If you're planning on selling a product, look for a web host that offers a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, because it encrypts the data between the customer's browser and web host to safeguard purchasing information. You're probably familiar with SSL; it's the green padlock that appears in your web browser's address bar as you visit an online financial institution or retail outlet. A few companies toss in a SSL certificate free of charge; others may charge you roughly $100 per year for that extra security layer.

Not all software is specifically supported by name by web hosts, but you can still use it if the requirements are met. You can use the Scripting and Languages filter to find hosts that support the technology that your desired app runs on. Any other questions you may have on how to narrow down your search as you compare web hosting providers, be sure to let us know!


Welcome to the CNET 2020 directory of web hosting services. In this directory, we'll look at a few of the best web hosting providers like Bluehost, A2Hosting, Hostinger, DreamHost, HostGator, InMotion Hosting and more. In this evaluation of the best web hosting providers, we're featuring commercial web hosting companies that offer WordPress, VPS, shared hosting and many more web hosting services, along with a variety of annual and monthly plans.     
Many web hosting services offer so-called unlimited or unmetered service for whatever amount of bandwidth, disk storage and sites you use. It's important to understand that most terms of service actually do limit the definition of "unlimited" to what's considered reasonable use. The bottom line is simple: if you're building a pretty basic website, unlimited means you don't need to worry. But if you're trying to do something excessive (or illegal, immoral or fattening), the fine print in the terms of service will trigger, and you'll either be asked to spend more or go elsewhere.
Similar to the dedicated web hosting service, but the user owns the colo server; the hosting company provides physical space that the server takes up and takes care of the server. This is the most powerful and expensive type of web hosting service. In most cases, the colocation provider may provide little to no support directly for their client's machine, providing only the electrical, Internet access, and storage facilities for the server. In most cases for colo, the client would have his own administrator visit the data center on site to do any hardware upgrades or changes. Formerly, many colocation providers would accept any system configuration for hosting, even ones housed in desktop-style minitower cases, but most hosts now require rack mount enclosures and standard system configurations.
While it doesn’t cost a penny, we’re adamant on keeping our free hosting sharp and up-to-date. Our Free shared web hosting is based on Apache, PHP, and MySQL. If you’ve been searching for a free hosting platform that supports both legacy and the newest PHP applications, stop looking. We support multiple PHP 5 versions, as well as the newest of PHP 7 to ensure maximum compatibility with anything you need!
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.

Now, whether you choose to use a content management system like WordPress, a website builder tool like Weebly, or an e-commerce platform like Magento, you’ll need to install the software on your server. The same goes for other external applications you want to use for your website, but that aren’t inherently part of your chosen content management system.

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.
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WordPress is the platform of choice for large and notable companies, including TechCrunch, the New Yorker, and BBC America, and it has even supported powerful global movements. Now powering roughly 27% of the internet, WordPress is far and away the most popular website-building and management software. Because WordPress is such a popular choice, most, if not all, web hosts will offer integrated WordPress as a feature.


Toby Sembower built and hosted his first website in 1998, when the Internet was often annoyingly referred to as "the information super-highway." Toby is the first to admit that site was plain terrible. Nonetheless, it piqued his interest in the Web, and he would go on to build, own, and operate (and host externally) sites totaling 100+ million visits on a variety of subject matters. Today Toby is CEO at Digital Brands Inc., a fast-growing firm that owns and operates a number of popular web properties.
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.
3. CloudwaysCloudways, a managed cloud hosting services provider based in Malta, claims to be the best WordPress and WooCommerce hosting company.  Cloudways aims to give design agencies, ecommerce store owners, bloggers, and developers the power to set up websites and manage web apps with ease. The platform caters to the need of individuals, teams, and businesses in different verticals such as media, IT, healthcare, fashion/apparel, interactive design studios, and entertainment.Although the company doesn’t offer a variety of hosting services, its Platform-as-a-Service, cloud-based web hosting sets it apart from other hosting providers. Besides, its array of reliable features, including SSD-based hosting, pre-configured PHP-FPM, one-click backup, and PHP 7 ready servers, enable users to create better digital experiences, maximize growth, and scale operations faster. Its service is backed by 24/7 expert support, which is available via live chat and ticket.The solution combines multiple core services such as Varnish, NGINX, Apache, MySQL, and Memcached to deliver seamless experience without impacting code compatibility. It also boasts a network of 41 datacenter locations, which make it easy to provision from the industry’s leading infrastructure providers such as Google Compute Engine, Amazon Web Services, Vultr, and DigitalOcean.For WordPress users, Cloudways is not only highly reliable, fast, and secure; it is affordable as well. The solution offers diverse pricing plans, plus it comes with a free WordPress migration plugin designed to streamline migration on multiple hosting environments. Also, as a Cloudways user, you will probably find its one-click managed services to be particularly impressive. With the one-click installations, it’s a breeze to get your WordPress and WooCommerce website or online store up and running right from the Cloudways control panel, in minutes.

The user gets his or her own Web server and gains full control over it (user has root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, the user typically does not own the server. One type of dedicated hosting is self-managed or unmanaged. This is usually the least expensive for dedicated plans. The user has full administrative access to the server, which means the client is responsible for the security and maintenance of his own dedicated server.
As with backups, SSL certificates are not a necessary feature your web host must offer, this is especially so since companies like Let’s Encrypt offer them for free. However, if you’re looking to streamline the process of getting your site fully equipped and online in no time, the extra convenience of getting this certificate from your web hosting provider is a nice add-on.
The company also offers higher-end Windows and Linux servers, available with Plesk and cPanel respectively. We were very intrigued to see that the company offers low-end Atom-based dedicated servers as well as the more traditional Xeon-based machines. One great resource for those doing some basic experimentation, or site development, is that it has a free, three-month trial for one of its lightly equipped Atom servers.
The company's entry-point pricing is extremely low, and while this will buy you up to three years of very low-cost hosting, do be aware that its post-promotion price will increase substantially, putting its subsequent year pricing more in line with the rest of its competitors. That said, we liked its 24/7 phone customer support, SSD support on some plans and 30-day money-back guarantee.
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.
Uptime is the percentage of time that a server is operational. When you’re running a website, you want users to be able to access it at all times. When a server experiences downtime, your site would be unavailable, but ideally, this happens rarely. An industry-wide goal for how much uptime a server should have is “the five nines” – an uptime of 99.999%, meaning the system is highly reliable. However, 99.9% uptime is pretty standard and should more than suffice for the majority of hosting users.
6. GoDaddyWith a reputation similar to HostGator, GoDaddy sets up multiple examples of how the best website hosting is supposed to function. This publicly-traded American Internet domain company went beyond HostGator’s head-spinning success and currently serves over 17 million users and supports 72 million domains all around the globe. In that aspect, GoDaddy can be considered as the world’s largest domain name hub and hosting service provider, and also praised by users for being highly secure. What makes GoDaddy unique is its focus on the corporate community – there are business-friendly .store domains that have been highly appreciated by online shoppers, as well as affordable SSL certificates that guarantee the safety of each user’s data. In a fashion reminiscent of HostGator, GoDaddy offers a hands-on website builder tool for novice users, lets owners retain control of what is happening on their websites, and comes with a 24/7/365 support and professional assistance.
Having multiple servers hosting the same content for better resource utilization. Clustered servers are a perfect solution for high-availability dedicated hosting, or creating a scalable web hosting solution. A cluster may separate web serving from database hosting capability. (Usually web hosts use clustered hosting for their shared hosting plans, as there are multiple benefits to the mass managing of clients).[9]
One's website is placed on the same server as many other sites, ranging from a few sites to hundreds of websites. Typically, all domains may share a common pool of server resources, such as RAM and the CPU. The features available with this type of service can be quite basic and not flexible in terms of software and updates. Resellers often sell shared web hosting and web companies often have reseller accounts to provide hosting for clients.
Similarly, another thing you’ll need to take a look at is whether your hosting provider offers live chat support throughout the day. For example, with DreamHost, Live Chat is available only between 5 am and 10 pm PST and they don’t even offer free phone support for shared hosting. If you need assistance via phone, you’ll have to purchase the phone support addon separately.
15. GreenGeeksIf you’re committed to renewable energy, you should give GreenGeeks a look. The hosting platform claims to be the cleanest hosting around, backed by 300% Renewable Energy Commitment. For prices as low as $3.95/month, users get unlimited space, transfer, email + free domain, and marketing services, which also make GreenGeeks one of the most compact, do-it-all hosting solutions on the market. You can acquire a Reseller package and manage multiple cPanel hosting accounts, request VPS hosting with dedicated resources and flexibility (and no additional expenses), or get an entire Dedicated server for extreme performance and flexibility. Next to cPanel, app hosting is also available for WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and CMS. 
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. 
Disk space and bandwidth: Hosting companies often advertise that they offer unlimited resources like disk space and bandwidth with their shared hosting plans. However, you’ll have usage restrictions on how you use the resources for your site. When you’re signing up for a service, you’re obliged to adhere to the terms of services of your hosting company. And based on the terms, you’ll only be allowed to use server resources for the normal operation of a small website.
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]
Also known as a Virtual Private Server (VPS), divides server resources into virtual servers, where resources can be allocated in a way that does not directly reflect the underlying hardware. VPS will often be allocated resources based on a one server to many VPSs relationship, however virtualisation may be done for a number of reasons, including the ability to move a VPS container between servers. The users may have root access to their own virtual space. Customers are sometimes responsible for patching and maintaining the server (unmanaged server) or the VPS provider may provide server admin tasks for the customer (managed server).
Whatever the case, this won’t reflect well on your website or business. If you’re a professional or hobbyist, consider this scenario: your business/blog is mentioned on the radio, TV, or in an article on a highly trafficked site. Suddenly you have 60,000 web visitors . . . and it’s gone. Your site crashes under the stampede. Poof! There goes all that free publicity.
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.

Getting your website off the ground requires a great web hosting service. In our evaluation of web hosting providers, we looked at key features that make for a positive web hosting experience and compared the leading providers in the industry. The factors we considered included uptime, website builders, and eCommerce integration. Read on to learn more about the features you should look at when determining which provider and plan is best for you.


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. 

Until 1991, the Internet was restricted to use only "...for research and education in the sciences and engineering..."[1][2] and was used for email, telnet, FTP and USENET traffic—but only a tiny number of web pages. The World Wide Web protocols had only just been written[3][4] and not until the end of 1993 would there be a graphical web browser for Mac or Windows computers.[5] Even after there was some opening up of internet access, the situation was confused until 1995.[6]
Until 1991, the Internet was restricted to use only "...for research and education in the sciences and engineering..."[1][2] and was used for email, telnet, FTP and USENET traffic—but only a tiny number of web pages. The World Wide Web protocols had only just been written[3][4] and not until the end of 1993 would there be a graphical web browser for Mac or Windows computers.[5] Even after there was some opening up of internet access, the situation was confused until 1995.[6]
This is unfortunate because, these days, owning a website is becoming a crucial part of running a successful business, and more and more folks are establishing a web presence for their personal brand as well. You can use hosting to sell online, store and share your portfolio, or even publish your freelance writing samples and resumé. Yet, even the basics — What is web hosting? — can be lost on the average web user.

Moving to another website consists of transferring the website’s files and databases, configuring your site with the new host, and directing your domain’s DNS to the new host. Once you pick a new site host, they can usually help you out with this process. The cost will depend on the host you’re switching to, but it can range anywhere from $150-$400.
As the resident hamburger expert on the HostingAdvice team, I often find myself thinking of hosting-related topics in terms of my favorite food — especially when it comes to price and quality. In my view, a good burger should offer simplicity, with all of the parts (pickles, onions, mustard — whatever you prefer) working toward the overall goal of the perfect bite. Then there’s price to consider. I’d rather pay $8 for the burger I just described than pay $25 for a beef patty, foie gras, and lobster all clumsily smashed together between the buns. I just don’t need all that stuff.
You can also find that some WordPress-centric hosting companies, like WPEngine offer expensive managed hosting services. It’s built specifically for running WordPress websites on it, and it’s optimized for speed, security, and scalability. Such services also come with many enhanced WordPress-specific features, which are not necessary for users who’re just starting out.
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.
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.
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.
Why? Because word of mouth only gets you so far in the internet era. People discover new businesses—even local business—via Bing, Google, and Yahoo. The days when they'd just look you up in the yellow pages are long gone. If you don't have a sharable website address, your chances of building online word of mouth via social networking plummet, too. In other words, no website, no discoverability, no money. Of course, web hosting isn't just for businesses. You may want to host a personal website or blog, too. Either way, the services here have you covered.
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:

15. GreenGeeksIf you’re committed to renewable energy, you should give GreenGeeks a look. The hosting platform claims to be the cleanest hosting around, backed by 300% Renewable Energy Commitment. For prices as low as $3.95/month, users get unlimited space, transfer, email + free domain, and marketing services, which also make GreenGeeks one of the most compact, do-it-all hosting solutions on the market. You can acquire a Reseller package and manage multiple cPanel hosting accounts, request VPS hosting with dedicated resources and flexibility (and no additional expenses), or get an entire Dedicated server for extreme performance and flexibility. Next to cPanel, app hosting is also available for WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and CMS. 
You gain the most web-building functionality if you create a self-hosted site. This typically involves transfering the free WordPress CMS to server or signing up for a web host's optimized WordPress plan. With an optimized plan, the host automatically handles backend stuff, so you don't have to worry about updating the plug-ins and CMS, and enabling automatic backups. In these instances, the WordPress environment typically comes pre-installed on the server.
Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.
Website builder: While most hosting providers offer website builder as a standard feature, not every builder is created equal. For example, some web hosts only allow you to build a basic websites with their builder, whereas others even let you launch an online store with it. The key is to figure out whether their builder comes with the right set of features you’ll need.
Managed web hosting brings a white-glove or concierge service to the hosting experience. The term “managed” means the hosting company takes care of the hands-on IT work required to keep the server running optimally. They handle the hardware while you maintain the software and your site databases, files, and media content. This type of web hosting carries the highest price tag, but many find the peace of mind and server administration assistance worthwhile. 

In particular, Web Hosting Hub uses BoldGrid as a site builder. BoldGrid is actually an add-on to WordPress, so there's no lock-in. This overcomes the major problem of most site builders: you're locked into that host and that tool, often requiring you to completely rebuild your site if you want to expand. By using a WordPress-based solution, all of the rather considerable power of WordPress is available for future expansion.
Shared hosting is web hosting in which the provider houses multiple sites on a single server. For example, Site A shares the same server with Site B, Site C, Site D, and Site E. The upside is that the multiple sites share the server cost, so shared web hosting is generally very inexpensive. In fact, you can find an option for less than $10 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.
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