If you’re unhappy with your current hosting provider or are looking to upgrade to WordPress, check out our interview with Jenni Brown from Lyrical Host, a small business offering managed WordPress hosting for bloggers.
When it comes to hosting your website you have no shortage of options. We can all talk about who the best host is until we’re blue in the face, but we will never come up with a consensus. (I will not back down on one front though: Bluehost sucks.) Did you know, though, that you don’t have to go with a “traditional” host? If you’d prefer a host that will really care about your site – and you – then I recommend looking into boutique managed WordPress hosting for bloggers.
Boutique web hosts are small independent hosts. The price can be slightly more than you’d pay for an introductory deal with a large hosting company, but with that comes a great deal of perks. For instance, you’ll always be able to get through to someone if something – anything – goes wrong with your site and you don’t know what to do. Considering that websites often seem to have minds of their own, that right there is worth considering an independent host.
Jenni Brown is an active member of our Facebook group and she and her partner also own their own hosting company, Lyrical Host. Because a small independent hosting company can be a fabulous option for both new and old bloggers, I asked Jenni to answer some questions about her business.
1. Can you tell me a little about your background?
Sure! I originally started out years ago by creating my own website using a page builder and a little HTML. I was part of a membership site where people were continually asking for basic HTML snippets to use on the forums, and I wanted to bring them all together on one page. I ended up creating a website with a bunch of them on, and from there developed a lifestyle blog which was considered quite popular, back in the day!
After graduating from university I ended up working for several tech companies, but it wasn’t until I started working at a web hosting company that I realized that my true passion was going full circle back to websites. I’m self-taught but I spent years living and breathing everyday life in the hosting industry and doing social media, blog posts, and other marketing in-house for a few different companies and a couple of job hops later decided to start Lyrical Host along with my partner Joseph, who’s a true tech guy.
2. How long have you been in the blogging industry?
I started blogging way back in 2001 when content management systems were just starting out. Back then you needed to know a fair amount of code to DIY a self-hosted blog, and emojis were revolutionary! Since then I’ve always had at least one blog of one kind or another, and written for other people and companies too.
3. How did you come to launch Lyrical Host?
I worked in hosting for quite a few well-known companies for many years and used various others over the decades, and to be honest there’s so much that makes me sad about the industry. The honesty and transparency just aren’t where they need to be, especially around pricing and services. And while hosts have been starting to niche down a bit, there weren’t really any options for bloggers, especially female bloggers, because they’re always overlooked in favor of businesses.
We welcome people regardless of their sex or gender, but web hosting is an industry that often ignores (or even discounts) women, except when they’re needed to be front and center for ‘meet the team’ photos. We’re super proud to have developed a community of strong women across an incredible range of cultures, backgrounds, and races; it’s the opposite of pretty much every other hosting company. And of course our male customers are strong too – they have to be when they’re so outnumbered!
The biggest positive for me is that we get to help minorities have a voice when they wouldn’t have historically gotten one. Even today in the internet era, so many people are worried about going self-hosted, or feel like they don’t have the support they need to start a business or do something for themselves that’s just for them (i.e. completely separate to life/family/day job/society expectations), and we’re their biggest cheerleaders.
Our aim with Lyrical Host was to create a hosting company that feels like a family. We love getting to know all our customers personally, and we go far beyond hosting to help them with challenges that bloggers face, such as getting more traffic or monetizing their site. Because we come from a blogging and web development background rather than a corporate one, we’ve walked in their shoes.
4. What would you say are the primary benefits of hosting with a boutique, independent host rather than a big company?
I would say the main advantage – and this is true of all good smaller hosts – is that we genuinely care about you and your site. We don’t see you as a number or as a problem, or as dollar signs – it’s about the experience and going the extra mile to do what we can to help. You also tend to get better support as there aren’t layers of people to fight through to find someone who understands what you want and how to help you, no matter how complex your question. We love our customers’ sites as much as we do our own, if not more.
We also have close relationships with our customers. We’re always happy to chat about anything. Many of them have become good friends, and we always try to support all of them however we can, whether that’s sharing their content on social media or using our industry contacts to help answer questions that go beyond hosting and domains.
5. What are some of the perks Lyrical Host offers that other hosting provicers don’t offer?
Hosting is one of the most competitive industries in existence, so it’s always been important to us to provide as much value as possible. We try to add more value every single day. I could talk forever about how we’re different (in fact, we have a 15 page PDF on the subject!) but some of the main things include:
- Monthly exclusive stock photos and blogging goodies for all customers
- Supporting communities and giving back by hiring independent creatives for things like our stock photography, a monthly donation to a non-profit that funds education for girls in Mozambique, planting a tree for every customer for every year they’re with us
- Free one-to-one masterclasses to discuss anything you like
- Support for your blog/business through sharing your content and a community feel
- No upsells, no resource throttling, no misleading pricing
6. Would you say Lyrical Host is a good option for brand-new bloggers? If so, why?
I’d say so, not only because we’ve been bloggers ourselves and can help with standard day-to-day blogging questions (as opposed to just hosting questions), but because we offer quite a few things that make life easier. We have a ton of five minute WordPress video tutorials, we have a beginner’s guide to WordPress, and customers can book a one-to-one masterclass with us over Facebook Messenger any time they like. There’s no extra cost and we don’t try to sell anything through it – it’s all about learning how to use WordPress and answering any blogging questions.
We also do a free half hour of theme tweaks, so if there’s something about your theme you’re not quite happy with, we change it for you so you’re not struggling. WordPress is preinstalled on all WordPress plans, and we also offer a page builder option for people who don’t want to use WordPress.
We have a lot of new bloggers come to us, and some of them come to us pretty worried because they want to start a blog but they’re just so confused about everything. Generally, they’ve been in a million Facebook groups reading about how they have to buy a lot of courses, or hire a million pros, or purchase expensive add-ons to get everything they need. We just keep it simple with plans that include everything, and any setup help you need.
7. A lot of hosting companies will raise their prices after the first year or so. Is that the case with Lyrical Host?
Not at all, we’re actively against the “introductory offer” that so many hosts have. Some of them are legitimate offers, but the vast majority are just not a reflection of the real prices because they rely on people not noticing or apathy about switching.
8. Will you help move a site from one server to your server? Is this a difficult process for the blogger?
We do everything migration-related, so we make a full copy of the website, put it on our staging platform, then the customer checks they’re happy with it and we make it live. We also sort out the domain name transfer or settings, move any email, install an SSL certificate, and other small set-up tasks.
We’ve had customers tag us from a relaxing bubble bath while we’ve been moving their websites, which shows how laidback migration can be!
Note from Lisa: I asked and YES, their migration services do include transferring from your free Blogger blog to WordPress!
9. Do bloggers that host with you have their own access to cPanel? If not, what do you offer instead?
They have their own control panel, which looks familiar to anyone who’s used cPanel – it’s just prettier and has a few different features. Basically, cPanel didn’t have a feature we really wanted for our platform (it allows people to go viral without their website even slowing down), so we couldn’t use it and be satisfied we were providing the best possible service for bloggers. Our control panel is really easy to use though, and cuts out a lot of the confusing unnecessary bits of cPanel.
10. How hands-on are you? For instance, if a site goes down randomly, should the blogger contact you?
I enjoy being hands-on and my inbox is always open for people to contact me, but generally, we handle all tech queries through our support ticket system. Downtime is very rare, but for example a couple of weeks ago someone’s WordPress update didn’t complete properly and took their site down – we were able to resolve it very quickly. I’m not the most technical person myself so someone in our tech team, usually Joseph or Lauren, handles the specifics while I’m there for moral support!
Our goal is to have all sites online and usable all the time, so if a site is returning an error we fix it, even if it’s WordPress-specific or caused by a third party.
11. How secure are sites on your servers? Do you offer malware scans or remove malware if a site gets infected?
We have a lot of built-in security measures, particularly for WordPress websites. Having shiny new platforms and hardware helps because it’s easier to keep ahead of the latest security updates and risks. We also have tailored features, for example, protection against hackers trying to brute-force people’s logins, and a Web Application Firewall.
I think we’re probably the only host that does malware scanning and cleaning for free with every website we migrate from another host. It’s important to us that we keep the whole family as safe as possible and our existing customers have good new neighbors. We also do free plugin reviews on request so our customers can find out if there are any potential security problems with third party add-ons they’re using.
I always like to be upfront about whether or not I personally use a host, and while I don’t use Lyrical Host, it’s DEFINITELY something I would consider. I love that they specifically offer managed WordPress hosting for bloggers and offer more bang for your buck. Whether it’s actually being able to get to know the people hosting your site, offering free masterclasses on the topics that interest you, or the blogging goodies that they send each month, like free stock images, Lyrical Host goes above and beyond what I’ve seen from any other host. Yes, even mine!
I know many of you reading this site eventually transfer your blog from Blogger to WordPress. While many hosts do this, there aren’t many where you can get to know the people that will be moving and caring for your site, which will make the process that much less stressful and give you more peace-of-mind.
Basically, if you’re in the market for a new hosting solution – or even if you aren’t – I recommend at least taking a look at Lyrical Host. They’re doing a lot of great things!
Lyrical Host coupon
If you’re interested in working with Jenni and checking out Lyrical Host, use our exclusive Lyrical Host coupon code “OHSHEBLOGS” to get 10 percent off your first payment of any hosting plan!
Click here to check out Lyrical Host now!