This article provides an overview of the different types of hosting and a list of the best web hosting providers. In addition, I’ll provide a brief overview of each company and more detailed information on my favorite choice. Let’s get started with an overview of web hosting in general.
Web Hosting: An Overview
A web hosting service provider is a type of Internet company that allows individuals and businesses to establish a presence on the internet. Web hosting companies own and manage a group of servers, also known as a data center. are companies that provide space on a server for use by their clients. The hosting companies then lease space on those servers for a fee.
Also, web hosting companies provide other services such as hosting for email, cloud, WordPress, WooCommerce and much more.
In addition to understanding how to setup a website, you’ll need to learn a little about web hosting. Following are different types of hosting services.
Different Types of Web Hosting
With a shared plan, your site will share space on a server. This means that there will be multiple websites using the servers resources. The shared option is very affordable, usually around $5.00 a month. This is a great option for new sites and those with limited traffic. However, if your website starts to grow and get more traffic, you will quickly outgrow this option.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
A Virtual Private Server, also known as a Virtual Dedicated Server, divides a server’s resources into “virtual servers”. From the user’s perspective, they have their own server, but it is still hosted on the same server as other sites. These plans offer improved performance over the shared plans and are also more expensive.
With a dedicated plan, you’ll get your own individual, private server. You’ll have full control over the server, but you don’t own it. This option isn’t necessary for beginners or for most small companies. Managing your own server will require that you have the appropriate level of technical skills to configure, install and maintain everything. If you aren’t the technical type, and you don’t have a technical staff, I would avoid this option.
Free Web Hosting
Believe it or not, there are companies that provide completely free hosting plans. In most cases, the company will place ads on your website, which allow them to earn advertising revenue. If you are serious about establishing a quality website and a professional online presence, I highly recommend avoiding free services. The end result is that your company will look cheap and the ads may annoy visitors.
As a small business owner, I am keenly focused on the bottom line. I’m always focused on maximizing profits by doing things that increase revenue and reduce expenses. As a result, I’m always looking for a deal, or at least a discount. When I first started my online business, I set out to find cheap web hosting to host my first website.
At first, I based my decision mainly on price. What I learned was that cheap web hosting is easy to find, but quality web hosting that is also cheap is a much harder to find.
List of the Best Web Hosting Providers
Following is a list of the most popular web hosting providers based on current surveys:
A2 provides a range of services for businesses of all sizes. Whether you are just starting out or you have an established, high traffic site, they have a plan that will meet your needs. They have plans for shared, reseller, VPS and dedicated options. They can host sites on all of the major content management platforms, including WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Their prices range from around $4.00 a month to $100 a month. Visit the A2 website.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon Web Cloud Computing Services has all of the products and services you will ever need. Amazon is geared toward larger companies and developers with high traffic websites. However, it is far too complex and not for the beginner. Visit the AWS website.
BlueHost is highly rated and well-reviewed. They have more than two million sites on their platform, which says a lot. In addition, they have low-cost plans that include a free SSL certificate. Notably, they offer a free money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.
However, I can’t personally give them a high rating because I had a bad experience with them. I had several sites hosted with them and their entire hosting platform went down three times in the same year. Visit the BlueHost website.
Cloudways is a high quality managed cloud hosting provider. They specialize in providing environments for businesses that need to scale quickly. They specialize in solutions for agile teams, sites built on WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, Laravel and PrestaShop. Visit the Cloudways website.
DreamHost provides a variety of fast and reliable services including Shared, WordPress, VPS, Dedicated, Cloud. They have about 1.5 million websites on their platform. In addition, they offer domain registration services, serving as a one-stop shop for getting your business online.
Something notable about DreamHost is that they offer one-click installations for services like installing WordPress. If you’re a beginner, companies like this can help you avoid hiring a developer. Instead, you can use their streamlined services to get online quickly. If you have any trouble, they have 24/7 client support available to assist you. In addition, they have a 100% uptime guarantee. So, you don’t have to worry about your site going down and outages lasting for hours.
Visit the DreamHost website.
FlyWheel focuses on providing a platform for websites built on the WordPress content management system. They target freelancers, agencies, high-traffic sites and enterprise development teams. Their platform is host to about 70,000 companies.
They partnered with Google Cloud to build a fast, scalable and reliable platform. FlyWheel has a simplified cPanel which makes managing your site more intuitive. And, if you want to become a reseller, this is a great option.
They have affordable plans that start a $15 a month for a single site, which includes a free SSL certificate. Also, you can add a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to any plan.
Visit the FlyWheel website.
GoDaddy is the largest web hosting providers in the industry with more than 17 million customers. They have some of the cheapest plans we’ve seen and have a wide variety of products and services. Generally, they have the same products and services as other high quality providers. However, they constantly bombard you with sales messages, trying to get you upgrade or purchase additional services. This quickly becomes annoying.
Visit the GoDaddy website.
Kinsta (more expensive, but highly recommended)
Criteria for Selecting the Best Provider
Now that I’ve listed the major players in the industry, its time to decide who is the best. Selecting the right web hosting is an important, but difficult decision. If you are just starting out, any of the companies listed above are likely to meet your needs. As your business and your website grow, the list of suitable companies gets smaller.
While many of the features and benefits can be measured and compared, choosing the best hosting company is still subjective. Meaning, it is really a matter of opinion. You have to weigh all of the offerings such as:
Variety of plans – One size doesn’t fit all. You want a plan that is right for you based on where your business is at the moment. As your business grows, you want a company that can grow along with you.
Storage Capacity – Does the host offer adequate storage at a reasonable cost?
Bandwidth – Does the company offer adequate bandwidth for your plan?
Customer support – Quality of support is critical. No matter how skilled or tech savvy you may be, you will undoubtedly need to communicate with support. Look for support that is available 24/7 and via multiple channels (i.e. phone, chat, knowledgebase, email, etc.).
Affordability – overall cost, types of servers, security, etc.
Once you’ve evaluated all of these features, then can you select the top company for your needs.
My Recommendation for the Best Web Hosting Provider
Based on the surveys and comparisons I’ve evaluated, Cloudways, Siteground and Kinsta are often at the top of everyone’s list. Personally, I recommend SiteGround for web hosting due to its simplicity, affordability and quality. Kinsta would be my second choice, but it is much more expensive, and that’s a dealbreaker for many people.
Why Do I Recommend Siteground?
I recommend SiteGround for several reasons:
The have affordable hosting plans. Their starter plan is just $3.95 a month. I’ve used this plan for several sites, thinking I would quickly grow out of it as my site began to grow. However, I continued to stick with the plan as it continued to meet my needs.
Their environment is stable and reliable. In the past, I’ve had nightmare experiences with companies like GoDaddy and Bluehost. Several times a year, the entire hosting platform would crash, making every website hosted on the platform unavailable to users. When one of my sites goes down, I lose more money in a single day than I pay for hosting in the entire year.
In addition to the daily loss of revenue, there is a longer term impact. Think of it from the perspective of a potential customer. They start out by doing a search engine query and come across a link to your site. The description meets what they are searching for, so they click on the link, only to find out that the website is unavailable. If that was a person’s first visit to your website it is likely you’ll never get them to come back again.
Also, if Google attempts to crawl and index your website while the hosting company is down, it may have an impact on your rankings. Google wants to serve search results for websites that help answer people’s question. If your site isn’t available, Google views that as a let down to their customer. So, they are likely to de-value your website in search results. Especially if you have multiple outages.
Google and Search Engine Optimization experts recommend that you have quality web hosting. The great thing about Siteground is that you get both quality and affordability.
It’s fast. According to Google, and just about every search engine optimization expert, page speed is a critical ranking factor. You can spend a LOT of time trying to improve the speed of your pages. You can research and install the best caching plugins, optimize your images, streamline your databases, and more. But, the biggest factor in page load time is your web hosting. The industry average for a page to load is 4.7 seconds. Using SiteGround pages load in 1.3 seconds. This makes it one of the fastest options available.
They have great support. You can setup the most expensive account with the number one web hosting company that would probably even host your site on a golden server. But I can assure you, you’re going to have problems at some point. And when you do, you’re going to need to contact support. Siteground has quality support in a number of areas: self-help, online help, knowledgebases, discussion forums, online chat, and via the phone.
They have very positive reviews. If you do a Google search, you will find hundreds of SiteGround reviews. Most of the data-supported surveys I’ve seen always include SiteGround as one of the top three contenders.
Questions and Comments
If you have any questions about this overview, or the list of the best web hosting providers, please post a message below. For related information, see how to setup a website.