Coding a website can be daunting, especially without development experience. Whether you are new to website building or are a developer looking to save time, a user-friendly site builder will make your life simpler.
Your business needs a web host that’s stable, secure, and fast. The right hosting provider will make your site easier to manage, and improve the experience of customers visiting you online. While it seems like web hosts are a dime a dozen, we strongly recommend prioritizing quality over lowest cost.
If you’re in a rush or tired of searching, take a look at Bluehost, our current recommended Top Pick. With the right combination of cost, features and usability, Bluehost will meet the web hosting needs of most small businesses.
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If you’re looking for a web hosting company for a new or existing website, our curated list of Top Picks is the best place to start. All of the providers below meet the needs and are a good fit for a majority of small and mid-sized businesses. Be sure to check the details of each, especially if you have niche requirements for your site.
Bluehost offers a variety of professional web hosting services. Prices start at $2.75 per month and range to as high as $13.95 per month for their four website hosting packages: Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro. The least costly basic plan includes one website, 50GB of storage, and unmetered bandwidth. The other plans all include unlimited storage and websites.
Bluehost supports 99.96% uptime, making it one of the most reliable options on this list. It offers shared, dedicated, VPS, and WordPress server types with 24/7 customer support via chat and phone. The company's website also provides a knowledge base for developers or others who want to troubleshoot issues.
Users can access optional services, such as professional website design and development as well as marketing, for additional fees. Other add-ons include multi-server management, a content delivery network, and access control. Bluehost offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Additonally, Bluehost offers a drag-and-drop Website Builder powered by WordPress. This feature includes unlimited uploads plus access to the WordPress stock image library. Bluehost manages the WordPress installation and Website Builder plugin so setup takes minutes. Adding the Website Builder means you have full access to WordPress. This access is unlike other website builders who lock you into using only their tools and platforms.
Bluehost offers competitive pricing for the first term and plenty of storage, and its uptime numbers are typically higher than many competitors. Renewal rates might be higher, though, and you have to pay extra for a lot of features that are included in some competitor packages.
Competitive rates for first-time users
Unlimited storage for most plans
Renewal rates might be higher than expected
What Customers Are Saying
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.
With Google Cloud, SSD drives, and their own custom optimization solutions, SiteGround is able to achieve some of the fastest speeds and best reliability in the industry. Hosting plans from this provider include web, WordPress, WooCommerce, and cloud hosting options.
SiteGround’s commitment to heavily enhance their technology and fine-tune its behavior allows them to develop powerful speed tools exclusively available for their clients. Supercacher, which is the best feature of Siteground, increases the number of hits a site can handle and boosts the website loading speed. SiteGround continuously innovates Supercacher; the recent launch of Dynamic (full-page) caching is now available on all plans giving between 50%-500% boost in WordPress performance.
SiteGround enables the new compression algorithm provided by Brotli by default on their Site Tools servers to compress websites and help them load faster. Hence, websites hosted on SiteGround get up to 15-20% speed gains. SiteGround also offers the new Ultrafast PHP setup giving 30% more speed and reducing TTFB (available on GrowBig and GoGeek) for all sites, including the latest edition of MySQL setup that allows faster database query processing.
SiteGround's StartUp plan includes one website and up to 10GB of space. Upgrading to the GrowBig or GoGeek plan provides you with access to SiteGround’s SuperCacher. Additionally, the GoGeek plan uses more server resources and has ultrafast PHP enabled. All plans include free SSL certificates, email, and WP installation as well as unmetered traffic and unlimited databases. Google backing also means the energy used to support this technology is matched by investments in renewable energy for an eco-friendly option. SiteGround also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Free site migrations, Google backing, and stellar uptime are all benefits of this service, as is the inclusion of features such as SSL certificates in all plans. Limited data storage on many plans and the higher cost of nonpromotional pricing are potential cons.
Google foundations and eco-friendly processes
Free site migrations
Cost increases substantially after promo period
Limited data storage
What Customers Are Saying
SiteGround boasts a 98% client satisfaction rate. Existing customers praise SiteGround customer support in reviews, saying that chat reps are friendly, fast, and helpful. They also say customer support reps are patient and offer helpful advice that the layperson can understand. Customers also like the reliability of the service.
DreamHost is a service known for providing options that meet the needs of a wide range of users. The company has over 25 years of experience in the web hosting niche and offers shared, VPS, WordPress, dedicated, and cloud web hosting options.
Its plans include website builders, database backups, and SSL certificates as well as one free domain name. DreamHost plans start at $2.59 per month for WordPress hosting, website builder, or website hosting; VPS hosting is $10 per month; cloud hosting is $0.0075 per hour, and dedicated hosting is $169 per month.
Support is available around the clock via chat and phone. An existing knowledge base is available for DIY troubleshooting as well as user forum. DreamHost offers unmetered bandwidth and 99.90% uptime. Customers can also access WordPress migration services, web design, WooCommerce hosting, and other services for additional costs.
DreamHost offers web design tools better than average industry uptimes make it a great choice for web hosting. But, customers donâ€™t have access to cPanel, which might be a disadvantage for more advanced site managers.
Plenty of web building options
Friendly customer service
Lack of cPanel
What Customers Are Saying
Customers like the intuitive, easy-to-use interface and report being satisfied with DreamHost's customer service. Reviews also note that the provider has been around for more than two decades and make it easy to create basic sites for personal, nonprofit, or community use.
With prices starting as low as $1.39 per month, Hostinger stands out as an especially good option for hosting users who are on a tight budget.
While Hostinger’s plans are exceptionally affordable it doesn’t mean they’re missing any key features. Even the lowest-level shared hosting plan includes SSD storage, a free SSL certificate, and managed auto-updates for WordPress.
It’s also comforting to know that whenever you need help with an issue, Hostinger support agents are available 24/7 over live chat.
A2 Hosting is a Better Business Bureau-accredited company offering a range of hosting packages. Prices start at $2.99 per month for shared hosting, and the company also offers reselling, WordPress, VPS, and dedicated server hosting.
Monthly costs include a website builder, SSL certificate, database backups, and web hosting comes with one free domain. Customers have access to 24/7 customer support for help with technical issues via live chat, contact us forms, and phone. A2 Hosting also offers a robust online resources section for self-serve troubleshooting.
Unlimited bandwidth and a 99.84% average uptime help ensure stability for users, and free site migration makes it easy to convert to this service. A2 Hosting offers an anytime money-back guarantee for users who aren't satisfied with their hosting. The service is compatible with Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, Magento and OpenCart.
A2 Hosting offers quick speeds to help combat bounce rates, and it specializes in WordPress hosting with cPanel or Plesk control panels. Users also get support for a variety of development tools. Be aware, though, that pricing that starts at $2.99 a month is a potentially temporary discount, so future renewals might cost more.
Unlimited bandwidths and storage
Helpful customer service
90-day money-back guarantee
Pricing is not as affordable as some competitors
What Customers Are Saying
Customer reviews note that Web Hosting Hub offers excellent features for its plans and that it can support a wide range of website types. Reviewers also call out the friendly customer service and talk about how reps walk them through complex features when needed. Customers also like the uptime percent they experience.
GreenGeeks bills itself as an eco-friendly web hosting service. It was started by experts with plenty of experience in the industry, and it offers unlimited bandwidth and an impressive 99.99% uptime. Plans start at $2.49 a month for Lite, which includes one website, 50 GB storage, a free domain name for the first year, and a free wildcard SSL. The Lite plan is for customers who are just getting started with web hosting.
The Pro and Premium are more powerful plans for clients who need the upgrades. These plans run $4.95 or $8.95 per month respectively and come with unlimited websites and additional features, such as a free dedicated IP in the case of Premium. GreenGeeks' pricing comparison page also notes you'll get increased RAM access, CPU cores, Inodes, and more with the Pro and Premium plans.
GreenGeeks provides 24/7 support via chat, phone or email, and users can also access an online knowledge base to get answers to frequently asked questions. The service provides a 30-day money-back guarantee, and customers can opt for shared, dedicated, reseller, WordPress, or VPS hosting.
GreenGeeks offers above-average uptimes and page load times that are lower than the industry average. Site migrations are free, and GreenGeeks purchases wind energy credits to offset its environmental impact. Low pricing is only for the first year, though, and any refunds are offset by the regular purchase price of free domain names.
Higher pricing for renewals
Refunds might be less than expected
What Customers Are Saying
Customers report being happy with the value they get for the price and speak well of GreenGeeks customer support processes. Users note that, while prices might be higher in general than some other services, the plans include many features that competitors charge extra for.
InMotion Hosting builds WordPress sites for $99, guaranteeing completion in two days. It also provides a number of web hosting services, including WordPress, VPS, dedicated, and shared hosting. Shared hosting services start at $2.49 per month, WordPress hosting starts at $4.99 a month, VPS hosting starts at $17.99 a month, and dedicated hosting starts at $99.99 per month.
The basic shared hosting package is called Lite and comes with one website, 10GB of storage, and unlimited bandwidth. For $4.99 per month, users can get the Power and Launch shared hosting plan, which supports up two to fifty websites respectively. Numerous other hosting plans are available with additional features at increased rates.
InMotion Hosting offers a 90-day money-back guarantee. It also boasts 99.84% uptime and offers SSL certificates, database backup, and website building tools. Customers can access 24/7 support for hosting via phone, chat, or the online support center.
InMotion Hosting offers a generous 90-day money-back guarantee, free SSL certificate, and reliable uptime. Page load speeds can be slow on some of their servers, though, and account setup can require manual verification, which can lead to some delays.
Generous money-back guarantee
Free SSL certificate
Slow page load speeds
Potential setup delays
What Customers Are Saying
Customer reviews mention the excellent customer support received when logging in to chat or the online portal. They also mention smooth and professional migrations and other services, though consumers have found some delays due to the company's verification and security processes.
HostGator is a popular option for individuals and businesses, in part because it's easy to scale up with this service. The basic web builder plan starts at $2.64 a month and offers drag-and-drop customization that's user friendly. Other plans include WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting, which range from $5.95 to $89.98 per month. All plans include one free domain, access to website building tools, an SSL certificate, and database backups.
Service includes unmetered bandwidth and HostGator is known for stellar uptimes of 99.93%. It also offers a money-back guarantee within 45-days of making the initial purchase or renewal.
HostGator offers 24/7 support via a phone help line, live chat, and an online contact form. It also offers unlimited storage and a single email account for each user as well as a single free site transfer service.
HostGator is known for excellent uptime and offers a one-month credit if uptime drops below a certain level. It also offers free cPanel and site migrations and is known for good customer service. But the service does tend to come with slower-than-average page upload speeds, and extras sometimes included for free by competitors come at a cost with HostGator.
Quality customer service
Slow page load speeds
Extra fees for basic additional services
What Customers Are Saying
Customers like HostGator's competitive prices and professional customer service and support. Reviews also call out the ample space and reliability and reasons they would recommend HostGator.
WP Engine is an excellent hosting option for WordPress users. With their most basic plan, StartUp Managed Hosting, you get 10 GB storage, 50 GB bandwidth, daily backups, free automated migrations, 30+ premium WordPress themes, and 24/7 support for one site.
Also, this provider partners with some of the biggest names in tech, such as Google and Amazon, to offer truly exceptional performance for their users.
WP Engine's performance is optimized for the WordPress platform, and they offer plenty of features that are useful to WordPress users as well. Their starting price is relatively high compared to other providers, though.
Exceptional performance and features for WordPress users
Best-in-class technology partners
Relatively high starting price
What Customers Are Saying
Users also report that WP Engine's customer support is quite helpful. "WP Engine has the most awesome support staff," wrote one user. "They always resolve the question or issue. It does not matter what time of day, I get the same great support."
While they are best known for their domain registration services, GoDaddy also offers a variety of high-quality web hosting services and plans.
Their entry-level shared hosting plan provides 10 GB of storage and unmetered bandwidth for one website. It also includes one year of free Office 365 email and one year of free domain registration. Premium shared hosting plans work for unlimited websites, offer more storage, and include additional features such as free premium DNS and a free SSL certificate.
If you have too much traffic for a shared hosting plan to handle, you should check out GoDaddy's VPS and dedicated server plans. GoDaddy offers specialized plans for WordPress users as well.
From affordable shared hosting plans to top-of-the-line dedicated servers, GoDaddy truly offers something for everyone. The only downside is that, ideally, their money-back guarantee would be longer than 30 days.
Feature-rich shared hosting plans
Powerful hosting options for enterprise users
Money-back guarantee only 30 days
What Customers Are Saying
Users tend to be quite happy with the quality of GoDaddy's services. They also report that GoDaddy's customer support is always responsive and helpful.
Craig has been advising small businesses on IT selection and strategy for over ten years. His career began ten years before that, as managing editor for an international, bilingual magazine. That audience of non-native English speakers taught him the value of beginner-friendly explanations and concise, jargon-free writing: two things small business owners need most when exploring today’s complex business IT landscape.
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 ... Read More
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What You Need To Know About Web Hosting
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.
Need Web Hosting?
If you're in the market for a new web hosting provider, be sure to check out our user reviews, our A-Z hosting guide and our top three popular hosting picks:
When you choose a web host for your business website, you’ll have the option of choosing either “managed” or “dedicated” 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.
Dedicated Hosting is a more advanced option for more technically savvy businesses. With a dedicated hosting service, you’ll have increased control over how the server is configured.
This is necessary for companies with websites that have advanced functionality or complex integrations (with other servers). We strongly advise against choosing this option unless you’re certain your business has these requirements and has the IT staff to implement them.
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.
How We Identify the Top Web Hosting Providers
All Digital Top Picks lists begin with us asking the same question:
Which options best meet the specific needs of small and mid-sized businesses?
This question is the main filter for our Top Picks lists. Why? One of the most common— and expensive —mistakes a business can make is choosing an oversized IT solution.
Once we’ve narrowed down the list to true SMB-focused solutions, we dive into the details. We focus on three general areas: cost, features, and usability.
Web hosting costs are comparable between providers, so for this service, we spend more time comparing features and usability. Specifically, we ask:
Which Types of Server Does the Web Host Offer?
A server is a computer that provides, or “serves,” data to a network. In web hosting, the server is the machine that stores the data for your company website and serves it to anyone visiting your site.
But just as there’s no “one size fits all” foundation that works for skyscrapers and small houses, there’s no one server type that works for all websites.
For example, shared servers are generally more affordable, but you will be sharing resources with other websites. Meanwhile, dedicated and virtual private servers (VPSs) are more expensive, but it means all of the server’s resources are dedicated to your website.
Server needs can change over time, but switching web hosting companies can be tricky. That’s why we only included website hosting companies that offer a range of server types, so you have options if you need to scale up your business.
How Reliable and How Fast Are the Web Host’s Servers?
The reliability of a web host’s servers is measured in “uptime”. Uptime refers to the percentage of time that a server is operational. Most web hosting services advertise uptimes of 99%, 99.9%, or higher.
Server speed is measured in “load time”. This is the length of time it takes the server to provide all of the information a web browser needs to load the page. Slow load times frustrate customers, and many will leave a website rather than wait the second or two it might take to load.
While web hosts do advertise their server speed and reliability, it’s smart to seek confirmation. We only include companies whose uptime and load speed are verifiable through a third-party website.
How is the Web Host’s Customer Support?
When it comes to your website host, you are the customer, and you deserve dependable, accessible support. If your website is down or you have an issue, it must be resolved quickly. For this reason, we only recommend web hosting companies that offer 24/7 customer support. And we strongly prefer web hosts that offer support through more than one channel, including phone, email, and live chat.
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 2021 page for a list of the best options and the pros and cons of each.
Compare Popular Web Hosting Plans
We think the following plans will suit the majority of our visitor's needs.