For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew. You can a find Jeffrey online at jeffreylwilson.net, or send him a tweet at @jeffreylwilson
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.
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.
You can sell products and services on your website if you have the Ecommerce plan. You’ll have an online store that will allow you to add products and services, set up different types of payment methods, and even specific types of shipping. Your store will be integrated into your website as a page. You can add featured products for your visitors to scroll through, make quick purchases using PayPal and Apple Pay and promote your store/products through coupons. You can also use the same type of email marketing that is included in the Premium plan to send email communications to your subscribers and customers about sales in your store, coupon offers and events. Establishing a strong online commerce can boost your current sales, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar store. 

GoDaddy’s shared pricing plans range from $2.99/month to $12.99/month. Each plan builds on the previous set of features, working up to the most powerful ‘Maximum’ plan, which has four times the processing power and memory of the Deluxe and Economy plans (plus an SSL certificate for the full term). It claims to support ‘multiple complex sites with high-res photos and videos’, but we’d still recommend a VPS for such sites.


But remember that while these specifications are nice, they only apply to data residing on GoDaddy's servers. In the case of email hosting, for example, users reading their email using a local email client, like Microsoft Outlook, will still be storing all that data on their on-premises devices where it won't be automatically encrypted. That means for full security, you should still invest in local data encryption software. And for those employees who access data from the road and remote locations, keep their data-in-transit safe by using a virtual private network (VPN) client.
Just as ‘business’ hosting is a happy medium between shared and VPS hosting, VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is one step closer to a dedicated server – without the added price tag. With a VPS hosting plan, you have a ‘virtual server’ that acts like a dedicated server, but within a shared space – kind of like having an apartment in a shared block of apartments, rather than a detached house.
Our Website Backup automatically backs up your data – every day. And in worst-case scenarios, if disaster strikes, it’s ok – you can restore your data with a single “click.” So, get Website Backup and stop worrying about data loss. Get back to doing what you do best – running your business and making money. And speaking of money, here’s the best part – we’re offering it for only $2.99/mo.
But remember that while these specifications are nice, they only apply to data residing on GoDaddy's servers. In the case of email hosting, for example, users reading their email using a local email client, like Microsoft Outlook, will still be storing all that data on their on-premises devices where it won't be automatically encrypted. That means for full security, you should still invest in local data encryption software. And for those employees who access data from the road and remote locations, keep their data-in-transit safe by using a virtual private network (VPN) client.

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.
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.
Possibility to launch an e-commerce store later on. Adding an online store to a small business website is a fairly common thing. However, if the site is set up on a server that does not offer affordable SSL certificates, dedicated IPs, or PCI compliance, then you might end up having to move the entire website to a completely new host. It’s best to avoid that and prepare yourself ahead of time. More on best hosting for e-commerce.
While most businesses will have such suites in place, it often falls to the email service to provide an additional layer of anti-phishing and anti-malware protection. Our reviews found a surprising variance in this department, however, ranging from very robust to completely non-existent, so be careful. Since it's such a huge liability for business owners, this could be one of the most important factors in terms of background features. At the very least, it's better than filing an insurance claim or outright losing funds due to simple social engineering tactics.
While most businesses will have such suites in place, it often falls to the email service to provide an additional layer of anti-phishing and anti-malware protection. Our reviews found a surprising variance in this department, however, ranging from very robust to completely non-existent, so be careful. Since it's such a huge liability for business owners, this could be one of the most important factors in terms of background features. At the very least, it's better than filing an insurance claim or outright losing funds due to simple social engineering tactics. 

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.
Start from scratch or choose from over 500 designer-made templates to make your own website. With the world’s most innovative drag and drop website builder, you can customize or change anything. Make your site come to life with video backgrounds, scroll effects and animation. With the Wix Editor, you can create your own professional website that looks stunning.
In terms of security for its hosted email services, you'll find this is all hosted in Microsoft's data centers. That means you'll have all the same security benefits as those provided to other Microsoft Office 365 users. Your email data will be encrypted in transit and at rest using SSL and Bitlocker technology. Per Microsoft's publicly available terms of service, Microsoft employees only have highly limited access to your data and only under specific, audited circumstances.
Other advanced plans utilize more intensive security and offer support for things like a Secure Socket Layer (SSL). Also on offer is SHA-2 and 2048-bit encryption for all hosting plans and the option to buy SiteLock (a service that provides spam and malware monitoring, site-verification certificate, and app scanning). You may also have access to malware scanning and removal features.
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.
The Deluxe plan (starts at $7.99 per month, renews at $10.99 per month) builds on the Economy package by adding unlimited storage and domains. The Ultimate package (starts at a $12.99 per month, renews at $16.99 per month) adds double the processing power and a one-year Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. FYI, GoDaddy tosses in a free domain name if you sign up for an annual plan.

GoDaddy hasn't traditionally had an uptime policy for its older CPanel email. But since the company has transitioned to Microsoft Office 365 for its email services, it's now able to enjoy Microsoft's 99.9% uptime guarantee. However, be aware that GoDaddy has replaced the Office 365 health services dashboard with its own internally branded version. It shows the same kinds of information including when the last issue was, and whether or not it's been resolved.
GoDaddy has 24/7 telephone support and live web chat support. We placed a call on a weekday morning and spoke to a customer service rep less than two minutes later. We asked about the different email tiers, and once again experienced the best customer support of any of the web hosting services we've tested so far. The rep was friendly and knowledgeable.

Post initial setup, a primary concern will be the log-on issue. If your organization is fine with a separate log-on for your email provider, then this step will be quick. However, that's not typically what businesses want or users expect. In general, users expect to sign onto their desktops and have their email and file sharing sign-ons happen as part of that one-step process. Not surprisingly, this is called Single Sign-On (SSO) and it's enabled in one of three ways: through the use of a back-end directory service like Microsoft Active Directory (AD); an identity management service, like Okta (one of our Editors' Choice winners in that category); or several compatible web services that include SSO along with other apps and email services, like Google G Suite Business and Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium (two of the top providers reviewed here). Which method you choose depends on how your business is configured today and your long-term cloud services strategy. It's definitely a conversation you'll need to have either with your in-house IT staff or your outside IT consultant. 

That's a big difference, with "inbox zero" requiring an email client with great archiving that works over multiple device types. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, the personal information managers need something more like Microsoft Outlook, with excellent search capabilities as well as a good storage contract on the hosting side because these types of inboxes are often tens of gigabytes (GB) per user.
In terms of plans, GoDaddy’s VPS plans look very similar to its Business ones. The only real difference is a jump in storage  – up to 200 GB on the Expand plan – and therefore in price. GoDaddy promises to get your VPS server up and running in minutes, and takes care of managing the whole thing for you. These VPS plans are best suited to eCommerce sites, or resource-heavy apps. They’re also a good option if you have multiple sites on the go, as the isolated environment means one site won’t impact on the loading times of another.
Email isn't going away any time soon. Despite a rise in adoption of collaboration-based communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, 86 percent of professionals prefer to use email for business purposes. How companies host, store, and distribute their email—that's the area that has undergone a massive transformation. Businesses are veering away from costly onsite email servers running products such as Microsoft Small Business Server and looking instead to the cloud with hosted email solutions. Businesses of all sizes have realized the wisdom of going with a scalable and secure hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution with guaranteed uptime that breaks down pricing into flexible, per-user charges.
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