A question that I’ve been asked several times in the last couple of months is all about hosting. i.e. Where should you host a WordPress website if you’re in the UK? Since there are literally thousands of hosting companies that exist, it seems nearly impossible to choose one. So in this blog post, I’ll give you a few options from my own experience and from the experience of my clients.
Nobody wants to spend more money than they have to. We are in an age where the speed of your website has an impact on search rankings and conversions (i.e. sales/sign ups), so having a UK website hosted on UK servers is really important. Equally, a US website hosted in the same state as most of your customers.
Having your website on UK hosting for UK customers simply reduces the geographical distance between your website and your customer.
Since I’m in the UK, this blog post is focussed on UK hosting companies. There are no affiliate links here. These are all genuine recommendations.
Some hosting companies to avoid
I’ve lost count of how many problems that my clients have experienced with 1&1, Fasthosts, and UKFast. In every single situation, things looked great at the outset, but major customer service problems occurred after several months.
It’s not my intention to ‘out’ or be nasty about these companies. I’ve just heard so many complaints about these companies from my clients (or I’ve experienced it myself when dealing with the company for my clients), that I can’t recommend them in any good conscience.
2 hosting companies I like (and why)
There are two hosting companies that are at the top of my list, and I use both of them. TSO Host and United Hosting. Chances are you’ve never heard of either of them. That’s because they invest their profits on service and technology, not on brand awareness or expensive advertising.
Both companies have fast and helpful customer support, affordable packages, and high quality servers. They also offer a free transfer service to move your website to their hosting too.
These guys use something called clustered hosting, which means your website is hosted on several servers, all at once. This is something that the big businesses do and pay a lot of money for.
If the website gets very popular very quickly (e.g. appearances on TV), then the hosting will expand automatically to cope with the rise in traffic. Traditionally, servers fall over due to a surge in visitors. TSO Host mitigates this with their solution.
TSO Host has invested to make this ridiculously affordable, with packages starting at just £14.99 a year.
I have discovered that TSO Host isn’t particularly compatible with WordPress caching plugins, so it lends itself better to WordPress websites which don’t use caching. e.g. Using WooCommerce.
I’ve been with United Hosting for a very long time, and they are ultra-reliable and extremely good with their customer support.
They offer more traditional hosting, where you rent space on one of their servers. There’s no clustering, unlike TSO Host. However, United Hosting’s servers are very powerful, and are perfectly suited to using WordPress caching plugins (including WP SuperCache and W3 Total Cache).
United Hosting is unusual, as they don’t oversell their hosting.
Overselling is what most hosting companies do when they have ‘unlimited’ hosting packages. To make their money, they sell more accounts than what the server can realistically support, regardless of what website is being hosted. The result? Someone else’s website will eventually take down your website, when it overloads the server.
Before I moved to United Hosting, it happened all the time to me.
United Hosting have prices that start at £60+VAT a year, so are very affordable for most businesses.
Why UK businesses shouldn’t use BlueHost/GoDaddy/etc
These hosting companies have servers in the US. They do offer cheap hosting, but their prices are completely comparable to the UK hosting companies I mention above. So there’s no real price advantage.
Here’s the big disadvantage of using a Bluehost or GoDaddy for a UK business. When your customers are in the UK, You’ll add 1-3 seconds of loading time to your website just by hosting your website in the US!
Given that the general advice is to have a website load within 3 seconds, you can’t afford to add that much delay to your website. You’ll lose customers. Annoyingly, it’s true.
A final word…
If you have a hosting company that you’re happy with, stick with them. Unless your hosting is really slow or unreliable, there’s no reason to move.
If you’re not happy? Chat to one of the companies above. If you like them, consider moving to them!