Over the past few years, the hosting industry has changed a lot. Competition within the market has meant that web hosting companies have had to innovate along with reducing prices and adding new functionality. Basically it’s got a hell of lot better.
I have tested 8 companies (and growing) and then chose the best web hosting providers which I have featured below…
*Please note that some of the web hosting reviews below have affiliate links. This helps to pay for the test accounts.
1.(Best Overall Hosting)
2.(Best Customer Support)
|BlueHost is a well known web hosting brand that provides some great features along with some excellent up-time and response times. It's the #1 recommended host by WordPress.org. Need we say anymore?||SiteGround has excelled in most of our tests. They offer fantastic customer service (the best in the industry) and customers also benefit from their famous SuperCacher technology. Not the cheapest choice but you get what you pay for.||iPage has been around for a while and is still one of the best web hosts for beginners. It offers solid performance and is feature packed. It also happens to be the cheapest hosting company we've tested.|
|Plan in review: Basic||Plan in review: StartUp Plan||Plan in review: Essential Plan|
|1 Click WordPress Installation||1 Click WordPress Installation||1 Click WordPress Installation|
|Average Uptime (Past 30 days): 99.98%||Average Uptime (Past 30 days): 99.93%||Average Uptime (Past 30 days): 99.97%|
|Live Chat Response Time: ~2min||Live Chat Response Time: ~1min||Live Chat Response Time: ~2min|
|50GB Storage | Unlimited Bandwidth||10GB Storage | 25,000 Visits/Month||Unlimited Storage | Unlimited Bandwidth|
|Free Domain Name (1 year)||No Domain Name Included||Free Domain Name (1 year)|
|Cost: £6.25/Month £2.00/Month (ON SALE)||Cost: £2.75/Month||Cost: £1.50/Month|
|Visit BlueHost.com (£2.00/Month)||Visit SiteGround.com (£2.75/Month)||Visit iPage.com (£1.50/Month)|
A very popular name within the web hosting industry, BlueHost were established in 1996 and now host over 2 million websites worldwide which puts them in one of the top spots based on hosted sites volume. BlueHost offers 3 main plans and a pro plan with a lot of features, starting from only £2.00 per month. Unquestionably, the basic plan is a perfect choice for beginners; if you’re only looking to host one website it gives you this option and an included domain to do so. This is a great place to start given the price and performance that we’ve seen during the past 10 months.
On the face of things, BlueHost seem like a reputable company offering low cost hosting packages, so we probed into response times and uptimes to take a closer look. Uptrends reports a maximum response time of just over 4 seconds which is a lot higher than we’ve experienced previously. Average uptime trends across the space of a few months brought us results showing around 99.4% uptime; not the best we’ve seen, but certainly not the worst considering the low cost you’re paying each month.
BlueHost fall into the rare category of offering 24/7 support covering live chat, telephone, and email, which is great, especially if you need an answer there and then. We tested BlueHost’s support at different times of the day and found the response times varied a fair bit; generally, between 10 minutes to over an hour. Once we got through the general level of tech knowledge was fairly adequate; luckily for us and everyone else, there is a knowledge database containing video tutorials, support documents, and more if you’re really stuck.
BlueHost offer some great features at low prices; their customer support isn’t the best or most efficient, but it is available 24/7, so we felt that even if we did have to wait up to an hour, at least someone was there on hand. If you have a WordPress site, or your own website, BlueHost is easy to use and pretty painless. If you’re not happy with your service or plans, you have a 30-day full refund policy which is guaranteed.
SiteGround offer 3 shared hosting plans which are tailored to the needs of their customers, and their websites. We felt the need to implement a visual comparison here because SiteGround’s plans were vast and we wanted you to see this.
|StartUp Plan||GrowBig Plan||GoGeek Plan|
|SuperCacher||Static||Static + Dynamic||Static + Dynamic|
|Free Website Builder||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Site Transfer||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Email Accounts||Yes||Yes||Yes|
The above doesn’t even cover half of it! SiteGround’s features are well above the game compared to other hosting companies, so we had a good look into them and what they really mean.
With all of their fancy features, SiteGround guarantee a 99.9% uptime so naturally we had to investigate this and see if their figures matched their promises. Over the past 30 days, SiteGround have had an impressive 100% uptime; they guarantee that if you ever experience more than 0.1% downtime, they’ll compensate you over a yearly basis. Their confidence in their own statistics shines through and is reflected by the results we’ve found. SiteGround have uniquely implemented custom server monitoring software which means the majority of issues can actually be resolved without any human interaction; another neat offering.
Now, we’ve mentioned in other reviews that customer support can sometimes be a grey area when it comes to website hosting providers. SiteGround are nothing more extraordinary with their super-fast response times and knowledgeable support. In fact the customer service is quite incredible, personally I have never experienced such in depth responses (and lightening fast ones may I add!). We tested the service with difficult and demanding technical difficulties and in 95% of cases they came up with a solution. In cases that they didn’t then they would simply hand the case over to someone more senior.
We really struggled to find anything bad to say about SiteGround, and here we’re just being picky; you can pay monthly on their website but if you want this option, there will be a small setup fee. Given the features you’ll get with SiteGround, we can’t see any reason to pay monthly – get the package and reap the rewards. Whether you’re new to the game or are an experienced developer, SiteGround will have you covered on all areas and you won’t be disappointed.
So far, so good, but what about the performance of iPage’s website and offerings; do we really want to rely on them? The short answer is, yes. With a maximum Uptrends response time of 1.7s, we were really astounded by these results. We monitored the uptime of iPage’s website over the space of a few months and the past 30 days have resulted in 99.97%; some months were record breaking and came in at 100%. We can safely say that we would be a happy customer if these trends continued.
This is the section that we always get a little nervous about as it’s so easy for companies to fall down in this area, so we were genuinely surprised when iPage’s customer support was pretty damn good! We opted for Live Chat support as this is much less stressful than going through various different telephone options, only to get an automated response at the end of it. There was a slight delay in connecting to the Live Chat support, however, once connected, the advisors on hand were brilliant; they knew the answers to our questions and were very friendly. Aside from the slow connection, we really couldn’t complain about this experience, especially compared to other hosting provider’s customer support.
If you’re looking for a cheap web hosting package or you are just starting out and building your first website, we would certainly recommend iPage. With great uptime and reliable customer service, we can honestly say that iPage is a brilliant budget hosting provider starting at £1.50 per month (making it one of the cheapest hosting provider’s in our tests). If you’re looking for decent performance and up time then look no further.
Basing themselves in the hosting market for over a decade, HostGator offer budget web hosting with a lot of features. When we visited HostGator for our review, they were offering around 60% off their marked plan prices, starting from as little as £3.25 per month for the Hatchling Plan, £4.95 per month for the Baby Plan, and £4.95 per month for the Business Plan.
HostGator claim a 99.9% uptime guarantee, so naturally, we put this to the test. First, we checked out the website’s response time, resulting in a maximum response time of 1.5 seconds which we were very happy with. We had a look at the uptime results across the space of 30 days, 7 days, and 24 hours which all came back with a 99.9% response time or higher. HostGator take their guarantees very seriously, and rightly so, which they can be proud of.
HostGator offer 24/7 support, 365 days a year, which really should be standard across all web hosting companies, but sadly this isn’t always the case. Offering support via live chat, telephone, and email, we contacted HostGator to see what all the fuss was about, and presented them with various issues to test the waters. Our experience with HostGator’s support was phenomenal, they really knew what they were talking about and were very quick to respond. From basic support questions to technical queries, we couldn’t fault HostGator at all on this topic. We had a look around to see if our experiences were a one off, and naturally some users did present poor reviews of their support, however, you will find this with every single hosting company; not everyone will be happy. If this is the case, after testing HostGator’s services and support, they offer a 45-day money back guarantee which should make users feel a little more at ease if they’re concerned about anything.
If you’re a beginner, HostGator offers you all of the tools and features that you’ll need to get started. If you’re more advanced, these tools and features still apply, and allow you access to shared , VPS and WordPress hosting, and e-commerce features, all at your fingertips. HostGator is recognised as a solid hosting provider with a good reputation that has been present for many years, offering a lot of industry experience. Their prices may not be as cheap as other competitors, but their services and reliability are certainly up there with the best.
GoDaddy is certainly a well-known brand name in the website hosting business, as well as domains, web security, and more. At first glance, their packages, plans, and features seem very plentiful, so we compared their different plans against their pricing.
With GoDaddy’s 99.9% uptime guarantee, we firstly consulted Uptrends to check out their response time against the homepage of their website. The results showed the maximum response time returned was 2.8 seconds, which, given the number of servers the website hit, was very impressive. We tracked GoDaddy’s uptime across a 4-week period to ensure that they were true to their word. Sure enough, the results showed that GoDaddy’s uptime was reliably and fantastically stable.
GoDaddy offer telephone, live chat, forum, and social media support, however, it is worth noting that the live chat support is only really available for sales enquiries, rather than existing business or technical queries. We tested the various different channels of support with some basic and technical questions to get a gauge on how well they would cope. The telephone support was pretty straightforward and easy to get through to; the wait time wasn’t too bad and averaged around 4 minutes; we called several times to eliminate any one-off cases. The support staff knew their stuff and were very friendly and uplifting. GoDaddy’s forums had a lot of information and were very helpful across the board, and their Twitter support was very similar for general inquiries.
GoDaddy, we felt, really offers the whole package at a very reasonable cost (our 3rd cheapest web host). If you’re looking to setup your website with speed and are unfamiliar with the process as a whole, or know what you’re doing, the services and features often go beyond the competition. With the vast number of tools available, and a decent level of customer service once you get through, GoDaddy is a reputable and safe choice. If you’re not convinced, there’s a 45-day money back guarantee to reassure you.
To conclude our review, listed below are the top 5 web hosting companies of 2017 based on price, uptime, and customer service.
UKWebHostReview.com - Best Web Hosting Comparison