To start a new website, I need to choose a hosting service provider. This is the fourth milestone in The Ostrich website project roadmap. This post is a project progress report, summarizing the completion of the milestone.
The expected outcome, from the roadmap: Hosting plan purchased; Mock instance of chosen content platform installed.
I eventually chose HostGator. Read on for more details on the options I explored.
Requirements from a hosting service provider
To compare the options, I need comparison criteria. Here are my requirements from hosting service provider:
- WordPress support.
- Added bonus for 1-click installer for WordPress.
- Minimal threshold: Give me a PHP server and a SQL server, so I can install WordPress myself.
- In any case – don’t limit what I can do with my WordPress (like limiting plugins, themes).
- Work with my own domain.
- Added bonus for multiple domain support.
- Added bonus for subdomains.
- No limiting user agreement.
- Specifically, I should be able to display ads on my site with no limitations.
- Hosting provider does not interfere with my content.
- Specifically, no hosting provider ads, banners, popups, etc. – I’m willing to pay for the service, so keep it clean.
- Speaking of paid service – be affordable.
- Be scalable.
- I expect my traffic will be fairly low, at least in the beginning. So I’d like to pay for a fairly “small” plan (whatever that means). But I would also like to be able to switch to “larger” plans (whatever that means) if and when my traffic increases.
- Minimal threshold: Let me upgrade plans transparently. An upgrade should not result significant downtime.
- Added bonus: Handle scalability transparently for me (within predetermined budget constraints). Be elastic.
- Give me FTP access.
- Private SSL certificate for my domain.
- SSH access.
- Handle site backup for me.
My short-list of potential providers:
Looks like all options in my short-list meet the requirements I set above.
With the DigitalOcean and AWS options being on the more DIY-side, I preferred to focus on the other options.
For no particular reason, I randomly started with DreamHost. I signed up for an account to test things out.
But, alas, DreamHost wasn’t made for people like me…
I couldn’t activate my account for many hours after initial registration. So I contacted the support, and here’s how it went:
So no DreamHost.
Sign up and activation was smooth. I started with their minimal plan, called Hatchling. In no time, I had access to a cPanel management dashboard. Maybe ugly and annoying, but it was working.
Installing WordPress using the QuickInstall wizard was a no-brainer:
Given that they meet the requirements I set forth, with an excellent price, I saw no reason to explore further. In case you’re curious, at the time (July 2014), the price before discount was $4.95/mo when buying a 3-year plan. I threw in a couple of extras (CodeGuard, SiteLock, SEOGears, so it added a couple of bucks.
I admit. This is not the detailed hosting services comparison it could have been.
With so many details to handle with relaunching my website, and so little free time, I cut myself some slack. With respect to hosting service providers, I just want something that is good enough for now, so I can keep moving forward.
Maybe, some day down the line, HostGator will fail me. If this happens, I might revisit this subject more thoroughly.
For now, that’s that 🙂
As always, you’re invited to make yourself heard via the comments. Maybe you have a detailed comparison to share?