A website is only as good as the host, because the moment you start to use more than just a few WP plugins and the traffic starts rolling in, the last thing you want is a big shut down. You need to choose a host according to your needs, which means you want to think ahead. Is the site going to get more complicated in terms of functionality and the number of plugins you use? Because this is going to affect page loading speed. And I can tell you for sure: a slow loading site is going to kill your SEO rankings and your user experience which will equal a high bounce rate. Simply put: your visitors will leave before you can convert them to customers.
Are you expecting a lot of visitors to the site or will you be needing a lot of storage space? Because your host has to be in a position to sustain these factors. Nowadays server security is also a major show stopper so you better equip yourself with a hosting plan that can repel the latest hacking methods and pro-actively prevent you from malicious WordPress exploits.
The following three hosts all have their pros and cons, which we’ll be discussing in order to help you make the best decision.
WP Engine – Top WP security and scaling big made easy
WP Engine places a lot of focus on three specific things, which we’ll automatically add to the pro section simply because they really live up to them. These things are speed, security and customer service. Where you would typically need to look to certain cache plugins for additional speed, it won’t be the case with WP Engine. They carefully audit the plugins you use, making sure that they don’t contain any malicious code that could compromise your site’s security. Another aspect that stands out with WP Engine is the ability to grow your site without the necessity of constant maintenance. Scaling your site is easy in addition to adding a multi staging/testing environment. Basically, if you plan on evolving and you don’t want headaches when transitions have to be made, WP Engine is the way to go.
There are only two cons that can really be associated with this particular host, and the first is affordability. WP Engine is a little more pricey than the rest, but it’s well worth it in the end. The second con has to be the custom backend. Even though it’s gotten better over the years, compared to other hosts it can be a little complicated to set up. Luckily they have great customer support.
DigitalOcean – Killer speed VPS for pro users
The pros that are going to stand out with DigitalOcean will definitely be the super low costs and the fact that you’ll be getting great virtual private server performance. For small to medium size sites that function on a strict budget, definitely consider this host. You’ll be in a position where you can tweak the server exactly the way you want it and by sticking with this host you’ll be learning quite a few things as you go.
On the down side you are going to need knowledge of server console and command prompt. There’s also no control panel that helps to simplify everything. Ultimately you’ll be in charge of maintenance and other updates, seeing as DigitalOcean is regarded as a private server, and if a problem occurs you’ll be doing the troubleshooting.
Bluehost – The budget solution
Bluehost is a popular server because it has a control panel that makes everything you do incredibly easy and speeds up domain management. The other great thing is the affordability that comes with the shared hosting, which is great for new sites that are still in development. If it happens that the site grows beyond the limitations of a shared hosting, the domain can be moved to a single server. In terms of security: shared hosts tend to have major security vulnerabilities. Keeping that in mind, Bluehost is superior compared to other budget shared-hosting competitors like Godaddy or Hostgator (we actually don’t recommend these two hosts, they are very low quality both in terms of security and service level).
The two biggest cons have to be performance and uptime. Given that the affordable package is a shared resource, your site will be vulnerable to performance issues. As for the platform support, you don’t get to choose between Linux and Windows, which might be a deal-breaker for some. Even though Bluehost is very affordable, you may experience some outages. Issues like that however are usually sorted on the spot with their live chat technical support which is there to help 24/7.
Conclusion on getting proper hosting
When you look at it from an objective point of view, all three hosts are doing a pretty good job. But they also offer very distinct packages. Your choice of hosting will have to take into account the type of website you will be building. So, it’s up to you to figure which one is going to fit your budget, expertise, and your future plans for the site.