At some point during a website project with Website Muscle, we’ll inevitably discuss website hosting with you. That’s because you can’t launch a website without it being hosted somewhere. If your gut reaction is to go with the cheapest option, you’re not alone; after all, you’ve just spent a good deal of money on a website project, and how much does hosting matter anyway? (What even is it?)
But the truth is, it does matter. Your hosting provider can affect your site’s performance, load times, security, and user experience, for better or for worse. And not all hosting providers are created equal.
What is website hosting?
Think of hosting as renting space for your website to live on. And as is true with real estate rentals, they run the gamut: you have some that are in run-down neighborhoods, and some in upscale gated communities.
When it comes to hosting for your business website, trust us when we say you want the upscale gated community.
If you’re a business owner, you know that your reputation is paramount to your success. You need to put your best foot forward at all times to your customers, prospective customers, and the community. Some of the most frantic phone calls we’ve received over the years are from business owners who’ve just been informed by a customer that their website has been commandeered by the “adult film industry” or ads for Viagra. How embarrassing and frustrating! They call us in a panic to get it fixed immediately… but unfortunately, it’s not always an easy fix.
Another issue with poor hosting is slow load times, which is also frustrating for users and can cause them to click away from the site and pursue another company altogether (I’ve done this myself. I mean, if a company doesn’t put much effort into their online presence, how good can they be?) In this day and age, an outdated website with broken links, broken plugins, incorrect information, and unresponsive (not mobile-friendly) design can pretty much guarantee you lost business.
Why do websites get hacked?
We build websites on the WordPress platform, for many reasons. Without getting too technical, WordPress is an open source CMS (content management system) platform. WordPress is by far the largest and most popular CMS platform available.
About 75% of websites that use a CMS are built on an open source platform like WordPress. Here’s what open source means:
- The software is free to use (i.e., no license fees)
- It’s supported by a large community of developers — code is always being improved, new features/functionality added, and bugs and security vulnerabilities are fixed quickly
- The code is accessible to developers, allowing for customization of the website or changes to hosting
However, since the code is accessible with open source CMS, this can make websites more vulnerable to hacking.
How do you solve this potential problem?
Two ways: A solid, reputable developer and a solid, reputable hosting provider. We’ve combined the two with our Managed Hosting solution.
Here’s how we explain hosting options to our clients. The way we see it, you have three options for hosting:
- Managed Hosting with Website Muscle – best option
- Hosting directly with WP Engine – business class hosting provider
- Hosting with a discount provider – not recommended
I’ll break these down for you below.
Hosting with WP Engine – BUSINESS CLASS HOSTING
Whether you choose Managed Hosting with Website Muscle or hosting directly with WP Engine, your hosting provider will be WP Engine. The main differences are whose account you’re on, who is logging into the site and performing regular updates and maintenance, and who you contact if you have questions or issues related to your website performance.
WP Engine is, in our opinion, the absolute best choice for hosting provider for business websites. We have chosen to trust them with our own website and hundreds of client websites because they are the most reliable solution for WordPress websites.
Here are some of the benefits to hosting with WP Engine:
- Daily site backups — no other hosting provider that we know of does this
- Fastest page load speeds (this directly affects SEO, as does uptime/downtime)
- One-click restores and one-click manual backups
- 24/7 customer support — and it’s very good
- Security — WP Engine offers security measures no other hosting provider offers
- SSL Certificate for security
- And many more! Check out this glowing article by a Denver-based marketing agency for more WP Engine benefits.
Cost: Hosting your website with WP Engine costs around $30-35 per month. Our clients can get a discount because we are a WP Engine partner, and usually you save money by paying for a year up front.
Discount hosting providers cost around $5 per month, which may seem attractive to you. However, the phrase “you get what you pay for” absolutely rings true here. It’s well worth the extra 25 bucks or so a month for the added security and peace of mind that your website is loading fast, being backed up daily, and secure.
One Important Caveat to Hosting Directly with WP Engine:
Your website is built on a theme and likely has several plugins installed. These are software that, just like your iPhone, needs updating from time to time.
If you have your own hosting account, that responsibility falls on you. Failing to log in and perform updates to WordPress, plugins, and themes can result in outdated software that detrimentally affects your website’s speed, functionality, SEO, and user experience.
Managed Hosting with Website Muscle – BEST VALUE
This is THE best value to you. Unlike hosting directly with WP Engine, you won’t be responsible for maintaining and updating the site, because we’ll do it for you.
For $100 per month, we will will pay your hosting fee to WP Engine AND take care of the following:
- Log into your site monthly and perform all necessary updates to WordPress, plugins, and theme
- Address any outdated or unsupported plugins that could pose a security vulnerability
- Be your point of contact should you have questions about hosting or site functionality (so rather than calling WP Engine, you can call us)
- Hacked Site Guarantee – In the unlikely event your site gets hacked, we’ll work with WP Engine to fix it right away
- Set up Google Analytics and send you reports (upon request) of how your site is performing
- Up to one hour of client support requests per month (text changes, image swap-outs, etc.)
Hosting with a Discount Provider – NOT RECOMMENDED
The third option you have is to host with a discount provider. We’ll just flat-out say that we do not recommend this option. After 12+ years in business, we’ve learned that what our clients save in monthly fees with a discount provider, they usually make up for (and then some) in headaches and frustration… as well as the actual cost of fixing problems the hosting company didn’t address.
Nevertheless, some of our clients still choose to go with (or stick with) a provider other than WP Engine. If you decide to host your website with or move your website to a different provider, please note that additional costs may be incurred. We build all our sites in a development environment housed in WP Engine, and working with different hosting providers to transfer a website can be time consuming and complicated, depending on the hosting provider.
Your hosting provider is actually a really important part of your online presence. We believe Managed Hosting with Website Muscle provides the best value to business owners. Your website will be hosted with the best WordPress hosting provider available, and we will take everything off your plate to ensure your site is up-to-date, secure, loading fast, and running smoothly — while you focus on running your business.