Hosting recommendations for ACF Engine

Kinsta First

This site is hosted at Kinsta, an industry leader and WordPress specialized hosting firm based in Australia. They have several innovative features that make them great to work with as a developer. I’ve always appreciated the simple things like quick access to secured information about each site I host with them. I can reach the database in 1-click. I can copy/paste the environment IP, login and password from the sites information page. If anything goes wrong, Kinsta provides award-winning support. They are reachable within seconds (at most minutes) via chat baked into the Kinsta account. Just login at the first notice of an issue on a site, and you’ll connect with a support agent who actually knows a lot about both WordPress and server management. That’s rare in the hosting business. Many hosts have tier-based support where the first line of defence are relatively unskilled workers that often do not even understand basic issues. Instead they share information based on pattern matching to available help articles, which makes talking them to inefficient. In fact most cheap web hosts provide a first level of support that is not much more helpful than just reading through their own knowledgebase. What’s the point of that? If the situation can be solved by reading help articles, we wouldn’t be reaching out for support.

Personally I’ve only had to contact Kinsta support about 10-times in 2-years hosting several large client sites as well as all SaberWP and ACF Engine sites. I’d say 9 out of 10 times I dealt with somebody I found skillful and helpful. I had one slightly negative experience with one rep where there I sensed a bit of frustration or attitude about the question. I share this to show no company is perfect, but Kinsta’s support is by far better than anything I’ve experienced from dozens of previous hosts in my 20-years as a developer.

Cloudways Second

Cloudways provides an interesting option for web hosting. On one hand they serve as a portal to fire up cloud hosted servers from a range of providers including Digital Ocean, AWS, Vultr and more. They also provide chat support. In fact in recent years I feel Cloudways has been closing the gap between their type of hosting solution comparative to premium hosts like Kinsta. Although I haven’t found Cloudways support to be as good in terms of knowledge and clarity compared to Kinsta, it’s sure a lot better than having an EC2 server with zero support from AWS (unless you buy very expensive support plans). For somebody who doesn’t want to deal directly with server issues, who wants a mix of reliability and affordability, I feel like Cloudways has a lot to offer. We host our demos on Cloudways servers. We do this because it would be quite costly to host them on Kinsta, and we’d have to setup entire sites each time. Cloudways costs less for this purpose, and if something feels slow we can always upgrade the server or optimize the site. As an agency Cloudways is an important second option especially for clients of SaberWP who don’t want to bear the cost of Kinsta. We still think Kinsta is the better option for a single production site… but the nice thing about a Cloudways server is you can put a few WordPress sites on it at once… perfect for prototypes, smaller start-up sites, demo sites etc.

Worth noting Cloudways was recently acquired by Digital Ocean. It’s not clear what affect that will have on their direction going forward. Cloudways has been and hopefully will continue to be independent in terms of what cloud servers it supports… I can’t see them for instance only offering DO servers, that would make no sense. I just hope also that they maintain independence there and continue to offer every server option equally without swaying the options toward Digital Ocean.