Jay Hoffmann

Books, movies, and code

Choosing WordPress hosts for my personal site

At some point or another, this site got hacked. I’m really not sure if it’s my fault or the hosts fault (which I’m not even going to mention, because I think it’s the former), but I was having trouble with my current host anyway, so it’s host switching time!

If you’ve been doing this for a while, I’m sure you’ve been on this ride before. For me at least, it usually always goes the same way.

  1. Look around for possible hosts
  2. Try and compare features, performance, and price
  3. End up on random subreddits and forums with lists of pros and cons
  4. Pull your hair out trying to decide
  5. Just kind of land on one

Which I started to spiral down. I queued up a bunch of comparison posts, and Reddit threads and Trustpilot scores. One person loved one host, and a bunch more hated it. This one seems complicated. This ones seems faster. It’s enough to make you crazy. So I tried to simplify a bit.

(As an aside, one resource I at least found useful was the WP Hosting Benchmarks site, which conducts a performance review of WordPress hosts once a year. It’s opt-in for the hosts, which I actually think is a plus. If hosts are willing to opt-in, it means they give a shit, and that says something right there).

Anyway, I came up with some parameters that helped me narrow it down:

  • From a price perspective, I wanted to keep it kind of cheap. Maybe around $20/mo. I’m only maintaining some smaller sites and I can do a lot myself. It’s limiting, but I’m sticking to it
  • I want something WordPress optimized. It doesn’t have to be WordPress specific, but I’m running all WordPress so this is important
  • No shared hosting. I’ve tried it in the past. No thanks. VPS or semi-dedicated is fine, but nothing fully shared where the seller is just overselling a bunch of space
  • Cares about performance and security. No one’s perfect, but I want to see this front and center.
  • Doesn’t limit me on sites. What can I say, I like side projects.

I compared a bunch of different ones, and there were three that stood out, given the above parameters:

  • Krystal Hosting, which is the most straightforward of the bunch and seems run by some quality folks
  • 20i, despite being one of the larger ones, has a good reputation and has been doing some interesting things with cloud services
  • HostXNow, which is about as no-nonsense you’re going to find and has by far the most performant packages for their price

I feel certain that I would have been completely satisfied on any of these three. But I went with HostXNow. I found them to be really friendly, have just enough features, keeps their packages inexpensive. And their servers are incredibly fast. I’m writing this post inside of the block editor right now and it’s handling it very well. The only thing I found missing was a built-in CDN, but I will probably just run any high-traffic sites through Cloudflare.

Anyway, hopefully this is my last switch for a while. Until next time 🥂