Great! You’re here. That must mean you’re at least considering getting some hosting and getting your website set up. Yay!
Note– the first step in the “building your website” process is registering a domain. I always recommend people do this with GoDaddy, because they are usually the cheapest. So, if you haven’t done that yet, go over there and get your domain!
Once you have your domain, you will need a “host” for it. Getting your domain is like buying a house, and your hosting is the land where the house will stand. Kind of a backwards analogy, but let’s go with it. So, you have your house (domain), and now you need a place for that domain to live.
Hosting companies can be a bit of a crap shoot if you haven’t done your research ahead of time. It can be a hassle to switch hosts once you have your website up and running, so it’s worth a little extra time spent early on, selecting the perfect host.
I will list these in order of preference.
One of the better known hosting companies is HostGator, a well priced company. They offer several different packages for all user types, from single site to multiple sites to reseller accounts. My personal experience is that HostGator is the company that makes it the easiest for you to get over the “setup hump,” which is the part where most people get frustrated and give up.
Customer service is one of the most important areas of hosting and in this,HostGator excels. The company has online support, but you can also call them, if you prefer. In most cases, situations are handled efficiently and only when the issue is larger (such as deleting your entire blog) will they charge you for the services they perform.
HostGator offers CPanel and Softaculous, which provides you with one click installation of Joomla, WordPress and a number of other popular platforms. There are many additional tools.
My recommendation is the “Baby” plan (the one in the middle):
Best known for its domain name registration services, GoDaddy also offers hosting at a good price. They offer monthly contracts and you can choose between Linux and Windows hosting. It’s also very handy to have the domain and hosting all in the same place.
GoDaddy is working on their WordPress installation to make it easier, and they’ve recently launched a “one click install” product for WordPress that is worth the money.
Their regular control panel DOES leave a little to be desired, and customer service ranges from “amazing” to “amazingly terrible,” but if you have a bunch of domains registered over there, I would definitely say figure out how to work with what they offer, since you’re likely to get the best deal and the best service by using the fact that they offer bulk discounts for services (like the Ultimate Hosting, where you can host ALL of your domains for about $3/ month if you pay for three years at one time). I do wish they’d get rid of all the upsells on the way to the checkout, but “Express Checkout” seems to be the best they can do at this time so I guess I’ll have to take it. Note: if you choose GoDaddy or any “grid hosting” option, be sure to at least install a good backup plugin (I like Backup Buddy), something to lock your settings like BPS, and CloudFlare to beef up your security even more and make your site run faster.
I’m recommending that you get the “Deluxe” hosting, simply because “Economy” only holds one website, whereas “Deluxe” can hold an “unlimited” amount. If you feel like you’re going to go over ten websites, though, please please please get a HostNine reseller account.
3. HostNine. I feel like this company doesn’t get talked about enough. They are awesome. I love their Reseller Hosting and recommend it to everyone I know who has more than one domain (website) they own, but their Basic plan is also awesome if you only have one website. I have never had any problems with them, they have great support, and they are my # 1 choice. They have Softalacous/ CPanel, and WordPress install is amazingly simple. So there.
4. Domain.com is also a great option, and they also have the “mid-level” plan where you can put multiple domains on there for about $6/ month. They will even give you a free domain with hosting, so that’s always nice.
This one has recently moved from being near the bottom of the list because I heard from a colleague that InMotion is surprisingly cool about their WordPress support.
In case you’re wondering, InMotion is a lesser known hosting company, but it is rapidly growing in popularity. The company boasts 99.9% uptime and has excellent customer service. Apart from telephone consults, InMotion also offers instant messaging support, which is useful for those who prefer not to talk on the phone.
InMotion also uses cPanel, making it very easy to manage all your website needs. This also includes easy to use installation of all the most common platforms, including WordPress and Joomla, among others.
While this host is slightly more expensive than many of the competitors, it does offer a 90 day money back guarantee, which should ease your mind about trying them out. It should also be noted that their smallest package allows you to install two websites, while most hosts will only allow one on their smallest packages.
This hosting company has been around since the late ‘90’s and has plenty going for it. FatCow gives you a lot for the price, including free setup and domain names, a free website builder and a guarantee for your money back in 30 days. There are other extras included, such as email management, blog and forum software and poll/survey software, all of which is included in their bonus features bundle. Also, in case this is important to you, they are powering at least part of their company with wind technology.
FatCow also has a special method of ensuring that your site doesn’t go down, by providing “Load-Balancing” where your site has multiple entries from different servers. If one goes down, another will direct traffic your way. This helps ensure that you are always up and running.
FatCow doesn’t use cPanel, but a different control panel called H-Sphere. If you are already familiar with cPanel, this can definitely be a downside to working with them, but it is a fairly simple to use control panel and can be learned quickly. FatCow is at the bottom of this list because I’m not nuts about their server speeds (to you, this means your site doesn’t load quickly, and this bugs me).