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Looking for a hosting company for your next online project? Use our Compare tool to explore the features and pricing of over 2100 hosting plans from almost 200 web hosting companies, with ratings and commentary from our reviews section. Use the control panel (on the left) to start searching. Results will automatically update.
How do you decide which hosting company you should use, or what type of hosting plan is right for you? Too many people rely on name recognition from TV and online ads, but a company that’s pouring all their money into producing slick commercial videos isn’t spending that money on hardware or support personnel (or lower prices for you).
Many people sign up for a new hosting plan because they saw an inspiring ad at just the right time, and made the commitment, only to realize later that their project could have been easier, better, or cheaper with a different plan or a different provider.
But there are hundreds of hosting companies, offering thousands of plans. How can anyone research all these different options and figure out what is the right one?
We’ve done that work for you, gathering together feature lists, pricing plans, and crowd-sourced reviews and ratings for your review and comparison, all in one easy-to-use tool.
Now you just need to know what you’re looking for.
How to find the right Hosting Plan for your online project
It may be obvious, but the first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of website you will be setting up.
Is it a blog? An online store? A social media platform? A one-page brochure for an offline business?
Along with figuring out the overall category of your site, you should think about what (if any) exceptions there are to that. A lot of people set up a simple blog, and then realize they also wanted to sell “just a few” products. If you’re going to sell something on the website (even just a few things), you’ll need some kind of ecommerce software that will make that happen.
The type of website you want to run should determine what technology you need, in terms of software applications you’ll be using. You need to find a hosting plan that supports the apps you hope to use.
After that you’ll want to consider how busy this website is likely to become. You don’t want to overestimate and buy too expensive a plan — that’s a very costly form of optimism. But you don’t want to shortchange your website either and risk downtime and site failure when it eventually becomes popular.
After that, check support features and read some reviews.
Types of Websites and technology choices
If you’re planning to run a blog, a straight-forward content website, or a website with a combination of functionalities — like a blog with a store — your best bet is probably a content management system like WordPress. This would provide a stable and flexible platform for doing a number of different common business activities online. Two other popular options in this category are Drupal and Joomla.
For a large and complex online store with a large number of products, it’s probably better to go with single-purpose ecommerce system like Magento or ZenCart.
Other specific types of projects would do well with particular applications. For example, if you want to run a community forum you have several options for forum management systems.
Once you’ve settled on the technology you want to use, you can use the compare tool above to find hosts that specifically support it. Check the “Easy Installs” list. If it isn’t there, you can look for it with the Search feature.
Not all software is specifically supported by name by web hosts, but you can still use it if the requirements are met. You can use the Scripting and Languages filter to find hosts that support the technology that your desired app runs on.
Choosing a type of web hosting
There are many types of web hosting plans available, but most projects will be best served by one of the two most popular types of plans: shared and VPS hosting.
Shared hosting, which involves many customers sharing an IP address and a single set of computing resources, is very inexpensive and widely popular. It is perfect for personal blogs and websites for smaller businesses and non-profit organizations.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting gives you much more control, as well as your own unique IP address and a larger portion of server resources. It is typically the right choice for larger organizations and online businesses.
Depending on the type of site, and how much traffic you expect, you can filter the list above for the type of plan you are looking for. From there you can narrow it down based on the specific details (like how scalable the plan is, how they handle traffic spikes, and the cost of bandwidth).
Read some reviews
Just because a web hosting company looks good in their feature list doesn’t mean they are. Read the reviews in our review section and see which companies are difficult to deal with and which ones are helpful. You will almost certainly run into problems at some point, so pay attention to reviews that recount experiences people have had with customer service.