BigCommerce is a bit different from our other hosting plans in that it's a SaaS (software-as-a-service) provider instead of an IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) provider. In other words, rather than renting space on a virtual machine where you setup and configure your own site, BigCommerce provides you with an app you login to that creates and online store. 
Investing in a virtual private server, or VPS hosting, can be a nice middle ground between shared and dedicated server hosting. As is the case with shared hosting, a VPS host hosts multiple sites per server, but fewer sites are on each server. This raises the cost, but it’s still less expensive than most managed web hosting services or renting your own dedicated server.
Mailboxes and email storage offered by web hosts give you professional email addresses with your website’s domain name. Ideally, a web host will offer unlimited mailboxes so you can give each of your employees an individual email address and have room to grow. You’ll also want ample mailbox space so you won’t have to worry about needing to delete files and possibly losing important data.
And while the free hosts we recommend guarantee you can keep your free hosting as long as you’d like, you will want to take advantage of additional (paid) features as your site grows. Those same providers offer paid plans to upgrade your service, however, serious site owners should strongly consider opting for a reputable, affordable, full-featured hosting provider.
Hosting that is aimed at specific CMS platforms and tweaked optimally for them: e.g., WordPress hosting, Drupal hosting, Magento hosting, etc. In these cases, the best hosts do far more than just provide the minimal requirements for those platforms. They provide a rich, and fully managed environment so your site can perform like a well-tuned machine.

Along with figuring out the overall category of your site, you should think about what (if any) exceptions there are to that. A lot of people set up a simple blog, and then realize they also want to sell just a few products. If you’re going to sell something on the website (even just a few things), you’ll need some kind of e-commerce software that will make that happen.
Shared servers are the entry-level hosting option. They’re the cheapest and require minimal, if any, technical know-how. Multiple websites are hosted on a single server, and therefore share its resources such as data transfer and disk space. This can be the perfect option for a small- to a medium-sized site with fewer than 30,000 visitors per month.
4. HostGatorHostGator is our top choice on our 20 best web hosting companies list without a doubt. It specializes in website, VPS hosting, and dedicated services for over 9 million users so far. Their cloud-hosting packages are among the most affordable packages of this kind in the market, and yet guarantee 2x faster performance and 4x enhanced scalability, with a dashboard that is very easy to use. For WordPress users, HostGator offers built-for-speed plans with advanced security and free migrations, while VPS hosting users will benefit from full root access and scalable resources. A Dedicated Hosting package, on the other hand, will equip you with an end-to-end management package for ultimate performance, and a price scaled to meet your specific needs. What HostGator is best known for is providing a streamlined hosting experience, as a support team is there to assist you  24/7 and to guarantee the company’s impeccable 99.9% uptime. Plus, you can have your existing website seamlessly transferred to a HostGator location or use their handy Website Builder to create a brand new one. As a HostGator user, you’ll also be entering a millions-wide user community, and be able to exchange opinions with website owners worldwide. In case you’re not satisfied, you can rely on the company’s 45-days money-back guarantee.
Just because a web hosting company looks good in their feature list doesn’t mean they are. Read the reviews in our review section and see which companies are difficult to deal with and which ones are helpful. You will almost certainly run into problems at some point, so pay attention to reviews that recount experiences people have had with customer service.
Whether I’m geeking out with Ryan, Laura, and the team, or sketching out server diagrams to explain the basics to my grandmother, talking about a career in web hosting is always a creative endeavor, and I love it. Hopefully, this guide has cleared up some of the common confusions of hosting services, and you’re ready to sign up with the web host that best fits your upcoming site needs.
Virtual private server (VPS) or cloud hosting can be a good middle-of-the-road option between the lowest pricing (shared servers) and highest reliability (dedicated servers). A VPS is a physical server that usually has multiple sites hosted on it. However, it’s much more sophisticated than shared servers in its ability to distribute server resources – and it carries a lighter price tag than for dedicated hosting.
Aptly named the “Best Host to Grow With,” HostGator is one of the most well-known and well-respected web hosts in the industry. Their plans include user-friendly Weebly site builder, no contract commitment, and unlimited storage, emails, and site traffic. Start with shared hosting and grow your business to dedicated-server scale, and the HostGator team will be there to help you grow every step of the way.

As longtime website owners and hosting nerds, we've been asked often: "Which web host is your personal favorite?" We recently decided to take this question seriously — exhaustively testing accounts with all the best web hosting services to analyze their uptime, features, pricing, support, and more. So who do we believe offers the best web hosting? See below for our top reviews of 2020, conveniently broken out by category:


One thing we learned in reviewing the services listed here (and many more) is that even though the packages are very similar, they are not identical. Some are more security-focused than others, offering anti-spam and anti-malware tools. Others offer a variety of email marketing tools. While most of the hosts we've reviewed have built-in e-commerce, you may want to consider using a more-robust third-party online shopping cart application like Shopify instead.
A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server owned or leased for use by clients, as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center. Web hosts can also provide data center space and connectivity to the Internet for other servers located in their data center, called colocation, also known as Housing in Latin America or France.
The user gets his or her own Web server but is not allowed full control over it (user is denied root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, they are allowed to manage their data via FTP or other remote management tools. The user is disallowed full control so that the provider can guarantee quality of service by not allowing the user to modify the server or potentially create configuration problems. The user typically does not own the server. The server is leased to the client.
loadjs=function(){var h=function(){},c={},u={},f={};function o(e,n){if(e){var r=f[e];if(u[e]=n,r)for(;r.length;)r[0](e,n),r.splice(0,1)}}function l(e,n){e.call&&(e={success:e}),n.length?(e.error||h)(n):(e.success||h)(e)}function d(r,t,s,i){var c,o,e=document,n=s.async,u=(s.numRetries||0)+1,f=s.before||h,l=r.replace(/[\?|#].*$/,""),a=r.replace(/^(css|img)!/,"");i=i||0,/(^css!|\.css$)/.test(l)?((o=e.createElement("link")).rel="stylesheet",o.href=a,(c="hideFocus"in o)&&o.relList&&(c=0,o.rel="preload",o.as="style")):/(^img!|\.(png|gif|jpg|svg|webp)$)/.test(l)?(o=e.createElement("img")).src=a:((o=e.createElement("script")).src=r,o.async=void 0===n||n),!(o.onload=o.onerror=o.onbeforeload=function(e){var n=e.type[0];if(c)try{o.sheet.cssText.length||(n="e")}catch(e){18!=e.code&&(n="e")}if("e"==n){if((i+=1)
Serving more than 15 million members, Bravenet provides a full-service hosting option for people looking for the complete package. In addition to a drag-and-drop site builder and unlimited storage, the Canadian company is one of the only free web hosters with an email marketing platform. Customers can also enjoy community-building features such as message boards, mailing lists, blogs, contact forms, polls, and other tools.
You can also host your website on WordPress.com, but that's different from the kind of hosting mentioned above. WordPress.com uses the same code from WordPress.org, but it hides the server code and handles the hosting for you. In that sense, it resembles entries in our online site builder roundup. It's a simpler but less flexible and customizable way to approach WordPress hosting. It's definitely easier, but if you want to tinker and adjust and optimize every aspect of your site, it might not be for you.

Because web hosting services host websites belonging to their customers, online security is an important concern. When a customer agrees to use a web hosting service, they are relinquishing control of the security of their site to the company that is hosting the site. The level of security that a web hosting service offers is extremely important to a prospective customer and can be a major consideration when considering which provider a customer may choose.[13]
If you're a WordPress user, Bluehost is definitely a web hosting provider to consider. While its managed WordPress hosting is a little more pricey than basic shared hosting, the company has both specific WordPress and WooCommerce hosting plans available (along with management support). It also offers a site migration service for an additional fee. 
Many web hosts offer WordPress hosting and configuration services to make building and publishing a WordPress site simple even for beginners. The software is either pre-installed or can be installed using a single-click auto-installer tool provided by the host. Everything is ready for you to start building out the site from the beginning, and your WordPress site data is (typically) backed up automatically.

HostGator offers unlimited storage and bandwidth and good support to assist you. The cheapest plan starts at $2.99/mo (with a 6-month commitment) and renews at $14.95/month or $3.98/mo (with a 36-month commitment) renewing at $9.95/month. You can host 1 website and thee plan includes generous unmetered storage and bandwidth, free SSL and a solid 45-day money-back guarantee.
14. FasthostsFasthosts is another reliable and secure hosting/domain provider trusted by top brands around the world. It lets you build professional websites and e-Shops, host and manage existent ones, or use any of its well-known hosted email or Microsoft exchange services. In addition to the standard root, cloud, and dedicated servers, Fasthosts is one of the very few players in the arena that lets you launch managed stacks and ready-to-use apps on the CloudNX platform for cost- and scale- efficiency. Dedicated server users will also get free SSL certificates and tools to control their online performance end to end. In terms of security features, Fasthosts safeguards your data and applications with Private Networks, Firewalls, VPNs, SSL certificates, and full server backups. 
If you’re not online, many people won’t know you or your business exist, as 95% of consumers search for local businesses online. Business owners aren’t the only ones who benefit from a powerful online presence. Creatives can share their artistry. Writers find a platform from which to be heard. And computer science majors can flex their programming muscles.
According to the same TechRepublic article mentioned earlier, however, AWS’s pricing models are a bit difficult to navigate and figure out just how much you’ll be paying each month. The costs can vary based on features and how much traffic your site gets. So, if your online business is scaling rapidly, your bottom line might be impacted by AWS’s hosting costs.
Often, shared hosting boasts unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains, and basically unlimited everything. While they claim to offer unlimited resources, you’re required to be fully compliant with your hosting company’s Terms of Service and only utilize disk space and bandwidth in the normal operation of a personal or small business website.
7. BluehostThe third representative of the ‘web-hosting trinity,’ Bluehost also belongs to those services one could hardly dispute on any grounds. You will certainly appreciate its easy to use interface, extremely low pricing plans (featuring a free domain and site builder), and the dedicated 1-click installer for WordPress users. WordPress. org recommends Bluehost as the #1 provider for easy installation and management, and the two companies partner to provide you with the best possible hosting experience for free. The cloud solution is also surprisingly affordable, knowing that even low-tier users are provided with advanced mastery features and the expected 24/7 support for their needs. The company also offers VPS and shared hosting, dedicated services, and reseller hosting, and will help you leverage Google and Bing advertising. 
Managed hosting: Some companies with ample IT resources may choose to manage their own VPS or dedicated servers. However, due to time or staff constraints, or simply for convenience, you can opt for a managed hosting plan. The provider offering the web hosting service will handle server administration, including security, backups, and systems management and monitoring.
Unlike shared or VPS hosting, dedicated hosting makes your website the lone tenant on a server. To extend the housing metaphor, having a dedicated server is like owning your own home. The means that your website taps the server's full power, and pays for the privilege. If you're looking for a high-powered site—an online mansion for your business—dedicated hosting is the way to go. That said, many dedicated web hosting services task you with handling backend, technical issues, much as homeowners have manage maintenance that renters generally leave to their landlords.
Yes, you can type “free website hosting” into a search engine of your choice, and you will get results. Don’t do it. At best, you will be stuck with shoddy service, semi-reliable uptime, and ridiculously short-lived storage and bandwidth capacities. The free options out there will frustrate you, and putting yourself through that makes zero sense when you can have quality hosting for as little as $2 a month.
The host may also provide an interface or control panel for managing the Web server and installing scripts, as well as other modules and service applications like e-mail. A web server that does not use a control panel for managing the hosting account, is often referred to as a "headless" server. Some hosts specialize in certain software or services (e.g. e-commerce, blogs, etc.).
Rounding out the wins, InMotion offers a full 90-day money-back guarantee. On top of that, here's a special money-saving hint. In a chat session confirming pricing and offerings, the operator offered me some special prices and deals that reduced the published price by a few bucks. I was also told that while promotional pricing does go up at the end of the offer period, if you contact customer service, InMotion has a "loyal customer discount" that may bring the price back down.
16. JustHostJustHost‘s functionality revolves around one main idea: eliminating all complexity attached to the creation and maintenance of a website, and making the experience enjoyable for all users. It encompasses tools to manage your entire online journey, from launching and managing a website to advertising on it and earning money from and around your content. As soon as your site goes live, JustHost ensures you can promote it on Google, Bing, and MOJO marketplaces, and download hundreds of apps and plugins that could be useful to your business. JustHost also specializes in app hosting for WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla sites, and offers cPanel and VPS packages. 
Beyond that, DreamHost is a top website hosting company for many reasons. It operate its own control panel, which is convenient and easy to understand. While phone customer support isn't available 24/7, it is responsive to live chat and tickets. The company uses super-fast SSDs for all its storage, has a free SSL certificate (for more secured web browsing) and provides SSH access for those plans that are intended for more technical users.
16. JustHostJustHost‘s functionality revolves around one main idea: eliminating all complexity attached to the creation and maintenance of a website, and making the experience enjoyable for all users. It encompasses tools to manage your entire online journey, from launching and managing a website to advertising on it and earning money from and around your content. As soon as your site goes live, JustHost ensures you can promote it on Google, Bing, and MOJO marketplaces, and download hundreds of apps and plugins that could be useful to your business. JustHost also specializes in app hosting for WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla sites, and offers cPanel and VPS packages. 
Alexandra Leslie’s interest in website administration was sparked in her teens, priming her for a fast-paced career in managing, building, and contributing to online brands, including HostingAdvice, Forbes, and the blogs of prominent hosting providers. She brings to the table firsthand experience in reviewing web hosts, perfecting website design, optimizing content, and walking site owners through the steps that add up to a successful online presence. Today, she combines her extensive writing experience with technical understanding to unpack some of the most complex topics that daunt novice website owners, as well as the subjects that excite veteran technologists within the HostingAdvice readership.
×