Should You Trust a Small Webhosting Company?

Can you really trust a small webhost to have better PERFORMANCE, RELIABILITY, SUPPORT, and SECURITY…compared to the big webhosting companies?

I think many people (more now than ever) are getting fed up with their current webhosting situation. The days are almost over when all the shared hosting giants like GoDaddy, BlueHost, 1and1, DreamHost, HostGator could feast on the clueless population cramming them into servers for $5/month.

Back in those days, websites were so much simpler and required much less code to run. But that’s all changed. A bad webhost can literally take your site 10 seconds or more to load.

Ok fine, so pick a new webhost. But now we have the new big players like SiteGround, CloudWays, or the new premium hosts like WPengine, FlyWheel. Or how about your local tech guy’s webhosting company?

 

Well, it depends…

Most webhosts specialize somewhere. Either they have great server performance and reliability, or great service, or great pricing.

  • GREAT PERFORMANCE – these are systems engineers, with lots of experience in server configuration. Is your contact a speed specialist with lots of experiencing tweaking different servers? Do you have an established site with tons of traffic, or just want the fastest speeds? This guy is great for you.
  • GREAT SERVICE – these guys are usually developers/coders, with lots of experience in website development. Is your contact a programmer and regularly working on your website? Are you a non-techie making regular website changes? This guy is great for you.
  • GREAT PRICING – these guys are business people, lots of experience in marketing. Did your contact come at you with coupons and promotions? Are you a tech-savvy person looking for the cheapest no-frills hosting for a non-critical site? This option will work!

Small webhosting companies tend to stand out with the first two options, and stay away from high-volume sales. They don’t have the staff and server size to deal with high-volume anyway and chasing after $5/month clients will bury their business faster than anything.

 

Small webhosts have better PERFORMANCE or PRICING

Performance Hosts

If you want the best performance? It’s hard to beat a small webhost with finely-tuned custom configurations. Server guys love performance-hacking everything and you won’t find better service with a larger company. It’s almost not even possible.

Why?

Because large hosting companies have tons of servers with only a few “skilled” staff. They might have as few as (ONE) level-3 tech for anywhere from 1-10k clients. Do you really think your server will be tuned for the latest and greatest software and performance tweaks? Nope, when a company deals with high volume…it needs to optimize for maximum compatibility. This means running older software that allows outdated websites to run. This also means not updating the server as much and almost not even maintaining the server besides a few restarts every year. And most of this maintenance work is done by level-1 and level-2 techs anyway.

But what if you paid $100/month? Nope. You still don’t get the level-3 tech. You still get a vanilla server configuration. Now here’s the thing. How good will that stock configuration be? For a plain static website, it’ll be good enough. But turn on WooCommerce, or anything fancy and you’ll quickly see the server wasn’t customized for your site. And it will never be.

But go with a small hosting company and they’re more likely to do custom configurations to make your site fly. They don’t have as much marketing overhead, they don’t have as much wasteful staff laying around. They’re a smaller/leaner operation so you’ll get better service and more frequent access to their level-3 tech. They’re more likely to put their secret sauce on all their servers. And their experienced tech density might be as few as 100-500 customers per level-3 tech.

Service Hosts

I call these guys the resellers. They don’t even have their own servers, they simply buy a reseller plan from either low-grade shared hosting like A2 or SiteGround, or higher grade like WPengine or Flywheel…and then host clients on it.

The servers will be fast enough. It won’t be slower and won’t be faster since it’s literally the same exact servers as the established hosts. Speeds and reliability and all that will be 100% the same. Only difference is your reseller now handles your support instead of the origin webhosting company.

You might be paying a small premium over what you might have paid if purchasing a plan directly but it’s probably a lot nicer to have your webhosting serviced by a familiar (and possibly more available) tech person.

 

Try a small webhosting company!

Knowing what I know now, after having *officially* started my own small web-hosting company earlier this year…I’m not sure I would ever go back to a huge webhost (besides super cheap low-quality hosting). Knowing a level-3 tech is regularly touching your server is the best feeling in the world. It’s kind of like getting an oil change regularly from a master mechanic. They’ll catch many things before they go wrong. You’ll not only get the best performance but also preventative maintenance!

“Are there ever bad *small* webhosting companies?”

Unfortunately, yes. They get a really cheap reseller account and sell it to you like it’s their premium in-house server configuration. On top of a bad server, they’ll also give you bad service and make it difficult for you to cancel. Worst of all, they hold your domain or sites hostage when you try to migrate away. They don’t even deserve to be called webhosts—they’re just con-artists!

“Are small webhosts recommended for everybody?”

Actually, yes. They can be a great fit if you know what you need. Are you a non-techy person needing your handheld through every change? You’ll get much better service from your local IT guy with a reseller account. Simple matters can be as quick as a 2 minute phone call or 3 Facebook message exchanges. Why go through the hoops of phone/chat support spelling out your name and account # for the umpteenth time?

Are you a techy-person just looking for a reliable server? Why pay for a large company’s overhead when all that money goes to their support staff instead of their server hardware? Go with a small webhost who can offer better deals for tech-savvy (low-maintenance) clients. You’d be surprised how many established businesses go this route. Small businesses with millions of traffic often go about it this way, I feel.

“When should I stick with a big company?”

When you don’t know anything about webhosting and don’t have anyone to guide you…or just want the absolute cheapest price. Then in that case, stick with one of the more reputable companies online. After a year or two, you’ll likely move around to different companies…and if your website is popular enough, you’ll eventually upgrade to a premium boutique hosts. That’s just the usual cycle of it!

6 thoughts on “Should You Trust a Small Webhosting Company?

  1. My guess is that more than 75% of the world, it seems, is hosted on Google, Amazon, M$ and just use their backbone to resell and rip off people. It’s crazy…

    My favorite part of the article “…I call these guys the resellers. They don’t even have their own servers, they simply buy a reseller plan from either low-grade shared hosting like A2 or SiteGround, or higher grade like WPengine or Flywheel…and then host clients on it.”

    If you want to trial a 30 day package – click here: https://von.enterprises/trial-shared-ssd-hosting

    Just open a ticket and I’ll hook you (and WP Johnny) up…. maybe a discount.. or a donation to St. Judes or even mail you a postcard. I’ll have to think of something cool when it happens.

    🙂

  2. I was extremely happy with my small-ish developer-friendly niche webhosting company WebFaction for 10 years until Godaddy’s parent company bought them out a couple years ago. Everything was still running fine up until a few weeks ago when Godaddy decided to phase out WebFaction altogether and is “forcing” migration to their crappy cPanel shared hosting. Godaddy is seriously the worst. They’re a scourge to humanity.

    I’ve checked out Cloudways and RunCloud. I had a few issues with Cloudways although their UI is decent and page load speed was lightning fast.

    Know anything about Hostiso? Not quite sure about them. I’m on one of their managed plans I’m having serious doubts about their business model and trustworthiness. Their Company page is using stock photos on fake employee profiles.

    1. I have yet to try Hostiso (I think you mean hostISO), but they are indeed a smaller company. A quick check shows they are slow for support (expected considering their prices) and I don’t like the hardware vendor they’re using (OVH). Stock photos and fake employee profiles, along with really generic template design is a good sign about lack of transparency and effort int heir business.

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