Third party hosting: advice on best places to host a small business website

Hi Folks,

I need some advice on where the best place is to host a small business website. I’m assuming that most of the third-party hosting platforms mentioned here:

are free only for individuals and not businesses. I’m building a site for a client. Server speed and uptime is extremely important. So is the ability to use plug-ins and themes without any restrictions, so that rules out GitHub pages and GitLabs. I would like to host the site somewhere that is easy to setup and deploy, with plenty of documentation in case we run into a problems.

So my question is: What hosting platforms do you use, are you happy with them and what are the features you like (or dislike) about them?

I use AWS amplify and like it, pretty easy to setup and dirt cheap.

I think you could use GH with Actions but don’t really know anything about it. Personally I would rather pay something for my actual business websites.

Thank you @rdyar for the advice on AWS Amplify. I am still new to Jekyll and would like it if I don’t have to spend a lot of time perusing through a bunch of docs just to setup a simple hosting. Would be nice if the hosting provider would have a one-click setup and deploy feature straight from a Github repo. Client is expecting to pay for hosting the business website but wants a reliable always-on dedicated server.

I use GitHub Pages for my business. It is stable and is low traffic, but if I were to grow that, I would use Netlify as it integrates nicely with GitHub and they have a pretty solid content delivery platform. Since you and @rdyar already discussed I would assume AWS Amplify is just as good or better than Netlify given their size and scope.

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Thank you @BillRaymond for your advice about Netlify and how it integrates well with Github pages. The site I am building for my client will probably get about a thousand hits a day but client still wants a dedicated server for reliability and security reasons. They are concerned about using Jekyll going forward because of the lack of dedicated maintainers. I have assured them that Jekyll will be around for a long time even if there are no major updates to the platform. It still works right out-of-the-box and generates a static site, and does it really well and at the end of the day, that is all that matters!

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No problem @JackieGable. I do not know (really, I do not) if Jekyll will have new updates or if someone will invest in getting it back off the ground, but it is certainly very stable, so I agree with you. It is stable and GitHub has not made any changes to their GitHub pages commitment to the best of my knowledge.

that is a weird request - sounds cool for the year 2002 but not now, best thing about static sites is they need no server thus there is nothing to hack so it is secure by default more or less. GH pages, Amplify, Netlify and others host the static files and from what I can tell do it more or less the same way. All they need is a file server really - which acts like a webserver but is just serving up static files.

AWS Amplify works much like GH pages does - give it the repo to monitor and it builds when ever there is a commit. It was pretty easy to setup, I think it can auto sense that it is a jekyll site and create a suitable build script. You can also easily setup a test and prod environment based on git branches.

The confusing part about amplify is it does a lot of things in addition to hosting a front end website - but hosting a front end website is super easy, and it can all be done thru the AWS management website.

While I like Amplify and recommend it, GH Pages or Actions and Netlify are far more popular here I think.


I have resources here on the tools mentioned

Netlify, GitHub and CloudFare Pages will all use something like S3 and CloudFront internally to store files and serve that at speed around the world with cache. They might even use Amplify internally, who knows.

Netlify and GitHub Pages both let you set a custom URL you own at no cost.

GitHub Pages is less flexible. Netlify let’s you do Lambdas, user roles, add a CMS on the same domain. Plus a whole lot of plugins and add ons like resizing assets and handling redirects.

Just because they are free doesn’t mean they are inferior. If you do a speed test on them against a custom built solution I don’t think you see any difference. It will just take longer to maintain a custom built solution

Haven’t used Amplify but it sounds like it has automation that makes things a breeze with GitHub. And if you want to integrate with other AWS services then you can use that.

I love CloudCannon and I host a lot of Jekyll websites there.


Added CloudCannon to my guide now :slight_smile:

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Thank you @jhvanderschee. I’ve been leaning toward Cloud Cannon ever since I discovered the Cloud Cannon Git-based CMS. I like the editable areas that I can setup for my client’s websites. It will allow my clients to make simple changes to their site, without breaking anything, plus it relieves me of the maintenance burden. Sounds like a WIN-WIN to me.


You will not be disappointed. It works like a charm.

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That really makes no sense to me. Compiled Jekyll websites are just a bunch of static files. Reliability and security are virtually guaranteed regardless of your hosting provider. I think you need to explain it to them in more detail so they get it.

Indeed. Having assets served with a static server is secure as there is no PHP or Node or Python server to hack.

And GH Pages and Netlify and so on will use something like Nginx plus CloudFront cache behind the scenes to give high performance (dumb HTTP servers are so so fast) and cached assets (no hit needed to Nginx after CloudFront caches the asset for 1 year or whatever).

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@anna-filou Thank you for your input. Yes indeed I have not done a good job of conveying to my client why a statically generated site is more secure than their current wordpress sites. The security issues on their wordpress sites has made them rethink databases and CMSs in general.

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