Web Hosting Companies Reviewed: Who Is Best For You & Your Site? [2019 Edition]
We tested dozens of the biggest & best-known hosts in the world before making our recommendations. Below you'll find our top picks, as well as the scores from our users and links for you to do your own research.
The following is a detailed buyers guide to web hosting. By the end, you should have all the info you need to make an informed decision. Use the Table of Contents to jump to a particular topic, or continue reading…
Find your perfect web host
Search over one million words of real-life user reviews
The number of web hosting choices available to someone looking to get a website up and running can be overwhelming
For the uninitiated, it can seem like all hosting plans are the same — in fact, it can sometimes look as if the cheap plans are the best since they come with more promises: unlimited bandwidth, storage, email inboxes, and so on.
If that’s the case, why do more expensive options exist? Why doesn’t Amazon get in on that action and host its website on a plan that costs just a couple o’ bucks a month?
For those with mission-critical websites, how do you ensure that you’re getting a reliable web hosting provider?
As always, there’s more to a given web hosting plan than meets the eye, so in this article, we try to explain the differences between your options so that you can make an informed choice as to what’s best for you and your website.
Types of Web Hosting
Generally speaking, you can categorize a majority of the web hosting plans available in five categories:
Shared hosting is the cheapest & most popular web hosting option.
With a shared hosting plan, you are renting space on a server that you share with other website owners. This also means you’re sharing resources like bandwidth, memory, and processing power. This can be a problem, because a web host company typically supports hundreds, even thousands, of websites on a single server. Most of these websites will get very little traffic, allowing those who do see higher levels of traffic to use the resources they need. Nevertheless, there are no guarantees that you will get the resources necessary to support your website.
Shared hosting plans offer sufficient power for many small business and personal websites at affordable prices. Furthermore, you are not responsible for any type of web server management — you have all the functionality of a professionally managed web hosting, but you only shoulder a small portion of the server’s cost or hassle.
It’s important to note, however, that not all shared hosting is created equal. Different companies use different servers, each configured with different amounts of resources, and with different features. Furthermore, some companies host more websites on a single server than its peers. As such, that $10 per month shared hosting plan probably has many benefits over one costing $0.99 per month.
VPS (Virtual Private Server)
If your website exceeds the resources of a shared hosting plan (perhaps you’ve seen higher levels of traffic), the natural next step is a virtual private server (VPS) hosting plan. A VPS hosting plan will get you increased performance and larger resource allocations without saddling you with the full cost of your own server.
VPS plans are similar to shared plans in that both feature multiple websites hosted on a single server. However, VPS plans maintain a strict separation between clients and websites when it comes to resource allocations. Your site gets its share, and no one else may use your resources (conversely, you may not cannibalize the resources allocated to others’ websites either).
In addition to providing you with greater performance and larger resource allocations, VPS hosting gets you full control of your server environment. Though a VPS is not a physical server, you can control it as if it were.
If you have special needs for your server, you have the control to address them. With that said, you’ll need to have some degree of comfort with server technology to manage a VPS. This is typically done using the command line, though you can opt to purchase a GUI-based control panel, like cPanel or WHM, for ease of use.
Cloud hosting is similar to VPS hosting in that the server isn’t actually a physical machine. Rather, your hosting is distributed across multiple servers, all of which are connected (by the web host provider) to form a network of sorts.
Due to its infrastructure, cloud hosting is extremely stable and scalable. Your website has access to multiple servers, which allows for redundancy and fallback. Furthermore, if you outgrow your allocation of the cloud network, you can easily ask your hosting provider to increase your allocation.
Unlike VPS hosting, which is limited by the physical server on which your website is hosted, cloud hosting allows you to use resources offered by multiple machines. For example, if you find that your website is lagging because of lack of bandwidth, you can increase the amount available to you. Often, you can make this change yourself via the host’s control panel.
If industry-leading uptime and rapid-scalability are your two biggest concerns, cloud hosting might be just what you’re looking for. Cloud hosting will get you access to a cluster of servers from which you can quickly provision resources when you need them. Along with having enough separation from unruly neighbors, your application should be kept safe. VPS and Cloud services are sometimes combined into a hybrid service called Cloud VPS or Scalable VPS.
Dedicated servers are exactly what they sound like: an entire server dedicated to hosting only your website. The web hosting provider has a physical server, and everything with which it has been configured is used only for your website. If you’re done sharing web server resources with other clients and websites, this is the option for you.
Dedicated servers are used to power complex applications and high-traffic websites. You might also opt for one if you serve a large quantity of media, such as high-resolution images, audio files, and streaming video clips, or you see very high levels of traffic (or perhaps both are applicable). Dedicated hosting also provides the highest level of security and server customization possible. Also see: Colocation.
Reseller hosting options are a special type of hosting plan. Essentially, if you want to start a business and sell web hosting while someone else maintains the server, reseller hosting is the way to go. With a reseller plan, you buy access to server resources in bulk, and then resell it under your own brand.
There are multiple types of reseller plans: shared, VPS, cloud, dedicated, each popular with web designers & web agencies.
Reseller plans aren’t for those who are new to web hosting. You’ll have to provide your customers with customer and technical support.
Specialized Web Hosting
People use websites for all kinds of things, and exactly what you want to do will dictate what kind of web hosting you need. In addition to the types of web hosting we covered in the previous section, which can generally be used for many different types of websites, there are specialty options that cater to a specific subset of users. We will cover these options below.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) in the world, and as such, many web hosting providers offer options that cater to this rather large niche. You can certainly host your WordPress site on a standard shared hosting plan, but by choosing a WordPress-specific option, you’ll spend less time configuring and managing your WordPress installation.
Generally speaking, such plans come with WordPress already installed in your environment, regular updates to your WordPress core and extras, such as free themes, better performance and specialist plugins.
Most plans make setup easy, but some even set your website (and WordPress) up for you, leaving you more time to personalize your site and create content.
Java is an object-oriented programming language for applications and websites that was first released by Oracle in 1995. While Java has lost some of its popularity as a client-side programming language, it still sees heavy use in server-side applications — especially at big sites like Amazon and eBay. If you want to implement server-side features powered by Java, you’ll want to make sure that your website host supports the use of Java.
Joomla is a flexible content management system and web application framework. It is also the second most popular content management system (CMS) after WordPress.
Joomla is a bit more technical than WordPress and therefore less friendly to new users. If you want to build a website powered by Joomla, check out our Joomla hosting page.
PHP is a server-side scripting language. PHP originally stood for “Personal Home Page,” but it is now known by the recursive acronym, “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.”
PHP is supported by most hosting providers, and it is theoretically available on just about any server (especially since it is one of the most popular scripting languages in the world). Many popular applications are written in PHP, including the three most popular content management systems: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.
PHP is sometimes used to handle searches. For example, let’s say you sell t-shirts on your blog:
A user clicks on the sizes to see if you have any large shirts left.
PHP is like the intercom from the front of your store. It calls back to your warehouse, “Hey guys, got any large t-shirts back there?”
The warehouse (your product database, sometimes played by MySQL) answers back, “Yup, we’ve got three more back here.”
PHP then delivers the info back to the user.
ASP.NET is a server-side scripting framework released by Microsoft. It is extremely powerful, and you can use it in conjunction with pretty much any language you want to create your website.
In some ways, ASP.NET is kind of like the Microsoft’s equivalent of PHP. However, for those who are established Microsoft programmers and who are therefore proficient in Visual Basic or C#, ASP.NET is a great choice.
Which Operating System: Linux VS Windows
Besides choosing the type of web hosting you need, you’ll also need to decide whether you want your website hosted on a Windows-based system or a Linux-based system. In some cases, the needs of your website dictate the operating system you choose. If not, read on for an overview of the similarities and differences between the two options.
Use the top navigation to quickly find hosts that support Windows, Linux and other OS options.
Please note that you don’t have to run Linux on your computer to use Linux hosting, or Windows to run Windows hosting.
Linux is the most commonly-used operating system for web hosting in the world, and Linux servers are a popular choice for many websites and applications. It is the industry-standard operating system, and in fact, one of the most popular groups of applications used to back websites is commonly referred to as LAMP, which stands for Linux, Apache (a web server), MySQL (a database), and PHP.
If you’re looking for an option that can handle today’s most common programming languages and applications (such as PHP + MySQL databases) consider choosing a plan that offers Linux hosting.
Windows is the operating system offered by Microsoft. If you want a server that can handle Windows applications, databases, and programming frameworks like ASP.NET, you will need a hosting plan that offers Windows. Note, however, that you still have the flexibility to utilize common web programming languages like PHP and MySQL.
Traditionally, Windows-based hosting costs more money than Linux hosting as a result of the licensing fees assessed by Microsoft (Linux is open source and therefore free to use). However, this is less true today. Some companies, like 1&1 and GoDaddy offer hosting packages that cost the about same, regardless of which operating system you choose to run.
Domain Name Registration
One of the things you need to consider when setting up your website is the domain you want people to use.
Domain names, which are the addresses that you type into your browser to visit a website. They usually take the format of “www.placeholder.com,” but there are a wide variety of other forms they can take. Domains are like street addresses for the internet.
Many web hosting providers, such as GoDaddy & One.com are also domain name registrars so that you can kill two birds with one stone — when you purchase your web hosting package, you can also purchase a domain name.
Alternatively, you might choose to purchase your domain names from one provider and your web hosting from another (especially as the available domain names vary and different hosts may offer different domain extensions, such as .tech or .bike).
Keep in mind that you’ll need to renew your domain registration every year. Sometimes, a hosting company will cover your registration fees as long as your account meets specific criteria and is in good standing, while other companies require you to pay the registration fee.
Add-Ons and Extra Features
In addition to website hosting and domain names, many web hosting companies offer add-ons and bonus features, such as security suites, website builders to help you craft a new site, and so on. The options bundled with a given plan vary, but some of the more common ones include:
Website builders, including drag-and-drop options
Dedicated IP addresses
Spam filters and malware protection tools
Automated backups of your data
Such features might end up tipping a certain plan in your favor — depending on what you’re using your website for, you might save yourself money by opting for a plan that includes the extras you need.
For example, if you’re planning on launching an online store, you’ll likely need a private SSL certificate and dedicated IP address to help protect your customers’ data, so a plan that comes with these items would be beneficial.
What About Unlimited Hosting?
Almost all hosting providers offer at least one unlimited plan where you are promised unlimited storage, unlimited email, unlimited bandwidth. There are even some providers that offer nothing but unlimited plans.
However, “unlimited” doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it does. You probably expected unlimited plans to allow you to use as much of a given resource (whether it’s bandwidth, disk space, or email addresses) as you need, but it’s more likely that your web host hasn’t set a limit on your resource usage.
Sounds good? Not so fast. None of us likes reading the fine print, but in the case of your web hosting provider, it’s essential that you read their terms of service (TOS). Luckily for all of us, pretty much every TOS says the same thing: you can’t abuse their servers.
Regardless, there may come a time when a traffic spike brings your website down, and that’s because your host has deemed your usage “excessive.” This is unlikely, but definitely something to keep in mind.
Take our little joke about Amazon above. If Amazon decided to host its website using HostGator’s unmetered Hatchling Plan for a couple of dollars per month, Amazon would crash the server it was running on. But more important to Amazon, crashing the server means that its website becomes unavailable, costing them millions of dollars.
And that provides an important lesson to website owners: it doesn’t matter if your hosting provider will allow you to go crazy with server resources if it ends up with your website loading slowly or going offline.
So remember that while unlimited web hosting plans do free you up to have a more casual approach to your resource usage, you still need to find a plan that is equivalent to your needs. Think of it as having a classic American Express card. You have no pre-set limit. But you aren’t going to be able to buy things you can’t ultimately afford.
Server Location & CDNs
The cliche in the real estate world is that the three most important considerations when buying a home are location, location, location.
On the internet, there seems to be no location. You can visit a site out of Beijing as easily as you can from Topeka. But just because you can go everywhere in the world on the internet doesn’t mean that the internet isn’t localized. If you want your website visitors to be served as quickly as possible, your best bet is to host your site on a web server as close to your users as possible.
There are two ways to serve your website from a server that’s as close to your visitors as possible:
Choosing a web host based on datacenter location
Using a content delivery network (CDN)
Datacenter Location, Is it Important?
If the vast majority of your visitors are from a particular country or region, your best option is to choose a server that is located near there. For example, if your website focuses on the music scene in Berlin, you should opt for a hosting company with a datacenter in Germany.
Not all hosts have multiple datacenters, and even those that do don’t always offer the choice to their customers.
Web Hosts that let you choose datacenter location:
The second approach to serving your website from a location that’s close to your visitors is to use a content delivery network (CDN).
Essentially, your website is placed on servers all around the world, and the web server that your visitor communicates with to receive your website depends on where they are.
Why Not Both CDN & Local Server?
While we present CDNs as an alternative to choosing a web host based on location, there’s nothing that prevents you from doing both. Using CDNs sometimes incurs additional costs for you, but there are web hosting packages that come bundled with CDN use, like SiteGround.
Customer Service & Support
It is important to remember that when you sign up with a web hosting company, you are not just purchasing a set of technologies. You are also entering into a business relationship. There are many non-tech reasons why you might choose one host over another. You need to be able to trust your hosting company. This is where customer reviews can be very useful.
Pretty much every company will boast about the quality of their customer service and support team, but it’s important to look into the specifics of their claims.
For example, you may certainly contact your host at any time, but when are they available to respond to your questions and concerns? How long will it take for someone to get back to you? Will there be someone to help you if your mission-critical website goes down at 3:00 in the morning? What language(s) do your host providers speak? Support in Malagasy is probably essential if you live and work in Madagascar, but fairly useless if you are in North America.
Finally, how can you get in touch with the team? Do they take phone calls during limited periods of time, or are they available via telephone, email, live chat, support ticketing system, and social media?
Managed Services & Consulting
One aspect of customer service is whether you can get help with issues that aren’t typically covered by a support contract. For example, let’s say that you want to implement a special feature. Can you ask your host for assistance? Such help might cost you a bit, but having this option is certainly valuable.
Help & Reference Resources
While it can be nice to have someone walk you through an issue, sometimes you just want to look up your issue quickly, make a small change, and move on. As such, take a look at the documentation that your web hosting provider offers before you purchase a package.
Is there documentation available?
What type of information is available in the knowledgebase?
Are there guided tutorials, either in print or in video form?
How up-to-date does the documentation look?
Has it been maintained, or does it look like it’s been neglected for the past couple of years?
Is there a forum where I can get practical help from other customers?
Trial Periods, Refunds, and Money Back Guarantees
It’s rare to find a web hosting provider that offers free trial periods, but luckily, money back guarantees are common. Typically, web hosts will allow you to sign up and purchase a plan, and if you find that what you bought isn’t the right option for you, you can take advantage of the money back guarantee to receive a full refund of the fees you paid.
However, note that such refunds typically cover only web hosting fees. If you received a free domain as part of your purchase, the web host might deduct the cost of registering your domain from your refund. You should also know that things like setup fees, services (such as migration services), and VPS/dedicated servers tend not to be refundable.
(Pssst — we track which hosts offer money-back guarantees, and we display that information on their hosting profile and review page.)
Real Hosting Reviews & Tools To Help You Choose
Deciding on what company and plan to choose for web hosting can feel like a complicated process, but we can make your life a whole lot easier by helping you narrow down your choices.
Use Our Web Host Comparison Tool
The number of web host providers currently in business can be overwhelming, so check out our plan comparison tool to narrow down the list based on your criteria. You can sort and filter your options by price and features (such as resource allocations, server location, platform, and special support for scripting and languages).
Once you’ve narrowed down the list of web host providers in which you’re interested, read real host reviews written by people just like yourself.
We collect, vet, and publish reviews from real users, so you can get a better picture of what a host is like, both in terms of product quality and customer service — you won’t be swayed the wrong way by one-offs (whether good or bad)!
We recommend taking a bit of time to look at ratings and reviews. You’ll get answers to questions like:
Is the uptime as good as promised?
Is the control panel easy-to-use?
Is customer support helpful?
Is live chat prompt to reply?
Are there hidden charges or fees?
In addition to reading through reviews from actual users, check out our Expert Opinion section for a high-level summary of what you can expect from a given host, uptime stats, hosting plan summaries to see if the provider offers what you’re looking for, and our FAQ pages to get answers to any final questions you might have.
Overwhelmed? Whatever your needs, we probably have a guide and FAQs to help you through the jargon and choose a suitable host. Whether you are looking for something that supports specific development framework, or need a host that accepts PayPal or Bitcoin — we’ve got you covered.
Our Web Hosting Reviews Are Different. Here’s How…
The web hosting reviews racket is broken – and we want to fix it.
You’re here because you’re smart. That’s why we want you on our side. You’re not duped by other pay-for-placement ‘hosting comparison’ sites or the astro-turfed hosting reviews you read elsewhere.
We see our integrity as a win-win. You get straightforward, honest and reliable hosting reviews; we earn your respect and, hopefully, your loyalty. Our aim is that, one day, you’ll buy hosting via our referral links to help fund our good work.
Why Does Your Choice of Web Hosts Matter?
Some people take a scattershot approach and pluck a random web host for their website. Maybe they saw an ad or picked the first search result. We can’t do much to help impulse-buyers.
We know you’re not like that because you’re on our site, researching your options. You know that making the wrong choice of web hosts now could have lasting implications down the road, for better or worse.
There are obvious benefits of getting the right web host: pricing within your budget and getting the features you need for your website. But there are also hidden considerations that you shouldn’t overlook. We answer the questions you might not have considered asking, like:
Does a host offer reliable tech support in your language?
How does their money-back guarantee work?
What happens when your site outgrows your initial plan?
Why Does Hosting Support Matter?
Another often overlooked factor in choosing a web host is the quality of their tech support and customer support. Support has wide-ranging implications from app installations and troubleshooting to guarantees, billing questions, and available upgrades.
We don’t just accept what a web host says about their support. We get the details on how customers are treated from the patrons themselves. Our experts put in tech support tickets and interact with web hosts across different channels like live chat and email.
What Other ServicesCan Web Hosts Offer?
Another thing you might not automatically think of when choosing a web host is the services they offer above the minimum web hosting features.
Some hosts provide significant added value by bundling up their plans with additional services like free site migration, professionally designed themes, and unlimited email addresses. On the other hand, some hosts may try to entice you with “free services” that you’ll never need.
We’ve done the research to see if extra services are something you might benefit from.
Why Our Hosting Reviews Are Different
Before giving us your respect or loyalty, we earn your trust. Here are the key reasons why our hosting reviews are different from other review sites:
#1. Power to the People
Review websites are meant to help you research and choose your perfect web hosting plan. This means you need the ability to objectively compare hosts across lots of different requirements – from cost to customer support to packages offered.
Many hosting review sites try and steer you towards just a handful of hosts in order to earn more money. They’ll deliberately only review the companies that pay big, and hide or even remove what may well have been the best deal for you.
Our Approach: The idea is simple: with our hosting comparison tool and database you can search, slice, dice and filter to your heart’s content. And we’re not just talking ‘price’ or ‘ratings’. At the time of writing, we track over 600+ web hosting companies & thousands of hosting plans and packages.
More than review ratings and price: Using our comparison tools you can quickly compare hosts based on any feature you like, including:
Specialist features like Green hosting or Podcast hosting
Content Management Systems like WordPress, Drupal, Magento, and more
Disk space and bandwidth
Easy installs of over 70 platforms, like Drupal and Moodle.
Operating systems, like Linux, Windows, Debian, Ubuntu, and Red Hat
Control Panels, like cPanel, Plesk, DirectAdmin and OpenVZ
Support for scripting and languages (30 options to use as filters)
Need a host that offers Tomcat JSP in Europe that, supports Django or accepts bitcoin payments? We got you covered.
Want to compare only a few features? We’ve got you covered there too. Simply select the “Top Features” you need and adjust the slider for desired disk space. Easy!
#2. Our Opinions Are Honest & Real
Most hosting review websites suck big time. They’re not just poor quality, they deliberately attempt to misinform and mislead users. We’re all about the long-term relationships, so it’s important that you don’t get duped when you’re on our site. Here’s how we achieve that:
Hosting review sites will ‘endorse’ a particular host by praising its services as loudly as possible. The review site gets a payoff when a customer is duped by the endorsement and parts with their cash. More often than not, bear little or no resemblance to reality.
Our Approach: Any host profiles published on our site are by writers who have no explicit knowledge of our relationship with the host they are writing about. They could find it out if they wanted to – but frankly, there’s no reason they should care. In short: that’s because our writers have absolutely no financial incentive to lie about a host.
One thing that’s different about our reviews is that they’re not based on researching other review websites.
We have test accounts for the many hosting companies for our writers and editors to use. Allowing us to log in, create websites, break things, contact customer support, etc — and compare this experience against other hosts. We also track uptime and page speed.
If our reviewers have personal experience with a host, we encourage them to share their opinions — good or bad, as we aim to play hosting plan matchmaker (romantic!) for our readers.
Our Experts Know Their Stuff
Our team is based all over the world, but they have at least one thing in common: a passion for the internet and helping others make sense of its dizzying complexity.
Our experts may be super-nerds, but they don’t limit themselves to assessing tech for its own sake. They also strive to convey how to put new technologies to practical use — for everything from programming to design and marketing.
#3 Real User Reviews
The more reputable a hosting company appears, the more money hosting review sites typically earn from that host. This leads to some web hosts & review sites cooking the books with user reviews.
It’s cheap enough for companies to pay a few dollars on Mechanical Turk to use of ‘sock-puppets’ – fake users – paid to write positive reviews (‘astroturfing’). Contrary to popular belief, astroturfing is a criminal offence in both Europe and the United States.
Our Approach: Reviewers are in complete control of what they say. We use incentives (eg, a free domain name) to encourage visitors to review their web hosts.
All reviews submitted to us have to jump through several hoops before publication:
Every review is moderated. Our team can smell out an inauthentic review at fifty paces.
Reviewers must supply a full (real) name for publication.
As you can imagine, it’s a challenge to publish only genuine user reviews – but we do everything we can to keep it that way.
One of the Most Experienced Review Sites on the Web
Over ten years. Over 10,000 real customer reviews.
That’s how long we’ve been helping people pick a web host and how many customers have chosen to put their reviews on our site.
To put those numbers in perspective, think about what you were doing 10 years ago — and how much smarter you are now than you were then. (Also, think about those embarrassing clothes you wore. We do.)
Customer Reviews Must Meet a Standard of Quality
We’ve given away over 10,000 free domain names for qualifying customer reviews since 2013. Since we reward excellent reviews with a real, monetary incentive like free domains, we are pretty picky about accepting reviews.
We’ve all seen Amazon reviews that amount to one-word: “Awesome!” or, “Terrible!” Pretty useless in helping you decide what to buy, right? That’s why we only accept high quality reviews. No trolling or puff reviews allowed. No one gets a free domain from us unless they pass muster.
The most common reasons we reject reviews:
Pseudonyms. We don’t allow handles or anonymous reviews. Reviewers must stand by their statements with real names.
Animosity. Swearing, libel, or other very distasteful speech will get a review canned.
Bogus reviews. Astroturfing, spamming, sock-puppet accounts, fake users, or paid reviews aren’t allowed on our site.
Plagiarized or duplicate reviews. We only publish reviews that are unique to our site.
It takes a lot of time to weed out bad reviews, but we’re laser-focused on getting the best information on our site so we think it’s worth the effort.
We’ve talked elsewhere about how sleazy many ‘hosting reviews’ sites are: shill reviews, pay-for-placement, outright lies etc. However, as well as the obvious moral implications, this approach just doesn’t make good business sense.
We believe that honest reviews & useful information to help you choose a host mean a more profitable business for us in the long run. If you can’t find honest, useful information now – why the hell would you ever come back?
Our hope is that you’ll use our site time and again – like if you choose to upgrade from shared hosting plan to a VPS.
We could play the fly-by-night game that many hosting reviews sites choose. But, in the long term, we’d lose out big time and. And, frankly, we’d also lose sleep at night.
How You Can Help…
The referral fees we receive are how we survive as a business (more on that on our ‘full disclosure’ page). It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it means we can keep delivering the same high-quality service.
Here’s how it works. When you click through to a web host via one of the links on our pages, we get a bit of referral revenue. You pay nothing.
Clicking through our links to a web host can get you a steep discount. (Photo by rawpixel.com via Unsplash).
Why are referral links good – fantastic, even? Lots of reasons:
We don’t subject you to more annoying forms of advertising.
We don’t spam you with umpteen newsletters selling products.
We don’t require a subscription to use our site.
This revenue helps fund our other awesome features, like our infographics and resources.
So, if you learn something while you’re here, give us a boost by clicking one of our links when you make your decision on hosting. It won’t cost you anything (in fact, it could get you a nice hosting discount) and it will keep our nerds team fed so they can keep fighting the good fight.
Our Dream Scenario
You want to create a website. You use our tools and reviews and you find the perfect host or website builder. All goes well and your business starts to take off.
You’ll remember how useful we were and will visit us again. You’ll leave a review and let our visitors read your experiences, and help them make better purchasing decisions.
Then you’ll go and recommend us on your 50,000 subscriber blog (hey, this is our dream, remember?)
Did we help you with your website needs? Great! We’d love to be mentioned in your blog. (Photo by Andrew Neel via Unsplash.)
And if you did actually blog about us? Well, endorsements like that count for so much, so you’d directly be supporting us in our efforts to make the hosting industry an all round better place.
It’s the second best thing you can do for us after buying via our site. See our ‘spread the word‘ page for some of the wonderful things our users have said about us (and be sure to contact us if you’ve something we ought to add there).
If you’re just starting up, shared hosting is probably sufficient. The only limiting factors for most beginners are the number of sites you can host, the scripting languages you can use, and the availability of good quality support from your host.
If you upgrade to VPS hosting, you’ll get more control over your hosting environment, and you’ll enjoy disk space and memory that’s reserved just for you. That means there’s less chance of a rogue shared hosting customer slowing down the server for everyone else.
If you aren’t sure which type of hosting to choose, sign up for a shared account with monthly billing (HostGator is a good choice for this). That way, you can move to a VPS plan elsewhere without penalty, if you quickly outgrow your shared hosting space.
Should I get Windows or Linux hosting?
It doesn’t matter if the computer you use is Windows, Mac, or Linux based: you can choose any operating system for hosting.
Choosing is simple: select hosting that will support the script, platform, or CMS you want to use. And if you aren’t sure, go for Linux hosting. For example, WordPress will run on Linux and Windows, but hosts generally recommend that you run it on Linux. However, if you want to use a Windows-specific technology like ASP.NET, you’ll need a Windows host.
Will my new host help me to transfer my data?
Some hosts offer a free migration service; such as HostPapa. Others will assess your site and provide a quote for the move. Check with a host’s sales rep before signing up if you require assistance moving your website from the old host to new.
Keep in mind that hosts generally set limits on how many websites are covered under a free migration service for new customers.
How can I pay for web hosting?
All of the hosts we have reviewed accept credit cards. Many also accept PayPal, Skrill, and other online payment methods.
A handful of hosting companies accept cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and some even accept **gasp**… cheques. Payment methods offered to you may vary according to your location.
How often will I be billed?
Yearly and monthly billing is the most common. Most hosts reduce their prices for a long-term commitment. But check the host’s money-back guarantee and refund policy before you commit.
What is an uptime guarantee?
An uptime guarantee is a service level agreement between the hosting company and you, the customer. If the host advertises 99% uptime, for example, it may provide a credit on your account if uptime falls below that.
Uptime figures can be misleading; a 99% uptime guarantee allows for more than 7 hours of downtime a month, which is quite a lot for a business-critical website. In contrast, a 99.9% uptime guarantee means that the host can only get away with 44 minutes of downtime before you’re compensated.
Check how the host measures downtime (month to month, or over the full year), and check the claims process to find out how you’ll be compensated.