Web hosting is no longer reserved for just geeks and businesses. In recent years, many new companies have descended into this industry, making it easy and affordable to start a website. For both beginners and pros, your best bet is to find the best web hosting service that can maximize the potential of your business or blog. The goal is to increase your site’s performance, optimize load speed, and reach new potential customers for your business while increasing revenue.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is the practice of providing storage space and access to websites. Technology has evolved, and many aspects of the business are being done online including social media marketing and e-commerce business. Having a website to represent your company provides a big advantage and can increase revenue, keep your current customers updated, and even provide you with an efficient and easy way to reach new potential customers.
When you begin to look for a web hosting service, you should consider the hosting company’s reputation, the affordability of the hosting plans and services, and if you are able to get a custom domain or email address.
Types of Web Hosting Services
There are many different forms of web host packages available including website builders, shared hosting, dedicated hosting, VPS hosting, and collocated hosting. If you are a beginner, then a website builder web hosting service may be good because you may lack some of the technical skills that are required to build and manage your own website. One example of a website builder hosting service can be found on website.com.
Shared and dedicated hosting are the most common hosting services available, and each come with their own features and advantages. If your business website receives a lot of traffic, then a dedicated hosting service is a good choice. Dedicated servers work best for high-traffic websites and can handle the high traffic without the website experiencing any downtime that will negatively impact the revenue and traffic of the website.
Dedicated hosting services mean that you get the entire server to yourself to cater your own website, rather than having to share the server with other websites at the same time. It provides better uptimes, improved speeds, and less downtime than you can see with shared hosting.
An advantage of shared hosting are the costs associated with this service. You share the physical server with other websites, but you do not have the additional costs that are associated with the management, operation, and maintenance of the server or the server’s physical hardware.
Collocated hosting allows you to purchase your own server, but you will be solely responsible for the server, hardware, and maintenance. The biggest advantage to this is the complete control and flexibility you are awarded which allows you to install any scripts or applications you feel your website may need.
VPS hosting, or virtual private server hosting, is a virtual machine sold by an internet hosting service and it runs on its own operating system that provides its users with high-level access so they can install software as they see fit. VPS hosting provides customization and is more affordable than other types of web hosting. It is also scalable and can grow with your business or individual needs. Virtual private server hosting is very like dedicated hosting but is a less expensive option than shared hosting services.
Cloud hosting is also a web hosting service, but it is a little different than the other web hosts that were discussed. Cloud hosting does not require any physical hardware. All files and information are stored on the Internet in a cloud, and the information can be shared from the cloud with your employees.
Cloud hosting offers reliability due to it being hosted by a virtual system, rather than a physical server. It also draws its disk space and other resources from an extensive network of underlying physical servers.
Many different machines can act as one system in cloud hosting. While shared or dedicated hosting services rely on just one server or machine, the cloud is guaranteed by several servers.
On top of all of this, there are two operating systems for the servers: Linux and Windows. Most people prefer to host on Linux because it allows you to easily run open source software like WordPress. Windows is more commonly used for big businesses that need to integrate with legacy software.
Some hosts offer domain registration services, but not all of them. A domain name is the "address" that people type into their internet browser to get to your website. For example my domain name is https://howtostartablogonline.com. If you want to get your own domain name, I've made a list of the cheapest domain registrars here as well as a list of the best private domain registrars.
Even if the host that you select doesn't offer registration, you can still point your address from another registrar or transfer it completely over. Think of it like forwarding the address of your mail when you move to a new home versus updating the address that the sender has on file. For more information on this topic, read my posts: What Is A Name Server (DNS): Explanation & FAQs and How Much Does A Domain Name Cost?
Web Hosting For Small Businesses
Having a decent web host is an important strategy to grow your business and succeed. If you have a slow website, your customers are only a click away from visiting a competitor. As a business owner you're likely pretty busy (I know I am) and don't have time to wait for customer support or deal with maintenance. The best web hosts have dedicated support for businesses and managed plans. You can read my full review of the top small business web hosts here. Most small businesses use WordPress for a content management system, but if you have Joomla you should check out my list of Joomla providers here.
Some businesses will also want to get a professional email address with their domain in it like mine ([email protected]) instead of a personal email (that ends in @gmail.com or @yahoo.com). So I've put together a review of the top email hosting services here.
WordPress can be hosted on any of the types of servers mentioned above (shared, dedicated, cloud, VPS). If you're considering building your blog or website on WordPress, some hosts are better than others. The best offer easy 1 click installation of WordPress and have special software to make WP run faster on the server. "Managed" WordPress Hosts will even go in and update the plugins for you. Obviously, the free providers have the worst speeds and reliability.
The first step to hosting a website is to choose a web hosting provider. To spot the best web hosting services and pick a web host plan, there are a few additional elements you should consider including the reputation, popularity, and reliability of the web service provider and uptime, speed, features, and technical support aspects that are included with their web host packages. We have done the bulk of the work and have narrowed down the list.
Top 10 Best Web Hosting Companies in 2017
|COMPANY||PLANS|| MONEY BACK|
|HostGator||Shared, VPS, Dedicated & Managed||45 days|
|BlueHost||Shared, VPS, Dedicated & Managed||30 days|
|WP Engine||WordPress Only||60 days|
|DreamHost||Shared, VPS, Dedicated & Managed||97 days|
|InMotion||Shared, VPS, Dedicated & Managed||90 days|
|SiteGround||Shared, VPS & Dedicated||30 days|
|1&1||Shared, VPS, Dedicated & Managed||30 days|
HostGator has been in existence for more than a decade, and it is not just their huge number of servers that puts them ahead of the pack, but also their consistent and unmatched reliability and web service.
Over the years, they have dominated the shared hosting space for various reasons. The top reasons being their feature-packed packages, affordability, and many other resources every webmaster needs.
If you need to scale your site, HostGator has decent Virtual Private Server (VPS) and dedicated server options that are sure to work out well with your business. Obviously, you will run into other web hosts that have packages more affordably priced than HostGator’s web hosting packages, but you may not receive the kind of reliability, uptime, and technical support HostGator offers.
For an entry-level package through HostGator, you are guaranteed unlimited disk space, free website templates, emails, and a decent cPanel. If you wish to add more features, they have numerous options to meet your needs. Included with all plans are SSH, root access, and support for various languages including Perl, Ruby, and Python.
You will not be required to sign any contract with them until after 45 days of service, meaning you have enough time to receive a refund of your money if the services and plans don’t seem like the best fit for your website or business.
Overall, web hosting novices looking for an easy and fast way into web hosting, as well those more concerned about reliability and uptime, need not look further than HostGator Web Hosting.
BlueHost is one of those best web hosts you will not miss hearing a web designer or seasoned website owner mention, which just shows how popular it is. BlueHost hosts over 1.8 million websites and has a huge line-up of web hosting plans and services to suit any business.
They are not just simple and easy to use, but also secure. Availability of 1-on-1 training means BlueHost is perfect for the web hosting novice.
Two spaces where they have largely dominated include WordPress hosting and shared hosting. There are plenty of extras to expect from BlueHost’s plans including unlimited bandwidth, disk space, emails, and domain transfers. In fact, nearly every feature of their entry level hosting plan is unlimited.
Interesting to note is that BlueHost keeps their hardware updated all the time and updated to the latest standards to ensure top performance. Also included is a free domain lasting one year and free routine backups. As your website grows, you will have it easy scaling from one plan to another. Just a single click and you are good to go.
Their web hosting services may be relatively high when it comes to pricing, but you are receiving top performance, reliability, excellent customer and technical support, and ease of use in return.
Whether you are a veteran in this field or just getting your feet wet regarding web hosting services and packages, BlueHost is among the best hosting companies in the industry for 2017.
WP Engine has unmatched popularity among WordPress users. Everyone else who is not a WordPress user will not find it suitable, so if that’s you, you will want to check out the other web hosts. But if you are a WordPress user, this is the hosting provider you’ve been looking for. If your WordPress matters a lot to you and you’d love it to have top security, faster load time, reliable uptime and scalability, you have every reason to trust in WP Engine.
At $29.00/month, you can have all of that. Sounds too much, right? But those who know much about WordPress admit that WP Engine is all you need to take your WordPress to a whole new level. There are no two ways about it. To keep their servers on top of things, WP Engine updates it routinely with the most recent hardware. Also, important to note is that they boast of an industry-leading software layer designed purely for users of WordPress.
To ensure your site is exceptionally quick, they make use of a caching system designed by them, and in addition to that, there’s full-time security monitoring to ensure hackers never get a chance to access your site. And to ensure your site can handle traffic spikes, they offer hardware quotas.
Novices also have a reason to try out WP Engine because it won’t take them any pain or extra effort to install a WordPress theme and get their website up and running. For web host veterans, the presence of a one-click development staging area, CDN compatibility, Git - integration and other features make WP Engine worth a try. Also included is a 60-day money back guarantee.
InMotion Hosting has often been hailed as the one-size-fits-all kind of web host. Why? They have a package to suit everyone. Their packages are designed for all types of business from small business to bigger empires. They offer several different hosting plans including shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and VPS hosting. They also offer WordPress-specific hosting if you have a WordPress based website.
Three essential elements that set them apart from the rest include reliable customer support with five different channels of communication including phone and email options, and a live online chat option for immediate assistance, mass scalability based on your hosting needs, and a great merging of the industry’s best hardware.
The presence of SSD drives on all of InMotion Hosting’s shared hosting plans means enhanced speeds for your site. Their shared hosting prices are relatively higher than other plans but you will receive excellent customer and technical support and added speed, which justifies the extra dollars you pay for their web hosting services.
Each hosting plan through InMotion Hosting comes complete with automated and free data backup, domains (1 year), domain transfers, multi-language support, unlimited disk space, and SSH access. You are also guaranteed zero downtime transfers, 99.9% uptime, a 90-day money back guarantee, and you are free to locate a data center of your choosing.
Thanks to their Softaculous one-click installation, installing WordPress, Drupal or Joomla is quick and painless and can easily be accessed on their simple cPanel. Overall, if you are out to get yourself a performance-focused web host with reliable customer support and decent speeds, you will never go wrong choosing InMotion Hosting.
Whether you need a website for personal reasons or business-related purposes, DreamHost has a line-up of features that are designed to suit your web hosting needs perfectly. Whether it’s shared, dedicated, VPS, or WordPress hosting, each of them comes complete with all the necessary options a webmaster needs to set up an attractive and extremely functional website.
If you have never interacted with web hosting before and have little to no experience, opting for DreamHost may not be a very good idea. You are likely to find it intimidating because they do not offer much training concerning web hosting and website management. The closest you might get to anything easy is free–click software installer. But any advanced user will fall for it.
Some of the impressive features to expect from a DreamHost hosting service and plan include plenty of security features, unlimited data transfers disk space, bandwidth, FTP, MySQL, POP3/IMAP, and diverse domain management tools. You will also get a free domain name plus instant set up. They also have a generous money back guarantee that spans an impressive 97 days and promises you 100% uptime.
When it comes to budget web hosting, DreamHost is a reliable option to go with. You get friendly and affordable prices with access to all those robust features. Bear in mind that the quality has not been compromised in any way. If you are a veteran in this field, DreamHost has the best web hosting services for you.
iPage has managed to keep its place among the providers for a couple of reasons, top amongst them being, their dedicated and smart team as well as their aggressive web hosting plans. Today, they host over 1 million websites which pretty much explains why they are popular across the web. Under their shared hosting category, they offer just a single but all-in-one hosting plan that comes complete with everything any person or business would need to get their website up and running.
Green hosting is one of their major area of focus, and if you’d love to emphasize the same, they’ll offer you a green badge to fit on your site; this could work to your advantage depending on the kind of business you are running.
Under iPage Hosting’s basic plan you will get to enjoy, unlimited disk space, bandwidth, domains, emails, MySQL databases. On top of that, they will serve you nearly all the necessary features you need not just to build but install and get your website up and running. Then you will also get to enjoy their easy web application installer that will let you install WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, Forums, and so much more.
You are also set to have it easy operating their own customized cPanel called vDeck and on top of that get to experience their state of the art security features. Much effort has been put to make it reliable which explains why if you take a look at the many web hosting reviews around, you will hardly find any with complaints about downtime.
Most impressive of all, they offer an anytime money back guarantee. That’s indeed surprising but all the same, it shows just how confident iPage Hosting are in their services. Customer support is also excellent. Be sure to check them out.
Here’s yet another affordable web host amongst the best hosting sites we’ve looked at so far. WebHostingHub is a suitable option for those looking out for a perfect mix of quality and affordability. To start you off on this, note that the company boasts not just modern, but some of the quickest and largest equipment a hosting provider can have; this already speaks volume about their performance. If not top, then it’s unmatched.
Their shared hosting plans easily outshine those of its competitors. First off, they make use of Solid State Hard Drives meaning the speeds are better off than what you typically experience with the normal drives. Here’s a simple video explaining what SSDs are all about:
Then there are the freebies which include a free domain name (for life) plus site migration; a cPanel; unlimited disk space, bandwidth, websites, email accounts, subdomains, MySQL databases, FTP accounts and parked domains; one-click WordPress installs and support for e-commerce.
You will also be offered free tools such as website builder, Shopping Carts, Blogs, Content Management Systems, Forum software and many others. You are also free to pick a data center of your choice.
So on shared hosting, they definitely rank on top but should you require to scale your hosting to a dedicated or VPS hosting, that will probably be an issue because they don’t offer those two. But if all you care about is the shared web hosting plan, then you have every reason to trust in WebHostingHub.
SiteGround is a top web hosting service and company, and this is for a good reason. Their customer service support and technical support are very reliable, and they employ the leading and the latest technology in web hosting. That pretty much explains why their services hardly disappoint, right from the high-quality performance to their custom software solutions and speed to everything else that matters in a web host.
What should one expect from them? For SiteGround’s introductory package, all the essential features you need to get started have been included. They include a free domain (for life), set up and transfer, and daily site backup. The web hosting services also include unlimited MySQL databases, bandwidth, email hosting, a website builder, CloudFlare CDN, cPanel, SSH access, secure email protocols, and a 30-day money back guarantee.
However, if you need more than that, for instance, a 1-year SSL certificate, advanced hardware, and priority tech support, you can opt for their Cloud Hosting and Dedicated Hosting options. All of SiteGround’s hosting services and plans come at friendly and affordable prices.
While other web hosts will take up to half an hour to detect and react to server issues, SiteGround does that in real time thanks to their advanced downtime prevention software; this you are guaranteed top page load speeds, as well as 99.9% uptime guarantee.
1&1 WEB HOSTING
1 & 1 made it onto the list due to their feature-rich hosting plans, affordability, excellent customer support, and positive hosting reviews. Customer support is imperative because you may need immediate and urgent technical support and if you do not receive the satisfactory help that you expect from your web hosting service, then it can negatively affect your business and the website you are running.
1 &1 offers a wide range of web hosting services including shared hosting, VPS hosting, as well as dedicated server hosting.
Recently, 1&1 introduced their dynamic cloud server which lets you pay only for what you need when it comes to custom configurations. You also receive an all-SSD SAB storage solution which will help improve speed, power, and performance.
Here is what you can expect from all of their hosting plans: free domain registration, unlimited Domains, Emails, Databases and Apps, preinstalled app templates, and multiple website set-up options.
Other features include custom tools for search engine optimization, e-commerce resources, DDoS protection, SiteLock Scanning, and geo-redundant data centers.
Over the years, the 1&1 Hosting company has excelled in WordPress hosting which can be seen from the number of positive web host reviews they have received. Everything that this web hosting service and company offers creates an outstanding web host environment due to their web hosting services derived from the custom SEO tools, great performance, and security.
eHost.com is what every entry-level user needs. It was designed for the novice. If you are a first-time website owner, you are going to love the fact that their plans include a free-drag-and-drop feature, plus dozens of templates to help you easily set your new website. The best thing about them is that they allow you to create a professional website at an affordable price with ease. Creating a professional looking website can be done in just minutes.
eHost.com offers a single shared hosting plan that comes packed with all the essential features you need to set up your website completely. Some of the top features to expect include a free email address, unlimited domains and domain name, free tools for online marketing, plus $200 advertising credit, unlimited bandwidth, disk space and additional free 1GB for cloud storage in combination with 24/7 network monitoring.
Important to note is their extensive online customer service center that you can get in touch with anytime, should an issue come up. eHost.com’s customer support is further enhanced by their 24/7 network monitoring. You are guaranteed the optimum safety and immediate help you expect to receive from one of the top-rated web hosting services available in 2017.
You can also install WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla if you want even more flexibility in your operations. Overall, eHost.com gets the credit for competitive pricing, ease of use, and feature-rich hosting.
Advanced Hosting Providers
If you have a high traffic website there are a few advanced options. They require more technical knowledge to setup (you'll need a seasoned web developer's help). The cost is also higher but they allow for advanced customization and the fastest speeds. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is an enterprise level host that powers the most popular websites on the planet. Rackspace is another advanced web host that I have personally used but I didn't find it worth the price for a blog (it's really more for corporate websites).
Companies That Didn't Make The Top 10
These companies didn't make my list of the top providers, but I want to give them an honorable mention as I did consider them.
X10 Hosting Review
For The Penny Pinchers
I've compiled a review of the cheapest hosting companies here.
There are also a number of free hosting companies out there but there's always a catch to using them. Warning: the "freemium" providers will put up random advertisements to make money from your website, add their name into your domain name, limit the amount of storage space or pages you can have, and/or cap your website speed. In general they are less professional looking and will do anything they can to force you to upgrade to a paid version. The most popular "freemium" providers are Wix and Weebly.
For Agencies And Freelancers
If you have clients that need websites then you'll want to check out my list of the best hosts for resellers. For example Hostgator's Reseller Program allows you to earn a small commission when you refer a client.
The extensive guide breaking down the features of the best web hosting services for 2017 should be an immense help in deciding which service and company are right for your business. Nothing beats the joy of knowing you made the right decision and that decision is going to benefit you and your business for years to come.
The current web hosting market is huge and narrowing down the best web hosting sites was tough, but thankfully, we made it happen.
Whichever web hosting needs you may have, finding a perfect fit among these hosting sites shouldn’t be a challenge. Take HostGator, for instance. HostGator hardly disappoints when meeting the high expectations of your web hosting needs. If you want a stable and reliable foundation on which to start to web hosting, they are your best bet. Whatever you choose, be sure that it will benefit your business, add value to your website, and help you reach your highest potential so that you can be as successful as you can be.