This is addressed to you if you are based in the UK. That is not an absolute, and I am sure this cheap UK web hosts accepts customers from anywhere. But if you are thinking of setting up your own self-hosted site, then it pays to be where your visitors are.
If your visitors are based, for example, in the USA, then it makes sense to use a web host that has servers located in the USA.
I know that with modern web architecture, the round trip halfway around the world is very quick. But it is still probably better to choose a server near your visitors. Those fractions of a second add up. And we’ve all heard how impatient web visitors are.
Edward de Bono
Of course, impatience is a feeling. Edward de Bono knew that when he solved the problem of impatient guests at an old established hotel in one of the major cities in the USA.
Guests were impatient because the lifts were old and slow. The owners of the hotel hated the idea of ripping out the old lifts to install big, fast ones that would have ruined the charm of the hotel.
They hired Edward de Bono because he was known for thinking laterally around a problem. And he did. He stood in the lobby and the lift areas on the various floors, and he found a solution.
He had big mirrors installed on every floor.
Complaints stopped because everyone was busy watching everyone else in the mirror.
Impatience is a feeling.
With that said, I came across a website by Ross Wintle, a WordPress developer. His main site is hosted with Kualo, (affiliate link) where I have some sites hosted.
He had links to some of his other sites. One of them is his Beyond WP website, a site “that aims to help WordPress developers by introducing them to resources and tools from outside the WordPress space”.
And I noticed it was hosted with FreeThought Hosting.
So I went to investigate. The link to FreeThought is now an affiliate link because I set up a site of my own with FreeThought to test them. They are based in the UK and their data centres are located in London and Manchester.
I am in the UK, so it makes sense to use a UK host. Or rather, it makes sense to use a web host that has data centres in the locale where your customers/readers/visitors are. For example, on Flying Twigs we only sell within the UK. We host the site with a web host located in the USA, but they have servers in various locations around the globe.And when you sign up you can specify the location of the server.
That said, it was really the price of hosting on FreeThought that piqued my interest.
If you want just one site on shared hosting with a free SSL certificate and cPanel access, it is £15 per year. That is very good value.
Want to host multiple sites? That’s £30 per year. That is extraordinarily good value.
I bought the £30 ‘Bronze’ and set up a WordPress site. I already had the domain name, so I pointed the name servers to FreeThought and went to bed to give it time to point to the right place. Then I set up the site running on the GeneratePress theme and posted a couple of short articles about my local experiences with nature.
Here is the GTMetrix performance report, and bear in mind that the site is being tested from Vancouver in Canada (that is where GTMetrix is located). So when looking at the speed test bear in mind that GTMetrix had to ping the web host from across the Atlantic, and get a response.
Looking at the report, TBT tells you how much time is blocked by scripts during your page loading process. A good rule of thumb is that for a good user experience, one should aim for a TBT of 150 milliseconds or less. Well zero milliseconds is definitely quick. The time for LCP (the largest content element) to render is partly down to how big that element is. My site is just text, so it isn’t going to hold up the process. If I had a big hero image on the site, that could slow down the response time.
The performance figure took at hit because the First Contentful Paint, as it is called, took 1 second. GTMetrix is set up to regard 0.9s or less as a good user experience.
I could improve on this by hooking the site up to Cloudflare CDN, which would cache the static content in different locations worldwide. But for now it is fine as it is.
So a thumbs up for a very good value web host in the UK.