No matter how good looking or smartly designed, your website will count for nothing if it is not drawing the eyes of your target audience. Web hosting services help you prop up your creation and nurture it to become a vital tool for your business and creativity.
Yet, picking out the best web hosting service among the increasing number of providers may prove to be a challenge, particularly if you are confused by the myriad of features or pricing plans on offer in 2021.
This is why we offer a helping hand in the form of a shortcut to your desired goal, which, at least in theory, means getting your hands on the best possible web hosting service perfectly tailored to your business or individual needs.
We’ve taken into account their reliability, price and technological bells and whistles that can be useful for any type of project you want to provide for. The same goes for questions related to maintenance, quality of support, available storage and bandwidth, the focus on specific platforms (such as WordPress) and security.
All will perform their web hosting tasks competently, with the last two providers playing a twofold role of both website builder and hosting platforms. Some of the listed website host providers may offer you access to options that your website will never have the use of, so make sure you go through the entire article instead of browsing only the first few entries before settling on your web hosting service.
Top 3 web hosting services 2021:
1. Bluehost is the best overall web hosting service
While competition is cut-throat, Bluehost continues to impress in almost every aspect, delivering the complete package of speed, security, versatility and, most importantly, superb reliability for just $2.75 per month. Its 60-day no-quibble money-back guarantee lets you trial the service.
3. Hostinger has the best cloud hosting service
Cloud hosting is a new buzzing category and Hostinger is top of the list with its advanced solution. With unlimited websites, unlimited email accounts, unlimited bandwidth plus a plethora of other features, it’s incredibly well priced as well at $9.99 per monthView Deal
This US-based company offers affordable yet effective shared hosting with a variety of plans and options to suit most businesses. That’s why Bluehost has become one of the most popular web hosting services out there right now.
So whether you want a very basic Weebly-based website builder to get your small business’s online presence up and running with the minimum of fuss, or something a bit more complex with additional apps via Mojo Marketplace’s useful array – then Bluehost should give you plenty of value for your subscription money,
We also like that there are plenty of customer support options available on the off-chance that you need help or things go wrong.
HostGator is the web hosting service whose trump card has “budget” written all over it. Several pricing plans are available for each & every pocket and project profile, with at least two of them offering attractive features in addition to having cute names (Hatchling and Baby, no less). Yet, there is nothing minuscule about the options you can lay your hands on with HostGator. They include unmetered bandwidth and disk space, support for FTP and email accounts, MYSQL databases and subdomains.
You will also enjoy the benefits of cPanel-based website management, with honorable mention going for Google and Bing Ads credits in the amount of $150. The package comes with at least two guarantees, one having to do with 99.9 percent uptime and the other with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
The only “drawback” HostGator is guilty of, together with the host of other providers of budget plans, is the fact that its cheapest plan covers only one website. This is hardly a cause of alarm when the next plan in line costs only a fraction more and even it will hardly leave a dent in your hosting budget.
Hostinger not only provides one of the best free web hosting services as part of its 000webhosting brand, but it also offers some of the best and most affordable cloud web hosting plans around. These are just some of the reasons why it has earned the trust of more than 30 million users.
This host also relies on its own technology, not letting third parties have any say in how its performance and features are managed and controlled. One of these features is the customized control panel that replaces the ever-present cPanel used by many of its competitors. Due to a partnership with Google, Hostinger offers Google Workspace which is bundled in the WordPress Business plan. It can also be purchased separately.
Customers interested in its platform can choose between three plans. Cloud Startup is the opening package that offers 2 CPU cores, 100GB of SSD storage, and 3GB of RAM, with a monthly cost of $9.99 if you go for its four-year subscription ($18.99 when you renew). Of course, you can also opt for shorter lengths, albeit at higher costs in the long run.
The second, mid-level option is called Cloud Professional and it expands the offering to 4 CPU cores, 140GB of SSD storage, and 6GB of RAM, while the Cloud Global package adds even more resources – 8 CPU cores, 200GB of SSD storage, and 16GB of RAM.
Each plan tosses in a lifetime SSL certificate and Cloudflare protection, free of charge. There are no limitations on supported bandwidth, and daily backups are included regardless of your chosen plan.
InMotion Web Hosting service is a veritable veteran in the hosting business and many users will recall seeing references to it at least here and there. With this respectful background, it is easy to see why this service offers a long list of features, bundles and pricing plans for every user and pocket.
For starters, site loading performance with this solution is simply superb. This comes packaged with an access to a dedicated team of professionals who offer high-level support at any time. What separates InMotion from the rest of the crowd is its propensity to offer bonus features at no extra charge. These include protection from DDoS attacks and malware, email spam shield, and an option for the creation of functional backups. Hosting is powered by cPanel and Softaculous platforms, which act as its seals of quality. Finally, all of this is easily checkable by any user within a 90-day guarantee period which is more than enough to make up your mind about InMotion’s offer. You can also refer friends to earn a year of free web hosting.
Hostwinds is the master of dedicated hosting whose servers boast with maniacally powerful configuration features that can cater to both general and high-demanding power users. This means it can handle anything, be it the regular organization websites or heavy-duty gaming servers that can drain a lot of resources.
This highly customizable provider offers several base options you can tailor to your own needs. Even its cheapest packages, suited for the most typical users, come with a 4-core single processor and 8GB of RAM.
Additional features you can choose from in this build-a-solution scheme include the number of operating systems you want (i.e. standard CentOS, Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, or Windows Server), various RAID configuration options, and more.
All the plans include full server management so you can relax and not trouble yourself with any sysadmin duties, making this provider suitable for even the less tech-savvy users.
Hostwinds also provides server monitoring and nightly backups, as well as guaranteeing never to throttle your traffic thanks to its 1Gbps network link that is available to all users, regardless of what bandwidth option they’ve gone for.
We had a bone to pick with Hostwinds on one matter – the lack of a control panel (like cPanel, Exim, or Plesk) by default. Still, you can get one as an add-on and the customer support can help you out with it (or not, if you feel confident about your tech skills).
Having your own hosted email account is important as it connects your email address and messages to your organization’s domain name and establishes an air of professionalism. It also gives you more control over your own data and circumvents automatic scanners for targeted advertising, which are typically used by free email providers. Dreamhost has got you covered in all these areas, so look no further than this provider for your email hosting needs.
Its services come at some very reasonable rates. The monthly option will only take $1.99/month per mailbox from your wallet, while the annual subscription will set you back by even less – just $1.67/month per mailbox.
Dreamhost’s superior standalone email hosting offering comes with 25GB of storage space, email syncing between desktop and mobile devices, as well as a handy webmail software, regardless of the chosen subscription length (monthly or annual).
Finally, to make sure all your emails are not just spam-free, but also protected against malware and viruses, the provider deploys its smart anti-spam filter which keeps up and adapts to all new threats as they come.
GreenGeeks is proud of its dedication to eco-friendly hosting operations, proclaiming itself to be the ‘world’s #1 green energy web hosting provider’. These aren’t just empty words – GreenGeeks has a 300% energy offset scheme, which means that for every amperage it pulls from the grid, it invests three times that in the form of renewable energy.
That said, its offering is bland, at best, but its shared hosting plan does stand out. Specifically, this plan not only provides the user with unlimited resources – web storage, bandwidth, databases, and email, but it also adds Cloudflare CDN integration, the Softaculous app installer, shared SSL, LSCache, nightly backups, and a free domain for a year.
Furthermore, it simplifies your website-building efforts with a user-friendly website editor and even provides a phone line if you need direct contact with its customer support team.
The prices aren’t hefty either, with the three-year deal on its Lite packages costing you an equivalent of only $2.49/month, after which the price increases to $10.95/month. This plan is the best for small websites and blogs that are just getting started, though, as it only covers one website. If your needs are greater, you can pick among two other options.
With the price that starts at $4.95/month (increasing to $15.95/month after the initial pricing period), the Pro package will get you twice the performance of the Lite package. If you opt for the Premium at $8.95/month (renews at $25.95/month), you’ll get four times the power, a free dedicated IP, and a free Premium SSL. All the packages are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Domain.com is among the more cost-effective and reliable hosting providers, with its shared hosting plans attracting the most attention. The Basic plan includes unlimited storage and plenty of bandwidth that you can build upon, albeit for only one website. Other offered features include 5 FTP logins, 10 databases, eCommerce solutions, and one Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, free of charge. The pricing for this plan starts at $3.75/month.
At $6.75/month, you can get your hands on the Deluxe option, which covers as many websites as you want, extends the number of FTP logins to 25, as well as databases on 25. The Ultra account removes all limitations and is available at a monthly rate of $13.75.
Unlike many of its competitors, this hosting provider has no monthly pricing options and only offers one-year, two-year, and three-year packages. It doesn’t have any differences in pricing based on the monthly price equivalent.
Liquid Web does an awesome job of providing various expert managed hosting services for all types of users and requirements. These range from WordPress and email hosting to WooCommerce and dedicated, as well as VPS and cloud hosting options.
The provider’s capabilities shine in most of its plans. Take its WordPress solution as an example. You’re not only getting automated WordPress updates, but also updates of plugins, which are first applied in a safe isolated environment to avoid any potential problems affecting your entire site later on, and then forwarded to your website.
Thanks to its data centers that are run entirely on managed hardware and network infrastructure, Liquid Web can provide a wide variety of powerful hosting features. These include a professional-level virus and spam defense system, deep system monitoring, key software installation, updates, support, as well as free external migrations. A cherry on top? Its incredibly expedient and professional customer support.
Liquid Web doesn’t come cheap, but good things rarely do, and this provider certainly justifies this old adage.
As the ancient Latin saying goes, nomen est omen (‘the name speaks for itself’) and, as you could probably deduce from its nomen, Namecheap focuses on providing affordable services without cutting any corners in terms of their quality.
It certainly succeeds in this endeavor, as you’ll see for yourself if you purchase one of its more advanced packages. The entrance-level plan, at only $2.88/month ($1.44/month for the two-year plan), doesn’t get you much though – only 20GB of storage space and 30 email accounts, but its price is a real bargain and it does throw in free CDN support, one domain name, and coverage for three websites.
Increase your budget limit to $4.88/month ($2.44/month for the two-year plan) and you’ll get access to unrestricted SSD storage, unlimited websites, and auto-backups, while at $8.88/month ($4.44/month for the two-year plan), you’ll receive 50GB SSD, but also cloud storage that guarantees zero interruptions, ultimate stability, and top-notch data protection.
In addition to its 99.9% uptime guarantee and above-average speeds, Namecheap is beginner-friendly and does its best to ease you into the platform as quickly as possible with help of the information in its welcoming email and a huge knowledge base on the website.
Another hosting provider whose business focus is evident from its name, WP Engine specializes in, you guessed it, WordPress hosting, or rather managed WordPress hosting, to be more precise.
This means it will guide through and even handle the whole process itself where possible – from setting up, optimizing and securing, to updating and troubleshooting your WordPress website. One of these helpful capabilities includes test-running the newly released WordPress updates in an isolated environment prior to forwarding them to your website.
In addition to this, opting for WP Engine will give you access to plenty of extras like integrated performance tests with helpful tips, and a staging area where you can try out new plugins or themes, without messing up the actual website.
If you thought that such a terrific platform wouldn’t cost a lot, you’d be very wrong. Namely, the basic plan runs at a whopping $30/month (although it’s actually $22.50 in the first billing cycle). However, it helps to know that it’ll get you outstanding managed hosting, optimized Dev/Stage/Prod environments, Evercache, Global CDN, automated SSL certificates, and exceptional 24/7 customer support.
Wix is a popular website building platform that prides itself on its simple and intuitive yet quality and content-rich editor. It has several hundreds of meticulously designed templates, in addition to the already predefined websites.
Its templates might be its most shining feature, but they’re hardly the only one. You’ll also get a built-in image editor filled with various filters, as well as a bunch of eCommerce templates. Along with the absence of transaction fees on your sales, these templates make Wix an excellent solution for online shops.
Although Wix specializes in website building software, it offers some attractive hosting plans as well. You can get familiarized with its service through its free plan that is very limited in terms of storage space and bandwidth (up to 500MB each) and features its branding on your website.
When you’re ready for something more, you can invest in a Wix Connect Domain plan at $4.50/month, Wix Combo at $8.50/month, or the most popular, Wix Unlimited at $12.50/month. The latter will get you unlimited bandwidth, 10GB of storage space, a $60-worth Visitor Analytics app, a $60-value Site Booster app, as well as one free domain for a year. Wix even has the VIP option, as well as business and eCommerce premium plans for the most demanding users.
Just like other providers on our list who share agendas and target audience, Weebly has a score to settle with Wix, as both of them want to charm the same crowd of users who are into website building. Weebly wants to be a more intuitive among the two, with its powerful drag-and-drop engine allowing even the least talented users to build a website of their own. Even their more experienced colleagues will raise their thumbs at the sight of the vast template database which will turn website building into a Lego-like affair.
As for the hosting, the options start with the Free version which will cost you zero dollars, with several restrictions being its only “price tag”. You’ll be limited to 500MB of storage and unable to remove ads from your website. If it bothers you, you better look in the direction of the Professional plan.
Even this package offers you a glimpse of a wide range of features which Weebly hands out like a demented Santa – starting from the support for building your own web store with functional coupons, customer reviews and inventory management, all the way to the organization of email marketing campaigns for more ambitious users.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is the term used for the service of putting a website on the Internet. Depending on your requirements, preferences, limitations, and the size of your budget, there are plenty of solutions to choose from.
However, not all of the web hosting providers are equally good, and finding the ideal one for you is sometimes a difficult and time-consuming job as there are a lot of them and they all have detailed lists of features and add-ons on their websites.
These features may include a user-friendly control panel, website editor, mailing lists, eCommerce support, scalability, testing environments, various support levels, security methods, as well as marketing credits. Therefore, you’ll first need to understand what it is you’re looking for.
It all comes down to whether you need all of these features or only some of them. Regardless of the depth of your wallet or your specific needs, our list of the best web hosts is there to help you pick out the most suitable solution.
The tips and tricks for choosing the best web host
There are several things you should pay attention to when deciding on which web host to go for.
1. What you’re getting for the price
If you’re looking to host your hobby website or a blog, you can get away with choosing the cheapest, or even a free hosting service. On the other hand, large businesses require some serious power and therefore a more substantial investment in this area. Don’t compromise on what could cost you more in the long run.
2. Discounts and renewals
You’ll notice that a large majority of web hosts offer low-price packages in the first billing term, only to renew at a (sometimes substantially) higher price after the introductory period is over. Don’t let yourself be fooled and always read the fine print.
If the full price isn’t displayed clearly on the pricing page (usually crossed out above or below the discounted price), it will show up in the cart during the purchasing process. Taking advantage of an introductory discount may be a good option, especially if the low price is offered for a longer period, like two, three, or four years. It all depends on how much you are willing to pay in the long run.
3. The provider’s credibility
Unfortunately, not everyone in this business is honest and sometimes you’ll have scammers pretending to be actual web host providers so they can take your hard-earned money and either not provide any service or do so poorly. Make sure to do your due diligence by checking the provider’s contact address, owner information, launch date, reputation, as well as credible reviews.
4. Your own experience and limitations
Consider how much help you’ll need when setting up your website. Do you have some expert knowledge, previous experience, or are you a complete beginner? Your choice should depend on how user-friendly the platform is, if it has a control panel if you need one, as well as on the level of support the web host offers, be it in terms of setting up the website or its legal and commercial ramifications.
5. Web editors
Sometimes you can skip the web host altogether and instead go for a powerful website building service that can also get your website on the Internet. That said, such services may have their limitations, primarily in terms of advanced features like migrating your website, as well as the amount of supported bandwidth and storage space.
What type of hosting do you need?
Depending on the size of your business and its hosting needs, you’ll determine whether you should go for a shared, cloud-based, or dedicated server. The difference is mainly in how much resources are given to your website exclusively and how much is shared (if anything) by websites across the hosting platform.
A business that is just starting will do fine on a shared service, as it won’t cost it an arm and a leg but will offer a decent service. The main downside to this approach is that the server resources are shared with a number of other users so it might affect the loading speeds. If need be, you can always upscale to a virtual private server (VPS) which basically mimics a dedicated server but within a shared hosting environment.
If you need the resources assigned specifically to your website, then a true dedicated server is the only way to go. Purchasing such a service removes the burden of worrying about other websites that you may be sharing your resources with.
One thing to keep an eye on when picking out a dedicated server platform is its service-level agreement (SLA), which defines the commitment you can expect from the service provider. In addition to areas typically covered, like the uptime guarantee, support hours, response times, security levels, and compensation when the guarantees weren’t fulfilled, the SLA may include other features that may not be included in the basic cost, such as the daily or weekly backups.
Additionally, observe whether the web host offers enough scalability to keep up with your growing business needs. After all, who knows how much storage space, RAM, or additional servers your website will require in a few months or years? You don’t want to be stuck with an option you’ll have to replace altogether when it can no longer support your business.
Finally, consider cloud hosting as an option. This more modern method of website hosting has certain advantages over the traditional ones, such as more flexibility and scalability, as well as being more environmentally friendly since it doesn’t require as much infrastructure and space compared to the on-site servers.
Should you even pay for web hosting?
The shortest possible answer is ‘yes, probably’, especially if you’re running a big organization. A free service is perfectly suitable if you have a personal website or a blog, but a business usually requires a more complex hosting platform so this isn’t where you should be cutting any corners.
A paid hosting service will typically provide your website with an SSL certificate that shows to your visitors that your business is serious and trustworthy. You’ll also get more bandwidth and storage space than you ever would with a free service, not to mention the necessary backups that you’ll only get if you pay for your hosting.