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So you’ve decided to build a website. Congratulations!
Getting started in any business venture is the first step, and we applaud you for beginning the journey. There are a number of different types of online and offline businesses, but almost all of them require a website. If you’re running a local services business like painting or landscaping, your website is important, but not likely to be as critical.
An online store or blog, on the other hand, is obviously heavily reliant on its website. Our team has deep experience in building and consulting on online businesses, and the biggest mistake we see people make is that they ignore how slow their website is. There are a bunch of different factors that go into making a fast website, but it all starts with which web host you pick.
Not everyone is an engineer, and most people looking to build a business know how to operate in their world, but things like caching and DNS setup might as well be gibberish terms. We wanted to break down what makes a good web host, and ultimately recommend the service we use for this very blog! Let’s get started.
What should I look for in a web host?
Web hosting is ideally something you set up once and then rarely ever think about again. Hosting services are something the CEO only tends to hear about when there is a massive problem like the site has crashed. You’ll also want a host that will allow for scalable payment plans (so you can pay far less while you’re building your reputation, and then only pay more as you need the bandwidth for crazy traffic growth!)
The other major factor is choosing a service that has stellar tech support. A great web host should rarely have outage issues, but knowing you could email or chat with someone 24/7 is often just a weight off the mind.
What is the best web host for a blog or online store?
The first question for any business owner is actually not picking a web host per se, but rather it is deciding on the right platform for your site. This site, for example, uses WordPress. There are competing theories on what platform is best for an online store (we still think it’s WordPress for the record) but for a blog there is absolutely no contest. WordPress is the best.
WordPress has been around for nearly two decades and it has entire industries built around supporting its infrastructure. It has tons of flexible payment providers, and is fairly intuitive for a tech novice to navigate due to the huge numbers of plugins that are specifically designed for any niche purpose you could think of.
It also has Yoast, which is an SEO plugin that is an absolute lifesaver for ranking organically on Google. SEO is search engine optimization, and over time it can drive tons of free traffic. Yoast is the best service on the market for ranking and ultimately driving free traffic to your blog or store.
What is the best web host for a WordPress site?
There are a few factors to consider, but if you do choose to run your site on WordPress, then the decision becomes simple. WP Engine is far and away the best hosting service for a WordPress site.
WP Engine is the ideal setup for both novice and experienced site builders. A new site can be live in under an hour, and just signing up for WP Engine gets you automatic, free access to over 36 Genesis WordPress themes. These themes are auto optimized to deliver fantastic site speed and mobile responsiveness.
The themes all come with the standard Atomic blocks which essentially mean you can craft beautiful content pages without needing to know an ounce of code. They’ll let you pick from category-based themes so you can get setup with the basic infrastructure your specific business will need without all the hassle and expenses of working with a developer.
Their servers leverage Amazon Web Services. That means they’ll handle all the traffic you could throw at them by leveraging Amazon’s servers and infrastructure. They also guide you through a basic Cloudflare setup so your site can get a free SSL certificate. Cloudflare also has some of the best-caching services in the world for no added cost (caching essentially shows users a “copy” of your site which allows it to load extremely quickly and is crucial for things like paid social ads or ranking organically on Google).
Is WP Engine easy to setup?
WP Engine provides an amazing guide upon purchase about how to get set up with your new site. The blog is called “Going live with a domain on WP Engine”. It will give you an easy to follow, in-depth setup guide to get your site up and running. You could be driving ads to your site within a few hours if you have the content all ready to go.
There is some technical jargon about setting up your DNS, but WP Engine walks you through it, and you can reach to their dedicated tech support 24/7.
How much does WP Engine cost?
Right now, WP Engine is offering three months free if you sign up for a year of hosting. It is totally risk-free. They have a 60-day money-back guarantee so you can be sure you’re happy with the service. Plans start as low as $22.50 per month, and it goes up depending on much traffic you plan to drive.
Starting a business is never easy, and it’s even tougher if you have to worry about your site crashing at any moment, or can’t even figure out how to set it up without paying an engineer thousands of dollars. We love WP Engine for giving America’s entrepreneurs access to incredible infrastructure usually reserved for massive corporations. Our blogs and businesses all use WP Engine, and we couldn’t be happier.