If you decide to make your own author website, one of the most important things you need to consider is which web hosting you should use.
The truth is, there are hundreds of different companies – most of which use terms that we either don't fully understand or sound too good to be true.
The truth is, there is a HUGE different between hosting services, and most of them you should avoid like the plague. Having build 25+ different websites over the past 10 years, and dealt with 13 different hosting companies over that time for both large and small sites, I can say with experience which ones should be looked at and which ones should be avoided.
In the past, I have made major mistakes with some of these companies. I either spent too much on features I didn't need, or chose cheaper services that skimped on capability and paid a major price (imagine waking up and realizing your entire website was hacked, and you can't get it back).
- My top recommended web hosting for authors
- A list of hosts to avoid
- A list of the best hosts for high-traffic websites
Table of contents
- My Top Recommendation: Siteground
- Why It’s Important to Get the Host Right
- Group 1: The Hosting to Avoid
- Group 2: Hosting for Beginners (1-50K Visitors/month)
- Group 3: Advanced Hosting (50,000+ Visitors/month)
- What Kindlepreneur Uses
- What Most Authors Need
Disclaimer: some of the links below may lead to affiliate commissions if you purchase the product, but it costs you nothing extra, and every cent goes to my coffee fund.
My Top Recommendation: Siteground
In the following article, I'm going to break down the different levels of Web Hosting, and list a couple of companies inside that level. However, if you'd prefer to just know which one will work for you so you can make the call and move on, then here it is. I strongly believe Siteground is the best option for 95% of you out there.
Siteground is my top recommended web host for authors.
I strongly believe that Siteground is the best option for 95% of you out there.
Mostly because it’s a reliable hosting at a minimum cost. It’s not the cheapest on the market (and I’ll discuss why you DON’T want the cheap ones below), but it offers the best bang for your buck and protection.
There are some “better” hosts out there, but most authors will not need the features those provide. See below for more details on web hosts to use if you get a lot of traffic already.
If you’re still here, let’s get into my more thorough explanations…
Why It’s Important to Get the Host Right
A good host is the foundation upon which an author builds their author website.
There are many ways that an author website can go wrong, and one of them is picking the wrong host.
A bad host will not only waste your hard-earned money, but could open you to vulnerabilities that might make it easier for your website to be hacked, or for any number of tragedies to occur.
And often it might feel like you're getting a good deal, but there are a lot of other issues you may encounter, such as hidden fees, features that should be part of the core package but you have to pay extra for, etc.
In this article there are three different types of hosting that I will walk you through:
- Website host to avoid
- Hosting we recommend for beginners
- Advanced hosting options
Each of these have clear winners in each category (or losers in the case of the first option), and I will tell you why I do or do not recommend each hosting platform as we go along.
Let’s walk through each category.
Group 1: The Hosting to Avoid
This group is the one you want to be most wary of.
Why? Because they are the most attractive, but produced the worst results.
Let me explain
For one, most of the hosts in this grouping are hosts that you have heard of before. You may have seen ads on TV, or heard them recommended by an influencer. That's because these hosting platforms spend a lot of money on advertising, and often have extremely generous affiliate programs.
In fact, if I wanted to make extra money here at Kindlepreneur, I would be better off choosing to promote one or two of these hosts, because they are much more likely to make more money in the long term.
But there's a problem.
Most of these hosts, while extremely low cost, will nickel and dime you for everything you've got. There are many services that these hosts should provide in their base package, but don't. If you want those things, they will likely cost extra.
Examples of these services include backing up your site, helping you recover if/when you get hacked, providing dedicated server space, etc.
Now, some of these hosts are okay if you spend extra money for more expensive plans, but from my experience, you're better off with other hosts that are known for holding a higher standard overall.
So which hosts should you avoid, here are a few I DO NOT recommend:
- HostGator: HostGator is a web hosting company that was founded in 2002, it had a fast growing in the early years and was sold to Endurance International Group (EIG) in 2012, However, it has suffered from multiple widespread hacks, and you have limited control over server resources, with few scalability options. HostGater plans start at $2.75 USD/month.
- Bluehost: You’ve probably heard of Bluehost, as they have one of the most aggressive marketing arms. Bluehost is a web hosting company that was founded in 2003, it was one of the 20 largest web hosts in 2015 and was collectively hosting over 2 million domains in 2010, but it has suffered from CPU throttling issues and censorship controversies. I feel it oversells its serverspace, meaning your site might perform poorly because of traffic that another site on the same server is getting. Bluehost plans start at $2.95 USD/month.
- Namecheap: Namecheap is a widespread domain and server hosting platform used by millions. However, they, like all on this list, don’t provide adequate service at their lowest tiers, and I recommend something more substantial. Namecheap plans start at $1.98 USD/month.
- Hostinger: Hostinger is a company that provides web hosting services and domain registration. While it might look fancy with features like its no-code website builder called Zyro, which is aimed at small to medium-sized enterprises, these features are flashy and not actually useful in the long run because they cannot be transferred. It’s much better to learn how to create a simple Wordpress website on your own. Hostinger plans start at $2.79 USD/month.
I have personally lost entire websites to HostGator and BlueHost specifically because I choose their cheapest plan and didn't get adequate protection, nor backups. I thought, why should I need that? I'll be fine….nope 🙁 All that work, writing and design went right down the drain. An expensive lesson.
Again, some of these are okay at the higher tiers, but since they are known for overselling the server space, or swindling people out of basic services that should be offered even at the most basic level, I recommend going with one of the hosting services in the next group…
Group 2: Hosting for Beginners (1-50K Visitors/month)
For most authors who are just starting out on their author journey, I recommend one of the following hosting companies for websites getting between 1 and 50,000 pageviews per month.
These are hosting companies that cost a tiny bit more than the ultra-cheap hosting of the previous group, but provide significantly more quality for what you pay for.
For most of these hosts, I would recommend a higher end shared hosting option, or a VPS option, which affords a little more server space and performance.
Additionally, these hosts all tend to be easy to scale, which means you can upgrade your account with just a few clicks if you need to, something that's often difficult with a host like HostGator.
We have a few recommendations, all of which are decent. But we're starting with our top recommendation on the list, and that is…
SiteGround is a web hosting company founded in 2004 in Bulgaria, that provides hosting for about 2 million domains worldwide and offers a variety of hosting options including shared hosting, cloud hosting, enterprise solutions, email hosting, and domain registration.
And not only is it set up to host Wordpress websites, but can do Joomla, Drupal, and a variety of other systems as well.
I recommend Siteground because it is by far the best value for what you get. I recommend you get the “GrowBig” hosting plan, which costs $4.99/month, and has just about everything you’d need, including unlimited sites, 20 GB of storage, and enough bandwidth for ~100,000 monthly visits (although I’d probably recommend upgrading by the time you get to 50,000).
Now, this is slightly more expensive than the hosting options in Group 1, but you get so much more, including that coveted automatic backups, so you can recover from any hacks, server crashes, or silly mistakes that warrant reverting back to yesterday’s version of the site.
That’s why Siteground is our #1 recommendation for authors who are just starting out.
Dreamhost is a lot like SiteGround, and my content manager, Jason, has even used it for some of his websites, so I drew on his experience a little for this rundown.
Dreamhost is one of the better hosts out there because it’s stable, the support system is very friendly, and it’s incredibly easy to scale your servers if you need to.
For most authors, I’d recommend that “Shared Unlimited” server, which is $8.95/month (or a lot less if you lock into 1-3 years with them), which gets you unlimited websites, a decent amount of bandwidth, unlimited site storage, and an email address.
Jason personally uses one of their slightly more expensive VPS options which give you extra server space, and that comes in at $15/month.
3. InMotion Hosting
InMotion is another one that is at the same caliber as Siteground or Dreamhost. It’s slightly more expensive than the likes of HostGator or Bluehost, but it’s far more reliable than those.
Like the others, it has all your major bells and whistles and makes installing Wordpress a breeze, but there are a few differences.
For one, most of the less expensive tiers don’t have monthly options, you’ll need to lock yourself into at least a year of hosting at that level. I don’t really like this, but I understand how it helps them stay profitable.
For most authors, I’d recommend starting at the “Power” shared hosting tier, starting with the annual subscription which comes out to $6.99/month. This lets you have pretty much all the features you’d want (i.e. unlimited bandwidth, email addresses, # of websites, etc.) but it also makes it easy to set up eCommerce websites, which can be useful if you plan to sell your books direct.
While I have less personal experience with InMotion, I have heard from several authors that it is good quality, so I feel I can recommend them in this section.
Group 3: Advanced Hosting (50,000+ Visitors/month)
As your website grows and begins to attract more than 50,000 users per month, it's important to consider more advanced hosting options to ensure a smooth and reliable experience for your visitors. These options include dedicated hosting, cloud hosting, and managed hosting.
- Dedicated hosting is a step up from shared hosting, where you have an entire server to yourself, rather than sharing with other websites. This allows for more control over your server and greater flexibility in terms of customization and scaling. It's an ideal option for sites with high traffic and demanding applications.
- Cloud hosting is another great option for high-traffic websites. It allows for easy scaling, as resources can be added or removed as needed. Additionally, cloud hosting provides greater reliability and uptime, as your website is hosted across multiple servers. This means that if one server goes down, your website will still be available on another.
- Managed hosting is a step up from traditional hosting options, where the hosting company takes care of all the technical aspects of running your website, including backups, security, and updates. This option is ideal for those who want to focus on running their website, rather than managing the technical aspects.
Most authors will not need these options. However, if you are specifically crafting your site to gain a lot of organic traffic (like Kindlepreneur and sites like it do), then you may eventually want to switch to these heavier-duty options as your site grows.
Let’s take a look at my favorites.
Flywheel is a hosting provider that is designed for creatives, freelancers, and agencies. It offers a variety of features to make website development and collaboration easier.
Some of the key benefits of using Flywheel include the ability to work on a website locally before publishing it live, one-click installations of popular Content Management Systems, customizable plans, and excellent customer support.
Additionally, Flywheel provides advanced security features such as automatic backups, SSL certificates, and DDoS protection, which ensures your website stays safe and secure.
It also provides an optimized environment for WordPress which makes it a great option for those who are looking to use WordPress as their CMS.
Overall, this is my favorite managed hosting platform for authors with large amounts of traffic.
2. WP Engine
WP Engine is a hosting provider that specializes in WordPress hosting. It provides a hosting environment that is optimized for WordPress, which can lead to faster page load times, improved security, and better overall performance.
Some of the key advantages of using WP Engine include automatic updates for core, themes, and plugins, advanced security features, staging environment, excellent customer support, and easy scalability.
WP Engine also offers managed hosting, which takes care of all the technical aspects of running your website, allowing you to focus on managing your content.
It is a great option for those who are looking for a reliable and secure hosting service for their WordPress website.
WPX is a hosting provider that specializes in WordPress hosting. It offers a variety of hosting options to suit different needs and requirements. Some of the key advantages of using WPX include its fast and reliable hosting service, advanced security features, excellent customer support, managed hosting, easy scalability, and custom CDN.
Additionally, WPX offers a malware cleanup service if your website is hacked. WPX is a great option for those who are looking for a reliable, fast, and secure hosting service for their WordPress website.
With WPX, you can rest assured that your website will be well-protected and perform well for your visitors.
This is another one that my content manager, Jason, uses for his higher-performing websites.
Cloudways is a cloud hosting platform that offers a variety of hosting options for different types of websites.
It allows you to choose from multiple cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, DigitalOcean, and more, giving you the flexibility to choose the best option for your website.
Some of the key advantages of using Cloudways include easy scaling, advanced security features, excellent customer support, managed hosting, and user-friendly interface.
Additionally, Cloudways offers a variety of services like automatic backups, firewall protection, and SSL certificates.
Cloudways is a great option for those who are looking for a flexible, reliable and secure hosting service for their website. With Cloudways, you can easily manage your server and website, and scale up or down your resources as per your needs.
What Kindlepreneur Uses
Because Kindlepreneur is a high-traffic website (well above the 50,000 users/month mark), I am most interested in hosts in the third category, the heavy hitters.
I currently use WPX as my hosting provider for Kindlepreneur and it has been a great choice for my high-traffic website.
However, if I were to start over again, I would consider using Flywheel as my hosting provider.
Both WPX and Flywheel are high-quality hosting options, but Flywheel offers a few additional features that I find appealing. However, the benefits I would gain from switching to Flywheel are not significant enough to warrant the move and the cost and effort of switching hosting providers.
What Most Authors Need
Let’s face it, most authors do not have a website like Kindlepreneur. Most authors don’t even want a website like this, because creating the content for a website like Kindlepreneur is a full-time job in and of itself.
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So with that in mind, I recommend Siteground for the vast majority of authors.
Not only will you get quality hosting, but you won’t miss out on what I consider to be website essentials like regular automatic backups, easy Wordpress hosting, and great support channels.
If you happen to build a website that starts to get very high traffic, then you can consider moving to one of the heavier hitters like Flywheel or Cloudways.
However, most authors will not need this. All you need is a server that can easily handle a few thousand pageviews a month.
Siteground will be more than adequate for that.