Web hosting is a necessary evil, you need to choose a good web host and there seems to be a dime a dozen at around $5-10/month, but what are you really getting out of a webhost in that price range. It’s not speed or support, at least in my experience – it’s actually usually a shared host with 100 or 1000 other websites, a slow or sluggish load time and lack thereof support.
In my most recent experience with Dreamhost.com, there was a host-wide intrusion, where someone got into the Dreamhost customer databases, therefore Dreamhost reset all customers passwords and we were unable to access our accounts for at least a few hours. Even when resetting your password through their admin – it was taking up to 6 hrs for the changes to occur. To me, this should never happen and was pretty much a wake-up call to look for a new host.
Also, not sure if it was coincidental – but all 7 of my WordPress hosted websites were also hacked. In the past on older versions of WordPress, my websites have been hacked – but everything I run is now up to date. After some research, I found that other Dreamhost customers were having similar problems, so this added to my decision that its time to move on from shared, over-crowded hosts with lack-of support.
I host 6 WordPress blogs with varying degrees of traffic which pressured me to find a new web host fast, as the downtime was killing me. I looked at the following Web Hosts:
I’ve used their GS (Grid Server) and DV (Dedicated Virtual) hosting in the past. The GS is good for a basic website, but is too slow for anything we decent traffic. Also, GS is just a fancy marketing term for shared host. The DV is slightly better, but you have to manage the webserver on your own – you get more dedicated resources, but its not managed. As a whole, MediaTemple has been plagued with Server Outtages – so I decided to steer clear from them altogether.
Rackspace has an offering that has a lower price-point called Cloud Sites, which is a step up above shared hosting – similar to VPS (Virtual Private Servers) – but utilizes cloud technology to allow you to easily scale up/down. The entry cost for Rackspace is $149/mo and you still need to manage the server on your own. If my websites were slightly bigger in traffic, I would definitely look into this, but they aren’t. Pass on Rackspace!
vps.net was recommended by Joost de Valkyrie (we worked together on css3.info in its infancy). Vps.net powers many larger blogs/websites such as WooThemes – but the downside was that I found a lot of bad press on Google.com about downtime and also its a self managed web server, so it requires a lot of setup.
The Winner: WPEngine.com
WPEngine.com is a webhost built for running WordPress only. At first I was skeptical of ditching a regular webhost or VPS, because I felt like I would be limited in what I could do. But for the purpose of running WordPress powered websites, WP engine is great! The price point is slightly higher, Im currently on a $99/mo plan for 10 websites – but the speed is nothing like I have experienced on other webhosts. The support is also very good with either regular email support or you can pay extra for phone support.
Before signing up I spoke on the phone to a sales person, who assured me that I would be impressed with their service and they are building a hosting platform that is hard to beat and will only get better with time. WP Engine is a start up and their list of investors is already quite impressive, the salesman told me that the company is around 10 people now, but they are expecting to grow to 30 by the end of this year.
The engineers at WPengine have built their own plugins to help manage your system and also suggest about 10 WordPress plugins for you to use, although you are free to install whatever you like. The admin screen is very basic, but it gives you what you need: phpMyAdmin Access, WP Admin Access, Domain Setup and CDN settings. Im only a few weeks into my hosting plan, but so far so good! I will do a follow-up post in a few months to update everyone on the progress. In the mean time, take a look at WPengine.com for more information.