Many of my small business clients ask me about web hosting and there are two things I usually say right up front:
- When you’re starting out and on a limited budget shared hosting can work BUT
- You get what you pay for – and with some hosts, that’s not very much at all.
I’ve used shared hosting for years for a few sites with not very much traffic and my experience has been mixed. Issues I’ve faced include:
- unfriendly control panels – I much prefer hosts that use Cpanel.
- throttling – which makes your site seem slow even if it really isn’t.
- unexplained downtime – nuff said!
I’m not going to name names here (talk to me privately if you need more info) but some hosts really suck in terms of service and reliability.
On Test: HostAwesome
And then there are the others. I recently got offered the chance to try a new web host, HostAwesome. The team says the hosting is optimized for WordPress sites and gave me the use of a free Standard account for review purposes. (Update: in 2019 I signed up as a HostAwesome affiliate. If you get their service via my link, I’ll earn a commission.)
Included in the HostAwesome package are automatic WordPress installation, an integrated content delivery network, solid-state drive storage and automatic backups. There is even a basic plan which allows you to run a single small WordPress site. I’d been having problems with my old host, so I arranged to transfer sharonhh.com to the HostAwesome servers right away.
Speedy Transfer, Speedy Site
One of the things that impressed me right away was the willingness of the HostAwesome team to work with me to make the transfer. HostAwesome allows you to use a Cpanel backup and restore, but my old host didn’t make this easy, so I gave the HostAwesome team the login details and they took care of it. The switch was quick and almost seamless, except for a glitch because I was using CloudFlare. I turned it off – since HostAwesome includes a CDN anyway – and everything was fine.
I immediately noticed a big improvement in site speed, both for logged out page loads and when doing things in the WordPress dashboard. This was confirmed by a GTMetrix test. Site speed is important for web optimization and ranking, so I was very happy about this.
Account and Control Panel
Like other hosts, the HostAwesome service allows you to login to a website to access your control panel. The client area has a very clear, large dashboard which lets you know about active services and domains, due invoices and open tickets. Further clicks take you to information about disk space usage, and logins for webmail, WordPress and cPanel. I love the fact that HostAwesome uses Cpanel, but it looks so much better than the usual CPanel interface, and the icons are arranged differently. It also gives an at a glance view of CPU usage, disk space usage and monthly bandwidth transfer.
HostAwesome claims 99.9% uptime, but how did they stack up? Here’s what I said when they ask me for a testimonial:
I’ve been using HostAwesome for a few months and am very happy with the service so far. With my previous hosts, I had experienced site slowdowns and down time, which hurt my business, so I was happy to find a web host that offered something different.
The HostAwesome team were extremely helpful in transferring the site and troubleshooting and quickly resolving a few teething problems. I noticed an immediate improvement in speed, moving up one grade in my GTMetrix dashboard, and there has been no downtime – the first time in years I’ve been able to say that about a web host.
The team have also followed up with a personal message (not an automated one) to ensure that the site was working well. I am delighted with simplicity of the control panel, the site uptime and the service!
Overall, I have been delighted with the service I have received and am seriously considering transferring my other domains onto the service.
If you want to learn more about web hosting, my friends at Web.Search.Social have two articles on web hosting that you absolutely must read: The High Cost Of Cheap Hosting and Costly Web Hosting Mistakes To Avoid The First Time. And Definitely The Second. These tell you why you should spend a little extra to get the right hosting for your business site.