When it comes to the best web hosting for websites, you’ve got no shortage of options. Most small business owners aren’t web development buffs, so it’s hard to know what really matters — Ease of use? A free domain name? Brand reputation? Price?
To be frank, folks just starting out could probably do well with any of the big name website hosting firms. But what about when it really matters?
Well, when it comes to web design in Michigan, headquarters for Kaleidico, there’s only one hosting service that fits the bill. In this post, we take you behind the scenes here in Flat Rock to explain why WP Engine is our go-to website host for clients.
Tailored WordPress Servers
For any business website, the server specs are crucial. The web server is the special computer located offsite in the special networking facilities of the web host that “serves up” your web pages to your customers.
WP Engine’s servers are exclusively tailored and enhanced specifically for WordPress. That matters to us because Kaleidico recommends WordPress to all of our web design clientele. WordPress is hands down the top content management system (CMS) in the world — powering one-quarter of the entire internet (that’s about 75 million websites). More than a blog posting tool, the highly adaptable and customizable WordPress CMS powers many of the top sites in the world, including Bloomberg, The New Yorker, Variety Magazine, Time, Sweden’s national website, just to name a few.
WordPress is guaranteed to perform fast on WP Engine servers, compared to other hosting plans — which, to be sure, are friendly to WordPress installs. But we’ve found there’s a difference between web hosting services that are friendly to WordPress and those that are exclusively tailored to suit it. And of course, when it comes to your business website, speed matters a lot.
The Kissmetrics blog notes that HALF of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. 3 seconds and they’re clicking to close the window. Almost 80% of users won’t come back to a site that takes too long to load and 44% said they would even complain to a friend. Moz says the ideal server response time should be 200ms — that’s one-fifth of a second! Here’s another take: Every Second Counts – Why Page Speed Matters.
Excellent Customer Service
Another thing that keeps us coming back to WP Engine is the customer service. Now, our dev guys are pretty smart. They’re not the kind of people who have to be told to turn it off and then turn it back on again. So when they contact support, it’s usually for a tough problem. They tell us that WP Engine’s support is “second to none” — and again that’s not a compliment they hand out to just anyone.
When it comes to a business website, downtime is lost sales, frustrated customers, and frustrated web development clients. When customers can’t connect to your site because it’s offline or they can connect but the login page, sign-up form, or appointment scheduler is broken, it’s a serious and costly problem. The occasions when we face these problems are very rare, but when we do, it’s great that the issue can be resolved quickly.
Website Extras Are Included
When you buy website hosting, you’re really buying a package of services. With most web hosts you’ll get storage for your website’s files, delivery of your site files from the host’s servers to your customers, a monthly allowance of data transfers, email services, and so forth. It seems like a nice bundle, and it is.
However, these aren’t all the website services you’ll need to run a real business. With the rise of hacking, encryption is not an “extra” you can do without. WP Engine provides free SSL Certificates, which, as we explained here, makes sure the submission of login credentials, payment info, and signup form information is protected from prying eyes. Other firms will facilitate SSL security, but many shared hosting companies charge you extra.
There are also backups. Servers do run into problems from time to time so it’s important for businesses to make regular backups of website content. Third-party firms will manage this for your business for a fee. So will most web hosts. WP Engine stores a period of 30 days worth of daily site backups, and they do this without any added cost to you.
WP Engine also offers other speed-improving niceties, including CDN and Caching. Both these features make your website load faster, reducing the number of frustrated customers that click away and complain to their friends. For newbies, a CDN (content delivery network, sometimes content distribution network) is a geographically distributed network of servers that delivers web content from the nearest such server to the user. Caching is the system that holds copies of your website files on the CDN so that they can be served up to users quickly. This means that your customers in London and Hawaii don’t have to rely on the same server in Detroit to access your site. Your files can be served through the CDN by servers that are closer to them.
For a lot of companies, these other features cost extra, and have to be added and managed independently or piecemeal from your web hosting services, which again, can be a headache for someone who’s not a tech specialist. But with WP Engine, these website extras are included in the package. We like that.
Pricing in Context
Pricing with web hosting generally means that you get what you pay for. It’s true there are some web hosting companies that offer rock-bottom prices. But as we noted above, these folks charge extra for many of the website services you’ll need to effectively run your business.
While WP Engine’s pricing may be a little higher than other shared hosting on a monthly basis, you get a lot more out of their package. If you were to pick another web host, you’d have to invest separately in security and speed optimization.
And that’s currently the case with one of our clients who came to us without a WP Engine site. For the client’s anti-hacking and malware protection security, it cost around $120 extra per year for a basic package from a third-party firm. The price is double that if a site needs e-commerce security protection. So as you can see, you don’t really end up saving yourself money by going with another host that’s a few dollars per month cheaper, but who then doesn’t include the extras you need.
Plus, keep in mind that you don’t have a business website just for its own sake. A business website helps you generate leads, close sales, and grow profits. The cost of creating and hosting a website, then, is an investment that should ultimately pay off.
So that’s our behind-the-scenes tour of Kaleidico when it comes to our outlook on web hosting. There are many options out there. But we’ve found that for our clients and for our development work, WP Engine is the best option. It gives us all the professional business features we need to provide to our clients — WordPress servers, customer service, speed optimization, backups, security — so that they turn their attention to running their businesses.
Want to hear more about WP Engine? Give us a call at 313-338-9515 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how our full-service digital agency can help with your website hosting needs. And check out this short video from WP Engine: