Welcome back, and thanks for reading!
I’ve mentioned self-hosting in another issue. The movement to supplant social media with personal blogs, coined POSSE (Publish on your Own Site, Syndicate Everywhere), has obvious benefits and challenges.
But the odds are against us! Most folks will never know to disable motion smoothing on their beautiful 4k screens, and you want them to Inspect Source???
Then no-code Page Builders like Squarespace and Wix fill the void and create more proprietary lock-in, intensifying the damage that Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. continue to this day.
I’ll concede: at least you own your domain. That’s kinda the point!
But where do you host your base of operations?
I get this question a lot. So here’s my shortlist of vendors I like for their particular use cases.
Repeat after me…
Cool. Glad we cleared the air here.
Which hosts do I trust?
For budget brochures or portfolios
Squarespace or Wix do the job. Webflow in the hands of a web-focused designer is a tempting alternative. I personally loathe lock-in, but no-code bargain tools are here to stay. Note: some squeeze harder on page quantity and traffic caps.
For brochure + newsletter (ideal for indie creators)
MailerLite’s pricing can‘t be beat. They bundle email campaigns, newsletter subscriptions, entire websites, and e-commerce into a robust no-code platform at half the cost of other vendors. If you have 1 website and 1 mailing list, there’s bliss under a single login.
For multiple sites with low traffic (e.g. my multiple pet projects)
Shared hosting on Dreamhost. They have the quickest and most stress-free customer support I’ve experienced, with free self-renewing SSL certificates (a must for SEO). Sharing your traffic with neighbors on the same box is worth the cost savings. Siteground’s a close second.
For sites updating weekly (magazines, directories, e-commerce)
Managed WordPress hosting on WP Engine (god tier) or Dreamhost (for reasons above plus pricing). The assurance of nightly backups, instant rollbacks, development environments, and software optimization is worth every penny.
A word on…
Are you on AWS, Digital Ocean, or a comparable vendor? Does your site loads within 2 seconds? Stay. They’re powerful and well-priced. These aren’t in my toolbox because clients get spooked.
Jury’s still out. If only TinyLetter bought itself back from Mailchimp/Intuit. ConvertKit (this letter), Substack, Patreon, and Gumroad are all known and growing but face periodic ethical scrutiny and prioritize investors. Shoutout to folks on Buttondown – I’ve heard great things!
Google Analytics is awful for many reasons, but clients still rely on it. I’m paying for Plausible but might swap to Matomo. We’ll see.
But why WordPress?
Ah, the perennial question when I wake. WordPress is both:
- free and expensive
- easy and challenging
- flexible and limiting
- powerful and hamstrung
I go deep on this paradox and why I’m sticking to this 17-year career path on my blog. Give it a read »
Got a vendor, or Wanna switch?
Please let me know if I’m missing a worthy vendor here, or if I can help you make some hosting decisions! Pencil a chat on my schedule »