A note from Write Stop
This is a review guide/article.
It helps the reader understand the three main choices the writer has chosen when the reader is looking to host their business website using WordPress.
Lots of review guides on this topic will list a TON of different web hosting companies at a low monthly cost in a way to sway the reader to click on an affiliate link (and earn a commission).
This post is similar, but with one clear distinction: no crappy hosting companies have been included (those that stack 1,000s of cPanel accounts on one server). Instead, the writer decided to choose the top three that are recommended (from a little research) and then nudged the reader to choose the one that is the best choice: even though it’s going to be the most expensive.
Best WordPress Hosting Company for Non-Techies
An article for business owners who want more than just a hosting account and being left to fend for themselves.
Your business website is your home.
It’s your space on the internet where potential customers can read more about you, your business/brand and how you can help them solve their problem(s).
That means you need reliability, speed, performance, and help with those geeky bits that make little sense sometimes.
It’s important to look at the different types of website hosting that are on offer to you.
Shared Web Hosting
This is the cheapest type of hosting.
If you already have a hosting account for your website (like businessname.com) then it might be on a low type of web hosting called shared hosting.
All shared web hosting isn’t the same, but lots of companies offering this type of basic website hosting account will stack lots and lots of WordPress business websites on the same server.
One key advantage is that it’s cheap for you and the hosting company make quite a bit of money (much like coach/economy on airlines).
Security – security is hugely important for your website. The hosting account needs to be secure, but so does the server it sits on. If there are other websites on the server that aren’t secure and have been hacked then your website is more prone to be hacked. Shared servers are more prone to having security issues.
Backups – most web hosts have automatic backups and, for those who are technically inclined, the ability to restore those backups when something happens. But, shared web hosts are notorious for backups being corrupt or failing when you really need them. Not great when the company says sorry and leaves you to sort things out on your own. If something goes wrong and you need to restore an earlier version of your website reliability here is crucial.
Speed – every second counts when you’re competing for business online. If your website loads slow then people will hit the back button and head to your competitor. Shared hosting tends to be generally optimized for speed, but lots of times fails miserably for WordPress sites. You’ll find that your site, like most out there, will have some form of complexity. So, installing a caching plugin and making other optimizations will help improve the speed of the site. But… if the foundations (the server) aren’t optimized for speed then you might be wasting your time and money, and still not shave much off how fast your site loads in browsers.
Growth – if you get a significant amount of visitors to your website because you’ve been featured in an article or had local media coverage then it’s going to be more than a little embarrassing when your website is inaccessible. Lots of companies offer “unlimited” everything (but it isn’t really true when you read the small print).
Uptime – most hosts offer uptime guarantees, but few of them keep to them. Lots of times if there’s downtime they wait for customers to reach out and complain, and then provide a credit for the downtime. Keeping track of this with an app might help you see just how many times over the month your website becomes unreachable (and potential leads are thrown away).
Support – this is the biggest one and probably why you’re reading this article. You’re a non-techie and you want help with all of the geeky bits. Well, with this type of hosting you’ll find the support basic. They might be able to help you, but lots of times when you want something changed that’s beyond your experience level the web host can’t help. That means you end up looking for web developer to help you fix things.
VPS or a Dedicated Server
This is the next step up from having your business website on a shared server environment, but it isn’t appropriate for a non-techies because of one key reason.
Support – you need to either be a technical expert or hire one. These types of servers are usually sold as un-managed services, but even if they are managed you will still need to understand how DNS records, how IP addresses are assigned and basic web server admin procedures.
It’s worth mentioning this type of web hosting because it can be cost effective and help create a great experience for your website’s users, but if you’re a non-techie then it doesn’t make sense to learn the skills required to manage the server or hire someone to administer it for you.
Managed WordPress Hosting
There are a lot of companies and brands that offer managed WordPress hosting, and many have for years.
You’d think that this is just what you need: for a web hosting company to take all of the geekiness out of hosting and update your website in exchange for a moderate fee.
Unfortunately, there are a wonderful abundance of different levels of support when it comes to these offerings, and most of them include just the server (and hosting environment) being correctly optimized for a number of different things specific to the WordPress content management system. This means that if you were to compare one company’s offering to the others then you might not be comparing like for like: the result is confusion over whether the decision is the best one for your business.
Staging – this is when you’re able to test new themes, plugins, updates or other website changes without it affecting the live site. Essentially, it’s a test environment for your website. Once you’ve made any changes and want to create them on the live site, some hosts let you “push” these changes to the live site. And if you break something? No worries because you can roll the changes back or just reset the staging environment to before the changes were made.
Speed & Performance – when you use this type of service the server your website sits on is fine-tuned to run WordPress. With other environments it’s setup quite generally to run any type of content management system, HTML or PHP website. When you migrate to this type of environment it’s common to see your website loading much quicker and everything behaving as it should do. It’s also quite common to go from 4 to 6 seconds loading times to under 2 seconds simply by making the switch (although that won’t happen the same for everyone).
Backups – similar to the other choices above, backups are a standard add-on here. However, these are usually one-click restores and lots of times the backup system is checked and reviewed to ensure everything is running correctly (and that you can actually restore the backup if you need to; remember that there are lots of stories around backups being corrupt and unusable on shared hosting).
Better Support – when a web host specializes in WordPress (the system that your business website was built on) there isn’t much need for the support agent to become familiar with your system because it is all they look at every single day. This means that it becomes easier for them to help you with more things than a general provider might do.
Is it Value For Money?
As a business owner you’ll know that keeping costs in line makes good sense, but having managed WordPress hosting (in our view) makes good business sense too.
There are thousands of websites hacked or infected every single month. A managed service provider starts from around $25 per month, which is five times more expensive than a regular web hosting account (on average). But, your business website being on the managed service is many times more secure. This is because these providers reduce the most common attacks that take place.
Using a cheap web host helps reduce costs today, but you might pay dearly in a few weeks, months or years when your website is hacked or infected. There isn’t only the future costs of getting your website back online (and free from infection), but also any costs associated with lost revenue, increased IT security costs, reputation and credibility damage, being removed from Google search (and potentially having a massive impact on future profits), bad PR, and fines through current legislation such as GDPR for data breaches.
It’s time to think about how much of the techie things you want sorted and how much any potential headaches are worth to you.
What Are The Key Choices?
There are thousands of choices out there. You’ve probably seen some websites and videos mentioning Godaddy, Blue Host, Hostgator, A2 Hosting, 1and1 (IONOS), and a whole host of others. These mainly offer shared hosting or VPS hosting, which is a little like being left on your own. Yes, they might say “WordPress managed” but they aren’t really.
Not great for a non-techie like you.
We recommend Hostini because it’s a truly fully-managed WordPress hosting provider for business owners who aren’t IT geeks or techs. But, here’s a look at some of the main managed WordPress hosting companies out there.
Our three recommendations:
Flywheel provides a lot of value for $25 per month. Since their early days they offered multiple locations around the globe to host a business website. They offer a staging environment to test any changes to your website before being made to your live site and have built-in cache to make your website load faster. It’s ideal for small business owners who aren’t developers and don’t have lots of technical know-how.
As with the other two hosts they’ll seamlessly transfer your current website to their hosting environment free of charge, and offer any suggestions to improve your website. Although, they do have some restrictions on plugins and other elements on WordPress sites.
This is the best choice if you want a solid foundation, knowledgeable support and a monthly fee that isn’t so high.
WPEngine is a well-known managed hosting company in the WordPress space. They’ve been around for a number of years and have had multiple series of funding from investors. Their plans start from as little as $35 per month and you can choose as many as six different locations to host your website from. You can also upgrade your plan to personalize your website to visitors from different parts of the world though localization.
They have staging for developers too. Your website will run faster on their network and their support team have many, many years experience of the WordPress platform. They also acquired StudioPress, a leading theme company and the number one used WordPress framework in the world, so they know what they’re doing.
Hostini offers something a little different to lots of others out there and it’s reflected in the price. Their concierge WordPress hosting brings together fully-managed WordPress hosting with monthly maintenance care plans.
Lots of things that you’ll do on your own (or hire a web developer for), Hostini will do as part of their “Genie jobs”. I think that’s pretty smart. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world either, as they can set you up on a web hosting server near to where your business customers are (improved speed).
But, their starting plan is $99 per month so they’re not really for startups and if you don’t see a good number of valuable leads coming through from your website then this monthly amount might seem atronomical. I
If you aren’t too techie and want a partner to “just take care of everything” on your website then this should be your choice.
As a non-techie you don’t want to scrimp on your hosting. If you need any changes other than what is geeky and involved in the hosting service then chances are most hosting companies will tell you to hire a web developer. Hostini will probably fix it for you after you reach out to them.
Choosing the right hosting company is important. It’s a key part of attracting individuals and converting them into paying customers/clients.
Removing any of the technical headaches and spending more time on growing your business might be more important than spending your time on YouTube looking up videos over how to change a layout or button.
Want a review guide similar to this?
It is 2,000 words and would cost around $100.