As time goes on, the hosting industry has developed tenfold. The market has become increasingly competitive, forcing web hosting companies to evolve and keep their prices in-line or below their rivals.
In order to find the best web hosting company, I decided to test each one on factors such as speed, customer support and uptime…
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If you’re searching for a host which is affordable, rich with features, innovative and provides world-class performance statistics, there’s no question that SiteGround is the right choice.
I’ve always raved about SiteGround when I started using them back in 2014, since then they have blown the competition away (just look at their growth). I use them for all of my sites and will continue to do so because they are simply the best!
SiteGround often gets recommended by other companies, including the leading CMS platforms like WordPress.org, Joomla and Drupal.
They are also voted #1 by numerous FaceBook groups (read my review).
• 99.9% uptime promise across all pricing plans (or your money back)
• Live chat support queries are resolved 9/10 times in just one session
• Incredible customer support (I’ve never experienced such good service)
• Choice of server locations inc Asia, UK, Netherlands, Singapore and the USA (great for speed/SEO)
• All plans offer innovative technology and features
• SiteGround’s own SuperCacher increases the speed of your site
• Free SSL certificates with all plans
• Free Site Transfer (not many hosting companies offer this)
• There’s a limit of 30GB storage with the GoGeek plan
There’s no doubting the experience that BlueHost bring to the market. Established in 1996, they host millions of websites across the world.
If you’re set on, or already are hosting a site via WordPress, BlueHost can offer you a great marriage of value and performance (including speed and reliability). Their 24/7 customer support is available should you need any assistance.
• Exceeds performance expectations (100% uptime recorded over a 30 day period)
• No limits on bandwidth
• Free domain name included (nice touch)
• No hidden charges that you’re not expecting
• Intuitive UI and control panel
• Quick live chat responses
• Free SSL Certificate included
• There are limits in their T&C’s to ‘unlimited’
Hostinger offers clear hosting plans which are targeted to a variety of users. If you’re looking to host a small website or blog but don’t want to pay through the roof, you can nab a plan from £0.80 per month. If you sign up to their middle or top pricing plans, you’ll get a domain for your website thrown in, absolutely free.
Hostinger is a powerful platform, offering a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and they display their server statistics using real-time data. Their response times are well within the average, and in my tests, actually exceeded this every time. If you’re looking for a budget host then look no further.
• 99.9% uptime guarantee
• World class customer service
• Ultra-fast server response times
• Free domain name included (on Premium and Business plans)
• Their pricing is based on a 48 month term
You get a whole lot more for your money than you’d think with iPage. This budget web host offers outstanding features for just £1.50 per month, not bad hey?
iPage, for me, not only feels like a reliable and affordable web host, but also a responsive, user-friendly tool that enables its’ customers to put together the full package.
• Unlimited storage and bandwidth
• Free domain name included
• Over £100 in extras for just £1.50 per month
• 99.97% average uptime on my test website
• 24/7 support
• 1-click installs with plenty of features
• Not enough performance for an eCommerce site
• iPage use Vdeck instead of cPanel
HostGator, have been a solid presence in the web hosting community for years. As you’ll see from my reviews, HostGator churn out some impressive speed and reliability results at a fraction of the cost of other competitors.
As far as web hosts go, if you want an affordable pricing plan that offers eCommerce features, HostGator can dish this up on a plate with no fuss at all. They’ve taken their decade of experience and applied it across the board to appeal to a real selection of markets.
• My tests show a 99.99% uptime record over 30 days (they offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee)
• Support available anytime (24/7/365)
• Technical know-how is obvious when talking to advisers
• Satisfaction or your money back! (45-day money-back guarantee)
• Free SSL certificate
• Customer support isn’t as fast as other web hosts
• Not as cheap when compared to it’s competitors
If you’re not sure where to start on your web hosting journey, GoDaddy is a great option. They provide plenty of features to get started, backed up by decent performance statistics, and aren’t too pricey!
I’d highly recommend them for beginners or small businesses looking to make a name for themselves. They make web hosting look easy, and provide an excellent user experience.
• 99.9% uptime guarantee (my test website recorded an average uptime of 99.97%)
• Generous money-back guarantee of 45 days if you’re not satisfied
• Unlimited bandwidth
• Plenty of storage even on their cheapest plan (100GB!)
• High security measures including 24/7 monitoring and DDoS protection
• Smooth customer journey and easy to use interfeace
• Plans available for Windows and Linux users
• Live chat is for sales only (not customer support)
• Watch out for the price increase at renewal
If you’re worried about your carbon footprint, GreenGeeks are your go-to eco-friendly web host. Similar to SiteGround, this web host provides a variety of data center locations for you to choose from.
GreenGeeks aren’t for everyone but they certainly strike a nice balance between features and affordability. They’re a great choice if you’re just starting to dip your toes into the eCommerce world but don’t necessarily want to pay through the roof.
• Eco-friendly web host fuelled by 300% renewable energy
• 10 years of hosting experience
• No hidden fees
• 99.9% uptime guarantee
• Free SSL certificate with every hosting plan
• Free domain registration
• Lacking in customer service skills
• Not many currency options
Another eco-conscious contender, FatCow boasts more of a playful nature that’s been around for 20 years. For many years FatCow were somewhat stuck in the 90’s but have, of late, updated their payment methods and features to bring themselves up to standards.
From only £3 per month, FatCow (for me) are a great contender in the unlimited hosting world. If you’re looking for simple yet effective, I’d highly recommend this host to increase your online presence.
• Consistent uptime levels of 99.9% to 99.99% over the past 6 months
• Unlimited MySQL databases
• Unlimited storage and bandwidth
• Renewable energy sources
• Free domain transfer
• Marketing credits upon sign up
• Middle of the road pricing
• U.S. focussed customer support
If you’re not worried about a nice-looking website and fancy features, JustHost provide quality hosting and customer service in a simple manner. Although they aren’t my number one choice, I can definitely recommend JustHost if you want affordable hosting without the frills.
For customers who are looking for a host who can provide a free website builder at a fraction of the cost of some of its competitors, JustHost are a solid and reliable option.
• Unlimited storage space
• Free website builder
• Easy to use interface
• eCommerce software including Cube Cart, Agora, and Zen Cart
• Friendly support staff
• No uptime or service guarantees
• Lacklustre performance features
An award-winning U.K. hosting company, Heart Internet boast exceptional performance and value for money. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the pleasure of experiencing such promises, but there must be some truth behind their claims.
As web hosts go, Heart Internet provide a very user-friendly interface, offering beginners and experts alike a solid place to manage their accounts.
• U.K. data centre (great for U.K. based customers)
• 24/7/365 support
• Intuitive control panel
• Free Jetpack plugin with every WordPress installation
• Website monitoring
• Setup fee on their basic plan
• Expensive hosting pricing plans
• Lack of features
There’s no doubting that web hosting can be a complicated world! I often get asked questions from my readers about hosting, so I thought I’d share these with you here. I’ve compiled a list of your most popular questions with the intention of answering them in the simplest way possible!
If you’re researching the best web host, or simply shopping around for web hosting, you’re likely to see the term ‘shared web hosting’ quite a lot. Unless you have a specific need for any other type of web hosting (of which you’d already know about this), then shared web hosting will be your default go-to hosting option.
Shared web hosting, in simple terms, is where many websites (customers) share the space and resources of one web server. So, you effectively have a giant server with lots of little server slots available which multiple customers purchase and host their website from. Shared web hosting is often cheaper than any other type of web hosting. Here’s an example to give you an idea why these companies can charge so little:
1 large server = £500 (one off), split between 250 people paying £2.50 per month = £625 per month
Because shared web hosting customers share their server space with others, these plans are much more suited to people wanting to host a simple website, blog, or small business. For people who are looking to expand into a medium to large business where more resources are required, dedicated, VPS, or even cloud hosting would be a better solution.
If you’ve never hosted a website before, shared hosting would be my recommendation to you. Your web host has the responsibility to maintain all of it’s servers to ensure that your website performs as well as it can do (within reason). You, on the other hand, have the responsibility to maintain your own website; upload files, set up email accounts, monitor performance. Most web hosts won’t step in and help with these sorts of tasks unless you pay an additional fee.
The main advantages to shared web hosting are:
• Low cost and often a discount is applied if you pay annually
• Lots of features and tools available with easy to use instructions
• Scalable pricing plans so that you can upgrade as your website needs an increase
The main disadvantages to shared web hosting are:
• Restricted resources (unlimited doesn’t necessarily mean unlimited)
• Performance may become an issue when your website receives more traffic
1-click installs are very popular and tend to come as standard with most web hosts. If you sign up to WordPress (outside of your web host) you’ll need to pay for your WordPress site. The reason being is that you’re essentially buying a domain name and hosting for your WordPress site.
When you purchase web hosting, you’ll have either linked a domain to your website or bought one (or got one for free) via your web host. Once you’ve signed up, your web host will provide you with your control panel login, giving you access to 1-click installations like WordPress.
It really is as simple as it sounds. Click a button and WordPress will be installed to your web hosting account – voila! You can then login to WordPress via your web host or via WordPress’s website, giving you the freedom to roam through tonnes of free templates, themes, and plugins to make your website even more awesome!
Another common feature you’ll see when browsing web hosting companies is storage and bandwidth. Often these two items will be capped, e.g. 10GB or you’ll see them labelled as unlimited (more often than not).
I spoke briefly earlier about the capacity each ‘section’ of a server can hold. The term storage refers to how much content you can store on a web host’s server. This covers images, files, HTML, scripts, etc. The best way to think of storage is to think of a filing cabinet; it can only hold so much, but often it’s plenty for your needs.
It is, of course, a safer bet to choose unlimited storage if you’re not sure how much space you’ll actually need. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the average web page is 3MB in size, so if you find a great host without unlimited storage, don’t let it put you off.
Bandwidth may be a little more tricky to get your head around. When someone visits your website, data is transferred between your website and the user itself. Bandwidth is also used when files are downloaded (e.g. images on your website, text, etc.) and when your website is backed up.
The more visitors you have to your website, the more bandwidth you’ll require. The average basic web hosting plan will generally support around 10,000 visitors (10GB), which is often sufficient. However, if you know your website receives a lot of traffic, or you’re planning on opening an online business, you may want to find a web host that offers you unlimited bandwidth.
WordPress hosting is the same as shared hosting in that customers buy a ‘slice’ of a server to host their website on, but it’s more of a concierge service to those with or who want a WordPress website.
WordPress web hosting may also be referred to as WordPress managed hosting; it essentially means that the main focus of your hosting plan is WordPress based, and you’ll have experts on hand who know a lot about WordPress to help you should you require it.
WordPress hosting is generally much better optimised to the application itself, as well as offering enhanced performance and security needs. Some web hosts may also update WordPress automatically for you to ensure that your applications are never out of date! If you’re really lucky, your web host might even keep your plugins and themes updated too.
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