Choosing Hosting Service for The Ostrich Website

By Monday, October 20, 2014 1 , The Ostrich Website Permalink 0

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.

The Ostrich website is hosted on HostGator

Requirements from a hosting service provider

To compare the options, I need comparison criteria. Here are my requirements from hosting service provider:

  1. WordPress support.
    1. Added bonus for 1-click installer for WordPress.
    2. Minimal threshold: Give me a PHP server and a SQL server, so I can install WordPress myself.
    3. In any case – don’t limit what I can do with my WordPress (like limiting plugins, themes).
  2. Work with my own domain.
    1. Added bonus for multiple domain support.
    2. Added bonus for subdomains.
  3. No limiting user agreement.
    1. Specifically, I should be able to display ads on my site with no limitations.
  4. Hosting provider does not interfere with my content.
    1. Specifically, no hosting provider ads, banners, popups, etc. – I’m willing to pay for the service, so keep it clean.
  5. Speaking of paid service – be affordable.
  6. Be scalable.
    1. 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.
    2. Minimal threshold: Let me upgrade plans transparently. An upgrade should not result significant downtime.
    3. Added bonus: Handle scalability transparently for me (within predetermined budget constraints). Be elastic.
  7. Give me FTP access.

Extra bonus:

  1. Private SSL certificate for my domain.
  2. SSH access.
  3. Handle site backup for me.


My short-list of potential providers:

  1. DreamHost
  2. BlueHost
  3. WPEngine
  4. DigitalOcean
  5. HostGator
  6. Amazon AWS Instance running Bitnami WordPress

Also check out this (or this) Lifehacker article on hosting companies.

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.

Decision time

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.

Once again, for no particular reason, I went on to try HostGator. Or maybe it was because I had a 30% off discount code. I think I got it from an episode of the In Beta podcast.

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?

P.S. – If you’re interested in signing up with HostGator, I’d appreciate if you do it through my HostGator affiliate link. It’s one of the easier ways you can support me. Thanks! 🙂

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