People often think that a web host is the main cause of a slow website but, this is often not the case. When picking a provider, it's important for find a hosting provider that is close to your users and has a good amount of RAM and fast CPU power. Beyond that, it's often the way the website is set up that slows it down for users. To ensure that your website speed is optimal for users you need to make sure you pay attention to the following:
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.
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.
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:
Because Amazon‘s free web hosting tier doesn’t offer many of the features some of the other web hosts mentioned here do, it may serve us better to look at the pricing surrounding their paid services. We published an article covering Amazon Web Services’s flexible pay-as-you-go model for its cloud infrastructure service. For businesses that don’t want to commit large chunks of their budgets to hosting in the long term, AWS might be a good fit. However, the host does come in as the most expensive option on our list.
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.
The availability of a website is measured by the percentage of a year in which the website is publicly accessible and reachable via the Internet. This is different from measuring the uptime of a system. Uptime refers to the system itself being online. Uptime does not take into account being able to reach it as in the event of a network outage. A hosting provider's Service Level Agreement (SLA) may include a certain amount of scheduled downtime per year in order to perform maintenance on the systems. This scheduled downtime is often excluded from the SLA timeframe, and needs to be subtracted from the Total Time when availability is calculated. Depending on the wording of an SLA, if the availability of a system drops below that in the signed SLA, a hosting provider often will provide a partial refund for time lost. How downtime is determined changes from provider to provider, therefore reading the SLA is imperative. Not all providers release uptime statistics. Most hosting providers will guarantee at least 99.9% uptime which will allow for 43m of downtime per month, or 8h 45m of downtime per year.
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.
If you require a lot of functionality and versatility from your website, you’ll benefit from programs and applications that can help you build your site. Our Web hosting plans give you access to free, server-side applications that can be used to develop and customize your website, including popular Content Management System (CMS) applications like WordPress® and Joomla!®. You can even add a Dedicated IP if you plan to add an SSL Certificate later.
We liked how Web Hosting Hub describes its new customer process. It tells new customers, "We walk you through setting up your account in a personal on-boarding call." The company has a few other wins as well. It offers an all-SSD infrastructure, automatic vulnerability patches and a custom firewall, SSH access for certain plans, free site migration and an excellent 90-day money-back guarantee.
SiteGround has the best support and good performance but all that comes with a price (high renewal cost). The cheapest plan starts at $3.95/mo (with the 12-month commitment) and renews at $11.95/mo. You can host 1 website and the plan includes 10GB SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, and free SSL. Your purchase is backed by the 30-day money-back guarantee.
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).
HostGator gained points for uptime monitoring and regular backups, along with free cPanel or Plesk. We liked that SSH is available for the more technically inclined site operators and that dedicated IP addresses could be purchased. We did take points off because it's sometimes difficult to tell what the price is once promotional plans run their course. That said, with a generous 45-day money back guarantee, there's a hosting solution for almost everyone at HostGator.
10. DreamHostDreamHost is another awarded web and WordPress hosting provider where you can get your brand new .xyz, .life, .online, .tech. or .store domain. Their most popular feature is the Remixer—an intuitive website builder that takes literally minutes of your time. It will allow you to attach a fully functional site on the web without resorting to any third-party service. Design aficionados, nonetheless, should not be discouraged by the all-in-one offer—Remixer is probably one of the most flexible and ready-to-configure builders out there. It will supply them with a unique and optimized theme that can only facilitate this process. Managed WordPress hosting for an existent site is also a valid option, and so are shared and email hosting with fast SSD storage, Virtual Private Servers with ultra-fast SSDs, and flexibility with HTTP/2, Ubuntu, IPv6, NGINX and Node.js, and dedicated hosting with 100% uptime guarantee.
But, again, operationally it's quite strong. 24/7/365 customer support is available not only by live chat and email, but by phone. It offers free site migrations with some dedicated attention paid to making a transfer as smooth as possible. And, if you're willing to go for one of the higher-end plans, the company has put some serious attention into performance and caching.