I think a lot of people new to blogging underestimate the importance of web hosting. I know I did. I purchased my first hosting package without giving it a great deal of thought beyond “what’s the cheapest service?”
However, I soon found out that the relationship you have with your hosting provider is an extremely important one. They are largely responsible for your website’s load speed and uptime, and if your website is either too slow in loading or not even available, you’re screwed. As such, it pays to spend a little time carefully considering your web hosting provider before taking the leap. It can make all the difference — believe me.
In this post I am going to explain why the web hosting provider you choose is so important and name the provider I recommend (and use) above all others. Whether you are yet to purchase a hosting package or are looking to move from your existing provider, I’ve got the answers here. I’ve also got an exclusive 30% discount for you available at the bottom of this post!
There are affiliate links in this post. If you purchase a product through one of them I will receive a commission. It will cost you nothing extra. I only ever endorse products that I have personally used and tested extensively. Thank you!
What I Want You To Avoid
In a nutshell, I hope that this post can help you avoid the mistakes I made in choosing sub-standard hosting providers. You will probably be surprised to find out that some of the mainstream hosting providers are the ones I have had the worst experiences with.
At one time or another I have had hosting packages with BlueHost, HostGator and GoDaddy — all three of which I ended up being extremely dissatisfied with. BlueHost in particular is a company that I would urge you to avoid at all costs. At one point this blog was down for over 24 hours and I got the distinct impression from BlueHost’s “support” team that they simply didn’t care.
But that’s not all. You need to consider overall uptime as well as the load speed of you site. While all low-cost hosting packages run on “shared servers,” the difference in load times can be dramatic between providers (as I discovered when switching to my preferred provider).
But perhaps the most important thing you need from a hosting provider is a rock solid support system. If I have a problem with one of my sites I need to know that I can get on the phone (or instant messenger) to someone who cares about my custom and has the necessary expertise to resolve whatever issue I may be experiencing.
At the end of the day, nothing is more important than being able to trust your hosting provider.
The Issue of Price
Having said all that, I can appreciate that you may be driven somewhat by your wallet. You may be eager to snap up the cheapest hosting package on offer as I was when I first started out.
Well, the good news is this: my recommended hosting provider is comparable in price or cheaper than all of the mainstream “low-end” providers. Quite frankly, I don’t know how they offer such a superior service without charging more.
When it comes to affordable but quality hosting for your site you can experience a win/win scenario — if you know what to look out for. I learned the hard way that there are some pretty poor providers out there, but if you go for the right one then you won’t regret it.
The Best and Most Affordable Web Hosting Service
The web hosting company I use for all of my sites (including Leaving Work Behind) is Westhost.
I have been with Westhost for the past year or so and haven’t regretted it for one moment. Not only did they handle the migration from my previous hosting provider at no extra charge, Leaving Work Behind’s load speed increased by 10% immediately after the switch.
But that’s not all — with their Preferred Hosting package (from $5.99 per month) you get a free domain, daily backups and 24/7 support based in America. I have never come across a support team who are so knowledgeable about their product and so eager to help. And for total peace of mind, if you find yourself in any way unhappy with the service they offer a 60 day money back guarantee (although I very much doubt you’d need this).
I love it when I am able to enthuse so openly about a product or company because what they do is just so good. It doesn’t happen very often, but I have nothing but good things to say about Westhost. Whenever I’ve had a problem (even if it’s an issue I have caused with a rogue plugin or something similar), their support team has been on hand within an instant to help resolve the issue for me.
I can vouch for Westhost’s performance for websites that handle up to and over 20,000 visitors per month on their Preferred Hosting package. Not only do I recommend them, I use them — I’m putting my money where my mouth is here. And when Leaving Work Behind does outgrow shared server hosting, I know that I can continue to expand with Westhost (either by choosing an improved hosting package or by upgrading to their cloud server sister company, VPS.net).
Making the Switch
The decision to switch to Westhost was a big one for me. I was terrified that the website migration process would be costly and/or complicated. I was concerned about lengthy downtime or just plain breaking my site by accident.
So when I found out that Westhost offers free site migration with new accounts, a huge weight was lifted off my chest. If I’m honest I was still a little wary about handing my site over to Westhost’s support staff to handle the migration, but they completed the process without a hitch and at no extra cost.
The moral of the story is this — if you are unhappy with your current hosting provider (as I certainly was), switching isn’t the nightmare you may think it is. At least, it certainly isn’t with Westhost. You can probably get a pro-rata refund from your existing provider and make the switch at no extra cost. Then all you’ll have to look forward to is a more reliable hosting service, great features (such as free backups) and brilliant service.
Are You a Westhost User (or Are You Planning On Becoming One)?
I’ve held back on writing up this review for months because I wanted to be absolutely sure that I could recommend Westhost in this manner without hesitation. If you’re familiar with Leaving Work Behind then you’ll know that I am very selective in terms of what I promote, so take it from me that Westhost are the real deal.
If you are planning to make the switch to Westhost then I’d love to answer any questions that you may have in the comments section. Additionally, if you are an existing Westhost customer then I’d love for you to add your thoughts. Fire away!
To get 30% off Westhost, sign up here and use the coupon code LEAVING30 on checkout. Thank you for your support!