For real estate agents, brokers, and investors, it’s extremely important to have an online presence. The majority of your prospects are searching for properties and Realtor services online. Needless to say, the first step to building your online presence is to launch a real estate website.
If you are planning to launch a website, you need to pick a good website hosting plan. A lot of hosting companies have popped up over the last few years making it difficult to decide which one you should choose. However, you should make this decision after a lot of consideration because a lot will ride on which real estate web hosting service you pick.
In this guide, I will recommend only two hosting services for real estate investors and real estate agents.
- WP Engine (best performance & security) – hosting plans start at $22-$25/month
- Bluehost (best value for money) – hosting plans start at just $3/month
I have personally used these two hosts and know the pros and cons of each one of them (which I will explain in this guide).
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Why choose a good website hosting?
A good Realtor website hosting service will ensure that your site loads faster. Site speed is a major SEO factor that can help you rank higher in Google. It will have a huge impact on local SEO. A fast-loading site provides a better user experience.
When you check a website’s speed using the Google PageSpeed Insights tool, you will know what the server response time is as shown in the screenshot below:
Google recommends you should reduce server response time (TTFB) to ensure that your site loads faster.
Best hosting for real estate websites
Without further ado, here are my top two recommendations for real estate website hosting:
WP Engine (Best Security & Performance)
If you are planning to run your website on WordPress, WPEngine is undoubtedly the best hosting service I would recommend.
My sites running on WPEngine rarely experience downtime. It means your site will never be out of action.
The best thing about WPEngine is that it offers StudioPress Themes for WordPress free of cost. Some of these themes are a perfect fit for real estate investors and agents. If you purchase StudioPress Themes for WordPress separately, you will need to pay nearly $60 for Genesis Framework and up to $50 for a theme. You will save over $100 by hosting your site with WPEngine.
If you are already running your site with some other hosting company and you are not satisfied with their service, you can switch to WPEngine very easily. Their auto migration plugin makes it possible for you to migrate your site with a single click.
Some other benefits of using WPEngine include:
- Free SSL: All WP Engine plans come with a free SSL certificate. SSL is an absolute must for website security. It is in fact a Google ranking factor now. A website with SSL starts with HTTPS in web browsers. The sites which don’t have SSL start with HTTP.
- Staging: Their staging technology is very advanced. You can run any change on your site in a testing environment before going live.
- GeoTarget: It helps with local SEO.
- Free Content Delivery Network (CDN): It improves the speed of your site. This really makes WPEngine stand out because most other hosting services don’t offer free CDN. You need to pay on top of your hosting plan for CDN.
- Disaster Recovery: Automatic backups make it possible for you to recover your site if it is compromised or hacked.
- Dedicated security engineering team: WP Engine gives a lot of emphasis on security. They have a dedicated security engineering team. They don’t allow you to upload plugins that can compromise the security of your real estate website.
- Automated updates: You don’t have to worry about updating your site from time to time. WP Engine takes care of that. You can update the site yourself if you don’t want to wait.
- Easy to scale: WPEngine pricing depends on the number of visits to your website. If your website’s traffic is increasing, you can update your hosting plan with just a few clicks. The Start-Up plan (up to 25,000 visits/month) is good enough for the majority of real estate agents or investors, particularly if you are catering to a specific neighborhood or city. But in case your site’s traffic increases (which is a great thing), you can upgrade your plan to Growth (up to 100,000 visits/month) or Scale (up to 400,000 visits/month). You will be provided more bandwidth and storage so that your site can easily accommodate any spike in traffic. If there is a spike in the traffic when you don’t have enough bandwidth (most hosting companies advertise that you get unlimited bandwidth at a low price, but it never works in a shared hosting plan), your site will experience downtown, and in the worst-case scenario, completely break down.
- Managed hosting: Most low-cost hosting plans offer shared hosting. These companies host lots of different websites onto a single server to keep the cost low. Your website server will share resources with tens or hundreds of other sites. It means that your site might be affected because of something happening on someone else’s site. In a managed hosting plan (which WP Engine offers), there would be a limit on the number of websites for each server. There is more supervision. And, the server architecture will be designed specifically for WordPress, which usually means better performance.
The biggest disadvantage of WPEngine is its cost (if you consider it a disadvantage). The basic plan (if your site receives up to 25,000 visitors per month) will cost you $25.
Check out WP Engine plans here
BlueHost (Best Value for Money)
This is one of the most popular and cost-effective hosting services. The basic plan starts at $3.95 (if you purchase hosting for 36 months).
Here are a few advantages of using BlueHost for hosting your site:
- Free domain: It makes BlueHost stand out because most other hosting services don’t offer free domains. You need to purchase a domain from a different registrar. It’s free for the first year.
- Free SSL.
- 1-click WordPress install.
- 24/7 support through chat, email, or phone.
- Automated updates
- Detailed website analytics, marketing tools, security, and data backups all in one place.
- You get a wide range of hosting options. Bluehost offers shared (starting at $3.95/month) as well as managed hosting (starting at $19.95/month)
Things to consider when choosing a web hosting service for real estate websites
Finding a good hosting service is very important. While the two hosts I mentioned in this guide offer state-of-the-art hosting services, the following are some considerations to help you pick the one that fits your specific needs:
- Security: This must be at the top of the list of considerations. If your site is compromised after you have worked on it for months, all your efforts and money will be wasted. It will also affect your branding in the online world. Google penalizes sites that have been hacked. When it comes to security, I believe WPEngine is a clear winner.
- Support: You or your website developer and designer should be able to get a fast response in the event of a technical breakdown. Both hosting services – BlueHost and WPEngine – provide 24/7 customer support.
- Uptime: Your website should be functional 24/7. If your website has downtime frequently, your search engine rankings will suffer. BlueHost and WPEngine offer 100% uptime.
- Cost: Cost is usually a big consideration when you are just starting out. BlueHost is the clear winner as they offer cost-effective hosting solutions.
- Scalable: Let’s say for example one of the blog posts on your site went viral. The number of visitors to your site suddenly jumped to 50,000. Will your host be able to handle this load? WP Engine is a clear winner because you will be charged on the basis of the number of visitors. You will pay $2 per 1000 visitors after you have exhausted the visitor count specified in your plan.
So these are some of the considerations you should make when choosing a host for your real estate website. If you are just getting started and want to save on hosting, you should go for BlueHost. If you want better security and speed with an easily scalable hosting service, you should pick WPEngine.
We recently studied features of 1365 top-ranking websites of individual real estate agents, brokers, and agencies and found that one of the features that these websites have is a fast page load speed. Based on these findings, we designed WordPress themes that have all the common SEO features found in high-ranking websites. We put these websites through tools to determine their page-load speed and found that the choice of hosting plays an important role in how fast website pages load.
If you have any questions regarding a website host, let me know in the comments.