06 Jun The best web hosting for speed, safety, support and staging Posted at 03:25h in Creative Tools, Digital by Danielle Spinks-Earl Share Have you run a website on a server or web host that has been too slow? Or you’ve called for some technical support and been made to feel like an idiot? Me too. In the past, I have managed and hosted about 35 websites. The hosts I tried have been Bluehost, Melbourne IT, CrazyDomains, HostGator, GoDaddy, and some other corporate systems. While I tend to work with WordPress by preference since 2008, as a marcoms staffer, I’ve helped project manage Joomla, .asp, .net, HTML sites, across a gamut of different website hosting providers. Some hosts were painfully slow. Some hosts were closed on weekends. Once I had a website go down. When I called for support, I found out it was because there was a volcano erupting on the other side of the world. My website went down because a volcano erupted on the other side of the world! The best web host is not the most expensive. The best is the one that is convenient, fast, reliable, secure and can help me when I need it. Staging for when you need to renovate a website I rate my website host on the basis of speed, safety, support, but also one other thing has become important — staging. In the past, you use to see those messages ‘This website is currently undergoing renovations’. Maybe you’d see a pretty photo of a jackhammer in case you didn’t get it. But it’s not really ideal, is it? We don’t see those so much anymore because you can I have set up a new subdirectory in order to build a brand new website for a client or myself without taking the existing website down. How is it done? Well, you set up a new subdirectory in the root folder and clone across all the existing files. You set up a new SQL database and separate passwords. If it sounds fiddly, that’s because it is. One stray comma and the thing doesn’t work. But, there is an easier way. SiteGround has one-touch staging. This means you can press a button in your control panel and clone the entire site including the WordPress installation, and be ready to load a new theme and design away in no time. I used staging for this website and I will use it for others in the future. It really is the best way of building, tweaking and testing a new website (or testing plugins and upgrades of an existing site), without publishing it until you are happy. The best web host is not the most expensive. The best is the one that is convenient, fast, reliable, secure and can help me when I need it. Other reasons for recommending SiteGround There are a few reasons I exclusively use SiteGround for web hosting these days. Speed SiteGround is fast. They use many different servers on three continents around the world so there is bound to be one near you. This is important because if your host is one of the more frequently mentioned by bloggers, like Bluehost, or HostGator, you may be having data travel across the world which is going to slow things down. SiteGround uses solid-state drives (SSD) for the servers which can be a thousand times faster than regular drives. They also have faster PHP and a Supercache for WordPress, Drupal and Magento and Joomla sites, NGINX, CDN. HTTP/2 enabled servers is the newest protocol and speeds your website loading in the browser. Safety In terms of securing your income stream, SiteGround offers 99.9% uptime. So let’s clarify that. Linux containers (LXC) are highly stable in times of unexpected spikes in traffic. The Linux containers are also resource-efficient. The team uses proactive server monitoring that can immediately fix problems and can foresee coming issues. It also has a unique anti-bot artificial intelligence that effectively blocks millions of brute force attempts and can isolate accounts on shared servers. Support The team at SG are wonderful! They work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can get help on the phone, through online chat where the provider can log in and give immediate expert help, or you can use a ticketing system and you’ll get a response in minutes. The service philosophy shines through because every time I have need tech support, the guy or girl has known what they’re talking about and worked hard to be the one to solve my problem and fast. There is no attitude. I’ve also had staff ‘go that extra step’ and complete the next thing I had to do without me even mentioning it. This is of great value to me because, as an Aries, if I ask for help, you know I really need it. Plan Options There are 3 options. StartUp is perfect for people with one website that are starting now GrowBig is great value for money and you can run multiple websites. The SuperCacher greatly improves a WordPress site speed GoGeek is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites, or more serious development needs like GIT integration You can also buy a domain to pin to your website or use your existing domain name. SiteGround is my go-to web host. It’s fast, safe, supportive, convenient. And there’s no attitude. And from a web host, that’s all I ask. Danielle Spinks-Earl BA Comm. M Mktg. Freelance writer, designer, marketing communications manager.