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Expect to pay between $150-$250 a year for your small business’s website hosting. Some providers offer steep discounts for the first year (typically down to $36), but increase it to the regular rate after.
|Top Overall Pick||SiteGround||– Best balance of price and performance|
– Excellent customer service
– Reliable and beginner-friendly
|Best Budget Option||Bluehost||– Most affordable without compromising too much on quality|
– Good tools for WordPress beginners
– Popular and well-established
|Premium Choice||BigScoots||– High-end performance and service|
– Personalized attention and support
– Best for businesses wanting the extra edge
What is Website Hosting?
Imagine your website is like a brick-and-mortar store. Just like you would pay rent to have a store in a shopping mall, website hosting is like paying rent to have your website on the Internet. Without hosting, your website can’t be seen by anyone!
But before we dive deeper into hosting, let’s talk about another important piece of the puzzle: the domain.
A domain is like your store’s address in the mall. It’s how people find your store among all the other stores. It might look something like “www.YourStoreName.com“.
For domains, I recommend using Namecheap. They’re affordable, reliable, and easy for anyone to use, even if you’re not a computer whiz.
Now, you might wonder, “Why not have my domain and hosting in the same place?” Good question!
Think of it like this: if you decide to move your store to a different mall, it’s easier if your address (domain) isn’t tied down to your old mall. By keeping your domain separate from your hosting, you can easily move your website to a new “online mall” (host) if you ever need to.
What is WordPress?
Alright, stick with me here. Remember how we talked about your website being like a store? Well, think of WordPress as the construction crew that builds and designs your store, making it look and function just how you want.
WordPress is what’s known as a CMS, which stands for Content Management System. Don’t let the fancy term scare you! A CMS is just a tool that helps you add, change, or remove things (like products or blog posts) from your website without needing to be a computer expert.
Now, there are two kinds of WordPress: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Let’s break them down:
- WordPress.org (Free) is like getting a DIY store-building kit. You get all the tools and materials, and you can build and customize your store any way you want. But, you’ll need a place (remember our hosting?) to set up your store.
- WordPress.com (Paid) is another hosting provider. It’s more like renting a space in a mall where some of the design choices are already made for you. It’s simpler, but you have less freedom to change things.
I generally recommend not to use wordpress.com as it complicates things and isn’t as customizable. The basic setup I recommend is Namecheap (domain), SiteGround (host), and WordPress.org (Free CMS).
Now, I know this can sound like a lot. But guess what? You don’t need to worry about the nitty-gritty of WordPress. I’m here to manage all that for you. All you need to do is dream up what you want your store (or website) to be like, and I’ll handle the construction side of things.
The Top 5 Hosting Providers
|SiteGround||– Excellent customer service|
– Reliable and trustworthy
– Great for beginners
|– Might be pricier than some other options|
– Limited storage on basic plans
|Bluehost||– Well-known and established|
– Offers a range of tools for WordPress
– Good value for the price
|– Customer service can be hit or miss|
– Speed can vary based on traffic
|BigScoots||– Personalized attention|
– High-performance servers
– Friendly support
|– Less known (might be a concern for some)|
– Pricier than some competitors
|WPX||– Superfast performance|
– Daily backups included
– Free migrations
|– Can be more expensive|
– Might be overkill for very small sites
|Cloudways||– Highly customizable|
– Pay-as-you-go pricing
– Multiple cloud providers to choose from
|– More hands-on (can be complex)|
– No cPanel (might be tricky for traditional hosting users)
Now that we’ve chatted about what website hosting is, let’s dive into the neighborhoods (or providers) where you can set up your online store.
- SiteGround: Think of SiteGround as a well-established community with lots of amenities. They’re known for their excellent customer service and are super reliable. If you like knowing there’s a friendly neighbor ready to help whenever you have a question, SiteGround might be the place for your website.
- Bluehost: Bluehost is like that big, popular neighborhood everyone has heard about. They’ve been around for a long time and offer a lot of tools to help you get your store running. Plus, they’re often recommended for folks starting with WordPress.
- BigScoots: BigScoots might be a newer name to some, but think of them as a cozy, boutique neighborhood. They give personalized attention and go the extra mile to ensure your website runs smoothly. If you like a more personal touch, BigScoots could be your go-to.
- WPX: WPX is like the high-speed train of neighborhoods. They’re all about speed and performance. If you want a hosting provider that makes sure your store’s doors open quickly for every customer, WPX is worth a look.
- Cloudways: Cloudways is a bit unique. Imagine a customizable neighborhood where you pick and choose the services and features you want. They offer a more hands-on approach and cater to those who want a bit more control over their hosting environment.
My Recommendations in 2023
Today, I recommend small businesses use SiteGround. They have a great discount for the first year and have amazing hosting services. I first heard about SiteGround after many small business owners in the online communities that I’m in rave about them.
Overall, SiteGround is a great place for your small business until it reaches over 100,000 visitors per month. Then, I recommend BigScoots (see my story below).
When I first started building websites and acquiring Google traffic, I started with Bluehost. They are one of the biggest (and cheapest) hosting providers still to this day. But, I wasn’t totally satisfied with their service and helpfulness. I got stuck technically a many times and it was pretty frustrating.
Then, as my sites grew, I moved to WPX in 2021. While they’re more expensive, they were super responsive and helpful. I’ve had a clean, and great experience with them. I still have a WPX plan today.
For my largest sites (over 100,000 pageviews per month), I moved them to BigScoots. In the niche site communities that I’m in, everyone raves about BigScoots. I’ve found their service comparable to WPX, but their user experience is even cleaner.