OUR HOSTING RECOMMENDATIONS
A major update to this post is coming… We long felt that standard hosting didn’t meet the needs of photographers we work with, so we’ve launched what we consider an ideal WordPress hosting solution. We’ll update this post with a more exhaustive review and explanation soon. In the meantime please check out Imagely hosting.
We’ve now been in the WordPress business for 6 wonderful years and our main products, Photocrati and NextGEN Gallery, are active on an astounding 1.3 million websites.
As experienced veterans, we’ve used, supported, tested, and worked with dozens of hosting companies, including all the names you know (Bluehost, GoDaddy, HostGator, Dreamhost, Rackspace, MediaTemple, 1and1, etc), and lots that you don’t.
We could choose to partner with any of these companies, and all offer various kinds of strategic partnerships and financial incentives. For many years, we recommended Bluehost on this page, but more recently their technical reliability and customer service quality has declined.
So starting last year, we announced we were looking for a new go-to host. After a year of exploration and testing, we’re happy to announce that we’ve finally settled on a new shared host we can use, love, and recommend: SiteGround.
SIX GREAT REASONS TO USE SITEGROUND
1) THERE’S A GROWING CONSENSUS IN THE WORDPRESS COMMUNITY. I started looking into SiteGround because they came up over and over and over in my conversations with others that I trust in the web and WordPress communities. A large and growing number of web developers, WordPress product companies, and WordPress and web-related blogs now use SiteGround and recommend it to their own clients and friends.
In short, there’s an emerging consensus around SiteGround among those who are knowledgeable and experienced. The speed with which SiteGround has become the standard recommendation in the WordPress community, in particular, is remarkable.
2) THEY’RE AFFORDABLE. With most hosting, you get what you pay for. We seriously considered no longer recommending shared hosting at all, and instead recommending services like WPEngine that provide advanced, managed hosting. We’d still recommend WPEngine if you have the budget and need for their service level, but most of our users are still looking for inexpensive, shared hosting.
Unfortunately, it’s a huge challenge to offer great hosting reliability and service for a few dollars per month. Today, SiteGround is one the very few companies that I’d say pulls it off.
Their basic “Start Up” plan is a crazy $3.95 per month. But we’d recommend going with their “GrowBig” plan for $7.95 per month. It comes with more storage and bandwidth, and most importantly, allows you to run multiple websites from one account.
3) THEY HAVE LIGHTENING FAST SERVICE. One of the things I’ve been happiest about in my own experience SiteGround is the speed and quality of support. Like the Bluehost of old, when I call in or contact live chat, support is instant. The few times I’ve had a wait, it’s been less than a minute. And once technical support is on, they’ve proven to be both polite and very competent every single time.
4) THEY HAVE AN EASY, UNCLUTTERED INTERFACE. SiteGround offer a simple interfaces. It’s not beautiful, but it’s simple, clean, free of upsell offers and other distractions, and just easy to use.
5) THEY’RE WORDPRESS-FRIENDLY. WordPress works best in certain server environments. We’ve worked with a lot of hosts that just don’t handle WordPress well and the process is painful for us and for users. SiteGround places a lot of focus on WordPress, so you can be confident that their server environment is friendly and their staff knowledgeable.
6) I AM MOVING MY HOSTING TO SITEGROUND. Finally, when it comes to recommendations, I always put my money where my mouth is. One reason it’s been a challenge to find a new recommendation is that I need to believe in the recommendation enough to move my own hosting. I have three personal Bluehost accounts with two dozen domains and six websites, so moving involves substantial cost and hassle.
I should note that the Photocrati and NextGEN Gallery websites will remain on Rackspace. They handle a level of traffic that would never work on shared hosting.
So for all the reasons above, and based on the great experience we’ve had, if you are looking for hosting, there is just no way to make this an easier choice. I’m happy to be associated with SiteGround, and feel 100% comfortable standing behind their services. Do yourself a favor, save yourself some headaches, and just come join me over at SiteGround.
Thanks and best,
Founder & CEO
If for some reason you don’t want to use SiteGround, our next recommendation for shared hosting would be A Small Orange, a smaller host but one that we’ve had generally outstanding experience with the last year.
For advanced users, we could strongly recommend both Rackspace and WPEngine (for WordPress sites only). We manage our major sites, including Photocrati.com and NextGEN-Gallery.com on Rackspace, and while there are periodic bumps, the experience is a good one. Support is especially first rate. WPEngine, for those willing to run only WordPress and operate within the limits they require (ie, they limit which WordPress plugins you can use), is exceptionally fast and reliable with outstanding support.