TextPattern is an efficient content management system that uses an elegant, sophisticated, and powerful engine. It was introduced in 2003 and the current release is 4.5.5. It’s a free open-source app that is written in PHP and uses MySQL as its database back end. In other words, it is compatible with the LAMP stack and can be installed on a huge majority of commercial hosting providers.
TextPattern started out as a personal blogging tool, but its flexibility and extensibility enabled it to become a full-fledged content management system.
Unlike many other contemporary content management systems, TextPattern is very lightweight. It is even lighter than WordPress, but nowadays that is not a strong statement. You can think of it as a candidate replacement for WordPress for people who are looking for something quicker and more responsive.
If you are one of those people but only want a lightweight blogging platform instead of a CMS, check out Ghost as well. It’s even lighter and more narrowly focused on blogging.
Although heavier CMS apps use a WYSIWYG text editor, TextPattern uses a text markup language known as Textile. You write human-readable marked-up text and Textile converts it to standards-compliant XHTML. In that way, it is similar in concept to Ghost, which uses John Gruber’s Markdown instead of Textile.
TextPattern is all about standards compliance. You can control XHTML and CSS directly from the admin interface. You can create advanced websites that don’t require you to know jQuery or PHP (even though TextPattern is built using PHP). Instead, you can easily learn how to use TextPattern.
You can host TextPattern on many Linux providers, but choosing the right host is very important since changing hosts later can be a nightmare. Because it is lightweight and compatible with the standard LAMP stack, we are recommending some great Shared hosting providers. They also have VPS plans that you can switch to if you outgrow the limitations of Shared hosting.
The Best 5
- A Small Orange : Fantastic Shared hosting at prices starting at only $2.92/month,
- Lithium Hosting : High performance Shared hosting at even lower prices,
- Siteground : Shared hosting with datacenters in Europe, US, and Singapore,
- Site5 : Budget Shared hosting with great customer support backed by a written agreement,
- Arvixe : Entry-level and Business Shared hosting plans for any requirement.
Read more about them after the break!
Winner – A Small Orange – From $2.92/month
A Small Orange (ASO) was founded in 2003 in Atlanta. Their mission statement is to provide the best quality service at an affordable cost. Unlike a large percentage of shared hosting companies, their site and marketing deliberately rank low on the nonsense scale. You can pretty much read their site and learn about what they charge and the services they provide. What a concept!
They claim 99.9% uptime and offer an unusually generous 90 day money-back guarantee, the highest in the industry. They have a long term policy of not overbooking their shared servers and a good rep among the geeks for that and for quality technical support. With a three month trial period, you can be sure that it works as advertised!
Although their advertising doesn’t boast about themselves or feature celebrity spokesmodels, they’re quietly on the cutting edge of shared hosting technology. They’ve upgraded their Shared Hosting plans to use solid state drives (SSD) at no increase in price. Their well-known commitment to not overbooking their shared servers and their 24/7 tech support has won them lots of fans.
Shared Hosting Plans
Our experience is that you get the best service by selecting a Shared hosting plan with enough storage and bandwidth for your needs instead of going for a provider who advertises “unlimited” everything. One problem is that “unlimited” Shared hosts can flake out when you actually take them up on that “unlimited” promise. ASO is the perfect model for how to do Shared hosting that works.
ASO offers a graded scale of limited shared hosting plans. Their prices range from only $2.92/mo to $30/mo, with discounts for annual prepayment.
If you sign up for a year at ASO, your monthly charge is lower than the advertised price! If you buy an annual plan, they include 2 extra months and a free domain name.
Here are ASO’s Shared hosting plans.
All the plans are unlimited in other ways:
- Unlimited POP3/IMAP Mail Accounts
- Unlimited MySQL Databases
- Unlimited Mailing Lists
- Unlimited Email Forwarders
- Unlimited Subdomains
- Unlimited Parked and Add-on Domains
- Unlimited FTP Accounts
A step up from Share Hosting is their Cloud Shared hosting plans. It’s also suitable for small sites and medium sized sites and have the advantages of redundant hardware with automatic failover.
Cloud Shared Hosting Plans
These are affordable Cloud Shared hosting solutions that are configured for e-commerce. They are positioned as a business class hosting since the cloud infrastructure has the 99.99% uptime that businesses need.
They have three Business plans, Startup, Small Business, and Enterprise. Here they are:
|Plan||Storage||Bandwidth||SSL Cert.||PCI Comp.||Price|
1. Storage is on high speed mechanical disks with SSD caching.
2. Automatic daily backups are included.
ASO uses the industry standard cPanel control panel and the Softaculous app installer.
If you are migrating from another hosting company who uses cPanel, they will handle the migration for free.
Daily backups are also included, as is 24/7 technical support. ASO has a good reputation for providing excellent tech support.
ASO gets a checkbox in the “green” category. They say that they match 150% of their energy usage with renewable energy.
2. LithiumHosting – From $1.95/month
Lithium Hosting was founded in 2006 and dedicated to providing quality web hosting at a low cost. They’re very much like A Small Orange but they offer even cheaper prices!
They use the Hivelocity datacenter as its back end, with private peering connections via 10G in Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta and Seattle and have a European datacenter in Amsterdam.
- They offer a 45 day money-back guarantee.
- They have a 99.7% uptime guarantee.
- They use the Softaculous installer and cPanel control panel.
It appears that they are in the process of upgrading from mechanical drives to SSD but solid state storage is not yet an across-the-board standard. They say that SSD is available on “some” servers and customers can request a no-cost upgrade to SSD if they are experiencing performance issues with database-driven sites. TextPattern is database-driven so this upgrade may be for you.
They recently junked their “unlimited” plan in favor of a graded scale of pricing. It resembles ASO’s but it is more aggressive. Lithium Hosting is very unusual in that they offer a real 30-day free trial. Some hosting companies offer a free trial but it is only a few days and you are not allowed to install a database-driven app like TextPattern. In effect, you would be unable to test what you intend to use. With LithiumHosting’s free trial, you really can try TextPattern out at no cost!
Notice that you get more storage and bandwidth for the dollar with Lithium Hosting than with ASO. That’s the differentiator between these two excellent companies.
Here is their price schedule:
Like ASO, Lithium Hosting offers discounts for long-term commitments. Here’s Lithium Hosting’s Shared hosting prices for contracts from one month to three years:
|Plan||36 month||24 month||12 month||1 month|
For a small site, one of the economy plans here or at ASO should work out fine. Both providers allow you to upgrade to a higher tier if the need arises. It’s just bookkeeping.
3. SiteGround – From $3.95/month
Founded in 2004 by a few university friends, SiteGround gradually but steadily grew into a leading web hosting service provider. Today, the company has about 90 employees and is constantly growing.
The company now has datacenters in Chicago, Amsterdam, and Singapore. The company is built to provide top-notch customer support and high performance hosting services, while sticking to the policy of not overselling their resources. Their place in the market is to compete on the basis of quality and service rather than cutthroat prices.
Shared Hosting Plans
Siteground offers three categories of shared hosting plans that correspond to small, medium, and high cost. Their shared hosting plans limit storage and bandwidth so as to not overbook their shared servers.
Besides storage and bandwidth, this table reports on two factors that are important if you collect money using your site. In order to process credit cards, you need a private SSL connection to encrypt communications. PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance means that the server passes the industry’s compliance tests to process credit card payments.
|Name||# Sites||Storage||Bandwidth||SSL Cert||PCI Comp.||Price|
The GrowBig plan comes with an SSL certificate, so it is possible for your customers to establish a secure and encrypted connection. Only the top plan, GoGeek, also includes server PCI compliance (Payment Card Industry), making it the preferred choice for e-commerce.
4. Site5 – From $4.95/month
Site5 has been in business for more than 15 years and is one of the largest and most successful hosting companies. Site5 is the home for over 200,000 domains and 250 servers. They have a worldwide network of 20 datacenters around the world. Here’s the locations of Site5’s datacenters.
- Asia: New Delhi, Singapore
- Australia: Sydney
- Europe: Amsterdam, Bucharest
- UK: London
- Canada: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver
- South America: Joao Pessoa, Sauo Paulo
- US: Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Miami, Atlanta, New York, Washington
Their main datacenter is in Dallas, but you can request another location when you sign up. Other datacenters charge a bit more per month.
Site5 offers a 45-day money back guarantee. What’s rare is that they have a 30-day free trial account! It’s available for Shared and Cloud Shared plans. If you want to check out Site5 ahead of time, we suggest that you take them up on their 30-day free shared cloud account. This is perfect for trying out the performance of the Shared hosting plan.
Site5 is among very a small group of hosting companies that offers a customer support Service Level Agreement. The SLA states that if a customer does not get a response to a support inquiry within 24 hours, his account will be credited as a token of apology. This is both commitment and confidence.
Shared Hosting Plans
Their Shared hosting plans are priced at $4.95, $8.95, and $11.95 a month. The $4.95 plan permits only one site but the others are unlimited. Only the $11.95 plan comes with a dedicated IP address. For a lightweight blog or CMS, this should be all you need.
Cloud Shared Hosting Plans
Site5 has an interesting premium-level Shared hosting plan that delivers the advantages of Cloud hosting without the price penalty of a fully-managed VPS. They call it Cloud Shared Hosting. Like a VPS, it has storage and bandwidth limits and it comes with the uptime advantages of cloud hosting. The Cloud Shared Hosting plans are designed with fully redundant backup components with automatic failover. If your main server goes down, the backup server takes over automatically. They cite a 99.99% uptime statistic, but a true cloud really shouldn’t be going down at all. That’s the reason they cost a bit more money.
A dedicated IP is included, as is their 45-day money-back guarantee.
5. Arvixe – From $4/month
Arvixe has been in the hosting business since 2003, making it a well established provider. It has an even broader range of plans than most providers, as they maintain parallel lines of plans for both Windows and Linux. We have one word of advice: Linux. Unless you have a special need for Windows hosting, its best to stick with Linux. In effect, Linux is the native language of the web.
Shared Hosting Plans
Arvixe has two categories of shared hosting, with two plans to pick from in each. Personal Class plans are for smaller websites, while Business Class plans enjoy more server resources and have the security features that are required for business on the web.
The Personal Class plan is only $4/mo while Personal Class Pro is $7/mo. The former is restricted to six domains, while the latter supports an unlimited number of domains. In all likelihood, the $4/mo plan is all you will ever need.
Personal Class Shared hosting is an unlimited storage and bandwidth plan that includes unlimited mailboxes databases, subdomains, and FTP accounts. Personal Class is a good plan for a site that is not too demanding of computer resources. Certainly the price is right!
If that doesn’t work for your site, upgrade to Business Class. The Business Class plan costs $22/mo and Business Class Pro is $35/mo. The former is limited to six sites while the latter is unlimited. The cost differential between Personal and Business is proportional to the number of accounts per server. A higher priced plan like Business is recommended if you have a very large number of active users or wish to support e-commerce.
TextPattern is an amazingly agile, lightweight and elegant content management system. Using it is a joy in itself. We wish you all the best on your TextPattern-powered website project. If you want to have more choices in hosting, you can check out more alternatives by using our hosting comparison tool and check them out yourself.