The Best (and Worst) Homes for Your Self-Hosted Blog

The Best (and Worst) Homes for Your Self-Hosted Blog

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2017)

One of the biggest mistakes I see new bloggers making is using a poor hosting company to host their blogs. They usually end up having issues with their blog going offline way more often than it ever should (some downtime is expected but not hours at a time every other month) or when they try to contact support, the customer service reps aren’t helpful at all.

This isn’t their fault. They didn’t know any better. When you know nothing about web hosting, you just pick what sounds good, what’s cheap, or what someone who you know and trust recommends.

I’m going to help you avoid all the heartache of putting up with a terrible host, or at least most of it, and the headache of trying to figure out what hosts are good and bad on your own.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase, I'll receive a bonus or commission. Don't worry, there's no extra cost to you!

Recommended Web Hosts TL;DR

This post is pretty long so if you just want a quick rundown, here’s the gist.

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Avoid

  • Bluehost, Host Gator, iPage, or any other EIG owned hosts
  • Hosts who primarily sell domains like GoDaddy, Namecheap, or Name.com (though Namecheap and Name.com are great for domain hosting)

Recommended

Premium Services

These companies work exclusively with WordPress hosting and offer premium services or services for high traffic websites.

Domain Hosting

These sites are best for hosting new domains off-site from your web hosting, if that’s something you’re interested in doing.

Recommended Web Hosts Quick Links

Keep reading or skip to a section

Why listen to me?

If you’ve done any research on starting a blog, you’ve probably heard of a few hosting companies by now. Ignore everything you’ve read up to this point. I’m going to lay down some information on you which may or may not align with what you’ve read, but here’s why you should listen to me.

  • I’ve been self-hosting since 2006.
  • I have experience with different levels of hosting.
  • I’m just geeky enough to understand what’s going on with hosting and blogging to actually pick a great host despite the recommendation of my favorite blogger.

Now that probably seems like “aaahhhh, why should I take your word for it then?” Well, you don’t have to but I will tell you what I’ve learned from honest research and experience, not just because my host is paying me for it.

Who Not to Host With

Let’s start off with who you shouldn’t host with. It’s important to understand why and not just listen to me saying “don’t do this” or “do do that!”

My first point might be a little bit of a shock because it mentions a host that’s pretty popular in blogging circles, but I feel like that’s mostly because it is a blogging circle. Everyone is signing up and recommending the same thing.

Let me explain.

EIG Owned Companies

You may have heard of Bluehost, iPage, or Host Gator. These hosts might be okay for a little while. As long as you never need support, you don’t have to worry about if their support is good or not. The affiliate pay is good, so people continue to recommend them. Plus, your favorite blogger did so why shouldn’t you sign up?

While these companies may have been pretty good in the past, over the last few years they’ve all been acquired by a parent company called Endurance International Group.

Even before their acquisition, I wasn’t a huge fan of Bluehost based on reviews I read (ended up picking Dreamhost instead!).

There’s been more than numerous reports of service degrading after their acquisition. I’ve even read stories from current or former employees before.

Why EIG Companies Aren’t So Great

EIG companies sell you cheap hosting and provide even cheaper service. They’ve been known for over-stuffing servers with more websites than they can actually handle. When your website inevitably starts running slow or crashes because of a boost in traffic, do you know who they blame?

YOU!

That’s not fair at all.

This is why so many people have issues with using services such as Bluehost. They’re usually “okay” until you need to contact support or you find your blog going down for hours several times a year.

In all of my 11 years of self-hosting my websites, this has never happened to me on DreamHost. There was downtime, sure, but it was always dealt with quickly.

Domain Hosts

Hosts who primarily sell domains aren’t your best choice when picking a hosting service. These places are usually pretty cheap, but they aren’t as focused on the business of actual web hosting.

GoDaddy, in particular, is a pretty skeezy host who will try to nickel and dime you for every little thing. Stay away from them, even when purchasing a domain.

Who You Should Host With

Now that we’ve discussed who to stay away from, let’s turn it around and talk about some excellent hosts.

If you know nothing about tech

SiteGround

One host that I see bloggers praising over and over is SiteGround. You’ll usually find someone recommending it to those looking to get away from Bluehost. They have excellent support and competitive pricing, but most importantly, they aren’t owned by EIG.

SiteGround provides managed WordPress hosting, which means they have servers specifically designed for running WordPress and they’ll be more than happy to assist you if a problem comes up. I strongly recommend SiteGround as an entry-level host or a place to go if you’re frustrated with your current host.

Dreamhost

My other recommendation is DreamHost. This hosting is a bit more expensive, but it’s a great company if you don’t mind shelling out the extra. I’ve been Dreamhost for 11 years and though there have been some hiccups (there will be with anyone), overall I’m very happy with them.

If you’d like premium support

If you have a high traffic site and are looking to move or you just know you’re gonna need a little extra help with the tech stuff, a premium service on WPengine, Flywheel, or Media Temple might be great for you!

These hosts focus purely on WordPress. That makes them an excellent choice for those who know they’ll need a lot of extra help or you’d like to not have to worry about things like caching or security.

The downside is that they all cost a bit more, but that’s to be expected for the extra service.

If you’d like full control

I use Cloudways for my blogs because I like having full control over my server. It offers a lot of flexibility but it can be kind of confusing to configure your first time through. This isn’t something you need or will want unless you’re already familiar with how web hosting works.

Cloud hosting is instantly scalable, which is something I wanted because I wanted the flexibility to grow whenever I needed to. I’m comfortable with running and maintaining my own server, so it’s a good choice for me. For most people, this is way too much. I only recommend Cloudways if you’re comfortable with running a server.

If you just need a domain

Name.com is my favorite place to purchase domains. Your first domain is only 99 cents and they have “domain happy hours” frequently (maybe every day, I’m bad at remembering lol) which puts a certain TLD (.com, .net, etc) on sale for an hour.

Another great cheap domain host is Namecheap. If you put both of these services together, you can grab the first year for at least a couple of domains for a few pennies.

Also a warning, again, stay away from GoDaddy! Don’t even search for a domain there. They might try to sell it to you for a premium.

Who’s Your Favorite Host?

Did this article help you finally decide on where to host your blog?

Are already you using one of these hosts?

Do you have any thoughts to contribute?

Leave a comment and share your story. And of course, it’s okay if you don’t agree with my recommendations.

Blogging Tips: Want to start a self-hosted WordPress blog but aren't sure what web host to use? This blog post breaks down why one of the most recommended hosts isn't as good as most people say it is and which host you should try instead. Read this and more blogging tips and tutorials for beginners at blogandcreate.com #BlogAndCreate #BloggingForBeginners #BloggingTips #girlboss
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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hey Stephanie,

    Caught this over in my Tailwind Tribe and had to check it out.

    Completely agree with all the hosts you say to avoid – especially those owned by EIG.

    The agency I used to work for used to host with Site5. When EIG bought them out, migrated the clients and sacked all their support staff, everything broke. Never had any sort of warning at all. Everything was back up after a few days, just a lot slower. Moved over to Siteground and all was good!

    My favourites right now for support are WPX Hosting & Kinsta. Both of them seem to be able to reply to support tickets within 30 minutes which is crazy good. Usually whatever the issue is, it’s resolved within that time.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    – Adam

    1. Wow, sorry to hear that! But thanks for adding your experience and you host suggestions! I’ve heard both of those are pretty good too.

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