Wanting to start a website. Looking for Privacy Respecting Web Hosting Services, Domain Registrars, and Website Builders

I need a web hosting service, domain registrar and a website builder for starting my website, where I will primarily be doing writing and blogging.

I currently have a domain registered under NameCheap. But I am willing to switch from it for a privacy respecting alternative if NameCheap isn’t already privacy friendly.

What are the best web hosting services, domain registrars and website builders for privacy?

Currently I am considering these options for the domain registrar:

  • Squarespace
  • Wix
  • OrangeWebsite
  • Continuing to use NameCheap

And these options for the website builder/content management system:

  • WordPress
  • Ghost

And these options for web hosting:

  • Hostinger
  • Bluehost
  • Siteground
  • OrangeWebsite (though it seems quite pricey)

Are these options good for privacy? If not, what are the privacy alternatives?

I am guessing that the ability to pay with crypto is a must if privacy is wanted, right?

I have read that OrangeWebsite is privacy respecting, but I am not too sure about it because it is hard to find reviews about it. If I remember correctly, I only found it because Techlore has it in his “Resources” sections.

I am open to any other suggestions or recommendations.

If you just want something unsophisticated, you can start hosting static content, which means only html/markdown/… pages without backend for accounts etc. on a service like github pages (had good experience) or netlify (heard good things, haven’t tried) for example.
With both services, which are free, you can start on a sub-domain like your-github-name.github.io/… but can always upgrade to a custom domain.

To build a blog which is more than just linked rich text files, I use the simple programming language elm but from your question it seems you don’t want to code, so I can’t give suggestions there. Same with getting a domain.

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Orange Website’s pricing for shared hosting pricing looks somewhat competitive to me, their VPSes are very expensive though. As @lue mentioned, Github Pages is a good option for static sites (you can use Hugo or Jekyll for static site generation) and Codeberg Pages is a good FOSS alternative to Github Pages. You can also rent a VPS and host Wordpress on that. 1984 has pretty competitive VPS pricing and is generally regarded as a privacy-friendly provider (they also have shared hosting).

For domain registrars, I personally think any one that offers free WhoIs privacy is fine for most threat models. 1984, Orange, and Njalla all offer domain hosting and are in Techlore’s recommendations.

For the website builder, I haven’t heard of Ghost, but I know WordPress is open source so I think that’s a step in the right direction.

When it comes to payment method, that depends on you. For me, if a service is going to keep my information private (which almost every company has no plans to let customer data loose) I don’t mind just using regular payment methods. Crypto is an extra step if you think you need that, but I don’t think most folks need to sweat it. For extra protection for yourself you could trying signing up with email aliases and using privacy.com for the actual payment method.

I would recommend against WordPress as there are lots if security issues (mainly with 3rd-party plugins). If you do decide on WordPress, keep the amount of plugins you install to a minimum.

I do plan on making it slightly sophisticated in the future. It would just be the ability to have members sign up for my website and newsletter, have their own account, etc.

Correct. I don’t want to code, and I don’t know how to.

Oh, I must have been mistaken. You are referring to Orange Website’s Domain Registration Service and Shared Hosting Prices, right?

What is the difference between shared hosting and VPS?

If one cares about privacy, why not just go with one of the options that Techlore suggested (1984, OrangeWebsite) when it comes to domain registrars? It’s just registering a domain, is there really any gain in using some other domain registrar like Namecheap?

What about Ghost? Ghost is also open source, and seems to need less plugins.

Where can I learn about the security issues with WordPress?

Unfortunately I haven’t heard of Ghost, so I don’t know how it compares.

This is the latest WordPress plugin exploit I have heard of: Vulnerability in WordPress BackupBuddy Plugin Exploited By Hackers - Infosecurity Magazine
You may be able to find more here: wordpress security - Brave Search

What is the difference between shared hosting and VPS?

Shared hosting where you share server space with other websites and do not manage the server yourself. A VPS is a virtual server (the bare metal is usually shared with other virtual servers) where you get your own I.P. address and manage the server yourself (does require some basic sys admin skills, though getting Wordpress up and running shouldn’t be too difficult). Managed VPSes are also an option, but are usually expensive and more targeted toward websites that have a decent amount of traffic.

If one cares about privacy, why not just go with one of the options that Techlore suggested (1984, OrangeWebsite) when it comes to domain registrars? It’s just registering a domain, is there really any gain in using some other domain registrar like Namecheap?

The registrars suggested by Techlore are slightly pricier than other options and don’t have as many TLDs available.

Ok that makes sense. Thanks.

Would you agree that these are quite small reasons for someone using gTLDs (.com, .net, .org, etc.) rather than others like ccTLDs(.io, .co, .ca, etc.)?

On OrangeWebsite, gTLDs are only about $7-$9 more per year than NameCheap’s gTLDs.

I don’t understand why these privacy respecting domain registrars aren’t that well-known. Are they less secure or something? Is there more risk involved?

Smaller advertising budgets? lol

I just want to say I would not recommend using ccTLDs anyways, because ccTLDs are not subject to as stringent of requirements from ICANN as other TLDs are. They are essentially left up to the whims of their country’s government, and more than a few of them have had issues in the past that would have not been acceptable from a gTLD.

Ohh right.

Oh I didn’t know that. Could you give some examples on what could go wrong by using a ccTLD like “.co” instead of a gTLD like “.net”?

Price changes for one thing, ccTLD pricing is not as strictly regulated by ICANN, so Colombia (.co) could increase their prices whenever they want at a whim.

Change in ownership is another. Around 2-ish years ago .org tried to sell themselves to a for-profit in a scheme to raise registration and renewal prices, which was luckily stopped by ICANN. If it were a ccTLD, ICANN wouldn’t be able to prevent a country’s government from delegating control of their ccTLD to whichever organization they choose.

They are also held to much lower standards of reliability and security. A lot of the time a ccTLD’s nameservers are hosted only in the country they represent, which could have a big performance impact on your website (probably less likely with ccTLDs that market themselves as gTLDs like .co and .fm, but still). The .io ccTLD also notably had an issue 5 years ago that took almost a day to be fixed and was never officially acknowledged by the registry in any communications to their customers:

When you get involved with a ccTLD you also involve yourself with that country’s politics, .io has run into controversy recently regarding British colonization which has prompted more than a few websites to ditch their .io domains.