When you start building your WordPress website, the first thing is to choose a good hosting service provider. I have been working with a few service providers, including Bluehost US, Bluehost China, Siteground, and Cloudways. In this post I am trying to share some of my comments after using these platforms. It is not a very scientific comparison. Just some sharing on my experience.
Bluehost is one of the largest hosting providers in the US. They offer a range of service plans, and the Basic plan is really affordable - only US$3.95 per month, i.e. less than HK$31! It includes many goodies like free domain and free SSL. It is really a good deal for small startups. I am also pretty satisfied with their customer service. You could have real-time online chat with their reps. Most of the time the technical issues could be fixed within one chat.
However, since the service is based on a shared server, i.e. Bluehost is squeezing many customers on a physical server, performance would be affected. Therefore I’d say this is good for casual bloggers or small businesses. In particular, a slow website would impact your search result rankings. So if you want a more reliable service with high performance, you may want to consider other providers in the market.
Bluehost China is an independent operation of Bluehost in the Greater China region. It comes with the benefits of their US counterparts: affordable service plans, and with a Chinese user interface. This is handy for users whose primary language is Chinese.
In general the service is OK. But I am not really impressed with their customer service. It is still based on emails. It might take a few rounds of back-and-forth to fix a problem. Worse still, the CS reps are only giving brief answers. You have to ask very specifically to get the required solutions.
Siteground is similar to Bluehost US. They also offer very affordable hosting plans, and the features are comprehensive. Basically you can get all necessary hosting features in one place. The customer service is also great. The best part is: their performance in terms of website loading speed is significantly better than that of Bluehost US.
Personally I think Siteground is a more stable platform. Although they are running the same shared server model as Bluehost US, they should have put quite some attention on optimizing the hardware performance and thus offering a better user experience.
Cloudways is running a different model. Unlike Bluehost US or Siteground, you subscribe to a “dedicated server”, i.e. all the CPU, RAM and storage resources are entirely under your website. Hence your website speed would not be affected by other “shared” websites. This is a much better choice, especially for businesses that require more capacity for a top-notch user experience.
The price is a bit higher, starting at US$10 per month for the starter plan. But to me I think it is value for money. Customer service is great. The only drawback is there would be quite a learning curve for users with less technical knowledge for initial set up.
As said, this is only a small sharing of my experience on using these hosting platforms. There are many good service providers, like Kinsta, GoDaddy etc. which I have not tried. I’d love to hear from you if you have any comments on these providers. Moreover, I have not tried the HK-based platforms, like Dataplugs, Pachost, VPS Hosting etc. I believe they should have at least one competitive edge over their international counterparts: local Cantonese customer support. I’d also love to learn more on this. I hope you enjoy reading this post. Please leave me a comment if you have any views on this topic. Thank you.
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