Codeinwp.com recently did an actual test of five well known web hosting companies. Rather than rely on “reviews” (I put that in quotes because my experience is most of the reviews of web hosting companies are neither honest nor unbiased) they actually purchased a hosting plan at each and went through the process of setting up a WordPress website, doing a special configuration that entailed having to use the host’s tech support team, and then testing the speed of the website using various diagnostic tools.
The tests were run on “shared hosting” plans, which are the least expensive (starting at $4 – $7/mo.). That means that your website is on the same server as hundreds or thousands of other websites. So, if one of those websites consumes too many resources then your website is slowed or stopped (along with all of the others).
But for most small business websites it is practical (and inexpensive) to be on a shared plan and generally doesn’t create too many problems if the host is reliable.
The test of five hosting companies – Bluehost, HostGator, DreamHost, SiteGround and GoDaddy – found all of them to be similarly priced and with little variance in tech support and response times. Overall they rated HostGator, GoDaddy and SiteGround as the tops. (See the full article at http://www.codeinwp.com/blog/best-wordpress-shared-hosting-providers/ and an infographic that summarizes the study below.)
We’ve used all of these hosts except SiteGround. Just recently one of our clients had a bad experience with HostGator and our interaction in dealing with their tech support to resolve the issue was less than stellar.
We are often asked which host to go with by our clients. We do the best we can to recommend a good host, but unfortunately things change over the years. So a company that is a good web host today may not be so in two years. Tech support teams change, internal policies within a company may shift resources to other areas causing the IT area to falter.
Our recommendation these days is to use GoDaddy as their tech support is very responsive, they have been around for many years and have made continual improvements in their infrastructure, and websites there load in a reasonable amount of time.
When shopping around for a host don’t use the difference between a $4/mo. plan and a $5/mo. plan be the deciding factor. Tech support and server reliability – and thereby your company’s presence on the web – is worth far more than that.