You Are Here: Home » TLC Blog » What Kind of Car Do You Drive – WordPress Hosting Conversation

What Kind of Car Do You Drive – WordPress Hosting Conversation

carI recently posted some information on the Facebook Advanced WordPress Group about blacklisted plugins on Go Daddy Managed WordPress Hosting plans, including several backup plugins.  My intention was to share this information with the community and advise you how to choose managed WordPress hosting plans in case you may be having issues with Managed WordPress hosting and backup plugins. Click here to read more about Managed WordPress hosting.

The responses to my post were heated! People have strong feelings about Go Daddy, which is no surprise, since they have a lackluster history. Anytime GoDaddy is mentioned there are people who have had a bad experience and vehemently denounce the company. The conversation got even more heated on the topic of “cheap” hosting, Managed WordPress hosting and “cheap” clients.

This got me thinking about hosting, development and a general attitude I have seen/heard before in the community: that good developers don’t use inexpensive hosting, and that we should all either convince our clients to move to better (more expensive) hosting, or we should not work with clients who insist on “cheap” hosting.

I don’t agree with this.

What kind of car do you drive?

I would love to drive a Mercedes or BMW. They are known to be well made, safe, reliable cars.

But I drive a Ford. And I love it.

My Ford is the perfect size for me. It is fuel efficient and has not given me any problems. It is not a “cheap” car but it certainly isn’t the most expensive. I don’t drive thousands of miles a year. My car works great for what I need. I don’t need a Mercedes.

People who drive “cheap” cars may not be able to afford a Mercedes (or maybe they can but choose not to), but they still need a vehicle to get them where they need to go. Lots of inexpensive cars fit the needs of those who drive them. Should we judge people if they drive an inexpensive car that works well for them?

Inexpensive Hosting Can Work

Some of my clients are small, local businesses with “brochure” type websites that don’t get a ton of traffic. They are not ecommerce sites. They don’t change much. Some clients are not tech savvy and don’t need to be. They don’t think about their websites very often. They often already have a hosting plan when they come to me.

What is important for these clients is that their website:

  • Look professional
  • Communicates their message and information clearly
  • Is user friendly
  • Is reliable
  • Has good support if/when there is a problem
  • Is affordable

What is Affordable?

Why would I tell my clients to spend an extra $20+ per month on hosting and move their website from their current host, where they are experiencing no issues, and which costs less than $10 per month? The answer “Because lots of developers hate Go Daddy!” is not a good reason to recommend a change. Every hosting company – even the good ones – has unsatisfied customers with stories to tell.

I have moved client websites when the hosting service is not adequate or when service declines. Certainly, many websites need a higher level of server performance and developer access and capabilities, and in that case, it is of course justifiable  and necessary to choose a higher level, more expensive hosting plan. But not all websites need that, and many work fine on a shared server and/or Managed WordPress plan. My clients trust me to determine what type of hosting will work for their website, to pay attention to performance, to have an ear to the ground, and to recommend a change if what they have isn’t working.

Managed WordPress Hosting

I have also been reading a lot of criticism of Managed WordPress Hosting in response to my Facebook post. The limitations of this type of hosting can be a problem for developers who need more access to the server and functionality. It has been suggested that this type of hosting may be making WordPress sites more like Wix or Square Space – taking control out of the hands of the developer/owner. Yikes!

Yet, the argument for spending more for good hosting often includes a recommendation for companies like WP Engine and Flywheel, who charge more and offer exclusively Managed WordPress Hosting.  I rarely see complaints about these providers, even though their plans come with the some of the same limitations as less expensive Managed WordPress Hosting.  What a developer considers limitations may perhaps turn out to be liberating for smaller WordPress free lancers. They may not need the high level server access that some other developers/websites need, and having tasks like caching and backups managed for them makes for fewer plugins and easier management (of course, you should still keep your own backups from time to time as a backup of the backup!).

It all comes down to service and support.

What it comes down to for me is service and responsiveness of support.

Of course, websites that go down a lot or constantly throttle are not good.

If I am on hold for an hour, if the support person doesn’t speak my language well enough for me to understand them or for them to understand me, or if I am told they cannot help me or I don’t get a timely response to an email … that is not a host I will use no matter how inexpensive they are. What is important to me is that the support person makes me feel like their company cares about my business and my websites and that they can and will address my issue quickly.

As WordPress developers/designers/freelancers we aren’t just along for the ride … our clients trust us to help them make sure their website gets them where they want to be. In my experience, this doesn’t always mean they need to spend more money on web hosting.

Tip from TLC

Using the Colorzilla App for Chrome

I have found myself using this color picker app in my Chrome toolbar a lot lately. It is great for sampling colors you see on a website that you like, or quickly refreshing your memory on your own hex codes when editing CSS in your text editor.