Is There Really a BEST Web Host?
No. There’s no such thing as the “best web host.” The best web host for you is probably not the same one for me, and it’s definitely not the same one for CNN or Best Buy.
The best web host is the one that suits your needs.
The Best Web Host is Probably a Big Company, Right?
Here are the Wal-Marts of hosting — the big boys: Bluehost, HostGator, GoDaddy, etc. I would avoid these hosts like the plague. They offer unlimited everything but what they actually provide is unlimited headaches. You want trouble? Sign up for a shared hosting plan with one of those guys and start getting some traffic. See what happens.
Bigger typically means worse customer support, longer wait times for technical support, crowded servers, low-end equipment, empty promises and problems with expensive solutions.
Bigger is not always better when it comes to web hosting.
My Recommendation for “Best Web Host”
I only recommend what I use.
I’ve used three web hosts. Three. I researched them all carefully. The first web host I signed up with was in 1998. They were good. They had a high quality infrastructure, excellent security systems, they were personal . . . but being the “little guy,” they were unable to provide me with the level of customer and technical support that I eventually needed. I transferred from them to Inmotion Hosting about five years ago. I’ve been happy with them and I often call the the “best web host.”
I’ve also tried WP Engine but dang, they’re just way too expensive. I believe that “managed hosting” is over-hyped and over-valued. You don’t always get what you pay for. Not that they’re bad, they’re just not worth the price.
Yes, it’s nice to have a site that’s well-managed; it takes the headaches out of web hosting. But is it really worth it to pay 20 to 30 times as much per month? Not for me.
So . . . is it really fair to say that Inmotion is the best web host?
Again — the best web host is the one that meets your needs. Let me explain.
One things that gets my goat (really, and Inmotion is not immune from this criticism) is that most web hosts offer unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage space. And most web hosts offer this on their shared hosting plans — their cheapest plans! Why then, when you look at the same company’s VPS plans, do those more expensive plans limit your bandwidth and storage space? Because, simply put, there is no free lunch.
Unlimited never, and I mean never, means “unlimited.” It means, “If you believe that, you’re a sucker.” Yes, I’m a sucker. Because I fell for it. But you don’t have to.
If you’re a small company or plan on running a small personal blog, then shared hosting is fine for you. Shared hosting means you share your server with lots of other people (think apartment complex). Most any company offering shared hosting will work satisfactorily.
The reason Inmotion stands above the competition (in my opinion) in the shared hosting market is because they use better hardware (Dell SSD’s for all shared hosting), have better customer service (24/7 US-based technical support from knowledgeable technicians) and a 90-day money back guarantee. They’re a good, solid choice for a web host.
They also offer VPS hosting (Virtual Private Server), which is still shared, but a portion of the server is allotted to you only (think condo living; more expensive, therefore fewer residents). They also offer dedicated hosting. You get an entire server to yourself (think mansion).
So your needs determine what constitutes the “best web host.” If you don’t get much traffic, the best web host would probably be Inmotion Hosting’s shared plans. If you get a significant amount of traffic, perhaps VPS hosting would better suit you. If you’re running nfl.com, then you should probably go with dedicated hosting. Inmotion is able to provide all those services for you.
I promote Inmotion because they’re treated me well over the years.
However, a while back, one of my sites experienced increased traffic. I got a message from Inmotion’s development team saying that I was over-utilizing the CPU resources allotted to me on my shared plan. I said, “But don’t I have unlimited bandwidth? And unlimited storage space?”
“Oh, yes. But your CPU usage is over the limit.”
OK. I don’t get the difference between CPU usage and bandwidth because I’m just not that technical, but here’s the skinny. On the day Inmotion emailed me about CPU overages, my site got 3,500 unique visitors due to Stumbleupon. Someone “stumbled” one of my pages and it got about 2,000 visits that day. These extra visits caused my CPU usage to skyrocket to about 600%. Unacceptable!
So then I set to work with the Inmotion dev team. I deleted one of my WordPress installations. I installed a caching plugin on all my WordPress sites. I completely locked down two of my personal WordPress sites. I implemented a captcha plugin on all my sites to reduce comment spam. I restricted logins to my IP address only. I changed the login url on my busiest site. I changed the admin name to something random on multiple sites. My resource usage went down, but it was still over the 100% level.
My conclusion? More traffic means increased CPU usage. So, unlimited bandwidth means nothing. It means you’ve bought the lie. There is no free lunch.
Another option is managed hosting. Typically you’re going to pay about $100 per month for managed hosting, for a middle-of-the-road plan. Why would anyone do that? Simple. If you want managed hosting, that means you don’t want the hassles of being a blog or website admin. You want someone else to do it for you. But managed hosting is — wait for it . . . wait for it . . . limited! Yes! That’s right!
Check out Synthesis. Their $100 plan allows only two WordPress installations. Bandwidth is limited. And monthly traffic is limited. And you don’t get email. Certain plugins and themes are restricted. Check out WP Engine. It’s the same thing. Compare that to Bluehost’s $3 plan in which everything is practically “unlimited.”
So is managed hosting worth the price? If you get a lot of traffic, want your WordPress website to hum, don’t want to worry about backups or other technical issues, and are sick of figuring out ways to limit your CPU usage, then yes, I suppose it’s worth it for you. But I say it’s over-priced.
I actually had a website hosted at WP Engine. My site had simply outgrown its previous home (too much traffic) so I gave WP Engine a try. Was the expense of managed hosting worth it to me? No. The monthly bills were sucking my bank account dry.
My low-traffic WordPress blogs and websites do just fine on Inmotion’s shared hosting. My busier sites run on Inmotion’s VPS plans.
Conclusion — There Really Is No Best Web Host
There really is no best web host. Among hosts offering shared hosting, I can say, based on experience, that Inmotion Hosting is good — really good.
If you need VPS hosting or dedicated hosting, Inmotion offers those services as well.
If you’re tired of dealing with WordPress blog or website administration, if you have tons of traffic, and if you have money to spend, then managed hosting might be best for you.
There are so many web hosts out there . . . my recommendation is to find someone with experience as a website owner and listen to them. You can check out website reviews as well, but be skeptical — most “web host review” websites are simply affiliate farms. They don’t care which company really is the best web host. All they care is that you click one of their links to sign up. Because whenever you sign up with a company after clicking one of their links, they make a commission. It’s how they earn a living.
Yes, I’m an Inmotion affiliate. But as I said before, I only recommend what I use.