In 2020 I was with four different hosts within a six month period.
I started out with BlueHost in 2018 and they were a good choice for me at the time.
When I started blogging I was an unemployed grad student, so dirty cheap even if it meant low quality was what I needed.
Then, in the spring of 2020 I was already with Mediavine for almost a year and kept hearing about how important hosting is, so I decided to upgrade.
I heard about InMotion from a few places and that it was very good.
I also heard about Lyrical Host but they were more expensive.
At the time, I thought good hosting was good hosting and I had heard from a so called “SEO expert” that you should switch hosts regularly.
So, figured good hosting was good hosting, so I’d start with InMotion and when I out grew them I’d switch to Lyrical Host for a while.
This was a big mistake.
First off, you should switch hosts as little as possible because you get knocked from Google for it due to technical reasons.
Therefore, it is important to start with a host you feel you can be with for a while.
Then upgrade only when it really benefits you and your blog to do so.
As it turns out, InMotion is terrible but people recommend it because they get kickbacks for it.
So, I switched as soon as I could schedule a migration to Lyrical Host.
I loved Lyrical Hosts pricing and customer service but it turned out that there is faster hosting out there so I switched to Agathon.
Here is what you need to know before switching to a host:
How is their customer service?
BlueHost had okay customer service but their chat was like when you call a place and get people who aren’t native English speakers.
I often went in circles with them before they finally understood what I was asking which could be frusterating at times.
With InMotion, from the beginning I was already seeing signs that their customer service wasn’t great and should have walked away then.
The first representative I spoke to was pushy and clearly trying to make a sale.
While I was drying to get my questions answered and he hurrying me to sign up, he even told me that he makes money from signing me up.
Instead of moving on like I wish I had, I thought I’d try one more service representative was helpful before I did.
The next one was fine and seemed helpful right until I signed up and he got his commission. After that, I couldn’t reach him.
Then they tried to con me out of the promised free migration by telling me to od it myself.
When I got the migration, they didn’t migrate my site properly and no changes I spent hours making on my site would stick.
When I tried to get help from tech support, they were useless and the experience was a nightmare.
After switching to Lyrical Host I had nothing but wonderful customer service tech support.
The same holds true to Agathon who were just as fantastic.
What you really get in your plan
Low end hosting companies often play tricks to get you to sign up with them.
First, they charge you very low rates because they plan to get you upon renewal which they hope you’ll forget about all together.
They hope to make you upgrade your plan if you have a spike in traffic.
If not both.
It’s also common to see low prices to begin with but then them sell you things at checkout at a mark up rate.
One example of this is charging you to keep your information private.
Another is for website security or more regular backups.
Charging for SSL certificates is also common trick. You can get them yourself for free and most hosts will provide them for free.
In the mean time, there are hosts that will charge you at least $100 to $200 for them.
Something else they do is offer domain names cheap or free but then mark them up very high for all following years.
You can get a domain name and free privacy protection from Google Domains for just $12 a year.
Lyrcal Host offers domain names for $15 a year and Agathon for $20.
The only benefit of having your domain name with your host is that they stay on top of renewing your SSL cetrficate.
I learned this when mine expired and my website was off-line until it was renewed.
Luckily for me, the domain that was down was a hobby site with no traffic.
Just for that peace of mined I decided to pay the extra $8 a year and switched my domain names to Agathon.
After all, I risk losing a lot more than $8 if any of my income sites go down.
How Fast are they actually?
This depends a lot on how new their technology is and if you have shared hosting.
While every host claims to be fast, any budget plans and host will be slow.
Most people look at space and bandwidth when choosing a shared hosting provider, but don’t consider CPU and RAM.
Many hosts set very low CPU or RAM limits on cheaper packages so that you’re forced to upgrade your plan.
The thing about upgrading is, not only is it a lot more expensive, most hosts won’t let you down grade, and if they do it’s at a higher price point.
Things like plugins/scripts that usually run regardless of whether or not you have visitors on your site or lots of pages and images or not.
So your site will be slow even though you may not be anywhere near your space or bandwidth limits.
This is an easy way to get people to upgrade to more expensive plans which doesn’t always help either.
I’d like to say that there is an easy way to know before you switch which plans are fast… but there isn’t…
All I can say is when I switched to Lyrical Host, my site was noticeably much faster than before.
Then when I switched to Agathon, it was and it was noticeably much faster than Lyrical Host.
While Lyrical Host is good, it is still shared hosting.
With Agathon, I had my own dedicated server with 2 GB of Ram, 1vCPU, and 50 GB of disk space.
I was able to have all my sites on that same server and upgrade my server as my sites grew and downgrade them after traffic spikes.
Does site speed actually matter?
With slower sites you see higher bounce rates.
With after sites you see higher ad revenue.
What I would do differently
If I was starting over again, I know what I’d do differently.
Honestly, I’d probably would have still started with BlueHost because I was unemployed so $2.95 a month worked for me.
However, if I was employed I’d start with Lyrical Host at $10 a month.
Then, after joining Mediavine I’d give my site a little time to settle in, and then I’d switch to Agathon after a couple of months.
I actually, switched to Agathon when I was making around $4,000 a month.
But had I switched in my first September with Mediavine, I would have more than cover my hosting costs.
Also, the faster hosting would actually increase my revenue and help pay for itself.