When it comes to hosting your blog, you get what you pay for. The minimum we recommend spending on hosting is $20 per month. Anything less than that, and you're hurting your ability to rank in search engines.
Recommended hosting companies
Which one you choose is largely a matter of personal preference - these are all good quality hosting companies. The only thing to note is that Cloudways is a more do-it-yourself service - you're not going to get great support from them.
These hosts all have a few mandatory features:
- Free SSL
- WordPress optimized hosting environment
- Caching (sometimes needs to be turned on)
- Daily backups
- Staging environment
- Responsive support
Interested in what actual customers are saying about their hosting company? ReviewSignal.com crawls social media and runs an algorithm to determine whether people are saying positive or negative things about their hosting company.
We won't call out any hosts here specifically, but if you're paying under $10/month you're on a garbage host. Period.
Some of these are recommended EVERYWHERE around the web. These are not genuine recommendations by people who know what they're talking about. They're affiliate links by people who are trying to figure out how to make money online.
Most of these hosts put you on a shared hosting plan, with hundreds of other websites sharing your server resources. This means that if one of them gets hit with a lot of traffic, or are using too many server resources, your site slows down as a result.
In most cases, those shared hosting plans are also associated with some low-quality, seedy websites that send email spam and could be blacklisted by search engines.
See this Cloudways article on how poor quality hosting affects your SEO.
Aside from lower quality support and worse server allocations, these hosts almost never come with staging environments or daily backups. Daily backups is a bare essential feature, that can not and should not be handled by plugins. Downtime caused by site errors or failed plugin updates happen regularly, and having a daily backup to restore from is worth 100x what you pay for hosting.
Just don't sign up for garbage hosts.
There are a couple hosting companies out there run by mom n' pops (single guy with a small team, or family-run businesses). Some of them actually have a good reputation, and are good companies as far as we can tell.
We recommend against these for the simple reason that it introduces a single point of failure: if the owner decides to retire, or dies, or move on to better things, you're out of luck. This happens. All. The. Time. It's simply too risky from a business perspective.
Contrast to a professional company like the ones listed above, who have processes in place and a large staff with multiple redundancies. These companies have legal liabilities, and can't just disappear over night.
Another factor is that the expertise of hundreds of employees can't be replaced by a team of 3 people. Among other factors, security issues are surfaced and mitigated against by having thousands of sites being constantly monitored, rather than a couple dozen or hundred.
Your business relies on hosting. Get on a professional quality host and pay the $30/month - this is CHEAP.
High volume food blogs
Food blogs that see high volumes (100,000+ monthly visits) require a different hosting setup than what we recommend above. Typically, the hosting costs at those pageviews start to skyrocket, and can be better managed by using a CDN (content-distribution-network) like Cloudflare or Akamai.
If you're struggling with high pageviews and hosting, please reach out to Casey Markee for recommendations.