When you run a business that relies on your website’s uptime, it’s important to have a fast, reliable website host. I still remember a few years ago when I had a personal website back in college, and my hosting company’s servers got struck by lightning. Luckily I had a backup of my website on my local computer!
But today there are way safer and better website hosts to choose from, and they all come with their own pros and cons.
Why We Recently Changed Hosts & Quick WPEngine Review
We’ll look at what characteristics you should look for in a website host, but first I want to talk about why we recently changed hosts.
I’ve been on many different website hosts over the years, and for the most part they were fine. I could add content, people could see it. End of story. But as I started to offer paid programs inside a members only area, our website needed to be both secure and able to handle more traffic too.
What ended up happening is that the dedicated host that we were using would go down on a regular basis, almost every day usually during the night when I was asleep. I’d wake up to find that my hosting company found suspicious login attempts, and decided to block all future login attempts, locking out all of our customers from accessing the programs they had paid for.
It was becoming really frustrating to wake up to a locked website, and complaints from customers. And my hosting company couldn’t come up with a better solution, they just said that my site was getting attacked by denial of service attacks.
I knew there had to be a better way. I tried all the WordPress plugins I could find, but at the end of the day I knew that the host was to blame.
That’s when we switched to WPEngine. Ever since making the switch, our site’s speed has increased by a few seconds per page, we haven’t had any downtime, and the “attacks” are no longer an issue.
Now I understand that moving hosts is quite an undertaking. So I don’t say it lightly that if you’re experiencing hacks, malware, or any kind of funky behavior on your website and you have some strong passwords and good WordPress security plugins installed, then it’s probably your host’s unfavorable environment causing the problems.
What To Look For in WordPress Website Hosting
1. WordPress Hosting
Because all of our websites are hosted on WordPress, I knew that by choosing a host who specializes in WordPress we’d be dealing with professionals. Instead of trying to be the generalist, a hosting company like WPEngine does only WordPress websites, not email hosting or a bunch of other services.
This also means that their customer support team knows the ins and outs of WordPress, and they won’t use solutions that break our WordPress sites. If that isn’t music to your business owner ears, I don’t know what is.
This is a big one, because most of us compare hosting companies by price, and I feel like that’s the wrong way to look at hosting.
I’m just as cost-conscious as the next person, but I know that if I rent an apartment in the bad part of town I will save money but I might have my home broken into. That’s not going to save me any money in the long run, and living in fear of getting attacked in my own neighborhood isn’t worth it either.
Now of course, I understand that if the budget doesn’t permit it you should go with an affordable option like Bluehost, but if your business is growing, and you’re experiencing growing pains then it might be time for a move.
3. Our Members Only Area
If you sell digital products online and you host these inside a members only area, it’s important for your host to be able to handle the high volume of login attempts. This was the big one for us, and what ultimately made us switch.
These days we’re hosting over 20,000 members inside our AccessAlly members area, so the site needs to be able to handle a lot of logins, a lot of downloads, and plenty of browsing.
4. WPEngine Review For Speed & Search Engines
Finally, how fast your website loads is directly correlated to your rank in the search engines, if you’re putting even a little bit of effort into optimizing your site for SEO.
As you get more traffic, most shared hosting accounts tend to slow down. And sometimes even when you upgrade to dedicated hosting, your host might run out of memory when there are too many users accessing your site at once.
So the solution is to look for a host that specifically scales and can handle the load. One way to ensure this is to look for a Content Distribution Network (or CDN) which copies your website’s files to other servers, so that the load is distributed across different hosts and not just your main one.
WPEngine has this option built-in, as do other high end hosting providers.
So, this is my story on why we decided to change hosting accounts. I hope that you learned a little bit about how website hosting works, and that you’ll feel empowered to make a good hosting choice as your business continues to grow and expand!
Got Any Hosting Recommendations Of Your Own?
Leave a comment below with your own WPEngine review or another WordPress hosting solution you use and love!