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Every website needs high-quality web hosting. Whether you are starting a site from scratch or want to migrate an existing site to a new hosting company, choosing the right provider is essential. We tested leading web hosting companies based on cost, speed, reliability, and features to help you choose a web hosting provider that will meet your needs. Compare the best web hosting providers:
I have been working in IT for well over 20 years now and have been creating and running websites (both personally and professionally) since I was a child.
In my professional life, I work on a wide range of hardware and software, including web hosting equipment. I have also advised companies on many tech-related subjects, including web hosting, content management, and data security.
I have been involved in the web hosting industry almost my entire life. I’ve used that experience and knowledge here to help you choose the right hosting solutions for your business.
How I Rated the Best Web Hosting Providers
I rate web hosts on specific plans and prices, what features are offered, the performance of a hosting company, what type of security is included, and whether the hosting provider is engaging in ongoing improvements.
I sign up for a plan with each provider to test:
What each provider offers to new users: What plans are available and do they offer a good value?
Ease of use: Is the dashboard easy to navigate?
The support provided: How fast can you get help when you need it and is support genuinely helpful?
The quality of its features: What features does the host offer and how do they compare to similar competitors?
Security measures: Does the host offer Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack protection, backup services, and scans for viruses and malware?
Speed and uptime tests on the cheapest shared hosting plan: Does the provider offer a fast, stable environment for your website? How does it perform in tests, and what kind of servers does the hosting company use?
Recent improvements: What has the host done lately to update its technology and services?
I then upload a basic static site to my web space, including HTML and CSS files and images, and configure Uptime.com to check my site’s availability and server response time at five-minute intervals. This test gives me a general indication of the speed and uptime you will likely experience when you decide on the best web hosting provider for you.
Bluehost is a popular web hosting company with millions of sites running on its servers. This company has provided hosting at an affordable price since 2003. Bluehost continues to innovate and expand to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers.
Starting Price: $2.95-$119.99/month
Whether you are looking to start a small business blog or need to operate a large e-commerce site, Bluehost can handle it all. In addition to ranking Bluehost as the best overall hosting provider, I rated it at the top for VPS and unlimited hosting too.
Bluehost, one of the few official WordPress partners, can run just about any type of website you want, including custom-built pages, WordPress sites, WooCommerce sites, and more. If shared hosting is not sufficient for your website, Bluehost offers excellent VPS and dedicated servers as well.
I opted for WordPress hosting and was able to install the platform with a couple of clicks. If you want to make a customized site (whether with WordPress or not) you can use Bluehost website builders, which allow drag-and-drop site creation.
Who is Bluehost best for?
After extensive testing and a review of everything Bluehost has to offer, I found it to be a capable hosting option for individuals, small businesses, bloggers, and others who need a reliable website. Bluehost makes it easy to create and manage a site with its diverse tools, templates, and WooCommerce options, so it’s easy for those new to running websites.
Recent upgrades to Bluehost
Bluehost is constantly innovating and upgrading its systems. For example, Bluehost’s parent company (Newfold Digital) recently acquired Yoast, which is a leading SEO tool that website operators will really benefit from. In addition, Bluehost started offering an advanced new site migration tool for WordPress sites and a full marketplace for great site templates.
Bluehost has options at many different price points. The basic shared hosting account starts at $2.95 per month. If you need a dedicated server, on the other hand, you can pay up to $119.99 per month for the top-end option.
Pros and cons of Bluehost
Variety of hosting options
30-day money-back guarantee
Official partner of WordPress
No automatic daily backup
No monthly billing on shared hosting
Long wait times for tech support
No Windows hosting
What customers are saying about Bluehost
Customers praise Bluehost's uptime and features, though some say that the shared hosting options don't have the fastest speeds and they wish they didn't have to pay for some extras. Users also say the support staff is friendly and helpful and that the user interface is easy to use.
SiteGround is one of the leading companies in the hosting industry. It is known for offering premium shared hosting solutions to all its customers, especially those who want to use WordPress. While it does not offer dedicated servers or VPS options, the exceptional shared hosting options will be ideal for SMBs, individuals, and many others.
Starting Price: $2.99-$400/month
SiteGround specializes in shared and cloud hosting options, which serves many customers because the vast majority of websites do not need higher-end hosting. I’ve found SiteGround hosting options to be fast and reliable by using the best hardware and software possible. This means that customers will generally pay more than with other companies, but you do get what you pay for in this case.
SiteGround hosting includes a CDN, a free domain, a free SSL certificate, premium support, and more. I particularly love that most hosting packages include a CDN, which allows key files from your website to be loaded on systems in multiple locations to increase the speed at which your website loads.
Who is SiteGround best for?
SiteGround is an excellent hosting provider for bloggers, small businesses, many e-commerce sites, WordPress sites, midsize companies, and more. SiteGround’s limitations will not serve those who need the added control and power that a VPS or dedicated server provides.
Recent upgrades by SiteGround
One of the things I love most about SiteGround is that it is constantly upgrading and improving its hosting services. Some key upgrades SiteGround recently performed include adding a new data center in Madrid, new site scanner tools for added security, and upgrading to a custom CDN.
SiteGround works hard to provide the best shared and cloud hosting possible, but this means you will pay a little more. While this is not the right option for everyone, I believe those who need a fast and reliable hosting company will love working with SiteGround. Hosting starts at $2.99 per month for shared hosting and can go up as high as $400 per month for its top-of-the-line cloud hosting options.
Pros and cons of SiteGround
Focused on shared and cloud hosting
CDN included with most packages
Premium support available
Official partner of WordPress
No dedicated servers
No VPS options
Prices are higher than competitors
Limited disk space on some packages
What customers are saying about SiteGround
SiteGround is a reliable web hosting company with fast speeds, a user-friendly interface, and solid customer service. However, some customers are not thrilled with the price increase and back-end support.
Hostinger is a popular hosting company that has options for just about any type of site you can imagine. Whether you are an individual just starting to blog, or a large company looking for stable hosting, you will find it here. One of my favorite things about Hostinger is that it has managed to balance prices and services perfectly to meet the needs of most customers.
Starting Price: $1.99-$79.99/month
Hostinger best serves anyone who wants to run a website on a stable system with affordable options. I selected this company as the best hosting option for small businesses because it offers affordable plans for companies to upgrade over time.
In addition, Hostinger features a variety of different options for WordPress and WooCommerce websites, which are extremely popular for small businesses. Hostinger offers some key tools and features such as SSL certificates, and email hosting with most hosting packages, so you can have your own custom email domain. Overall, I appreciate the tools and features from Hostinger that make it easy for anyone to run their own website.
Who is Hostinger best for?
Hostinger is especially well suited for small businesses. This company has so many different hosting options and features available, making it easy for SMBs to get sites up and running smoothly in no time. In addition, the hosting servers are very reliable, so there is no need to worry about outages or other issues.
Recent upgrades to Hostinger
Hostinger recently added features including advanced account sharing, the ability to boost your system specs temporarily when needed, and improved WordPress migration tools.
Hostinger offers affordable and competitive pricing, though you couldn’t call it a cheap hosting provider. Options include entry-level shared hosting starting as low as $1.99 per month, the Business Shared Hosting plan for $3.99 per month, or the advanced VPS hosting for $77.99 per month.
Pros and cons of Hostinger
Free domain with hosting
30-day money-back guarantee
Options for game server hosting
Limited technical support options
Some issues with loading speed
No dedicated servers
No CDN on entry-level hosting
What customers are saying about Hostinger
Hostinger is one of the best hosting companies for people who are starting out with a website and seeking low prices. The customer service and mail server could use some improvements, though.
A2 Hosting is an excellent hosting provider that has a lot of different options available to meet the needs of just about everyone. This company is best known for offering exceptionally fast response times on its hosting, which is very important for most websites. While it is not the cheapest hosting around, it does have a good overall reputation and can more than meet the needs of most people.
Starting Price: $2.99-$505.99/month
In my testing, A2 Hosting stood out for its extremely fast hosting servers. This speed is made possible by A2 Hosting’s top-of-the-line servers as well as the great CDN used for most hosting accounts. In addition, you will have access to the premium customer and technical support teams.
I appreciate that all the A2 Hosting packages come with top security, including a free SSL certificate. Your servers will also have protection against DDoS attacks and in most cases, free automatic backup tools to keep your data safe.
Who is A2 Hosting best for?
A2 Hosting is an excellent option for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and e-commerce sites. A2 Hosting prices are a little more expensive than many other options, so anyone seeking a budget hosting solution may want to skip this company.
Recent upgrades by A2 Hosting
While A2 Hosting is a solid platform today, I’m a little concerned that this company is not actively engaged in many upgrades or improvements, at least not publicly. It keeps existing systems up to date through regular upgrades, but that is really the bare minimum for a hosting company. I do like that it added support for Magento and some other systems, but I would really like to see a bigger focus on upgrades and improvements.
A2 Hosting pricing
Pricing at A2 Hosting ranks in the middle of its competitors: entry-level hosting starts at $2.99 per month, but only if you sign up for three years at a time. The highest-priced hosting package is the managed dedicated server with Turbo, and that will run you up to $505.99 per month (again, with the three-year commitment). Some people may consider these costs a little steep.
Pros and cons of A2 Hosting
Exceptionally fast hosting
Lots of options to upgrade your hosting
Excellent security and backup options
Premium support available
Three-year commitment required for the lowest prices
No domain name included
No Windows hosting
What customers are saying about A2 Hosting
A2 is a reliable, affordable hosting company that has fast speeds. The customer service is generally responsive but could use more updated tutorials and documentation.
DreamHost is a highly rated hosting provider that has a lot to offer anyone who wants to run a website. While it offers excellent VPS and dedicated servers, DreamHost is best known for exceptional shared hosting solutions. The shared hosting is so good that we listed it as the best-shared hosting provider in the industry.
Starting Price: $2.59-$279/month
I consider DreamHost the best-shared hosting provider. While DreamHost also offers VPS hosting, dedicated servers, and other types of hosting, it excels in the shared hosting market with a high level of service.
There are many reasons to use DreamHost, including the solid-state drives (SSDs) used throughout most of its hosting servers. SSDs help to speed up sites and make them more reliable. DreamHost also offers unlimited bandwidth and storage, which helps to make your hosting experience worry-free.
DreamHost puts its customers first – I was offered an impressive 97-day money-back guarantee on all its hosting accounts. But I experienced long wait times for support.
Who is DreamHost best for?
While anyone can use DreamHost, we primarily recommend it for bloggers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs who are going to be running a site on WordPress.
Recent upgrades by Dreamhost
Recently, DreamHost upgraded its control panel to add more control over DNS, which is important for many users, and upgrades to the technical support team also took place in 2022 to ensure customers were always helped.
DreamHost’s prices are very reasonable and properly balanced between cost and quality. You can sign up for a wonderful shared hosting account that will only cost you $2.59 per month. If you need something more advanced, you can go all the way up to a premium dedicated server, which will run you $279 per month.
Pros and cons of Dreamhost
Official WordPress partner
Excellent customer support
Impressive 97-day money-back guarantee
Email not included with shared hosting
Website builder is not free on all plans
Sometimes long wait times for support
No Windows hosting
What customers are saying about Dreamhost
A reliable and affordable hosting provider, Dreamhost offers great customer service and a variety of plans. It is easy to use, though there are some complaints that the speed and webmail could be improved.
GreenGeeks is best known for its commitment to using 100% renewable energy, including the power required for the data center and servers. Given that large tech companies like this require a lot of electricity, this is an amazing commitment. While being eco-friendly is important, providing high-quality hosting is essential for customers, and GreenGeeks does that as well. According to my analysis, GreekGeeks is an exceptional hosting provider, and its dedication to environmental causes is just icing on the cake.
Starting Price: $2.95-$109.95/month
Anytime someone brings up GreenGeeks, the main thing talked about is the use of green energy. This makes sense because that is how GreenGeeks markets itself, and it is one of the very few hosting companies that use renewable energy for all its power. That being said, this company would never have become popular if it were not able to provide excellent hosting to its customers.
Customers who need their website up and running smoothly would not tolerate low-quality hosting solutions just because it’s eco-friendly.
While I certainly love that GreenGeeks uses eco-friendly energy sources, I am much more impressed with its hosting. This company has built up an excellent service with a large number of loyal customers because it offers fast and reliable hosting year after year.
You can choose from shared, WordPress, VPS, or reseller hosting options, all of which will provide you with an excellent environment for your website. While it does not offer dedicated servers, most websites will never need that level of service anyway, so it can hardly be considered a major reason to disregard this company.
GreenGeeks’ use of SSDs really helps to ensure your site can handle lots of traffic at the same time without slowing down. Being able to tell your visitors that your website is hosted on servers powered by green energy may also be great for your overall marketing strategy.
Who is GreenGeeks best for?
GreenGeeks is an ideal option for websites ranging from basic blogs to small business sites. The managed VPS hosting solutions are quite robust and can handle a lot of traffic, so even if you have a fairly large e-commerce site, the GreenGeeks servers will be able to provide everything you need.
Recent upgrades by GreenGeeks
GreenGeeks is always working on upgrading and improving its systems. Recently, for example, GreenGeeks upgraded to fully RAID-10 SSD for storage, which is faster and more secure. In addition, all of the servers had PHP7 installed and enabled by default, which is important for modern sites. These are just a couple of the many important improvements that GreenGeeks has made recently.
GreenGeeks clearly put a lot of thought into its prices to ensure customers were getting a notable product at a fair price. Whether you want entry-level shared hosting at $2.95 per month, or you need advanced VPS hosting at just over $100, you will be getting a great service that will meet your needs.
Pros and cons of GreenGeeks
Constant upgrades and improvements
Use of SSDs
Free CDN included
Not the cheapest hosting around
Support teams may take a bit to reply
Must commit to three years for the lowest prices
What customers are saying about GreenGeeks
GreenGeeks is a Canadian eco-friendly hosting company with friendly customer support. The pricing and performance are favorable, but watch out for hidden fees and policies.
InMotion is widely considered a high-end hosting provider that focuses on giving customers exceptional services at a somewhat higher price than its competition. This company uses premium hardware throughout its data center and configures all servers to run fast while maintaining minimal downtime. If your website is a critical component of your business, the slightly higher prices from InMotion may be money well spent.
Starting Price: $2.29-$539.99/month
I chose InMotion Hosting as the most reliable hosting provider because it consistently has exceptional uptime on all its servers. Running multiple tests using both my own internal experience as well as third-party testing tools, I never had any issues.
This is all on top of InMotion’s 99.9% uptime guarantee. The company offers much more than just a stable hosting environment. It also has very responsive servers at all levels. Whether you are looking for a shared hosting environment, a VPS, or even dedicated servers, you will find plenty of options at InMotion.
Who is InMotion Hosting best for?
InMotion is a strong fit for small businesses, entrepreneurs, bloggers with popular sites, and e-commerce websites that want a very fast and reliable hosting experience. Even average hosting companies can generally offer uptime significantly higher than 99%. With this in mind, if a few minutes of downtime every now and then is not a big concern, you may find it worth it to go with a lower-cost option. But if you want maximum uptime, InMotion is one of the best companies to work with.
Recent upgrades by InMotion Hosting
Recently, InMotion started offering customers access to the full suite of Google Workplace applications. It also upgraded its shared hosting services to include unlimited bandwidth to make it easier for customers to manage. This is in addition to regularly upgrading and improving its hosting hardware throughout all of its data center facilities.
InMotion Hosting pricing
You’ll pay a little more with InMotion than you would with discount providers like BlueHost or HostGator. For this extra monthly expense, you will get improved uptime, fast servers, and constant performance improvements. The entry-level shared hosting option with InMotion is just $2.29 per month, but after the initial three-year contract, that goes up to $8.99 per month. If you opt for shorter payment periods, you will pay even higher rates.
Pros and cons of InMotion Hosting
Very reliable hosting environment
Fast response times
Constant upgrades and improvements
Great marketing tools included
More expensive than most hosting
Technical support is a little slow
Automatic backups aren't free
No Windows hosting
What customers are saying about InMotion
InMotion Hosting’s high-performance hosting, support team, features, and customer service are well-liked. Prices are fair, but can fluctuate.
HostGator is perhaps the most recognized name in the web hosting industry. This company has been around for many years and has done an efficient job at advertising itself so when the average person thinks about hosting, HostGator comes to mind. While HostGator had some issues with quality years ago, it has a lot to offer, especially for people who are looking to build their first website.
Starting Price: $2.75-$139.99/month
HostGator has been around for a long time and it has done a lot of marketing and advertising to become one of the best-known companies in the hosting industry. Unfortunately, HostGator did not do well at keeping its systems upgraded and available, giving many customers a less-than-perfect experience.
But for the last several years, HostGator has worked hard to improve its systems and give customers a solid hosting option. While some people who have been in the hosting industry for a long time may remember this company as a sub-par option, that is simply not the case any longer. I have personally used HostGator for running websites and found the services to be easy to use and very reliable.
Today, HostGator offers good quality hosting whether you want shared, VPS, or dedicated servers. In addition, this company has very competitive prices no matter what type of hosting you need. The fact that HostGator has great services at affordable prices makes it easy to pick out the right option, even if you don’t have a lot of experience running websites.
Who is HostGator best for?
HostGator is the best hosting provider for entry-level sites because it offers exceptional hosting options, and its systems are very easy to use. The shared hosting packages offered by HostGator will work really well for websites that do not get a huge amount of traffic, and since these options are very affordable, it is an obvious choice.
Recent upgrades by HostGator
HostGator has significantly expanded its support of e-commerce sites, including providing great plug-ins for the WooCommerce platform. HostGator is also the leader in the industry when it comes to offering helpful blogs and videos to teach people how to run websites better.
HostGator is an ideal option for entry-level websites because you can get high-quality hosting at an affordable introductory rate of $2.75 per month when you choose the Hatchling Plan or $5.25 per month for the Business Plan. Even the higher-end hosting plans with this company are surprisingly affordable, so you can upgrade as needed without breaking your budget.
Pros and cons of HostGator
Excellent technical support
Very easy user interface
Free domain and SSL certificate
Negative reputation in the past
Not all hosting uses SSDs
Not HIPAA compliant by default
No free daily data backups
What customers are saying about HostGator
Hostgator is a good fit for beginners seeking a web host with various features. The customer service and prices are favorable but avoid paying for unnecessary extras. Note there are limitations to the SEO capabilities.
Nexcess is a popular web hosting company owned and operated by Liquid Web, which runs various web hosting-related websites and has a great reputation for providing excellent services throughout the industry. Specifically, Nexcess is known for the managed services offered. If you want great hosting that is virtually worry-free, this may be the perfect option for you.
Starting Price: $9.50-$429.50/month
Nexcess is owned and operated by Liquid Web, which has a quality reputation throughout the hosting industry. You can choose from a several hosting options, including those that are configured specifically for an online store. I found support to be extensive: whether you are using WooCommerce or another content management system, you will get the premium support that you need to make running your digital platform fast and easy.
In addition to managing the back end of your e-commerce platform for you, Nexcess will provide visitors to your site with fast response times and a stable environment. This means your online store will always be up and ready no matter when people want to shop. For e-commerce business owners, this is absolutely essential.
Nexcess specializes in helping people with e-commerce pages. I love that it has technical experts on staff who know how to use all the different e-commerce platforms including WooCommerce, Magento, StoreBuilder, and many others.
Who is Nexcess best for?
Whether you are just starting a new online store, or you have a popular e-commerce site that needs a hosting upgrade, Nexcess is an excellent option to consider.
Recent upgrades by Nexcess
Recently, Nexcess upgraded its systems to provide full integration with HubSpot. It also upgraded the WooCommerce suite to help provide better testing for busy sites. The constant attention to providing quality systems today and long into the future is one more reason I love Nexcess for any e-commerce site.
If you are looking for cheap or mid-range hosting prices, Nexcess is not for you. With the extra work that Nexcess has to put into each customer’s account, it is not surprising that the monthly costs are higher than other companies. Still, if you’re looking for quality managed hosting over unmanaged options, Nexcess is an excellent company to work with and beats other web hosting providers. The managed WordPress hosting plan starts at $9.50 per month, while WP Engine’s managed WordPress hosting starts at $20 per month.
If you want to run a WordPress-based site, but you don’t want to deal with any of the technical aspects, WP Engine is perfect for you. This company specializes in WordPress hosting and can get your site up and running without any trouble. In addition, since it offers managed hosting, you won’t have to worry about data backup, updating systems, or even troubleshooting problems, which is why I rank WP Engine among the best hosting options around.
Starting Price: $20-$600/month
WP Engine specializes in managed WordPress hosting and offers hassle-free hosting because it offers the best systems and support for this type of site.
The downside of using WP Engine is that it costs much more than the competition. In general, you will be able to find basic shared hosting for less than $5 per month, compared to $25 per month to start with from WP Engine. You are paying for the premium support, experience, and overall hosting quality.
I consider WP Engine the best managed WordPress hosting, finding its support options and service superior for WordPress sites. While WP Engine will only be the right option for some, it is the best for those needing this type of hosting.
Who is WP Engine best for?
If you want hassle-free premium hosting and are planning to use WordPress, WP Engine is a clear choice. No other hosting company can compete with the types of services that are offered, so whether you are a blogger, a small business, or even an e-commerce company, WP Engine is an excellent option if you don’t mind the price.
Recent upgrades by WP Engine
To ensure it stays on top, WP Engine optimized its servers for improved speed and reliability, began offering a ‘headless’ WordPress solution, and added several new free features to its hosting services. Also, WP Engine added the Flywheel Growth Suite for when you’re ready to scale your small business.
WP Engine pricing
WP Engine is not cheap, so you can expect to pay several times more money for your hosting than you would with another provider. Its entry-level managed WordPress hosting plan starts at $20 per month (compared to Nexcess at $9.50 per month) and it goes up from there. You get what you pay for, though, so if you want a worry-free hosting company, this is likely your best option.
Pros and cons of WP Engine
Focused on WordPress hosting
Servers configured for speed
Always upgrading and improving
No options other than WordPress
No email hosting
Restrictions on allowed plug-ins
What customers are saying about WP Engine
WP Engine works well for small businesses with WordPress websites, offering fast loading speeds and a secure environment. But this is not the best choice for larger sites or people seeking consistently good customer support, and plans are pricey.
Every website needs a server to make it available online. Web hosts are the companies that supply and manage these servers. The overwhelming majority of businesses use web hosts to keep their websites online.
Operating a server is costly and requires technical knowledge. Third-party web hosts (all the companies listed above) streamline the process by renting server space or, in the case of dedicated hosting, entire servers.
Who Manages The Servers?
When you choose a web host for your business website, you’ll have the option of choosing either “managed” or “unmanaged” hosting. It’s an important distinction, so you’ll want to understand the differences:
Managed Hosting is best for most small and mid-sized business websites. With managed hosting, you don’t need to worry about configuring the server yourself. Your web hosting provider will keep it running smoothly, ensuring the server’s operating system is up-to-date and secure.
Unmanaged hosting is an option for organizations to fully be in control of their hosting services and software. It is a hosting plan with few to no additional services provided. They cost significantly lower and give complete control and freedom to the clients however, the opportunity cost involves much more work on the clients’ end.
What Types of Servers Do Web Hosts Offer?
There are many types of web hosting options available and hosting plans vary by provider. Which web hosting provider is best often comes down to a website’s specific needs. A simple, personal blog with limited traffic can choose a different hosting option than a large e-commerce website with thousands of visitors a day.
Aside from the managed versus dedicated distinction explained above, there are different server types you should be aware of. These include:
Shared hosting is the most popular and least expensive option available. This is because web hosting companies host many websites on the same server, with each site drawing on a communal pool of CPU and RAM. For websites just starting out this can be a cost-effective web hosting solution, especially if the web traffic is low. The trade-off — because you’re sharing resources with other websites on the server, your website’s performance could be affected by other websites on the same server.
Unless you have a high-traffic website, shared hosting will likely meet your needs. Shared hosting is also the most cost-effective option at less than $10 per month.
Virtual private server (VPS) hosting is a cross between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Web hosting providers still place multiple websites on a single server, but using virtualization software, the host sets up “walls” that prevent a site from using resources dedicated to another site. This means you’ll get better performance over a shared server without the higher cost of a dedicated server.
Dedicated servers are best for highly trafficked, resource-intensive websites. Dedicated servers offer unparalleled performance, security, and isolation. The entire server — both in terms of hardware and software — is dedicated to running your website. Dedicated servers are among the most expensive hosting options available. Though, only websites with high traffic volumes or complicated resource needs are likely to need this option.
What Do All These Web Hosting Terms Mean?
As you research the best web hosting services, you’ll see a lot of specialized terminology. Here are some key phrases you should know to help you make an informed decision.
An additional website that can be added to your hosting plan. Most basic web hosting plans include one domain. Advanced plans will give you multiple domains, or let you add more as needed.
Admin or Control Panel
The administration panel of your hosting account, which lets you upload and download files, create email addresses, install applications, and more. The most commonly used control panel software is cPanel. Other admin panels include Plesk and Webmin.
Bandwidth or Data Transfer
The measurement of how much data can flow through a connection in a given amount of time. The more visitors your site has, the more data you transfer, and the more bandwidth you need. Limited bandwidth can negatively impact your website’s speed and accessibility.
The amount of storage space available on the server for storing your website files, including text, images, databases, media, and more.
Your website’s unique name that users enter into the browser’s address bar to access your website.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) access
This is how you upload your website’s file to your server. Most control panels have a File Manager tool for this. You can also use an FTP client, such as FileZilla.
Internet Protocol (IP) address
This is the unique numerical address that identifies your website, and connects visitors to it from their browser. Because it is too difficult for people to remember individual IP addresses, website addresses are simplified with domain names.
Linux and Windows Servers
The two types of operating systems used by web servers. Linux is an open-source OS that is cheaper and arguably more versatile than Windows. Linux can handle a variety of programming languages and applications. Windows OS requires a license, and is therefore more expensive, but is ideal for websites that rely on Windows technologies.
This application translates domain names into IP addresses, so when your site visitors type in your domain name, they are directed to the correct IP address.
A powerful computer that hosts websites, and provides data to other computers by running specific software depending on the server type. When someone visits your website, they are connected to the server hosting the files that make up your website.
A subsection of the main domain, such as blog.yourmaindomain.com.
The total time your website is accessible during a certain period of time. It’s usually measured in percentage, and most web hosts advertise a guarantee of 99% uptime or better.
You’ve Chosen a Web Host, So What’s Next?
After choosing your web host, you’ll need to register your domain name with the host. Many web hosts combine both steps, but with others, you’ll need to configure the service to use your company’s chosen URL.
If your company already has a website with a different host, you’ll need to transfer the website files over to the new host. All hosting providers have instructions for how to do this, and it’s usually quick and painless.
If you don’t already have a website, then the only thing left to do is to build one! “Website builders” are the tools used for this and there are many options available. Too many, in fact, so head over to our Best Website Builders of 2022 page for a list of the best options and the pros and cons of each.
Compare Popular Web Hosting Plans
Need a great web host? Want to save some time? This shortlist is your best place to begin:
Michael Levanduski is an IT professional with over 20 years of experience in the industry. He regularly advises businesses on a range of topics, including web hosting, content management and data security. He lives in West Michigan with his family where he enjoys camping, hiking, and of course, writing. Michael’s expertise has been shared on a variety of websites, including Hostadvice.com, Neweggbusiness.com and Gogetspace.com.
Our methodology is designed to help small businesses avoid a common, costly mistake: Choosing the wrong IT solution. We present only options that work well for a majority of SMB use cases after weighing cost, functionality, ease-of-use, user reviews
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