A Review of Today’s Web Hosting Options

With the endless options of web hosts and the countless plans they offer, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. Where do you even start? Let’s start with the basics.

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is a service that allows you to publish a website onto the Internet. With this service, you can store your website on a server which makes it publically available via the internet. When you use a web host, your website is hosted on an actual computer sitting in an actual building somewhere.

Define Your Website

What kind of website do you want to set up? A blog? An online store? The type of website you choose determines what kind of software you’ll need. You’ll need a hosting plan that supports everything you need. That brings us to some important factors to consider when choosing a web host.

Types of Hosting

Shared:
  • This is the most common, least expensive, and least powerful option. Several web hosting customers share the same computer. All websites are stored in the same drive, processed by the same CPU, and delivered by the same web server.
Dedicated:
  • You’ll have direct and complete control over an entire server. This allows you to install any kind of software, make changes to the OS, and tweak configuration settings. It’s a more expensive option but increases your speed and performance.
VPS:
  • VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. It’s in between Shared and Dedicated hosting, meaning you have your own dedicated server, but it’s on a virtual machine. With this option, there are generally fewer security issues.
Cloud:
  • Scalable cloud-based VPS hosting means that a large number of computers are clustered together and any applications running on them can make use of their combined computing resources. With this option, you usually only pay for what you use.
Managed:
  • If you’re lacking the technical skills but need the bandwidth and power of a VPS or Dedicated server, get a Managed plan. The hosting company provides a level of technical support, while you have the flexibility to do what you want or need to do.

Important Factors to Consider

The most important things to look for when considering a web hosting service include speed, bandwidth, and storage options.

Speed

It’s crucial that your website loads as fast as possible. You don’t want your page to load slowly because that will lead to visitor drop-off. In order to determine which host will be fastest, you can look out for:

  • Details of server setups and hardware stats
  • Solid State Drives (SSD), which are faster than traditional disk drives
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN), which offloads images and other resources to faster servers
Bandwidth

Bandwidth measures the amount of data that can be sent over a specific connection in a given amount of time. It’s important to determine how much bandwidth you’ll need in a plan. If you don’t expect to exceed a few hundred visitors each day, you’ll need less bandwidth. On the other hand, if you expect thousands or hundreds of thousands of visitors, you’ll need more bandwidth. If you’re unsure, you can get a plan where your hosting costs vary depending on traffic.

Storage

If your site is going to host a lot of high resolutions images or music files, you’ll need more storage than if you were to host a simple blog.


When you’re purchasing hosting for your website, you get more than just a fast and reliable place to put your website. You’re also spending that money on servers, data centers, software, internet connection, support, and more.

Servers and Server Admin

One of the biggest expenses of web hosting is the servers themselves. Hosting services usually consist of all maintenance related to the server itself including backups, root configurations, disaster recoveries, security, and uptime.

Data Centers

The servers have to sit somewhere which means there is a physical location where they’re located. These buildings have to be cooled, maintained, and guarded. They also have to be located somewhere that has access to high speed and high bandwidth internet access.

Domain Hosting

Most hosting companies require that you own your own domain in order to hose with them. However, if you do not have your own domain, the hosting company can help purchase one.

CMS/Wordpress

Having a Content Management System (CMS) as part of your web hosting resources is crucial if you plan on running a blog or an online store. Some hosts are better equipped than others when it comes to using a CMS.

Most hosting companies are optimized for installing and running WordPress. WordPress is easy for beginners and widely supported, as well as being open-source and flexible.

Site Builder

A CMS can seem overwhelming to some users, which is where a site builder comes in handy. Site builders generally use a drag-and-drop interface, which is more intuitive than most CMSs. Web hosts like Squarespace use site builders for all of their pre-built website templates.

Security and Privacy

Your web host should take the security of its server and infrastructure seriously, which means your website should be more secure. Security will come in these forms:

  • Firewall on the server
  • Security monitoring across all servers
  • Customer security upgrades for DDoS, malware, and spam

SSL certificates are important if you’re running a site that will receive sensitive user information, such as an e-commerce site. You can’t get an SSL unless you have a dedicated IP address and the only real reason to get a dedicated IP address is to support your SSL certificate. Google considers an SSL certificate to be a best practice for all sites and their algorithm favors it.

Some may argue that domain name privacy isn’t worth the money you spend on it, but an argument can be made for it. If you don’t have a business address or phone number separate from your personal info, you likely don’t want your home address or phone number made public in connection to your website

Support

At some point in the lifetime of your website, you’ll likely need some amount of customer support from your hosting service. If you would like more coverage than just a FAQ section, look for hosting services that offer live support via phone, email, or a helpdesk.

E-Commerce

If you’re planning on having an online store, it’s important to choose a web host that offer e-commerce features, like cart technology and inventory management.

Web Host Providers

Now that you know what to look for, the process of choosing a web host should make more sense.

GoDaddy – the Best for Add-Ons

GoDaddy is easily one of the most well-known hosting providers you can find. Their performance, control panel, unlimited bandwidth, and money back guarantee are all winning factors.

  • Plans include:
    • Solutions for Windows and Linux users, assigning a unique DNS that allows users to find you online
    • Handling of all technical aspects of your site, including software updates, setups and security patches
    • Multisite management console
    • SSD storage
    • Protection from DDoS attacks
    • Free domain name registration
    • 9% uptime guarantee
    • Email, chat and phone support

Bluehost – the Best Overall

Bluehost is an all-encompassing platform tailor-made for WordPress. They’re one of the easiest hosts to set a website up on.

  • Plans include:
    • 99% uptime
    • Free SSD
    • Free SSL
    • CDN
    • Free domain name
    • 1-click WordPress install
    • FTP
    • 24/7 support
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Offered Server Types: Shared hosting

HostGator – the BEST Affordable Option

Being one of the fastest hosts out there, HostGator host over 9 million domain names. They make the website building process easy and has the ability to add unlimited domains.

  • Plans include:
    • Unlimited pages, storage, email and bandwidth
    • Free email address
    • Free site migration
    • Free SSL
    • Faster than average speed
    • Drag and drop functionality
    • 24/7 live chat, email, and phone support
  • Offered Server Types: Shared hosting, WordPress hosting, cloud hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated server

Siteground – the Best Client Satisfaction

SiteGround prides themselves on amazing customer support and strong performance. Their platform is built on a Linux container that is stable even with sudden increases in traffic.

  • Plans include:
    • 98% client satisfaction rate in 2018
    • 99% uptime in 2018
    • Extremely responsive 24/7 customer support
    • Built on Linux containers that are very stable
    • Strong page load times (under 750ms)
    • High-performance WordPress
    • Free site migration
  • Offered Server Types: Shared hosting, WordPress hosting, reseller server, cloud hosting

Inmotion – the Cheapest WordPress Option

With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and a 15-year CNET-certification, InMotion is a hosting platform you can trust. They’re best known for their managed security, managed updates, and speed optimization. It’s a great option if you’re looking for WordPress site speed without the high price tag.

  • Plans include:
    • Free backups
    • SSH access
    • WordPress support with integrated WP-CLI
    • All-SSD infrastructure
    • 24/7 phone support, in addition to ticket/email/chat support
    • Basic site migration
    • Free SSL
    • Free malware detection
    • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • Offered Server Types: Shared hosting, WordPress hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated servers

Dreamhost – the Best Uptime Guarantee

DreamHost manages over 1.5 million sites worldwide. They offer a 100% uptime guarantee and an impressive 97-day money-back guarantee. All sites come pre-installed with a free SSL certificate and WordPress firewall.

  • Plans include:
    • A free shared website to nonprofits
    • Operates its own control panel
    • Phone support is not 24/7
    • All-SSD infrastructure
    • Free SSL certificate
    • WordPress firewall
    • SSH access
    • Transparent pricing
    • Carbon neutral
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • 97-day money-back guarantee
  • Offered Server Types: Shared hosting, WordPress hosting, cloud hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated servers

A2 Hosting – the Fastest Option

Known as one of the fastest web hosts, A2 Hosting’s performance is second-to-none. They use turbo servers which gives users an optional 20x page load time.

  • Plans include:
    • Linux and Windows-based servers
    • SSD
    • SSL
    • Caching
    • CDN
    • One-click install
    • Malware scanning
    • Automatic patching and updates
    • Free site migration
    • 24/7/365 support team that manages network, hardware, software, and security
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Some plans offer:
    • Uptime monitoring
    • Regular backups
  • Offered Server Types: Shared hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, reseller hosting, dedicated servers

GreenGeeks – the Greenest Option

If the amount of power that large data centers consume is something that concerns you, give this eco-friendly option a try. It purchases three times the energy it actually uses in wind energy credits. It does this through a form of renewable energy certificates

  • Plans include:
    • All-SSD infrastructure
    • 95% uptime
    • Environmentally friendly
    • 24/7 phone support
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
    • Free site migration
    • Malware detection
  • Offered Server Types: Shared hosting, WordPress hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated server

While selecting a web host provider sounds like a project, it doesn’t have to be with these guidelines. Define your wants and needs in a provider and go from there.


 

Let us know what you think:

  • What web host would you choose for your website?
  • What is the most important factor in choosing your website?
  • Are there any hosts you’d recommend that aren’t currently on this list?

 

 


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