Find-a-Host

In the process of helping out other folks with their preexisting websites I’ve had the opportunity to sample a variety of web hosts. I was not overly impresses by the most hosts that I worked with but I did come up with three that I can recommend from experience. Disclosure: the below links are affiliate links of my recommended hosting services.

I discovered GreenGeeks about nine years ago when I was shopping around for a good home for a client’s new site. I was immediately won over by the ease of use on the back-end and there were a couple of snags where their support team was right there to help me. Soon after I switched my own sites over and there they have remained.  Other selling points: unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, cPanel, and free domain as part of you hosting package. Their prices vary depending upon how many years you sign up for at a time, so be you do need to be cautious when clicking through their sign up to make sure you are getting the deal you want.

Sign up with Green Geeks

(the above link is an affiliate link, if you intend to sign up, go to their site via the above link and you should receive an affiliate link discount.)

I spent a few weeks shopping around for a nice, simple small host for this website, wpstudent. I knew this site would have a small footprint so I didn’t need one of the “unlimited” packages and after looking at nearly a dozen sites I stumbled upon A Small Orange, I knew immediately this was the place for me. It was the first site that wasn’t screaming through its design, “Buy me! Buy Me!”  I also wanted to try out a site that I could recommend to new students who would want to have a small hobby site or simple blog and where they could get real customer assistance.  I’ve only been here at A Small Orange for about a month now, but the two customer assistance issues I had were smoothly and quickly resolved. I already have in mind to switch over a few of my small client sites to their nice cheap package for $35 a year

Sign up with A Small Orange

(the above link is an affiliate link, if you intend to sign up, go to their site via the above link.)

I worked with a few clients who used Fat Cow and I was happy with the back-end user experience. They seem to offer comparable prices but, as I mentioned with GreenGeeks above, make sure you sign up for multiple year contract if you want to get the cheap price.

Sign up with Fat Cow

(the above link is an affiliate link, if you intend to sign up, go to their site via the above link.)

  •  Blue Host

Blue host comes highly recommended by past students. They haves good priced plans, cpanel and a WordPress installation.

Sign up with Blue Host

1/10/15 Note: Having just observed a Blue Host WordPress installation, I can no longer recommend them as a host provider. The Blue Host installer makes it seem to the new user that a purchase of something is necessary and then if you do figure out how to install WordPress with out buying into something you are still left with a “Mojo Marketplace” tab in your dashboard. This is egregious behavior for a host and I urge beginning users to steer clear of providers who try to force you to buy something. -FT

Shopping around

When comparing hosting packages on prices is a very tricky ordeal. One common practice is to have a deal on the first year of service, knowing as they do that most folks will not want to deal with the hassle of switching hosting accounts, so the subsequent years you will end up paying more than the competitors you originally compared to. Another common practice is to quote a low yearly price  but then when you go to sign up you find out that the price applies only if you sign up for three years at a time.

One of the things that is important to me as a website fixer is to be able to easily navigate the back-end of a site. The most important interface on the back-end of a site is the “control panel.” Many sites have custom control panels and when I go from one to another I must learn a whole new set up. Fortunately there is the industry standard “cPanel.” I have found that if a host offers cPanel then they are usually easier to navigate overall. And it may be just that I’m used to it, but it seems that cPanel is organized very intuitively and it is very easy to set up stuff like email accounts, adding databases, etc. So I favor hosts that offer cPanel.

 

There seem to be all sorts of sites that review the best web hosts, unfortunately most of these seem suspiciously biased in some way or another. The following two hosting review do sem to be helpful in evaluating some of the top hosting companies:

Hosting Facts

WebhostingTop

I like that they explain shared hosting and how some of the big name hosting sites will abuse this practice and pack the capacity of their server, potentially leading to slower site loading and possible security vulnerabilities.

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