Web Hosting Recommendations and Switching to WPEngine

Today we’re talking about web hosting recommendations, and why we switched hosts!

Hi, I’m Nathan Lussier, your business strategist, and digital visionary. And you’re watching Off The Charts, where we re-imagine
what’s possible for your business. Let’s do this. When you run a business that relies on your website’s uptime, it’s important to have
a fast, reliable website host.

I still remember a few years ago when I had a personal website back in college, and my hosting company’s servers got struck by lightning… luckily I had a back up of my website on my local computer! But today there is a way safer and better website hosts to choose from, and they all come with their own pros and cons.

We’ll look at what characteristics you should look for in a website host, but first I want to talk about why we recently changed hosts.
I’ve been on many different website hosts over the years and for the most part, they were fine. I could add content, people could
see it. End of story. But as I started to offer paid programs inside a members-only area, our website needed to be both secure
and able to handle more traffic too.

What ended up happening is that the dedicated host that we were using would go down on a regular basis, almost every day usually during the night when I was asleep. I’d wake up to find that my hosting company found suspicious login attempts, and decided to block all future login attempts. locking out all of our customers from accessing the programs they had paid for.

It was becoming really frustrating to wake up to a locked website, and complaints from customers, too. And my hosting company couldn’t come up with a better solution, they just said that my site was getting attacked by denial of service attacks.

I knew there had to be a better way. I tried all the WordPress plugins I could find, but at the end of the day, I knew that the host
was to blame. That’s when we switched to WPEngine. Ever since making the switch, our site’s speed increased by a few seconds per page, we haven’t had any downtime, and the “attacks” are no longer an issue.

Now I understand that moving hosts is quite an undertaking, so I don’t say it lightly that if you’re experiencing hacks, malware,
or any kind of funky behavior on your website and you have some strong passwords and good WordPress security plugins installed. Then it’s probably your host’s unfavorable environment.

So here’s what to look for in a host. A WordPress Specific Environment. Because all of our websites are hosted on
WordPress, I knew that by choosing a host who specializes in WordPress we’d be dealing with professionals. Instead of trying to be
the generalist, a hosting company like WPEngine and NVMe Webhosting by A2 hosting does only WordPress websites, not email hosting or a bunch of other services.

This also means that their customer support team knows the ins and outs of WordPress, and they won’t use solutions that break
our WordPress sites. Winning!

Security

This is a big one because most of us compare hosting companies by price, and I feel like that’s the wrong way to look at hosting.
I’m just as cost-conscious as the next person, but I know that if I rent an apartment in the bad part of town I will save money but
I might have my home broken into. That’s not going to save me in any money in the long run, and living in fear of getting attacked
in my own neighborhood isn’t worth it, either.

Now, of course, I understand that if the budge doesn’t permit it you should go with an affordable option like Bluehost or A2 NVMe hosting but if your business is growing, and you’re experiencing growing pains then it might be time for a move.

Our Members Only Area

If you sell digital products online and you host these inside a members-only area, it’s important for your host to be able to handle
the high volume of login attempts. This was the big one for us, and what ultimately made us switch.

Speed & Search Engines

Finally, how fast your website loads is directly correlated to your rank in the search engines if you’re putting even a little bit of effort
into optimizing your site for SEO. As you get more traffic, most shared hosting accounts tend to slow down. And sometimes
even when you upgrade to dedicated hosting, your host might run out of memory when there are too many users accessing your site at once.

So the solution is to look for a host that specifically scales and can handle the load. One way to ensure this is to look for a Content
Distribution Network (or CND) which copies your website’s files to other servers, so that the load is distributed across different hosts and not just your main one.

WPEngine has this option built-in, as do other high end hosting providers. So, this is my story on why we decided to
change hosting accounts and I hope that you learned a little bit about how website hosting works and that you’ll feel empowered to make a good hosting choice as your business continues to grow and expand!