The 10 Best Web Hosting Services
Are you in need of a new website for your business or blog? There are so many options on the market. It can be hard to choose the best web hosting site if you are unfamiliar with hosting services.
We know what it feels like to scour the internet searching for the perfect web host, only to feel even more lost than when you began. Luckily, we’ve researched and tested the best choices on the market to help save you time.
No two web hosters are precisely alike. Each one has different benefits to offer. Specific web host sites are better for small businesses, while other website hosters are geared towards personal blogs. Here is a list of the web hosting best companies, so you can look at some of the options:
All of these hosting sites excel in different areas. You must first finalize your website’s needs and goals to choose the best web hosting service. Keep reading to learn more about what to look for in a web host service and see each of the above hosts in more depth.
What Is A Web Hosting Service?
Some of you may know this already, so feel free to skip this part. However, if you have never needed to manage your own website before, web hosting is a new concept.
A web host is a business that provides the necessary technologies and tools to allow other people to access your website on the internet. They function as a third-party system to enable companies or individuals to publish a website online using a company server.
You are essentially “renting” space from a web host’s server when you choose to use their service. The physical space you pay for is where your website’s files and data are stored.
This storage system allows your website to function correctly and be visible to web users.
What To Look For In A Web Hosting Service
Now that you know what a web host is, let’s look at the important features of web hosting services.
The Type of Hosting
There are four main types of hosting systems.
- Shared hosting
- VPS hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- Cloud hosting
Shared hosting is best for smaller, first-time sites. With this web hosting, the server where your website’s information is stored is shared with other websites. If you expect little traffic on your website, this kind of hosting is all you need.
VPS hosting, otherwise known as a virtual private server, is also a shared hosting system. However, with VPS, you are renting a larger portion of the web host’s server, so you have more authority as the website creator. The part where your website is stored runs independently from the other websites hosted on the same server.
The separate space means your information can be rebooted separately and act as a server within a server. VPS is the stepping stone between shared and dedicated hosting.
Dedicated hosting is for extremely high-performing websites. A casual blogger does not need this service. With this kind of hosting, the website owner rents an entire server. Full server space comes at a higher price, but it also means the website owner has better security, support, and customizable features.
Cloud hosting is the newest type of server available. Also known as a virtual server, this kind of hosting does not use a physical server like the other three. They can provide comparable performance functions to a dedicated server, but they are still in a shared server environment, so security may not be as good.
Every hosting website should have the estimated uptime listed as a percentage. It is the amount of time the server is fully running and able to be accessed by any internet user. It is nearly impossible to have a 100% uptime, so most web host services advertise a 99% to 99.99% uptime guarantee.
If you are using your website to generate sales, especially for e-commerce shops, high uptime is critical. Every second your website is not accessible equals a loss in potential sales. However, uptime is challenging to verify, so you have to trust that the website hosting is not using a misleading percentage.
Customer service is another critical factor in choosing the best web hosting. The guarantee of a properly functioning website is the whole reason you are paying for a web hosting service, so if something is not working, you want a reliable customer support team you can get in touch with quickly.
Before you commit to any website host, research their support system. Look into hours of operation; 24/7 support is always best. Also, find out how you can contact them. They may have live chat support, email, or phone services.
Response time is significant, as well. If you plan to upload a website with a lot of traffic and it unexpectedly crashes, you will want a web host with the most rapid response time. Every second your website is down could equal thousands of lost dollars in sales.
The faster your website loads, the better. There are many components and steps related to page rendering speed. When you are looking into the best web hosting sites, some important terms are related to speed:
- Server response time (SRT)
- Round trip time (RTT)
- Time to first byte (TTFB)
- Server latency
- Full-page load time
Server response time is the amount of time it takes for a server to process a web-browser command. It can fluctuate, depending on the type of hosting. For example, a shared host website may have a slower SRT during hours where there are many visitors on the web pages it stores.
Round trip time is the amount of time it takes for a browser request to communicate with the server and then return to the browser to complete the command. It does not include server response time but only the request delivery and return time.
Time to first byte is seen on hosting information frequently. TTFB is the time it takes for the browsers to receive the first byte of data related to its previously sent request. It basically equals SRT + RTT. For prime website optimization, you want a low TTFB because it usually represents faster page loading. Users like quick loading. You will see this reflected in your website traffic numbers and hopefully sales too.
Server latency is the time the request is in transit between server and browser. It is closely related to SRT.
Full-page load time is the amount of time it takes for a website page to be fully loaded in a browser once a request is sent. It is the most useful measurement to determine the speed of your web host.
Bandwidth is a measurement of data transfer in a specific time limit. More specifically, it represents the amount of data that can be downloaded and uploaded to a website’s users in a specific amount of time.
The more bandwidth you have, the better your website will run through high amounts of user traffic. It also means your website can handle engaging features that often attract more users to your site.
Most web hosting providers sell bandwidth in GB per month. However, some hosting providers offer unlimited bandwidth. Small businesses and personal blogs with little user traffic do not need much bandwidth.
Usually, the standard amount that comes with your host plan will suffice. If you are planning on publishing a popular site or upgrading your existing site due to an increase in user volume, unlimited bandwidth could be the way to go.
Cyberattacks are common. The best web hosts know this and have strong firewalls, updated antivirus software, and updated malware detection.
Suppose you are planning on publishing a site where visitors may enter personal information, like credit card numbers. In that case, you need to invest in a web hosting provider with strong security features. The last thing you want is for your visitors to get their identity stolen and tarnish your company name because it happened on your published site.
For high levels of website security, you want a web host with an SSL certificate. This certification indicates that the web hosting company equips your site with an extra safety feature. SSL works by encrypting sensitive information with a unique code. The specific encryption means only the destination server can read the sent data.
Without this security feature, every computer your information is pinged to in order to reach the destination server can read it. Unprotected information like this leaves users vulnerable to hacking. Web hosts with an SSL certificate decrease hacking and identity theft.
Every web hosting plan comes with an allotted amount of disc space. This space represents the storage capacity of your website and is similar to bandwidth.
Many website hosts offer unlimited storage. Of course, this comes with restrictions because unlimited storage is impossible. Many shared hosting services advertise this because they do not expect an entry-level site or personal blog to exceed 1GB of storage per month. By throwing in the world “unlimited”, they make their offer more attractive to buyers.
VPS hosting and dedicated servers tend to have specific storage amounts listed in their plans. They do this because people who need these types of servers will also use more storage space.
There are different types of storage systems for hosting providers:
- Hard disk drives (HDD)
- Solid-state drives (SSD)
HDDs are the old-school way to store massive amounts of data. They may have the ability to store larger amounts of data, but because they are a physical storage disc with mechanically moving parts, they are often slower and crash more frequently.
SSDs are favored by the best web host companies. They are the modern way to store data. SSDs have no moving parts and are therefore faster than HDDs. They tend to have less storage capacity, but their reliability and quick speed mean most web hosting servers will eventually switch to SSDs.
Website Builder Features
As you look for a hosting service, you will see many with website building tools included. These tools are great if you are not tech-savvy. There are plenty of existing layouts and designs already available to easily make a simple website yourself.
Easy website building is ideal for small businesses and personal blogs just starting. You can always perfect your website design later once your site traffic increases.
Last but not least, the cost of the web hosting service is extremely important. If you are just starting, you can find basic hosting services for under $10 per month. Sometimes, this includes a free domain name too. Some of the best hosting plans offer a money-back guarantee. Their policy may be a 30 or 90-day money-back promise. Either way, it is reassuring to know you are not entering a locked contract.
Keep an eye out for promotional prices. Web hostings like to offer a few years of services at a low rate and then increase your yearly costs once you are already used to using your site through their server.
The more features and services you want will increase the price. A large company that needs plenty of extra features should look over the service level agreement (SLA) before committing to any web hosting platform. An SLA is a contract most hosts require their customers to sign before they work together.
The Best Web Hosting Providers
Now that you know what to look for in a web host provider let’s look at ten of the best services.
Bluehost is a well-known company to get hosting for websites. They began in 2003 from their base in Orem, Utah. This hosting is part of the Endurance International Group. With a variety of hosting plans, it provides services to over 2 million websites worldwide.
They offer shared, VPS, and dedicated servers, so there are plans for almost all site needs. From $2.95 to $79.99 per month, the price plans will please beginners and seasoned website publishers alike. Their shared hosting plan is one of the best hosting options available for novices. It includes a free domain name, 24/7 customer support, Weebly website building tools, a free SSL, an email account, and more.
Also, there are WordPress and WooCommerce partnership plan options. Each allows you to build your site using their platform, but Bluehost owns your server. You also get a 30-day money-back guarantee for both add ons. If you choose to go with a different website with hosting, you can transfer your site if they are optimized for WordPress or WooCommerce hosting plans.
Since it is such a large company, they have the resources to provide some of the best customer services. They have a one-click live chat message system and a phone number you can call 24/7. Also, suppose you want to transfer an existing website to the Bluehost server. In that case, they have a free customer support migration service where a Bluehost employee is there to ensure all of the files and data are transferred correctly.
Keep in mind, Bluehost only sells plans at an annual rate. You must commit for one year, or at least pay for one year of service. In addition, their advertised price is a discounted rate for first-time users who commit to three years of hosting. The fees go up after a certain amount of time.
Overall, Bluehost is an excellent choice for beginners and small companies who want to have an online presence. The value, customer support, high uptime, and user-friendliness cannot be beaten.
Check our comprehensive Bluehost review
When it comes to the best web hosting for VPS servers, Hostgator is one of the top contenders. This Houston-based company has offices worldwide and is owned by the parent company the Endurance International Group. If you want a website hosting provider for a medium to large-sized business you already know will get a high level of traffic, Hostgator is one of the best options available.
This hosting service offers hosting and pro-hosting plans. Their hosting plans are for shared and WordPress servers. The pro-hosting plans are for VPS, dedicated, and reseller hosting. VPS hosting is where they really shine. There are three offers available-The Snappy 2000, The Snappy 4000, and The Snappy 8000. The most basic VPS plan, the Snappy 2000, comes with plenty of storage and features to accommodate demanding websites. You only need to upgrade if you need more storage.
Related: Bluehost Vs HostGator: Who Wins Our Head-To-Head Comparison?
Hostgator is great for an entry-level website builder too. This web hosting has a built-in Gator Website Builder tool to assist amateurs with creating websites. The simple drag and drop mechanisms make building your first site a breeze.
No matter what plan you choose, Hostgator gives the buyer a 45-day money-back guarantee. You will also get a free unlimited email account, one of the best uptimes and TTFT, compatibility with WordPress, a free migration period, unlimited bandwidth, and much more.
Like many web hosting businesses, Hostgator does increase its monthly rate when you renew your plan. This company is also known to try to upsell its customers a lot. Despite this, they are still one of the best hosting options for all types of websites.
GreenGeeks markets itself as the leader in green hosting. They were founded in California and have provided hosting services for over 12 years. With over 500,000 websites hosted, they have offset three times the amount of energy it takes to provide hosting by supporting renewable energy organizations.
The sites GreenGeeks hosts aren’t just carbon neutral; they are carbon-reducing.
They are relatively new to web hosting, but they are quickly carving out a spot for themselves. There is a selection of basic plans on shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting. With only a few plans to choose from, you don’t have to do much comparing.
If you are just starting, a shared hosting plan is the best option for you. A VPS is best for growing businesses, and a dedicated host is best for busy websites like successful online stores.
The starter plan, Lite, is only $2.95 per month when you sign up for a three-year contract. The next step up is a plan called Pro. For just a few dollars more every month, you get unlimited websites, which is a feature customers usually pay much more to have. As your website needs to change, you always have the option to upgrade with GreenGeeks.
Every plan comes with SSD server use, free SSL, managed WordPress hosting, routine backups at night, 30-day money-back guarantee, Softaculous 3rd party one-click app installer, and even more. If you want a secure, affordable plan from an environmentally conscious provider, GreenGeeks is the way to go.
Read further to check our in-depth analysis of GreenGeeks
If a real bargain is what you want, Hostinger is the best web hosting. This bootstrapping company began in 2004 and has gained over 29 million users since. From their humble start in Lithuania, this global brand has built six centers around the world. Their goal is to be accessible to everyone, no matter their computer literacy or location. They believe in the web’s power and don’t want it to be reserved for a particular class.
Hostinger has a wide range of plans to fit all levels of expertise. The beginner plan is only $0.99 per month on a two-year plan. After two years, the price increases to only $2.15 per month. So, unlike many other web hosting services, Hostinger’s renewal prices are not exponentially higher than their initial rate.
Customers also get a free SSL certificate, one unlimited email, an easy-to-navigate website builder, and 24/ customer support. If you are just starting, this is more than enough to get you on your way to the perfect website.
Another great aspect of Hostinger is speed. Page load time is vital for every website. The longer it takes to render a page, the more likely the visitor will leave. This web host knows how important speed is to every site publisher, and they pride themselves on their fast load time all over the world. In fact, it typically takes less than 0.70 seconds to fully render a page that is hosted through this company’s server.
Because of their global server bases, this speed is maintained all over the world. So, for customers with an international audience, this would be one of the best hosts for you.
Hostinger is also known for its custom dashboard. It serves as a basic control panel that is simple to navigate. It is minimalistic and very user friendly to make building a website accessible to everyone.
5. A2 Hosting
Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, this developer-friendly hosting company has grown exponentially over the years. They offer a wide range of services, including the option to purchase a domain name only. So, if you already know you want to use a different hosting company, but still need to buy a domain name, you could purchase it from A2 Hosting.
Their most popular services are the shared hosting plans. These include the managed WordPress hosting plans that are optimized to use with WordPress specifically. One of these plans will most likely be enough for your project needs if you are in the beginning stages of your website. Shared plans include a free domain name, turbo servers, fast load times, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Many customers love A2 Hosting because scaling up is easy. As your needs change, transitioning to a different plan is seamless. Once you need to step up from a shared server plan, you have VPS, cloud hosting options, dedicated server plans, and reseller programs available.
Web developers especially love how compatible A2 Hosting is with WordPress, OpenCart, Drupal, Joomla, and Magneto. Compatibility makes migration much smoother, so if you are thinking about changing your hosting provider, A2 makes it easy.
This host is known for its excellent customer support. They are still a relatively small organization, so they have the ability to supply some of the best customer support when it is needed. A2 Hosting calls their service team the “Guru Crew Support”. Once you purchase a plan from this company, you can access this team 24/7 through phone, email, and a ticket system on their site.
Related article: A2 Hosting Review: 18 Crucial Things To Consider in 2021
This hosting began in 1996, making it one of the oldest web hosts around. Based in California, with over 1.5 million users, they are a trusted host with many plans available. The best Dreamhost policy is their month-to-month plans. Unlike so many web hosting services where you have to commit to at least one year of service, this host lets you decide every month.
Dreamhost is another affordable option, with basic plans starting at $2.59 per month. It includes a domain, 50 GB SSD storage, and plenty of bandwidth. Once you need to upgrade to a larger server type, they have plenty of plans as well. Customers choose between VPS, Dedicated, WordPress, and cloud hosting when shared hosting is no longer enough.
This company targets users who already have some technical skills. Newbies may find a different web host easier to navigate. However, an additional website builder is available for purchase from Dreamhost. There is no coding required, so it is a great tool for newcomers if you decide to use this host.
Another special offer from Dreamhost is the option to purchase only an “email only” hosting plan. This plan allows you to have an email account specifically attached to your domain, so the name reads “firstname.lastname@example.org”. This format helps your business email look more professional, and it helps prevent viruses and phishing attacks due to increased security.
Also, having a specific server space for your email means you maintain better control over your personal data. Unlike with free website accounts, a paid email hosting from Dreamhost means emails are not scanned for marketing and advertising purposes. You are protected from this, so your spam folder should be much smaller.
Dreamhost is one of the best web hosts for users who already have some development or technical experience, but with a learning curve, beginners can use it too.
As their name suggests, GoDaddy is the unquestionable daddy of domain registration. They have over 80 million different domain names registered through their company, proving they are one of the best. Over the years, they have broken into the web hosting business and now host over 20 million entrepreneurs online with 14 bases around the world.
In addition to their registration services, there are many hosting plans available from this site. You can get started on a shared server hosting plan for around $4 a month for a subscription. They offer a beginner-friendly drag-and-drop site builder tool called GoCentral. For all of you developers out there, this hosting features cPanel, many versions of PHP, Python, MySQL, and more tools.
In addition to the typical virtual private hosting and dedicated host plans, there are plans specifically designed for e-commerce sites, and seven managed WordPress hosting plans. No matter the plan, every customer gets 24/7 support, a 30-day money-back guarantee, free SSL options, security monitoring, and a domain.
Related: Godaddy pricing plans
For novices, GoDaddy is a great host to try out for a reasonable price and service. For domain name registration, they are, without a doubt, the best.
FastComet is the new kid on the block in the web hosting world. Based in San Francisco, this high-tech company initially catered to corporate clients only. Over the years, they opened their services to smaller businesses and individual customers by introducing cloud hosting while establishing eleven data centers worldwide.
They may be newer to the web hosting field, but this tech-forward company strives to constantly operate. They do not advertise or promise a specific uptime, but numerous tests have shown their uptime to be 99.99%. A percentage like this is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to accessibility.
Eleven datacenters mean FastComet has one of the best infrastructures of any web host, especially for a newer one. Such a solid base means websites perform at optimal levels no matter the website visitor’s geographical location.
Security is a pressing concern for many website publishers, especially if they use a shared host server. Because of a shared server’s nature, an infected website completely unrelated to another using the same server can potentially spread. FastComet uses superior technology to incorporate an account isolation system. This isolation system means even if a site sharing the same server as your site is infected with malware, this malware will not spread to your site.
Since FastComet is still a small company, it can provide excellent customer support. They have a team on standby 24/ to answer your phone calls, emails, or live messages. Many hosting services advertise 24/7 support, but FastComet actually delivers responsive answers whenever their customers need help. Their support team is knowledgeable and will give you the answers you need.
With shared, cloud-based, VPS hosting, and dedicated plans to choose from, there is an option for everyone. Both tech-minded and tech-illiterate users can be happy with FastComet. It is simple to get started and navigate a basic shared plan, yet the dedicated plans are filled with all the features a seasoned developer could want.
SiteGround is one of the best European web hosting services. It began in 2004 in Sofia, Bulgaria, and has grown to host over two million domains worldwide. They proudly emphasize their commitment to their employees and clients alike, with locations spread over four continents.
WordPress officially endorses this web hosting service, so its popularity is growing. SiteGround offers web hosting, managed WordPress hosting, WooCommerce hosting, and cloud hosting. Every plan comes with incredible uptime, a free SSL certificate, account isolation features, automatic backups every 24 hours, email account, energy matching promise, and more. All levels of expertise can benefit from a SiteGround account.
This hosting organization especially excels with eCommerce sites. If you are thinking about investing in a new web hosting for your growing online shopping business, SiteGround may be the best option.
Security is crucial for eCommerce sites because your customers are entering valuable personal information, like their credit card numbers. They tend to be meccas for hacking, so all e-commerce operators want to have encrypted SSL to protect their customers.
Check our guide for the best eCommerce hosting in 2021
SitGround automatically sets up your eCommerce website with a “Let’s Encrypt SSL”. This certification is the first step to becoming a Payment Card Industry (PCI) complement. As your online business grows, you can always upgrade to SiteGround’s GoGeek plan and complete the PCI compliment process for even more customer payment security.
This hosting service is also known for its forward-thinking, highly adaptable customer service. SiteGround offers two forms of support, instant self-help and 24/7 live help. Instant self-help includes AI-robot chats, pinned help boxes, and automated solutions.
Instant self-help is designed to help with small, common issues. 24/7 live help includes live chat, phone lines, and a ticket system.
Related content: SiteGround Reviews 2021 – When (& When not) To Use It
Hitting the market in 2010, Hostwinds is an award-winning company based in Seattle, Washington. They boast an extremely sound infrastructure, claiming to have an uptime of 99.9999999%. If constant reliability and access are what you are looking for in a site, Hostwinds is for you.
Unlike many of the web hosting companies discussed in this article, Hostwinds shines when it comes to VPS and dedicated servers. These two services are their specialty. For their VPS options, you can find managed and unmanaged Linux and Windows plans. All four plans include SSDs, free website transfer, nightly backups, instant scalability, and more.
For their dedicated server plan, you select the RAID configuration to best suit your needs, you customize the disc configuration and size, and you gain full access to the network line.
Of course, Hostwinds offers shared hosting plans too. They are straightforward and easy to compare because the only thing that changes with each plan is the number of domains the user gets. Each one includes a free domain, a free SSL certificate, unlimited email accounts, a Weebly site builder, a free dedicated IP, and more.
Hostwinds is a consistently high-performing web hosting with one of the best uptimes available. They may be a bit intimidated for a novice but excel in VPS and dedicated plans.
Related article: Hostwinds Review 2021 – Hosting For Business On A Budget
A Few More Questions
Still unsure of where to start to find the best hosting web service. Consider these frequently asked questions.
What is a control panel?
Each web host should provide new users with a control panel to manage their site. This panel is a graphic interface for users to organize their site. The best control panels are easy to use and should not be difficult to navigate. A popular control panel is cPanel. Many of the web hosting companies listed above provide access to cPanel.
What is a Content Management System (CMS)?
A CMS is a site managing tool that allows users to build and organize sites without having to code or go through any formalized training. CMSs have changed the way business is done on the internet. They allow websites to be created at a much faster rate and high volume than ever before.
The best example of a CMS is WordPress. A few others you may have heard of are Joomla, Drupal, and Shopify. Many of the web hosts above include, or are compatible with, these Content Management Systems.
What is an IP address?
Every website and computer has an IP address assigned to it. It is a numerical code used for identification purposes. It stands for internet protocol and is essential to internet communication. Without IP addresses, no information could be sent from any server to any computer.
The unique series of numbers and dots tell servers where to send data to complete user requests. For example, when you clicked on the link to this page, your computer’s IP address was sent to a server. That server processed the request and sent the correct information back to your computer, then the page loaded. This communication happened because the server had access to your IP address, so the data wasn’t lost in cyberspace.
What is a domain name?
Domain names are the unique identifier of every website ever made. There are no two that are alike. It is a series of numbers, letters, and symbols plus a domain extension, like .com or .org, which anyone around the world can use to access your site.
Domain names have to be registered for people to access your site. The best domain names are short and simple to make them easy to remember. Many web hosting businesses provide access to a free domain name, while others include them for a small fee. Usually, they are no more than $25 a year.
Get The Best Web Host For You!
Now that you have more information about ten of the best web hosting services, all you have to do is decide which one matches your needs. Determine the type of hosting you want. Shared hosting is enough for most people who are publishing a website for the first time. VPS hosting is the next step up for when your website gains more traffic. Dedicated hosting allows you access to an entire server. You need this for extremely busy websites.
Then, begin to think about the extra details like uptime, speed, security, customer service, etc. Navigating the tech field can be intimidating for newbies, so keep an open mind and realize everyone can build a website with the right attitude and dedication. Using one of the above hosts will also help you succeed. Choose one and publish your website today!