This isn’t just another list of “Best Web Hosts” for your website or a comparison of website hosting providers. This post is meant to provide you with the best practices that we’ve gotten from over 15 years of running and hosting our own websites and businesses online. So if you see a web host or a registrar that isn’t on this list, it’s been excluded on purpose, if you have a question about a web registrar of a web hosting company then ask in the comments and we’ll do our best to reply to you in a timely manner.
Best Domain Registrar
There is one company that we use for our domain name registration, and it’s Namecheap. They’ve been around since 2000 and have always been the technologist’s choice for domain registration for good reason. Namecheap also includes in your annual registration fee services like WhoIs protection and has straightforward DNS mapping. Use code WELCOME30 for 30% off your first order.
If for whatever reason you don’t want to go with Namecheap, as a second choice we recommend Domain.com. You can also get 10% off at Domain.com with code DOMAIN10 or by following that link.
For various reasons we specifically don’t recommend GoDaddy, nasty company, nasty business practices – better today, but they gouge you on price. Compare the all-in $11 annually that it costs on Namecheap for a .com domain, vs’ the $25.00 on Godaddy for the same product, but with worse security.
Best Website Host
This one’s a little bit more complicated. So let’s start with putting website hosting into a few categories. First, we have your marketing website, then if you’re building a digital product like a web app or e-commerce store you’ll need a different solution altogether. So let’s start with marketing websites.
Best Hosting for Marketing Websites
Your marketing website is your calling card, it lets visitors know what you’re selling and who you’re selling to. If you have a service then it lets people know how you can help, if you’re selling things online (ecommerce) then you can build a digital storefront. There are a ton of choices, and some are better than others. We’re also going to assume you’re just getting started, so we’re going to list beginner-friendly solutions here, vs’ something a larger enterprise would need, and to us, there’s really no need for you to spend the 300k to future proof your e-commerce site, you can always do that later.
For pure marketing websites there are a couple of primary considerations. Which CMS (Content management system, or platform), and which host. CMS’ come in a lot of different flavors, and there are literally 100s of them, but we recommend you go with either WordPress or HubSpot
WordPress is open source which means it’s free and is using in something like 30% of the world’s websites. It’s an incredibly powerful CMS and if used properly can do a ton of things from social networking to ecommerce integration with WooCommerce, Paypal, Stripe, etc…
The second CMS we recommend is Hubspot, it’s really an all in one inbound marketing suite and they have some seriously powerful tools. HubSpot however isn’t inexpensive, it starts at $40/mo if you pay up front for a year, or $50 month to month, to get any real value from it, you’ll need to shell out around $400/mo which is a bit much for the early entrepreneur. Luckily though, there’s WordPress, which Hubspot can later integrate with.
WordPress hosting is prevalent, and nearly all hosts will offer some form of managed WordPress hosting, but that’s not to say that they’re all created Equal.
Best WordPress Website Hosts
The hands-down best-managed WordPress host on the market is Siteground. It’s got dedicated servers specifically optimized to WordPress, has a management dashboard that is relatively easy to use, and gets around for beginners and the service is incredible. Price-wise they simply can’t be beaten. Plans start at $3.95/mo and top out at $35/mo. For the same price with a different provider, you would have an unresponsive slow loading WordPress website. With Siteground it’s blazing fast.
We didn’t believe it to be honest, but then had a small project that needed a new host, decided to give Siteground a spin, and have now moved this site and a number of other to the host. Simply put, these guys rock. You can also install WooCommerce out of the box and have the infrastructure in place to sell goods and services online within the hour.
You can SIGN UP HERE.
In second place, we have WPEngine. These guys specialize in WordPress, and nothing else, their performance is a tiny bit better than Siteground in terms of loading speeds and managing the WordPress install, but in our opinion doesn’t warrant the additional costs. It starts at $30/month, or $25 if you go with an annual plan and pay upfront. Personally we moved from WPEngine to Siteground. We just didn’t see the benefit, but a lot of people do, and if performance is something that’s super important to you then definitely look at WPEngine.
You can SIGN UP HERE.
The only other thing I would mention here is if for whatever reason you want to have everything under one roof, getting your website hosting with your domain registrar may be worth it for you, but we wouldn’t recommend it due to sub bar performance. If you do go down this road, follow this link for $25% of hosting on Domain.com.
All the Other Web Hosts
What about everyone else, what about Dreamhost, or Bluehost, or HostGator, or all the other hosts. Honestly, they’re garbage. They manage unoptimized website servers, they know that most websites won’t get much traffic so they put hundreds if not thousands of sites on one server, some of these websites slow down the server, and then slow down your site. They may be ranked here and there, but it’s mostly through website referral and affiliate programs that want you to sign up to the site recommending someone like a Dreamhost makes money. Stay away from all these is a good ethos to go by,
Website Builders like Wix and Squarespace
These are great for wedding websites or family websites. The premium versions aren’t inexpensive and despite claims to the contrary Google will penalize your site in search rankings. We wouldn’t bother with these at all.
Best place to host a web or mobile application.
This is a topic that is considerably more complex and you can find a plethora of content on this on Reddit, Hacker News, and other sites. In the end, though you really have a handful of options. AWS which is probably the biggest, Azure a close number two, and smaller players like Digital Ocean (Who we don’t recommend for website hosting, but for application hosing they’re great). But these are really for people who have a deeper knowledge of systems and cloud architecture and develop custom apps, and wouldn’t recommend these services to host marketing websites for anyone.