? If so, what were they? How responsive was the company?
- How is your site programmed? Is it a custom solution or a content management system like WordPress?
- What would you do differently if choosing a web hosting company now?
Additional questions would focus on the specific type of source code used to develop the site. For example, if the site is using WordPress, knowing whether or not the host company stays current with updates is a really good idea.
Visiting forums and using search engines to find complaints is part of the due diligence in choosing a web hosting company too. This sheds light on how well problems are resolved. “
Again, huge thanks to everyone who contributed to this post. These guys are awesome people, go check out their websites and follow them on social networks!
Admittedly, 35 is a not a very big samples (hence I will keep reaching out and setup more similar surveys). However, keep in mind that these hosting advices are coming from experienced people who know what they are doing. In case you need more readings, be sure to check out How to pick the right web hosting as well as my Top 5 web hosting recommendations.
Now it’s time for you to voice up. Tell us:
If you could only recommend one web hosting provider, who would it be?
I look forward to your valuable inputs!
If you find this post is helpful, please share to others so they can benefit from it too.