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.     
To host a website on the internet, an individual or company would need their own computer or server.[7] As not all companies had the budget or expertise to do this, web hosting services began to offer to host users' websites on their own servers, without the client needing to own the necessary infrastructure required to operate the website. The owners of the websites, also called webmasters, would be able to create a website that would be hosted on the web hosting service's server and published to the web by the web hosting service.
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!
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.).
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.
For many customers, possibly the most influential variable in evaluating a hosting service is cost. Cost can drive conversion, but cost can also cause you to make regrettable purchasing decisions. Don’t assume the cheapest option you can find is the best. Low cost can also mean low value, but not with the affordable hosts atop our recommendations list.
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. 
Web hosting’s similar. There are expensive options out there that have become popular because their price tags come with names that identify them as the lobsters of web hosting. But some of the lesser-known hosting providers offer much of the functionality of their bigger cousins at much more reasonable prices. Let’s compare the prices of the top 10 web hosts.

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.
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.
Shared web hosting is a good option for businesses looking to keep costs down. A shared web hosting provider will host multiple sites, owned by multiple customers, on one server. The site owners share the costs of operating the server, so pricing is much lower than VPS or dedicated hosting, usually less than $10 per month. However, site owners are also sharing the server’s ability to transfer data, which means your site’s performance can be slow if one or more of your hosting neighbors experience a traffic spike.
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.
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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.
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.
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