Most Commonly Asked Questions About Website Hosting
Looking to get started with web hosting, but not sure where to begin? We've got you covered! In addition to our comprehensive reviews, we've compiled answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about hosting a website to help you get started.
Top Web Hosting Services
These days, it seems like there are web hosting companies everywhere. You see ads for them on TV and online all the time. How can you separate the good from the bad? And what do the top web hosting services offer, anyway? How does web hosting work? And why do you need to choose one of the best web hosting providers? We’ll answer all these questions and more in our guide below.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting services, at the most basic level, provide the portal between your business and your website or applications on the Internet. They essentially have servers and management software that lets you design, upload, and link your website and component web pages together, and place them out before the world. In turn, they make sure it is accessible via the web address you’ve registered so that people can access it.
Often, the best web hosting companies also provide a suite of tools and software to help you track statistics about your site, optimize search results and ranking among search engines, and other value-added features. Some also offer assistance and tools to create your website in the first place, whereas others are purely a hosting platform.
The Top 15 Web Hosting Providers:
Below, we briefly touch on details of 15 of today’s top web hosting providers, in terms of what they offer, their prices, and general reputation and value. This will provide you with a good place to start when seeking out the best web hosting company for your particular needs.
BlueHost offers domain name registration, SSL certificates, 1-click WordPress publishing software installation, and 24/7 support, all for a low introductory rate of a $3.95 per month for individual/small business customers. They also provide e-commerce support. Hosting options included shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting (see the last section of this guide for more information on the different hosting options).
HostGator offers a number of different web hosting packages depending on your needs. A drag-and-drop website builder option, WordPress site hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting are all available at different price points. The basic hosting is a competitive $2.75 per month for a single domain, with an SSL certificate, 1-click WordPress publishing software installation, and no bandwidth metering.
Like other top web hosting providers on our list, Just Host has a competitive $3.95 per month introductory program, offering a free domain name, e-mail address, unmetered bandwidth (though may be throttled if in the top 0.05% of users), free website building software, marketing tools, and 1-click WordPress install. They also offer dedicated and VPS hosting options, e-commerce support, and a lot of other options.
Probably one of the best-known top web hosting services today, GoDaddy offers competitive service and prices. Originally a domain name registrar, they’ve evolved into offering both domain names and web services. They have a multitude of services to help you build a website and online presence for your business or individual pursuits. From WordPress hosting to VPS or dedicated, there are also several package deals available starting at $2.99 per month for basic web hosting.
InMotion Hosting offers a full range of web hosting options. While the promotional offerings may be a bit more limited than some other hosts, their uptime and customer service have won numerous awards for quality. Basic WordPress hosting starts at $7.26 per month, with VPS and dedicated options also available, along with a website creator tool and business hosting services.
Comparable to GoDaddy in their service offerings, HostPapa is targeted at small businesses. They have a ton of features, including free migration from an existing host, WordPress and other web hosting, VPS, online stores and resellers, along with a suite of products to help you design your site and applications. Basic, shared hosting starts at $1.95/month.
Network Solutions is one of the original domain name registrars in the US, who has branched out into web hosting and related services like many of their competitors. They too offer a full range of web hosting, site building, and other services in multiple bundles to fit your business or personal needs. Basic hosting starts at $9.96 per month.
Web.com has a few services available, including a website builder platform – either self-directed or farmed out to their team, WordPress support, marketing services, social media marketing, SEO services, and more, in addition to hosting. Basic hosting starts at $5.95 per month.
Now renamed Ionos, 1&1 is “Europe’s largest web host.” They offer an unbeatable promotional rate of $1/month for basic hosting for 1 year, and the same deal for a free .com domain name, e-mail, and website building software to help with your site. They also have a ton of other a la carte services available – definitely worth checking out.
SiteGround offers basic web hosting, WordPress hosting, high-performance e-commerce hosting, and scalable cloud hosting options. Enterprise, dedicated hosting and reseller options are also available, though feature less prominently. The most basic hosting option starts at $3.95 per month.
Like most other award-winning top web hosting services on our list, Hostinger has a range of options to choose from. They offer shared hosting on the entry-level side of thing, along with VPS and cloud hosting options for more demanding/larger operations. The entry-level hosting starts at $0.80 per month, with additional, more powerful and generous packages at $2.15 and $3.45 per month – all very affordable.
iPage is aimed at individuals and small businesses, offering free domain registration, drag-and-drop web software, WordPress templates, e-mail, 24/7 support, a free SSL certificate, and valuable Google and Bing marketing/ad credits, too. They only have a single plan, for $1.99/month, that includes everything the vast majority of people and small businesses will need.
DreamHost is well-known in the web hosting market, and offers pretty much every hosting option imaginable – shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated. Domain name registration, a website builder, e-mail, WordPress support, and much more are all part of their service offerings. The most basic, shared hosting package starts at $2.59 per month and includes a domain, SSL certificate, unlimited bandwidth and traffic, and WordPress pre-installed.
Like DreamHost, AccuWeb has the full range of hosting options available to service almost any hosting need. They have a ton of different plans of all types, with varying features. Basic shared hosting runs between $3 and $5 per month depending on the specific options or style of hosting you choose (Linux vs. Windows machines, for instance).
Web Hosting Hub
Web Hosting Hub is focused on consumers and small businesses. They’re really all about helping people get their websites made and up-and-running, offering 3 different packages of hosting (though no mention of additional services such as cloud, VPS, or dedicated hosting). They also design websites for you for an additional fee. Basic hosting starts at $4.99/month.
How Can My Online Business Benefit from a Web Hosting Service?
Naturally, in order to have an online presence, you need web hosting. While larger corporations can often have the resources and abilities to handle this in-house, the vast majority of individuals and small-to-medium-sized businesses need services from an outside company. The top web hosting providers employ skilled in-house personnel to monitor servers and troubleshoot problems, 24/7. Their goal is to make it easy for you to get yourself and your business online, with tools and services to help you present your best face to the digital world. They handle the tech side of hosting and let you focus on running your business – not learning a second career in networking and Internet technology.
What Web Hosting Features Do You Need?
There are a lot of different features available from many of the best web hosting companies we’ve highlighted in this guide. The most basic, affordable plans are often the least feature-rich, though they do provide the basics that you need to get your site online. Website builder packages, or those with drag-and-drop software capabilities, tend to cost a bit more at a lot of hosts, though many of the best top web hosting providers may include them for free. Support is also critical – 24/7 support, either by phone, live chat, or both – is pretty much the standard for the top web hosting providers today. This will help ensure your website is up, running, and accessible all of the time, and that you have someone to turn to for help ASAP if there are any issues.
Can You Get Web Hosting for Free?
Some companies, particularly those that focus on providing simple website builder software experiences, often provide hosting services for those same sites. They’re managed and limited compared to what you might find at other hosts, of course, especially for the free or ad-supported plans.
But if you have no budget for hosting, check out a company like Wix or Weebly and see what they offer – you can get very basic web design and hosting for free! For more demanding applications and needs, though, you’ll need a paid plan from a top web hosting company – remember, you get what you pay for!
Different Web Hosting Options:
As mentioned earlier, there are a few different key types of web hosting options. Depending on your particular needs, one option may be more appealing over the other. Just remember that they all come at different price points, and with different levels of features, so be sure to do your research on what you need, and don’t go overboard if you’re just starting out with a small, simple website!
Website builder accounts
The aforementioned drag-and-drop style simple interface systems that also handle technical things like web hosting. Options and features are limited, but for a personal site or a start-up business, this can be a great low-cost choice.
Shared web hosting
The most common type of entry-level hosting that most services offer. Multiple websites from different customers are hosted on a single server. This is a cost-effective solution, though there may be some performance issues as you are sharing system resources with other clients.
Dedicated web hosting
Provides your business with a dedicated, single server, not shared with anyone else. This is incredibly valuable for high-bandwidth, high-performance, and/or high-security applications and needs. Of course, it costs a bit more since you are paying for the server alone.
Virtual Private Server web hosting is a bit of middle ground between shared and dedicated hosting. While the hardware remains shared physically, you get a dedicated partition on the server, with a set share of system resources as part of your service agreement. This can help ensure performance is maintained, without requiring a dedicated server for just your business.
It has become increasingly popular, especially for larger or high-demand sites. Hosting functions are spread across groups of computers in the host’s data centers, and can respond on-demand to traffic and computational needs, scaling up or down as required.
Where you use your own computer or a spare computer to host a site out of your home or office. This is not advisable, however, as it may violate your ISP agreements, and will generally require much greater technical expertise than any other option here. It also results in poor performance, limited features and abilities, and can be a real headache unless you know exactly what you are doing.