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The Top 10 Web Hosting Services

Bluehost Logo

Bluehost

Best web hosting

5.0 5.0 Stars
  • Free domain name registration or transfer for one year
  • Free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt
  • Official partner of WordPress

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $4.95 per month
  • Bandwidth / Disk Space
    Unmetered
  • Money Back Guarantee
    60-day
Server Types
  • Shared
  • Dedicated
  • VPS
  • Wordpress

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.



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 virtual private server 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 websites, WooCommerce sites, and more. If shared hosting is not sufficient for your website, Bluehost offers excellent VPS and dedicated hosting as well.


I opted for WordPress hosting and WordPress installation took just a couple of clicks. If you want to make a customized site (whether with WordPress or not) you can use Bluehost’s 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 started offering an advanced free site migration tool for WordPress websites and a full marketplace for great site templates.


Bluehost pricing


Bluehost has options at many price points. The basic shared hosting account starts at $4.95 per month. If you need dedicated hosting, on the other hand, you can pay up to $119.99 per month for the top-end option.

Pros and cons of Bluehost

Pros

  • Hugely popular
  • Variety of hosting options
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Official partner of WordPress

Cons

  • No automatic daily backup
  • No monthly billing on shared 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.

Read our full BlueHost review.
SiteGround Logo

SiteGround

Best WordPress hosting

4.8 4.8 Stars
  • Free content delivery network (CDN)
  • Free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt installed
  • Premium customer support

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $2.99 per month
  • Bandwidth / Disk Space
    Unmetered
  • Money Back Guarantee
    30-day
Server Types
  • Shared
  • Wordpress
  • WooCommerce
  • Cloud

SiteGround is one of the leading companies in web hosting. 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 hosting or virtual private server hosting, the exceptional shared hosting options will be ideal for small-to-medium businesses, individuals, and many others.



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 and a free Let’s Encrypt Standard SSL certificate installed. I particularly love that most hosting packages include a CDN, which helps your website load quicker by hosting copies of your site's resources closer to where your users live.


Who is SiteGround best for?


SiteGround is an excellent hosting provider for small-to-medium businesses. If you need the additional control or power a VPS or dedicated hosting provides, then SiteGround might not be the host for you, because they don't offer these types of servers.


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 and new site scanner tools for added security.


SiteGround pricing


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. While this is not the right option for everyone, those who need a fast and reliable hosting company will love working with SiteGround.

Pros and cons of SiteGround

Pros

  • Focused on shared and cloud hosting
  • CDN included with most packages
  • Premium customer support available
  • Official partner of WordPress

Cons

  • No dedicated hosting
  • No VPS hosting
  • 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 back-end support.

Read our full SiteGround review.
Hostinger Logo

Hostinger

Best web hosting for SMBs

4.5 4.5 Stars
  • Free domain name for a year
  • Great value for hosting
  • Constantly upgrading and improving

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $2.79 per month
  • Bandwidth / Disk Space
    Unlimited
  • Money Back Guarantee
    30-day
Server Types
  • Shared
  • Cloud
  • VPS
  • WordPress
  • Email
  • CMS
  • Ecommerce

SiteGround is one of the leading companies in web hosting. 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 hosting or virtual private server hosting, the exceptional shared hosting options will be ideal for small-to-medium businesses, individuals, and many others.



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 and a free Let’s Encrypt Standard SSL certificate installed. I particularly love that most hosting packages include a CDN, which helps your website load quicker by hosting copies of your site's resources closer to where your users live.


Who is SiteGround best for?


SiteGround is an excellent hosting provider for small-to-medium businesses. If you need the additional control or power a VPS or dedicated hosting provides, then SiteGround might not be the host for you, because they don't offer these types of servers.


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 and new site scanner tools for added security.


SiteGround pricing


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. While this is not the right option for everyone, those who need a fast and reliable hosting company will love working with SiteGround.

Pros and cons of Hostinger

Pros

  • Free domain name for 1 year with hosting
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Options for game server hosting
  • Excellent value

Cons

  • Limited technical support options
  • Some issues with loading speed
  • No dedicated hosting
  • No built-in 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.

Read our full Hostinger review.
A2 Hosting Logo

A2 Hosting

Best web hosting for speed

3.8 3.8 Stars
  • Exceptionally fast hosting
  • Great customer and technical support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $2.99 per month
  • Bandwidth / Disk Space
    Unlimited
  • Money Back Guarantee
    Anytime
Server Types
  • Shared
  • VPS
  • Wordpress
  • Reseller
  • Dedicated

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.



In my testing, A2 Hosting stood out for its extremely fast hosting servers with an average load time of 608 ms and an average response time of 1289 ms. 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 Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. Your servers will also have protection against DDoS attacks using ConfigServer and Firewall, brute force detection, Linux malware detection, and Wordfence. Free automatic backup tools keep your data safe.


Who is A2 Hosting best for?


A2 Hosting is an excellent option for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and e-commerce sites.


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 new software packages and enhancements to existing products.


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).

Pros and cons of A2 Hosting

Pros

  • Exceptionally fast hosting
  • Lots of options to upgrade your hosting
  • Excellent security and backup options
  • Premium customer support available

Cons

  • Comparatively expensive
  • Three-year commitment required for the lowest prices
  • No domain name included

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.

Read our full A2 Hosting review.
Dreamhost Company Widget

DreamHost

Best shared hosting

4.6 4.6 Stars
  • 97-day money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 in-house customer support
  • Fair month-to-month prices

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $2.59 per month
  • Bandwidth / Disk Space
    Unmetered
  • Money Back Guarantee
Server Types
  • Shared
  • VPS
  • Wordpress
  • Dedicated
  • Cloud

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 hosting 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.



There are many reasons to use DreamHost, including 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.


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.


Dreamhost pricing


DreamHost’s prices are balanced between cost and quality. You can sign up for a 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 premium dedicated hosting, which will run you $279 per month.

Pros and cons of Dreamhost

Pros

  • Fair prices
  • Official WordPress partner
  • Excellent customer support
  • Impressive 97-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Email not included with shared hosting
  • Website builder is not free on all hosting plans

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.

Read our full Dreamhost review.
GreenGeeks Logo

GreenGeeks

Best eco-friendly hosting

4.6 4.6 Stars
  • Uses 100% green energy
  • Free CDN
  • Free SSL certificate (Let’s Encrypt Wildcard)

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $2.95 per month
  • Bandwidth / Disk Space
    Unmetered
  • Money Back Guarantee
    30-day
Server Types
  • Shared
  • VPS
  • Wordpress
  • Dedicated
  • Cloud

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 hosting 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.



There are many reasons to use DreamHost, including 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.


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.


Dreamhost pricing


DreamHost’s prices are balanced between cost and quality. You can sign up for a 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 premium dedicated hosting, which will run you $279 per month.

Pros and cons of GreenGeeks

Pros

  • Eco-friendly hosting
  • Constant upgrades and improvements
  • Use of SSDs
  • Free CDN included

Cons

  • Not the cheapest hosting around
  • Customer support teams may not reply quickly
  • Must commit to three years for the lowest prices

What customers are saying about GreenGeeks

GreenGeeks is an eco-friendly hosting company with friendly customer support. The pricing and performance are favorable.

Read our full GreenGeeks review.
InMotion Logo

InMotion Hosting

Best hosting for uptime

4.8 4.8 Stars
  • Free domain name for 1 year with hosting
  • Exceptional uptime
  • 90-day money-back guarantee

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $2.29 per month
  • Bandwidth / Disk Space
    Unlimited
  • Money Back Guarantee
    90-day
Server Types
  • Shared
  • VPS
  • Wordpress
  • Dedicated

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.



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, VPS hosting, 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.


Recent upgrades by InMotion Hosting


Recently, InMotion started offering customers access to the full suite of Google Workspace applications for $6 per month per seat. These apps include Gmail, Drive, and Meet.


InMotion Hosting pricing


You’ll pay a little more with InMotion than you would with discount providers like DreamHost or Hostinger. 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

Pros

  • Very reliable hosting environment
  • Fast response times
  • Constant upgrades and improvements
  • Great marketing tools included

Cons

  • More expensive than most hosting
  • Technical support is a little slow
  • Automatic backups aren’t free

What customers are saying about InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting’s high-performance hosting, support team, features, and customer service are well-liked. Prices are fair, but can fluctuate.

Read our full InMotion Hosting review
HostGator Company Widget Logo

HostGator

Best web hosting for entry-level websites

4.7 4.7 Stars
  • Very easy-to-use interface
  • Free one-year domain registration
  • Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $2.75 per month
  • Bandwidth / Disk Space
    Unmetered
  • Money Back Guarantee
    45-day
Server Types
  • Shared
  • Dedicated
  • VPS
  • WordPress

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.



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, VPS hosting, 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.


Recent upgrades by InMotion Hosting


Recently, InMotion started offering customers access to the full suite of Google Workspace applications for $6 per month per seat. These apps include Gmail, Drive, and Meet.


InMotion Hosting pricing


You’ll pay a little more with InMotion than you would with discount providers like DreamHost or Hostinger. 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 HostGator

Pros

  • Hugely popular
  • Excellent technical support
  • Very easy user interface

Cons

  • 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.

Read our full HostGator review.
Nexcess Logo

Nexcess

Best e-commerce web hosting

4.8 4.8 Stars
  • Exceptional customer support
  • The company manages your hosting
  • Native CDN

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $9.50 per month
  • Bandwidth / Disk Space
    Depends on plan
  • Money Back Guarantee
    30-day
Server Types
  • Shared
  • Dedicated
  • VPS
  • WordPress

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.



Nexcess is owned and operated by Liquid Web, which has a quality reputation as a web host. You can choose from several hosting options, including those that are configured specifically for an online store. I found customer 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.


Nexcess pricing


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 services. The WordPress hosting plan starts at $9.50 per month, while WP Engine’s WordPress hosting starts at $20 per month.

Pros and cons of Nexcess

Pros

  • Fully managed hosting
  • Support for all major e-commerce platforms
  • Regular updates to systems
  • CDN included

Cons

  • Significantly more expensive than competitors
  • No unmanaged options
WP Engine Logo

WP Engine

Best managed WordPress hosting

4.8 4.8 Stars
  • Very fast servers
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $20 per month
  • Bandwidth / Disk Space
    Depends on plan
  • Money Back Guarantee
    60-day
Server Types
  • Shared
  • WordPress

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.



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 $20 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.


Recent upgrades by WP Engine


To ensure it stays on top, WP Engine optimized its servers for improved speed and reliability 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 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

Pros

  • Focused on WordPress hosting
  • Exceptional support
  • Servers configured for speed
  • Always upgrading and improving

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • 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.

Read our full WP Engine review.
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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.

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.

TermDefinition
Add-on DomainAn 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 PanelThe 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 TransferThe 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.
Disk SpaceThe amount of storage space available on the server for storing your website files, including text, images, databases, media, and more.
Domain NameYour website’s unique name that users enter into the browser’s address bar to access your website.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) accessThis 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) addressThis 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 ServersThe 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.
Name ServersThis 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.
ServerA 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.
SubdomainA subsection of the main domain, such as blog.yourmaindomain.com.
UptimeThe 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 2023 page for a list of the best options and the pros and cons of each.

Need a great web host?
Save time and money with these top-rated web hosting deals.
Bluehost
Best overall
Bluehost
Best overall
$2.75/mo
Save 74%
Hostinger
Best for small businesses
Hostinger
Best for small businesses
$2.79/mo
Save 75%
SiteGround
Best WordPress hosting
SiteGround
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