As a work-from-home remote worker, you need a convenient way to showcase your services and skills that your potential clients can see.
You need a website. And you need a reliable hosting service where your website lives.
Having an online presence allowed me to attract clients and show them what I can do. On my website, my prospects can assess my skill level based on the portfolio that I showcase.
You might use your Facebook or LinkedIn profile and feature some images and add links there, but the problem with those is that they’re in a closed platform (you have to have a social media account and sign in) and they never come across as professional as having your dedicated website.
My choice of tool for building a website is WordPress, and here is my top recommended list for website hosting for beginners, freelancers, and agencies.
What Is a Web Host?
A “web host” is where the files of your website are stored. The physical computer used to store your files by the web hosting company is commonly called a “server.” The server is connected to the internet 24/7. Even in the time of major downturns, web hosting companies have the measure to prevent the server from completely turning off so that your website remains accessible on the internet.
There are different technologies used to structure a hosting server. The common hosting plan advertised and sold by companies is shared hosting, which means multiple customer websites are stored on the same server. Those websites share the same resources, such as CPU and memory of the server. The benefits of shared hosting are that it’s affordable, but when you have a huge complicated website, it’ll affect your website loading speed. There are also VPS servers, dedicated servers, and cloud servers for sites with different needs and complexities.
What is a Domain Name?
A “domain name” the name by which your website is called. Think of it as a name tag. This website has the name, “remoteproductive.com” which is its name tag. When you type that URL in the address bar, it’ll point to the host server where the website files are stored so that you can view the website. Think of a host server like a box where you store your files and folders. And a domain name is like name tag you attach to that box. You can change the domain name for your website later. You can also change or upgrade your web hosting server too.
Bluehost: For Your First Self-Hosted Website
If you’re creating your own website for the first time, I strongly recommend you start with Bluehost.
Bluehost is the most affordable solution, and they’re also in the official recommended list on the WordPress website.
For less than $3 a month on their shared hosting plan, you can have your own website.
I also started my very first website with Bluehost 10 years ago, and since then, they’ve come a long way to make their platform better and easier to use.
For your first website, keep your upfront cost small with Bluehost.
- Use their real-time live chat customer service system when you need some technical help. Since Bluehost has a large customer base, you might experience a bit of waiting time to get connected to a rep. But their customer reps all speak good English, and they’ll troubleshoot the issue with you step by step.
- Having your website hosted on a shared hosting plan means you’ll be sharing Bluehost’s server resources with other customers’ websites. If you happen to have a huge website with many scripts running, it could affect the loading time of your website because the server has limited resources to use on your website.
- If your website has grown and increased in complexity, you’ll want to upgrade to an advanced plan within Bluehost or look for an advanced plan in another hosting service.
Go with Bluehost’s shared plan if one of these sounds like you:
- You are starting your own website for the first time.
- You want to showcase your work with text, images, and videos.
- You keep a blog on your website.
- You do not have a complicated payment, membership, or e-commerce system on your website. You could have those systems on your website hosted on a shared plan, but once it hits a certain threshold of traffic or technical complexity, you’d want to upgrade your plan.
- You have a low traffic website. The definition of “low traffic” depends on the industry and website, but for the sake of convenience, let’s just say it’s less than 50,000 page views per month.
SiteGround: For Serious Freelancers
SiteGround is my recommended hosting service for someone who is serious about growing their business. Many of my websites are hosted with SiteGround, including multilingual sites, membership sites, WordPress multisites, and websites that process payment.
Their entry-level plan is more than Bluehost’s shared plan, but moving one of my more mature websites to SiteGround from Bluehost has significantly improved the loading speed.
- Their customer service reps on their real-time chat system speak excellent English. The wait time is relatively short.
- Their entry-level plan is still very affordable, and they offer a one-time free migration of your website from your old host.
- Their server uses Google’s Cloud-based system, with the most up-to-date technology.
- They have a somewhat limited number of server locations, but I did not experience any particular negativity accessing a website hosted in Singapore from Japan. If you’re serious about making your website load fast from all parts of the world, consider investing in CDN (Content Delivery Network).
- When you sign up with SiteGround as a new customer, you get a very generous discount. However, when you renew your plan, your fee will bump up to their regular pricing. Make sure you know when the date for service renewal because you do not want to be surprised when you look at your credit card statement.
Kinsta: For Agencies
If you decide to host someone else’s websites on their behalf, use Kinsta. When I used to run my website agency, I hosted all of my client websites on Kinsta.
The pricing is steep, but I had the best experience so far. While my website experienced a few downtimes with other hosts (hosting companies guarantees 99% uptime keep, but never 100%), I have never experienced downtime with Kinsta.
The support is amazing, and they go above and beyond to address your problems, and one time, they even sent me their analysis and data file to explain the issue in detail, which I appreciated. The support is provided both as a real-time chat and also as an asynchronous email ticket.
They offer “managed WordPress plan,” which means they’re a lot more involved with managing your websites. This was very important for me when managing other people’s websites. In the emergency or hack, I needed the web hosting company to take an active role in tackling the problem.
As an agency, you can customize the web host’s dashboard area, giving your clients limited access to certain features and making it easier for your clients to manage their websites as well.
It’s the fastest hosting that I know. One time I migrated a huge and complex client website to Kinsta, and migration alone shaved off the loading speed by 40%.
- Fast and reliable “managed” hosting with excellent customer service reps.
- My all-around favorite and go-to hosting for client websites.
- Set it up so that each of your websites appears to be organized into a separate container in Kinsta’s interface. That way, you avoid the mistake of confusing one website from another.
- Kinsta is really putting energy into global expansion. Their services and blog are available in 10 languages.
- Pricing is steep but comes with quality and white-glove service.
For Website Geeks
I recommend Cloudways for someone who wants to tinker and try many options. Cloudways is actually not a hosting company, a service that provides an interface and dashboard to manage multiple servers from different hosting providers, such as Digital Ocean, Vultr, Google Cloud, and Amazon AWS. If you want to take advantage of these cloud servers without the hassle of dealing with technical setups, Cloudways is for you.
It’s also agency-friendly, giving you the ability to limit their interface features when giving access to your developers or clients.
- Recommended for developers and agencies who want to experiment with multiple web hosting services and test cloud servers.
- Recommended for someone who wants enough space on the server to test and run many micro-sites.
- No long term contracts. Pay for the bandwidth you used (i.e., by the hour) or pay monthly.
- Not recommended for someone who is not technically inclined.
Which hosting will you choose?
In this blog post, I went over the best hosting solution for beginners, freelancers, and agencies. There are other reputable web hosts that offer similar features, but in my opinion, you are assured of having the most optimal experience working with one of these web hosts depending on the current level of your website.
If you’re starting out, go with Bluehost. You can blog and showcase your portfolio and achievement on your website.
If you’re a seasoned freelancer or blogger and if you’re getting a lot of traffic, consider switching to SiteGround. This website is currently hosted on SiteGround.
If you’re an agency and hosting websites on behalf of your clients, look no further than Kinsta.
Now, which web hosting are you going to try?