Every business in the modern world needs a website, and when creating one the first step is to choose hosting from the best web hosting services available - deciding which of these platforms would be most appropriate for you or your business.
A web host rents part of the resources on its servers to you, allowing you to host your own website with them. However, every business and its needs are different, so there's no single provider or right answer. Additionally, it can be tough to identify the right hosting service from the sheer range of options available.
So how do you choose the best web hosting provider for you or your business? That depends on a number of factors: the nature of your business, the type of hosting you need, the level of scalability you require, and the type of support you'd be looking for.
To help you with this, we've prepared this buying guide, where we analyze and evaluate the best web hosting providers to assist you in selecting the right one for your needs.
The top three best web hosting providers right now
Bluehost: Great features with inexpensive shared hosting
Shared hosting with Bluehost starts at just $2.75 a month (for a 24-month plan) with 50GB of storage and unmetered bandwidth. Sites are hosted on high-performance servers, so load speed is never an issue.
Hostinger: Best for small and medium-sized businesses
Recommended for its excellent performance, large support knowledgebase, and easy-to-use Auto Installer for one-click installation of web apps. If you opt for a Business hosting plan, you get a lot for your money.
InMotion Hosting: Great support and full-featured plans
Excellent customer support and well-specced plans make InMotion Hosting a good web hosting choice for for SMEs and larger businesses expecting serious traffic. Monthly, annual, or bi-annual plan pricing provides a discount of around 20% for longer terms.
What makes for the best web hosting?
The best web hosting is fast and secure, offers sufficient scalability to allow your website to grow as your business expands, and provides decent support to help you navigate potentially difficult situations as and when they arise. Good hosting providers also offer plenty of additional features and functions as well.
The two most important parameters when choosing a hosting provider are storage and bandwidth. Storage refers to the amount of space that your website needs to exist online, where as bandwidth defines the total amount of resources used, based on both file size and traffic. A good hosting service offers ample bandwidth and storage, while also leaving room for expansion as your website grows.
Bluehost is the best web host in terms of features, reliability, support, and pricing right now. Its shared hosting plans start at just $2.75 a month, and managed WordPress hosting with Bluehost starts at $9.95 a month. The company offers excellent scalability and many added features regardless of the plan chosen, but with WordPress hosting, the automatic installation and ongoing support are absolutely worth the price.
The competition is close, however. Hostinger and InMotion easily take up the second and third places, and are then followed by other providers including DreamHost, SiteGround, Namecheap, GreenGeeks, GoDaddy, Hostwinds, and HostGator. Meanwhile, if you're looking for a web hosting service that doubles as a website builder, Wix and Weebly are great options.
The best web hosting services you can buy today
Owned by Endurance International Group, Bluehost is a web hosting company with servers located in Utah. It offers shared hosting, virtual private servers, and dedicated hosting, both managed and unmanaged. The plans start at just $2.95 a month and offer unmetered bandwidth usage.
Bluehost is more than two decades old and maintains a high reputation among web hosting providers. It also comes with 24/7 support through phone and live chat, in the unforeseen event that you should run into a problem.
Bluehost’s isn’t the most customizable service in the market, but the feature-packed plans are well configured and well supported. Its strongest selling points are speed and uptime, which are primary for any growing website.
Read our full Bluehost review.
Headquartered in Lithuania, Hostinger has offices all over the world and is home to more than 30 million customers. Its basic plan costs $0.99 a month for the first year, and offers 30GB of storage space. While that isn’t a lot, it’s still good for single-page websites and small businesses.
For those who want more, Hostinger offers plans from $2.19 a month to $69.99 a month. The business plans come with more resources and day-to-day backups for your website. It’s worth noting, however, that these prices increase greatly after the first year, sometimes by up to 100%.
Hostinger comes with a one-click auto installer for all your favorite web apps, including WordPress. This makes it supremely easy for novice users to start building their first website, and it also features the Zyro website builder that's powerful enough to compete with leading website builders.
Read our full Hostinger review to find out more.
InMotion Hosting offers shared hosting plans starting from $5.99 a month. This is significantly higher than the industry standard, but with support for two websites and 10 email addresses, as well as lots of storage space and unlimited bandwidth, this plan more than makes up for the extra price.
Aside from shared hosting, InMotion also offers virtual and dedicated servers for $17.99 a month and $57.50 a month respectively. Managed WordPress hosting starts at $6.99 a month. Again, the higher prices are always backed by additional features as well as a friendly support team.
The hardware and software offerings from InMotion are better than what a lot of rivals have on offer, which is reflected in the higher pricing structure. If you don’t mind paying a little extra, however, their service is absolutely worth it.
Read our full InMotion Hosting review.
Founded in 1996, DreamHost is one of the oldest web hosting companies in the market. Its customer base equals more than 1.5 million users as of now. Performance is great, with zero downtime and good speeds.
DreamHost offers a range of hosting services, from shared to dedicated and managed to unmanaged. Shared hosting starts at $2.59 a month, with unmetered bandwidth for one website. A better offering is perhaps the Shared Unlimited plan for $3.95 a month, which offers unmetered bandwidth as well as storage.
Technical support is well-versed on a range of subjects and is available via phone, chat, and a ticket system, though live chat is not available 24/7. There is also a very useful knowledge base with answers to frequently asked questions. If you are looking for one of the best web hosting services for WordPress, DreamHost is totally recommended.
You can read our full DreamHost review to find out more.
Founded in 2004 in Bulgaria, SiteGround has servers located in the USA, UK, Amsterdam, and Singapore. It specializes in shared hosting and cloud hosting only, with its shared hosting plans among some of the best in the market.
Initially priced at $6.99 a month, the starter plan quickly skyrockets after the first year to $14.99 a month. While that may seem like a downer, SiteGround’s shared hosting plans are all managed, meaning that you can expect quality support for any problems related to WordPress or WooCommerce.
Performance is solid, with great speeds and constant uptime on every plan. The lack of VPS and dedicated hosting options is not great for enterprise clients, though.
You can read our full SiteGround review for more information on the platform.
Like GoDaddy, Namecheap is known primarily for its domain registration service. However, it also offers a range of paid hosting services at attractive prices. For just $1.58 a month, Namecheap gives you 20GB of space, 30 email accounts, one free domain, and 24/7 support. The plan also comes with unmetered bandwidth and a free website builder.
If this sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is, a little. The $1.58 a month introductory pricing spikes up to $2.88 a month from the second year. Free domain name registration is a lucrative plus, but you cannot opt for a .com or .net domain with a starter plan, and are restricted to store, .online, .site, etc.
Namecheap’s biggest downside is the low speeds and poor performance. While uptime is indeed 100%, response times are unusually slow. Thankfully, 30 days of free trial provides ample time to judge performance on a case-by-case basis.
Read our full Namecheap review.
Did you know that data centers are responsible for enough global carbon emissions to rival the airlines industry? GreenGeeks, as the name suggests, is an eco-friendly web hosting service that invests in renewable energy to keep its operations carbon neutral.
With its great shared hosting plans, GreenGeeks doesn’t force you to choose between hosting quality and environmental benefit. In fact, all plans come with unmetered traffic count and storage space to boot. Free website migration, domain registration, and auto installation are other features worth mentioning.
With GreenGeeks, the tradeoff is in the form of after-sales phone support, which isn’t 24/7, though a round-the-clock live chat is available, as well as the somewhat limited high-end plans.
Read our full GreenGeeks review.
Famous for its domain registration service, GoDaddy also offers feature-packed personal and business web hosting services at very affordable prices. The company is currently home to over 20 million customers and 80 million domains.
GoDaddy offers a range of hosting solutions, both managed and unmanaged. This includes shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, Linux/Windows hosting, and even standalone email hosting. For just $2.99 a month, you get 100GB of storage and unmetered bandwidth, as well as a free domain name and Microsoft 365 email - but this price is for the first three years, after which it increases to $8.99 a month.
The biggest complaint from users when it comes to GoDaddy used to be about the after-sales support, but that has improved greatly in the last few years. However, security features included as standard with other providers are charged for.
Read our full GoDaddy hosting review.
For $5.24 a month, Hostwinds offers unlimited bandwidth, disk space, databases, emails, and subdomains. There’s a range of additional goodies on offer, including a free domain name, web app auto installer, regular backups, and Weebly's website builder.
Because the base plan is so powerful, the only advantage of upgrading your shared hosting plan is to be able to host more websites, though there are managed hosting options alongside VPS and dedicated hosting services, available for those who want more resources. You can also choose between Linux and Windows hosting.
Hostwinds’ support website does a poor job of helping customers, with broken links, and the pricing structure overall is questionable. However, its hosting solutions do a fine job of serving existing customers.
Read our full Hostwinds review for more information.
Wix isn’t just a hosting service, it’s a website builder. Whereas the services mentioned so far merely provide resources for storing your website on their servers, Wix goes the extra mile with a comprehensive website-designing application and content delivery system for novice users.
Because of this, Wix’s base plan costs a lot more than your typical shared hosting, at $14 a month. For that price, the service gives you access to 3GB of storage space, 30 minutes of video storage per clip, a free domain and SSL certificate, 500 free design templates, and an image editor with 50+ Instagram-style filters.
Apart from the expensive pricing structure, there is not a lot to complain about with Wix. However, the website builder can prove to be a little complicated for beginners.
To find out more about Wix's website builder, read our full Wix website builder review.
Weebly, like Wix, is a website builder. While it may appear a bit plain compared to the extravagant list of features offered by Wix, a quick look under the hood proves that this is not the case. It is also a really great option for starting an online store.
Weebly offers a free plan that serves as a great way of evaluating the service. Beyond that, the Personal plan costs $6 a month whereas the Pro and Performance plans cost $12 and $26, respectively. All of these plans include ecommerce capability, including the free plan. Whereas the base plan only allows you 500MB of storage space and displays ads from Weebly, Pro, and Performance offer unlimited storage to all users with no advertisements.
Weebly’s website builder may not be as feature-rich as some of the other providers, but the service offers ample space to create a basic website or ecommerce store, and the unlimited hosting plan takes care of your growing website needs.
To find out more about Weebly's website builder, read our full Weebly website builder review.
Also initially priced at just $2.75 a month, HostGator comes with unlimited storage and bandwidth on all its plans. The plans also come with premium customer support. Moreover, ecommerce features are available across all plans.
HostGator’s performance is consistently good across all its offerings. Response times, while not as great as Bluehost’s, are still good enough for the average customer. 24/7 support is available through live chat and telephone, aside from the comprehensive knowledge base that has answers to pretty much every possible query.
HostGator’s top-tier plans also suffer from a lack of configurability, and pricing across the board is deceptive. Additionally, average security features are offered as standard, with more advanced tools requiring an extra subscription.
Read our full HostGator review.
What is the best web hosting service available today?
The best all-around web hosting provider is Bluehost. It offers a selection of hosting solutions, including beginner-friendly shared hosting, managed and unmanaged VPS hosting, and managed and unmanaged dedicated servers.
On top of this, Bluehost is affordable, one of the most popular choices for those seeking hosting for the first time, and backed by an excellent reputation. Its customer service is excellent, and there are numerous impressive features to help you get the most out of your new website.
What is the cheapest web hosting service available today?
The cheapest reliable web hosting service comes from Hostinger, another industry leader. Its budget shared hosting plans are a little basic, but they come with excellent security integrations, great customer service, and beginner-friendly management tools.
And with prices starting at just $0.99 a month, you won’t find cheaper comparable hosting services anywhere else in the world.
What is web hosting and why do I need it?
Web hosting refers to the servers and other infrastructure that are used to store a website’s files and deliver them when people navigate to a site. This can be a little complicated for some people to understand, though, so we’ve broken it down into simpler terms.
To start with, you need to understand that a website is basically a composition of files. Think text files, code files, image files, and so on. When linked together appropriately, these combine to create an attractive, highly functional site.
However, these files need to be stored somewhere, so that people can access them when they click through to your site. This is where web hosting comes into the equation.
Hosting providers offer various solutions that enable you to store and access your site’s files. Usually, your site will be stored on what’s known as a server, which is basically a specialized computer.
Servers are connected to the internet, and when someone loads your site, the relevant information is delivered straight to their device. The bottom line: web hosting is a must if you want to create a new website, online store, blog, or anything else of the sort.
What types of hosting are available?
Traditionally, the three main types of hosting were shared, virtual private server (VPS), and dedicated server. However, options such as cloud hosting have entered the market recently, offering increased flexibility and scalability for website owners.
Shared hosting is the simplest option, and it involves your site being hosted on a server with numerous others. This tends to be cheap, but performance and security can suffer.
More advanced VPS hosting also involves multiple sites on the same server. However, you will be allocated a pre-defined amount of server resources, which reduces the impacts that the other sites will have on yours.
Dedicated servers are exactly what their name suggests—an entire server dedicated to you and your business.
Finally, cloud hosting is highly scalable, offering flexible solutions for businesses of all sizes. With it, you can purchase the exact amount of storage, bandwidth, RAM, and other resources you need. As your business grows, simply add more resources to your plan to ensure optimal performance is maintained.
How do I choose a web hosting provider?
Without industry experience, choosing the right web hosting provider can seem like an impossible task. Along with the popular options we’ve covered in this guide, there are countless other providers, and many of them are attractive in their own right.
On top of this, most providers offer various hosting options, including shared, VPS, dedicated server, and WordPress hosting. So how do you go about selecting the right host for your needs?
Well, to start with, you need to identify your budget. There’s no point looking for a high-end hosting option if your budget is only a few dollars per month, because you simply won’t find one.
On the same note, pay careful attention to price structures. Some providers advertise very low introductory prices, but you will often have to pay for two or three years in advance to access these. And, you will often be faced with significantly higher prices when it comes time to renew your contract.
Next, pay careful attention to the features and security integrations that are included. In some cases, you will find a website builder that will make it extremely easy to create your site, with many of these also ranking highly in our guide to the best website builders.
Other features like automatic backups and proactive malware scanning are worth looking out for, and a free domain name is always a bonus. Finally, think about how much storage and bandwidth you need. Some providers come with quite limited server resources, which can be constraining for those who want to build a large site with a lot of content.
Should I use free web hosting?
Although there are a few decent options out there, no free hosting service even comes close to the cheapest paid service in terms of features. Usually, you will be faced with major storage and resource limitations, non-existent security integrations, and customer support that is basic at best.
However, if you're focused on looking for free hosting, view our guide to the best free web hosting services to find out more about the services we recommend.
How to choose the best web hosting for you
The best web hosting for your requirements will depend greatly on your needs as a business: from the amount of traffic you expect, to the degree of after-sales support you need. There’s a range of hosting plans to choose from, starting with shared hosting services—where you only rent a part of a server housing thousands of other websites—all the way to dedicated servers that are exclusive to your business only.
A personal or small business website could probably do with a shared hosting service, but larger organizations and serious professionals would want to opt for VPS or dedicated hosting for more resources and better support.
Finally, you’d also have to consider your own technical know-how. Website managers with advanced technical knowledge can probably opt for unmanaged hosting and take care of the day-to-day maintenance by themselves, whereas novice users would probably want to go with managed hosting for a content management system like WordPress—you can read our guide to the best WordPress hosting services to find out more about this area of hosting.