Do you have questions such as:
- What is web hosting?
- Who are the best web hosting services providers and companies?
- What are the different hosting types
- Do I need website hosting
- Hosting plans features
If you answered yes to any of the above then continue reading.
Whether you’re a hobbyist, newborn start-up, a small local business, a large corporation, or a multi-million dollar conglomerate, having a robust, attractive, memorable, reliable, and fast loading website is very important.
It helps you stay relevant and competitive, remain in sync with your industry, customers, audience, and clients, and provides value-add to every customer or audience interaction.
Websites give your business credibility and legitimacy.
They offer an affordable, modern marketing tool that can showcase your business as nothing else can.
These websites are hosted by website hosting service providers like WP ENGINE
As a business owner or website operator, you can collect enormous amounts of data and analytics about customer trends, behavior, budgets, and purchasing preferences.
But that’s not the whole story.
Unless your website or web application can be viewed and accessed conveniently and constantly on the Internet, it would serve no purpose.
To do this, it’s essential to have a website with a domain name and access to a server.
Servers are computer programs or devices that mediate between computer users and other programs.
They may be located in data centers on a physical computer.
There are many different types of servers, including mail servers, web servers, application servers, proxy servers, file servers, etc.
Typically, a web server waits for and fulfills requests from clients.
It is not economical or practical for every website owner to have their own servers or support systems.
Instead, website hosting services providers offer a viable and affordable alternative in the form of a web hosting service/plan.
Web hosting companies are companies or entities that own the server which runs your website.
The right hosting provider can give the required services by making sure that your website is not loading slow and have web page speed issues, always available, no security issues, and perform well, etc.
In this guide, we will discuss some the popular website hosting types, review of some of the best hosting providers that offer incredible values at good prices, costs, and more.
Buckle up and enjoy!
Disclosure: We are supported by our readers, so when you decide to purchase a service through links on this post, we may earn a commission, at no cost to you. You can read more…
So, What Is Web Hosting?
With so many websites and computer users in the world, there has to be a way to connect computers and websites to be viewed.
This is where web hosting comes in.
Website hosting services providers offer storage space for websites and web applications on an Internet server and allow them to be accessed and viewed.
This service is known as web hosting.
A company that provides web hosting services and technologies on a rental basis is a web hosting company.
When a client hires the services of the company, visitors and users can access the client’s website by keying in the client’s domain name or web address on their regular web browsers.
This allows the visitor’s computer to connect to the server that hosts the website.
The files that have been stored on the server by the website owner can be displayed on the visitor’s web browser.
Web hosting providers offer a range of different web hosting services that are available on an interface or a control panel.
This feature helps to manage the webserver and to install various scripts, modules, applications like email, etc.
In addition to this, a hosting company may also focus on providing specialized services like blog services, e-commerce, video, files only, etc.
While the exact number of web hosting companies currently operating in the world is still growing, some information about web hosting providers is available at but these figures are frequently updated.
Do you know?
Some interesting stats.
- According to a Securi 2018 report, most hacked sites are WordPress(90%), Magento(4.6%), Jo0mla(4.3%), and Drupal (3.7%)
- A delay of 4-seconds in website page load can result in an 11.02% page view loss, according to an Optimizely article
- In 2016, the American Community Survey (ACS) found that 89 percent of households had a computer
What some of the above stats show is that you need to increase your website speed and secure it with a good hosting service and that the internet will continue growing, etc.
Do You Need Web Hosting Services?
To answer this question, it’s important to understand how a website works.
- Websites are composed in a format called HTML (hypertext markup language)
- They have a unique domain name
- The visitor’s computer is the client
- The client uses a browser to make a request to visit/use a website
- Websites are stored on computers called web servers that are capable of receiving demands from clients and responding with the format that displays the website
- The visitor types in a web page address or domain name on the browser
- Browsers connect to the server through an IP (Internet Protocol) address
- When the web address is typed, a request is sent to an online server
- This is verified and the server sends back a response with the HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) and a page is displayed from the appropriate storage files
Merely having a domain name and creating an attractive website is not enough.
You need to allow visitors and viewers to gain access to it via the Internet.
Additionally, your website has to be active on the Internet, stay alive, and grow.
This is possible by providing it with a place where website files can be stored and making them available to people anywhere in the world, at all times.
Websites occupy physical space on a server and in order to be viewed/used, they have to move out into a viewing space outside of the devices where they are stored.
In simple terms, web hosting services providers give a website a home that they can move in and out of whenever required.
While it is technically possible to have your own web hosting provider, this may not be a viable option for everyone.
Any computer can host a website if there is code compatibility.
Web hosting services can be outsourced to professional web hosting companies.
A hosting company generally provides a ready-made, off-the-shelf solution and also the necessary infrastructure.
This is the most suitable solution for a start-up, small or medium-sized business that may not have the technical skills, time, or financial resources to invest.
However, large corporations whose focus is on security and smooth operations would find this a good option.
They have the necessary resources and can hire the best equipment and infrastructure to manage their website in-house.
In-house hosting provides:
- Complete control over access
- Perfect hardware and powerful computers
- Good processor with high RAM
- Licensed/latest/supported versions of OS
- Better facilities and options for upgrades
- Focus on the operating environment, software, and web server systems
- More efficient use of storage space
- Higher levels of performance
- No hassles of legal contracts with specific web hosting providers
On the flip side, this is not a wise choice for smaller businesses because of:
- High costs of web server hardware, appropriate software, and a dedicated net connection
- Servers need specialized climate control
- The requirement for the team of technical professionals to develop, maintain, monitor, and upgrade website
- Need to install and be in sync with the latest tech advances
- The requirement for 24×7 support for the website
- Ensuring that the server is always on
- The requirement for specialized security systems and efficient firewalls
- Need for the ability to respond instantly to problems
- The requirement for licensing compliance
- The requirement for dynamic IP service
While free web hosting services providers offer attractive packages, they are more suited to personal, fun, or hobby websites.
Web hosting providers may not provide customization or branding options.
They work with low-storage, template-like formats that don’t offer scope for creativity and personalization.
Security and back-up options, along with certain important functionalities are limited or absent.
Some “free” plans come with hidden costs or those that kick in somewhere down the line.
Free services may be bundled with ad services or they may not give your website the look and feel of an exclusive domain.
If you need an enduring, robust, profitable website, paid web hosting companies are a better option.
What Is A Web Hosting Company(Provider)?
A professional website hosting company or hosting services provider makes infrastructure investments; leverages the latest advancements and security systems.
They provide transparent information about uptime and load times.
This, in turn, provides enhanced customer/visitor services along with reliability.
They offer a suite of features that includes:
- Email services
- FTP access: FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a client-server protocol that enables the transfer of files between computers on the Internet
- WordPress support or other website building tool support
There are several real, tangible, long, and short-term advantages of opting for a hosting company.
Professional web hosting providers are more conversant with the business end of running web hosting services.
They can keep running costs low and provide a faster and more reliable page service than a home-based broadband server.
Home-based connections are subject to failure and this means website downtime.
Security threats are a constant bug-bear to people who use their work PCs as web servers.
This means you need to invest in a web server that runs web server software.
Web hosting services offer clients a certain allotted disk space and “bandwidth” or data transfer amount to access the server.
Websites that have more dense and intense customer interaction, a bigger range of files to download, a higher amount of content like images, photographs, maps, PDF files, etc need greater bandwidth.
Websites that have mainly readable text content need smaller bandwidth.
For small and medium-sized businesses, start-ups, and personal websites, a hosting company is a perfect solution.
- Professional web hosting companies invest in servers and storage space
- Web hosting providers install the proper environment to ensure the protection and smooth functioning of servers. This includes climate control, dust-free environment, uninterrupted power supply, prevention of over-heating, exposure to weather, etc
- Investments are also made insufficient bandwidth to ensure speed and efficiency of servers
- They employ professionally qualified, trained, and experienced experts for upgrades, monitoring, maintenance, and repairs
- Cost of upgrades, new technologies, replacement of servers, etc is built into the company’s running expenses
This means that the hosting provider is completely responsible for keeping your website up and running 365x24x7.
If you run an e-commerce website that functions across geographies and different time zones, professional hosting services ensure that the site is available whenever/wherever a potential customer accesses it.
A single unpleasant experience and a single disappointed customer can impact your business in a negative way, affecting your brand, reputation, and revenues.
What Do Web Hosting Services Companies & Providers Do?
You can certainly design your own website, but when you want it to be viewed and accessed by others, you require a hosting service.
This service functions as a rental space where the website files can be stored and where visitors can be directed.
What web hosting companies do is free the website owner to concentrate on their core business competency.
You don’t have to stress yourself over setting up servers, networking, dynamic DNS, security, etc.
The rental costs can be built into the overall running costs of a business.
Web hosting servers essentially represent the physical location of your website, almost like a street address.
They provide storage facilities for data, text, images, videos, audio files, and all other content that you use on your website.
Along with this, web hosting providers manage the entire back-end and front-end technologies of your website while enabling it to connect to the Internet.
What Types of Hosting Plans Do Web Hosting Companies Provide?
There are several different types of web hosting services.
This is the most common type of hosting service.
- Almost every site owner who has just entered the world of web hosting starts off with a shared hosting service
- It’s a great introduction for small business and start-up owners who have just set up their websites.
- It’s easy for newbies to understand, provides plenty of free services and add-ons, simple to deploy and manage
- It offers an affordable option if you don’t expect too much traffic, don’t require too many resources or your website is not yet very popular.
- However, a business may soon outgrow shared web hosting services when their needs evolve.
- There is also less control over performance, security, and speed.
In this type of hosting service, the entire server is leased or rented by a single entity or organization.
- The server is housed in a specific data center
- The hosting company is in charge of providing server equipment, infrastructure, administration, etc.
- It may also be called “managed hosting service” though there are certainly significant differences
- They’re a great option for large corporations that require a high level of support and services
- The hosting company may provide a dedicated team to manage everyday operations
- This type of hosting offers superb flexibility, capability, and performance
- This is the perfect option when you need to run specialized functions like enterprise management systems or you have to create customized software programs
- Facilitates modernization of your business’s online visibility and presence
- Web hosting providers generally offer set-up, maintenance, support
- The hosting provider’s huge power capacity and global networks are available to the client
- It is also extremely high on reliability, security, and safety
- However, it is expensive and complex
- This is the most expensive hosting service option available and requires high levels of investment
- It requires a high degree of technical expertise and professional experience
Here is what you need to know about Virtual Private Server (VPS):
- Virtual private server hosting plans combines the pros and cons of both shared hosting and dedicated server hosting types.
- It is the ideal option for running a SAAS (software as a service) business or in the business of developing specialized, bespoke software.
- Offers exclusive services at a realistic price
- Great security and performance
- Complete control over the environment
- However, requires extra maintenance
- Is dependent on a shared server
- The server is not a physical entity, but a virtual one
- There are also different types of vps website hosting plans and the type determined your cost(for example, if you choose managed VPS services, the costs can go up)
The “cloud” refers to a number of computers linked together which enables the pooling of combined resources.
- This is a great option for companies that are on a growth trajectory. Generally, websites graduate from shared hosting plans to cloud or VPS hosting.
- It offers enhanced flexibility and speed, no matter what the traffic. With adequate hardware resources, there’s almost no way your site can go down, even if there’s a server crash.
- Clients pay only for the resources they use. There is automated, scalable resource-allocation, and pay-by-use convenience. However, it’s important to know the nature/extent of the actual features that are offered and how much you’re expected to pay for them.
Business owners who lack the tech skills and/or don’t have the in-house find this to be a good option.
Here the web hosting services provider offers proactive tech support in an environment where the experience has been configured to a single application.
WP hosting is a type of specialty(managed) hosting service.
- Specialty hosting plans are platform-specific, matched to a type of language, tool, or framework.
- WordPress has certain specific requirements that are not generic.
- Some web hosting providers offer dedicated support, services, and performance for a WordPress installation.
- WordPress runs well on standard web hosting and most web hosting providers offer an “auto-installer” to facilitate the process more easily.
- Server resource usage is predictable, its configuration can be made more specific, in turn leading to swifter, smoother up-gradation.
- However, since WordPress is a community-supported, free software, you don’t get professional support.
- The hosting company provides support only for problems with the hosting account.
- You need to read the contract carefully to understand the exact nature of support.
- Some hosting providers may offer to train your staff on common issues in WordPress.
Domain hosting enables you to host the site anywhere and allows a business to brand its URLs.
Free web hosting services are ideal for hobby websites etc where features like security, performance, speed are not required.
Hosting Plans Pricing Overview
There are hundreds of web hosting companies jostling for space in the web hosting services environment.
They are in the race to capture your business and unless you take the time and effort to do your homework, it’s difficult to get yourself the best deal.
Another important factor to remember is that as your business grows and evolves, your web hosting requirements also change.
While free hosting or shared services may have been a great solution in the early days of launch, your business may have outgrown them.
A start-up, small local business has a very different profile and target customer from one that’s looking to expand beyond geographies and time zones.
New products, technologies, and a wider, deeper pool of customers must be catered to while ensuring that your older model remains robust.
More complex and enhanced needs have to be factored in to stay in sync with the dynamic nature of business growth to take it to the next level.
Web hosting services have a range of plans that cater to every level of business. It’s up to your team to get the very best deal possible in terms of services, costs, features, and support.
There are several technical aspects that also determine pricing points.
When it comes to pricing, it is easy to get confused by the plethora of options available.
Unless you do a thorough needs analysis, with an eye on the present and future needs, you could get lost in the quagmire of plans, contracts, and fees.
While it’s tempting to opt for free hosting services, this is a risk that you might regret somewhere down the line.
They may not have the staying power to stick around for the long haul.
Frequent downtimes are a bane of free hosting services, along with security issues and annoyingly intrusive ads
If you run an e-commerce business, web-based business, or earn revenue from ads on your blog, a free hosting service is a definite no-no.
In case you do opt initially for a free hosting service, get your own domain name first so that you’re not left high and dry when the host folds up.
Paid web hosting providers are more reliable and professionally run.
They offer a wide range of options to suit your needs, preferences, and budget.
Pricing is calculated on the basis of:
- Type of hosting: Shared, VPS, Dedicated, Cloud, etc
- Payment terms: Monthly, yearly, quarterly
- Features and options: Bandwidth, email, storage, etc
- Plan Level: Entry, Mid-Range, Highest
- Offers: Discounts, Set-up cost waivers, better terms for long-term plans, etc
The main options available in terms of web hosting services and their pricing options are:
Shared plan price
This is the perfect choice for start-ups, small/local businesses, and personal websites as mentioned earlier.
Here the company owns a given number of servers and can host several websites on each one.
Since the resources are shared, the costs are lower.
- They are great for sites that expect less traffic and don’t need too much bandwidth or storage space
- Slower speeds, security issues, and occasional outages may bother you, but they don’t have a major impact on your site
- There are several well-established, highly-reputed web hosting services providers in this space
- Starting monthly plans range from as little as $4 to $7.99, with a choice of 3-4 plan options
- The highest range of monthly plans are from $14 to $33.99
- Most of them offer a money-back guarantee ranging from any time to 90 days
- Feature options include c-panel, email, unmetered transfers, free back-up and domain, SSL certificate, live chat, etc
- Plans are also based on the amount of disk space, number of sites included, sub-domains, monthly visitor limits, guaranteed uptime performance, and other aspects like knowledge center and tickets
Dedicated plan price
At some point in the life of a business, it grows beyond what shared hosting can provide.
- More traffic and security concerns begin to gain importance as your business grows and unless you scale up the website, the business could be negatively impacted.
- One of the options available is dedicated hosting, where a complete server can be utilized exclusively by a single website or client.
- It offers comprehensive control over RAM, bandwidth, storage, software configuration, etc.
- It provides greater flexibility, control, processing power, and better utilization of resources.
- However, it’s also the most expensive web hosting service that’s available.
- It’s the perfect choice for large, high-powered, high-worth businesses that have a specific need for huge bandwidth, storage facilities, security, and powerful performance.
- Pricing depends on speed, RAM, storage, bandwidth, the kind of processor being provided, etc.
- Monthly plans are based on the kind of features and add-ons that you select.
- Plans can range from as low as $67.58 for a monthly package that provides support and state-of-the-art tech, protection from system failures, fast and fail-safe performance, 100% network and uptime guarantees, auto-migrations, back-ups, real-time monitoring, customized configurations, add-ons like block/object storage, 500GB SSD – 5TB disk space, optimized WordPress, 24×7 support, etc.
- Managed dedicated hosting is available at slightly higher rates. It offers software configuration, installation of updates and patches, environment management, etc.
- There are different tiers of managed services, ranging from self to fully managed options.
- Core managed hosting covers the client’s hardware, web server, and third-party software, server infrastructure, and LAMP stack core elements.
- These plans start from $105. 69
- Unmanaged dedicated hosting is suitable when you have your own in-house experienced developers and site admins while offering the required tech support.
- These plans start from $99.59
- There are several other options in the dedicated hosting space:
- Dedicated Linux server
- Dedicated Windows server
- cPanel dedicated server
- Plesk dedicated server
- Dedicated server with free SSDs (solid-state drive)
- Dedicated server with unlimited bandwidth
- Reseller dedicated hosting
- Monthly plans for these types start from $19.95 and go up to $105. 69
- While dedicated hosting is ideal for some business requirements, on the flip side, it is expensive in terms of set-up costs and maintenance.
- Extensive tech knowledge and skills are required.
- If you lack these in-house, you have to pay extra for managed services.
VPS plans price
The virtual private server bridges the gap between shared hosting and a dedicated hosting service.
- It resembles a dedicated server within a shared hosting ecosystem, combining aspects of both.
- It’s the right choice for an upgrade from shared hosting for websites that are on a growth path.
- You get the advantages of privacy, security, dedicated resources, and a certain amount of control.
- There are two different VPS options available: cPanel VPS hosting and Cloud VPS.
- Hosting plans are available from several reputed, big-name web hosting service providers.
- They include between 3-4 plan types, ranging in price from starting rates pegged at $29.99 – 89.99
- The highest range plans are available at between $99.99 – 159.95
- Pricing is also based on available RAM, root access, OS (Windows/Linux), bandwidth (standard, enhanced, or ultimate), storage, uptime performance, etc
- Features include email, money-back guarantees, live chat, 24×7 phone, SSL certification, number of domains allowed, dedicated IP address options, CPU cores, etc
Cloud plan prices
Cloud servers are a system of interconnected servers where websites can be stored on multiple servers.
- This enables the availability of resources from different locations, creating a virtual server or “cloud.”
- It is a great option for websites that demand a high level of flexibility, scalability, reliability
- If your website experiences frequent fluctuations in traffic, the cloud is a great hosting provider to choose
- Plans range from simple, stress-free options to complex platforms
- You can choose the best option based on your business goals, traffic, tech expertise, and budget
- While scaling up from a shared hosting service, larger and growing businesses should identify a hosting provider that retains some of the features they loved in shared hosting
- Pricing plans are based on the services, features and support offered
- Different hosting companies offer plans ranging from starter to business pro plans
- Monthly plans start at $4.95 and go up to $29.99 and may vary based on the monthly term period opted for
- Features may typically include
- websites allowed ranging from 1 to unlimited,
- money-back guarantees,
- free site transfer and managed services,
- storage space and bandwidth options,
- available RAM,
- email accounts and email storage,
- free and premium SSL certificates,
- domain privacy,
- automated back-ups,
- local caching,
- SpamExperts mail filtering and a range of marketing offers
- Add-ons may include additional domain names, dedicated IP address, SEO tools, expired account reactivation, etc at extra cost, enterprise-grade firewalls, etc
It’s a smart strategy to do a detailed price comparison across different cloud hosting providers.
A cost-benefit analysis with fine-tuning on return on investment analytics can net you the best deal.
This is a highly competitive market and cheap doesn’t necessarily mean low quality.
The big, well-known hosting companies constantly innovate, extend, deepen, and widen their portfolios to provide affordable options.
This enables a better reputation and traction in the web hosting services space for reputed players.
Finding The Best Web Hosting Services Provider in 2020
What should I look for to help signup with the best company and service plan?
Exceptional speed, support, and security are what to look for in a web hosting services provider and their plans.
Those are the keystones of a good website hosting service.
If your website ever goes down, experiences frequent downtimes, lags in performance, and speed, it can negatively impact your business.
Experts compare this to posting a “We’re Closed” sign at your door.
Visitors and customers expect you to be open for business 365x24x7 if you run an online business, e-commerce website.
Visitors also expect websites to be accessible regardless of time and geography.
Unless you meet these expectations, you could miss business opportunities, damage your brand, and find yourself dropping way down in search engine rankings.
The truth is that having great web hosting services is one of the most important factors for your website conversion rate and SEO performance.
No matter how great your content, how attractive and memorable your website is, and regardless of the amazing deals and discounts offer, unless your website is accessible and can be viewed, everything else amounts to zilch.
The presentation, loading speed, reliability, security, features, and ease of navigation of your website are factors that play a major role in customer appreciation and loyalty.
Partnering with the wrong web hosting services provider can swiftly turn your dream into a nightmare.
What should business owners look for in the ideal web hosting companies or website hosting services providers?
i) Do a needs analysis: It’s important to list out your preferences, needs, and budget before you begin the search.
This also means that you need to analyze your business requirements at the present moment and in the foreseeable future.
Is yours a start-up, small or medium-sized business on the growth path, a large corporation, or a multi-million dollar conglomerate?
Take into account what you expect from a hosting company.
- Shared hosting is ideal for start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses
- VPS is the choice for businesses and websites on a sharp growth trajectory
- Dedicated hosting is the choice for high-performance, super-security, resource-rich businesses
ii) Type of site: This depends on the nature and scope of your website. Is it focused on these features:
- Text only
- 24-hour video streaming
- Video blogging
- E-commerce or Online store
- Local, small target audience
- Personal website for job search or talent showcasing
These factors will determine how much storage you need to purchase.
It’s wise to stretch a little beyond what you need right now so that future expansions and upgrades can be done more smoothly.
It’s also a smart idea to select a portable content management system rather than getting locked into a particular hosting service.
This is because the industry is highly dynamic.
Management can change, technologies may shift and there could be acquisitions and mergers that impact your contract.
Ensure that you have your own domain name. It helps you to change website hosting providers whenever you want and has control over the SEO benefits you’ve earned previously.
Read the terms of service in great detail.
If possible, get them read by an expert or trustworthy, knowledgeable legal professional.
Such contracts could have hidden clauses, charges, fees that kick in at a later date, refund policies, money-back guarantees, redress terms, etc.
Take your time to go through the entire terms and conditions section before you sign on the dotted line.
iii)Resource requirements: This is a highly competitive market and it’s easy to get trapped into buying features and add-ons that you may never use.
New websites or businesses that cater to a limited, localized audience may not require much bandwidth.
Ensure that you keep a margin for future growth while also making sure that you’re not locked in.
- Do you need Windows applications?
- A WordPress blog?
- Special software needs?
It’s important to understand Need-To-Have features, Want-To-Have features, and May-Need-Later features that you consider essential.
Prioritize them according to what you need right now and in the middle and long term.
These are some typical aspects to consider:
- Email functionality
- Storage and RAM
- High bandwidth
- High security
- Data transfer
- Uptime rates
- Hosting upgrade options
- Pricing terms: Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly
- Ecommerce features
- Control panel
- Live chat and/or Phone chat
- Site back-up
- Subscription period
You can also check about account limitations, visitor limitations, add-ons, number of domains possible, etc.
iv) Reliable Servers and Uptime Rates:
Websites need to be alive 24×7, especially when you want global outreach.
Your web hosting services provider has to have stable network connections and servers.
Today, these aspects are tagged as being 99.9% even in shared hosting configurations.
You can access uptime information by reading reliable online reviews and/or track the web hosting provider with server monitoring tools.
Third-party reviews are a great help to tag consistent problems, complaints, and user feedback.
How web hosting companies respond to customers can give you a fair idea of the level of support you can expect from them.
It’s good to have a basic understanding of server types so that you don’t get snowed under by tech jargon delivered by hosting company reps.
The cheapest one is shared hosting available on shared servers.
However, your site’s performance and security can be affected by the environment and the neighborhood you find yourself in.
v) Support: This is something that can make or break a relationship.
Unless you have experienced, professionally-trained experts in-house, pick a hosting service that provides the level of support you need.
Most web hosting service providers offer certain basic support features like email, phone, and/or ticketing support.
What you need to check is what the turnaround times are( keep in mind that responding fast doesn’t mean solving your problem.
Actually, if they respond too fast, there is a huge possibility that they are not doing their research properly before responding, especially, with technical issues).
Most web hosting providers offer 24×7 phone support, but you need to understand what kind and level of support it is.
If the phone number merely connects to a call center that gives you a ticket or records your complaint, it could spell trouble.
It’s important to have a searchable, information-rich, easy-to-understand knowledge section, with a section on FAQs and a bank of useful, relevant articles written by true experts.
Test every support channel yourself before you opt for the service.
Ensure that they are able to address your concerns and their response is reliable, prompt, and trustworthy.
Reviews and customer feedback are a great way to cross-check the claims of a web hosting services provider but be careful because a lot of the reviews online are by affiliate marketers who are not providing information fairly.
For a hassle-free support service, the better option is a managed hosting service.
You may have to pay a higher price, but it can save you unnecessary stress and frees you to focus on your core business areas.
vi) Pricing: While this should never be the sole determining factor, it certainly plays a major role in selection.
Don’t hold price hostage to security and performance.
These are non-negotiables.
Cheapest is not always the best, but the cheapest doesn’t always mean unreliable, shoddy, or scam.
Free hosting may be a great idea for start-ups or personal websites but you may have to compromise on performance and security when you choose cost-savings and convenience.
Some web hosting companies may offer free hosting initially, but a reading of the fine print could tell a different story.
Watch for seemingly great deals like unlimited offers – these may come with hidden clauses that could limit your performance or shut your site down after you reach a predetermined usage level.
In this industry, it pays to opt for a slightly more expensive option even if it means stretching your budget a bit.
Price also depends on the kind of services you opt for.
Starting with an affordable shared hosting package, you can go all the way up to dedicated servers, managed services, etc.
Avoid lock-ins as much as possible.
According to industry watchers, website hosting costs are based on several important factors and it’s good to be aware of these.
- Shared hosting across the board generally amounts to between $2.75 – 15 a month.
- Monthly rates for VPS hosting can range from $5 to $80
- Dedicated hosting rates per month may cost you between $80-730
- Cloud hosting pegs at monthly rates between $4.50 and $240
- WordPress hosting is tagged at $4.99 – 290 per month
Aside from these rates, you may have to fork out extra for:
- domain name registration (between $10-15 annually)
- SSL certification ($50-450)
- automated back-up and restore services (may range from free to $2 per month)
- site lock security ($24 a year)
- business email/productivity suites ($6-15 per month).
vii) Security: We’ve listed this last on the list, but that’s only to highlight its supreme importance.
These figures are alarming and they’re only set to grow.
Studies conducted by Sophos Labs, a private cyber-security firm reveal that every day, at least 30,000 websites are compromised.
They distribute malicious code to random users.
Most of these websites are owned by legitimate small and medium-sized businesses and they are inadvertently caught in this criminal activity.
Security and protection are some of the most important features to look for when selecting the right web hosting companies.
Websites contain huge amounts of confidential data about not just your business, but also about your customers.
If you run an eCommerce or retail site, you have to protect your customers’ data and confidential information.
Malicious attacks, hacking, cybercrime, data theft, identity theft, etc. are some of the issues you could face.
Security measures that are essential for any sized website include:
- Network protocols
- Spam filtering
- Virus and malware scanning
- User permission
- Multi-level authentication
- Password configurations
- Security audits
Selecting web hosting companies that provide secure hosting means you have to look for certain basic requirements.
Your website should have SSL (secure socket layer) certification that ensures that all information that flows back and forth through the website is kept safe and private.
Visitors can, therefore, access the website using HTTPS that is doubly secure and encrypts all communication between the website and browsers.
You also need a WAF (web application firewall) to monitor the HTTP traffic. This prevents SQL injections, cross-site scripting, and other types of malicious techniques.
Network monitoring has to be a regular feature to prevent intrusions and unauthorized activity on the website.
Detecting malware and ensuring the removal is a combined effort between the website owners and the website hosting services providers. Special software can be installed to prevent malware attacks. Regular reports should be given to the client on the monitoring efforts.
Automated, regular offsite backup is a crucial aspect of security, especially for larger, more complex websites.
While selecting the right plug-ins, updates, and apps, it’s important to check their numbers and that they are current.
Default settings should be changed immediately.
Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks happens when miscreants flood the website’s servers with unprecedented amounts of requests and traffic.
This makes the website “crash” or become unavailable to genuine visitors.
Security systems should focus on the prevention and mitigation of such attacks.
Best Web Hosting Services Providers Review
We did some research on the value that web-hosting companies provide, not just the basic features that they all mostly offer.
Our goal is to help you make you see the value, not just price, when you focus on the actual values it is easier to pick the right hosting provider.
Here are the most important factors that really matter that we looked into before making any recommendation( If you don’t focus on these things, you will always jump around from host to host and get frustrated):
- Is GZIP or Brotli Compression Enabled in the server or do you have to do it yourself: Every website needs a GZIP or Brotli compression to load faster. Most people are novices and even if you are not, you don’t want to waste time implementing this or money hiring someone to do it for you. So we picked website hosting companies that already do this for you at the server level. This is good because you do not have to spend time learning or paying a developer to do it for you.
- Is Browser Cache Enabled for SEO & Speed in the server or do you have to do it by yourself: Nothing will kill your websites SEO and speed than not having and implementing the right browser cache, especially, Cache-Control headers.
- Researched web hosting providers’ knowledgebase: We looked at how easy it is to find easy information on the most important hosting facts like how web hosting handles GZIP and Browser Cache. For example, if you go to google and type the hostname + browser cache and you can’t find results coming from that host website about how they handle that then be wary. It is usually a sign that you have to optimize that yourself.
- Do you need to pay extra for plugins, premium themes, malware removal, etc: This is one area that a lot of people ignore. They focus just on hosting service provider’s prices instead of what they get in true long-term value. If a web host price is $3/m but you have to pay $49/year for a good caching plugin like WP Rocket( the best in the market), $499/year like SUCURI ( the best the market) to remove malware, premium themes with prebuilt websites ( this great if you are a novice because it will save you thousands from hiring a developer. Even if you are a pro having a premium theme with pre-built templates still save you money because you don’t have to spend time and money building things from scratch), thousands to hire a developer to implement other basic optimizations like GZIP or Cache-Control that should have been done on the server level, then you really not saving money with that 3/m. So you are better off about $20/m and getting all or most of the above already in place. Let’s do the math – at
Some of the most solid web hosting providers that have all of the above or most of them are:
1) WP Engine ( The Lamborghini of Hosting at a Toyota price)
WP Engine is a WordPress-specific host. They provide managed hosting fully optimized WordPress.
Servers located across the US/North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe.
Won the annual Stevie Awards by the American Business Awards organization for customer services multiple times including in 2019.
The hosting provider for the popular Webby Awards
Pricing plans include:
WP Engine Deals: Get 20% off your plan.
- Easy-to-use, straightforward interface
- Great reliability and support
- Robust security
- Automated scans for malware
- Excellent development tools
- Fully-managed content-delivery network
- Unlimited data transfer
- Constantly upgraded hardware
- Handles traffic spikes comfortably
- 24/7 prompt customer support through email, chat or phone
- Not within everyone’s budget( the biggest complaint people have is the price)
- It is not friendly price-wise for hobbyists and small sites.
Kinsta is truly a Lamborghini in the hosting space.
If you don’t go with WP Engine you need to go with them.
Sleek interface and powerful structures for website security, SEO, customer support, and performance.
( if you are starting off and just want something online)
Bluehost is called the “Budget Hosting Heavyweight” best known for its partnership with WordPress.
Bluehost is one of the official WordPress recommended host providers.
On various popular Facebook votes, BlueHost keeps coming in at the top 5 to 10 hosts to use.
- Shared hosting: It starts at a reasonable monthly price with a free domain name, SSD, 50GB disk-space, no limitations on bandwidth, SSL certification included
- WordPress Hosting/WP Pro: Comes with pre-installed WordPress, WordPress staging environment+themes, managed services, automated updates to WordPress core
- WooCommerce: 3 different hosting plans
- VPS hosting: Power, control, advanced security, and guaranteed resources
- Dedicated hosting: Power, security, control for high-traffic sites
- Reseller hosting: BlueHost partners with Reseller Club to offer reseller services.
Bluehost Deals: See how to get up to 66% introductory first-time user signup.
- BlueHost has one of the best uptime: 99.99%, great load speed
- Free domain
- Affordable pricing
- Great security (with Sitelock, privacy features, Postini, free SSL certification)
- Range of apps
- E-commerce features
- Money-back guarantees
- Good customer support
- Recommended by WordPress
- Comes the top 5 in a lot of Facebook and other social media polling votes and recommendations for website hosting firms to select.
- No Windows/OS hosting,
- High renewal rates
- Longer commitment period
- No free migration
Best Hosting Providers Offer These Basic Features
A quick run-through of must-haves that good web hosting companies provide:
- Adequate Bandwidth/Disk-space
- Suitable pricing options
- Server reliability
- Robust Security
- SSL Certification
- WordPress Support
- Customer service/support
- Back-up availability
- Affordable Registration/Maintenance/Renewal costs
- E-commerce/Email facilities
- 24×7 expert support
- Scalability and Flexibility
- Easy-use control panels
- Prevention of Vendor Lock-in
- Migration facilities with software compatibility
Free Web Hosts Option
Stay away from the free web hosting solutions if you are serious about security, performance, growing your business or blog.
But if you insist on using one then the list below lists the popular free web hosting providers.
List of web hosting companies that offer a free solution:
Just because it is free doesn’t mean it is good.
Free web hosting is not always recommended because of constant security/performance issues and you typically do not own the site and domain ( so if your site grows big you can move it and you will lose all your hard work).
The truth is that free hosting service cons outweigh the pros by a lot.
With free hostings solutions, there is a huge lack of customer support, speed issues( you won’t have the access to a lot of the backend to optimize the site how you want), hard to do your own branding, limitation to bandwidth is huge, unwanted ads on your site that you can’t control, harder to rank online, etc.
Pay the extra $2 to $4 dollars( these prices are because of deals offered by a lot of the hosting providers) to get the best and solid solution.
Knowing When To Find A Better Solution
While loyalty is always preferred, there are plenty of reasons to switch to a new hosting provider that better meets your needs, preferences, and budget.
- Not enough bandwidth/storage
- Not capable of handling growing traffic
- Poor customer service
- Changing price points: Not enough features to match the price
- Not satisfied with current features
- Excessive downtime
- Slowdown in page-uploads
- Bloated add-ons
- Poor security
- No automated back-ups
- Lack of reliability and site maintenance
- You need more control/access
- Bad treatment from support staff
- Poor-quality passive support (FAQs)
- Billing errors/conflicts
- Non-fulfillment of contractual obligations
- Hidden charges or clauses in a contract
- End of package-deal facilities and features
Frequent Asked Questions( FAQs)
Below are some answers to some faqs.
1. Can you host your own website by yourself?
Yes, it’s technically possible if you have the professional expertise, experience, and resources, and your website is small/local/low-traffic. You need:
- Dedicated Internet
- The IP address for servers
- Domain name
- Hardware and software
- Skilled technicians
2. What is hosting on a website?
A web hosting service offers storage space for websites and web applications on an Internet server and allows them to be accessed and viewed.
3. How do I pick good web hosting companies?
- Do a detailed needs analysis
- Be aware of your preferences, budget, and requirements
- Prioritize must-have/nice-to-have/want-to-have conditions
- Compare prices
- Get recommendations from trustworthy experts
- Test out features
- Read the Terms & Conditions carefully
4. What are the different types of hosting?
5. Do I need a domain name?
Yes. Though third-party domain names are available and some companies offer free domain names, they’re suitable for personal websites or blogs.
Not having your own domain name makes it difficult to move to host when you want.
They can also be monetized later when your site gains brand value, popularity, and traction.
6. What is the “cloud”?
Cloud computing refers to a hosting service that comprises a large number of servers linked together so that resources can be pooled.
Websites with high traffic and requirements for scale and flexibility are the best candidates for cloud hosting.
7. What are the different types of operating systems for website hosting?
The answer is Linux and windows.
Linux web hosting applications are the most popular and preferred as it is more versatile.
Final Thoughts on Web Hosting Companies: The Best Websites Hosting Services & Providers Review Guide
Currently, there are estimated to be about 2 billion websites in operation worldwide.
There are 338 561 different web hosting companies that offer services to these websites, based on their unique needs, preferences, and budget.
Ten of the leading hosting services control 24% of the market.
Different hosting platforms are available to match the website owner’s requirements and price preferences.
Security, stability, scalability, reliability, speed, and performance are of great importance while selecting hosting services.
WordPress being the #1 content management system, many web hosting services providers offer services that are geared to facilitate it.
Partnering with the right web hosting services provider can determine the destiny of your website and your business.