WordPress is far and away the most popular blogging platform on the ‘net. It’s also one of the most popular content management systems – perhaps number one (debatable, but possible).
Roughly 25% of the the world’s website are powered by WordPress. That’s more than 75 million websites, serving up 24 billion pages and adding over 100 million pages of new content each and every month. Most of you would be surprised at some of the really big websites that run their business on WordPress.
So, then, why is it so damn hard to find really good WordPress hosting?
I’m serious. You’d think that more hosting services would bend over backward to supply the properly tuned services that the WordPress framework requires. But, most of the web hosting services I’ve researched, who claim to be “optmized for WordPress”, in reality just squeeze WordPress hosting in as part of a “one size fits all” approach.
WordPress.org actually promotes several of these hosting services on their website. Currently, four are listed, with “Bluehost” listed at the very top. The others – DreamHost, FlyWheel, and SiteGround – well, I guess we are supposed to assume they are “not quite” as good as BlueHost. Right?
(I can neither confirm nor deny this, but I have heard rumor that Bluehost actually pays WordPress.org thousands of dollars per month to keep that position at the top of the page. But, don’t quote me on that :))
Let’s break it down a little bit. Bluehost is a pretty well known name, and has been listed on the WordPress.org “Hosting” page for quite some time. But, what kind of reviews do they have? Really?
At the WordPress.org “Bluehost forum” (which is linked to from the WordPress.org hosting page), we see several pages of support questions – some of them fairly basic, but a few that look fairly serious. Very few of them have the “resolved” check mark – but that may not mean anything (I’m not sure exactly who marks the support posts as resolved).
To be thorough, we dig into a few of the unresolved issues. We’re surprised to find many responses to the unresolved posts are along the lines of “Yes, this (particular issue) has been going on for a few months. Support says it will be fixed soon”.
Say what? Wow, that really doesn’t bode well.
But, to be fair, it’s just a forum, right? People on forums vent a lot, and it’s almost impossible to tell who’s legitimate and who’s not.
To continue our analysis we head over to https://webhostinggeeks.com/providers/bluehost to see if we can find some legitimate reviews from a more neutral source. I selected Web Hosting Geeks because they maintain a database of real user reviews about a variety of hosting services.
Once there, we see Bluehost has an overall rating of… 2 1/2 stars. Wow. That’s disappointing. The price is “fair” (3 stars), but reliabilty, uptime, and tech support, clock in with a paltry 2 stars.
But wait, there’s more…
Paging down, the statistical charts look terrible, and the most important metric in my opinion – the Bluehost customer reviews – are filled with single star ratings (with the only saving grace apparently being a somewhat competitive price).
So, what’s the lesson of performing this exercise? There are several actually.
1) Never – ever – make a decision based on “Well, they listed it here. It must be good”. You never know why something appears to be recommended until you do some real research.
2) Always dig deeper. Once you scratch the surface, you may find something of a completely different color underneath.
3) Expand your research to include other resources, and always try to find quality reviews. Most people do this when considering other product purchases (think Amazon) – why would you not do this when searching for Web Hosting?
In the end, if you perform your due diligence properly, you’ll avoid the trap of jumping from hosting service to hosting service until you finally find one that fits. Make sense?
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