Planning a new website or blog? Looking to upgrade your existing site? We’ve got you covered with this hosting guide.
We’ve tried dozens of platforms and hosting options for websites over the past decade, and these are the current best options we use and recommend.
WordPress or Squarespace?
First up, you need to choose a platform to build your site on. There are two options we recommend for 99% of blogs, portfolio sites, personal sites, membership communities, online stores and more.
WordPress is free software, but you’ll need a web host to run it on. It’s the most flexible option, and can be customized for just about any situation (Fizzle runs on WordPress). WordPress can also be one of the cheapest ways to build a great site, with some web hosts starting around $4/month. 90% of founders interviewed in Fizzle run their businesses on WordPress.
(See below for WordPress hosting options)
Squarespace is another great option. It is probably the quickest and easiest way to get your site online. Squarespace costs between $8 and $30 a month, depending on the package you choose. This is an all-in-one package, so you won’t need a web host or other software. Squarespace lacks some of the flexibility of WordPress, but if you’re short on technical skills or patience, this might your best bet.
WordPress Hosting Options
If you go with WordPress, we’re referring to the self-hosted option (there’s also a hosted version at WordPress.com, but we don’t recommend it for businesses because it lacks the same customizability).
To run the free self-hosted WordPress software, you need to choose a compatible web host. You may also need to install the software, which is a simple process we’ll guide you through below.
Cheap and Basic Options
Most people who run self-hosted WordPress use a basic web hosting company. There are dozens of them out there, but we’ve had the best experience with BlueHost. In fact, we hosted sites with nearly 100,000 monthly visitors on a basic BlueHost plan (for about $6 a month) until we finally outgrew it and moved to dedicated hosting.
Once you sign up for hosting, you may need to install and configure WordPress. If you’re on a managed host like WPEngine, this doesn’t apply (they will install WordPress for you).
If you’re on BlueHost, they use an administration system known as CPanel, which you’ll use to get WordPress up and running.
It takes just 5-10 minutes to install WordPress on BlueHost. Caleb created a simple video that shows how to sign up for hosting and install WordPress in under 5 minutes:
Managed WordPress hosting is an attractive offer for people who don’t want to manage the WordPress installation and optimization process themselves. Managed WordPress hosting costs a little more, but you’ll get better support and higher performance in exchange.
WP Engine is the leader in managed WordPress hosting. With WPEngine, you get support, speed and security that you won’t find with a bare-bones host. If WordPress gets hacked (this can and does happen), WPEngine will fix it for free. WPEngine also uses best-in-class caching and other techniques to make your site fast as lightning. If you’re not technically inclined, this is the way to go. Plans start at $29.
For Scaling Up
Fizzle runs on a dedicated server provided by Storm On Demand (a division of LiquidWeb). We’ve used Storm for the past couple of years and haven’t had more than a minute or two of downtime. This single server handles our load of 300,000+ monthly visitors with no complaints. Storm has excellent support. They also have proven VPS options starting at $35/month.
An Adventurous Option
If you’re feeling adventurous (and aren’t afraid of linux command line interaction), or looking for an inexpensive and powerful cloud server for testing, check out DigitalOcean. They have SSD-powered VPS plans that start at $5/month and can be up and running in less than 60 seconds. Bonus option: the new Ghost blogging platform is a one-click install on DigitalOcean. They also have a one-click WordPress install.
Questions about your specific situation? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime and we’ll try to straighten you out.
Note: we attempt to negotiate discounts for Fizzle members on all of the hosting options we use and recommend these discounts are noted above and on the Perks page. Some of the hosting providers above may also pay us a commission when you sign up for an account, which we appreciate very much and use to keep the cost of Fizzle membership low.
“The unique thing about Fizzle is, it really does give me a step by step approach to all the elements I need to get my blog up and running.’ ~ Lindsey S.