I recommend A Small Orange
I searched long and hard before recommending a shared host for my awesome Temple, Texas church. It’s difficult to get unbiased recommendations for hosting because Web hosts are willing to pay out pretty big commissions for new referrals.
I have hosted sites with a number of companies. Back in the day, I loved Communitech.net (until they were acquired by Web.com). I really liked Media Temple (until they were bought by GoDaddy). And, I’ve tolerated 1&1 for a number of clients.
When I made the recommendation for hosting, I researched a ton of different web hosts. I dug into biased and unbiased reviews. I searched Twitter for angry and happy customers, and I pulled up WordPress sites that were hosted on the various web hosts on my list.
On the short list that I sent to the church were:
- Linode (2GB is $20/mo, 4GB is $40/mo). Linode lets you have a virtual dedicated server in an all-SSD cloud. This lets you have the most control over your hosting experience, but it also requires the help of someone who knows Linux. These tend to be very stable, very fast, and very friendly to developers.
- A Small Orange (“medium” is $10/mo, “large” is $20/mo) ASO has ridiculously awesome support… somewhat renowned in the industry. They were started by a former HostGator exec, their servers are fully SSD (even on the shared hosting), and they are 150% renewable energy backed.
- WP Engine is the host that specializes in WordPress. They are a leader in this area, and Automattic (the company behind WordPress) has invested in them – the only hosting company they have. They are more costly for a shared host, but the key win here is speed. These guys do the caching for you, so the site loads so so quick. They start at $29/month, and the next step is $99/month. I’ve never used them, but everyone that I’ve heard from loves them.
- I’ve set up a TON of people on 1and1. I call them the Wal-Mart of web hosts. They provide a fairly good product for a very cheap price. If budget is a big issue, they are fine. It won’t be the zippiest site on the block, but it’s not bad. The India-based support team is capable, and they get to phone calls pretty quickly, but there is a definite language barrier.
My personal site is on Linode
This site is hosted by Linode. I really do like Linode, but the church didn’t want to manage a virtual server – they wanted a simple and easy shared hosting package with fantastic support. That’s what A Small Orange is all about.
I tried Digital Ocean before landing on Linode, but their pricing model used to be confusing. There wasn’t a cap on pricing, so I always ended up paying more than list price in any given month. Now, it looks like both services have a cap.