Ultimately, it boils down to a balance between cost, features, and risk. It's always tempting to simply jump on the lowest-cost solution, but the fact that email is ubiquitous keeps this from being the smart play. It's nearly impossible to escape using it, which means your users, your customers, and the guts of your business have all come to depend on it in different ways. You need to discover those ways, evaluate them, and then choose a service that either meets or improves on them. This takes time, discussion with your IT staff, and some investigation; these are steps you don't want to skip. Otherwise, you'll pay for it later.
PCMag understands that no two businesses have the same web hosting requirements, so we've rounded up our best-reviewed web hosting companies for small businesses and detailed their offerings in the table above so that you can get a jump-start on picking a service. If an offering catches your eye, make sure to click the appropriate link from the capsules below to read the in-depth review of the service in question.
GoDaddy's dedicated servers come in many Linux or Windows configurations. Economy (starts at $89.99 per month, renews at $169 per month) comes with four CPU cores, 4GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, unlimited monthly data transfers, three IP addresses, Office 365 Starter Email, and a free SSL certificate. Value (starts at $104 per month, renews at $199 per month) ups the RAM and storage to 8GB and 1.5TB, respectively. Deluxe (starts at $129 per month, renews at $249 per month) boasts 16GB of RAM and 2TB of storage. Ultimate (starts at $179 per month, renews at $349 per month) has a sizeable 32GB of RAM. Naturally, a long-term commitment nets you big savings. For example, if you sign up for 24 months of the Economy plan, you pay just $79.99 per month).
GoDaddy has rich shared hosting plans, but HostGator(2.64 Per Month - Save up to 62% at HostGator) still reigns as the PCMag Editors' Choice for shared web hosting services. Like GoDaddy, HostGator boasts unlimited domains and monthly data transfers across the board, and a choice of Linux- or Windows-based servers, but it tops its rival by offering a VoIP number for your business and unlimited storage with all plans.
A survey conducted (see graphic above; click to enlarge) by email marketing software provider and consulting service ReachMail Media Services of over 1,000 respondents found that varying percentages of different worker generations attempted to adhere to "inbox zero," while other generations actually preferred using their inboxes as personal information managers.
We found it a simple endeavor to set up our GoDaddy email, as the web host prompted us to create one during the sign-up process. We simply selected the domain to which the email address would be associated, and then entered an email handle and a password. In general, Microsoft Office 365 is fairly straightforward to configure, but GoDaddy has really taken the guesswork out.
If you want to purchase email, here's the breakdown: Email Essentials (starting at $4.99 per month or $3.99 per month with a two- or three-year commitment) gives you 5GB of email storage. Online Essentials (starting at $9.99 per month or $7.99 per month with a two- or three-year commitment) ups the email capacity to 50GB and adds 1TB of cloud storage. Business Premium (starting at $14.99 per month or $9.99 per month with a two- or three-year commitment) raises the email storage capacity to 50GB and adds unlimited web conferencing and access to online Microsoft Word and Excel. Premium Security (starting at $24.97 per month or $14.99 per month with a two- or three-year commitment) tosses in encryption and Microsoft Office mobile applications.

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 for that extra security layer.
GoDaddy offers a lot of support to WordPress users. But one of the most important things to understand is that they offer something known as “managed” WordPress hosting. That means they take care of handling a number of technical details, like plugin updates and WordPress software updates, that you’d normally have to deal with. This may be particularly attractive to small business owners.
A lengthy list of tutorials that is on all customers’ expert service menu. Separate from the company’s support services, these tutorials teach beginners and the technically ungifted how to perform various website creation and management tasks. This is a highly beneficial bonus as it prevents you from having to run to the customer support representatives with every question you have.
PCMag understands that no two businesses have the same web hosting requirements, so we've rounded up our best-reviewed web hosting companies for small businesses and detailed their offerings in the table above so that you can get a jump-start on picking a service. If an offering catches your eye, make sure to click the appropriate link from the capsules below to read the in-depth review of the service in question.
If you don't want to spend a lot of money on web hosting, shared hosting is the way to go. This form of cheap web hosting places your website on a server with other sites. So, yes, your site literally shares server resources with others, hence the tier's name. This means that it's far from the most powerful web hosting type, however. The sites sharing the server compete for resources—everything from throughput to storage space. You'll want dedicated or virtual private server (VPS) hosting for muscle if you expect big traffic, or if you want to insulate yourself from big traffic spikes.
This site builder comes with hundreds of templates that make it even easier to create and customize your website. The templates come in 300 different styles for premium plan users (those on Business and Business Plus plans) and 50 styles for the personal plan. They’re categorized into 20 groups ranging from entertainment to education to real estate. So, finding the one that suits the feel and look you want your site to portray won’t be difficult.
iPage provides two kinds of email hosting. One is Gmail at your domain meant for small business and individual users/teams. The other one is Enterprise service using MS Exchange 2020 preferred by mid-sized business and Outlook users. The first service is available at a monthly cost of $5 whereas the second one is available at $12.95 per month. In addition, you can opt for their add-on services such as premium spam filter and larger mailbox storage. So, in short, iPage has email solutions for every kind of user requirement.

One of the most important compatibility factors to consider with email is the mobility question. How often do your employees need to access email via mobile devices? That's an important issue because most email hosting providers deliver some kind of web client usable as a default inbox. Almost all of these can be accessed via a mobile device, so if your employees don't need to access their emails on the road that much, then such mediocre clients are probably fine.
Therefore, going with this web host will definitely deliver a good user experience. GoDaddy offers a lot of good reasons to have your hosting and domains with them. However, because they tend to do things a bit differently to most companies (because of their huge size), you can get caught up in red tape and miss out on seeing vital terms and conditions that may affect your business. Do your research, ask questions and take advantage of the free trial money back promise before considering a move to GoDaddy.

Some web hosts offer prorated plans that charge you by the amount of resources that your site demands. For example, Cloudways hosting plans start at $0.0139 per hour, which, including fees, equals roughly $10 per month. That's assuming that your site's online at the beginning of the month; if your site goes live half way through a month, you'll see a reduced bill that reflects two weeks' worth of resources use. Similar rules apply should you quit the web host.
It is also necessary to study email alternatives as part of your email service setup plan. Email is the standard way to communicate and it is familiar to most users, but it isn't always the most effective or expedient method. Email can be slow, result in delayed responses, and messages are rarely read to completion. Because of this, many businesses require additional "collaboration" tools, that various email services also include, in order to fill the communication gap more effectively.
Continuous improvements – The world of email marketing is always changing. The capabilities of email design and the potential for quality user experiences grow exponentially every year. The best email hosting providers are also working to grow and improve on a continuous basis. Consider both the frequency of updates and the types of updates an email host has invested in recently.
The flip side of that coin is specialization. Many operators believe that hosted email services are useful mainly to companies interested only in general-purpose email use and that any specialized application requires an in-house deployment. This might be true depending on the app but it might not depending on the capabilities offered by the hosted email provider. Email marketing is a great example. Some hosted email providers have special service suites aimed specifically at email marketers, many of whom can send out thousands of emails per month, focused not so much on communication as they are on marketing. These service providers deliver more than just volume, too, as they also offer custom email creation tools and sophisticated marketing and tracking metrics.
But your service provider isn't your only worry. If you've opted for any third-party email integration, like combining your email with a third-party customer relationship management (CRM) provider (such as Salesforce), that opens your company's email up to either data-snooping apps deployed by Salesforce or to any data breaches that originate with that service. So the more informed you can be about what's attached to your email service, how that data's being used and accessed and especially by whom, the better off you'll be when it comes time to send confidential email.
Business – from $5.95/month. Best for fast-growing businesses. Unlock features including SSL certificates, a dedicated IP address, and VoIP phone service. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It protects data moving through your site (like customers’ bank details). Providers often charge over $100 for SSL certificates, so HostGator’s offer makes it great value for money compared to rivals like Arvixe. Your site’s URL will have a green padlock to show it’s secure.

The center is also placed under massive security with technical staff monitoring operations 24/7/365 through CCTV to keep intruders out and catch and fix problems the minute they occur. GoDaddy page load times are also fast thanks to the company’s global centers. If you ever have issues with your site, the GoDaddy support team is available 24/7 to help you.


PCMag, PCMag.com and PC Magazine are among the federally registered trademarks of Ziff Davis, LLC and may not be used by third parties without explicit permission. The display of third-party trademarks and trade names on this site does not necessarily indicate any affiliation or the endorsement of PCMag. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product or service, we may be paid a fee by that merchant.
GoDaddy Website Builder can act as your hub, the place where your friends and contacts can see your posts, photos, videos and more. With the option to link to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube on your website, your visitors can be everywhere you are on the web. Being able to cover multiple platforms gives you the opportunity to reach more people, while creating appropriate content for each of your socials (like posting all of your photos on Instagram, and tweeting about your most recent business venture on Twitter). By centrally locating all the links in one place – your new website – you are giving your website visitors a seamless experience. Linking to your social media in your website gives you an advantage in communicating with your visitors; the more they can connect with you and do so in the forum that’s most comfortable to them, the more they’ll engage with your site, and thus you or your business.
Something you’ve probably noticed is that I didn’t feature WP Engine on this list. This is no mistake (or at least I hope). As awesome as WP Engine can be, it’s just too expensive of a product to recommend to most small business websites. If you’re lucky, the price tag will be $19.33 / month = $232 / year, and potentially a lot more. This is just not the kind of investment that most small business owners will be eager to make. 

A dedicated server will likely cost you more than $100 per month; it's definitely not cheap web hosting. The benefit? Your website lives on a server all by its lonesome, so it takes advantage of the server's full resources. You'll probably need to handle firewalls, updates, and maintenance yourself, however, unless you opt for a managed server, which costs even more money.
GoDaddy has rich shared hosting plans, but HostGator(2.64 Per Month - Save up to 62% at HostGator) still reigns as the PCMag Editors' Choice for shared web hosting services. Like GoDaddy, HostGator boasts unlimited domains and monthly data transfers across the board, and a choice of Linux- or Windows-based servers, but it tops its rival by offering a VoIP number for your business and unlimited storage with all plans.
One of the most important compatibility factors to consider with email is the mobility question. How often do your employees need to access email via mobile devices? That's an important issue because most email hosting providers deliver some kind of web client usable as a default inbox. Almost all of these can be accessed via a mobile device, so if your employees don't need to access their emails on the road that much, then such mediocre clients are probably fine.
GoDaddy Website Builder can act as your hub, the place where your friends and contacts can see your posts, photos, videos and more. With the option to link to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube on your website, your visitors can be everywhere you are on the web. Being able to cover multiple platforms gives you the opportunity to reach more people, while creating appropriate content for each of your socials (like posting all of your photos on Instagram, and tweeting about your most recent business venture on Twitter). By centrally locating all the links in one place – your new website – you are giving your website visitors a seamless experience. Linking to your social media in your website gives you an advantage in communicating with your visitors; the more they can connect with you and do so in the forum that’s most comfortable to them, the more they’ll engage with your site, and thus you or your business.
Along with specialized uses for email, you should investigate how your users are emailing on a daily basis. Email has come a long way in 40 years and the way people use it has significantly evolved. That's important because it will impact the tools and features you need to look for in your hosted email provider's client software. Sure, Microsoft Outlook is still the most popular on-site email client, but a fast-increasing number of today's email users are opting for other email clients, such as Thunderbird, or all-web clients, such as Google's hugely popular Gmail. These clients can be very sophisticated and, depending on what your users are doing with email, they can have a big impact on your day-to-day business process.
Hostwinds may be the PCMag Editors' Choice for VPS hosting, but that doesn't mean that GoDaddy doesn't have quality virtual private server packages. GoDaddy's VPS plans (which start at a $19.99 per month, renews at $29.99 per month) offer Linux- or Windows-based servers, as well as unlimited domains and monthly data transfers. The specs top out at 8GB of RAM, 240GB of storage, and a free SSL for one year. That's good stuff, especially if you sign up for a multi-month plan. The Economy Virtual Private Server plan, for example, drops to just $9.99 per month if you agree to a two-year deal. That's 50 percent off. As with the shared plans, these VPS plans use Office 365 Starter Email.
×