Selecting a Host – How to get Better Performance & Value

Important: All hosts are not the same..

Many new to website development have little understanding of website hosting. It’s not well taught in web design/development schools. Most assume that ‘all web hosts are much the same’ and those that charge more are simply ‘ripping us off’. The cheapest deal from the biggest names is a safe choice. And those hosting review sites will guide us, preventing disaster. Wrong. The reality is that hosting varies immensely. Like buying a new PC or a smartphone, the choices of providers, specifications and deals is mind-blowing. And there are those who provide good performance, support and value. Most do not…

Want to save money on hosting? Cut out the middlemen

We no longer provide or resell hosting as we did from 2007-2019. Instead, we help clients set up their own web hosting configuration under their own account on the best Virtual Private Servers (VPS) we can find.

Our recommended host for WordPress is Cloudways who provide access into all the major cloud computing providers like Linode, Digital Ocean, Vultr, Google and Amazon. Many mainstream host companies privately use these anyway. We’ll help you set up your own account on Cloudways, take control, bypassing all the greedy middle men.

Owning your own hosting account rather than letting your web designer-developer own it can avoid nasty disputes later too. And there’s the fact most web designers know very little of hosting (or security) and just follow the crowd or latest sales pitch, or go where they get the best margin. ‘Agencies’ are the very worst at this.

Why Cloudways is the best business hosting option

A Cloudways Virtual Private Server (Cloud VPS) should be the default choice of every business or eCommerce website. But if you do a normal Google search on WordPress web hosting, the “VPS” plans seldom appear. The focus is always on the cheap ‘shared’ plans from popular names like godaddy, hostpapa, openhost, bluehost, crazydomains etc (Referance). Why is this? All these offer great ‘deals’ with the promise of performance. But performance is relative. Shared hosting isn’t inherently secure or fast and will always be much slower than running a cloud VPS plan.

The Cloudways option ensures users enjoy significantly better speed, security, reliability and a higher google ranking than competitor sites running on a popular shared plans.

Upgrade paths are way better on Cloudways too, as your site traffic increases. Unlike all others, it’s easier to monitor traffic loading to know exactly when an upgrade is needed. Often, just activating their CDN, costing just a few dollars a month, is sufficient. You can also run several applications/domains on the one host server account too. And setup servers in different countries if you want. Even after the exchange conversion, all this power and functionality is under half the cost of ‘equivalent’ VPS hosts found in NZ or Australia.

How do the local hosts compare?

Cloudways is incredibly affordable compared with local offerings, usually saving 50-70%. Their US$22/mth configuration (NZD$30/mth) is perfect for most small business WordPress sites here. And their 2CPU/4GB RAM config just US$42/mth for busy eCommerce or LMS websites.

VPSCity, based in Auckland, are one of the cheapest here, starting from NZ$69/mth, which excludes firewall, backups or cPanel, which can add another $30-50/mth. vpscity.co.nz/cloud-servers. Comparing plans isn’t easy. We’re looking to make up some comparison charts to indicate the differences between Cloudways and these traditional shared and VPS cloud options…. One obvious thing we noted was the sheer speed. Cloudways is FAST!

Not all ‘VPS’ plans or providers are the same

Hosting performance varies across providers, even when the specs appear similar. Not all VPS or Cloud VPS packages on the market are fast or particularly reliable. We recently struggled for weeks with a NZ client using Hostpapa VPS package. At $30/mth (paid annually) it appeared great value for a locally done VPS, but was erratic, unstable, giving strange errors on his busy WordPress site no one could explain or resolve, even after temporarily upgrading to their bigger $70/mth plan. We then migrated to Cloudways and all these issues disappeared. His site speed doubled too as well as being able to pay monthly, not locked into an annual contract.

Any there good shared hosts?

Not really. We once recommended Inmotion out of the US, but their reliability is now quite poor. We were also a fan of Siteground.com for many years with their growbig and gogeek shared plans, which didn’t exhibit massive resources limiting. But at the end of 2020 they stopped selling into the NZ market. (The added paperwork around collecting our GST they said.) We still support dozens of clients on Siteground, but sadly I have noted a significant performance drop off in recent months. Forums indicate many other users see it too. As one said, “I used to love SiteGround, but they have gone completely downhill.” (ref)

I’ve seen this same thing happen to dozens of hosting providers over the last 10 years and it can occur very quickly too. It usually comes after a buyout by greedy venture capitalists, with the singular desire to extract more users, bigger margins with zero re-investment in tech or support systems. The EIC Nightmare the classic industry example. Fortunately, Cloudways have made any migration easy and them providing access to 5 competing cloud providers eliminating any risk.

I hope all this background helps. After 15 yrs in this business we’ve long since worked out the good and the bad. Need an independent, unbiased expert to sort it out? Just fill in your details below.

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