If you’re new to the world of web hosting it can be a little overwhelming at first. You might feel that there is too much to take in at one time, and there are is a lot of jargon used that doesn’t make much sense. But if you’ve got an idea for a website, or you are starting off on your own Internet empire, this is something you’re going to have to figure out sooner or later.
The good news is there are a lot of companies out there trying to make the process as easy as possible. The easier they can make it, the larger their potential user base is, and therefore the more profit they can make. If you’re already a seasoned pro you probably have your own preferences for what you look for in a host and can navigate these reviews a bit easier.
Choosing the Best Host
So how can you tell which host to choose, when all of them give the same outward appearance of being quite capable of handling your hosting needs? It’s a perplexing question, and one that is not easily figure out by just reading their About Us page, or analyzing what you get with each package. You have to delve a little further to see what sort of company you’re getting in with, and what things are going to be like on the other side.
Web Hosting Review Recaps
We’ve taken the liberty of evaluating and analyzing some of the biggest web hosting companies on the planet, and are here to report back to you our findings. After clocking thousands of hours online, and using several different hosts, we feel that we’re pretty qualified at letting you know which hosts won’t let you down, and which hosts you’ll want to avoid because they might not be around a year from now.
HostGator is one of the more well-known web hosts out there, and they’ve been around for several years now offering basically the same package at roughly the same price. Of course their packages have grown over the years, eventually getting to be unlimited storage, bandwidth, and domains off of one low-priced account, and the whole time they’ve offered 24/7 instant chat support.
As far as their actual hosting goes they live up to their 99.9% uptime guarantee, with very few problems that occur on a monthly or annual basis. They get a high recommendation from us, and we’ve been using them for quite some time now on many different sites.
See our full review of HostGator
HostMonster is also a good choice to go with, one of their most attractive features being that they don’t outsource their customer service so you’re not patched through to some person on the other side of the planet when you have a problem. If you’ve ever gotten lost in translation when your site is down you’ll appreciate this.
Aside from that they offer a pretty comprehensive package at competitive prices for the industry. There’s not a lot to dislike about them, and they earned our Thumbs Up rating, but be sure to see our full review for all the details.
See our full review of HostMonster
Bluehost earned our Thumbs Up rating because of the overwhelming number of users that say it is a good host to go with. Of course we did find those that aren’t too happy with it, but that is the case with every single web hosting company you’ll see on this page. There’s just no pleasing everyone, especially with something as fickle as hosting.
So what you’re really looking for here is a company that gets it right most of the time, for most of the people. We found that to be the case with them and recommend putting them on your shortlist of hosts to try out and see how you like it.
See our full review of Bluehost
Web Hosting Pad Recap
When we first looked at Web Hosting Pad we were initially pleased with what we saw, but upon looking into it further we can’t in good conscience recommend this host. The reason being is they only give you a 30 day money back guarantee, and then after that nothing. This means if you pay upfront for one year, and don’t like it after three months, they aren’t going to give you a refund.
Some of the more confident web hosts out there will give you an anytime money back guarantee. This means that no matter when you decide you want to jump ship, they will give you a refund on the remaining time that you paid for. It just makes sense.
See our full review of Web Hosting Pad
Fat Cow Recap
After seeing all that Fat Cow entails, we were pretty happy to come to the conclusion that they are worth a 30 day trial. It will only cost you $30, and if you like them you can put an end to your search for a good hosting company. If you don’t like them, it’s easy enough to switch hosts, and if you do so within the first 30 days you get all your money back.
It can be a little bit frustrating trying out host after host, and trying to keep your site online the whole time. That’s why we recommend going with one of the hosts at the top of this page before delving into some of the other hosts featured here.
See our full review of Fat Cow
DreamHost is a reliable host, and has that edge to them that you don’t typically see in companies anymore. They have been around for a long time, and are trying to be the cool kid on the block with the demeanor they take when talking about web hosting and their features. They have toned things down a bit in recent years, but if you look for it you can still find hints of the kind people that are behind it.
We have used them for several years on many different sites and haven’t had any problems that weren’t resolved within 24 hours. A few drawbacks are that they don’t offer live chat support, and they don’t have Fantastico, but they do have a lot of great one-click installs so you don’t really need it.
See our full review of DreamHost
We ended up giving iPage our Try recommendation because just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears they are “just right” as far as size goes. They are not too big so that you’re just a number and not a customer, and they’re not too small so that they can provide the uptime of the big boys.
If one-on-one customer service is something you prefer in a company, you might want to give them a go, or at least put them on your list of hosts to consider further. However, if you’re an old hat at this and don’t really need the personalized attention you can get high-quality hosting at a lower cost from other providers.
See our full review of iPage
IX Web Hosting Recap
The big draw to IX Web Hosting is that you can have multiple IP addresses on the same hosting account. We originally were happy with the different offerings they have, but looking at the negative feedback took us down a few notches as far as how enthusiastic we were about them. We understand that every host will have negative things said about them, but when the overall trend starts to look bleak you have to second-guess them.
They do have a seven day trial so you can try it out for yourself and see if the negative feedback is justified, or just a series of flukes.
See our full review of IX Web Hosting
Just Host Recap
Just Host is offering the same kind of hosting plans that you see at some of the bigger hosts out there, and are competing with price, which makes them hard to ignore. In a competitive industry like this it’s no surprise that hosting companies like to compete on price, but at some point you have to wonder if they can turn a profit and stay in business by charging such low rates.
But they’ve been around for a while now, so it doesn’t appear that they’re going anywhere anytime soon. Once a web host reaches that critical mass where they have enough users to turn a profit, and keep up with buying new servers and expanding their operations, they’re pretty much all the same.
See our full review of Just Host
We like that GreenGeeks is going the green route on their pitch of why you should go with them. A lot of the hosting companies out there have gone green by buying credits to offset their carbon footprint, but GreenGeeks took it a step further and they actually produce more energy than they use.
Aside from that they have the same sort of package you’d expect, with unlimited amounts of storage and bandwidth so you don’t have to worry about overages unless you’re doing something nefarious. They are definitely worth a trial run to see how you like their user interface and customer service.
See our full review of GreenGeeks
Yahoo! Web Hosting Recap
Yahoo! Web Hosting is aimed primarily at small business owners that want to get their retail locations online, or give them an online presence. If you’re only looking to make a brochure style website with only a few pages this might be a good choice, but you can do that with any of the hosts mentioned above for less money than what Yahoo! is charging.
Basically, they are making their money through their search engine and this is just a side project for them. You can’t expect them to be able to compete with a company that only does web hosting, and has been doing it for over a decade.
Web Hosting FAQ
There are a ton of questions people have about web hosting that don’t always get answered very well because most people out there are simply trying to sell you on going with one host or another. Since it can be a little daunting figuring out who offers what hosting, what each package entails, and what you’re actually getting for your money, we’ve done our best to tackle a few of the most pressing questions. Be sure to leave any remaining questions you have in the comments at the very bottom, and we will get to them as soon as we can.
Does Amazon Offer Web Hosting?
Amazon doesn’t really offer web hosting per se, at least not the same way that the web hosts listed above do. They offer a suite of services that can help you host your website, or at least parts of it, and they will also host your website if you subscribe to one of their other services. Many webmasters like to use Amazon Web Services to host their videos because they don’t have to worry about the server being overloaded and visitors can always play the video with no lag.
Does Google Offer Web Hosting?
Google will host your website as long as you use their free website building service that they offer. It’s not recommended and not feasible if you’re trying to make a name for yourself online, or trying to make your business look professional.
Does Free Web Hosting Work?
Free web hosting usually comes with a catch, such as having advertisements shown on your website, or having to use the website building software sponsored by the company offering the free hosting. It’s not something that you want to go with if you’re trying to run a viable business, and build a reputation online. The reason being is that web hosting is not very expensive so going with a free service shows that you are the newbiest of newbies.
Does GoDaddy Offer Web Hosting?
GoDaddy definitely offers web hosting as part of their suite of services. They want to be the one-stop place where you can register your domain name and get it all hosted all in one place. We haven’t checked out their hosting plans, but judging from the cluttered user interface that comes with their domain registration, we’re going to go out on a limb and say that it wouldn’t be as user-friendly as some of the other providers listed on this page.
Do I Need Web Hosting For WordPress?
You can either start a WordPress site using WordPress.com, in which case your blog will be hosted for you and you don’t need to get hosting on your own. If you want to use the WordPress CMS software on your own site, going with the self-hosted option, you will need a web host. The good news is that once you choose the host they will have a one-click install that gets WordPress set up within about 10 minutes.
What Does A Web Hosting Company Do?
A web hosting company is responsible for maintaining all of the servers that store all of the data for your website and present that to users that come to your URL. If they are not very good at what they do, you will experience slow loading times, as they oversell their service and are unable to buy new servers to accommodate the load. They can also help you troubleshoot problems you’re having getting your website online, and are the first person to go to when you are experiencing downtime.
What Does Web Hosting Entail?
It’s pretty basic for most users that just want a simple website, or even a complex one with a bunch of pages. It’s just a matter of transferring all of your files to their server, and running the installation for whatever content management program you’re going with. You’ll also be able to get one of those email@example.com e-mail addresses so you can look like a big time organization. Other than that, when your site is fully online you’ll forget about your web hosting because it is just something you’ll take for granted.
Does My Website Need Web Hosting?
It’s probably a good idea to get web hosting for your site. You can find services out there that will build and host a website for you for free, or for a price. But really, if you plan on being on the Internet for the foreseeable future you’re going to want to take matters into your own hand, provide hosting for yourself, and learn how to deploy a website. It is not very hard, and separates you from all of the other sites out there that go the free route.
How Much Does Web Hosting Cost?
Web hosting is relatively cheap when you consider what you’re getting. You are able to upload and start your own website for a few dollars a month, and you’ll be able to have the same sort of service that some of the biggest websites out there have.
What Is Web Hosting Bandwidth?
Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that is downloaded by users when they come to your website. A simple website with mostly text and a few images will not use up a lot of bandwidth because those are not resource heavy. However if you post a lot of your own videos, or want users to download music files from your website like a podcast, you might generate a lot of bandwidth usage. Most hosts come with an unlimited amount of bandwidth these days so it’s usually not a problem unless you are getting a ton of traffic all downloading videos or other large files.
What Is Web Hosting Control Panel?
The control panel is what you’ll be using as the webmaster behind the scenes. It lets you tinker with all of the features of your hosting account and is the area where you’ll be deploying the different scripts that will run your site. When a web hosting company says that they have an easy-to-use control panel, they are trying to let you know that you won’t be lost trying to figure out how to do what you want your website to do.
What Is Web Hosting Disk Space?
This refers to how much space your site is taking up with all the files you upload to their servers. This number is usually pretty low for most sites, especially if you embed videos from YouTube, and use comment scripts from Facebook. There are plenty of ways to save on disk space, like optimizing your site for speed, which is always a good idea for search engine rankings. However, most hosts also provide an unlimited amount of disk space with their basic plans, so unless your site is ginormous you won’t have any beefs with your host.
What Is Web Hosting Vs Domain Registration?
There are two basic things that you need to get a website off the ground starting from scratch. The first thing you want to do is register the domain name, which can usually be found for about eight dollars a year. The next thing you want to do is set up hosting for it which can usually be found for about five dollars or so a month. The domain is separate from the hosting, although most hosts will offer you a free domain name as a way to keep you on board for the year. But you can buy your domain separately, you simply change the DNS information to what your hosts tells you.
What Does Unlimited Web Hosting Mean?
There is a debate over whether you really get unlimited amounts of disk space and bandwidth when you go with an unlimited hosting plan. For 99% of the users it is in effect an unlimited plan where you don’t have to worry about how much data you upload, or how many visitors you get, as long as you are playing by the rules. The only people that will claim that it is not truly unlimited are those that are trying to do spammy stuff, or those whose sites are getting massively popular, in which case they’ll be contacted by the host and asked to leave or upgrade their accounts.
What Does Shared Web Hosting Mean?
Shared means that there will be several different users on one server. If you go with a dedicated plan it means you will have your own server to yourself, and of course this will come at a higher price. For most small to medium-sized businesses shared hosting is the best option to go with because it is low cost and provides a good enough performance for most people. As your site grows and gets more popular you can upgrade to a dedicated account for even more reliability.
What Does FTP Mean?
It stands for File Transfer Protocol, and it is simply a way to move files from one location to another, typically from your desktop to the servers located at your web host. When you sign-up for hosting you will get an FTP account so that you can begin uploading your files to their servers to get your site online. There are several different FTP clients, but we prefer Filezilla because it is free and easy to use and ultra-reliable.
Our Web Hosting Recommendation
We recommend going with a host that offers a good combination of reliability, longevity in the marketplace, and a low price. Since they all offer basically the same services and features, it really comes down to your own personal preference and might take a little trial and error on your part. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t get it right the first time, as it might take two or three hosts before you find your home. Once you get settled in, web hosting is something that you can set and forget and get on with your life.