Last week, I decided I wanted to move my hosting. I’d been happy with my WordPress.com blog, and my mail and web hosting at Fasthosts, but both had limitations (the WordPress.com blog had limited plugins and couldn’t be integrated with Google Analytics, and the Fasthosts package didn’t offer SSL IMAP and SMTP). So, I started a-Googling for WordPress hosting in the UK. Eventally I had a couple of candidates, and picked the one which seemed best at the time, Dataflame. I’m ashamed to say that, after price and features, the website design was a significant factor in my choice (a mistake I won’t make again).
Everything went well initially, I purchased my package (which was very easy), changed the DNS, and started setting up a new WordPress blog and email accounts. The process took longer than I was expecting, and I experienced multiple problems with plugins on WordPress (the import of my WordPress.com blog with media and attachments failed, installation of some plugins resulted in PHP errors). Finally I was done, with some limitations (some plugins I couldn’t install, and I was still sending my email account passwords over the air in clear text), but it was working.
Then, on Thursday morning, less than a week after signing up to Dataflame, everything start to go wrong, but you can read the full fiasco here.
Suffice to say I’d never use Dataflame again.
Second time lucky
So, yesterday I decided to find myself a new provider, and started again on Google. This time, I put a lot less emphasis on the cosmetic appeal of the website (which only proves they have access to a half decent web design team) and more on references, functionality and the finer details which separate ‘OK’ from ‘Great’.
My requirements were;
- WordPress hosting
- One button installs
- UK data centre
- UK based technical support
- Evidence of good customer engagement
- Discount for annual billing
- A money back guarantee
Eventually I’d narrowed it down to Freshsites, Tsohost and Heart Internet. Of the three Tsohost was the cheapest, and recommended by three different reviews (including one by Freshsites!). Heart Internet was the platinum option, and if I wasn’t trying to save a few bob I’d have selected them (the fact that they’ve got Suzi Perry all over the site helped). Eventually I couldn’t see any bonus using Freshsites over Tsohost, so I went with them.
I have (for the first time in quite a while) been genuinely impressed with their products and service. The price is tiny (not much more than I paid Fasthosts for basic mail hosting and web redirection), and it is both cheaper, and still better quality than the Dataflame service. The headline differences were;
- Very quick response on twitter (even mentioning them generates feedback)
- SSL IMAP and SMTP connections
- WordPress one button install
- All WordPress plugins installed fine
- Good documentation
- Excellent control panel (much better than the run of the mill cpanel)
I’m very happy so far, everything has worked as I’d like, I’ve got no doubt if I have a problem I’ll get a quick response, and I’m looking forward to getting a lot more out of my WordPress site, and some reliable secure mail hosting.