Tools we use:

Hosting

If your website is your car, then the host is the garage where it is housed. All your files, databases, media, err'thing...it's all on your host's servers. It's like a garage for your site! Hosting is an often overlooked, but extremely important component of a healthy website. You 'get what you pay for' when it comes to hosting more than ANY other area of manning a WordPress site.

My #1 Pick

This is my preferred host. It is where I have all of my personal and client sites housed. 

I have used Sierra for a few years now and am very happy with the results.

  • Easy to navigate dashboard.
  • One click SSL installs (I also use Really Simple SSL plugin to finish it off on the website side).
  • Personable and extensive support. Any hiccups I created they were there to fix them asap. Plus, when I moved to Sierra they moved all my sites for me.
  • Church and ministry focused. In fact, the owner of Sierra works with CRU as the Dir of Design & Development.
  • Their servers are faster than every other comparable hosting company (bluehost, godaddy, hostgater, etc).
  • They have an impressive stack (Cloudlinux 7, PHP7, Apache, Memcached, Varnish & MariaDB).
  • They run complete backups every day, so even if you forget to add a backup plugin, they have you covered.

Price: Starts at $15 a month

I have used Siteground for a lot of my church websites. In fact, I had most of my sites on SG before moving to Sierra. I was content at Siteground for the support alone, but Sierra enticed me by being easier to manage for my needs on the backend and I saved a few bucks a month. Even so, Siteground has a solid history of reliability.

  • Dedicated WordPress hosting (if you choose it).
  • Ridiculously amazing support. SG has the best support I've ever worked with in hosting.
  • Built in caching. I use WP Rocket but their built in caching handled most of what I needed.
  • Free CDN.

Price: Starts at $5 a month but I'd definitely at least hit up the $10 monthly tier.

FlyWheel is the gold standard of managed WordPress hosting. Unlike the two previous options FlyWheel manages most of the tedious tasks of using a WordPress site for you. If I only had one site for my church, this is hands down what I'd choose. I placed the others before this because you can have multiple WP installs without it really affecting your price. The prices for Flywheel below are for one installation. It gets pricey after that!

  • Built exclusively for WordPress. That's all they do!
  • Impressive load times with zero configuration on the site. It's stupid fast.
  • Built in management. They handle SSL, backups, caching, updates and more for you.
  • The most simple and intuitive dashboard I've ever worked with.

 

Price: $15 - $74 a month (I'd spring for the middle $30 tier).

Don't Use These

Knowing what NOT to use is sometimes as important as know what TO use. Being that hosting is foundational important to a healthy, fast site I want to suggest some players to stay away from. There are other hosts that I'd suggest staying away from, but I promised in this 'Tools I Use' section I'd only discuss tools I have experience with.

Bluehost

I started with Bluehost years ago. Their service, support and security went down the drain when they were bought out a few years back. If you have a site on Bluehost I suggest moving to one of the hosts listed above quickly.

People that are still propping up Bluehost are doing it for the $65+ affiliate fee they get every time someone signs up. I couldn't do ya like that though! I quit recommending them within six months of their buy out.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is only good for one thing: domains. Every experience I've had with GoDaddy hosting has been frustrating. Their support on the hosting side is meh at best.

Much of what they call features are sugar coated restrictions. I've seen GoDaddy sites suddenly blacklist plugins causing a site to malfunction. Some of them are servers heavy so they just convince you they aren't good. #eyeroll