How to Select the Best Joomla Hosting Company

Having trouble or simply curious about how to pick a host for Joomla? Here is our steps to figuring it out. We have used all the hosts we recommend and, hopefully, you can put this guide to use while your research.

Steven Johnson
by | Posted: November 17, 2009 | Updated: June 11, 2013
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Finding the right hosting company for your Joomla website may be the single biggest factor to the it's success.

A hosting company with quality tech support will save you time and money while reducing headaches.

This guide asks you several questions getting you on the right tack to find the best host.

  1. Customer Support
  2. Server Software
  3. Features
  4. Company Reputation
  5. Cost
  6. Speed & Uptime
  7. Server Location

1. Customer Support

Do you need lots of help or are you self sufficient with hosting?

All hosting plans will come with email support and a ticketing system.  Some of the better shared plans will include live chat support (HostGator, Site5).  When you move up to the more expensive plans phone support becomes more of a standard option. Customer support forums are also another excellent place to get help and not all hosting companies offer them.

When deciding between hosting companies check the user reviews for comments about tech support. All servers and websites have issues from time to time.  When you have a question or problem you want it answered quickly and correctly.

2. Server Software

cPanel - Look for a hosting company that use cPanel. cPanel is a very common control panel among hosting companies.  It is not the only control panel, but it is one that typically has fewer issues running Joomla.  The other big advantage to using cPanel is your web developer has most likely worked with it before.

3. Features

There are several factors to pay attention to when selecting a host. They will sometimes companies will offer unlimited features to grab your eye, but do not always live up to their promise. other companies will have reasonable limits.

Disk Space, Data Transfer (bandwidth), Number of Sites Hosted, and MYSQL Database are the main variables to pay attention to. You do not want to run out of disk space or bandwidth. The number of sites hosted and MySQL database only become a factor if you plan on hosting multiple sites on one account.

If you are working with an existing site you current hosting company should be able to tell you the amount of disk space and data transfer you are currently using. We rarely have a site that is larger than 50MB's but we do worry about transfer limits more because of traffic that comes in.

Email, Forwarders, mailing lists etc...

Working with email within a hosting company is not always smooth sailing. We recommend using other means of managing business class email. Google Apps is a great email tool for businesses.

4. Company Reputation

Do you like having the resources and economy of scale from a large company like HostGator or Bluehost? Or do you like the personal touch and attention to detail of a smaller company?

  • Large (HostGator, Godaddy, 1&1) - Bigger companies have more resources, but have to work harder to please customers because their are so many. Some do it well, some don't.
  • Medium (Site5, Rochen, BuyHttp) - Medium companies are usually some of our favorite picks. They have greater resources and tech support is much more personable.
  • Small (Just Host, JoomlaPort) - Small companies often struggle to meet the demands of their customer base, but they have excellent personable staff and usually have premium services that are cared for in detail.

There is also a group in the middle like Site5, Rochen and BuyHTTP, which are not the huge, mega-companies. They are large enough to have excellent infrastructure, resources and tech support while maintaining the personable, small-company feel.

We personally like the medium or large companies, however, this is not to say the smaller companies do a poor job. We like knowing that a company will have several staff members on duty 24 hours a day. Check out our Joomla Hosting Company Size Guide.

5. Cost

Determine how much money you want (or are able) spend each month. By having a maximum amount it helps you narrow down the choices.

Most Joomla hosting plans follow these same plan rates:

  • Less than $5/month: Budget Hosting options are pretty limited and the level of support and uptime is going to be disappointing.  There are several free options and super discounted options available, Joomla Hosting Reviews has not spent much time looking into these because they mainly lead to frustration.
  • Up to $10/month: Shared Hosting  The majority of sites will fall into this plan. This means that your site is on a server with lots of other websites and you share server resources.
  • $10 to $30/month: Business Hosting If your site is for a business that makes money online or brings in leads than consider this. The servers generally have fewer accounts and the support level is better.  Plans often include extras such as more frequent backups or dedicated IP addresses. Read our Joomla Business Hosting Editor Top Picks.
  • $30 to $250/month: VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting  VPS gives you the control and reliability you need with out the cost of a dedicated server.
  • $100 to $500/month: Dedicated Server Hosting If you have the money these are the best plans you can get.  The entire server is yours do setup and modify any way you like. Since you are the only account on the server there are no concerns with misbehaving, server neighbors.

Don't Get to caught up in the monthly cost

In the big picture your are paying relatively little for the services that are being provided.  Your time is much more valuable that the money spent for hosting.  What is your time worth to you?  $15/hr, $25/hr or $100/hr?

What are you paying for hosting per month? $4/month, $6/month, $10/month?

As you can see issues with a cheap hosting company quickly become very expensive when you have a problem with your hosting company

Be wary of Free or super cheap hosting options.

6. Speed and Uptime

Simply put, every site should be quick and responsive.

  • Speed - Noticeable loading times and waiting for pages to load severely impact the way people view your site.
  • Uptime - All web hosts should have the industry standard of 99.9% uptime. This means your site only goes down for an average of a couple minutes of a month. A good way to check this is by using an uptime monitor.

7. Physical Server Location

The physical location of your web server does plays a factor in Search Engine Rankings.

(video).

If your website is US based has a US based audience then any of our top picks will work. All Joomla Hosting Companies with US Datacenters

If your target audience is outside of the US you may want to consider hosting your site with hosting company located in the country where your Audience live. Check out these lists of Joomla Hosting companies with datacenters located in:

Further Reading

 

Steven Johnson

Steven is a Joomla web developer and worked with Joomla since the Mambo days. He has built websites for startup businesses all the way to for Fortune 500 companies. A graduate of Georgia Tech in Chemical Engineering, he now happily spends his time building websites and reviewing all types of technology.

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