I'm going to do something I've never done before, and don't plan on doing often: recommend the company that hosts this website (keasigmadelta.com). No, it isn't because they'll give me an affiliate commission, because it's not the first host to offer that (although that's welcome ;-) ). Nor is it because it's the absolute best webhost, because the best doesn't exist. What's best depends on your needs.

I'm doing this because I've been through quite a few web-hosts over the years. In that time I've experienced both good and bad service as well as both shared and VPS hosting. So, what should you look for? What would work best for you? Well, it depends...

TL;DR

Can't wait? This website is hosted on Cloudways. It's a bit different from the usual hosts, in that your website is hosted on another company's servers. And, you can choose (e.g., Digital Ocean, or Linode). What they provide is a software layer that makes installing and maintaining your website way easier than hosting on a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or cloud server.

I'm using their services because:

  • Their system is easy to use
  • Performance is good
  • Customer service is great (and I've experienced both good and bad)
  • The pricing is affordable for a small business like mine

Click here to check them out. And, if you're reading this before November 5, 2021, use the promo code TREAT21 to get 30% off the first two months.

My Web-hosting Journey

My first website was on a shared web host. It was very low cost, but had far too many websites on the same server. If any of them got a good amount of traffic, then all of them slowed down... including mine. Not good.

With Kea Sigma Delta I went straight for a VPS because I wanted the website to be fast. And indeed, it was faster because there was only website on the server. However, installation and maintenance was a lot of work, and all of that work was on my shoulders. The email server software was especially horrible to work with. Sadly, the company used poorly paid and trained customer service and had questionable business practises. I left after they lost the keasigmadelta.com by failing to pay the registrar (took me over a year to get back). They hit the news for all the wrong reasons a few months after I left...

Next, I used a "low tenancy shared host," which means that only a few other websites were hosted on the same server. That was more expensive, but it was faster than regular shared hosting, and I didn't have the maintenance burden of the VPS. Their service was good... initially. They were making more money on the cloud hosting side, so the business shifted their focus there. Their focus change shone through with their declining service and increase in issues.

Up next, was SiteGround. Their services are very easy to use and the customer service was great. However, they neglected to tell me that the discount was only for the first year. That wouldn't have been a big deal if the price hike hadn't been so large. Ouch! I've heard complaints from others about rather steep pricing scales with them too.

I switched to Cloudways last year, and have been very happy with them. Theoretically I could use DigitalOcean or Linode directly (and actually do for a separate server), but then the VPS maintenance service would be back. No thanks, I have software to write and a business to build. Cloudways' performance and pricing has been good, and the pricing is affordable for a small business like Kea Sigma Delta.

Who Shouldn't Use Cloudways?

If you're building a Software-As-A-Service (SAAS) app, then you're probably better off going straight to DigitalOcean, Linode, Heroku, or one of a plethora of VPS/cloud providers. You'll be running your own servers, which means that Cloudways' software layer could actually get in the way. Slight qualification: Cloudways may still suit you if your SAAS is a pure PHP or Ruby on Rails app (or other common scripting languages) plus a database. They do have git based deploy capability. However, if you need to run custom binaries, tweak the reverse proxy server, or run a load balancer (which you probably will if your SAAS grows), then you'll probably want direct control over the underlying server.

Lessons Learned

  • Shared web hosting is cheap, but slow
  • VPS/cloud servers are fast, but maintaining the server by yourself can be burdensome
  • Low tenancy shared hosts can be a good balance between costs and performance
  • Good customer service can deteriorate when a company's business goals change and no longer align with customers like you
  • You may need to move to another provider later even if you find a good service. Needs change, as do service providers. Don't get locked in...
  • SiteGround is good, but their pricing is rather steep
  • Don't blindly trust recommendations (including mine). Your needs may be different from mine

Sign Me Up

Click here to check out Cloudways. And, if you're reading this before November 5, 2021, use the promo code TREAT21 to get 30% off the first two months.

 

Full disclosure: the links to Cloudways are affiliate links, so I get a commission should you choose to sign up.