The Ultimate Website Hosting Comparison
Web hosting services are an essential part of getting online. Every website needs hosting, and while some larger sites handle this themselves, us mere mortals use web hosting providers.
This necessity has led to a ton of options for web hosting, with thousands of suppliers providing a huge array of plans. We’ve used data to cut through the noise, comparing the top providers feature-by-feature to figure out who ranks best from every angle.
But first, the overall rankings. From our thorough research, we’ve compiled this definitive list of the best web hosting providers in 2020:
Uptime, disk space, pricing, support, and speed all factored into our research, and we’ll unpack the top performers below.
We’re glad you asked. We’ve already spent months conducting our hosting research based on the most important features, and we continually monitor each provider for updates. Here’s a quick crash course on the elements we’re going to talk about:
Uptime – the amount of time that your website is live and accessible to visitors, usually expressed as a percentage. 100% uptime is impossible to guarantee, but you’ll want to avoid anything less that 99.90%. For reference, 99.97% is a good uptime guarantee that equates to about two hours and 40 minutes of downtime per year.
Bandwidth – the rate at which data is transferred between a website and its visitors. The amount of bandwidth in your hosting plan will determine the amount of visitors, or “traffic,” your site can accommodate.
Storage – The amount of room available on a server to house your content. For example, shared servers will naturally offer less storage space than VPS servers. In web hosting reviews, you’ll often see “disk space” or “web space” used synonymously for storage!
Control Panel – The basic interface that allows you to edit and manage your hosted site(s). Many hosting providers use the popular cPanel control panel, although alternative options like Plesk and hPanel are also widely used.
Backups – the process of storing newly updated versions of your website, so that work is not unexpectedly lost. If this is a top priority for you, then you’ll want to keep an eye out for the providers that offer automatic daily or weekly backups.
SSL – Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, is the technology that establishes an encrypted connection between a web server and a web browser. SSL-protected sites offer increased security to you as the website owner, and also inspire trust in your visitors. SSL-protected sites have URLs that begin with “https,” and feature a padlock icon in the address bar.
Domain – A domain name is your website’s address on the internet (ours is websitebuilderexpert.com). Purchasing and registering a domain name is a separate service from web hosting, but some hosting providers offer both services for convenience. In fact, some hosting providers even include a free domain name for the first year of your hosting plan!
Of course, there isn’t one web hosting provider that’s the best in every respect – it all depends on the demands of your site. Accordingly, we’ve also compared strengths and weaknesses in different contexts.
The Best Web Hosting Providers at a Glance
Personalize your comparison with our interactive chart. Using the “X” buttons, you can remove columns and add other web hosting services via the “+” sign that will appear. Feature sections can also be added and removed according to what’s most relevant for you.
An average of all the criteria we have researched to rank the best web hosting services on the market today.
Different types of website need different types of hosting, so we’ve shown you which web hosting services provide which types.
Shared hosting is where your website sits on a server with other websites. It’s generally the cheapest type of hosting but you share your resource limits with the other sites.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is where multiple sites use the same server, but have their own set resource limits. You can also ‘borrow’ resources from another site if it doesn’t need them and you’re maxed out.
WordPress hosting is a service specifically designed for WordPress websites. It usually comes with set features like a one-click WordPress install and automated WordPress updates to make life easier for you.
Cloud hosting is where you’re not tied to one specific server. In fact, your site is hosted across several servers, pulling a flexible amount of resources from each. It’s a modern type of hosting that’s growing in popularity.
Dedicated hosting is where your site gets a server all to itself. You’re not reliant on anyone else, and get huge resource limits. Naturally, this is reflected in the price.
The overall score of all the hosting features each host provides.
Short for control panel, cPanel is an industry-standard dashboard used by most hosting providers. You can manage your site’s hosting through this dashboard. It’s very intuitive and easy to use.
The flow of data between your website and its server. Every time someone lands on your site, your server has to send the information to them. Unmetered essentially means this data transfer is unlimited and can’t run out.
A domain is what you see in the URL of your site e.g. ‘www.websitebuilderexpert.com’. We looked at whether the provider offers you your domain free of charge for the first year.
Most providers will back up your website every 24 hours. This feature looks at whether it’s free to restore your site to the last saved backup, should something go wrong.
Relates to the average amount of time your website is ‘live’ online. It’s impossible to achieve 100% uptime, but the aim is for providers to guarantee an uptime as close to that as possible.
Obviously, the purpose of a website is to share your information with the rest of the world, and that’s only possible when it’s live. Generally speaking, any uptime above 99.95% is pretty darn good.
Storage is to do with how much content your website needs to hold.
Sites with lots of media (images, videos etc.) will need more storage space. If you have unlimited storage, you can host as much content as you like.
Scored on the number of ways you can receive support from the provider. Does the provider offer a help center, ticket system, phone service, and live chat? And is the phone/live chat support available 24/7.
No one likes getting stuck, so it’s reassuring to know there’s help on hand, should you need it. The 24/7 service is particularly important, as it adds a personal touch and means there’s always someone around to help you.
Are the services provided by each web host worth the money you’re paying each month?
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Every web hosting provider advertises low introductory prices, which usually last for the first year or so of each plan. After that, you’ll be paying steeper renewal prices. The price jump will vary by provider and hosting type, but it’s something that every web host does, and we want to make sure you avoid any unwanted surprises! We’ll cover both introductory and renewal prices here.
Good question! Before we take a closer look at each provider, here’s an overview of the main types of web hosting that you’ll encounter:
- Shared hosting: Multiple websites are housed on one physical server, and share its resources.
- VPS hosting: One physical server is partitioned into multiple virtual servers, so that each website gets more resources and space without committing to a dedicated server.
- Dedicated hosting: An entire physical server, along with all of its resources, is used to house one website.
- Cloud hosting: Similar to shared hosting, except that a network of multiple servers is used to pool resources and maximize uptime.
- Reseller hosting: The owner of a reseller hosting plan can effectively lease out server space to third parties. In other words, you would be the middleman between a hosting provider and a website.
Best overall hosting provider
Pricing plans from: $2.75 a month
Bluehost Pros and Cons
|Bluehost Pros||Bluehost Cons|
Bluehost’s three shared hosting plans are Basic, Plus, and Prime, all of which come with 100GB of disk space and 99.98% uptime. Signing up gets you a free domain, free backups, and access to cPanel, which is very handy for managing your site hosting. Bluehost also offers 24/7 phone, live chat, and email support. We tested it ourselves, and found that the live chat assistants were quick to respond with the information we needed.
If you’re looking to integrate with a WordPress site, then Bluehost is a fantastic option. It’s been optimized for WordPress since 2014, and offers one-click setup. Our guide will show you just how simple setup is!
WordPress review – our guide to getting the most out of WordPress.org
Bluehost has a healthy variety of top-level domains to choose from when you register. Unless you’re planning a particularly unconventional site address, you should be able to set everything up in-house.
Bluehost offers excellent value for money, though that’s partially because you can only sign on for long-term contracts (the shortest contract is 12 months). As with many providers, the cheapest rate requires signing up for at least 36 months.
Check out the cheapest introductory price for each hosting type, compared to the cheapest renewal price, below:
- Shared hosting: $2.95 per month, renews at $7.99 per month
- Shared WordPress hosting: $2.95 per month, renews at $7.99 per month
- WooCommerce hosting: $6.95 per month, renews at $13.99 per month
- VPS hosting: $18.99 per month, renews at $29.99 per month
- Managed WordPress hosting: $19.95 per month, renews at $29.99 per month
- Dedicated hosting: $79.99 per month, renews at $119.99 per month
Bluehost’s Basic shared plan can be a bit restrictive to larger sites, but for most, it’s a great option. SSL, unlimited bandwidth, and 99.98% uptime come with each plan, so it’s really just a question of how much scalability you need.
Best for uptime
Pricing plans from: $2.75 a month
HostGator Pros and Cons
|HostGator Pros||HostGator Cons|
HostGator has three shared web hosting plans: Hatchling, Baby, and Business. Although features obviously ramp up with each, the baseline offerings are strong. All plans come with unlimited disk space, 99.99% uptime (the best guarantee of any provider), and 24/7 support. HostGator takes these commitments seriously: if it falls short on uptime, you’ll get one month of credit added to your account.
The Business plan comes with free SSL, but for Hatchling and Baby, you’ll need to select SSL as an add-on (or not deselect it, to be more accurate). The variety of top-level domains (.com, .org, .tech, etc.) you can acquire as part of signing up is also impressive, though for more niche domains like .art or .coffee, you’ll need to go to a registrar like Domain.com and register the domain separately.
Like most web hosting services, HostGator gets cheaper the more time you commit to it. Check out the cheapest introductory and renewal prices below:
- Shared hosting: $2.75 per month, renews at $6.95 per month
- Cloud hosting: $4.95 per month, renews at $8.95 per month
- WordPress hosting: $5.95 per month, renews at $9.95 per month
- Reseller hosting: $19.95 per month, renews at $29.95 per month
- VPS hosting: $29.95 per month, renews at $89.95 per month
- Dedicated hosting: $118.99 per month, renews at $189 per month
A sound approach is to sign on for a month and see how the service holds up to your needs. If you’re impressed, you can renew on a longer-term contract. If not, you’re in a position to look elsewhere, and won’t be out of pocket. Just know that HostGator is no different from other web hosting services in terms of pricing commitments – and with this provider, you can rest assured that you’re committing to a great service.
- Read our HostGator Review for a more detailed breakdown
Best for shared and VPS hosting
Pricing plans from: $6.39 a month
InMotion Pros and Cons
|InMotion Pros||InMotion Cons|
All InMotion accounts come with unlimited bandwidth and disk space. While most other companies provide limitless bandwidth across the board, unlimited disk space is rarely included in the lowest tiered pricing plans. This is a big reason why we’ve rated InMotion’s shared and VPS plans so highly. You’ll also receive free SSL, free backups, and hack protection.
InMotion prides itself on its customer support. Employees are armed with over 160 hours of training, and are available via phone, live chat, and email.
InMotion offers three shared hosting plans: Launch, Power, and Pro. The Launch and Power shared plans both start off at $3.99/month if you commit to two years in advance, while the Pro shared plan starts at $13.99/month. InMotion’s Launch plan is ideal for hosting small business or personal websites.
That said, InMotion offers a lot more than just shared plans:
- Shared hosting: $3.99 per month, renews at $7.99 per month
- WordPress hosting: $6.99 per month, renews at $8.99 per month
- VPS hosting: $29.99 per month, renews at $44.99 per month
- Dedicated hosting: $75.69 per month, renews at $129.99/month
InMotion is reasonably priced, but its 90-day money-back guarantee is where this provider really exceeds the limits of most competitors.
- Read our InMotion Review to find out more
#4: A2 Hosting
Best for cloud hosting
Pricing plans from: $3.92 a month
A2 Pros and Cons
|A2 Pros||A2 Cons|
A2 Hosting offers both Windows and Linux shared hosting plans. Linux hosting is more common, and best for basic sites like blogs. The starting Linux plan comes with unlimited storage and data transfer, free SSL security, and SSD storage for your website.
Windows hosting offers the same, but with the addition of a Plesk Onyx 17.8 control panel. You’ll also get a free site migration, with one click installs for WordPress, Drupal, B2evolution, phpBB, BlogEngine, and Joomla.
A2 Hosting offers decent introductory and renewal prices for each hosting type. We’ve summarized the cheapest prices below:
- Shared hosting: $2.99 per month, renews at $8.99 per month
- Cloud hosting: $5 per month, renews at the same rate
- WordPress hosting: $2.99 per month, renews at $8.99 per month
- Reseller hosting: $9.80 per month, renews at $19.99 per month
- VPS hosting: $25 per month, renews at $49.99 per month
- Dedicated hosting: $141.09 per month, renews at $169.99 per month
A2 Hosting also offers an anytime money-back guarantee, but this does come with some fine print: you get a full refund for the first 30 days, and a prorated refund any time after that.
- Read our A2 Hosting Review to make sure they’re the right provider for you
Best for reliability
Pricing plans from: $3.95 a month
SiteGround Pros and Cons
|SiteGround Pros||SiteGround Cons|
Much like Bluehost, WordPress websites and SiteGround go hand-in-hand. SiteGround offers WordPress hosting at every plan level, and deals with updates automatically. You’ll also get a WordPress hosting command line manager on every plan for extra support.
But it’s not just WordPress that makes SiteGround so impressive. This adaptive provider offers dedicated packages and one-click installations for many different content management systems. If you’re looking to move from an existing host, SiteGround will also let you transfer for free on any of its plans.
SiteGround’s cheapest shared plan is StartUp at $3.95/month. The next step up is GrowBig, which comes in at $5.95/month. GoGeek is the most advanced shared plan, and costs $11.95/month. These promotional starting prices will increase in time to $11.95, $19.95, and $24.95, respectively.
We recommend starting with a shared plan, but SiteGround offers other types of hosting, too:
- Shared hosting: $3.95 per month, renews at $11.95 per month
- WordPress hosting: $3.95 per month, renews at $11.95 per month
- Reseller hosting: $11.95 per month, renews at $34.95 per month
- VPS and dedicated cloud hosting: $80 per month, renews at the same rate
- Read our SiteGround Review to get the full lowdown
#6: GoDaddy Hosting
Best for extra features
Pricing plans from: $2.99 a month
GoDaddy Hosting Pros and Cons
|GoDaddy Pros||GoDaddy Cons|
Although its support has improved in recent years, GoDaddy is still lagging behind its competitors in this area. Its live chat feature isn’t available around-the-clock, but GoDaddy’s 24/7 phone support is very good.
GoDaddy also offers a free domain for one year, even on its basic plan, plus a one year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 for email. Unmetered bandwidth and unlimited storage are also major benefits of GoDaddy’s hosting plans.
GoDaddy’s cheapest introductory and renewal prices are as follows:
- Shared hosting: $3.99 per month, renews at $7.99 per month
- WordPress hosting: $6.99 per month, renews at $9.99 per month
- Reseller hosting: $39.99 per month, renews at $54.99 per month
- VPS hosting: $4.99 per month, renews at $7.99 per month*
- Dedicated hosting: $129.99 per month, renews at $169.99 per month
*This is GoDaddy’s cheapest VPS hosting plan, which only offers 1 vCPU and 1GB RAM, which is not sufficient to run a control panel. The second-cheapest plan, which comes with 2 vCPU, is more reflective of VPS capabilities and prices. It starts at $19.99 per month, and renews at $29.99 per month.
GoDaddy is also one of the few providers that doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, which can be frustrating when you’re testing the waters.
That being said, GoDaddy’s ability to provide domains, hosting, and website building tools all in one place make it a strong option. But if value for money is your top priority, you’ll be better off with Bluehost or HostGator.
Best for discounted pricing
Pricing plans from: $0.99 a month
Hostinger Pros and Cons
|Hostinger Pros||Hostinger Cons|
Hostinger offers shared, WordPress, VPS, and cloud hosting, but it doesn’t offer dedicated hosting plans – effectively putting a cap on scalability. This is a big factor behind its seventh place position, but it’s worth noting that Hostinger’s top VPS plan is so advanced that this will never become a problem for any small to medium-sized sites.
Hostinger has proven itself to be a fast hosting provider, with servers spread out across seven countries. However, uptime is a bit of a low point. While we really respect that Hostinger is transparent about server performance, its uptime guarantee of 99.90% is considerably less than the industry-standard 99.97-99.98%.
Another area of note is disk space. While this does amp up on the more expensive VPS and cloud plans, on the shared plans in particular, it’s really low – we’re talking 10-30GB.
Disk space is essentially your website’s storage. If you’re planning on having a fairly simple, “static” website, this won’t be a problem. However, if you want to post regularly, or add a lot of “heavy” media (like high-res images and videos), you may find you’re having to upgrade pretty regularly.
Hostinger offers plans starting from just $0.99, which is unbelievably cheap. The catch? You need to commit to a 48-month contract to lock in this deal. Still, at a total cost of $47.52, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee, this isn’t such a daunting commitment. Even after the initial promotional period is over, the renewal cost is just $2.15/month – significantly cheaper than pretty much any other provider. Check out the introductory and renewal prices of Hostinger’s cheapest plans below:
- Shared hosting: $0.99 per month, renews at $2.15 per month
- Cloud hosting: $7.45 per month, renews at $15.90 per month
- WordPress hosting: $2.15 per month, renews at $3.49 per month
- VPS hosting: $3.95 per month, renews at $9.95 per month
- Hostinger Review – all you need to know about Hostinger
Best for cheap plans but at the cost of speed
Pricing plans from: $2 a month
iPage Pros and Cons
|iPage Pros||iPage Cons|
iPage hosting has just one shared hosting plan. This may sound strange, but its self-described “one size fits all” shared plan offers:
- Unlimited disk space
- Scalable bandwidth
- Free domain
- Unlimited domain names
- Free website builder
- vDeck control panel
Unlimited domain names is a rarity for shared hosting plans. However, iPage’s 99.95% uptime will be discouraging to some.
iPage may only have one web hosting plan, but it does vary in cost. The price is dependent on how long you sign up for: for example, if you commit to a three-year deal, you can pay as little as $2/month. After the initial period, however, this price renews at $8/month.
Two-year signups cost $2.50/month and then renew at $9/month, while one-year signups cost $3/month and renew at $10/month.
- Read Our iPage Review – for an in-depth breakdown
Best for storage space
Pricing plans from: $2.95 a month
Dreamhost Pros and Cons
|DreamHost Pros||DreamHost Cons|
DreamHost’s shared plans offer a free domain, unlimited bandwidth, one-click WordPress install, and a free SSL certificate. If you upgrade from the Shared Starter plan to the Shared Unlimited plan, you’ll also get unlimited email @ your domain.
DreamHost offers a 97-day money-back guarantee on its shared hosting plans, and a 30-day guarantee for other hosting types. DreamHost’s low-end price ranges are as follows:
- Shared hosting: $2.59 per month, renews at $4.95 per month
- WordPress hosting: $2.59 per month, renews at $4.95 per month
- VPS hosting: $10 per month, renews at $15 per month
- Dedicated hosting: $149 per month, renews at $169 per month
Best for big businesses
Pricing plans from: $35/month
WPEngine Pros and Cons
|WPEngine Pros||WPEngine Cons|
As you may have guessed from its name, WPEngine is exclusively a WordPress hosting platform. Its four hosting plans are geared toward large business websites, and while the first three come at a fixed price, WPEngine’s “Custom” fourth plan requires you to get in touch for a quote.
WPEngine’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) support is its most interesting feature. This is a backend service that helps deliver your website to users around the world through a geographically diverse network of servers. On top of all that, WPEngine works automatically with WordPress to keep you up to date, and performs daily automated site backups.
WPEngine plans aren’t cheap. But if you’re running a big business website on WordPress, you’ll be in great hands. Prices are as follows:
- StartUp – $35/month
- Growth – $115/month
- Scale – $290/month
- Custom – Contact WPEngine for a direct quote
One important point to add is that you can claim a discount by paying for any of these plans annually. If you pay a year’s lump sum up front, you get two months free – in other words, instead of paying $420 over the course of a year for the StartUp plan, you’ll pay a one-off fee of $350.
- Read Our WPEngine Review – to find out more
Best for stinging you with expensive renewal costs
Pricing plans from: $7.99 a month
HostPapa Pros and Cons
|HostPapa Pros||HostPapa Cons|
HostPapa’s Starter shared plan is its most basic plan, and offers two websites instead of just one. In addition, you’ll get free domain registration, 100GB SSD storage, and unmetered bandwidth. If you upgrade to the popular Business shared plan, you’ll not only get unmetered bandwidth, but also unlimited SSD storage and websites.
One important feature that HostPapa doesn’t offer is free backups, which will cost you extra. This may be off-putting for some, because free website backups are an easy way to feel more secure in your hosting.
HostPapa’s special offers can often help you save up to 70% on certain plans. But the jump between introductory and renewal prices is a big one, as you’ll see below:
- Shared hosting: $3.95 per month, renews at $7.99 per month
- WordPress hosting: $3.95 per month, renews at $8.99 per month
- VPS hosting: $19.99 per month, renews at $50 per month
- Reseller hosting: $29.99 per month, renews at the same rate
- Read Our HostPapa Review – for a more detailed look at this provider
When launching a new business, money is not normally free-flowing to begin with. And until you’ve built up a solid user base, you can’t expect to have high volumes of traffic visiting your site. For this reason, shared hosting is a great option, given its affordability and capability of handling regular amounts of traffic.
Best providers for Startups:
Once you’re established in your field and need a website to advertise your services, you’ll either need a solid shared hosting plan or VPS hosting. The purse strings should be a little looser, and you’ll need to focus on quality over the cheapest package.
Best providers for Small Businesses:
- Read our article on the Best Web Hosts for Small Business to delve deeper into why these hosts came out top
When it comes to ecommerce websites, hosting needs to be a priority. You rely on your site as a source of revenue, and need it to be able to handle spikes in traffic during popular online events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Automated backups are also an important feature to ensure you don’t lose anything.
Best providers for Online Stores:
- Check out our article on the Best Web Hosts for Ecommerce to find the perfect match for your online store
At the top end of business sites, shared hosting is no longer a viable option. You should be looking at dedicated hosting with advanced features, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited storage. It’s all about having the best quality hosting to match your established brand.
Best providers for Enterprise Businesses:
Unless you’re a celebrity, personal sites shouldn’t experience huge surges of traffic. If you have your own blog, portfolio, or even online résumé, you can rely on a shared hosting plan with reliable uptime. Added features are a bonus, but really, it’s a matter of picking an affordable provider who offers an intuitive service.
Best providers for Personal Sites:
This one speaks for itself really. If you’re new to the field of hosting, you’ll want to prioritize things like user friendliness and great support. If you don’t already have a website, a provider that offers an easy-to-use website builder would also be favorable.
Best providers for Beginners:
Photographers will mainly want to consider uptime, storage space and price. Which provider you go for may depend on whether you simply showcase pictures, or actively sell your snaps. Either way, shared or WordPress hosting should have you covered.
Best providers for Photographers:
- Check out our article on the Best Web Hosting for Photographers to discover the best options
Although artists are creative by nature, when it comes to hosting, it has to be a logical decision. Cheap deals, state of the art features, and a reliable customer service with lots of storage all come to the fore. Art may be a vocational calling, but your hosting provider can help you master the industry.
Best providers for Artists:
Blogging sites, for the most part, will be set up on WordPress (given its extensive blogging options). For this reason, one-click WordPress installation is a vital feature, alongside good support and uptime. Offers of free domain names and email accounts also won’t go amiss.
Best providers for Bloggers and Authors:
- Read up on the Best Blog Hosting Providers to see which platform is best for your work
Like most websites, the type of hosting you require will change on how much traffic your site receives, or may one day generate. For example, you need to be prepared for peaks in traffic in case a subject related to your topic area has some big or breaking news. VPS hosting would be our recommendation as a good way to keep the cost down, but ensure you site can manage.
Best providers for Forum Sites:
Any hosting to do with money needs to be as secure as possible. Should anything go wrong, you will run into legal problems that could damage much more than just your brand. Dedicated hosting is a good route to go down; think of it as investing in your website’s future.
Best providers for Finance:
If you operate as a charity, it’s important to keep the costs down. Price is crucial, as is having good uptime and support. Depending on your needs, you may want a provider with tons of storage, but this isn’t usually essential.
Best providers for Nonprofits:
- Learn more with our guide to the Best Web Hosting for Nonprofits
Because every single website needs to be hosted, there’s a plan or package for every type of need. You can choose between Shared, Dedicated, VPS, Cloud, Reseller and WordPress hosting (shared or managed). All cater for different types of people and websites, but most hosting providers offer a range of services.
Best providers for types of hosting:
As discussed throughout this article, there are standard features that every provider offers. These include the amount of bandwidth, uptime and storage, security, control panels, and free domain names/email accounts. The platforms below are the ones who offer you the very best deals.
Best providers for features:
The term ‘unlimited’ gets bandied about a lot in the web hosting space, and the truth of the matter is, it doesn’t always literally mean unlimited. There is a limit, and you will be prompted to upgrade if you surpass it. That said, if you pick the right plan, chances are you won’t get anywhere near your limit.
Best providers for disk space:
As the name would suggest, uptime refers to the amount of time your website is ‘up’ or ‘live’. If your server goes down, people will no longer be able to access your site until the problem is resolved. Every hosting provider offers a near-perfect uptime, but for the very best ratings, look no further than the three below.
Best providers for uptime:
When purchasing any service, you want to be sure that there is help on hand should issues arise. It’s also nice to get a range of help options, such as phone, email and live chat. We’ve done the research to provide you with the best web hosting providers in regards to the support they offer.
Best providers for help and support:
Everyone loves a bargain, but there’s a difference between saving a few bucks and getting quality for your money. You have to weigh up the benefits (like features, help and support etc.) against how much you’re willing to pay. Lucky for you, we’ve done the leg work and picked out the hosting providers who hit just the right balance.
Best providers for value for money:
Shared – 1&1 IONOS
VPS – 1&1 IONOS
Dedicated – 1&1 IONOS
- Read our article on the Cheapest Web Hosts to find out more
Currently, no hosting provider offers a free service. However, if you opt to create your site using a free website builder like Wix, then you won’t have to pay for hosting. Most other website builders incorporate the hosting cost into the monthly fee you pay.
This is where you share a web server with a bunch of different websites. It tends to be the cheapest option when it comes to web hosting, and is ideal for small or personal websites, like portfolios or blogs. The downside is that it doesn’t deal well with high volumes of traffic, and you won’t get the same level of security you do with other types of hosting.
Best providers for shared hosting:
Try out our article on the Best Shared Web Hosting Providers to find out more.
On the flip side to shared hosting, dedicated is where you have your own server that you are in full control of. You don’t need to worry about other websites impacting on your site’s performance, but you do pay more for this luxury. Dedicated hosting is designed for large-scale websites who need to manage loads of visitors on a daily basis.
Best providers for dedicated hosting:
Check out our guide to the Best Dedicated Hosting Providers to learn more.
Theoretically, VPS hosting is both shared and dedicated hosting rolled into one. You will be put on a virtual server which acts as a dedicated server, but operates in a shared hosting environment. It works as a great middle ground for those that need to upgrade from shared hosting, but aren’t quite ready for the expense dedicated hosting entails.
Best providers for VPS hosting:
Cloud hosting is the newest option on the market. The basic concept is that hundreds of servers combine to operate as one massive server, forming a ‘cloud’. Cloud hosting is great for sites that have fluctuating traffic. In other words, it’s great at handling surges of site visitors, as it has more resource to pull from.
Best providers for cloud hosting:
- Check out our article on the Best Cloud Hosts for the full breakdown
For the more business savvy out there, reseller hosting presents itself as a great alternative to shared hosting. You get more control and can resell hosting space you don’t use. This is predominantly used by people who want to host third party sites themselves.
Best providers for reseller hosting:
- See our article on the Best Reseller Hosting Services for more in-depth information
WordPress is the most popular content management system on the internet, powering an estimated 75 million sites worldwide. There are almost endless hosting options when it comes to WordPress, but you’ll want to look at providers who either specialize in it, have one-click install, and/or run automated updates.
For WordPress, there are two types of hosting: shared and managed. Your decision really boils down to the size of your website and how much you’re willing to pay. While shared WordPress hosting is the cheaper option, managed gives you dedicated support, greater storage, and the ability to handle more traffic.
Best Providers for WordPress:
- Read our article on the Best WordPress Hosts to find out more
Despite its overwhelming popularity, WordPress isn’t the only CMS on the market. Joomla is predominantly used by developers and businesses thanks to its advanced customization. Not every hosting provider installs with Joomla, but most major ones do.
Best Providers for Joomla:
Drupal is another interesting open-source CMS on the market today – and it’s not limited to just being a CMS, either. With Drupal, you can build any type of site or online store. It is an application development framework with a familiar dashboard and interface. Premium hosting, one-click installs, and 24/7 support are all things to consider.
Best Providers for Drupal:
Magento is an open-source platform specifically designed for ecommerce. It gives online store owners flexibility and control over their sites, and integrates seamlessly with a range of other platforms. As always, one-click installation is desirable from a hosting provider, as are custom hosting packages created just for Magento.
Best Providers for Magento:
As we’re sure you’ve guessed from the name, PrestaShop is another ecommerce-specific CMS. It’s also a completely free platform to use, with only add-ons coming at a premium. Easy installation and great uptime are vital features when it comes to hosting.
Best Providers for PrestaShop:
If you’re looking to build an international site with lots of detail, TYPO3 is a fantastic choice. TYPO3 uses PHP scripting language and is also free to use. Built for complex websites, things such as storage space, bandwidth and uptime are all important features to look for in a hosting provider.
Best Providers for TYPO3:
ExpressionEngine is a powerful CMS that’s probably the platform most capable of making your website look like it wasn’t built on WordPress. It’s hard to use, but essentially provides you with a blank canvas to create your website from scratch.
Best Providers for ExpressionEngine:
For a CMS, TextPattern is easy to use and highly flexible. Its stripped back layout makes it ideal for those who need a bespoke design, but don’t want to go down the web developer route. Cost, uptime and support should all be key considerations when searching for hosting for TextPattern sites.
Best Providers for TextPattern:
Radiant is as basic as CMSs come. Built on Ruby on Rails, Radiant is built for developers, and can be seen as a step between the simplicity of a web builder and a fully-fledged CMS like WordPress. A lot of hosts don’t support Radiant, but the three below are the best that do.
Best Providers for Radiant CMS:
Geo-Redundancy hosting is where all your data is stored and backed-up in multiple physical locations. This is to avoid the loss of your data, and also provides an extra layer of security. Geo-Redundancy is perfect for enterprise-level businesses with lots of important data.
Best Providers for Geo-Redundancy Hosting:
If you’re searching for an all-in-one package whereby you can create your site and host it under one roof, then you’ll want to look at website builders. They provide pre-made templates and an editing interface where no code is required. The hosting providers below are the ones which also sell hosting separately.
Best Providers with a Site Builder:
Most hosting providers these days have website builders. It’s a logical add-on, but that’s not to say the ones that don’t aren’t great at what they do offer. Some of the best hosting on the market comes from companies without their own dedicated website builder.
Best Providers without a Site Builder:
Google Adsense is designed to let content producers or publishers monetize their websites. Through HTML code, you can add onsite adverts that are tailored to your content, and work on a CPC (cost per click) basis. Not all providers allow for advertisements, so it’s worth checking out it if it’s part of your long-term plan.
Best Providers for Google Adsense Hosting:
PHP is essentially scripted code that allows people to make dynamic pages, such as shopping carts or customer logins. If your website uses PHP, it must be hosted by a provider that has a PHP processor module so it can be decoded and understood.
Best Providers for PHP Hosting:
Check out our guide to the Best PHP Hosting Providers to find out more.
Being green has never been more important. If you’re concerned about your carbon footprint, it’s best to go with a hosting provider that is carbon neutral. Some use renewable energy, while others highlight the work they do with their employees to keep our planet ticking over.
Greenest Hosting Providers:
Check out our guide to the Best Green Hosting Providers to find out more.
Node.js is an open source environment that lets you run scripts server-side before a web page gets sent to a user’s browser. Node.js hosting is helpful for commercial websites concerned about site speed.
Best Providers for Node.js Hosting:
Check out our review of the 7 Best Node.js Hosting Providers to learn more.
Almost every hosting provider uses Linux as the primary operating system on most of its servers. Because Linux hosting is so common, the best Linux providers are also the best overall providers, as you’ll notice below:
Best Providers for Linux Hosting:
Check out the 9 Best Linux Hosting Providers to learn more.
Windows server hosting is less common than Linux hosting, because it’s only a compatible solution for those using a Windows operating system. If your website already uses Windows tools and languages (like ASP.net or Microsoft Exchange), then you’ll want to choose a hosting provider with strong Windows servers.
Best Providers for Windows Hosting:
Read our ranking of the Top 5 Windows Hosting Providers to learn more
The cost of web hosting varies drastically depending on the type you need. Hosting can cost as little as a couple of bucks a month. If you are running a small business site, though, you’ll probably want to fork out a little more for a better quality, feature-rich service. For top-of-the-range dedicated hosting, you could be looking at anything from $100/month to $600/month.
Do Any of Them Offer Free Plans or Trials?
No providers currently offer free web hosting, but a lot have money-back guarantees should you be dissatisfied with the customer service you receive. Dreamhost, for example, offers a 97-day money-back guarantee. For totally free hosting, you’ll have to use a free website builder to design your website.
The size and type of website you own will dictate the type of hosting plan you need. Your budget, the features you require, and how you built your site will also play a part in your decision. But ultimately, it’s best to choose one priority that you value most, and base your decision on that feature.
For example, if customer service and value for money are both important to you, but you’re most concerned about having great uptime, then HostGator is your best bet. But if great value for money is your non-negotiable top priority, then Bluehost will give you the most bang for your buck.
From conducting our own thorough research and testing, we’ve put together our very own expert reviews for you to sink your teeth into. But what if you’re scratching your head, undecided between two providers? Well, fear not – we’ve thought of that too.
Our detailed comparison articles pit two or more of the very best hosting providers against each other. We break down each one’s pros and cons, run through key areas to consider, and discuss which is better for specific types of websites. After reading, you should have a clear idea about which is right for you.
Like we said, that decision ultimately depends on what you want in a hosting provider. You can’t really go wrong with any of the providers listed above, but some will be a better fit than others. Do you value reliability? Consider SiteGround. Looking for lots of extra features? GoDaddy is worth looking at.
That being said, the provider that consistently delivers across all of these categories is Bluehost – and that’s why it earns the number one spot in our research. We’d recommend it for any type of website.
First off, you’ll want to know what types of hosting they offer – you should be looking for a specific type (e.g. shared hosting). You’ll also want to know what features they offer, the cost of the service, and whether it integrates easily with your site.
Although most have similar offerings, there are certain elements that matter. For example, if you use PHP to build any of your pages, you’ll need a provider that has a PHP processor module. Some have better uptime, while some lend themselves better to certain CMSs, like WordPress.
A web host is a service that allows your website to be put live online for others to see. A website builder is a platform that helps you create the website itself. Most website builders will have hosting included as part of their service.
There are numerous types of web hosting. The main ones are Shared, Dedicated, VPS, Cloud, and WordPress hosting (both shared and managed). The size and type of website you have will dictate the type of hosting you need, but all serve different purposes.
There is no one universal regulator of web hosting, but most providers are easy to get in touch with. If you’re having issues with their own support – like over email or live chat – you can try contacting providers on social media or reach out to forums.
It’s difficult to pinpoint specific companies, as all have server issues on the odd occasion. There are things to be wary of though: for example, a monthly fee may seem reasonable, but it’s important to dig deeper and look for any additional add-ons or hidden costs.
When deciding, you want to check if the provider offers an SSL certificate and HTTPS as standard. These both help secure your website and boost your SEO. For extra protection, providers that use Geo-Redundancy will protect your data against crashing and hacking via automated backups.
Some platforms have a free site migration process. This is the easiest and simplest way to transfer, as all you need to do is provide your account details. For manual transfers, use FTP. Download your files onto your computer, then upload them to your new hosting provider.
Many providers use the terms web hosting and domain hosting interchangeably, but they can relate to separate things. Domain hosting refers specifically to your domain name (used in your URL) and can be purchased alongside web hosting, although it is not mandatory.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Having an SSL certificate means your site’s visitors can view your website securely. You should always ensure your site has an SSL certificate, and most hosting providers offer them free as part of their package.
Our top hosting service is HostGator. It has amazing uptime, is great value for money, and is very beginner friendly. You’ll need to assess what you need, though – HostGator may be the best overall, but that doesn’t always mean it’s the best for you.
cPanel is the control panel used by Linux web hosting providers. In other words, it’s what you see when using web hosting services. It provides both the interface and tools you use, and helps make web hosting a simple and hassle-free process.
Data centers is a large group of computer servers that are held in one location. They are used for data storage, and are where your website’s information is kept. It is generally preferable to use a data center in your own country, although it won’t have a massive impact if you opt for an overseas one.