Web hosting is a complicated topic, and we’ve spent countless hours browsing the internet to bring you the best hosting options in 2020. We’ve spent an ungodly amount of time reviewing and testing over 100 different hosting providers to compile the following list, so you can rest assured that the ten options below are truly the best in the business.
At first, choosing the right hosting option can seem difficult and confusing. There are so many technical terms to deal with, and it’s really not a matter of just choosing the cheapest or most attractive option. There’s much more to it than that.
For example, what sort of hosting do you need? Shared? VPS? Dedicated? Cloud? Perhaps you’ll want a website builder included. Or maybe you should use a simple landing page creator instead of building an entire website. And do you need an email account?
Anyone with a little experience in the hosting world will be quick to tell you that the answers to the above questions (and many others) depend on your particular circumstances. To help you out, we’ve put together the following buying guide, which includes powerful options for various types of hosting.
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What's the best web hosting service?
If you’re in a hurry, you might not want to read this entire guide. In that case, we’ll come out and say that the overall best web hosting provider in 2020 is Bluehost.
Now, Bluehost is an extremely popular hosting company offering a great suite of beginner-friendly features. It’s very competitively priced and is a WordPress.org recommended host.
Another popular all-round option is HostGator, which is even more affordable for those on a tight budget. It offers a range of hosting services targeted at small to medium businesses and personal users, and even its most basic plans include a great range of features.
The best web hosting services 2020
Number one on our list of the best web hosting services for your website in 2020 is industry leader Bluehost. Based in Utah, it’s owned by Endurance International Group (EIG), one of the major players in the web hosting world. Prices start at just $3.95 per month for a three-year basic shared hosting plan, and managed WordPress hosting is available from $20 per month. Note, though, that prices do increase after the initial subscription period.
Bluehost excels when it comes to value for money. Even the most basic plan includes automatic WordPress installation and setup, a comprehensive cPanel control panel for advanced users, and access to a wide range of other apps through a Mojo Marketplace system. New users will also benefit from a free SSL certificate, a free domain name for the first year, and 24/7 expert support.
Another standout feature of Bluehost’s cheap shared hosting is its integrated website builder. All users will have access to a basic Weebly website builder that enables the creation of simple websites with up to six pages. Unfortunately, though, many features are limited or disabled, and you won’t have access to templates or pre-designed themes. In saying that, it’s still a great tool if you just want to get a simple website online quickly.
And finally, Bluehost offers excellent customer support. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available, which means you can get a refund if you’re not happy. Overall, Bluehost won number one position on this list because of its competitive prices, user-friendly interface, and the ability to customize advanced features where required.
Read our full Bluehost review.
If you’re looking for an affordable, feature-rich budget hosting provider, HostGator has you covered. The Hatchling plan starts from just $2.75 per month and includes unlimited bandwidth, storage, subdomains, email accounts, MYSQL databases, and FTP. It’s also backed by a full 99.9% uptime guarantee, which means you can rest assured that your site will stay online consistently and without interruption.
On top of this, all HostGator plans come with the popular cPanel control panel and responsive 24/7 customer support. And, all new customers will benefit from $200 of Bing and Google Ads credit.
HostGator also offers a selection of other products, including a comprehensive domain registration portal. Cloud, VPS, and dedicated hosting are also available for those who need a more powerful option.
Another thing that makes HostGator stand out is its impressive 45-day money-back guarantee—most competitors only offer 30 days. All new clients will have access to free site transfers for the first month, and there are numerous other exciting features to discover.
Note that you will have to sign up for three years to access the $2.75 per month advertised price, although shorter subscriptions remain affordable. Overall, there’s a lot to like about HostGator, and it’s certainly one to consider if you’re looking for a reliable web host that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg.
Read our full Hostgator review.
InMotion Hosting has been in business for more than 15 years, and it has developed a strong reputation for its professional service and feature-rich hosting. It offers a wide range of hosting options, with prices starting from a few dollars a month for basic shared hosting.
It’s also good to see how many extras InMotion Hosting includes with its plans—extras that you would have to pay for with many other hosts. These include things like automatic backups, distributed denial of service (DDoS) and malware protection, and a selection of anti-spam email features.
On top of this, InMotion uses a cPanel control panel, which means you can access advanced customization and configuration modules if required. It also comes with the Softaculous one-click installer, which enables you to install a wide range of apps and other programs at the click of a button.
If you run into any problems setting up or managing your website, you will be able to take advantage of the company’s comprehensive customer support services. What’s more, we found InMotion’s performance to be well above average, which makes it a great choice for those aiming for fast, responsive websites.
With prices starting from $3.99 for WordPress hosting and $4.99 for shared hosting, there’s a lot to like with InMotion. And, you will even be covered by a huge 90-day money-back guarantee in the unlikely case that you’re not happy with the hosting you buy.
Read our full InMotion review.
Lithuania-based Hostinger has over 30 million users, making it one of the most popular web hosting companies on the planet. Through its 000webhosting brand, it also provides some of the best free hosting on the planet.
On top of this, it offers some of the lowest prices around, with shared hosting starting from just $0.99 per month. Instead of using generic technology like the cPanel control panel, Hostinger tends to use its own in-house programs to ensure optimal performance andprovide the great features it’s known for.
At the moment, Hostinger’s cheapest deal costs just $0.99 per month. But, you will have to commit to a four-year subscription, and you won’t get an included domain or very much bandwidth. It’s a good option for those who want to get started with a new website or online venture, but make sure you’re aware of its limitations.
With that in mind, our favorite Hostinger hosting is the Business Shared Hosting plan. For a low price of just $3.99 per month (for a four-year plan), you will get unlimited bandwidth, email accounts, GIT integrations, SSH, and MYSQL databases. You will also benefit from free daily backups, CloudFlare DDoS protection, and 100GB of SSD storage. And, it even provides 4X memory and processing power compared to the cheaper shared plans, which means your website will be able to handle much higher traffic levels.
There are countless other features that we could start talking about here, but we’ll leave it up to you to look through them. But, understand that you won’t find better value for money anywhere else on the web. If you’re looking for a reliable budget hosting provider, Hostinger has you covered.
Read our full Hostinger review.
GoDaddy is a US-based web hosting company offering a wide range of services. Its hosting services are widely used across the world, and it’s also the most popular domain registrar globally. Currently, the cheapest Economy shared hosting plan starts from $5.99 per month, which is more expensive than most competitors. However, it does come with an impressive range of features, making it a viable choice despite its relatively high prices.
For example, GoDaddy hosting includes free website backups and restoration (if required), a 99.9% uptime guarantee, unlimited storage with most plans, and unlimited bandwidth. New users will also benefit from a free domain with 12-month or longer subscriptions and a free Microsoft Office 365 Business Email account for the first year.
One standout feature of GoDaddy’s web hosting is the flexibility it offers. For example, if your website is suffering and performing poorly due to an unexpected traffic spike, you can increase your hosting capacity from the comfort of your control panel.
Overall, GoDaddy is an option that’s certainly worth considering if your budget allows for its slightly higher-than-average prices.
Read our full GoDaddy review.
Tsohost is a UK-based hosting provider offering a wide range of services, including cloud hosting, reseller hosting, WordPress hosting, and a selection of VPS and dedicated servers. Prices start from just £3.99 (~$5.00) per month for an Economy cloud hosting plan, which includes an impressive 100GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, 100 premium mailboxes, a free domain, and a free website migration.
Additionally, there is a range of configuration options for more advanced users. For example, you can choose between a cPanel control panel and Tsohost’s own native web management console which, by the way, we found quite attractive and easy to use.
One thing that does let Tsohost down is its relatively slow support. Responses can take some time, but at least the team provides clear, accurate answers to any questions. On top of this, new users will benefit from a 60-day money-back guarantee, which is up there with the best in the game.
Visit the Tsohost site.
Wix is the world’s most popular website builder. It offers a great selection of plans suited to various uses, and it’s an extremely versatile platform that allows you to tailor your site to match your exact needs. The user-friendly drag-and-drop editing interface enables extreme customization of your site, and you can position different elements exactly where you want with the click of a button.
And really, Wix excels everywhere. For example, the template library includes over 500 pre-designed themes that are ready to go. If anything, the sheer number of choices Wix offers can be overwhelming at times.
Meanwhile, users will benefit from the integrated image editor, which includes a great range of filters for quick photo editing. There are also some great eCommerce tools, and Wix doesn’t even charge transaction fees on your sales like many of its competitors do.
One of the best things about Wix is that it has a free forever plan, which lets you test the platform before committing to a purchase. It does come with limited resources and platform advertising, but it’s fine for getting started. If you do decide to keep using it, the prices start from $13 per month for a Combo subscription.
Read our full Wix review.
In general, reseller hosting plans are very limited, focusing on basic shared hosting with very few advanced features. Although this does help keep prices low, the fact that they are so limited can make it quite hard to market and sell them on.
Fortunately, SiteGround offers much more powerful reseller hosting. For starters, it includes 40GB of storage and an integrated cPanel control panel. It also comes with unlimited email addresses, FTP accounts, bandwidth, and databases. On top of this, you will have access to advanced features like free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, an integrated Cloudflare CDN, automatic daily backups, and powerful email spam filtering.
Now, SiteGround is more expensive than many of its reselling competitors, but you get what you pay for. With prices starting from $14.99 per month, there is still great value for money here.
Additionally, SiteGround’s reseller hosting supports unlimited websites. You will also have access to a central management hub and the ability to add your own branding where required. Overall, it’s a great choice for those looking for high-quality, reliable reseller hosting.
Visit the SiteGround site.
Those looking for a powerful dedicated server will benefit from the impressive range offered by Hostwinds. It includes everything from heavy-duty servers for enterprise-level clients to lower-end gaming servers.
For starters, you will need to choose from one of a number of base options. These can then be customized by adding more RAM, storage, and processing power as required. At the minimum, you will get a quad-core processor with 8GB of RAM, which will be more than enough for most users.
But, if this isn’t enough, higher-end servers come with up to 82GB of RAM and multiple processors with up to 16 cores. As you can imagine, a server with these specs has the power to handle almost anything you could throw at it.
One thing you do need to be aware of is Hostwinds’ unclear pricing. For example, initial advertised prices don’t take into account the RAM and number of IP addresses you need. When you click through to begin customizing your server, the true price will be shown, reflecting the default RAM and IP address options.
There are numerous other things available to customize. For example, you will be able to choose from various RAID configurations and operating systems, including Fedora, CentOS, Ubuntu, and Debian. There is also a Windows Server option if that’s better suited to your needs.
On top of this, you will have access to a 1Gbps network link, ensuring your site will run smoothly regardless of the amount of bandwidth you choose. And, fully managed server plans are also an option, streamlining things for those with limited tech experience. In general, these include sys admin duties, full server monitoring, and daily backups.
The only flaw we can find is that there’s no integrated cPanel, Plesk, Exim, or other control panel included. It’s relatively straightforward to set one up yourself, however, and the Hostwinds team will be able to advise you on the best options for your situation.
Visit the Hostwinds site.
Alongside Wix, Weebly is right up there with the most popular website builders in the world. It offers a very powerful free plan, although storage is limited to just 500MB. The free plan also comes with built-in Weebly advertising, and you will need to upgrade to a paid plan to get rid of this.
Weebly’s cheapest Personal plan costs just $6 per month. It removes all ads and storage limits, and it comes with a free domain. On top of this, it opens up increasingly advanced eCommerce features, with support for a basic online store. Note, though, that you will have to upgrade to a Performance plan ($26 per month) if you want to access full eCommerce capabilities.
Fortunately, the higher-end plans include a huge range of more advanced features. For example, you will be able to create a store with customer reviews, gift cards, and coupons. Abandoned carts and email campaigns are also supported with the Performance plan, and Weebly even comes with a powerful inventory management system.
One of the best things about Weebly is its huge range of professionally designed templates. Every design is modern and responsive, with a feel that’s up there with the best we’ve seen.
Unfortunately, Weebly’s editor isn’t quite as nice as we would like. It’s not nearly as flexible as the Wix editor, and for some bizarre reason, there’s no undo button. Despite this, Weebly remains one of the best website builders we’ve used, and it’s definitely worth considering.
Read our full Weebly review.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a term used to refer to the storage, management, and ongoing running of a website and its files. However, it’s important to note that there are hundreds of different hosting options available, which means that it can be quite difficult to select a scalable, affordable, reliable provider.
For starters, understand that there’s no such thing as the “best” web host for everyone. Different people have different hosting needs, which means that different hosting options will suit them better.
Accordingly, hosting providers tend to come with an extensive range of features, but these won’t always be important or valuable to you. Popular features include a website builder, control panel, email integrations, eCommerce tools, and varying customer support streams.
In general, you should be aiming for the most affordable, best suited hosting option you can find. There’s no need to spend a fortune on advanced hosting, and basic shared hosting is often more than enough. If you do need something more advanced, think about signing up for virtual private server (VPS) hosting.
Web hosting: our must-know tips before you get started
We’ve drawn on our years of industry experience to put together the following list of five things you have to keep in mind when you’re selecting a new web hosting provider.
1. Cheaper isn’t always better
Although there are plenty of cheap web hosting deals out there, it’s important to realize that going for the lowest prices isn’t always a good idea. If you just want to build a simple personal website for fun, then by all means, go for something cheap. However, quality hosting is essential for businesses, which means that the cheapest deal won’t always be the best for your needs.
2. Watch out for dishonest pricing
If web hosting providers are known for one thing, it’s that their advertised prices are usually much lower than their actual prices. In most cases, you will have to pay significantly more after your initial subscription period than initial prices may have suggested.
3. Make sure you use a trustworthy provider
A lot of people don’t realize that anyone can resell someone else’s hosting products. Because of this, it’s important to ensure you do some research before committing to purchasing hosting off someone. Make sure you go for a reliable company that has been around for a while. Look at Google reviews and ensure they have a high-quality, up-to-date website.
4. Understand your limits
Before you get started, ensure that you’re comfortable with every aspect of website building and the sometimes complicated actions it can involve. For example, do you have the tech skills to build and manage your own site? Or should you be employing someone to do it for you? Think about any legal obligations you may have as well.
5. Think about using a website builder
Traditionally, you had to purchase web hosting and a domain, and then build your own website from scratch. However, the rise of website builders like Wix and Weebly means that this isn’t a must anymore. The main thing to be aware of here is that most website builders won’t let you transfer your site away from their platform.
Keep reading to find out more about web hosting, choosing the right platform, and everything else you need to know.
Shared, VPS and dedicated web hosting... which do I need?
The simplest type of web hosting is shared hosting, which involves numerous websites hosted on one server. This is the cheapest option, but the main problem is that you will usually be competing for server resources (bandwidth, storage, etc.) with all the other sites on the same server.
Virtual private servers (VPS) and cloud servers are a step up from shared hosting. Generally, they are very easy to scale and add more resources to and aren’t limited to the constraints of shared hosting. Instead, they draw from a pool of storage, memory, and processing power as required.
Finally, dedicated servers are the most advanced hosting option. With a dedicated server, you, and only you, will have access to the entire server and its resources. Note, though, that these are usually a lot more expensive than other types of hosting, and you will generally have to perform server maintenance yourself.
Most web hosting companies offer some form of shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting solutions. In some cases, specialized WordPress and other forms of hosting are also on offer. And then there are website builders, which come with their own built-in hosting.
Web hosting: paid or free?
Free stuff is great, and free web hosting is extremely popular. However, we wouldn’t recommend using a free host unless you’re just going to use it for learning purposes or to run a simple personal site.
There are plenty of benefits associated with free web hosting—and we’ve outlined them in our best free web hosting guide—but there are just too many risks to make them a viable option for business users.
Now, understand that web hosting costs money to run. This means that any platform offering free hosting is either losing money or has another source of income, such as built-in advertising on the sites it hosts. In general, free hosts use some sort of freemium model that encourages you to upgrade to a paid service at some point.
If you do decide to use free web hosting, you will usually have severe bandwidth and storage restrictions. Free SSL certificates aren’t included (although you will usually be able to connect a third-party one), and you won’t be able to access automatic backups or any other premium features. In some cases, free hosts will even shut your site down for one hour per day.
Rather than using a free web hosting option, we’d highly recommend having a look at our best cheap web hosting guide. We regularly update this, so you can be confident that it contains accurate, up-to-date information—as well as a few deals that you just can’t miss!
How to choose the best web hosting service
Although it may seem quite complicated to choose the right web host for your business, it’s really not. In short, there are three main options: shared hosting, a VPS or cloud server, or a dedicated server.
If your business is small or you don’t anticipate having a large online presence, a shared hosting plan should be more than powerful enough. The costs are usually very low with these, but bear in mind that you will be sharing your server with numerous other websites and that this can impact your own site’s performance. Remember, you can always upgrade to a VPS server if you need something a little more powerful.
Dedicated servers also offer significantly more power than shared hosting, as they are reserved for you, and you alone. Dedicated server hosting isn’t nearly as pricey as it was in the past, which means that it’s a viable option for anyone concerned with the long-term performance of their site. In short, if you’re planning to build a large website with a lot of traffic, a dedicated server is probably your best option.
In saying that, remember to always pay attention to the service level agreement (SLA) that comes with your dedicated server. In many cases, there will be hidden costs associated with maintenance and various other services which may not be included in the initial price.
Meanwhile, cloud hosting has become increasingly popular over recent years. As the cloud has become more widely used across the digital and business worlds, numerous companies have started offering different types of cloud hosting. The most important thing to note here is that cloud hosting allows you to purchase the resources that you need now. If you need to expand in the future, it’s as simple as adding extra bandwidth, storage, or RAM to your plan.
Ultimately, make sure you purchase a hosting plan with the future in mind. Don’t buy a server that’s only just big enough, or you won’t have any room to grow. Instead, ensure you purchase something that eclipses your needs, ensuring you won’t have any problems going forward. Consider the options we’ve outlined above, do your research, and seek professional advice if you’re unsure about the best choice.