At the time of writing, I am NOT affiliated with any of the shared web hosting providers mentioned in the review. I wanted this to be a fully independent review of the best shared web hosting services providers. However, I might become affiliated with some of them in the future in which case I will clearly state it here.
Why I changed my shared web hosting provider
Last month, I decided to change my shared web hosting. I not only decided to change it, but I decided that I wanted to find the best shared web hosting provider in the universe!
I used to have iPage as a shared web hosting provider, and I have used them for many websites over the years. Being a loyal customer, I tried getting a good deal, but I couldn’t get them to a price I was satisfied with. Therefore, I decided to look around to see if there was any other options out there.
I have always had a feeling that my websites were slow and that iPage was a discount provider – they do after all have some of the lowest prices.
Previously, I often had to wait several seconds before the server answered and my page loaded. Google Analytics tells me that my average server connection and response time was somewhere around 1.5 seconds previously with iPage (although it felt much longer!):
With my new provider, it takes much less:
Just by changing shared web hosting provider, I have reduced my loading time with 83% (!!).
I know it is two different sources for website speed (Google and Pingdom because I didn’t save a Pingdom image before migrating), but the difference is still significant.
Also, I can really feel a difference on my website. Previously, it took me several seconds from entering the home page URL for it to load, now it is lightning fast!
I couldn’t have been more happy with the choice of a new provider. Both in terms of the speed, but the customer service has also been outstanding. And Google is loving my new shared web hosting so far.
Look at how the number of impressions on Google have changed since (it might be a coincidence, but I do not think so):
How to choose the best shared web hosting provider
So how did I figure out which shared web hosting provider to change to?
First, I read a lot of blogs and online reviews, but you quickly get the feeling that people are just promoting the affiliate programs where they earn most money.
Second, I looked for the largest providers I knew of (Godaddy, Bluehost etc.) and tried contacting them for a good deal. Most of them do not offer better deals than the everlasting deals on their homepages.
I still wasn’t impressed and it felt like a big jungle.
Being a consultant, I decided to approach this with rigorous analysis to get a clear overview.
I scraped the Internet for user reviews to be able to compare shared web hosting services. This way, I tried to keep the comparison as objective and independent as possible.
I used Trustpilot’s ratings for all the biggest providers (>300 customer reviews) as a starting point.
Then I decided to compare these with customer reviews from two other sources: Web Hosting Geeks and Hostadvice.
The company I chose was the one that came out with the highest average across the three review sites. Doing this, I relied on three sources of reviews instead of one before choosing shared web hosting provider.
Therefore, I now present to you the outcome of that analysis! The most independent (at least to my knowledge) review and overview of shared web hosting providers (as of August 2017):
Comparison based on data from Trustpilot, Hostadvice and Web Hosting Geeks
* The companies marked with a star is apparently owned by the same company, Endurance International Group (EIG), that some people say you should avoid.
As you can see, the winners across the three user-based review sites are (not affiliate links at the moment):
Guess who I chose? SiteGround, obviously! They won the test 🙂
Now, I know that SiteGround might be slightly more expensive than some of the other shared web hosting providers, but I can promise you that I am not regretting my decision of changing to them. I also locked in the first few years on a quite good deal that I guess they often have.
My experience with SiteGround as a hosting provider so far
I have had an absolutely amazing start with SiteGround as a shared web hosting provider. I highly regret not changing from iPage sooner. Here’s why:
- Speed: As mentioned earlier, I have gotten an insanely fast site compared to what I had before – and Google is already giving me the benefits of that. Before migrating, I asked a SiteGround customer representative whether my site would be faster. He laughed and was not for a single second in doubt – I guess he was right
- Price: The price was the same as iPage wanted to offer for me staying (although I could have set up a “new” account with iPage and paid less), and I still think they have good deals – compared to iPage and all the benefits I get with SiteGround, I would happily pay more
- Migration: I had the smoothest migration from iPage to SiteGround because the SiteGround team did everything. This is part of the deal when you set up a new account with them; they transfer your old website for free! I just gave them login details and 30 minutes later I received an email saying that the migration was complete
- Customer service: I have been in touch with their customer service a few times, and I have been pleasantly surprised every time. I have not had to wait a single time in five different talks. Firstly, they guided me through the purchase and migration. Secondly, they guided me through Cloudflare settings (a third-party CDN) – this is not something that they even have to do. Thirdly, I had a technical fault on the homepage a few days after migrating – their technical support solved it in 15 minutes. Fourthly, I wanted help with setting up plugin that needed some back-end work – the customer service representative did it for me, even though I could never have expected it of them. SiteGround simply has the best customer service I have ever tried!
- Back-end: The back-end has everything that it should have, although it does not have as good a user interface as other providers I have tried previously
That is all for now. I really think you should consider whether you have the right shared web hosting provider. It has a great impact on your website’s performance, search engine traffic and your visitors’ behavior (my number of pages visited went up with more than 50%, and my bounce rate decreased 10-20 percentage points etc.), so don’t waste time on having a bad shared web hosting provider.
I can highly recommend SiteGround, but I also haven’t tried all of the providers out there. Who do you vote for?