Web hosting needs and wants during the life of a website

There are quite a few decisions to make when you first decide to start a wordpress website, blog or online business. And deciding on a web hosting company and a domain name are two “big” decisions that need to be made. 

In this article I will focus on web hosting. I will try to explain why my approach to choosing a web host is the easiest and most logical path to follow. I will also give my 2 recommendations depending on who and where you are.

“For help on how to decide on a domain name, please refer to the Build a website with WordPress the right way guide

The scientific approach to choosing a web host

Choosing a web hosting provider is a confusing process. You will find several options costing more or less the same. And they all present themselves as being an obvious choice. 

With too many alternatives we risk staying put instead of moving forward. And we need to keep moving to have a chance to succeed.

Now, when you choose the scientific approach you actually attempt to measure and verify all the claims made. This may be a viable option if you are a network specialist or at least a system administrator. But most of us are not.

And sadly, when you are done measuring and verifying you will realise that your result measures what was true at the time of the tests. Any test is a snapshot and no guarantee of future performance can be made.

Of course, the scientific approach has its merits as you cannot argue with objective facts. But, the approach takes too much time and resources and in the end it still fails as it only measures performance at one point in time. 

The “do your homework and match your needs” approach

When you decide on a web host there will always be a bit of risk and uncertainty involved.

You are making a decision today. You are basing your decision on the facts of today. But you are buying a service to be delivered in the future. Of course there is a level of uncertainty.

How can you ever be sure? You cannot. But you can do your homework and make the best available decision based on what you know and what you can safely assume to be true going forward.

And then you match what you know with your needs and you make a decision.

Below, I will describe the best way to approach web hosting during the lifespan of your website. 

Phase 1: Planning, dreaming and ready to go

When we first start most of us are enthused and inspired by the multitude of success stories we read about on the internet. We are eager to go and it is easy to get ahead of ourselves.

We plan our website and produce content. And I guess, in a way, we do not need a web host at this stage.

After all, we don’t need a web host until we go live. 

But when should we go live? This is truly the question we need to answer at this stage. 

Do we go live when we have 50 articles ready to go? Or maybe 10 articles? 

But wait a minute. 

Why do we need more than one article to go live? One article and a publishing plan covering the first 10-50 articles to write and publish should be more than sufficient.

We know that it is important to produce well written content regularly. We also know that it takes time to be trusted by Google and other search engines and directories.

Consequently, I always recommend that new website owners go live when they have one article and a clear publishing plan for at least 5 more articles.

And if you agree, you will choose a starter web host where you get all that you need at a favourable rate. 

At this stage I am primarily interested in 4 things.

  1. Cheap
  2. Customer service
  3. Money back guarantee
  4. SSL certificate included

For me Bluehost is the obvious choice as they tick all four boxes and provide superior value. After all, most of us need to watch our spending when we first start. 

If you agree, you can skip forward to Phase 3. If you prefer to spend your article writing days without a webhost, please read on.

Phase 2: Go live, promote and find your rhythm

After a while the initial pure enthusiasm transforms into something less exciting but more future-proof. After all, who can run a website or blog on a mixture of enthusiasm, dreams and sheer will. 

Here at phase 2 we start finding our routines and our weeks are filled with promoting articles, outreach, hard work, writing, learning, testing, marketing and did I say writing. 

If you are working on your website full time you will obviously arrive here sooner than if you are only able to spend one hour every evening.

Keep going and stay with it. Whether you “only” spend an hour a day or go at it full time. Keep moving forward.  I believe it was Henry Ford who said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

What is new at this phase is also that we do not necessarily do the exact same thing every day. Some days may be promotion and marketing days. Other days may be dedicated to learning new skills or even website maintenance days.

Still, at this stage in our development it is vital to keep producing valuable content. We need to keep writing. Every day.

And, as I see it, we are still at the building stage where it is key to produce great content over time and to promote those articles responsibly. 

Our primary website needs have not changed. We are still primarily interested in 4 things.

  1. Value
  2. Customer service
  3. Money back guarantee
  4. SSL certificate included

Bluehost remains my choice. 

Phase 3: Optimize and I need faster

Here at phase three we have established routines and working with our website(s) has started to find its own rhythm. 

We may or may not have achieved success with Google and the other search engines. After all, some niches are tougher than others and we all define success differently. 

What is true though is that we can feel that this will work. We are moving in the right direction. We are committed to making it work and we are convinced that our hard work will be rewarded. 

At this phase we are also starting to pay attention to how fast our website loads. Why do we sometimes see a “white page” before our website loads in our browser?

If you know what TTFB (Time To First Byte) means you have most likely arrived at “Phase 3: Optimize and I need faster” 

We are worried that our website will be penalized if it loads too slowly and we really want our website to load quickly.

When we have arrived at this phase we need to look at our web host.

Now, there is no web host that can guarantee how fast your website will load. It is not possible for your web host to magically handle uncompressed and poorly scaled images or make external resources like Google Fonts or Youtube video clips load faster. 

After all, a great web hosting provider is only one part of the equation if you want your website to load fast. You also need to optimize your website, choose a fast loading theme,  optimize and compress your images, etc. 

But even after taking all this into account we know that speed matters and that  faster is better. And we can gain an advantage by choosing a web host that is faster.

Here my choice lands on WPX Hosting.  At this phase we are looking for a web hosting partner to grow with and I have found all the right answers at WPX

For me they address all the points below and much more. Please read on if you want more detailed information on the features they offer.

  1. Value
  2. Customer service
  3. Money back guarantee
  4. Security and SSL certificates
  5. Speed and optimization

My top 2 web hosting companies including why and when

If you have unlimited resources you can always throw money at a problem and be done with it. 

But for most of us we need to be smart with the money we spend.

And for that reason you can find recommendations for a start to intermediate and advanced level web hosting provider below. 

Best Start to intermediate web hosting provider

Bluehost offers tremendous value and a feature rich environment when you start building your website. 

For less than $3 per month you can host one website and have access to feature as:

  • Custom Themes
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Free Domain – 1 year
  • CDN Included
  • Free SSL Certificate

The price of less than $3 does however require you to sign yup for 36 months. I recommend paying about $5 per month and only signing up for 12 months. 

For me 36 months is a long time and your needs may change.

Best advanced web hosting provider

When I started to get “interested” in speed and loading time I looked at many different web hosting companies.

For me I arrived at the conclusion that WPX hosting offers the best value.

In the end the decision was a choice between Kinsta and WPX.

The reason I decided to go with WPX instead of Kinsta is that WPX allow me to host up to 5 website and include an email solution. With Kinsta it is only one website and email is not included.

The cost based on a yearly payment plan is $ 20,83 per month. 

For this monthly cost I get:

  • 30 Second Average Live Chat Response Time 24/7/365 
  • High-Speed Custom CDN With 26 Global Edge Locations
  • Unlimited Site Migrations To WPX* 
  • Unlimited SSLs 
  • Staging Areas 
  • Email 
  • Manual Backups 
  • DDoS Protection
  • Daily Malware Scanning & Removal 
  • PHP 7.X 
  • 30 Day Money-Back 
  • 28 Day Automatic Backups
  • 99.95% Uptime Guarantee 
  • 1-Click WordPress Installations 
  • USA + UK + Australian Hosting Locations

Finally, what really helped me decide was the outstanding level of service of the WPX customer service chat. And the WordPress migration service that helps me move my website from my existing web host for free is of course also much appreciated.

Meet the author: Mattias (Matt) is a serial entrepreneur and travel industry expert with more than 20 years of experience in business and web development. Mattias identifies with self-starters and entrepreneurs, loves to garden, and believes everyone needs a game plan for financial independence.