Because technology is always changing as better tools become available, I will be continually updating this page to reflect my current applications and workflow (some affiliate links below).
First and foremost, I use WordPress as my content management system (CMS). I believe in open source software and the community that supports it, and WordPress currently powers over 25% of the internet. I have been developing websites with WordPress for over ten years so I have watched it grow into what it is today.
All my websites are hosted by SiteGround.* They offer great hosting at a reasonable price, and their customer service is excellent. Their options range from affordable shared hosting, cloud hosting, and dedicated servers. I’m currently on the “Grow Big” plan on their shared hosting. Another great feature they offer is 1-click installation of a free SSL (through Let’s Encrypt).
Another solid option if you want managed WordPress hosting (automatic updates and backups, free staging site, WordPress security) is WP Engine.* While I don’t host any of my own sites there, I have helped clients set up their hosting with them and they have proven worthy of a recommendation.
DesktopServer makes creating local installations of WordPress easy and fast: name your site and click a few buttons – that’s it! Developing locally is faster because you don’t have to wait for a web server to respond to every change you make. However, you should still test everything on a staging site to check your website server’s environment before publishing any updates to your website.
I love Elegant Themes* (especially Divi for prototyping designs and even some websites). They use a subscription model where you get access to all their themes and plugins, including updates throughout the year. They also have great support and a very active community of passionate users.
For everything from backups, security, updates, and a lot more, iThemes is a great choice for reliable plugins.
* Some links on this page are affiliate links, which means if you click on them and sign up for that service, I will be paid a small percentage for referring you. I only use affiliate links for products and services I actually use, so I can recommend them from honest, personal experience and not because they pay the best rates.