Much as I dislike the “one-size-fits-all” description, TTG plugins strive to provide a one-size-fits-all solution to creating and maintaining photographic websites using Lightroom. And, as with any mass-market approach to website creation, hosting woes are inevitable. There are many options available for hosting your site, and for any given website those options may prove to be more or less appropriate than others.
We have previously covered the basics of selecting a domain name and web hosting service, but continue to receive questions about appropriate hosting, and to encounter users with inappropriate hosting. I have for some time been recommending Bluehost as our first choice of hosting providers, and in this article I will further explain why I think Bluehost is the best option for TTG users.
Through my work on The Turning Gate, my personal websites, and a number of other websites I have created for clients, I have come to deal with many different hosting companies, including GoDaddy, SiteGround, 1and1, Yahoo Small Business Hosting and others. In my experience, 1and1 provides hosting that is merely adequate, while many of the others have left me thoroughly disappointed.
All of these companies offer various kinds of strategic partnerships and financial incentives, but I refuse to partner with companies I cannot whole-heartedly support. I have chosen to partner with Bluehost. Many of the links from this site to Bluehost are affiliate links, which means if you follow them and ultimately decide to host with Bluehost, The Turning Gate receives a commission. It is one of the ways in which The Turning Gate and my continued work on TTG plugins are supported. I do not make such recommendations lightly. My choice to affiliate myself with Bluehost is based upon my belief that they offer the highest quality and most adequate services to TTG users, and do so at a fair price.
At this point, I don’t even consider other hosting companies. All of my new projects, whether personal or for clients, go to Bluehost. The Turning Gate is not on Bluehost, but that’s because our traffic and bandwidth demand a dedicated virtual server, or some other large and costly solution. Bluehost doesn’t offer this kind of solution, so we host on Media Temple, whom I also hold in high regard. Though if Bluehost did offer such a solution, I would seriously consider using it.
1. TTG Verified.
Naturally, the most important criteria for The Turning Gate is whether the provided hosting is adequate for hosting TTG-created websites. It is! We recommend hosting with a Linux operating system, Apache server and PHP 5.2.6 or higher, and that (and more) is exactly what Bluehost gives you.
A WordPress blog is a great companion to a Lightroom-managed photo site, and helps to improve your sites SEO overall. Bluehost offers one-click WordPress installation. Many hosting companies do not offer this, and others offer a glitchy version that installs an out-of-date version of WordPress or installs it only in certain directories. Bluehost’s WordPress installation is fast, easy, up-to-date, and glitch-free.
Most companies offer “no down time” guarantees, but few live up to them. Bluehost has better up time ratios than any other company I have used, including The Turning Gate’s present hosting with Media Temple.
Problems on Bluehost are rare, but when you do have a question or an issue, you can pick up a phone and be talking to a real person in a matter of moments. Not a message or an automated help system, but a knowledgable human being who will stay on the line until your problem is solved, 24 hours a day. Most companies have live chat or support forums, a few offer telephone support and forward you to scripted representatives in India; Bluehost offers in-house customer support from its Utah offices, where support representatives are intimately familiar with your hosting servers, because they are all there in the same place.
5. Ease of Use.
Bluehost has a great interface for managing your hosting account. Trouble free and easy to get around, the interface doesn’t hide things, offer distractions or try to up-sell you on new hosting plans. It’s user-friendly and effective, which is a lot more than I can say for GoDaddy. Bluehost even offers a handful of SEO tools to get your site listed with popular search engines.
6) Unlimited domains, websites and space.
Bluehost allows multiple websites to be hosted from a single account, and an unlimited number of domains to be added. And of the utmost importance to photographers is space, on which Bluehost places no limits. This is great news for modern photographers wanting to host large numbers of images or video on their site.
Bluehost now hosts over 1,000,000 websites. One reason the company is able to keep its prices down is that it serves so many customers. Bluehost has the personnel and resources to keep things running smoothly on a large-scale, and that means great hosting for you. The fact that the company has a 78% customer renewal rate speaks volumes to their success.
For me, price is probably the least important thing when looking at hosting companies. I am much more concerned about quality, service and ease of use. That said, Bluehost hosting starts at $6.95/mo for 12-months of hosting, or $5.95/mo for 24 or 36-months of hosting. The level of quality and service that gets you is unprecedented.
Bluehost owns, operates and builds its own servers. It doesn’t act as a reseller for a server farm. Because of it, you can trust that Bluehost employees know what goes into their hardware, what keeps them running, and how to do the things that need to be done to serve their customers.
Hosting with Bluehost should be an easy choice; they’re great. I am happy to be associated with them, and feel completely confident in standing behind their services. That is why I have chosen to partner with them. So if you’re on the look out for hosting, or just haven’t been blown away by your current host, do yourself a favor, save yourself some headache, and host with Bluehost.