The Best Web Servers For Startups

We’ve worked with most of the popular server companies and have a few favorites we’d like to share with you.

a busy trainyard

Hosting for Mission-Critical Startup Sites

If you have a mission-critical site that always needs to be fast no matter what, you'll need dedicated server resources. Shared servers (no matter what they claim), suffer from something called the 'noisy neighbor effect', which is where your site slows down because someone on the same server you are sharing eats up all the server resources.

If you absolutely can't tolerate a slow-down from time to time, then you should be on a dedicated server.

This can mean a few things, traditionally it meant a physical (on-metal) server. These days it means dedicated resources on a cloud server which you don't share with anyone.

A client recently asked us "is it really it's necessary to pay this much", he is already hosting on a cheaper server and things are going fine. To that we answered that 'yes, his current server is working', but asking if it’s "necessary" is like asking if it’s necessary to upgrade from a Prius to a Tesla.  One is just more sophisticated than the other.  Is one worth more than double the other?  Hard to say, probably not, but it doesn’t stop people from buying Teslas…

WPEngine: Best Premium Servers for fully managed Wordpress Sites

If you are using WordPress as a CMS WPEngine does have dedicated options. If you aren't we also like Digital Ocean. Pricing depends on the traffic you'll be getting but typically starts around $200/mo and goes up from there. Contact us to discuss solutions.

NOTE: in the past we used Rackspace for our sites with the heaviest traffic, we liked them because of their great service and cutting edge tech. They no longer have either of those things. Their customer service has gone from the best to the worst, and their admin panels are getting very outdated. Until they fix these problems avoid using them.

Kinsta: Managed Wordpress runner-up

If you can't afford the $7K+ per year to host on WPEngine, you could probably get similar service for a lower cost with Kinsta

Pantheon: Managed Wordpress runner-up

Another option that we like is Pantheon, they are very developer friendly, have a really sophisticated environment setup, and pricing could be possibly cheaper than WPE.

Hosting for smaller projects

If you’re starting small project and you are on a budget, there's a ton of servers that will charge you less than $10/mo. Those all suck! Some of the are downright dangerous in that they can be hard to transfer your site off of, or they are insecure and out of date and your site can get hacked.

There are lower budget server options that are good though which we will outline below:

WPEngine: Best Small Project Hosting (Wordpress Sites)

  • Go to WPEngine (20% off for first yr. using this link)
  • Scroll down to compare plans and choose the startup plan ($24/mo or $20/mo if billed annually)
  • Skip all the optional features for now - do not choose multisite, if you have multiple WordPress sites we have a better way to manage them.
  • Select the data center closest to you
  • Send us any emails they send you for getting started and we'll handle the rest!

SiteGround: Best Small Project Hosting (no CMS - flat sites)

  • Go to SiteGround (you get a discount by using this link)
  • Select the GrowBig plan (regular price is $14.99/month first year is super cheap)
  • You probably already have a domain, if not call us so we can talk you through were to buy. Put in your domain in the box for i already have a domain
  • When you get down to the purchase info area, and it asks you for the location, pick the location that's closest to you (for instance iowa if you are in the USA - this is where their data centers are located)
  • Fill in your personal and billing info.
  • Send us any emails they send you for getting started and we'll handle the rest!

Free Hosting for Startups? What!?

What if we told you you could host a static site for free. It's true, there are actually a few options here. It can be done with github pages or with render.

These need some more setup work, also you can't use them with dynamic content management systems like Wordpress, but if you have a static site or want to use a static site generator along with a headless cms this is an option.

We would only recommend this for personal projects that aren't 'mission critical'