When talking about websites, I’m often being asked about free or cheap web hosting providers. It’s understandable that many people want to save money for their websites, but hosting them on a cheap server is not a good idea. It would be like living in a neighborhood that is cheap, but not safe.
Having a website is like living or working in a building. Many potential customers would not feel safe going to a store in a dangerous area. Websites hosted on cheap or questionable servers are more vulnerable to attacks. Even popular web hosting providers like GoDaddy are not reliable either – as I had explained in my first blog post, New Website on New Server.
I was lucky to have someone recommend me using A Small Orange (ASO) server – I’ve used their services for about two years now, and I like them so far. They have great pricing plans – starting with $35 a year as a “tiny” plan which is quite reasonable for the quality of services they offer – for 250 mb storage, 5gb bandwidth, 24/7/265 support (as of this writing). Their customer services are great – I like using their live chat to communicate with them directly and can also contact them via email.
I also like ASO for their honesty about space and bandwidth – they specify the exact limits and addon pricings if those limits are exceeded. That way if someone’s website exceeds those limits, they would know in advance how much it would cost – as opposed to getting a surprise email from a web hosting provider that offers “unlimited” space and bandwidth which is a myth because they do have a fine print stating certain limitations. Those offers may be good for someone having a personal website with a few pages and little traffic, but not for businesses and individuals who want to have professional looking websites and a lot of visitors.
That would mean that web hosting services such as Bluehost, HostGator, GoDaddy, Network Solutions, and any others that offer “unlimited” space and bandwidth may not be recommended. What are other recommended providers besides ASO? I was told that the following are reliable: Rackspace, Canvas Dreams, WPEngine (if you host mainly WordPress sites), Amazon EC2, Linode, Liquidweb.
As they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch and you get what you pay for. So it’s worth to invest money into a reliable server that is less susceptible to attacks and good quality services from a provider that promptly answers to your questions and concerns.