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.
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.
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.
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.