[Editor’s note: Don’t miss the special offer at the end of this blog post. It expires Friday, July 14, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.]
There are times when it’s okay to go cheap.
For example, are you looking for a last-minute flight for a quick weekend getaway? Find the cheapest fare.
Need an external monitor for your laptop? I recently found one that was cheap but highly rated, and it’s working great.
And, of course, plenty of studies have found that unless you’re a sommelier, you probably can’t actually tell the difference between an expensive bottle of wine and a cheaper one.
I also recently found a blog post that listed 17 products and explained how the cheap versions performed far better than their more expensive counterparts in independent tests. (A few examples: tea steepers, corkscrews, and cooking thermometers.)
The lesson is simple: paying more doesn’t always get you more value.
But do you know what product wasn’t on that list of cheap, but high-performing, products?
And would never be found within 100 miles of such a list?
Because when it comes to hosting, you almost always get what you pay for.
So if you want slow, unreliable performance, then go cheap. Pay less than $10 per month. You’ll save some money, but you’ll also severely handicap your site’s ability to grow.
If, on the other hand, you’re serious about your website, and you want outstanding speed and uptime you can trust (especially when your traffic spikes), then you need to invest in better hosting.
The bottom line is that outstanding performance is critical to the success of your WordPress website … and it’s worth every penny.
Why cheap hosting sinks you from the start
I’ve launched a bunch of websites. Not one of them was guaranteed to succeed when it started. This made paying $5/month for hosting seem alluring in the beginning.
I’d think to myself … Let me just get the site started on a cheap hosting plan, get some content out there, see if it connects, and if it does, then I’ll ramp things up and pay more for hosting.
I mean, it seems logical.
But the same (big) problem always waits just around the corner: the cheap hosting will likely keep me from succeeding in the first place.
How could cheap hosting kill a website before it even gets off the ground?
Here are five quick reasons …
1. Your website will be treated like a sardine
Those $5/month offers are always appealing, but the reality of such cheap hosting offers is that your site will be jammed on a server with hundreds — perhaps even thousands — of other websites.
Ever opened up a can of sardines? The can is the server and your site is one of those slimy, smooshed-up sardines.
Basically, the hosting company is betting you won’t ever, ever get substantial traffic — but that you’ll still keep paying the fee in obscurity.
Because if you do get traffic …
2. Performance will be substandard — especially when you need it most
The result of your site being jammed in on that server with all those other sites is that you’re competing for finite server resources.
These are resources your site needs when visitors are trying to access it, especially when you get a traffic spike … which, I mean, hopefully you will because let’s prepare for success, right?
These are also resources you need when you’re back in your dashboard posting content or making edits, a resource-intensive process.
Have you ever been working on your website and had it take forever to move from page to page or to save simple changes?
It’s the worst.
One of the single most frustrating experiences a website owner has.
And it’s rather common when you’re trying to edit a sardine rather than a website.
This is the trade-off you make by going with cheap hosting. Inevitably, your site will slow to a crawl or crash when you need it at its best.
3. You put yourself at risk for paying overages
Here’s some irony for you: even if you go cheap, you might end up paying much more than you think while still getting poor performance.
Because if you exceed those restrictive plan limits, then you could be hit with hundreds of dollars in extra charges for bandwidth, storage, CPUs, or RAM.
I had this happen to me on an old site when I went cheap with hosting.
Needless to say, I wasn’t pleased.
Getting poor performance while spending more money would be a double whammy of bad. Don’t let that happen to you.
4. You don’t get important extras that add real value
It’s pretty easy to calculate the cost difference between cheap hosting that costs you $5 per month and premium hosting that runs you, say, $24 per month.
But how about calculating the value difference? That’s not so clear cut.
Take our hosting platform, StudioPress Sites, as an example.
First of all, you can ignore all three of the problems described above, because:
- Your website isn’t packed in with hundreds of other sites.
- Performance is remarkable enough that Sites was named “Fastest WordPress Hosting in 2017” by Webmatros.
- You won’t ever be charged overages. Ever.
Those factors alone make StudioPress Sites worth the difference in cost over the cheap options.
But then consider all of these additional features you get with SP Sites:
- 20+ mobile-responsive StudioPress themes available at a click (with more on the way)
- Unlimited access to Rainmaker Digital’s patented Content Optimizer, which can greatly enhance your SEO efforts when used consistently
- WordPress updates handled automatically for you
- One-click access to a variety of fully vetted partner plugins
- Daily security scans and DDoS protection
And more, but you get the picture.
The point is: make sure you look at total value, not just cost.
If a premium hosting provider is going to deliver extra features you would otherwise have to pay for, that needs to be factored into your cost calculation. And if you get extra features that will help you grow your audience faster, you’ll have to determine how much those are worth to you as well.
And finally …
5. You won’t get personalized support when you need it most
Running a website can sometimes be a scary, lonely activity … especially when things go wrong.
And they will go wrong.
- What happens if you save a colossal mistake in your code, can’t figure it out, and need to roll back to the previous version of your site. Who will help you restore a backup?
- What happens if a plugin crashes your site and you don’t know why? Who will help you figure it out and get your site back up?
- What happens if you just have a simple question about how to do something? Who will have your back with an answer?
As all grizzled website veterans know, a major part of the value provided by a managed hosting provider is the support. And it can’t just be occasional support; it needs to be personalized support when you need it most.
Do you really think high-level, responsive, and reliable support is priced into the low cost of cheap hosting?
In my experience: no.
So if you go for cheap hosting, just know that you’re essentially on your own.
Sure, this might seem okay now, when you’re not dealing with a major issue and sweating bullets as you desperately try to get your site back online. But the value of good support is basically priceless in those moments when you need it and it comes through.
Quick word to the wise: make sure any hosting provider you choose has support testimonials like these.
What to Do Next if You’re Thinking About (or Using) Cheap WordPress Hosting
Well, it’s pretty simple …
Unless you’re not serious about your website, in which case carry on.
But if you are serious about your site, then it’s time to get serious about your hosting. That means investigating premium WordPress hosting and choosing the best provider for you. TechRadar, for example, recommends WP Engine as the #1 Managed WordPress Hosting provider.
Special Offer: This Week Only
You should start your investigation of serious hosting options with StudioPress Sites — for all the reasons described above.
If you’re running a theme built on the Genesis Framework, this is a no-brainer because StudioPress Sites is optimized for performance and compatibility with Genesis themes.
And if you’re reading this blog post between July 10 and July 14, then here is another reason why getting started with StudioPress Sites today is a no-brainer: for a limited time only, we’re offering a free migration when you start your StudioPress Sites account.
All you have to do is click one of the links to StudioPress Sites in this blog post — like this one. They are special coupon links and that will add your free migration to the checkout process.
So learn more about the benefits of using Sites, get started, and then let us handle the process of migrating your current site away from low-cost/low-value hosting onto a platform that delivers everything you should be paying for … and so much more.
You’ll be so glad you did.
So will your visitors. 😉