As a web developer, I tend to cringe when contacted by prospective clients who tell me that they have already arranged their web hosting. The selected web hosting company is often not the best choice for various reasons.
Web Hosting Tip:
My number one tip when choosing a web hosting company is to ask your web service provider before purchasing a web hosting plan so he or she can recommend a plan that is suitable for your particular requirements. Choosing the wrong plan can be a costly exercise!
With Google now including performance as a ranking factor, it is more important than ever to make good decisions about your web hosting provider.
Shared web hosting is an affordable web hosting option where your website is securely hosted on the same server as a number of other websites and usually located in a secure data centre.
Shared hosting suits most businesses and organisations with plans typically offering 1GB, 5GB, 10GB or similar storage space and 250GB, 500GB, unlimited or similar monthly bandwidth.
Choosing a Web Hosting Plan
Your choice of web hosting plan and server location depends on a number of factors such as cost, value for money, the geographic location of your website visitors and the type of website.
The following plans are the ones I tend to recommend for Australian businesses and organisations with Joomla or similar websites. All of these service providers offer good uptime (reliability), security, performance, technical support and value for money. They also keep their servers up to date so you can always select a supported version of PHP for example.
|Australian Customer Base||International Customer Base|
|Zuver "Web Hosting" plan from $36 / year (Sydney or Melbourne)||Yes||No1|
|VentraIP "Startup" plan from $83.40 / year (Sydney or Melbourne)||Yes||No1|
|SiteGround "Startup" plan @ $119.40 / year (Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Milan or Singapore)2||No1||Yes|
|SiteGround "GrowBig" plan @ $179.40 / year (Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Milan or Singapore)2||Yes||Yes|
|CloudAccess web hosting from $60 / year (Detroit, Phoenix or Luxembourg)2||No1||Yes|
1 Enabling a suitable content delivery network (CDN) such as CloudFlare or similar on these plans would likely overcome the lag due to distance although I don't tend to recommend adding this extra layer of complexity where good quality web hosting is sufficient.
2 This is an affiliate link. When this link is used to make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps me to continue providing content like this.
Note that new Zuver, VentraIP and SiteGround customers usually qualify for discounted hosting for the first year so the initial invoice will likely be less than the stated prices.
In general, website owners with a local customer base are usually fine with Zuver or VentraIP in Sydney or Melbourne.
Website owners with an international customer base are better off hosting with SiteGround or CloudAccess.
The SiteGround "GrowBig" account includes dynamic cache with the result that website visitors in Australia load pages as fast as if the website were hosted locally in Australia with Zuver or VentraIP or similar and website visitors in the rest of the world load web pages much faster than if the website were hosted in Australia. The SiteGround "Startup" plan does not have the dynamic cache option so website owners with an Australian customer base are usually better off with a local host such as Zuver or VentraIP or similar.
Other Recommended Web Hosting Companies
For up to date information on the best and worst local web hosting companies, see the latest posts in the Web Hosting Forum on the Whirlpool forums.
Although I don't have much experience with the following local companies, you will probably have a good experience with:
Web Hosting Companies to Avoid
The following web hosting companies are best avoided as these companies will have your web developer tearing his or her hair out!
- Crazy Domains and associated brands including Aust Domains and Cheap Domains.
- iiNet. iiNet is an ISP, not a web hosting company. They do offer web hosting but this is not one of their strengths.
- Melbourne IT and associated brands including WebCentral, Domainz, NetRegistry, Ziphosting, TPP Wholesale, UberGlobal, AussieHQ, Jumba, SmartyHost and Ilisys.
With frequent mergers and acquisitions, the Australian web hosting landscape changes constantly. For up to date information, see the Web Hosts Companies Structure wiki page on the Whirlpool website.
Web Hosting Tip:
You may think you can save $100 or more on annual web hosting fees by choosing a cheaper web hosting provider but savings are invariably consumed when technical issues arise and support staff are unresponsive and/or incompetent.
Website and Web Hosting Performance Check
The longer your website takes to load, the more likely visitors will browse elsewhere. Ideally, web pages should load in less than 4 seconds.
Create a free account on GTMetrix so you can choose which location to run the test from.
Another useful tool for comparing page load speeds around the world is the Sucuri Load Time Tester.
Move My Website to a Better Web Hosting Company
Moving a website to a new web host typically takes a couple of hours or around $176 inc. GST and includes:
- backing up the current website
- finding the most suitable web hosting company for your particular website within your budget
- purchasing a new web hosting plan on your behalf
- restoring the website to the new web host
- updating the domain name to point to the new host
- optionally moving your domain name to the new service provider
Note that you will be moving to a better web hosting company and for most of my clients this is often a cheaper web hosting company so that the cost of the move is soon recovered.
Contact me to enquire about moving web hosts.