Over the past few years I've been lucky enough (and unlucky enough) to work with a large number of website hosting providers across the world. However, there are certain criteria that I look to answer for each website with its hosting, namely:
- Reliability Almost all providers will give a promise of uptime, but take a look in the terms what this means if your website does go down - will they offer you alternative hosting, will they give you some kind of cash back? What does this promise mean?
- Security I want to know how safe my data is going to be and what security is on any hosting I will be using.
- Performance I want to know what performance I can expect from the hosting and whether it fits with the needs of the website today, and how easy it would be to upgrade going forward.
- Location I usually like to host a website in the country which it is mainly targetted at, some websites though (such as SEOAndy) are global and as such this doesn't matter hugely.
Finding a combination of the above is easy. It really is!
But the list is missing something important, Customer Service / Technical Support.
Since day one of hosting my own site's I have learnt that customer service is a huge factor in any hosting. There have been many occasions where I've dealt with hosting companies who knew so little about what they offered that it was impossible to even upgrade a solution. This gets on my nerves so much that Customer Service is my number one thing to look for in a web hosting provider.
My Web Hosting Company - SW Broadband
My quest for great customer service led me to SW Broadband, a small hosting company based in Cornwall (uk). Who offer a concise range of web hosting service at very affordable prices and all with great customer service.
I use a custom VPS, which hosts this site and a number of others - it runs WHM/cPanel with CloudLinux installed too. I moved to SWB after trying in multiple locations due to the specific needs of SEOAndy, these needs were and continue to be met by SWB (albeit with help from other companies, such as maxcdn).
The team at SWB are simply amazing. With very quick replies to new support tickets and a want to help beyond just answering tickets, SWB are the best web host I have ever come across! (and I don't say that lightly).
But it's not just me that thinks that! So do many others!
If you are looking for a simple wordpress hosting company, a secondary option which addresses all of the criteria above is WPEngine - however for smaller sites I would not recommend them, simply from a cost and ease of use point.
Who is your website hosted with? leave a comment and let us know why you use them.