Your business needs a website. The first step towards creating one is to choose from among the best web hosting services to decide which one is right for you. The problem, however, is that every business is different. And the sheer number of hosting options available can make it difficult to zero in on the right one.
A web hosting service is a company that rents you a part of the resources on its servers to host your own website. The servers are essentially powerful computers that are connected to the internet and located in an offshore data centre.
But how do you choose the best web hosting provider for your business? That depends on the kind of hosting you need, the nature of your business, the amount of scalability you require, and the type of support you must have. To help you along, we have prepared this buying guide, complete with a list of web hosting services that should be in your radar right now.
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The top three website hosting providers right now
1. HostGator: Outstanding value for money
HostGator's shared web hosting plans start at $2.75/month for unlimited bandwidth and storage. Even at the lowest price, you get support for MySQL, cPanel, WordPress, and e-commerce. There's lots more too. The best web hosting around right now.
2. Bluehost: Great features with an inexpensive shared hosting option
Shared hosting with Bluehost starts at just $3.95/month (for a 24-month plan) with 50 GB of storage and unmetered bandwidth. Sites are hosted on high-performance servers, so load speed is never an issue.
3. 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.
What are the best web hosting services?
The best web hosting service is fast and secure. It offers ample scalability to allow your website to grow as your business expands. It also comes with decent support to help you navigate difficult situations as they arise. Good web hosting providers come with plenty of additional bells and whistles attached too.
The two most important parameters when choosing a good web hosting provider are storage and bandwidth. Storage refers to the amount of space that your website needs to exist, whereas bandwidth defines the total resources used based on file size and traffic. A good hosting service offers ample bandwidth and storage for the price paid, while also leaving room for expanding those resources as your website grows.
Right now, Bluehost, owned by Endurance International Group (EIG), is the best web hosting provider in terms of features, reliability, support, and pricing. Its shared hosting plans start at just $2.75/month. On the other hand, Managed WordPress Hosting with Bluehost starts at $20/month. The company offers excellent scalability and plenty of added features regardless of the plan you choose, but with WordPress Hosting, the automatic installation and ongoing support are totally worth the price.
The competition is a close one, however. Hostgator and Hostinger easily take up the second and third places. They are then followed by other hosting providers like InMotion, DreamHost, SiteGround, and GoDaddy. If you are looking for a web hosting service that also doubles as a website builder, Wix and Weebly are two 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 $2.75 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. It’s strongest selling points are speed and uptime, which are primary for any growing website.
Read our full Bluehost review.
Also initially priced at just $2.75/month, Hostgator comes with unlimited storage and bandwidth on all its plans. The plans also come with premium customer support. Moreover, e-commerce 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.
Like Bluehost, Hostgator’s top-tier plans also suffer from a lack of configurability. However, a stellar support team is there to help you troubleshoot any technical issues, irrespective of the plan you choose.
Read our full Hostgator review.
Headquartered in Lithuania, Hostinger has offices all over the world and is home to more than 30 million customers. It’s basic plan costs $0.99/month for the first year and offers 10GB 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 $2.98/month to $26/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.
InMotion Hosting offers shared hosting plans starting from $5.99/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 $29.99/month and $139/month respectively. Managed WordPress Hosting starts at $6.99/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/month, with unmetered bandwidth for one website. The plan comes with 50GB of SSD storage. A better offering is perhaps the Shared Unlimited plan for $3.95/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. 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.
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/month, the starter plan quickly skyrockets after the first year to $14.99/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 virtual private servers and dedicated hosting options is a bummer for enterprise clients, though.
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 $4.33/month, you get 100GB of storage and unmetered bandwidth, as well as a free domain name and Microsoft 365 email.
The biggest complaint from users when it comes to GoDaddy is about the after-sales support, but that has improved greatly in the last few years. Live chat still isn’t 24/7, but phone support is available at all times.
Read our full GoDaddy review.
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 $1.44 a month, Namecheap gives you 20GB of space, 30 email accounts, 1 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 $1.44/month introductory pricing spikes up to $2.88/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.
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 support, which isn’t 24/7. Enterprise users may also be disappointed to hear that this eco-friendly hosting service does not offer powerful virtual or dedicated hosting for bigger organizations.
For $3.29/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 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. There’s no option for managed hosting. However, VPS and dedicated hosting services are available for those who want more resources. You can also choose between Linux and Windows hosting.
Hostwinds’ website does a poor job of showcasing its great hosting services, with broken links and confusing pricing. However, its hosting solutions do a fine job of serving existing customers.
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/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.
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 Connect plan costs $5.00/month whereas the Pro and Business plans cost $12 and $26, respectively. All of these plans include e-commerce capability, including the free plan. Whereas the base plan only allows you 500MB of storage space and displays ads from Weebly, Pro, and Business 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 e-commerce store, and the unlimited hosting plan takes care of your growing website needs.
How to choose the best web hosting service for you?
The best web hosting service for you will depend greatly on your requirements 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 virtual private servers 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.