Choosing the Best Web Host for a Serious Online Business

When I first started online I blazed through as many free web hosts as there were around. Once I ran out of options I realized I needed to pay to get a stable host, so I found the cheapest shared hosting plan I could.

As soon as I moved my blog, which only had a few posts at the time, I knew the shared hosting plan wouldn’t be sustainable once my site got big. And knowing myself, I wouldn’t trust it to host multiple sites that were getting traffic to them either.

But when I looked at my current, tiny blog driving in less than 100 visits a day, I knew I picked the perfect hosting plan I needed for now and another year or so IF I took my site seriously…

Shared web hosting is a great way to get familiar with web hosting and useful for hosting a few smaller sites you may not take as seriously.

Due to the nature of shared hosting, don’t expect to have a blazing fast website. It’s not to say it’s impossible but shared hosting can be unpredictable.

Think of it like this:

Moving your site into a shared hosting environment is like you moving into an apartment building.

Sure, it’s nice to share a building with others since it helps keep the cost down—the average shared hosting plan costs less than $10 a month.

But when a tenant invites many visitors over at once, it can get overcrowded and the whole building can come crashing down—or, an unrelated site sending too much traffic to your server can cause your site to load slow or crash completely.

Of all the great things about shared hosting, ensuring a reliably fast website is not one of them.

…and that’s perfectly fine because for every page loaded under normal server conditions (most of the time), we can still apply the principles of Beast Optimization to make those pages as fast as possible.

That’s why if you choose a low budget for web hosting, my sole recommendation is Host Gator.

Once you get past their admittedly confusing dashboard, you can dive right into the cPanel app which is the classic solution for building websites.

My favorite features of cPanel are (amongst many others):

  • The one-click WordPress auto-installer app
  • Easy way to manage and create databases (if installing WordPress manually)
  • Create email accounts with addresses
  • Access to FTP
  • Add as many domains, databases, FTP accounts as you want 1 1. Web hosts don't lie when they say you can create "unlimited everything"—but just because you can doesn't always mean you should. ×

When purchasing Host Gator hosting, I recommend going with the “Baby” plan that runs around $10 a month. This plan gives you all the benefits listed above, and many more.

The Foundation of a Serious Online Business: VPS

You can outgrow shared web hosting in ways other than server resources. My rule of thumb is that if a site makes money, it should be upgraded to more than just a cheap Shared hosting plan as it’s no longer a hobby but a business.

Once a site is making money it should do so under the best conditions 2 2. A fast-loading site has various SEO benefits too. × possible, which means it should load as fast as possible.

By upgrading web hosting you are gain access to a more exclusive server with better resources to perform at a higher level.

Something like Media Temple‘s VPS plan is the best entry-level plan I’ve found for a truly reliable server that performs amazingly fast.

(Note: I host this very (fast) website on Media Temple, so I’m willing to bet my whole business on them).