By Vinbound Marketing
“There are a lot of crappy hosting providers out there! Slow-loading websites, terrible customer support, confusing admin areas and websites that go down completely are all common traits of low-quality hosting providers.”
Choosing a hosting provider (server) for your winery website may not seem like a very important task, but in truth it is a pivotal decision to be made when launching a new website (or transferring an existing website somewhere else).
We have experience with all of the big-name website hosts (GoDaddy, HostGator, DreamHost) and lots of lesser known local providers. In dealing with all of these different options, we have come to the conclusion that there is indeed one website hosting provider that stands about the rest… Siteground.
Your Winery Website Needs Speed & Reliability
Unless you are a very large business and can afford a dedicated server, you will be on what is called a “shared server”. This means your website files are on the same server as many other websites. Many website hosts will use this as their excuse as to why your website is loading slow or not loading at all, claiming that surges in traffic to yours and other websites slows everything down. In a recent conversation with WestHost, the response from customer support was “oh that’s a WordPress site with lots of pictures, sometimes it’s just going to look down to people since you are on a shared server…”
Winery websites are naturally going to have lots of photos and video to show off the beauty of the vineyard and winery. You shouldn’t have to pay ridiculously high fees to get a website that loads quickly just because it is media-heavy. Fortunately, you have an excellent solution with Siteground. Their lower-priced plans (between $5 and $10/month) are indeed on shared servers, but we are constantly impressed with speed and uptime of their hosted websites. There are a number of great studies online (see here and here and here) that really geek out on the numbers, but their conclusions almost universally are that Siteground is the winner when it comes to server speed and reliability. We agree.
Great Tech Support Is Critical
Website hosts are not known to have good service. Even if someone does respond to a ticket or live chat , there seems to be a long delay in response or a considerable language barrier. Siteground is different. Their live chat service is truly top-notch. It normally takes about 10-20 seconds from initializing live chat for someone to be on the other end and ready to go to work to answer your question. They are excellent at their jobs and we have never had them not be able to answer a question or solve an issue immediately. They also humanize the process with the name and photo of the service representative helping you.
Efficient Email Spam Protection
Many of our clients have us move them to Siteground simply to take advantage of their excellent email spam protection. All email accounts (email is included on any Siteground package) have the option of running emails through Spam Assassin, an automated mail filter that uses a wide range of algorithms on mail headers and message body text to identify unsolicited email. This software is capable of eliminating more than 98% of all SPAM messages. Other hosting providers may claim to have similar services but Spam often finds its way through. To make things even better, email accounts are a breeze to set up in the Siteground backend.
Easy To Edit Admin/Server Settings
If you need to tinker around on your hosting settings (set up email accounts, change DNS settings, create 301 redirects, manage spam settings, etc.), then it’s important that you have an intuitive setting to make these administrative settings. Unfortunately, many hosting providers have a custom solution to manage these solutions that only makes sense to the developers that built it. It can take an hour working your way through the backend trying to change a setting that should take 30 seconds. Fortunately, Siteground uses cPanel and has extensive documentation for every administrative feature. This is seriously the easiest admin backend to use and it comes packed with all sorts of cool tools to speed up your site and protect it from threats.
Affordable Shared Hosting Options
Finally we come to price. With glowing reviews on everything, one would expect that Siteground would be charging an arm and a leg. You will be pleased to discover that Siteground keeps their prices very modest. There are three shared server hosting plans that range from $3.95/month to $14.95/month.
If you have just one website you will probably be perfectly suited for the $3.95 StartUp plan, which comes equipped with unlimited email accounts, free daily backups, cpanel, and even a free domain if you haven’t purchased one yet. Wineries with multiple websites are better equipped for the $7.95/month GrowBig plan, which comes with a one year SSL certificate for better site security. Prices do jump up to $10-30/month in year 2, but even at this higher price it’s all very much worth the cost.