Best Web Hosting Services for Your Personal Website or Small Business [2019 Edition]
But, there are thousands of web hosting providers. What works well for one project, might be completely wrong for another.
So, what is the best web hosting service? The answer is… it depends.
Those looking to start an online store have different needs than someone wanting to host a blog or personal website Though, some features (like uptime, reliability & tech support) will be important in almost all instances.
We tested speed, uptime, ease of use, and customer service for dozens of the biggest & best-known hosts in the world before making our recommendations.
Our Suggestions: Best Overall Hosts
There are thousands of web hosting companies. We’ve shortlisted the best of the best into our top 3 picks.
We believe these three hosts will suit the majority of needs for the vast majority of people running a simple website.
Looking for something more sophisticated? Jump to…
…or read on for our general hosting provider recommendations.
#1. SiteGround : Best Overall Host of 2019
We think SiteGround’s web hosting plans suit most website requirements with reliable uptime and excellent customer support.
Pros: Customer-service focused, WordPress experts, #1 top-rated host by our community, Choice of server location.
Cons: No free domain names, plans are little more expensive than comparable hosts.
Best for: SiteGround is one of the best web hosting companies regardless of your needs.
Their focus on reliability, and technical support make them a smart choice for beginners and professionals alike.Special Offer: Visit SiteGround.com to Save 60% Now [Coupon applied automatically]
Interested in reading what real-life customers think of SiteGround? We’ve 2,000+ user reviews for you to read.
#2. BlueHost: Runner Up & Solid Value
BlueHost provides solid services without breaking the bank. Our testing indicates excellent uptime, server speeds, and reliable customer service.
Pros: Great reputation, WordPress recommended, free domain name, great value.
Cons: Up-sells you likely don’t need, pricing is fair but increases after introductory period.
Best for: Beginners, WordPress sites, and Small businesses.
Also a good fit for those who want to host many small sites on a single account.Special Offer: Visit BlueHost.com to Save Up to 35% Now [Coupon applied automatically]
Interested in reading what real-life customers think of BlueHost? We’ve 400+ user reviews for you to read.
#3. A2 Hosting: Independent, Fast & Feature-Rich
Why A2 Hosting?
A2 Hosting is a stable, independent company with speedy services, global data centers, SSDs and custom server technology.
Pros: Speed & Reliability focused, WordPress experts, highly-rated host by our community.
Cons: Lowest-priced plan only suitable for a single website. Many technical options might be confusing to some users.
Best for: Speed and Reliability. A2’s shared hosting plans always make it into top 10 lists, but their VPS and dedicated servers are also worth a close look.
Interested in reading what real-life customers think of A2 Hosting? We’ve 200+ user reviews for you to read.
The Best Web Hosts of 2019 [Side By Side Comparison]
How to Choose the Right Web Hosting For You & Your Website
No single web hosting company is the best option for everybody. Each host has its own pros, cons, and specializations.
Here are some of the most common options you’ll run into during your research and a breakdown of features you should consider.
Common Types of Hosting
To make sure that your site stays online and loads as quickly as possible for your users, you’ll want to choose the hosting that best fits your traffic patterns and resource usage.
Shared hosting is the most popular, and least expensive option available. This is because web hosting companies will host many websites on a single server, with each site drawing on a communal pool of CPU and RAM. Compare shared hosting plans.
VPS (virtual private server) hosting is a cross between shared hosting and dedicated hosting (which we cover below). Hosts will place multiple websites on a single server, but using virtualization software, the host sets up “walls” that prevent a site from using resources dedicated to another site.
This means you’ll get much better performance over a shared server, but without the high(er) cost of a dedicated server. Compare VPS hosting plans
For the most highly-trafficked, resource-intensive websites, dedicated servers offer unparalleled performance, security, and isolation. The entire server (both in terms of hardware and software) is dedicated to running your website.
Downside? Dedicated servers are among the most expensive hosting options around. Compare dedicated hosting options
Website builders are tools designed to help you build a website without coding. Website builders come with basic web hosting services, so once you hit Publish, your site is live.
Typically, you’ll get templates on which you can build your site, and you can edit the text and images using a drag-and-drop editor. Compare website builders
There are many types of cloud hosting (e.g., shared cloud hosting, app hosting, dedicated cloud servers), but in general, these plans all run on cloud infrastructure.
This means easy scalability for traffic spikes and better reliability due to the distributed nature of cloud networks. Cloud hosting plans tend to cost more than their non-cloud counterparts, however.
Learn more and compare cloud hosting plans.
Not sure what type of hosting is right for you? Unless you have a high-traffic website, you very likely need shared hosting which will cost <$10/month.
Web hosts offer plans that specialize in different things, so you’ll want to hone in on certain options based on what you plan to do with your hosting.
Small Business Hosting
There are so many types of small business sites that it’s hard to make generalizations on what one needs.
That said, some hosts offer “business hosting plans” packaged with features geared toward small business owners that are worth consideration. View and compare small business hosting plans.
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS, and to take full advantage of what it offers, you’ll need to make sure that you meet all of the platform’s requirements.
WordPress hosting meets this need by offering you a package that includes everything you need to run WordPress, as well as easy-to-use installers so you can get the platform core up and running quickly. Compare WordPress hosting options.
Personal Sites and Blogs
Personal sites and blogs tend to be smaller sites aimed at a beginner or hobbyist audience.
As such, most hosts will offer packages capable of supporting these sites at prices that won’t break the bank.
Online stores often need more resource-wise (disk-space & bandwidth) to support product catalogs of high-resolution images and demo videos.
The hosting environment needs to be more secure so that sensitive data (like people’s credit card information) doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Look for PCI-compliant online store hosting services.
Hosting prices can range from just a few cents to hundreds (and even thousands) of dollars per month.
Those just getting started might want to stay in the cheap/budget hosting part of the spectrum, but the downside to these options is that they’re limited and don’t offer fast speeds. Compare budget hosting plans.
Advanced Users / Developer-Friendly
Some hosts offer plans that can support any technology that you might want to use. For example, most hosts offer MySQL databases, but few offer PostgreSQL or CouchDB.
Apache seems to be the standard at many hosts, but maybe you prefer NGINX.
Regardless of what your needs are, some hosts bend over backward to make sure that the hosting they offer can meet the requirements of your website and apps. See developer-friendly hosting plans.
Most Important Hosting Features
It can be difficult to compare one hosts’ feature list to another company’s. Some take a minimalist approach and tell you just what your resource allocation is, while others will list every single piece of software that you could run.
The following is a list of major items we think you should focus on when researching hosts.
Customer support is indispensable, especially for beginners or when something goes wrong.
Many web hosts offer 24/7 tech support, but there are certainly some that can be difficult to get a hold of outside normal business hours.
In addition, consider your communication preferences when researching hosts. Some hosts allow only support tickets, while others provide more robust live chat and/ or phone support.
Tip: Read user reviews to get an idea of how well a host treats their customers.
Money Back Guarantees
Most web hosts ask you to commit to a yearly (or even multi-year) contract when you purchase hosting services.
However, with a money-back guarantee, you can rest easy knowing that if you find that the product you’ve purchased isn’t what you thought it was, you can cancel your account and receive a refund.
Free Domain Names
Some hosts bundle a free custom domain name with their hosting packages, but this is not a universal practice. Some will offer a free domain name with more expensive packages.
Many will only cover your domain registration fees for the first year of service. Be sure to read the fine print so that you know exactly what you’re getting. Hosts that include a free domain name with hosting plans.
SSL certificates are crucial for keeping the information transmitted between your visitors and you website secure. It is also part of making sure that your site ranks well in search engine results.
For most users, a basic free SSL certificate is sufficient, and many hosts include one in even the most basic hosting packages. Learn more about SSL certificates and compare hosts that offer them.
If you’re interested in receiving email using an address whose domain matches that of your website, look for a host offering email-related services.
Some hosts will bundle basic email services with the hosting plan, while others will allow you to easily purchase and synchronize services from a third-party provider like Google or Microsoft.
The control panel is the tool you’ll use to manage all aspects of your web hosting, including billing, checking resource usage, installing third-party apps (such as CMSs), and domain names.
Popular Hosting Providers
There are so many web hosting providers available, and it can be hard to determine which options are good and which options aren’t simply by reviewing company-provided literature.
The following companies have stood the test of time and rate well with our users.
SiteGround offers a wide variety of hosting options, but our users rate SiteGround well especially because of its excellent customer support team.
SiteGround’s plans come with everything you need, plus website building tools, free migration assistance, free SSL certificates, and more.
Bluehost is known for its WordPress-friendly options, though the company offers hosting choices for every type of website, small or large.
Shared plans run on speedy linux servers with unlimited bandwidth and a 30 day money back guarantee.
Bluehost also offers professional services, so if you need help getting your website online (beyond the basics), this might be of interest to you.
If you’re looking for developer-friendly hosting, even at the shared hosting level, look no further than A2 Hosting.
The company’s plans are fairly priced, and the development team behind A2 Hosting makes sure that your site will work with your hosting plan, no matter what your technology stack is.
HostGator strives to provide easy-to-use and affordable web hosting solutions for small to medium websites.
HostGator offers great support services, including migration assistance, and the company offers one of the longest money back guarantees (45 days).
InMotion offers a range of web hosting services, but one offering that stands out is its managed hosting option.
Managed hosting is a great option for those who want to outsource the care and maintenance of their web hosting environment. It is typically expensive, but InMotion offers managed services at a fairly low price (you can also purchase a la carte hours).
Most people know GoDaddy as a domain name registrar, but the company is much more.
You can think of GoDaddy as your one-stop website shop, since the company sells domain names, hosting packages, website builders, security tools, and more.
Looking for eco-friendly hosting? GreenGeeks might be the right the company for you.
GreenGeeks offers packages designed to get you online, but it does so while putting back into the environment three times the power it consumes in the form of renewable energy.
If you’re looking for a premium WordPress hosting service, consider WP Engine. They only host WordPress sites, which means that you’ll be getting an environment 100% optimized for performance.
WP Engine’s options are all managed, which means that you’ll get assistance with maintaining the infrastructure powering your site.
For those seeking premium, managed solutions, Liquid Web offers cloud hosting, VPS plans, and dedicated servers.
If you have a large, highly-trafficked site that needs a fair amount of attention, Liquid Web’s hosting plans might be a great fit for you.
Squarespace is a website builder that allows you to build your site using one of the provided professionally-designed templates.
All hosting is included, which means that your site is live as soon as you publish it. Squarespace also offers an ecommerce package.
Shopify is popular e-commerce software that includes hosting. If you are serious about launching an online store, Shopify might be right for you.
It comes with everything you need, including product pages, a shopping cart, and a secure checkout process, so you don’t need to worry about setting up your own payment processing functionality.
Finding the best web host is a personal endeavor — after all, one size does not fit all. However, if you know what your project goals are, you can narrow down your options significantly.