The Best Web Hosting Providers of 2020

Our web hosting reviews are the result of over 50 hours of research on 40+ web hosting companies from across the web. These reviews and our web hosting guide will help small businesses and startups find the best web hosting company for their business.

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The Best Web Hosting Companies of 2020

We selected the 20 best web hosting providers based on key features like uptime and load speed, customer support, and whether they offer an array of server types.

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How We Choose the Best Web Hosting Companies

When it comes to the best web hosting company, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, in creating our list, we looked at the three most important factors in ensuring a positive experience for business owners and their customers.

Multiple Server Types

A key consideration when selecting a website host is what your server needs are. A server is a computer program or device that provides, or “serves,” functionality to other programs or devices.

There are multiple types of servers available, and each type has its own advantages and limitations. For example, shared servers are generally more affordable, but you will be sharing resources with other websites. Meanwhile, VPS and dedicated servers 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.

Uptime & Load Speed

Uptime refers to the amount of time that a hosting system is operational, while load speed measures how fast your website loads. These are two important factors in choosing a website host because they affect the reliability and speed of your website. You don’t want customers visiting your site only to find that it takes too long to load, or worse, is offline.

Most web hosting companies advertise uptimes of 99.9% or 100%, but we only included companies whose uptime and load speed are verifiable through a third-party website. This is an added measure of reliability for the companies we evaluated.

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’s crucial for you to be able to resolve it quickly. We chose web hosting companies that offer 24/7 customer support in a variety of ways, including phone and live chat.

The 20 Best Web Hosting Companies of 2020

CompanyPriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceMoney-back GuaranteeMore
A2 HostingStarting between $2.99-$5 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Reseller
WordPress
UnlimitedAnytime>Visit website
>Read review
BluehostStarting between $3.95-$5.95 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Reseller
WordPress
Unmetered60-day>Visit website
>Read review
Domain.comStarting at $3.75 per monthShared
WordPress
UnlimitedN/A>Visit website
>Read review
DreamHostStarting between $2.59-$3.95 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Cloud
WordPress
UnmeteredN/A>Visit website
>Read review
GreenGeeksStarting between $2.95-$5.95 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Reseller
Unlimited30-day>Visit website
>Read review
HostGatorStarting between $2.75-$5.95 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
WordPress
Unmetered45-day>Visit website
>Read review
HostNineStarting at $9.12 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
UnlimitedN/A>Visit website
>Read review
HostPapaStarting at $3.95 per monthShared
VPS
Reseller
WordPress
Online Store
Unmetered30-day>Visit website
>Read review
HostwindsStarting at $3.29 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Cloud
Business
Reseller
UnlimitedN/A>Visit website
>Read review
InMotion HostingStarting between $6.39-$8.49 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
WordPress
Unlimited90-day>Visit website
>Read review
InterServerStarting at $4 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Cloud
Unlimited30-day>Visit website
>Read review
IONOSStarting at $4 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
WordPress
Unlimited30-day>Visit website
>Read review
iPageStarting at $1.99 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
WordPress
Unlimited30-day>Visit website
>Read review
MochaHostStarting between $1.95-$3.48 per monthShared
VPS
WordPress
Reseller
Dedicated
CMS
Unlimited30-day>Visit website
>Read review
NamecheapStarting between $1.44-$4.44 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
WordPress
Reseller
Email
Unmetered30-day>Visit website
>Read review
ScalaHostingStarting between $3.95-$5.95 per monthShared
Dedicated
WordPress Cloud
Unlimited30-day>Visit website
>Read review
Site5Starting at $6.95 per monthShared
VPS
Reseller
Unmetered45-day>Visit website
>Read review
SiteGroundStarting between $0.33-$5.95 per monthShared
WordPress
WooCommerce
Cloud
Unmetered30-day>Visit website
>Read review
Web Hosting HubStarting at $5.99 per monthShared
eCommerce
WordPress
Unlimited90-day>Visit website
>Read review
WestHostStarting between $2-$5.20 per monthShared
WordPress
Unlimited30-day>Visit website
>Read review

A2 Hosting

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 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 99.835% 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.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting between $2.99-$5 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Reseller
WordPress
Unlimited>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at A2 Hosting

Pros & Cons of A2 Hosting
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.

ProsCons
>Fast servers
>Support for PHP, MySQL, and other development tools
>Multiple options for WordPress Hosting
>Renewal rates may be higher than original purchase price
>Lowest price plan is limited and best for individual blogs only

What Customers Are Saying
Customers like the affordability and flexibility of some of the plans, and note that A2 Hosting offers many features. A number of reviews say that the customer service is fast and friendly, and they never have problems getting questions answered or help resolving issues.

Bluehost


Bluehost offers a variety of professional web services, including web hosting. Prices start at $3.95 per month and range as high as $13.95 per month for their four web 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 99.961% uptime, making it one of the most reliable options on this list. It offers shared, dedicated, VPS, WordPress, and reseller 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.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting between $3.95-$5.95 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Reseller
WordPress
Unmetered>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at Bluehost

Pros & Cons of Bluehost
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.

ProsCons
>Competitive rates for first-time users
>Unlimited storage for most plans
>Excellent uptime
>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.

Domain.com


Domain.com offers everything you need to set up an entry-level site, including shared and WordPress hosting. Web hosting comes with a free domain, an SSL certificate, and access to a website builder — all starting at $3.75 for the Basic plan. All plans have unlimited storage and scalable bandwidth.

The uptime for Domain.com is approximately 99.86%, which is decent when compared to competitor metrics. Users can reach out to 24/7 customer support via chat and phone, and Domain.com offers other services for additional costs, including extra domain names, full-service design, and some security options.

Unlike many of its competitors, Domain.com doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting at $3.75 per monthShared
WordPress
Unlimited>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>More features at Domain.com

Pros & Cons of Domain.com
Domain.com makes it easy to set up the basic features to get your website online, and it provides some flexibility with website builder tool choices. However, you have to pay for plans yearly and don’t get as many built-in features as with some competitors.

ProsCons
>Easy to use
>Choices for website building
>Features are not as robust as competitors
>No monthly billing option
>Support options are limited

What Customers Are Saying
While customers note that features and support are limited, they appreciate the low cost of entry with this hosting service. Many customers note that this service is good for beginners, but that a more robust option is needed once they establish their websites.

DreamHost

dreamhost-web-hosting-logo
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 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. 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 99.902% uptime. Customers can also access WordPress migration services, web design, WooCommerce hosting, and other services for additional costs.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting between $2.59-$3.95 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Cloud
WordPress
Unmetered>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at DreamHost

Pros & Cons of DreamHost
DreamHost offers web design tools better than average industry uptimes make it a great choice for web hosting. But, customers don’t have access to cPanel, which might be a disadvantage for more advanced site managers.

ProsCons
>Plenty of web building options
>Friendly customer service
>Excellent uptimes
>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.

GreenGeeks

greengeeks logo
GreenGeeks bills itself as an eco-friendly web hosting service. It was started by someone with plenty of experience in the industry, and it offers unlimited bandwidth and an impressive 99.975% uptime.

Plans start at $2.95 a month for Lite, which includes one website, unlimited storage, a free domain name for the first year, and a free wildcard SSL. Pro and Premium plans run $5.95 or $11.95 per month respectively and come with unlimited websites and additional features, such as a free dedicated IP in the case of Premium.

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.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting between $2.95-$5.95 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Reseller
Unlimited>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at GreenGeeks

Pros & Cons of GreenGeeks
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.

ProsCons
>Excellent uptime
>Fast speeds
>Eco-friendly
>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.

HostGator


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 $3.84 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 99.932%. 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.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting between $2.75-$5.95 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
WordPress
Unmetered>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at HostGator

Pros & Cons of HostGator
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.

ProsCons
>Excellent uptime
>Uptime guarantee
>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.

HostNine


HostNine is a company that offers shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting as well as hosting for resellers. Costs range from $9.12 to $241.99 per month depending on the type of hosting and plan with dedicated hosting plans being the most expensive.

The personal shared hosting, which costs $9.12 per month, comes with unlimited storage and bandwidth, free migrations and 24/7 support via phone or live chat. The personal plan doesn’t come with a free domain, but the business and enterprise shared hosting options do. Those cost $16.27 and $21.99 per month respectively.

SSL certificates cost $39.99 at the personal and business levels but are free with the enterprise shared hosting plan. HostNine boasts a 99.967% average uptime currently, though it has had some historical trouble in that area. It also boasts one of the fastest average page load speeds in the industry.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting at $9.12 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Unlimited>1 Free Domain
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at HostNine

Pros & Cons of HostNine
Compared to many competitors, HostNine is more expensive in the first year. You also have to pay for add-ons, such as SSL certificates, if you opt for the basic shared hosting plan. But it does have extremely fast page load speeds, and you don’t get a rate hike when you renew.

ProsCons
>Prices are consistent and don't rise on renewal
>Excellent page load speeds
>More expensive first-year rates
>Must pay for add-ons unless you opt for higher-priced plans

What Customers Are Saying
Customers like the flexibility of the numerous hosting packages offered by the company. (It offers 12 in all.) Reviewers also praise the page load speeds and the free cPanel migration service.

HostPapa


HostPapa focuses on providing small business web solutions, including hosting, email, security and domain registration. Hosting packages start at $3.95 per month for Starter and Business plans and range as high as $12.95 a month for the Business Pro Plan. The company offers shared, reseller, WordPress, online store, and VPS hosting and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

One of the things that sets HostPapa apart is that it offers two free domains, even for the lowest plan. Users get 100GB of storage with the lowest plan and unlimited storage with higher plans. Website building tools, SSL certification and database backup are all supported, and HostPapa offers 24/7 support via chat and phone.

While page load speeds on the servers are average, HostPapa has an average uptime of 99.954%, which is higher than industry average. It also offers free domain transfer with limited downtime.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting at $3.95 per monthShared
VPS
Reseller
WordPress
Online Store
Unmetered>2 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at HostPapa

Pros & Cons of HostPapa
HostPapa is affordable and offers everything users need to get online or migrate a site to a new hosting company. It also has excellent uptime. However, renewal rates can be double those of the initial buy, and there are limited extra tools for marketing or other business tasks.

ProsCons
>Competitive pricing
>Excellent uptime
>Free migration services
>Rates increase with renewal
>Extra services are limited

What Customers Are Saying
Customers like this company’s friendly, professional support, and the affordable pricing. They also like that they can start small and build up because HostPapa offers various levels of hosting and makes it easy to migrate sites.

Hostwinds


Hostwinds was named Best of the Year by PC Magazine, potentially due to its excellent uptime and the flexibility of its services. Its hosting services include shared, cloud, reseller, business, VPS and dedicated hosting, and it also offers white label services for even more support. Customers can get 24/7 support via chat and phone options as well as a support ticket process.

Hostwinds shared web hosting costs $3.29 per month for the basic package, which comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage, plus one domain. Advanced and Ultimate shared hosting plans are $4.53 and $5.17 per month, respectively. The first includes four domains and the second unlimited domains. Pricing for other forms of hosting varies by plan.

Hostwinds services include web building tools, SSL certificates and database backups, and it boasts an average uptime of 99.722%. The service is also known for faster-than-average page load speeds.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting at $3.29 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Cloud
Reseller
Business
Unlimited>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at Hostwinds

Pros & Cons of Hostwinds
Hostwinds offers reasonable pricing and friendly, professional support. It also offers a number of plans to make it easy for users to find hosting that works for them. Rates may increase upon renewal for some customers, and there is no money-back guarantee.

ProsCons
>Excellent customer service
>Fast page load speeds
>Flexible hosting options
>Higher renewals costs
>No money-back guarantee

What Customers Are Saying
Customers praise Hostwinds customer service for fast and friendly responses. They also like the user-friendliness of the control panel and the consistent uptime. Reviews also point out that there are many options for hosting, making it easy for anyone to find the right service.

InMotion Hosting


InMotion Hosting builds WordPress sites for $99, guaranteeing completion in two days. It also provides a number of hosting services, including WordPress, VPS, dedicated, and shared hosting. Shared hosting services start at $6.39 per month, WordPress hosting starts at $6.99 a month, VPS hosting starts at $29.99 a month, and dedicated hosting starts at $75.69 per month.

The basic shared hosting package is called Launch and comes with one free domain, two websites, 40GB of storage, and unlimited bandwidth. For $8.49 per month, users can get the Power shared hosting plan, which supports up to six websites. Numerous other hosting plans are available with additional features at increased rates.

InMotion Hosting offers a 90-day money-back guarantee. It also boasts 99.836% 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.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting between $6.39-$8.49 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
WordPress
Unlimited>2 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at InMotion Hosting

Pros & Cons of InMotion Hosting
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.

ProsCons
>Generous money-back guarantee
>Excellent uptime
>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.

InterServer


InterServer provides a wide range of hosting services, including shared, dedicated, VPS, cloud, WordPress, and email hosting. It boasts an impressive 99.92% uptime and fairly fast page load speeds, and it says it locks in shared web hosting prices so that users don’t see an increase when they attempt to renew.

Standard web hosting starts at $4 per month and includes unlimited storage, free SSL certifications and website migration, WordPress installation options and cPanel controls as standard. InterServer also offers 24/7 support via online chat or phone, and options for ASP.net hosting.

InterServer has more than two decades of experience in the niche, and its service comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Customers also get access to website building tools and can purchase additional domains for $1.99 each.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting at $4 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Cloud
Unlimited>25 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at InterServer

Pros & Cons of InterServer
Competitive pricing that locks in and consistent uptime are some of the biggest benefits of InterServer Hosting. Expert support and flexible, scalable plans are also pros. The sheer number of hosting plan options and add-ons can make it difficult to choose the right option for each site.

ProsCons
>Inexpensive pricing that locks for life
>Consistent uptime
>Excellent customer service
>Plans might be confusing to choose from

What Customers Are Saying
New customers often comment that InterServer helped them launch a web presence even though the user didn’t have a lot of experience. They also like the pricing structure, migration services and patience of the support staff. The excellent uptime is also mentioned in numerous customer reviews.

IONOS


IONOS offers monthly contracts and upfront pricing, which makes it a potentially good option for those testing the hosting waters. Hosting plans start at only $4, and IONOS has one of the best uptimes in the industry at 99.991%.

Hosting options include web, WordPress, ASP.NET, dedicated and VPS hosting, and IONOS offers solutions for businesses, individuals, and organizations. The Essential web hosting plan is $4 per month. It supports one website and offers 10GB of storage, 10 databases, and 10 email accounts as well as a free domain for one year. The Business hosting plan supports unlimited websites and data as well as 50 email addresses. It costs $8 per month, but users can try it for $1. IONOS also offers an Expert plan for $14 a month that’s optimized for more than double the visitors.

All plans come with access to web building tools, SSL certificates, and database support. IONOS also provides 24/7 support via phone, chat and email, and it offers fast page load times.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting at $4 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
WordPress
Unlimited>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at IONOS

Pros & Cons of IONOS
IONOS offers a wide range of hosting solutions, and they are especially robust at the enterprise levels. However, the basic web hosting options that are priced for individuals don’t come with a lot of storage. The excellent support and affordability might still make this hosting option worth it for some.

ProsCons
>Excellent speeds and uptime
>Flexible solutions for a wide range of needs
>Monthly contracts
>Lack of storage in lower plans
>Potential for billing issues if you cancel monthly contract

What Customers Are Saying
Some customers have used this hosting solution for years and report ongoing satisfaction with speeds, uptime and customer service. Customers do report being confused by the company’s checkout pages, but others state that they like all the options that are provided.

iPage

iPage logo
This hosting company offers low-cost plans that include a lot of basic features required to launch an online presence. The introductory cost of an iPage hosting plan is $1.99 per month, and it’s regularly just $7.99 per month. That includes a free domain, an email address, a site builder, an SSL certificate and domain transfer. iPage also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 support via phone or live chat.

iPage also offers other plans, including VPS, dedicated, and WordPress hosting. All plans include free SiteLock security scans, $100 offers for credits on Bing and Google ads and access to WordPress site building tools. Most plans also have unlimited bandwidth and storage.

The hosting company has an average 99.951% uptime and offers mobile-friendly templates that users can customize via easy drag-and-drop functionality.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting at $1.99 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Reseller
WordPress
Unlimited>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at iPage

Pros & Cons of iPage
iPage is a value hosting solution with a competitive price, and it offers a number of features within its plans that others charge for. Unlimited bandwidth and storage make it an attractive option, though it might be somewhat cumbersome to manage multiple domains, and customers report upselling activity when they log into their accounts.

ProsCons
>Competitive price
>Feature-heavy plans
>Unlimited bandwidth and storage
>Upselling activity might be an annoyance
>Potentially difficult to manage multiple domains

What Customers Are Saying
Customers like the affordable pricing and the wide selection of features offered by iPage. Many state that the basic plan offers more than competitors in the way of features, and they also enjoy the consistent uptime.

MochaHost


MochaHost offers a number of hosting options for small businesses, individuals and other organizations. Prices for web hosting start at $1.95 per month, a plan that includes a free domain, SSL certificate, migration, and unlimited cloud SSD storage. Other plans offered by MochaHost include WordPress hosting, plus other CMS hosting plans like Drupal, Magento, and Joomla, an easy website builder, VPS hosting, and JavaTomcat hosting. It offers reseller hosting with many of its server types too. Discounts lock in for life, so users aren’t hit with surprisingly expensive renewal fees.

The provider offers 24/7 support for all plans as well as online tutorials, and first-time customers can try the service via a 180-day money-back guarantee, which is perhaps the longest in the industry.

MochaHost has an average 99.985% uptime, which is inline with industry averages, and its average page load speeds run solidly in the middle of the pack. Other services offered by MochaHost include SEO tools, application hosting, domain name privacy protection and web design.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting between $1.95-$3.48 per monthShared
VPS
WordPress
Reseller
Dedicated
CMS
Unlimited>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at MochaHost

Pros & Cons of MochaHost
A lengthy trial period and lifetime discounts make this an affordable solution for someone who wants to try out a new hosting service. The customer service is also high quality. However, there aren’t always automated backups, and there might be intermittent downtime.

ProsCons
>Excellent pricing with lifetime discount
>Strong customer service
>Lengthy trial period
>Potential for more downtime than with competitors
>Lack of automated backups

What Customers Are Saying
Customers say that MochaHost’s interfaces are easy to use and that migration is well-supported by customer service teams. In fact, many reviews note that the customer support from this hosting company is prompt and professional. Reviewers also say that for the price, uptime is very good.

Namecheap


Namecheap provides hosting in the United States and UK and offers a wide variety of plans, including shared hosting as well as WordPress, reseller, VPS, dedicated, and private email hosting. It also provides migration and web builder services.

Each type of hosting has different plan tiers. Shared web hosting is offered via three tiers: Stellar, Stellar Plus, and Stellar Business. Stellar costs $1.44 per month for those that pay a full year upfront or $2.88 if paid monthly. It includes 20GB of storage, three websites, and one free domain name. The higher level plans include unlimited websites and the Stellar Business plan offers 50GB of storage. Stellar Business hosting is offered on the cloud, which is a fast and reliable server type — Namecheap promotes a 100% uptime for their Stellar Business customers. All plans come with unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificate, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Their autobackup feature is available for the Stellar Business and Stellar Plus plans.

Technically, Namecheap hosting is above average in both reliability and speed. It has an average uptime of 99.928% and fast page load speeds. Namecheap also offers 24/7 live support via live chat.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting between $1.44-$4.44 per monthShared
Dedicated
VPS
Reseller
WordPress
Email
Unmetered>3 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at Namecheap

Pros & Cons of Namecheap
For the price the plans include a lot of features, such as free SSL certificates, making Namecheap a very affordable option for budget hosting. However, storage limitations on many of the plans can make it difficult to scale sites, and the price does double with renewal in the second year.

ProsCons
>Affordable
>Plenty of features in plans
>Good customer service
>Storage limitations
>Increased price upon renewal

What Customers Are Saying
Namecheap customer reviews put this hosting service solidly in the middle of the pack with most factors, though customers do appreciate the affordable pricing. They also comment on how fast the service is and compliment the friendly professionalism of the support team.

ScalaHosting


ScalaHosting offers a wide range of hosting services to meet disparate needs or support websites as they grow. Hosting solutions include web, WordPress, email and reseller hosting as well as shared and managed hosting options. Web and WordPress hosting both start at $3.95 per month.

Web hosting plans break down into Mini, Start, Advanced and Managed VPS, with prices ranging from $3.95 per month to $9.95 per month. The Mini plan supports one website and up to 50GB of storage; other plans support unlimited websites. The Start and Advanced plans also support unlimited storage. All web hosting plans come with a free domain and SSL certificate as well as other features such as unlimited emails, databases, and bandwidth.

ScalaHosting has an average uptime of 99.798% and relatively slow speeds when compared with some competitors. But it does offer free website migration, a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 support by people with at least three years of experience in the niche.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting between $3.95-$5.95 per monthShared
Dedicated
WordPress
Cloud
Unlimited>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at Scala Hosting

Pros & Cons of ScalaHosting
ScalaHosting offers some robust options, with plans that are rich in features and affordably priced. Downtimes might be slightly higher than with some solutions, though, and plan rates do increase upon renewal.

ProsCons
>Wide range of plans and solutions
>Feature-rich plans
>Affordable pricing
>Potentially more downtime than competitors
>Plan pricing increases in year two

What Customers Are Saying
Previous and current customers praise ScalaHosting for excellent customer service and support, and numerous reviews note that it’s easy to use this hosting company’s solutions even as a newbie to WordPress or web building. Customers call the chat support reps patient and kind.

Site5


Site5 bills itself as a service for “serious web designers,” but it also offers a basic hosting package and easy-to-use control panel that beginners should be able to navigate. The hostBasic plan is $6.95 per month and supports one website and around 10,000 monthly visits. The provider also offers hostProf for $10.95 a month, which supports unlimited websites and more visits, as well as hostPro+Turbo, which is $13.95 a month and supports unlimited cPanel accounts and around 100,00 visitors.

All the plans include unmetered bandwidth and storage, free migrations, and disaster recovery backups. Site5 provides 24/7 support via email and live chat, and it offers an online knowledge base and FAQs.

Options are available for shared, reseller and VPS hosting, and Site5 offers a 45-day money-back guarantee. Average uptime is around 99.885% and speeds on the servers are faster than industry average.

PriceServer TypeBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting at $6.95 per monthShared
VPS
Reseller
Unmetered>1 Free Domain
>Database Backups
>More features at Site5

Pros & Cons of Site5
Site5 offers faster-than-average servers and easy-to-use interfaces, and the pricing is straightforward and clear. While prices aren’t as low as the first-year options for some competitors, they also don’t go up upon renewal. However, to get the lowest pricing, users must pay for six months of service at a time, and uptime percentages are not as high as some competitors.

ProsCons
>Fast speeds
>Clear pricing structures
>Excellent customer service
>Pricing requires 6-month investment
>Uptime percentages are lower than some competitors

What Customers Are Saying
Customers note that Site5 goes out of its way to solve technical issues, and reviews praise the speed of the sites on Site5’s servers. Reviewers also like the user interfaces, even calling it an “improved version of cPanel.”

SiteGround


SiteGround is based on Google Cloud, which lets it achieve some of the fastest speeds and best reliability in the industry. It boasts a 99.896% uptime, for example. Hosting plans form this provider include web, WordPress, WooCommerce, and cloud hosting options. Web hosting plans include Start Up, GrowBig, and Go Geek.

Start Up web hosting plans cost 33 cents per month on promotional pricing and $11.95 per month regularly. That price supports one website and up to 10GB of space. The GrowBig plan is $5.95 per month on promotional pricing ($19.95 per month regularly), and the Go Geek plan is $11.95 promotionally and $34.95 per month regularly. Those plans include unlimited websites and 20GB and 30GB of storage, respectively.

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.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting between $0.33-$5.95 per monthShared
WordPress
WooCommerce
Cloud
Unmetered>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at SiteGround

Pros & Cons of SiteGround
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.

ProsCons
>Stellar uptime
>Google foundations and eco-friendly processes
>Free site migrations
>Cost increases substantially after promo period
>Limited data storage

What Customers Are Saying
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.

Web Hosting Hub


Web Hosting Hub offers hosting and related services, including building WordPress sites. It offers unlimited storage and bandwidth for shared, ecommerce, and WordPress sites. Hosting plans include Spark, Nitro and Dynamo, which cost $5.99, $7.99, and $9.99 a month, respectively. These costs are for first-time users who lock in a three-year contract. Rates are slightly higher for one- or two-year contracts.

The basic Spark plan includes two websites, 10 databases, and standard speed performance. The other two plans include unlimited websites and databases, with Nitro offering 2x speeds and Dynamo offering 4x speeds. All plans include free domains and SSL certificates, unlimited emails, advertising credits, and three free website transfers.

Web Hosting Hub offers a 90-day money-back guarantee and delivers an average 99.938% uptime.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting at $5.99 per monthShared
eCommerce
WordPress
Unlimited>2 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at Web Hosting Hub

Pros & Cons of Web Hosting Hub
Unlimited bandwidth and storage, customer service assistance in setting up an account and a 90-day money-back guarantee are all pros of Web Hosting Hub. However, users do have to make a three-year investment to get the lowest rates, and pricing is not as low as some competitors.

ProsCons
>Unlimited bandwidths and storage
>Helpful customer service
>90-day money-back guarantee
>Long-term commitments
>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.

WestHost


WestHost offers shared and WordPress hosting options for individuals and businesses. It also offers website builder services and tools.

One of its web hosting plans is called the Preferred Hosting plan. It costs $5.20 per month and includes unlimited websites, 2500GB of bandwidth, a free domain, unlimited database support, and 200GB of storage. For those seeking WordPress hosting, WestHost offers a Starter plan that’s $2 per month and covers one domain name, 5GB of storage, backups and up to 10,000 monthly visitors.

WestHost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 US-based support via phone or live chat. Most features necessary to host a site are included with the plans, so users don’t have to spend on other basic requirements. WestHost has an average uptime of 99.737% and fairly competitive speeds.

PriceServer TypesBandwidth/Disk SpaceFeatures
Starting between $2-$5.20 per monthShared
WordPress
Unlimited>1 Free Domain
>Website Builder
>SSL Certificate
>Database Backups
>More features at WestHost

Pros & Cons of WestHost
WestHost offers several hosting plans for flexible use, and the pricing structures are easy to understand with most necessary functions included. However, users have to agree to one- to three-year contracts to get promotional pricing, and prices can double upon renewals. The hosting company also meters bandwidth and storage on most plans.

ProsCons
>Flexible plan options
>All-inclusive plans without hidden fees
>Plans can more than double in price on renewal
>Metered bandwidth
>Limited storage

What Customers Are Saying
Customers note the wide variety of support options, which include a ticketing system and access to phone reps based in the United States. They also like the fact that some places come with a lifetime free domain.

What is Web Hosting?

Regardless of size, purpose, or traffic, every website needs a web host, or space on a physical server to store the files that comprise the website.

A server is a powerful computer with enough space and speed to store all of the data for websites, and ensure that they are consistently accessible to visitors.

Operating a server is costly and requires technical knowledge. Web hosting streamlines the process by allowing individuals and businesses to rent space on servers (or entire servers, in the case of dedicated hosting) where their website can live. When a visitor types in your website’s address, they are actually connecting to the server, where they can view and interact with your website.

Who Manages The Servers?

Web hosting companies have teams of technical experts that handle all the hardware and software maintenance servers need to operate smoothly.

They also provide customers with technical support to address website issues and manage things like security, support, bandwidth, and more.

Some types of hosting, like dedicated hosting, give customers the option to manage their own servers, if they have the right knowledge and resources. Otherwise, customers can choose a managed hosting package that gives the web host those responsibilities.

Video by EasySpace that breaks down the main types of web hosting

Web Hosting Terminology

As you research the best web hosting providers, you’ll see a lot of specialized terminology. Here are some key phrases you should know to help you make an informed decision.

Term Definition
Add-on Domain 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.
Disk Space The amount of storage space available on the server for storing your website files, including text, images, databases, media, and more.
Domain Name 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.
Name Servers 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.
Server 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.
Subdomain A subsection of the main domain, such as blog.yourmaindomain.com.
Uptime 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.

Hosting Features to Look For

Your chosen hosting plan needs to offer all the functionality for your specific business needs. Here are some of the most common features you should look for in a hosting company.

Bandwidth And Storage Space

All hosting companies have at least one plan that offers unlimited bandwidth, which is technically the amount of data that can pass from one point to another. It is measured per unit of time, and storage, which is how many files you can actually store on your server. However, the truth is, nothing in this world is truly unlimited.

What Does “Unlimited” Really Mean?

When it comes to your hosting plan, your host will claim that you can host an unlimited amount of websites, upload unlimited files, and create an unlimited amount of email addresses.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t really translate into unlimited usage. It just means is that there is no limit on the number of resources you can use so long as you don’t abuse the service, or cause an interruption in service for other customers.

The Smallprint Is Worth Reading

For example, Bluehost will take control of your hosting account if you hit their CPU usage limits, and iPage will suspend your account altogether if you use excessive amounts of CPU. In addition, SiteGround only offers 20 GB of storage and Bluehost only offers 50 GB, while hosts iPage and InMotion Hosting offer unlimited storage.

So, while there may be some elements that are seemingly “unlimited” the truth is that unlimited hosting is mostly a marketing tactic used by hosting companies to get more customers.

To avoid falling victim to clever advertising, be sure to read the terms of service carefully, particularly if you expect your site to use a lot of resources.

Language Support for Programmers and Coders

Most hosting companies provide support for many popular programming languages and databases such as:

  • PHP
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • MySQL

On Windows hosting plans, your host should provide support for:

  • ASP.NET
  • ASP
  • NET framework
  • MS SQL

There are even a few hosts still supporting FrontPage Extensions. If your website or application relies on using one of those languages, be sure your chosen hosting provider supports it.

Website Builders and Hosting

If you are looking to create your own business site, without the help of a developer, using a website builder (an online app, not a person) can be very helpful.

Some website builders come as part of your web hosting package, while others are standalone products.

Most popular website builders have an easy to use drag-and-drop interface, which makes site creation a cinch. Here’s a list of some of the best website builders on the market today that will surely help you with your site building efforts.

WordPress.org

Though not always thought of as a site builder, the WordPress.org platform offers website owners of all levels an easy way to build any kind of website imaginable. It has a drag-and-drop interface, is compatible with plenty of reliable page builders such as Beaver Builder and Elementor, and has thousands of free and premium theme and plugin options to build on top of your site’s foundation.

Wix

Wix is a fully hosted website builder solution so you don’t have to pay for hosting to use it. You’ll have to buy a domain name and may have to purchase a premium plan if your site is large.

Wix Website Builder
The Wix website builder is a solid option.

However, you’ll have access to tons of pre-designed templates and apps for your site’s design and functionality.

BoldGrid

BoldGrid is a website builder that’s built right on top of WordPress, though it can be used as a standalone plugin as well. Its official hosting provider is InMotion Hosting, it comes WooCommerce ready, and you have the ability to choose from a variety of themes to make your site unique.

Shopify

Shopify is a website builder solution designed specifically for e-commerce shops. It’s a fully hosted solution and manages everything for you, from updates to backups. There are plenty of design options, and every feature you could need to run a fully operational online shop.

In addition to those mentioned above, there are other website builders that come with hosting solutions such as:

  • The iPage Website Builder is an add-on to your hosting plan that gives you an easy way to build your site. Though a limited version does come free with all hosting plans. Enjoy built-in social sharing, SEO optimization, mobile-friendly design, and beautiful image galleries.
  • GoDaddy offers a website builder called GoDaddy GoCentral with their hosting plans. Create an online shop, design a blog, and even use images they include that come straight from Getty Photography.

E-Commerce Support

E-commerce hosting is an option offered by many web hosts, such as WP Engine, that supply e-commerce functionality to your website.

So, if you plan on launching an online store, it’s helpful to find a hosting company offers e-commerce software that you can use to improve your shop’s design and functionality.

What to Look for in an E-Commerce Host

Here are some of the best features to look for in an e-commerce web host:

  • SSL certificates
  • Database support
  • Shopping cart software
  • Payment processing services
  • One-click e-commerce platform installs
  • E-commerce specific security measures
  • Caching technology and CDN integrations
  • Domain name registrations
  • Daily backups and easy restore options
  • Built-in drag-and-drop website builders
  • PCI compliant servers
  • 24/7 support through a variety of channels

In addition, there is a good chance the hosting provider you employ will have built-in e-commerce management tools to help you manage inventory, create product pages, and track your company’s success.

Backups And Security

When it comes to hosting plans, most shared plans will not provide you with a backup of your site that you can download.

They usually take regular backups of the entire server for their own internal purposes which they can use to restore your website in case something goes wrong, but with shared hosting, you are almost always responsible for taking backups of your own site.

That said, some hosts, such as SiteGround, do have advanced backup services, such as antivirus monitoring and removal, firewall protection, and disaster recovery, for an additional fee.

SSL Encryption

SSL, or secure socket layer, certificates are small data files that encrypt data that is being passed between your website and a site visitors browser so hackers can’t steal the information and use it for their own malicious purposes.

Building Trust and Improving SEO: Additional Benefits of SSL

They also increase your Google rankings so more people can find your site in search results, build trust amongst your site visitors, and improve conversion rates because people feel secure entering their personal information into your website when they know it’s secured with an SSL certificate.

This video explains SSL certificates in a nutshell. Courtesy of GoDaddy.

This feature is especially important for those that run online shops. In fact, it is required in the United States as part of PCI compliance that websites that accept credit cards as a form of payment have a valid SSL certificate on their website at all times.

The way to know your website is properly secured with an SSL certificate is to look at your site’s URL. Secure website URLs start with https, whereas non-secure website URLs start with HTTP.

Off-Site Payment Processors

That said, if you run an online shop and use an off-site payment processor such as PayPal, you are not technically required to have an SSL certificate. However, it is always a good idea to add that extra layer of security to protect your site’s data and instill trust in those that visit your site.

Many web hosts provide their customers with free SSL certificates as part of their hosting plan. For instance, InMotion Hosting offers a free SSL certificate for all domains that use their hosting plans.

Read more: SSL Certificates Guide for Entrepreneurs

Datacenters

Datacenters are facilities that house the web servers that store your website’s data. Their location and security are aspects that can affect product quality.

Security of Datacenters

Datacenters typically are outfitted with technologies designed to protect the servers that store your important data on them.

Web hosting datacenter security may include:

  • Video surveillance
  • Motion detectors
  • Biometric or RFID access control
  • Perimeter security, such as barbed wire fencing
  • Physical (human) security monitoring, often 24/7
  • 24/7 on-site technical support staff
  • Redundant communications connections such as “dark fiber” (unused fiber optic networks)
  • Environmental controls such as air conditioning, fire doors, and fire suppression
  • Locking server cabinets for colocation servers
  • Backup generators
  • Periodic re-assessment of employee access

Some hosts, like HostDime of Florida, provide video tours of their datacenters.

This video below features some of their security features, like biometric access points.

Why Does Datacenter Location Matter?

Once your website is hosted, regardless of the server it’s stored on, it can be accessed from anywhere in the world. But location does matter. It’s important to check that your hosting provider has a data center near your target audience. The closer your web server is to your website visitors, the faster your website will load for them.

So if your target audience is primarily in the USA, your best bet is to choose a server that’s somewhere in Northern America. This will ensure your website visitors are served your site’s content as quickly as possible.

Similarly, if you’re targeting an audience in Europe, you’d be better off finding a host that has a server located in a city like Amsterdam. However, another helpful feature that takes the pressure off of having to have a datacenter close to your site visitors is content delivery network (CDN) integration.

What’s a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?

A CDN, or content delivery network, is a geographically distributed network of many servers. When someone visits your website, it is delivered to them from the network server that’s geographically closest to them. This makes for the fastest content delivery possible.

Think of it like ordering pizza from a national chain: your pizza is delivered from the local pizza shop closest to you.

what is a cdn
This animation, courtesy of Cloudflare, provides a glimpse of how a CDN speeds up the delivery of websites.

Many businesses use CDNs because their target audience is spread throughout the world and are not necessarily nearby their web host’s datacenters. Luckily, many web hosts, such as Siteground, offer free CDN integration as part of their hosting plans.

Site Uptime and Downtime

Website uptime is the time that your website is available to your site visitors. Your website’s uptime is important to your business and your user experience. After all, if your website is not available for people to see, they cannot read your content, shop in your online store, or subscribe to your newsletter, or help boost your search engine rankings with the amount of time they spend on your site.

As a result, people may not want to return to your site or ever shop there again because of the downtime they experienced.

Your web host should monitor your site’s uptime for you. In fact, most web hosts boast of guaranteed web uptimes, even going so far as to credit you for any downtime you experience.

For example, Media Temple is so confident of their 99.99% Uptime Guarantee that you’ll receive 20% off your monthly hosting fee for every twenty minutes of downtime you experience in the month.

Uptime Guarantees

Some web hosts that really value their uptime guarantees will even give their customers a way to access their website’s real-time status at any time, as well as provide monthly uptime reports as a way of maintaining uptime transparency.

If you ever experience downtime with your website you should do the following:

  • Confirm that your website has actually gone down.
  • Determine the cause on your own or by contacting your web host.
  • Get in touch in with your web host customer support team and see if you can troubleshoot the issue.
  • Make sure to notify your site visitors of the outage, whether it’s routine maintenance or a hardware issue.
  • Find out how long your site is expected to be down and plan how you’ll handle the outage with upset site visitors.

There are some things you can do to prevent downtime. For instance, back your website up regularly, make sure your web host has uptime monitoring, make sure your hosting plan payments are up to date, and ensure your domain name registration is up to date.

You can also test your website every time you make a major design or functionality change to ensure there is no bad code causing your site to have issues.

Customer Support

One of the most important things to consider before signing up for hosting services is the level of customer support that is given.

There will be times when you need help completing a task or when your site has problems, and you’ll need someone with hosting expertise to help you.

Especially if you are running a business website that has a lot of traffic, finalizes e-commerce transactions, and has lots of web content.

Just because you are tech-savvy doesn’t mean you should ignore the fact that the right web host will have host specific experience so any problem you encounter can be handled quickly and efficiently. Even if you understand the technical details behind web hosting, you probably don’t know everything. Just because a hosting company is reliable with its hosting, does not mean you’ll love their customer service.

What to Look for in Web Hosting Customer Support

There are plenty of things you’ll want to look for in your hosting company’s support team. To start, having 24/7 support is always helpful. After all, website issues don’t take time off for the holidays or weekends.

In addition, you’ll want to have multiple channels (ways) for accessing support.

Customer Support Channels

Popular customer support channels include:

  • Live Chat
  • Phone
  • Email
  • A dedicated ticketing system
  • Online knowledge base with DIY articles and video tutorials

Response Time

The other main component to look for is response time.

When you run a business site, time is money. That’s why knowing that your host support is going to respond to your issues, no matter how minor, as quickly as possible is important.

For example, SiteGround is known not only for their 24/7/365 support, but their nearly instant response times via live chat and phone.

Domain Name Services

Every computer is given a unique IP address to distinguish it from all the other computers in the world that are connected to the internet network. IP addresses are a series of numbers and come in the form xx.xxx.xxx. However, trying to remember the IP addresses of every computer in the world is difficult to do.

That’s why domain names were created.

The Point of Having a Domain Name

The domain name of your website is the address people type in their URL browser when they want to visit your site. So, instead of having to type in the long string of numbers to visit a site connected to the internet, you can simply type in the web address instead.

Every website has to have a domain name. That’s why when you build your business website, you need to register a domain name that will identify your website as unique from all the other websites in the world.

Not to mention your domain name is the first impression all site visitors will have of your website, it affects your site’s chances of getting found in search engine results, and it helps define your brand. Getting a domain name can be kind of tricky if you’re not sure where to get started, so we outline the two main steps for you.

Step 1: Choose a Domain Name

The first thing you’ll need to do is choose a domain name that will represent your business on the web. You’ll want it to be short, easy to remember, and related to your brand so people who visit will remember you and continue to visit your site in the future.

Here are some great tips to follow when it comes to choosing the right domain name:

  • Make it easy to type so people won’t have trouble entering it in their browser.
  • Keep it short and easy to remember.
  • Use keywords related to your company for brand recognition and better SEO results.
  • Avoid using numbers and hyphens as they are easy to confuse.
  • Make it memorable so site visitors will think of you when they are searching for something specific.
  • Research your domain name to make sure it isn’t trademarked or copyrighted.

In addition, you’ll want to choose the right domain name extension or top-level domain. This is the part of your domain name that comes right after the “dot” symbol.

There are many top-level domains to choose from such as .com, .net, .org, .gov, .edu, and .mil. If you want to get more specific and recognize a specific country in your domain name, you can choose something like “.au”, which represents Australia.

Step 2: Buy/Register Your Domain Name

Because domain names are unique, you’ll have to choose from the available domain names. For instance, you cannot use the domain name www.google.com, because it’s already taken. That’s why you should test your domain name options in any number of domain name search tools found on the internet.

For example, Instant Domain Search will let you enter a potential domain name into the search bar to see if it’s available. If it is, you’ll need to buy it and register it so no one else can claim it as their own.

Luckily, many web host such as Bluehost offers their customers free domain names so all you have to do when signing up for web hosting is enter the domain name of your choice and it’ll be registered as yours. So long as it’s available of course.

Save Money By Finding Free Domains with a Host

If your hosting company doesn’t offer domain names, or you prefer to register your domain name elsewhere, there are some affordable companies such as GoDaddy that will let you buy and register your domain through them, even if you don’t use their hosting services.

This is a popular option as some people don’t want to keep things like their email accounts and domain name registrations in the same place as their web host. That way, should they want to change web hosting companies, transferring the information is easier to do.

That said, most web hosts offer free site transfers and include the transfer of your registered domain name, so the hassle of making the move from one host to another is not that bad.

Additional Hosting Provider Services

In addition to providing general hosting services to their customers, many hosting providers offer additional services as well.

Let’s take a look at some of them:

  • Professional web design for those times you just can’t create the type of site you want
  • Marketing services like running ad campaigns or improving SEO
  • Marketing freebies to help you grow your business such as PPC bonuses for AdWords or AdSense
  • Graphic design services like creation of social media profile images
  • Email hosting so you can get a professional business email that matches your domain and host it with your provider
  • Free site transfers and setups from other hosting providers
  • Additional security services at a premium price to ensure your site’s data is secure
  • Free site builders so anyone can build a site from scratch, regardless of skill level
  • Domain name registration so starting fresh is easy and renewing your domain is even easier

And that’s just the beginning.

Understanding the Types of Web Hosting

Web hosting comes in many forms and hosting plans can handle everything from a simple website with a handful of daily visitors to an online app used by thousands of users on a daily basis.

Some host plans are better suited for small to medium-sized businesses, as opposed to the hosting plans that work best for those with personal blogs.

Let’s take a quick look at the differences between the two and why it matters what type of web hosting services you use.

Personal Website Hosting

Personal hosting is usually less demanding than the hosting services required by a small-to-medium-sized business. That’s because the number of daily visitors is usually far less on personal blogs.

As a result, most personal blogs can get away with using the cheapest hosting providers, using shared hosting without any issues, and they’ll never run out of hosting resources such as bandwidth.

Personal blogs do not typically have any uptime issues because the amount of traffic, while it may be steady, is not excessive enough to crash the server.

Business Website Hosting

Business hosting is much more demanding than a personal blog and thus needs more resources like CPU, RAM, and disk space to operate at its highest speed and performance. That’s because some business or corporate websites tend to experience a lot more daily traffic and need to be able to handle this influx of traffic without any downtime.

When it comes to choosing the right business hosting plan, you’ll have to evaluate your individual site and assess your requirements of resources and features in order to deliver the best experience to your site visitors as possible.

Now let’s take a look at the different hosting solutions you can choose from when it comes to your website.

Shared Web Hosting

Shared hosting is usually the most affordable option. Your website will be hosted on a server that is shared by hundreds of other customers, which is why pricing is so low.

Should I Use Shared Hosting?

This type of hosting is great for those just starting out, those that don’t have a lot of content on their site, or those that have a low amount of daily traffic.

Shared hosting plans are a good way to get familiar with web hosting if you’re just starting out with your website.

Are There Any Downsides to Shared Hosting?

Since shared hosting plans require you to store your website’s data on one server, along with tons of other website owners, there is a chance that the performance of your website could be affected by other sites on the same server.

For instance, if one website crashes the server because it is hacked, your site is going down too.

In addition, if one website goes viral and experiences a huge influx of traffic, they will end up hogging way more resources than they normally would. In order to accommodate this traffic, resources are pulled away from other sites on the shared server.

How Much do Shared Hosting Plans Cost?

Shared hosting plans range between $2 and $10 per month or less with a web hosting coupon. In most cases, you can pay on a 3-month, 6-month, or a yearly basis to access additional discounts.

Bluehost Shared Hosting

One of the most well-known and reliable shared hosting providers on the market today is Bluehost, which is known for having tons of resources, providing a free website builder and domain name for customers, and easy one-click install of the WordPress content management system (CMS).

Cloud-Based Web Hosting

Cloud hosting is a relatively new technology that uses a number of individual servers (often hundreds of them) that work together as one large server.

What Are the Advantages of Cloud Hosting?

The main advantage of cloud hosting is that you can add more resources instantly as your website grows, so scaling up your business is a cinch.

All your hosting company has to do is adjust the allocated disk space, CPU usage, or bandwidth and you can immediately start accommodating lots more site traffic. This is great if your website suddenly starts getting a large number of visitors. Rather than harming your site’s uptime while you scale up, your resources are automatically added to your hosting plan.

Another great advantage of using cloud-based hosting is that your business site is protected from DDoS attacks, which are attempts to shut down entire sections of the internet with a massive influx of server requests.

Though this tactic works on sites being hosted on one single server, because cloud hosting works with multiple servers, if one goes down, the others pick up the slack. As a result, your site never experiences downtime and you don’t lose revenue.

Pay Only For What You Use

Cloud hosting plans don’t have a set price range because most of them use a pay-as-you-use pricing structure, which is appealing to those that don’t want to overpay for resources they never use.

That said, if you are looking for a cloud-based web hosting provider that can give you exceptional customer support, check out SiteGround, as they are known for affordable hosting and stellar customer service.

What is a private cloud? What are its benefits? What is a “bare metal server?” What does “bare metal cloud” mean? This video from Hivelocity provides an introduction.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

Virtual private servers are a step up from a shared hosting plan.

With a VPS, one physical server acts like multiple, separate servers. Unlike shared hosting, VPS hosting provides a dedicated portion of the shared resources, so your website isn’t affected by other websites who are on the same server as you.

In other words, you get an individual piece of the server pie and don’t have to share with others. Not to mention, rather than sharing a web server with hundreds or even thousands of other website owners, you typically only share with about 20 other site owners on your VPS server.

This Bluehost video explains some of the benefits of using VPS hosting.

Scalability and Control for Fast-Growing Websites

In addition to not having to share your resources with others, VPS servers offer easy scalability and more control. Simply click a button and upgrade your hosting plan to accommodate more site traffic. Additionally, do things like add software to your server portion since what you do does not affect anyone else.

The good thing about VPS hosting is that the price is more affordable than renting a dedicated server that you get all to yourself, despite being able to make very similar server changes.

How Much Does VPS Hosting Cost?

Prices for VPS hosting range between $20 and $200, depending on the chosen CPU and amount of memory.

Remember: low priced VPS packages may not include management from the host, but this is essential if you don’t have any server administration experience. For instance, iPage offers managed support, free domain registration for the year, and an easy to use cPanel for making changes to your VPS server for relatively affordable monthly prices.

Dedicated Web Server Hosting

A dedicated server means you are renting an entire physical server from the hosting company and storing all of your site’s data on it by itself.

What are the Benefits of Dedicated Servers?

You have complete control over the server, which means you can install complex applications and scripts that aren’t usually available with shared hosting plans, without ever affecting anyone else or having to share resources.

Dedicated servers, such as the ones offered by InMotion Hosting, often provide better security. They are best suited for very large websites that have thousands of visitors each day or businesses that run web applications that are used by thousands of people.

Downsides of Using Dedicated Hosting

The downside of a dedicated hosting plan is that you need to have a lot of technical knowledge to ensure your server runs smoothly. If you don’t, you’ll either need to pay your host for management, or you will need to hire someone to manage the upkeep, which increases the monthly price.

After all, if something happens to your server — until you get it fixed — your site’s uptime is negatively affected and you risk losing lots of business as a result.

How Much Does Dedicated Hosting Cost?

Dedicated servers are usually priced from $100 a month and up.

Colocation Web Hosting

Colocation web hosting is an advanced hosting plan where you rent rack space from a data center and supply your own server hardware.

You also pay for the bandwidth you use each month, so your monthly bandwidth bill will depend on how well-trafficked your site is. In return, the hosting company will provide you with power, cooling, physical security, and an internet connection.

What Are the Benefits and Responsibilities of Colocation Hosting?

When you rent rack space from a hosting company, the responsibility for any software, data storage, and backup rests entirely on you. You are also responsible for replacing the hardware.

This can become very costly if something goes wrong, and can affect your business site should your experience serious downtime.

However, this also means you can use any operating system you want, such as Linux or Windows, increase the CPU and RAM whenever you need to, and install any type of specialized software on the server you want.

Because of the fact that operating your own server hardware can be so technical, colocation is not recommended for beginners or most small businesses.

Reseller Web Hosting

Reseller hosting packages allow you to sell hosting space to your own hosting customers. These hosting packages can be a shared, cloud, or dedicated plan, depending on the type of customers you want to sell hosting plans to.

They also tend to come with pre-packaged tools to help you manage the hosting plans you resell to your customers.

Reseller programs such as the ones offered by SiteGround come white-labeled so your clients never know you are using an established hosting company to sell hosting plans to others.

Control Panel and Billing

Reseller hosting comes with greater technical control offered through a management panel. On Linux, this will often be Web Host Manager (WHM).

You’ll usually also be provided with billing software to create client invoices, and you may be able to re-brand the entire system with your own business name. You may also benefit from private name servers and free website templates.

How Much Does Reseller Hosting Cost?

The price for reseller hosting usually ranges from $15 – $50 a month, depending on features and resource limits.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting is ideal for businesses that want a hassle-free WordPress experience.

Some hosts offer this as a plan choice, but others actually offer it exclusively, meaning that you cannot host any other type of website with their hosting plans.

With managed hosting, everything related to WordPress is taken care of.

What are the Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting?

When you use managed WordPress hosting, these are some of the benefits and perks you’ll enjoy:

  • Your WordPress core, themes, and plugins will always be kept up to date
  • Your site will be secure
  • You’ll have automated backups and easy restore options
  • You’ll enjoy dedicated WordPress support, such as the customer service offered by WP Engine.

In addition, there are several benefits to using WordPress hosting for your business (e-commerce) website:

  • Servers are configured specifically for WordPress, meaning even when your site traffic jumps significantly, your site’s speed and performance are never sacrificed.
  • Extra layers of security are added on top of the already secure WordPress CMS, meaning your site’s data, and your customer’s sensitive information is always protected from malicious activity
  • The support teams for WordPress hosting plans are knowledgeable about the platform so any time you have an issue it is resolved quicker and more efficiently than with a traditional web host provider
  • You typically receive daily backups of your website just in case your site is compromised for any reason
  • Website builders, staging areas, and version control are just some of the dev tools WordPress hosting plans provide their customers

Are there any Downsides to Managed WordPress Hosting?

That said, there are two main downsides to managed WordPress hosting. To start, it can be expensive since so many exclusive features come as part of your hosting plan. In addition, you may lose some control over your site, such as the ability to move it to another host later.

What’s the Difference Between a Website Built via WordPress.org or WordPress.com?

As a side note, it’s important to understand that there’s a big difference between having a WordPress.com and WordPress.org website:

WordPress.com is a free blogging platform hosted by WordPress itself. You don’t need a host your site’s data with a hosting company, there is no software to download, and you have no web server to maintain.

In fact, you don’t even need to register a domain name, as it is given to you. You also have access to plenty of customization tools for making changes to the design and functionality of your website.

WordPress.org is also a free platform, though it requires a web hosting provider and a domain name registration. There are thousands of free and premium themes and plugins you can use to customize your website, and creating a business website with this platform is going to be your best option.

Free Hosting Plans

For those on really strict budgets, there is always the option of going with a free hosting plan. Though not recommended, it’s good to know the option exists, just in case.

It can be easy for startup businesses that have yet to make a profit to want to get in on a free hosting plan. After all, any money that can be saved is a good thing.

Downsides of Free Web Hosting

However, before you jump into a free hosting plan, check out some of the potential problems you might run into:

  • The domain name will include the free hosting provider’s name, taking away from your branding opportunities and making you appear less professional
  • There are usually no uptime guarantees, which can affect the user experience and your revenue
  • Many free hosting providers display unrelated ads on your website that can affect your site’s SEO and look unprofessional
  • Limited bandwidth and storage space is to be expected, with no chance of upgrading
  • There is usually no customer service or support team on hand to help you with any problems you run into

That said, free is free and sometimes that’s enough for people, no matter what kind of website they are running. In addition, free web hosts don’t lock you into contracts like most premium hosting companies do, which is appealing to those that don’t want to have to stick with one web host.

Web Host Shopping Checklist

Now that you have a comprehensive idea of what to look for in your web hosting provider, check out this helpful list of questions to ask so you can make sure everything on your list of priorities is handled by the hosting company you are considering using.

  1. What experience does your support team have when it comes to site hosting and WordPress (or other CMS)?
  2. What type of customer service can I expect when I have an issue and how to do I contact the support team? Do they have native speakers in my language?
  3. Are there any discounts for paying on a yearly basis as opposed to a monthly basis for hosting services?
  4. What are the setup fees and what setup steps are handled by you? For instance, do you perform site migrations, domain name registrations, and WordPress installations?
  5. How do you handle site security, both when everything is good and when there is a problem? In addition, do you have any uptime guarantees? What is your monthly uptime?
  6. How many customers share the server my site’s data will be placed on? Where are the datacenters located and do you offer CDN integration or other speed and performance features?
  7. How often will my site be backed up and how do I access those backups in the case I need them?
  8. Do you offer any money back guarantees?
  9. How many email addresses can be created with my hosting account to accommodate my business needs?
  10. What measures do you take to secure the servers storing my data and my website itself?
  11. What type of hosting plans do you offer and what are their feature sets and price points?
  12. Do you provide things like SSL certificates, subdomains, staging areas, website builders, or other marketing tools?

In the end, choosing the right web host is a big decision. And, without the right information, it can be tough to know which hosting company for your business is the best option.

After all, running a business site involves much more than the just the website and its web host. However, it’s important to build your business site on a solid foundation, which includes a reliable content management system and web hosting provider.

FAQ

Below we’ve added a few common FAQs on choosing a web host. We hope these help you in your search.

How do I find the best web hosting?

Browse our Web Hosting comparison page to find a selection of popular web hosts that our experts have reviewed. Take a look at the features then select some reviews to browse. We pride ourselves on our candid reviews created to serve the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs.

How do I find the right web host?

The best web hosting can be determined by analysis of features, but the web host that is right for you depends on your needs. Take a few minutes to write out what your objectives are with your host.

Are there some aspects that are more important than others for you? For example, if you use a CMS like WordPress or Drupal, you might want to go with a web host that specializes in that platform.

How do I figure out how much bandwidth or storage I need?

If you’re launching a simple personal hobby site or blog, then the entry-level plan at a reputable web host will likely provide all you need.

If you have an e-commerce site or a popular blog, you can simply confer online or by phone with the web host you are considering.

Go Further

Now that you’re armed with an overview of web hosting, make sure to check out other helpful information hubs on our site like our launch page for website builders, e-commerce platforms, and our blog.

Further Reading

Looking for a second opinion? Visit our sister site WhoIsHostingThis for their guide to the best web hosting.