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How to choose a good hosting company

Which hosting companies do we recommend?

Ah the age old question… For a long time I’ve dodged answering this because whoever you recommend, someone has always had a less than great experience with said company.

But over the last 6 months, setting up hundreds of staging sites, we’ve definitely seen the very best and the very worst hosting platforms out there.

Here are our carefully selected favourites, based on ease-of-use, value for money, staging options, performance and helpfulness of support staff.

Yes, these are affiliate links and we personally use 2 of the options below and love them!

And in case none of these are right for you, I’ve included some general tips at the bottom when it comes to choosing hosting.


Siteground is a personal favourite of mine and I’ve been with them for years. The dashboard is really easy to navigate and they have excellent security and performance plugins that link to their server-side performance options. They also include free email, CDN and security certificate where others don’t.

Their Grow Big package gives you a nice 20GB of space, unlimited websites and one-click staging. Their support is fast and excellent.

I do feel I have to mention that the intro deal for Siteground is stupidly cheap (from $2.99 a month) so when the price goes up to ‘normal’ it feels like a huge increase. Of course, if you average it out over time, the price is still competitive and, in my opinion, well worth the cost.


We’re currently hosting all of our StyleCloud sites with Cloudways and I’m really impressed. It gives you access to really good cloud hosting that is usually unmanaged meaning it’s only suitable for IT professionals.

Full transparency, it’s not as easy to set up as Siteground but their live support chat is unfailingly professional and it’s incredibly easy to clone your live site to work on.


Now, I don’t personally use Krystal, but I wanted to include an option that is UK based and has serious eco credentials. Their shared web hosting plans are really affordable and have a cloning option and their managed cloud hosting has a full staging solution.

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What kinds of hosting options are there?

  1. Shared hosting

Shared hosting means that your website shares space on a server with lots of other websites. Whilst most hosts offer the option to upgrade to more storage, at some point you might outgrow their highest level option. Cheaper hosts are also notorious for overloading shared servers with too many websites, creating speed and security issues.

  1. Cloud hosting

Cloud hosting is a step up from shared hosting and most hosting companies are now offering excellent quality, affordable cloud hosting. It’s a good option for businesses who have multiple websites or who have high traffic spikes from time to time. Cloud hosting is scalable and you can choose how much storage and memory you want and you can scale back down at any point.

For example, if I’m holding a big online event or sale, I’ll often scale up my cloud hosting for a week to cope with the additional demand

  1. Virtual Private server

Most small businesses will never need this now that cloud hosting has improved so much but it’s worth mentioning. Running an actual private server is too technically demanding for your average website owner, but a virtual private server gives you the security and performance of a private server but with the benefits of managed hosting.

General tips for choosing the right web host

  • My biggest tip is to make sure that your hosting company allows you to speak to a real person, either by phone or live chat. When you’re having problems with your website, waiting on a response to a ticket isn’t optimal.
  • A good quality web host should include a free SSL (like Let’s Encrypt) and ideally free email accounts.
  • Be aware of how much hosting space you’re going to need. Image-heavy websites can grow quickly if you are blogging a lot of images regularly. Most photographers need at least 20GB of space.
  • Look for a host who offers free backups (but don’t rely on them). It’s incredibly important to have a second external back-up system but it’s always good to have a fail-safe in place with your web host.
  • Happily, most good quality hosts offer staging. ie. being about to take a copy of your website to a development environment either for re-design or testing and then push it back to live with one click. I use this option a lot, when big updates to WordPress or themes come around, so that I can run the updates on a staging copy to see if anything breaks. But more importantly, it means you can redesign your site behind the scenes without affecting your live site.