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Why I Switched Blog Hosting Companies (and Who I’m With Now)

One of the most common questions I’m asked about how I run my blogs is, “What web host do you use and recommend?”

Synthesis hosting

Over the past ten years I’ve used around eight different hosting services, ranging from the very early days of relying upon free host Blogger, through to my more recent use of Amazon’s Web Services. The challenge has always been that my blogs have constantly changed in terms of what they require, given new designs, added features, and growing traffic.

As a result, we’ve had our fair share of nightmares: numerous periods of blogs crashing due to load problems, and a couple of security issues that required a lot of time, energy, and money to resolve.

Synthesis Managed WordPress HostingIn the last six months, I’ve made a switch in the hosting of all of my blogs, which has resulted in the most stable period for my blogs in the last decade.

The switch was to move over to Synthesis—a managed hosting service created for WordPress users by the team at Copyblogger Media.

A number of things attracted me to Synthesis:

  • It’s designed for WordPress: All of the hosts I’ve used over the years were certainly WordPress-compatible, but when problems arose and I sought support it sometimes became apparent that WordPress was just one of many many platforms that they could work with. As a result, functionality and processes were sometimes were clunky, and to get set up well, I often had to bring in experts. The Synthesis team knows WordPress inside-out. Not only have they designed a service that works with it from the ground up, they’ve been very supportive in helping iron out some bugs I’d not been able to resolve previously.
  • Genesis support: I had recently moved ProBlogger over to the Genesis framework, which is also created by CopyBlogger’s StudioPress team. While they’ll host non-Genesis sites, their familiarity with it gave me confidence. I’m moving dPS to Genesis in the short term too, so I’m excited about having everything running on compatible and well-synced systems.
  • Security: I’ve had my fair share of security attacks over the years, so finding a secure host was key for me.
  • Support: I’ve got people on my team who are able to offer support on some levels, but the Sythesis team have added to this incredibly—particularly when it came to migrating from my old host to their services. Being in Australia isn’t an issue, either—their support desk is open 24/7 and their response time is super-quick.
  • Expense: This is the first server switch that I’ve done where I ended up paying less than I was with the previous service. While I’m sure you can get cheaper services, for the features you get, I find this service very reasonable in comparison to what I was paying. View their pricing plans here—plans start at $27 per month.

All in all, my blogs are now faster, more secure, and more reliable, and they’re experiencing just a fraction of the problems that they were on other system. I sleep a lot easier these days with Genesis and Synthesis!

Disclaimer: I am a proud affiliate for Synthesis and Genesis. They are two of the few services I use and have no hesitation in recommending.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Have you heard of Wpengine.com, any experience? It is also the powerful one. Though heard lot of Wpsynthesis.com, hope will migrate next year.

  2. Darren, I switched to them 6 months ago. Best decision I ever made. Not 1 downtime at all since the switch and the support is excellent. The staff goes out of there way to answer support questions. The priceing is good for the spec’s we get. Plus I like keeping my whole blog basically in the studiopress family.

    I was with 4 different hosts before making the switch. Just couldn’t find a host that could give me security, good support and cater to my blog.

    • First off, to Darren, thank you for the kind words about Synthesis. It is our absolute pleasure to host a site like ProBlogger, and we are beyond pleased that someone who knows WordPress as well as you do understands the value we provide so well.

      And Derek, thank you too for the kind words. I love reading reviews of our service and then coming into the comment section to read what other users say. We have been heads down trying to improve the stack and service daily, and nothing is more motivating than seeing the positive words from satisfied customers.

      • Joanne says: 09/10/2012 at 12:23 am

        As someone new to blogging, I am interested in the “nitty-gritty” details of hosting services. I am also interested in training related to blogging. Truth be told, I started down the blogging path as it is a requirement in my master degree program to use this platform for submitting certain assignments. Blogging is also becoming used more regularly in my profession, but to date, my experience has been OTJ; I am learning as I go. Is there training available to help the novice become more efficient and effective? Looking forward to any suggestions.

  3. Thanks for your recommendation Darren and quick questions:
    How long you have been using it?
    Hows performance difference after using it?
    What plan you are using ?

  4. Darren are you also going to follow Copyblogger towards using FeedBlitz.com for feed distribution? He switched this year.

    FeedBurner is possibly being deprecated by Google (owners) and you know its reliability / lack of support issues

  5. Good post and thanks. The disclaimer at the end shows trustworthiness, an all-important quality on the Web.

  6. There are tons of issues when installing wordpress on linux server. These are basically dedicated hosts for wordpress called managed hosting. These are bit expensive but they work in fractions thus reliability and user friendly is actually required.
    Thanks to wpsynthesis, Darren got good sleep at night these days. Bless you!!

  7. I took a look at this provider, and they really do look good. Glad to see they have your endorsement, Darren!

  8. I’ve changed hosts three times so far, each change has always brought an improvement. The lesson I’ve learnt is that going with the cheapest service which offers the services you require definitely isn’t the best approach. All three hosts I’ve used have offered the same features but the final one in particular I started using on recommendation, previously I was more focused on price.

    The result is a much more improved service for only a small increase in price. The amount of time I’ve wasted trouble shooting problems with previous hosts can now be put towards things that are far more beneficial.

    • Ben, such a great point!

      When we launched the Synthesis blog, one of the first posts we wrote was about the “hidden costs” of WordPress ownership. And one of those costs, which so often gets overlooked, is exactly what you described: the amount of time wasted troubleshooting problems.

      As we all know, time is our most valuable resource, and time spend troubleshooting or otherwise monkeying around with hosting issues is time that cannot be spent creating or marketing content, or whatever else you would be doing to create value for business.

      So while a cheaper, generic hosting option might cost less TODAY, it’s important for people to account for the hidden costs when deciding if going with a managed option is more cost effective long-term. More and more people by the day are smartly realizing that it is.

  9. I’m using genesis themes too and it’s awesome
    Might give a try to Synthesis as well if you recommend it

  10. Thanks for coming up with the post just in time.It would have been my question too about the recommendation! It has been my problem and would like to know your stylistic about hosting. How do you make use of different hosting at the same time?

  11. Team work is very important in any organization or business, l strongly believe that if people work harmoniously then. We can’t excel alone we need to support each other, if we get all the support from the people we love then we can say we are good to go.

  12. Good of you! @ Darren. It is a good thing you keep improving on your blogs.

  13. I think it is time to move from Hostgator… ha

    I think I will try Synthesis a shot.. Pretty decent pricing, and if it can meet YOUR needs it will clearly meet mine..


  14. Darren, their price looks to be on the higher side when compared with other hosts in the industry. But I think it the genesis support which motivated to take this action the most.

  15. I’m looking to migrate my blog to new hosting service, after your recommendation I’m pretty confident on synthesis. Will check all available plans and choose one.

  16. I have found great improvement in blog’s response since I last visited this blog like 6 months ago..I am still sticking with Hostgator..I think its time to move on to another one.

  17. Genesis is a truely useful theme framework. I don’t know whether Synthesis will do good for me or not, but after reading your experience I am thinking of giving it a try. I will try out this for one of my new websites.

  18. Wish I’d known about this several months ago when I had to make a switch. Have been wondering if it was time to switch again . . . maybe it is . . .

  19. Scott : absolutely right
    This is the right time to move from hostgator

  20. great site.thank you for information

  21. I switched in January this year when I was outgrowing my shared hosting. The last 9 months have been the the best in terms of performance and uptime in the 6 or more years my site has been running. The response time for my site improved by about half but more importantly it has smoothed out, no more spiky periods during the peak traffic hours.

    I can definitely vouch for their support too. Have used it plenty of times, for the initial migration and for various site improvements over time (eg when I added a forum). I don’t think I’ve ever had to contact them about an actual fault :-)

    Price wise I’m really happy too. Haven’t compared lately but at the time they were a nice sweet spot in between cheaper self-managed VPS and more expensive managed servers.

    • Hey Paul,

      do you mind me asking your site URL out of interest (i.e. the one you moved)?

      I am with hostgator on a shared service and happy enough with them. My traffic is relatively small but growing quite steadily since I started blogging and occasionally (like when I do the occasional guest post) I do tend to get traffic spikes.

      I had planned to just upgrade via hostgator when the time came but interested to hear other examples such as yours so that I can be prepared when the time comes…

  22. I prefer Woo Servers to Synthesis as Woo servers are quite fast and cheap comparable.

  23. Hi Darren,

    interesting article – it would be more interesting if you could share the evolution a little bit – i.e. who were you with for how long and at what points did you move?

    e.g. what kind of traffic numbers would suggest you should move off shared hosting?

  24. I tried different levels of VPS, Pro shared, Grid and other types of server setups.

    With fully managed hosting, my site now loads in under 1 second and its been like a dream come true compared to the previous 2 year period which was a nightmare.

  25. I see wordpress and none other when it comes to blogging there is wordpress and then there is everyone else.

  26. Darren , thanks for the post , between what plan does Problogger is hosted on ?

    is that ok to go with Basic Plan ?

  27. I guess if you have an expense account for your blog, Synthesis would be a good choice. But how about those of us who are pinching pennies like crazy? I think I will stick with the host I have.

  28. I just upgraded my hosting server this spring as our site was starting to get bogged down. Out of curiosity, how much traffic do you get on a daily basis? Ps. It’s nice to see a disclaimer like yours!

  29. Yourhosting is my choice. Located in The Netherlands (where I come from), Fast (Even with a WordPress CRM with some heavy load plugins). I am happy, they are happy…

  30. It’s great to hear that the host that you are using is working out nicely. I use blogger, however everything is working out for me and I find it extremely useful and compatible for my needs.

  31. I’m using Genesis but just not yet want to use a different hosting company and thanks for sharing, might get it a try :/)

  32. I started off with Godaddy and am still with them. No issued reported so far with them.

  33. i prefer godaddy for domain and for hosting it is ganesha hosting in india…The service is good in bangalore so i started using this…and it is shared one …my blog is new one

  34. While $27 a month may be a good deal for you, it is damned expensive for me. Since migrating from Blogger to WordPress a few years ago, I’ve stuck with Pittsburgh outlet Tubu and pay $4 a month for their economy package. With 10GB of storage space and unlimited bandwidth, it’s a breeze for me and customer service is quick and easy.

  35. Thank you for letting us now more about a reliable WordPress host. I had read about it before and visited the site but this post has shade more light on a few things here and there.

    You can now consider updating this post (or writing a new one) to answer a few questions readers left in the comments.

  36. Using a free domain to host your blog is definitely out of path to success in blogging so you have to host your blog. but hosting can also be very difficult to choose from many numbers of hosting site online today. that’s the reason why you should be very careful when choosing a hosting site for your blog because there are a lot of bad experience for bloggers with poor hosting service. choose well to help your blog. thanks for sharing this good article.

  37. John Bell says: 09/21/2012 at 1:34 am

    Your post was very informative and easy to read due to the layout. It is also persuasive and touched on the pros v. cons and why you chose to go with who you went with. Thanks for sharing.

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