Best Website Providers

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Onthebrightside, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. Onthebrightside

    Onthebrightside UKBF Contributor Free Member

    43 10
    Ladies and Gents. We would be most grateful for your opinions on best websites providers. We are with 123-Reg at present but frankly we have found them a pile of pants, it's not just that they wipe our key information off the site when they update templates, but also because they are then so unhelpful about trying to put it right. Endless messaging through the 'help tickets' just leads nowhere.

    We were thinking of switching to something like GoDaddy or Wix (so any opinions on those would be good) but would be grateful for any other suggestions.

    We know that there is trustpilot etc. but are searching for views of people on here please.
    Posted: Aug 22, 2019 By: Onthebrightside Member since: Oct 29, 2018
  2. Mike Hayes

    Mike Hayes UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    1,050 271
    What kind of website is it?

    How often do you need to update your website?
    Posted: Aug 22, 2019 By: Mike Hayes Member since: Jan 7, 2016
  3. Onthebrightside

    Onthebrightside UKBF Contributor Free Member

    43 10
    It is a website advertising a Metal Roofing Service 'Essex Metal Roofing'. We don't need to update it very often.
    Posted: Aug 22, 2019 By: Onthebrightside Member since: Oct 29, 2018
  4. Nico Albrecht

    Nico Albrecht UKBF Enthusiast Full Member - Verified Business

    567 90
    You would be absolute insane going with godaddy. If you think 123 reg is bad you certainly did not have to deal with godaddy yet.

    I assume the website builder and hosting is for free with 123 reg since you have their advertising on your footer.
    Posted: Aug 22, 2019 By: Nico Albrecht Member since: May 2, 2017
  5. Onthebrightside

    Onthebrightside UKBF Contributor Free Member

    43 10
    Yep website builder and hosting is free. We would upgrade, but the upgrade doesn't offer us much more than we already have. Their SEO doesn't offer much past connecting you with social media sites and Bing etc. which we already have. Our problem is that every 3 months of so there is a glitch of some sort with their website and we drop to page 20 or below. The last one was about 6 weeks ago when we noticed we were dropping pages every day, it took a while for us to realise that the key information such as the company name that appears on Google tabs had been wiped out along with a couple of other bits and bobs. Phones them to ask what had happened but they just said they didn't know.

    We understand we probably need to up our game in terms of a decent website and some advertising, but we are not sure about doing that with 123.
    Posted: Aug 22, 2019 By: Onthebrightside Member since: Oct 29, 2018
  6. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    30,937 9,071
    Hi-hosting is good. Get their ‘wordpress’ package and copy the content across from your current site and you are good to go. Wordpress might seem a little daunting to begin with but there are loads of people who can help you get it set up. Once you get used to how it works you will kick yourself for not moving sooner, it offers so much more than your current site builder.
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  7. Andy Harris

    Andy Harris UKBF Contributor Full Member

    96 17
    Totally agree about 123reg - they are appalling, even when paying for higher plans.

    Went through this process for a client months ago - painfully compared good vs bad reviews of many providers before having a live chat with the one that looked like the best option (which built further confidence).

    Outcome: went to new provider, and although there's a cost (£60/month), the hosting has been brilliant. That's ok for businesses that can afford it, but for lower budgets, it's a bit of a free for all taking your chances with the many providers out there.
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: Andy Harris Member since: Oct 3, 2009
  8. Mike Hayes

    Mike Hayes UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    1,050 271
    Unfortunately a lot of site builders aren't great, they also have the element of lock-in where if you want to move to a different provider you would have to manually recreate your website.

    Wix has a bad rep, perhaps look into Squarespace. I have no experience with Squarespace but it does seem one of the better site builders.

    I'm obviously biased but from the information provided I would probably recommend hiring someone to create your own website for a one-off cost on a CMS (Content Management System) - meaning you can update the content yourself - then just pay for the ongoing web hosting cost in the region of £30 - £100 per year.

    Website platforms / CMS' also have an element of lock-in to that specific CMS but choose the right platform and you can expect some longevity, plus you can then at least move between web hosting providers if you have any issues on that side of things.
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: Mike Hayes Member since: Jan 7, 2016
  9. TopSpek

    TopSpek UKBF Contributor Free Member

    44 4
    Regarding your webhost, I use UK Hosting (or Hosting UK). Over the past couple of years I've been shunted from WebHostingBuzz, to United Hosting, and now on to Hosting Uk. I don't know what they're playing at - buying and selling I suppose, but their technical personnel seem professional enough - full LAMP and cPanel shared hosting package. Very powerful setup for just £11.00 per month. I didn't like the way they tried to force recurring payments, but I managed to counter that trick - not going to reveal how here. Might soon be looking for a new home myself soon.

    Now, regarding your website, go as low level as you can afford. This is an essential part of your business system. If you're a hobbyist or a startup with no budget looking for something to tide you over, then there's nothing wrong with a steaming pile of Wordpress to see you through. Otherwise, why not treat your business with respect and commence modelling your business system with a language plus platform? If you choose this strategy, then go for the best - choose LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP).

    Levels - from cheap garbage down to top quality:

    Application with plugins (e.g. Wordpress)
    Language framework (e.g. Laravel)
    Language (e.g. PHP - with MySQL on Linux)

    I notice that you currently have only a brochure site with a contact form. Something like this, created according to the very best computer science, engineering and programming practices, shouldn't cost much more than a ready-made system like Wordpress.

    Also, if you were to move to the language level, then you would be setting your business up for life because you can develop whatever you like according to your precise specific requirements - including systems which interact with other systems across the network on other devices 'when' (not 'if') you need this.

    On the other hand, you could save a few coppers in the immediate short term and go for one of those mucky one-size-fits-all systems with never-ending problems involving finding suitable extensions which are also ready-made, and searching endlessly for suitably qualified developers.

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: TopSpek Member since: Jul 15, 2019
  10. Mike Hayes

    Mike Hayes UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    1,050 271
    This makes no sense. You're comparing apples to oranges. If anything, that list needs to be reversed in terms of best solution for a brochure website (the top solution - a CMS - being much better than reinventing the wheel and writing all of the boilerplate stuff such as routing and validation yourself). In no way is developing a website from scratch in PHP better than using a well documented, tested and scrutinised framework or CMS; don't reinvent the wheel.
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: Mike Hayes Member since: Jan 7, 2016
  11. TopSpek

    TopSpek UKBF Contributor Free Member

    44 4
    This is completely wrong Mike. If someone can afford to model their system at a low level, then they should do so because they will be able to have their exact requirements developed, and their software systems will be infinitely more powerful and versatile in terms of connecting other aspects of their business systems together. This is a basic software engineering concept.

    As I said, your CMS system would be suitable for those who can't afford anything more - not for businesses which are past the startup stage and seeking to automate their business systems, as well as develop their databases so that they can analyse their businesses in order to return information which would be useful for things like decision-making. Read up - Google for "OLAP" and also "OLTP", which describes how to best use data for the most efficient day-to-day running of organisations.

    A good programmer will already have written what you call "boilerplate" functions. Shouldn't be any need for reinventing wheels - well not many anyway, but remember, it is often much quicker to write new code than it is to search around for code which is mostly just a 'near fit' anyway.

    And remember that brochure websites do not often stay the same - they tend to undergo development. A one-size-fits-all solution cannot hope to provide such versatility and forward-thinking to any practical degree.

    A business will never be able to realise their own precise requirements with a one-size-fits-all solution such as Wordpress.

    Scrutinised?! You have to be kidding! Just because something looks as though it's working on a webpage does not mean it is robust. If this were the case, then most of the webpages which appear on the Google search results would not be loading endlessly and pulling in all kinds of other garbage from other garbage websites. And then when (or if) a web page does eventually settle down and load, it's time to read a very long page of trashy, amateur, kiddie-scripter nonsense which has contributed to the utter ruin of the WWW over the last couple of decades.

    And what documentation? If you're talking about a few tutorials which teach you how to write an extension, or a few online class libraries which require developers to read the code in order to investigate method contracts, and which have absolutely nothing in the way of formal input-process-output descriptions, or post-conditions, etc., then you really don't understand. Also, show me some proper database schema documentation for the Wordpress system, or any of these clunky, ill-conceived nightmares such a Magento - another monstrosity.

    Lastly, if you read my post properly, I advised the OP to go as low level as the company could afford. And I would appreciate it if you could please look up the meaning of "low level" within the context I am using it - it's a programming thing! In this context, the lower you go (in the direction of the processor), the more versatile and powerful your programs will be. :)

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: TopSpek Member since: Jul 15, 2019
  12. Millerd

    Millerd UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    29 6
    As a business user with no vested interests either as a website developer or software developer I would be very careful of taking on something too customised.
    For me, I have found using SiteGround and ThriveThemes to be a good combination with good support and a range of options.
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: Millerd Member since: Feb 24, 2019
  13. Onthebrightside

    Onthebrightside UKBF Contributor Free Member

    43 10
    I must confess that one of the reasons we are currently on 123-reg is because I could work out how to use it :) I think that anything more than that basic level may be beyond me. I looked at Hosting UK and it does seem quite good. I am also looking at SiteGround.
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: Onthebrightside Member since: Oct 29, 2018
  14. Mike Hayes

    Mike Hayes UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    1,050 271
    Just because you can do something, it doesn't mean you should. If there are existing, good, well tested open source solutions out there, then you should definitely use them over rolling your own for numerous reasons.

    That's funny because some of the world's largest websites run on open source content management systems such as WordPress (not that I'm a particular fan of WordPress personally). I don't think it's a matter of affordability.

    I thought we were talking about the OP's small brochure website here?

    Said "good programmer" must have reinvented the wheel in the first place to create their own versions of core packages, versus well maintained, well tested open source solutions such as Symfony components, no?

    It's a brochure website. If the requirements change, the platform can easily be changed to suit those requirements in future. Choosing the right solution in the first place obviously helps too; for example Craft CMS is based on Yii 2.0, you can embed your own entire Yii 2.0 application into a Craft CMS project as a module. There are various other solutions too, for example proxying different paths to different applications.

    Again, I would have to disagree, given the number of high profile websites running WordPress (as well as various other frameworks and content management systems) in the wild.

    When you're talking about content management systems such as WordPress or frameworks such as Laravel, these are well scrutinised. They're in the public eye and utilised by millions of businesses, the repo's are watched and contributed to by thousands upon thousands of developers. The risk of a security issue in such open source software is going to be much lower than your home grown libraries.

    I'm talking about documentation such as or which enables another developer to pick a project and continue working with it, rather than having to figure out your completely homegrown framework. This is one of the primary reasons it's best practice to work with an existing framework or components rather than trying to roll your own.

    You literally compared content management systems to "garbage" while saying the stack those same content management systems are built on is "top quality".

    By your reasoning, what makes it acceptable to use PHP or MySQL over rolling your own language and RDBMS? Why stop there - why not roll your own operating system and kernel?

    To be frank, I've never heard such nonsense posted on these forums before. I am however going to unsubscribe because the thread has derailed and I can see this debate going around in circles.
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: Mike Hayes Member since: Jan 7, 2016
  15. Onthebrightside

    Onthebrightside UKBF Contributor Free Member

    43 10
    So out of the two I think that Hosting UK looks the best:

    So, if I read right the options I shall take are: Their £2.95 option? We can load all our photos on it and we don't need much more. I will install Wordpress (which I assume will cost me extra?).

    I should install WordPress because on this site it is easy to use and very well read by everything else on the web. Apparently there is a choice of Windows 2016 or Linux web hosting on Cloud Linux. So does anyone know if Linux or Windows 2016 is best? If I am reading above it's Linux right?

    Apologies to keep asking but I am quite stumbling around in the dark and I guess the thing to do is get it started and take it one step at a time :)
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: Onthebrightside Member since: Oct 29, 2018
  16. Alan

    Alan UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    6,256 1,735
    Utter rubbish, WordPress is just a framework and as such is infinitely extensible.
    Posted: Aug 23, 2019 By: Alan Member since: Aug 16, 2011
  17. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    30,937 9,071
    Agree. If it’s good enough for the Mercedes F1 team and a large number of international brands it’s good enough the average SME.
    Posted: Aug 24, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  18. TopSpek

    TopSpek UKBF Contributor Free Member

    44 4
    Phew - Mike, seems like I've ruffled your feathers a little, but please don't withdraw just yet because I would like to hear your answers to the following points. :)

    Well of course you don't have to take my word for it. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. I have just Googled "why is wordpress slow" and as I expected, the results were rife with comments about how slow Wordpress is, and lots of suggestions for solutions.

    I clicked through the first seven or eight pages, and still the problems were free flowing. It wasn't until I jumped ahead to page 18 that the complaints started to diminish. How can you possibly suggest that Wordpress is a "good, well tested" solution?!

    Mike, optimisation begins with design - not with patches, fixes, workarounds, etc., which are implemented as bandages to cover the bodgy work of bad engineers and programmers.

    And before you ask, I also Googled "why is linux slow". I received many listings suggesting how Linux could be improved, but I don't think you'd want to get into a debate where we compare Linux with Wordpress - would you?! ;)

    So what? I think it is still the case that the majority of the world's population still believe in God. That doesn't mean he exists! Most of the world's computers still run Windows, but we all know about their poor quality.

    Software users have no idea about what's behind the user interfaces of a software system. They don't care until their system starts looking and behaving like Frankenstein's monster - as suggested by many of the Google listings above! ;)

    Mike, if we are to have a serious debate and perhaps a bit of a laugh at the same time, then you shouldn't quote me out of context - you will only make yourself look unprofessional, and I know you're better than that.

    You're assuming that the good programmer did not write their code before your heroes. You're also assuming that the good programmer's solutions are not at least equal in quality to those of your heroes. These are very unscientific assumptions Mike.

    It stands to reason that you will end up with superior quality products if you build software using proven micro-components along with new code rather than larger poor quality components such as Wordpress extensions, which brings me to another point, not only do you need to produce specifications and documentation for the almighty Wordpress - what about the design documents for all the extensions written by any old Tom, Rick or Harry around the world who feels like writing a Wordpress extension after a few hours of learning how to write a PHP "Hello World" app?! :)

    I disagree. If the user can afford it, then it is far better to start off as one intends to continue. It doesn't take long for a fledgling software system to become quite complex. The longer you allow this complexity to grow, the more difficult and costly it will be to redesign the system in alternative terms.

    And just how would you propose we extend a Wordpress system Alan? Would you exclusively use pre-written extensions in an attempt to enable a business to realise their own precise requirements? Of course not. I'd bet you a pound to a penny that you would need to use quite a lot of customisation. In fact, if you wanted to extend such a system infinitely, then you would need to use an infinite amount of customisation! But hang on, isn't "customisation" the same as "bespoke"?! ;)

    Don't you think it would be much more sensible for a business to start off as it meant to go on - if that business can afford it of course?

    Posted: Aug 24, 2019 By: TopSpek Member since: Jul 15, 2019
  19. TopSpek

    TopSpek UKBF Contributor Free Member

    44 4
    I've only just spotted the following comments:

    Mike, seriously, are you not embarrassed by this statement?!

    This is not a rhetorical question mate. I can't believe anyone working in this industry does not understand this fundamental theoretical computer science concept.

    Again - absolutely unbelievable. Up until now I honestly believed you were a good solid, technician - not an engineer, and perhaps not an advanced programmer, but nevertheless, becoming a professional software technician is admirable.

    However, I think perhaps your comments above have proved me wrong. I really would have thought that an understanding of this basic computer science would be essential for anyone working in the industry.

    I think that's wise Mike, otherwise you are going to end up completely trashing your own reputation, and I honestly wouldn't want that because I really do hope we can be friends. :)

    All the best to you mate.

    Posted: Aug 24, 2019 By: TopSpek Member since: Jul 15, 2019
  20. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    30,937 9,071
    You are looking at this from the wrong end.

    Many small businesses just need a simple portal with maybe a portfolio, case studies (aka blog), testimonials and contact form.

    It's a low cost, low maintenance website. Wordpress works just fine for this. If you need other features you can modify a child theme or use a plugin. There a gazillions of WP developers that can do this for you and a huge support networks where you can get help if it all goes Pete Tong.

    Bob the builder doesn't need bespoke software and probably can't afford it.

    @Mike Hayes has an excellent reputation here on UKBF. I don't think this thread is going to harm it in any way.
    Posted: Aug 24, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006