The Best and Most Affordable Web Hosting Service (My Verdict)

Web hosting.

Image Credit: mikekorn

I think a lot of people new to blogging underestimate the importance of web hosting. I know I did. I purchased my first hosting package without giving it a great deal of thought beyond “what’s the cheapest service?”

However, I soon found out that the relationship you have with your hosting provider is an extremely important one. They are largely responsible for your website’s load speed and uptime, and if your website is either too slow in loading or not even available, you’re screwed. As such, it pays to spend a little time carefully considering your web hosting provider before taking the leap. It can make all the difference — believe me.

In this post I am going to explain why the web hosting provider you choose is so important and name the provider I recommend (and use) above all others. Whether you are yet to purchase a hosting package or are looking to move from your existing provider, I’ve got the answers here. I’ve also got an exclusive 30% discount for you available at the bottom of this post!

There are affiliate links in this post. If you purchase a product through one of them I will receive a commission. It will cost you nothing extra. I only ever endorse products that I have personally used and tested extensively. Thank you!

What I Want You To Avoid

In a nutshell, I hope that this post can help you avoid the mistakes I made in choosing sub-standard hosting providers. You will probably be surprised to find out that some of the mainstream hosting providers are the ones I have had the worst experiences with.

At one time or another I have had hosting packages with BlueHost, HostGator and GoDaddy — all three of which I ended up being extremely dissatisfied with. BlueHost in particular is a company that I would urge you to avoid at all costs. At one point this blog was down for over 24 hours and I got the distinct impression from BlueHost’s “support” team that they simply didn’t care.

But that’s not all. You need to consider overall uptime as well as the load speed of you site. While all low-cost hosting packages run on “shared servers,” the difference in load times can be dramatic between providers (as I discovered when switching to my preferred provider).

But perhaps the most important thing you need from a hosting provider is a rock solid support system. If I have a problem with one of my sites I need to know that I can get on the phone (or instant messenger) to someone who cares about my custom and has the necessary expertise to resolve whatever issue I may be experiencing.

At the end of the day, nothing is more important than being able to trust your hosting provider.

The Issue of Price

Having said all that, I can appreciate that you may be driven somewhat by your wallet. You may be eager to snap up the cheapest hosting package on offer as I was when I first started out.

Well, the good news is this: my recommended hosting provider is comparable in price or cheaper than all of the mainstream “low-end” providers. Quite frankly, I don’t know how they offer such a superior service without charging more.

When it comes to affordable but quality hosting for your site you can experience a win/win scenario — if you know what to look out for. I learned the hard way that there are some pretty poor providers out there, but if you go for the right one then you won’t regret it.

The Best and Most Affordable Web Hosting Service

WesthostThe web hosting company I use for all of my sites (including Leaving Work Behind) is Westhost.

I have been with Westhost for the past year or so and haven’t regretted it for one moment. Not only did they handle the migration from my previous hosting provider at no extra charge, Leaving Work Behind’s load speed increased by 10% immediately after the switch.

But that’s not all — with their Preferred Hosting package (from $5.99 per month) you get a free domain, daily backups and 24/7 support based in America. I have never come across a support team who are so knowledgeable about their product and so eager to help. And for total peace of mind, if you find yourself in any way unhappy with the service they offer a 60 day money back guarantee (although I very much doubt you’d need this).

I love it when I am able to enthuse so openly about a product or company because what they do is just so good. It doesn’t happen very often, but I have nothing but good things to say about Westhost. Whenever I’ve had a problem (even if it’s an issue I have caused with a rogue plugin or something similar), their support team has been on hand within an instant to help resolve the issue for me.

I can vouch for Westhost’s performance for websites that handle up to and over 20,000 visitors per month on their Preferred Hosting package. Not only do I recommend them, I use them — I’m putting my money where my mouth is here. And when Leaving Work Behind does outgrow shared server hosting, I know that I can continue to expand with Westhost (either by choosing an improved hosting package or by upgrading to their cloud server sister company, VPS.net).

Making the Switch

The decision to switch to Westhost was a big one for me. I was terrified that the website migration process would be costly and/or complicated. I was concerned about lengthy downtime or just plain breaking my site by accident.

So when I found out that Westhost offers free site migration with new accounts, a huge weight was lifted off my chest. If I’m honest I was still a little wary about handing my site over to Westhost’s support staff to handle the migration, but they completed the process without a hitch and at no extra cost.

The moral of the story is this — if you are unhappy with your current hosting provider (as I certainly was), switching isn’t the nightmare you may think it is. At least, it certainly isn’t with Westhost. You can probably get a pro-rata refund from your existing provider and make the switch at no extra cost. Then all you’ll have to look forward to is a more reliable hosting service, great features (such as free backups) and brilliant service.

Are You a Westhost User (or Are You Planning On Becoming One)?

I’ve held back on writing up this review for months because I wanted to be absolutely sure that I could recommend Westhost in this manner without hesitation. If you’re familiar with Leaving Work Behind then you’ll know that I am very selective in terms of what I promote, so take it from me that Westhost are the real deal.

If you are planning to make the switch to Westhost then I’d love to answer any questions that you may have in the comments section. Additionally, if you are an existing Westhost customer then I’d love for you to add your thoughts. Fire away!

To get 30% off Westhost, sign up here and use the coupon code LEAVING30 on checkout. Thank you for your support!

Comments

  1. says

    I’ve been thinking about this a bit recently. I’m not sure I’ll switch to WestHost if I move, but if I do I’ll click one of your links. Very useful post nonetheless.

    Cheers Tom.

  2. says

    I knew you were using Westhost, but the fact that you had such a terrible experience with Bluehost is new to me.
    At the moment I’m using Bluehost and pretty happy with it, though I had no problems to make me really test them just yet. Do you care to elaborate on your case?

    I must say you convinced me to try Westhost, your honest approach does its job, and I probably will if anything goes wrong, but to be fair with Bluehost I won’t cancel with them, we will talk in half a year, when I’ll consider renewing.

  3. Charles Christopher says

    I often wonder how those web hosting review sites come up with their “top 10 web hosts” type of lists. My first presumption, which is most likely a surety, is that they’ve not tried all the web hosts in their list – and therefore, they can’t be credible. I eagerly read personal hosting reviews like this and when I find an honest one, I know it is (e.g. this one). The truth is that the seemingly best and widely known web hosts aren’t truly remarkable when you get to use them.

    I discovered WestHost through your last income report and subsequently browsed through their website and they looked like the perfect host for me. My current web hosting plan is overpriced and is expiring in less than 6 months, so I’m definitely switching hosts when it does (if I’m still marketing online by then). WestHost is affordable, and coupled with a solid recommendation from you, I don’t think I can possibly go wrong.

    I’ve made a point of avoiding those popular web hosts, like Bluehost and HostGator, mostly touted by affiliate marketers in order to increase their affiliate commissions. WestHost is my next web host after this one. Incidentally, there is nothing better than guaranteed and reliable support.

    • says

      You’re absolutely right Charlie — the importance of great support didn’t become clear to me until I started running into troubles with my site. There’s a massive difference between “We don’t think it’s our problem” and “We don’t think it’s our problem but we’ll look into it and try to fix it anyway.”

      Cheers,

      Tom

  4. says

    Well, shoot. I was about to do Bluehost as well. A lot of people have recommended it, and it’s WordPress.org’s main provider. But I will definitely consider Westhost.

    • says

      They recommend it perhaps because it’s well known and pays a generous commission, not to sound too cynical ;-) In fairness, I recommended BlueHost until they screwed me over. It was only genuine experience that encouraged me to change my mind.

  5. sandra says

    Hi Tom,
    Very informative post – thanks! I am looking for new hosting for one of my UK web sites that is currently with UK2 as their support has been incredibly slow and less than comprehensive and I have had problems with email forwarding and excessive downtime.
    So today I have been looking for a replacement UK web host and had thought of emailing you for advice. Your post was most timely.
    However, I don’t know if I wold be better hosting on a UK server rather than USA for a .co.uk offline business and welcome your advice and possible recommendation.
    I do have an account with Hostgator that I could use (have been quite happy with them) but am concerned that their servers are all USA.
    I had thought that hostnine might be a good choice but noticed that there had been a few negative reviews recently.
    My main requirement is that the hosting has c-panel and good customer service that is easy to access from the UK.

    What do you think?

    PS Enjoy your blog and ManageWP blog

    • says

      Hi Sandra,

      There is an argument that having the servers in the UK is better for speed, but then can you be sure that UK providers have their servers in the UK? I for one am more concerned with getting a reliable provider with top quality support than the country that they’re in. But that’s just my opinion :-)

      Cheers,

      Tom

          • says

            I can recommend a UK host with servers in the UK.
            http://www.nethosted.co.uk

            They are not the cheapest you can find but their service has been excellent.

            I’ve had a lot of difficult requests for them with running Magento ecommerce and going through the process of becoming PCI compliant. In every case they’ve been quick to reply (always within an hour, even if I’m working through the night) and quick with solutions.

            I don’t have any affiliate relationship with them. Just a genuine happy customer.

            • says

              Saying that, if I need to set up a new hosting account for some WordPress sites I will give Westhost a go thanks to the prices.

              Plus any .com sites I have aimed at the US web users will be better off situated on US servers

          • sandra says

            Thanks Dave – It’s kind of you to leave a recommendation. After further research, I took up Tim’s recommendation for NetHosted and so far, so good.

  6. says

    Choosing the right eCommerce web hosting service can help give your business a competitive edge online, with a wide range of features, tools and capabilities at your disposal , Thanks to share us nice & cheap hosting

  7. says

    Timely again,

    I host most of mine in the UK and have been scouting around for a USA host. I prefer to pay monthly rather than annually so will check out Westhost too see if that facility is available.

    Bluehost seem to have their marketing firing on all cylinders and your right it’s the commission that attracts so many recommendations.

    For me price is secondary to service, I need too know that when I break it someone will be there to fix it for me!

    Rob

  8. says

    Thanks for the tip! I’m with Dreamhost right now and haven’t had any issues with them, but I’ll keep your recommendation in mind if I need to switch in the future.

  9. says

    Hi,

    I use BlueHost and receive great support on Twitter and when I submit a tech request. Have my websites been down? Yes, they have, but the problem was resolved ASAP. Technical stuff happens to ALL hosting companies. I don’t think any of them are immune.

    *BlueHost offers private servers, and I am considering moving my websites to a private server. If anyone wants a private server, you may want to check out this new feature.

    I listened to someone and purchased web domains through GoDaddy, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the customer service when I wanted to transfer my domains. The rep had a bit of an attitude. I can appreciate that a business doesn’t want to lose a customer, but…

    As far as switching to WestHost… If your website’s load time increased by 20% or 30%, I would consider switching to them. Ten percent is ten percent, which is okay. I appreciate you sharing the information about WestHost.

    • says

      Hey Amandah,

      I agree that all hosting companies experience technical issues, which is why I majored on the fact that Westhost has never failed to offer me great support. The same cannot be said for BlueHost. I am happy to hear that they have performed well for you though.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  10. says

    Right. All of us have different experiences.

    If I sign up with Westhost, I may not have the same favorable experience that you have with them. This has happened to me before with Go Daddy. So there you go.

    We can only make decisions that our best for us after we’ve researched and exhausted our resources.

  11. says

    Trying this post again, maybe it’ll stick this time! :)

    Great post, Tom. I recently canceled some hosting accounts at GoDaddy for several reasons. One of my hosting email accounts was deleted and I wasn’t notified of it or the reason why. I lost quite a bit of information and contacts I had in that email. When I called to ask about it, I wasn’t given a straight answer nor could anyone help with retrieving my data.

    The second reason was that every time I called GoDaddy for a simple question about one of my accounts, the person on the other line constantly tried to sell me something. It was awful! I only wanted my question answered, not a sales pitch for five-year domain renewals.

    I have ten domains there, but no more hosting with them. I plan to move my domains to another company within the year. I’ll check out Westhost when that time comes. I can see why people cringe at the sound of a hard sell: it is super annoying.

  12. says

    Hi Tom,

    Thank you for the great content you provide.

    In light of your recent experience getting hacked, does this affect your opinion of West Host as a web host service? Was your security compromised on their end?

    Appreciate your input.

    ~Susi

    • says

      Hey Susi,

      Yes — it affects my opinion positively! They shut down my site as soon as the incursion was noticed and probably saved my site from getting completely mauled. Then they worked extremely hard to restore it to a backup that they had taken the day before. Really impressed with how they handled it.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  13. says

    I definitely want to chime in for WestHost. Not only do I like supporting small businesses, but their customer support is QUICK!

    Well then again, I guess it depends on the issue that you have, but they are definitely quick to respond compared to what I used to have, DreamHost and HostGator.

  14. says

    Another informative and concise post from you Tom,

    I am becoming a fan of you after reading your post and how considerate of you to reply everyone on your blog. I have been looking for a reasonable web hosting site for my new website recently, I will consider Westhost thanks to your advices.

  15. Daren Galindez says

    I have a WordPress site that I transferred from Godaddy that never worked correctly with Bluehost. They couldn’t figure it out and basically gave up. They told me to just rebuild my site from scratch. I was dumbfounded at that suggestion. However, they simply gave up. So, I switched to HostGator and have been very happy. They migrated me over, my WordPress site works without a hitch. To add salt to the wound, I completed my cancellation, and was credit a separate fee (back up service) but somehow they lost my cancellation request. Not sure how you can lose it after crediting me one fee. However, they claimed I never completed it. Because it fell outside their guarantee window, I was only given partial refund versus the entire refund. I had no way to prove I completed the cancellation. They simply aid I didn’t do it. I was completely hosed by Bluehost. I would not recommend them at all.

    • says

      Neither would I Daren. I’m not a huge fan of HostGator either but I’m happy to read that you had a positive experience with them.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  16. says

    I’m reading your post and finding it difficult to feel the love for Westhost that you so clearly feel. How do I hate Westhost, let me count the ways…..
    I switched to WH just 2 days ago and I’m already looking for another hosting company. They did the switchover and everything seemed fine until the next day (yesterday). Then I noticed an issue. It was a simple one, so I was fine with emailing support for a fix. Coming from Hostgator which has live support, I’m not thrilled that email support is the default on WH’s cPanel, but I figured this wasn’t a deal breaker.
    Then another issue cropped up and I sent a detailed email explaining the problem. What got me really ticked is that it was obvious that the support person did not read my email, frankly, I was sure he picked up one word/phrase and focused on that because he didn’t address my problem. So I sent a scathing email and threatened to cancel the service if the problem wasn’t fixed ASAP. I got a response from another support person who addressed my issue, apologized and directed me to live support. I opted to continue email support as again, the issue wasn’t one that affected the functioning of my site.
    The kicker came when, late last night, when my site went down due to an internal server error. I go to Live Chat, which was unavailable, so my only option was to email (I’m outside the US so calling is not an option). My BP went up several notches when the response from WH was that I needed to disable plugins and unused themes. Say what? Again, I’m thinking these guys are asleep at the wheel. Another email stating the obvious: I can’t disable plugins as I cannot access my dashboard. By now, it’s well past midnight and I’m tired. But I waited for more than an hour for support to email me back, hopefully, telling me they’d disabled the plugins and themes for me. Nothing. My eyes are closing so I decide to go to sleep. I got up at about 5 a.m. and got through to Live Chat. They disabled plugins and unused themes and I finally was able to get to the dashboard. However, I’ve been able to reactivate only one plugin before the site slowed. I tried to log in to Live Chat but that’s not available so I’m back to email support. How do I hate Westhost, I have counted the ways.

    • says

      Hey there,

      Sorry to read you’ve had a bad experience with Westhost, yours is the first negative feedback I’ve read.

      I can’t help but feel these were issues that could have been resolved if you’d hopped on the phone or chosen live chat. Email support is something I try to avoid at all costs for the exact reason that there can be misunderstandings etc. The frustration is increased by the inevitable delay between each message sent and received.

      I’m also out of the US but I use Skype to call US numbers at very cheap rates.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  17. erica says

    Every time I search or best webhosting on google search I find a new ‘must-use’ web hosting site. In this case it’s westhost…I think I’m going to try it, with such positive feed back how could I not?

    • says

      Leaving Work Behind and Healthy Enough are now hosted on Synthesis (for increased speed etc.), everything else is still on Westhost. Shared hosting is awesome (and ridiculously cheap!) but I felt it was time that LWB moved up to the hosting big leagues ;-)

  18. Suzanne says

    I moved both my websites over to WestHost from GoDaddy and it was the worst experience ever.

    I thought GoDaddy was bad, but WestHost is just as bad!

    For over 6 weeks, both my websites (which were on different servers) were either down or they were experiencing extremely slow response times.

    Every time I would contact WestHost’s tech support department during these 6 weeks, they would tell me the same thing…that they were seeing the sites fine and that it must be my internet provider’s issue, which was Time Warner. So, they would tell me to contact Time Warner every time.

    When I finally started to realize it wasn’t a Time Warner issue and that it was a WestHost issue, I decided to move my sites off of WestHost.

    When I contacted WestHost’s cancellation department, that’s when the rep told me that the reason why my sites were slow or were going down was because I was hitting my limits and needed to upgrade my hosting plan.

    At no time was I EVER told that from the tech support team! Had I been told that in the first place, I would have upgraded my hosting plan immediately!

    I can’t tell you how much traffic I lost and lost revenue because of WestHost inability to tell me what was really going on with my websites.

    On their site they say “100% Satisfaction Promise”

    I paid for a year up front for both websites and was completely dissatisfied with their service and asked for a refund for the unused portion of hosting plans.

    They refused to give me a refund…

    • says

      Hey Suzanne,

      I’m sorry to hear of your experience. I have to say that it is not typical of my experiences with Westhost, but I know that doesn’t help you.

      I’m astonished and surprised that Westhost are refusing to give you a refund. If you’d like me to sort this out for you please send me an email. I am certain the situation can be resolved.

      Cheers,

      Tom

    • says

      Well that sucks. They’re always very responsive with me and I’m surprised they didn’t get back to you as a potential prospect!

      Yep, I use them for email :-)

  19. Sofie says

    Just signed up with Westhost.
    Thought I’d at least give them a go.
    Got an email confirming my purchase, but I had to go look up in the FAQ that it could take up until 24 hours before I could start working with my account.

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