WordPress.org To Overhaul Recommended Hosting Page

Since 2005 WordPress.org has had a Recommended Hosting Page dedicated to this process of choosing the best host for you, but it hasn't done a good job at all. In fact, many have complained about it for years and years with no changes ever being made. This is finally no longer true, as WordPress.org are putting the Recommended Hosting page through a complete overhaul.

Hosting is one of the key components when creating any website, be it a WordPress site or not. Finding your ideal host is a difficult task that depends on many factors, so finding good recommendations is always going to be helpful.

Besides that, if you’re new to the world of hosting then you would require even more guidance than normal, but this is also where you can be taken advantage of and tricked into choosing the wrong host for your needs.

Since 2005 WordPress.org has offered some Recommended Hosting.

While this page was created as a way to help you choose the best host, it hasn’t done a good job of it at all. In fact, many have complained about it for years and years with no visible changes ever being made.

The WordPress.org Recommended Hosting page back in 2005.
The WordPress.org Recommended Hosting page back in 2005.

This is finally changing as WordPress.org are putting the Recommended Hosting page through a complete overhaul.

As of recently the only hosting company listed on this page is Bluehost, who has been up alongside Dreamhost and Laughing Squid for many years. It’s still listed on this page today, however it is noted that this is only as a means of providing new users with some guidance during the process of selecting the new recommended hosts.

The current list of Recommended Hosts
The current Recommended Hosts list on WordPress.org with just Bluehost.

Some believe this to be fishy since Bluehost’s parent company, Endurance International Group (who also have a number of other hosting companies under their name), is one of Automattic’s investors, however this has only been true since 2014 while Bluehost have been recommended since the page’s introduction in 2005, so this argument is not as valid as first thought by some.

What about the use of Affiliate Links? Has the foundation hidden that income?

It was also suggested that the fact that the links to the recommended hosting companies were affiliate links was misleading and unfair since WordPress.org were probably making a lot of money off of this, possibly in the hundreds of thousands if not millions when you consider that most new users would trust these recommendations blindly. This is worrying considering the foundation’s conservative approach to these areas, such as the use of affiliate links in the plugin repo being frowned upon, to mention just one.

How will the new recommendations be chosen?

This page has needed this makeover for a long time, mainly due to the many technological advances that have taken place in the web hosting industry. This is also noted at the bottom of the page where it explains that as part of the process of reevaluating the WordPress.org recommendations there is a Survey that all interested hosting companies must fill in by the 31st of July, 2015.

wordpress-org-recommended-hosting-revamp
The note on the WordPress.org Recommended Hosting page about the overhaul.

This survey is rather detailed, going into some specific aspects of a webhost’s business. These include, but certainly aren’t limited to, the type of customers that are targeted, the price ranges for the hosting plans, the level of support provided, the company’s technology stack, as well as some details regarding the company’s structure and how many paying customers they currently have.

Is the process fair and transparent enough?

The level of detail these questions go into can be viewed in one of two ways. It’s either a very thorough survey that will result in better choices being made for the final list of recommended hosts, or it can be seen as a way of putting off the more private companies from putting themselves up for selection since they will need to provide certain revealing details. The worrying part is that no information has been given about how the process will work or who will be managing it.

While this is a much needed overhaul that I’m sure we’re all pleased to see, it does still lack one important aspect – the community’s perspective. The experiences of real users can be very revealing about a company, especially if it portrays itself in one way and then reacts in another once you’re a customer. Although some might think that it’s more likely for customers to leave negative reviews rather than positive ones, this is often untrue and they offer an invaluable insight into how a company operates.

Get Your Company Listed

All hosting companies, including those previously recommended on this page, are in with a chance of being featured in, or removed from, the list based on this survey. For this reason we strongly recommend that all web hosting companies, especially those focused on WordPress, fill out this survey and get in with a chance of being listed. There are some very deserving companies that we would like to see on this page; MediaTemple, SiteGround and WP Engine being just three examples.

Get your company listed now

Mark Zahra
Mark Zahra
CEO at RebelCode, the team behind WP Mayor, Spotlight, WP RSS Aggregator, and the Mastermind.fm podcast. Follow me on Twitter @markzahra.

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One Response

  1. Great article. I wish I had found this site long before now (july 20, 2015). After looking around at the quality of other articles here, I am now a regular for sure.

    I hope the reviewing committee will take into consideration the following as “third-party” branding of WordPress doesn’t seem like it follows the intent of the WordPress ORG.

    I am not “for or against” the absorption by one company of many companies. It’s a normal course of economics for centuries. Many of the “for/against” “discussions” are subjective and from a single point of view. Which again is normal, as not everybody can know everything about everything. This is why articles and blogs like this are so important. It’s a part of the overall fabric of business, including the internet.

    With that said, my comments are solely from the stand point of a guy that has a dozen or so websites spread out with an assortment of hosting companies. This happened over a period of time with no real intent or reason other than this is where the sites were hosted when friends asked me to help with their sites. Each hosting company had its seemingly good and bad points but just from my point of view. Many folks found their experiences to be almost the opposite as mine. So we just work through the challenges and differences.

    Until the last year or so. Personally, I had a few websites on Bluehost for a half dozen years or so and quite content with goods and services. In a very broad sense, arguably, hosting is hosting. What, for me, it’s the quality of the helpdesk. This is extremely important to me for a couple of reasons. Long after the cheap prices, special deals, hype, sooner or later you have to come to terms with a challenge and rely on a helpdesk/support department . The importance of a quality helpdesk is..

    1-No matter what we do on the internet, it is still and should remain people dealing with people. My time, their people skills and technology skills. There is enough examples of folks forgetting this – enough said.

    2-For personal reasons, I search out companies that have phone support. The arguments regarding US/state-side or off-shore support is secondary for me. Mine is only physical. Some very damaging auto accidents makes phone support all but mandatory for me as chat/email/ticket support is damn painful and I prefer to use my energies for other activities.

    For me and others with similar challenges, our choices of high quality phone support are sadly diminishing. Not that I would want to, but in some cases I would pay extra, just for phone service, but that’s for a different discussion.

    Back to Bluehost. For years I, either installed WordPress “by hand” or used their SimpleScripts. Then awhile back I noticed the switch from SimpleScripts to Moto. And my problems began. I did not realize it was due to a company buy-out.

    To Bluehost’s helpdesk credit, the people skills did not diminish but clear answers with rapid solutions started fading into the past. At first, there were guarded agreements to the statement that I was not the only one (customer or staff) that found unresolved difficulties with Moto. I do understand why even the guarded agreements have stopped.

    Unlike many, or possibly most users, I do not mind installing WordPress “by hand”. When I do, until lately it provided the most trouble-free installation of WordPress around Moto. If not installed using Moto, many new persons on the helpdesk seem to struggle with solutions. So I went back to using the Moto only to find that their version of WordPress is a hideously branded WordPress Dashboard with no way around it.

    I just realized by Bluehost/Moto doing this, I am very jealous of that Dashboard space and do not want to see anybody there I haven’t ordained or if found there, I should have the ability to remove them as easy as an unneeded widget. I have a few months left on this hosting year, enough time to (very, very sadly) move to a different hosting company.

    As for the other hosting companies I’m involved with, well, some got absorbed by EIG, others not. For the sake of “Full Disclosure” it wouldn’t hurt to have each one of the past and future buy-outs make a Home Page announcement regarding the change. What are they hiding? Maybe I should check my tech stock portfolio, see if I’m winning or losing there also. So, in the end, since EIG also owns Moto and since EIG is going to stick with it and “make” it work or at least force the use, I exit all hosting where EIG treads (not just Bluehost, Hostgator, Arvixe, but a few more). Since EIG doesn’t seem to be for Full Disclosure, I do hope you will help us keep an eye on the Internet.

    I’m in the process of re-evaluating GoDaddy for my WordPress hosting. After the changing of the guard there a few years ago, bringing the hosting from a preparatory interface to an industry standard, cPanel, and specifically offering WordPress hosting, brings a solid offering. I’m not against “big”, but various practices and bad support by any size company. All tech things being close to the same, their helpdesk is one of the best, and for me, even better- live phone support. Sounds like I’ve talked myself into GoDaddy. We’ll see. Wonder about their VPS’s? There is another topic for discussion.

    Thank you for allowing my point of view.

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