Well, if you want to get technical, I technically do use managed WordPress hosting. But what I’m trying to really say is why I don’t use most of the common managed WordPress hosting solutions out there. This is a real review of hosting solutions, by a real web designer who has had her fair share of using numerous different companies for hosting.
Because I’m a web designer who has built or worked on over a 100 different websites in my time so far, I’ve had to deal with almost all of the major hosting companies out there. There are 3 types of hosting companies in my mind: Garbage, It’s Okay and Awesome.
I’m a huge fan of Yoast. I read a lot of his articles and follow a lot of his advice. Who wouldn’t take the advice of the best WordPress SEO in the world? Right? Well, he wrote an article once about his favored wordpress hosting companies which include Synthesis and Westhost. Well, because of his advice, I went ahead and tried both hosting companies. West host wasn’t so bad. My client’s website is decently fast on the standard shared plan. The interface was rather simple.
Now synthesis I used for 2 clients. Synthesis hosting is a WordPress Only hosting solution. They only host WordPress websites, you cannot install any other type of site or software on the server you pay for. There is no ability to purchase domains, email or SSL certificates from them. But they do have a lot of nice features for WordPress like security, speed, backups and the use of scribe.
For my first client, it was a rather simple new e-commerce WordPress website and everything was fine and dandy. I didn’t need much help from synthesis hosting. The second client however I had a very bad experience.
First Problem, We moved an already existing WordPress website to web synthesis hosting for the Hefty cost of $200 dollars (because it’s a big job and we wanted it done right). When we were moved over, her site was very fast. Awesome. We were happy. Then came the time she needed an SSL certificate. Guess what, that was the worst experience I EVER had with SSL certificates. What a HUGE waste of time for everyone. If you want SSL installed, they require you to purchase it somewhere else. Which we did. Then they give you some file, that you have to then provide to your SSL provider who in turn needs to give you back a file to then give back to web synthesis. That took literally hours on the phone with our SSL provider at host gator who had no freaking clue what to do with this file. They provided us with something that synthesis rejected. So they both suggested we go directly to geo trust and get the info, and even going to geo trust you have to jump thru a bunch of freaking hoops just to get this stupid file that synthesis needs. Once you get the file, oh boy, it better be correct when you send it to Synthesis because if its not, you gotta do it ALL OVER AGAIN! Eventually the stupid SSL was installed. It took two weeks to get this all done and over with. In the past, I’ve always have been able to install SSL myself or the host company installed it for me. Barely any work on my end with other hosting companies.
Second problem, synthesis allows you to enter an email for response when you open a ticket. Well, in the past with my first client, I didn’t have a problem getting a response emailed back to me. Well, with the second client, any time I entered my email, rather than respond to me and the email I provided to them, they responded to the client. The client did not want anything to do with the support, it was MY JOB. So the client had to forward me all the information. I had to tell her how to respond and she would then every single time have to attache me and tell them that I needed to be a part of the conversation. Bunch of bullshit. Seriously. And it’s freaking RUDE. And not to mention it would take 24 to 48 hours to get a response from these people. You can only contact them via support tickets. No phone to call. No chat. Just support tickets and the response time is ridiculous. 24 to 48 HOURS each time you respond! So one ticket can take days to figure out when responding back and forth and back and forth. You cannot wait that long when you have a problem with your site. Especially us web designers. We don’t have that kind of time.
Third problem, her company is rather large and she needed a CRM solution and Help Desk Software solution for this site. Well guess what, because Synthesis is wordpress hosting ONLY, we can’t install that software. No matter if we pay 47/mo, 97/mo 147/m or 300/mo. It doesn’t matter. You can only have wordpress websites. No emails, no SSL’s, no nothing. Sorry, go somewhere else for that. As a web designer, if we can centralize most items, that’s cool and easy for us. For clients it makes things a lot less confusing because the normally don’t understand why all these products could be in different places and why in the first place. Centralizing for your clients is a must in my book. Make things easy for your clients, not hard. Synthesis is not web designer friendly nor client friendly. I will no longer be sending clients to them.
- Network Solutions (horrible customer service, horrible server, navigation is so,so)
- Dream Host (not easy for clients to navigate, no phone support)
- 1 and 1 Hosting (horrible customer service, horrible for clients to navigate, horrible server)
- Web Synthesis (fast server, bad customer service, no phone support, 48 hour response to email support, they don’t sell any other services)
- Ipower (vdeck is super easy for clients to navigate and great customer service, great documentation, affordable)
- GoDaddy (not easy for clients to navigate, great customer service, good documentation, affordable)
- West Host (pretty easy for clients to navigate, good customer service)
- Siteground (awesome knowledgable customer service, fast response, super fast servers, easy for clients to navigate, great documentation, affordable)
Why is Siteground awesome? Support and Server. The support at Siteground has top notch fast support and the staff are knowledgable in your problem areas. They are not your typical phone support calling center. If I need support, I can call, I can chat and I can open a support ticket 24/7. Whatever is convenient for ME. I opened a support ticket this morning regarding a mySQL Database question. I posted the ticket at 11:28am. It was answered and over with at 11:36am. 8 Minutes after creating the ticket. I’ve opened about 3 other tickets since I’ve been with them and each one was answered within 15 minutes. I’ve chatted once with an individual regarding a question and he directed me on how to do things thru chat and waited patiently as I did. I’ve called once and had the same awesome experience. I am a customer for life if this is how awesome my support system is. Support is #1 in my book for hosting.
My website is lighting fast. On a shared server. Yup. No need to get cloud hosting just yet. Maybe one day if I install a lot more sites, but for now, I’m GREAT! I’m HAPPY! I’m ECSTATIC! (and once I do need to upgrade, it will be an easy task of just upgrading thru my current account). The hosting control panel is easy for clients and web designers to use. They also have cpanel. There is tons of easy to follow documentation so you can direct your clients one how to do simple things like create their own emails and more.
Siteground has affordable managed WordPress hosting options. I’m on one of those affordable plans right now. Guess what, I can also install any other kind of software I want on my managed wordpress hosting server. So invoicing software or cms or just customer service software. I doesn’t matter. I can have it all in one place. They also have the strong dedicated and cloud hosting plans too. One hosting plan they offer that I don’t see very often is student pricing. So if you are student in school learning to become a web designer or similar, you can get a HUGE discount on incredible hosting and when you’re ready, you can upgrade easily.
Don’t just take my word for it, there are many other professionals who agree that siteground hosting is the best solution.
- Hosting Facts – Siteground Hosting Review
- Make A Website Hub – Siteground Hosting Review
- Tech Tage – Siteground Review
Siteground will also transfer your current website, for FREE.
So yes, I’m an affiliate only because I’m a super happy customer. I highly highly recommend Siteground for your managed WordPress hosting solution.Visit Siteground Hosting
Haha, nice article Heather. I see they made you a bit angry. 😉 In my years in web design, I have also tried pretty much all the major hosting companies that are out there. From my experience, most of them had issues. Lack of up time stability, crappy customer service, hard to use, or all of the above.
Through the years, my favorite hosting solution has been GoDaddy… As a company, I do not like GoDaddy, mainly for their shallow marketing methods. From the quality of service, ease of use, uptime and customer service stand point, they were above the rest. Until about a couple of years ago that is. Their service is still top notch, for the most part, but uptime and stability is no longer there.
My personal favorite hosting company these days is JustHost. I have not tried SiteGround yet but am looking forward to test driving their service soon.
Thanks for an awesome article Heather.
Justhost? Never heard of them, will have to check them out! Godaddy has angered me on a few occasions, the control panel is very hard for anyone to navigate, no cpanel, and they are always trying to throw things in your cart or talk you into things you don’t need during checkout. I have to walk clients thru the process of purchasing hosting from there. haha. But overall, the good customer service does make up for it.
If you don’t mind me asking, why is 1and1 in the Garbage list? And why is GoDaddy “just okay”?
I have not tried 1and1, but I was considering it. As for GoDaddy, I’ve been with them for many years. Aside from some of their corporate policies, they have served me well.
I’d love to compare notes.
Thank you for bringing that up, I updated my post to reflect “why” haha. 1 and 1 has the worst customer service I have ever experienced. You get support that speaks broken english and it is hit and miss when you will get someone who actually knows anything. Godaddy is pretty cool. They have always given me great customer support and most people seem to know what they are talking about. Once in a while you will get someone who is a jerk, but it’s still worth it. Just hang up and call someone new. I would check out siteground or ipower. They both have affordable hosting and great customer service. The only difference is the servers are more top notch at siteground and they have cpanel, which ipower doesn’t have.
Glad I read this. I was actually considering Synthesis for a client but was a little concerned it’d be another case of “no, no little boy, you can’t access Apache because you might break our delicate ecosystem and make the dinosaurs go extinct”-style hosting.
Seems my instincts were correct.
hahah, That’s awesome 🙂 Happy to be of service!
If you think Siteground is awesome, then I will definitely suggest you to try WP Hosting Spot for your or your client’s solution for next time. I’ve spend a lot of time looking of a insanely amazing host (even I tried Siteground), but I suggest and prefer WP Hosting Spot over anyone I’ve used so far for managed WordPress hosting. I’ve also wrote a review article about my experience with them. You can find it here: http://goo.gl/PRjwDn
They are really crazy good at quality, blazing fast speed (sever experience) & amazing support.
Thanks a ton Saumya! I will check out WP Hosting Spot for sure 🙂
I had a serious issue with siteground. It was a magento website and there were some crons set up.The issue was that cron process would break in between.They tried several things but could not fix it.Increase execution times in php, NGinx and what not.After about 2 weeks of messing around, they said its something wrong with our code.
Again we checked each line of code and everything seemed perfect.Finally we had to move to inmotion and everything was perfect from day one.
Another issue I faced on siteground was that many commands were blocked on siteground ssh.I couldn’t even run wget.
In terms of speed, inmotion is bit slow compared to siteground.
Thanks for that insight on hosting a Magento site with Siteground Karam. Hope it helps someone on making a decision to move to wordpress 🙂
First of all, I enjoyed your perspective about choosing a host with a great support team.
I’m a happy SiteGround customer as well and I’ve reviewed them on my blog: https://techtage.com/siteground-review/
After trying them out I’ve realized how much great support matters for web hosting, as some of my earlier experiences with more popular hosts had left me clueless about what was actually wrong with my site.
Thanks for this insightful post!
Cool write-up Heather! I agree regarding the confusion on Godaddy and 1and1 although I have never tried a few on your list. Siteground can be fast depending on the datacenter and the audience that you are targeting in my experience, but for high traffic WordPress sites it is important to keep the VPS as slim as possible, i.e. no cPanel, extra apps etc — so I guess you are right that “managed” WordPress hosting isn’t for everyone.
For several years I placed my clients on DigitalOcean on their own droplet to ensure top notch speed in the datacenter (city) of their choice, with CloudFlare in front of it, free SSL installed (OpenSSL + Comodo on CloudFlare), Nginx, etc.
After a while my clients asked me to launch my own billing system, and LittleBizzy was born, and still growing steadily ever after. If you ever have a high-traffic site you need super optimized maybe you’d be interested to check us out (or become an affiliate too!).
Plus, free setup and migration for all websites, all the time.
Thanks for considering! Cheers 🙂