Recommended Hosting Providers
Every website has a host. Hosting providers are, simply put, the company that stores your site’s files, from images to code to the database.
There are thousands of hosts out there, and they’re not all equal. Just as with any industry, there are high end hosts and less powerful ones. Where your site is hosted is important, as it can affect how quickly your pages load (or whether they load at all). These days, Google considers how quickly a page loads as part of where it ends up in search results.
Here at Google we’re obsessed with speed…as part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed.
Matt Cutts, Principal Engineer, Google
So, all things equal, a page that gets served up by its host and delivered to the user more quickly will win out as far as how high up in Google’s search results it appears.
I provide a hosting service to those clients who don’t wish to deal with hosting at all. This service is not mandatory, though, and you’re welcome to choose just about any other host you’d like. It’s often best to run your desired hosting service by me ahead of time, though, as there are a few hosts that I simply don’t recommend at all, and other situations that might involve additional costs. Amazon’s free hosting, for example, requires a ton of setup that really is best left to a server expert (which I am not, it’s a completely different field than Web development). Dedicated servers, similarly, require lots of maintenance that the average person isn’t going to have the time or desire to commit to.
All that said, I do recommend the following hosts.
WP Engine is absolutely the best hosting platform available for WordPress-powered sites (and all of my clients’ sites run WordPress). There isn’t another host out there, performance-wise, who can beat them. Combined with the lean code I’ll build your site with, you will have the best chance at hitting that number one spot with Google (though there is a bit more to search engine placement than simply having a fast site). You have to pay for this level of service though, and WPEngine is more expensive than most other hosts. Note that the hosting service I offer gets your site on a WPEngine server, but at the reduced rate of $300 / year. That’s a savings of $48 every year, plus I take care of all of your WordPress updates for you.
If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable and don’t mind the hit to performance that comes along with that, you might want to look into GoDaddy. Decent support, and decent service, for somewhere around $85 / year (their prices vary and change all the time). If you head over there and make a purchase, just be sure you get a Linux server (vs. Windows, they’ll give you the choice when you sign up).
Or feel free to get in touch with me first if you have any questions!