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]
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.
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'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.
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).
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.
Established back in 1998, HostPapa operates three state-of-the-art data centers. Equipped with multiple GigE fiber connections to the internet backbone, the company built out seismically braced racks and cabinets, fully redundant Liebert HVAC cooling systems, a diesel generator that can run for weeks and a preaction dry pipe fire suppression 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.
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.
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.
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.

Web hosting services store and activate all the files your website needs to function and to be active. The providers of these marvelous technologies are not only selling you the right to operate on the net but also put an expert team in charge to monitor your performance. Depending on the package you’ve selected, you might as well get backup and recovery services, maintenance, and regular updates, and bulletproof security. the best web hosting companies out there can also help create a website in the first place.


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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.

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.

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.
For some users, a content management system requires too much technical know-how as well as actual work to build a website. If you’re looking for a simpler solution to get a website up and running, your best bet is probably an online website builder. These tools usually rely on a drag-and-drop website builder interface, which is more intuitive than many content management systems. They also come with a number of pre-made and optimized templates to streamline the website-building process.

8. iPageiPage is another hosting service that made history, thanks to its excellent traction with customers. The company serves multiple geographies, offering standard cloud and WordPress hosting, but also selling exclusive domains and catering to teams in need of marketing and placement services. For almost 20 years, iPage offers small businesses an affordable alternative for shifting operations to the web, making sure they won’t be deprived of any exclusive features used by their larger competitors. This, however, is not the only thing that makes iPage a preferred provider – the company features an intuitive, code-free website management process, which makes it ideal also for personal, non-profit, and social brand websites. With them, you get free domain registration, unlimited email accounts, unmetered bandwidth, and disk space, and constant monitoring of your data.
Shopping carts are a necessity for businesses offering their products for sale on their site. Joomla, Magento, and other online store platforms can be found in many web hosting plans as integrated features. Some also offer additional eCommerce tools like ZenCart or PayPal. Review your options for eCommerce integrations so you can choose the one that makes the most sense for your store. 

If you've ever been worried about the tremendous amount of power large data centers consume, you might want to sign up with Green Geeks. The "green" in the company's name reflects the Green Geeks' commitment to the environment. It purchases three times the energy it actually uses in wind energy credits, essentially putting energy back into the economy. The company does this through a form of renewable energy certificates, which, while a bit complicated, means that it's not just energy neutral, i's actually helping fuel the green energy economy.
DISCLAIMER: We make great efforts to maintain reliable data on all offers presented. However, this data is provided without warranty. Users should always check the provider’s official website for current terms and details. The product offers that appear on the website are from respective hosting companies, plugin companies, and theme companies from which IsItWP receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all WordPress products or all available product offers.
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.
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.
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.
11. Host MonsterNext on our list is HostMonster, an American web hosting company based in Provo, Utah. The company offers a basic hosting plan as well as VPS and dedicated plans. Founded in 1996, HostMonster is now part of the Endurance International Group. This is a huge web hosting conglomerate that owns 40 hosting brands.Individuals and business owners on the budget know HostMonster for its excellent uptime. The end-to-end hosting solution comes with free domain names, unlimited disk storage, webmail, unlimited GB of site transfer, support for international domains, and other best-in-breed features depending on the plan you’ve chosen. It is also a unique provider of free website scripts, among which message forums, form-mail scripts, social networking scripts, mailing lists, poll and survey software, and many more.
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.

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.


9. HostFavIn a nutshell, HostFav is the first hosting provider website owners think for Linux or Windows (ASP.NET). The service also comes with a cloud VPS server to enable advertising offers from Google, Bing, and other leading sites. It indicates clearly the benefits for users looking to monetize online content. Reaching out to them is an option also for those looking to register a professional domain related to their business, as well as buyers of SSL certificate to protect sensitive data, and enable online transfers. HostFav excels in support, regardless of the plan you’ve chosen (you can reach agents via 24/7 live chat, email, phone, or by filling online tickets), and you can also make use of their vast base of training materials to get your site up and running. Since HostFav was powered by the open-source community in the first place, it helps out with free Hosting, Linux VPS server, Dedicated IPv4/IPv6 for selected open-source projects. 
17. SiteGroundThe competitive edge of SiteGround is its expertise in all types of Linux-tailored web hosting, as the company offers great plans for cloud, share, reseller, and dedicated hosting buyers. Carefully tailored enterprise hosting plans will also be available to corporate users, made flexible so that they could meet their specific needs and expectations. A reason why experts often recommend SiteGround are security precautions, as it provides a number of safeguarding measures, including the add-on HackAlert Monitoring ($1/month), the antispam software tools SpamAssassin and SpamExperts, IP address blocklists, and hotlink protection. At the moment, SiteGround hosts over 350,000 sites worldwide. You may also be interested to know that it supports ecommerce applications like Magento, osCommerce, and Prestashop. 
On the plus side, SiteGround offers free automatic daily backups, access to the Cloudflare CDN, high-performance SSDs for all plans, unlimited email accounts and integration of the free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate into sites. The company does limit bandwidth and storage, but even those who claim to offer so-called unlimited bandwidth and storage really have some limits in its terms of service.
On the plus side, SiteGround offers free automatic daily backups, access to the Cloudflare CDN, high-performance SSDs for all plans, unlimited email accounts and integration of the free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate into sites. The company does limit bandwidth and storage, but even those who claim to offer so-called unlimited bandwidth and storage really have some limits in its terms of service.
17. SiteGroundThe competitive edge of SiteGround is its expertise in all types of Linux-tailored web hosting, as the company offers great plans for cloud, share, reseller, and dedicated hosting buyers. Carefully tailored enterprise hosting plans will also be available to corporate users, made flexible so that they could meet their specific needs and expectations. A reason why experts often recommend SiteGround are security precautions, as it provides a number of safeguarding measures, including the add-on HackAlert Monitoring ($1/month), the antispam software tools SpamAssassin and SpamExperts, IP address blocklists, and hotlink protection. At the moment, SiteGround hosts over 350,000 sites worldwide. You may also be interested to know that it supports ecommerce applications like Magento, osCommerce, and Prestashop. 

Migration or transfer services are often free or offered at a reasonable fee. These services help move your existing site to the new hosting provider. They can save a huge amount of hassle. Just remember that the migration process is often automated, and may fit in with the host's processes and needs rather than yours. Not everything may migrate, and you may find the organization of the newly migrated site makes for harder maintenance in the long run.


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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.
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.
Almost all the services offer some sort of drag-and-drop website builder that makes it easy to drag and drop items to build your page. These are great for getting started, but they often lock you into the service. Most page builders are proprietary to the service, or don't create HTML that's portable enough to be easily moved to another service if you decide it's necessary.
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.
Once you choose your provider, it's time for you to open an account with the monthly plan that fits your needs. If you still have questions about which plan is suitable for you, call its customer support staff and have them assist you through the registration process. Companies will generally charge a credit card on a monthly basis, however, some companies will also offer discounts for paying a yearly payment at once.
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.     
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. 

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.

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.  

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.
17. SiteGroundThe competitive edge of SiteGround is its expertise in all types of Linux-tailored web hosting, as the company offers great plans for cloud, share, reseller, and dedicated hosting buyers. Carefully tailored enterprise hosting plans will also be available to corporate users, made flexible so that they could meet their specific needs and expectations. A reason why experts often recommend SiteGround are security precautions, as it provides a number of safeguarding measures, including the add-on HackAlert Monitoring ($1/month), the antispam software tools SpamAssassin and SpamExperts, IP address blocklists, and hotlink protection. At the moment, SiteGround hosts over 350,000 sites worldwide. You may also be interested to know that it supports ecommerce applications like Magento, osCommerce, and Prestashop. 
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.
If you aim to have a web presence, you've got to have email. It's a convenient way for potential customers and clients to send you a message, Word document, or other files. Thankfully, most web hosts include email in the price of their hosting plans. Some web hosts offer unlimited email account creation (which is great for future growth), while others offer a finite amount. You, naturally, should want unlimited email.
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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