Finding the best web hosting service can take a lot of time and research. Lucky for you, we’ve done all the hard work on the different web hosting companies and are happy to share our findings.
Each of these providers is well-suited to a specific type of website; find which best suits your needs below.
The Best Web Hosting Service Providers, Reviewed
- Best Hosting for WordPress – SiteGround
- Best for Beginners – Bluehost
- Cheapest Web Hosting – Namecheap
- Best for 100% Uptime – Dreamhost
- Best for Non-Traditional Sites – Hostgator
- Best for Developers & Scaling – Digital Ocean
1. SiteGround – Best Hosting for WordPress (Fastest)
- Dedicated plans can get pricey
- Free domain name not included
Siteground has all the basics; a 99.9% uptime guarantee, 30-day money-back guarantee, WordPress hosting servers, and a free SSL certificate.
You can get a great deal on your first year by paying upfront, and you can take advantage of their managed one-click WordPress install options or use a different CMS. SiteGround is recommended by woo commerce, the most popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress sites, and you get as many email accounts as you need. Three of the best SiteGround features:
Free Content Delivery Network
One of the biggest threats to the success of a website is load times, and a CDN is a network of devices located in different geographic areas to provide the fastest load time possible no matter where the website visitor happens to be.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Unless you have a web team already working for you, having your web host manage your site is a huge benefit. They keep your site updated, protected, and, most importantly, up.
Developer Toolkit for Advanced Users
Even if you’re a novice now, if you’re serious about your website, you won’t be a novice for long. And one of the frustrations with many hosting plans is the limits they place on you. SiteGround provides access to SSH, PHP version control, GIT integration, and more, giving you a lot of room for advanced development.
SiteGround’s reviews on TrustPilot are, frankly, incredible. They boast a 4.7 rating with over 7,500 reviews. Their customers love how responsive the company is, and most of the reviews are about the quality of the customer service.
2. Bluehost – Best Hosting For Beginners
- May eventually outgrow
- Best pricing requires a 36-month term
Bluehost belongs in a list of the best web hosting services. They offer shared hosting, WordPress hosting, a free SSL certificate, managed WordPress hosting, amazing customer service with 24/7 support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The best thing about Bluehost is that they have a plan for every size of website and business. If you want web hosting on dedicated servers, they’ve got it. If you want shared hosting at a low rate per month, they’ve got it and everything in between. Three of the best features offered by Bluehost include:
Seamless Integration with WordPress
They offer managed WordPress and DIY. You can use their WordPress on a shared hosting plan or a VPS hosting plan, but not on a dedicated plan. If you want to host your site on one of their dedicated servers, you’ll be responsible for all management and administration of the site.
Great Customer Service
They have 24/7 customer support via chat that is highly responsive and helpful. They can assist with technical support questions, features, and even navigate the interface.
Variety of Hosting Plans
Bluehost offers your standard shared hosting plans, managed hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting, and even hosting on a dedicated server.
Bluehost reviews on Trustpilot and the BBB website are not favorable. That said, on Facebook, they have five stars with 31 reviews.
3. Namecheap – Cheapest Web Hosting Provider
- Plans start at $3 per month
- Cheap domain registration
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Slower than most hosting providers
- Free SSL expires after 1 year
- Difficult to set up
At $3 per month to host a single website, namecheap is the most inexpensive web hosting provider that is still decent.
There are a few downsides however, you’ll miss out on some freebies that the #1 site siteground had like free SSL for life and a free domain name.
If you are learning web development and need a place to host your test site, then namecheap is definitely your best choice. However if you need something for your business or will have more than 100 visitors a day it can be slow and have downtime throughout the day.
4. Dreamhost – Best Web Host for 100% Uptime
- 100% uptime guarantee
- Utilize open-source solutions
- Great security features
- Free WHOIS privacy protection
- Free domain not included
- No middle ground between plans
Dreamhost checks all the important boxes then goes the extra mile in terms of security, privacy, and customer control. They are the least likely of all these services to try to charge you extra for more software or functionality.
A domain name will cost you extra, though, as not even the more robust plans with a dedicated server come with a free domain. The plans available also jump from entry-level plans with WordPress straight to a DIY, bring-your-own-code environment with nothing in between. Our three favorite Dreamhost features:
100% Uptime with Redundancies in Place
Most web hosts guarantee a 99.9% uptime, and sure, a 0.1% difference in most cases is probably not going to be a big deal. That said, 0.1% downtime can combine with other issues that your site may experience and become a much bigger problem.
Free WHOIS Privacy Stops Spam and Solicitations
Anyone who has registered a domain without this protection in place can speak to the value of having web hosting companies provide WHOIS privacy for no extra charge. Other web hosts can charge per month for this.
Custom Control Panel Makes Managing Easy
Every service on this list has its own control panel or dashboard for customers to manage hosting plans. But Dreamhost has gone above and beyond with theirs, offering a number of great features with just one click.
What Their Customers Say
Dreamhost is another web host with fantastic reviews. This web hosting service has a 4.7 rating on Trustpilot, and while their score on the BBB website is only 1 out of 5 stars, that’s out of only six customer reviews, while they have over a thousand on Trustpilot.
5. HostGator – Best for Non-Traditional Sites (Adult Hosting)
- One of the few hosting providers that allows adult and gambling content
- Responsive support
- One-click installs of 6 different CMS options
- Included SEO tools (on Business plan)
- Very affordable introductory rates
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Cost per month triples after introductory rate
- Frequent issues
Hostgator may not have the best scores of all the web hosting services here, but they have the best responses and seem more invested in resolving customer concerns than most. Their shared plans offer great compatibility with WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, phpBB, and Wiki, so no matter what kind of site you’re building, you can get a head start.
Their introductory rates are very appealing, but they triple after the initial term. Granted, the initial term is three years, so that may not bother you so much. They also offer a 45-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 customer support. Hostgator’s three best features:
One-Click Installs of Joomla, Drupal, Magento, phpBB, and Wiki
What’s really exciting here is the inclusion of phpBB and Wiki. WordPress is a great tool, but being able to use a specialized tool if you’re trying to build a forum or a wiki can save you a lot of time.
Compatibility with a lot of Productivity Tools
All of these web hosting providers’ shared hosting plans are compatible with Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and many other productivity tools out of the box. Some of these tools have their own separate fees, but being able to integrate seamlessly is a great value.
Tons of Advanced Features for Pro Users
This web host offers shared web hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and cloud hosting. Even on their shared hosting service, they have advanced features, including unlimited MySQL databases, IPv6 support, customer support for different scripting languages, and more.
What Their Customers Say
Hostgator has both good and bad reviews and comes down right in the middle at 3.0 exactly. Sites go down; customers get locked out of their control panel, etc. That said, every single negative review that has been up longer than a day has a response from Hostgator.
6. DigitalOcean – Best Web Hosting for Developers & Scaling
- Designed for scaling
- Aimed at developers
- Options for one-click installation
- Offers CDN spaces, cloud firewalls, and more
- Not designed for beginners
- Unfamiliar terminology/toolset
One glance at DigitalOcean’s website will tell you that they have built their offering specifically to appeal to software developers and dedicated web development teams.
Their most entry-level product appears to be VPS hosting, which makes them the only web host on this list not to offer shared hosting. The level of advanced tools here makes things like a free SSL certificate look like child’s play.
You’ll find no 30-day money-back guarantee here, as this is a hosting service that is not designed for the layman. Instead, you’ll be trying to figure out how much memory you need your Droplet to have and managing your Kubernetes cluster. DigitalOcean’s top three features:
A Variety of “Droplet” Options for Different Purposes
A droplet is a single virtual machine. If you aren’t sure what a virtual machine is, that’s a good sign that DigitalOcean is not the right hosting provider for you. You can rent out virtual machines, which turns it into a form of cloud hosting.
App Platform for Deploying and Managing Apps
You can use the App Platform for building, prototyping, and testing your apps, as well as deploying the apps ready for production. Once you’re ready to deploy, you can access vertical scaling, horizontal scaling, and a number of other critical features.
Your Kubernetes Cluster Can Include Load Balancers and Spaces
Going along with the cloud hosting idea, your web hosting service with DigitalOcean can include spaces and load balancers. Spaces are a content delivery network that you can build and customize to your liking, while load balancers do exactly what they sound like they do.
Buying Guide for Website Hosting Services
What Options Are Available For Web Hosting?
There are a lot of web hosting options out there, and the right type of hosting will depend on your needs.
WordPress Web Hosting: WordPress Web Hosting is offered by most of the hosting companies in this list and just means that the hosting platform is optimized for prime compatibility with the WordPress CMS. Most WordPress web hosting options are 1-click install, meaning that it’s incredibly simple to jump in and get started.
Dedicated Web Hosting: Every website has to be hosted on some kind of computer, called a server. Dedicated web hosting is where you have an entire server all to yourself. This is called a dedicated server. Dedicated servers offer improved bandwidth and performance over shared and VPS hosting.
Managed Web Hosting: This can mean slightly different things from different providers. But generally, it means that security updates and backups are handled for you, as well as other administrative tasks associated with your hosting account.
VPS Web Hosting: VPS is a virtual machine on a server that does not share as many resources with other VPS’s on the server. This is the middle ground between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Different web hosts will handle this differently, but you’ll usually have a set amount of RAM and processing power reserved for your VPS.
Shared Web Hosting: Shared web hosting is usually the cheapest per month and is the least powerful option you can have for your site. That said, the vast majority of sites online are on shared hosting, and it can be a great option for small businesses or anyone with a small site.
Cloud Web Hosting: Cloud Hosting is a step up from dedicated hosting and is something you’ll grow into as you scale your website. “The Cloud” is a bank of physical servers that share resources and work together to keep sites loading quickly no matter where in the world someone is visiting from.
Colocation Web Hosting: Colocation just means that the client (you) leases space in a data center to put your own server hardware, which you maintain and operate. The data center is still responsible for maintaining optimal conditions for servers to work at peak efficiency.
Self-Hosting (DIY): You can host your own website from your own computer. This is not a common route, though, as there are a lot of problems with it. This is an option only for highly tech-savvy individuals who know how to deal with potential problems.
How Do I Choose a Good Web Hosting Provider?
Consider Your Needs: Are you looking for hosting for a personal site or a business site? What features will you need? Are you planning on selling products and will need e-commerce tools? Do you want to build out a forum? Do you want to run on a wp engine?
Often just outlining your non-negotiable needs will narrow down the list.
Read the Fine Print: A lot of web hosts offer incredibly low introductory rates or offer more advanced features for only the first several months. As long as you know what’s coming, you can make sure you don’t choose an option that seems perfect but will only be that way until your introductory term is over.
Look for an Integrated Website Builder: Most hosting providers will have some kind of built-in site builder that’s included for free in the hosting plan. These are generally not very robust and are only useful for basic sites. But they can be a helpful tool if you want to try out a plan without jumping in with both feet.
Check for Helpful Services: One way providers differentiate themselves is by offering features that separate them from the competition. WHOIS privacy, unlimited email addresses, and similar features can make the difference between a good and a great platform for you.
Customer Support is Important: Everyone from beginners to experts will have to get on with support at one point, and that can make or break your experience with a hosting provider. If you cannot resolve an issue with your support team, sometimes your only solution is to migrate to a different provider.
Linux vs. Windows Web Hosting: This only matters if you plan to connect your own database to the site somehow, and you already have a specific database you want to use. ASP, .NET, Access, and MSSQL are only compatible with Windows hosting, and PHP and MySQL are compatible with Linux.
FAQ for Domain Hosting Providers
Do I Need a Web Host?
If you want to have a website with a custom domain, yes, you will need some kind of hosting. Unless you feel comfortable running your own server, then you will need a web host.
What Is the Best Quickbooks Web Hosting Service?
If you’re specifically looking at hosting Quickbooks Desktop, Intuit has a full list of their authorized hosting providers with links to their sites.
How Can I Speed Up My Website?
Cloud hosting will generally be the fastest, followed by a dedicated server, then a VPS, then a shared hosting environment. To speed up your website, you should consider the following:
- Embed videos from other sites instead of hosting them directly.
- Use smaller or more compressed images.
- Use browser caching as much as possible.
- Choose a provider that offers a Content Distribution Network.
Does Price Matter for Web Hosting Services?
Pricing does indeed matter, but it may not be as straightforward as comparing the monthly rate.
Free Web Hosting: This will only be good for a personal blog or possibly as a portfolio. Free hosting just does not offer the bandwidth or performance to use for anything larger. Also, a free website builder available in these plans will be very limited, and you won’t have unlimited bandwidth.
Cheap Web Hosting: This would be defined as anything from only $3/month to $25-$50 per month. Cheap web hosting works great for the vast majority of small business sites. If you just need a place online to send people to learn about your company, there’s no reason to go beyond cheap web hosting.
Expensive Web Hosting: Anything above $50 per month would be considered expensive. And this is where you need to start looking if you want to have a lot of website visitors, host a lot of content, or use your website for more than what we described above.
Is GoDaddy a Good Hosting Site?
Yes, GoDaddy is a solid web hosting option. They have decent reviews, offer good rates on domain names, and have a simple interface that’s quick and easy to use. That said, they charge a premium for many features that other providers offer as part of their package.
Best Hosting Services: The Takeaway
All good web hosts will have different plans available. Plans start as low as just a few dollars per month with some, while plans start much higher depending on the type of hosting. Make sure you choose the best hosting company for you. Do you need free site migration? Unlimited bandwidth? Email accounts?
Most of the best web hosting services offer the same basic service, but it’s the features and customer reviews that make all the difference, and SiteGround comes out on top.
The value of great customer service from a hosting provider cannot be overstated, and SiteGround offers the best combination of features, power, and customer service.
The reviews and statements published here are those of the sponsor and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position or views of Observer.