17 Oct 2019

7 Best Windows Web Hosting Providers Compared

Windows hosting is serviced on the Microsoft ASP.Net framework. The other main sort of hosting is Linux hosting, that uses the PHP framework for coding apps and websites. Windows hosting generally uses Microsoft SQL (MSSQL) databases while Linux generally uses MySQL databases. This is not always 100% true, but 9 times out of 10 that is the truth. You can also use MySQL databases with Windows. 

When you search for Windows hosting on Google, Godaddy instantly pops up. However, there are lots of other Windows hosting providers that you need to know about. I’ll discuss the best ones briefly in this article. 

Before deciding to go with Windows hosting over Linux hosting it’s a good idea to understand what Windows Hosting is and who it is for. We’ll dive into that discussion before I outline the top 7 Windows hosts of 2019.

What Is Windows Hosting?

Windows hosting is a type of web or app hosting that uses the Windows operating system. Most of the common web hosting plans offer Linux hosting, for example, WordPress normally runs on Linux hosting. For this reason, it’s safe to assume that when a web hosting provider doesn’t specify the hosting type, it’s most probably Linux hosting.

Linux vs Windows

Trying to choose a new hosting plan can be overwhelming. If you can decide whether you want to go with Windows or Linux first of all, that’s half the battle. If you plan to create your site in ASP.net you’ll need a Windows server. You’ll also want to use Windows if you don’t like cPanel, and prefer using Plesk. Again if you are looking for more control then you might want to go for Windows. For people using Sharepoint or other MS solutions, Windows is great. 

On the other hand, if you are looking for cheap shared hosting that you can host your WordPress blog or WooCommerce website on then you’ll want to go for Linux. You can use Windows for WordPress but Linux is more suited to the job. If your site is created in PHP, again Linux will be the OS for you. If you are looking to use Apache, PHP, CGI, Perl or Python then you’ll need to opt for Linux. 

Who is Windows Hosting For?

Windows is the best choice for some apps and website owners. Windows runs on a familiar operating system (OS) – the current Windows OS has over 400 million users, it’s easy to use for a lot of people because that is what they are used to. Windows hosting doesn’t use cPanel as Linux does, instead, it uses a control panel software known as Plesk. 

Normally programmers are familiar with cPanel and Linux setup, however, that’s a bit of a generalization as you do get Windows developers who specialize in C# and .net. 

A good reason to use Windows web hosting is if your organization already uses a lot of Windows or Microsoft tools. Also if your website is built in ASP.net then you’ll definitely need a Windows server. 

The Downside of Using Windows Hosting

Although there are many instances where Windows hosting is the best approach. The opposite is also true in many situations. Windows hosting is not as secure as Linux hosting for one. Windows hosting is a bit more expensive than Linux hosting. Windows can also be less stable than Linux based OS. You’ll need to have someone on hand to help you if your Windows website isn’t performing consistently.

Windows hosting is designed for more suited to IT or development teams who are developing C# apps or ASP.net websites. I’d probably go so far as to say Windows hosting is not for new businesses (in general) because shared hosting packages are cheaper, more secure and more accessible. And normally always based on Linux OS.

That being said if you are looking for the best Windows hosting, then you probably have a good idea of what you are using it for. Let’s jump into the 7 best Windows web hosting providers. 

1. A2 Hosting ($3.70/ Month)

BEST FOR –Turbo powered Windows shared web hosting

If you are looking for cost-effective shared web hosting that runs on the best tech, then look no further than A2 Hosting. Founded back in 2001, A2 Hosting has an anytime money-back guarantee. You can choose from VPS or shared Windows hosting packages. 

A2 Hosting Windows Packages and Pricing

The “Turbo” Windows shared hosting plan for just $8.14 per month is the fastest shared Windows web hosting package around.  All of the shared Windows hosting from A2 Hosting has an anytime money-back guarantee and they offer free website migration. So if you have a Windows website elsewhere, you can have it transferred over to A2 Hosting completely free of charge, and with little to no, downtime.

  • Lite ($3.70/ month) – 1 Website, 5 Databases, Unlimited Storage, Unlimited Transfer, Plesk Onyx 17.8 Control Panel and Free SSL & SSD
  • Swift ($4.44/month) – Unlimited Websites, Unlimited Databases, Storage, Transfer, Plesk Onyx 17.8 Control Panel, Free SSL & SSD
  • Turbo ($8.14/month) – Unlimited Websites, Unlimited Databases, Unlimited Storage, Unlimited Transfer, Plesk Onyx 17.8 Control Panel, Free SSL & SSD, Turbo (Up To 20X Faster), A2 Site Accelerator

Click Here To Visit A2hosting

Pros
  • Fast shared Windows hosting
  • 24/7 live chat
  • 99.92% uptime
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Anytime money-back guarantee

 

Con
  • High renewal rates
  • No Turbo on the lower plans

2. HostGator ($4.76/ Month)

BEST FOR –Shared hosting for personal or small business hosting

Founded back in 2002, Hostgator is now a big player and aware winner in the hosting space. Their reseller hosting packages are extremely popular. They also offer either shared, VPS or Dedicated hosting packages for Windows. Their shared Windows hosting starts at just $4.76 and for that, you’ll get unmetered everything, the only thing you are restricted to is the number of websites you host. You can host just 1 website on their “Personal Plan” and 5 on their “Enterprise Plan”.

HostGator Windows Packages and Pricing

Hostgator offers two Windows hosting packages, both offer unmetered disk space and bandwidth, and you also get free  SSL certificates. You’ll also benefit from the Parallels Plesk Panel and MSSQL. The packages they offer are as follows:

  • Personal Plan ($4.76/month)– 1 Domain, unmetered Disk Space, Unmetered Bandwidth, FREE SSL Website Security Certificate
  • Enterprise Plan ($14.36/month) – 5 Domains, unmetered Disk Space, Unmetered Bandwidth, FREE SSL Website Security Certificate, FREE Dedicated IP

Click Here To Visit Hostgator

Pros
  • 24/7/365 Customer support
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 45-Day money-back guarantee
Cons

3. WinHost ($3.95/ Month)

BEST FOR – Windows specialists who offer one-click Windows Applications

WinHost is a web host that is focused on providing premium Windows hosting. If you want to take advantage of a host that offers one-click installation for Windows-specific applications, then WinHost is ideal for you – you can deploy CMS systems like nopCommerce and DotNetNuke in minutes. Additionally, WinHost offers free website transfers, so that you can ask them to port your website over to their websites to minimize stress and downtime. 

WinHost Windows Packages and Pricing

As with most hosts, the longer you sign up, the cheaper the hosting gets. If you want additional security you can add SiteLock on for $19.95 per year. However, if you opt for one of the higher tier plans, you’ll get this for free. They price their hosting both by how long you sign up for and also the number of FTP users that you want to add to your account. 

  • Basic Plan ($3.95/month) – 3GB disk space, 50GB bandwidth, 10 FTP users
  • Max Plan ($7.95/ month) – Unlimited disk space and bandwidth, 30 FTP users
  • Ultimate Plan ($15.95 /Month) – Unlimited disk space and bandwidth, 100 FTP users
  • Power Plan ($39.95 /Month) – Unlimited disk space and bandwidth, 250 FTP users

Click Here To Visit Winhost

Pros
  • 24/7 Support
  • 99.9% uptime
  • One-click app installer

 

Cons
  • None

PRO TIP: Remember to sign the BAA to activate your HIPAA compliant email hosting. 

4. Bisend ($3.95/ Month)

Best for – Managed hosting for small to medium-sized businesses US / Hong Kong

Founded back in 2011, Bisend is owned by Light Red Tech Co Ltd, which is a UK based company.  Bisend specializes in Windows hosting – as such they are a great choice. They have invested in decent tech, like powerful solid state drives (SSD). This means they have great performing servers. If you’re looking for a company that has their servers built with the latest Microsoft Windows technology and specializes in this area, look no further than Bisend.

Bisend offers shared and VPS hosting packages on this tech. Making them great for performance.  You’ll get the leading industry standard control panel for Windows – “Plesk” when you choose to host with Bisend. Bisend uses servers in both the US and Hong Kong, as such they are best for people who are serving customers/ visitors in those regions. They also provide a ready-code environment so that you can get coding as soon as you purchase a server from them. 

Bisend Windows Packages and Prices

When you choose to host with Bisend you get a free domain name for the first year and free SSL certificates. They also allow you to choose from their US or Hong Kong server locations. Below is a list of their Windows Hosting Packages and Prices. 

  • Standard ($3.95/ Month) – 1 website, 10GB SSD Disk Space, 50GB Bandwidth, 50 Email Accounts, Site Memory: 256MB, 2GB Database
  • Pro ($5.95 / Month) – 5 websites, Unlimited SSD Disk Space, Unlimited Bandwidth, 100 Email Accounts, 2x faster than the “Standard hosting”Site Memory: 512MB, 4GB Database
  • Business ($13.95 / Month) – Unlimited Websites, Unlimited SSD Disk Space, Unlimited Bandwidth, Unlimited Email Accounts – 4x faster than Pro plan, Site Memory: 768MB, 8GB Database

Click Here To Bisend

Pros
  • 24/7 Support
  • Instant provisioning
  • Code-Ready Environment
  • Free SSL Certificates
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Limited Server Locations 
  • New hosting company

5. DiscountASP.NET ($10/Month)

BEST FOR –  Certified Microsoft Golden partner, good for beginners

Discount ASP.NET was founded back in 2003. They are a website host and a certified Microsoft Golden partner and they are fully licensed under the Microsoft’s Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) Program. Discount ASP.NET operates out of data centers in the US and Europe/ UK. and offers 24/7/365 support. If you decide to go with Discount ASP.net then you’ll benefit from a free domain name. Their name is a bit deceiving as they are not particularly cheap as the word “Discount” would suggest.  

ASP.NET Packages and Pricing

Unlike most other hosts on this list, ASP.NET offers just one ASP.NET hosting plan. This could be a pro or a con. The plan comes with free months free if you pay upfront for a year. The features offered are as follows:

  • Base Web Hosting Plan($10 / Month) – 1000MB disk space, 80GBB monthly data transfer, free website migration, control panel, 500 email addresses

Click Here To Visit Discountasp

Pros
  • First 3 Months FREE
  • 30-Day money back guarantee
  • Expert support
Cons
  • Charge for MSSQL databases
  • Just one package
  • Expensive

6.  1&1 IONOS ($2/ Month)

BEST FOR –Reliable, cost-effective, feature-rich web hosting

1&1 IONOS are one of the biggest and best web hosting companies in the world. They were founded in 1998 and currently have over 12 million customers. As a well-established web host, you know that you can put your trust in 1&1 IONOS. They also offer 24/7 customer support, should you need to resolve any issues.  Although I was tempted to put these guys at the top of the list, they do up their price to $8 after the initial period (6 or 12 months) has expired, so I put them in their relevant “realistic” place on the list. After all the article did say more than just IONOS. But realistically – they are fantastic at what they do.

Amazingly all three of IONOS’s Windows plans come in at $1 for at least the first 6 months. The “Business” plan stays at this price for a massive 12 months, which is impressive. Here is an overview of their ASP.NET hosting packages and pricing:

  • Business ($1/month for 12 months, then $8 per month)- 1 Website, 100GB storage, 25 MSSQL DBs, 25 email accounts free domain
  • Pro ($1/month for 6 months, then $10 per month)- 5 Website, 250GB storage, 100 MSSQL DBs, 100 email accounts free domain, SiteLock malware protection
  • Expert ($1/month for 6 months, then $14 per month)- 50 Websites, 500GB storage, 500 MSSQL DBs, 500 email accounts free domain, SiteLock malware protection, Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Click Here To Visit 1&1 IONOS

Pros
  • 90-Day money-back guarantee
Cons
  • No live chat

7. GoDaddy ($5.99/ Month)

Godaddy is one of the most popular hosts on the planet. They offer 24/7/365 customer support, DDoS protection, and 99.9% uptime. Their shared Windows hosting plans use Windows® Server 2012 R2. They offer a nice backup service, but sadly it’s not bundled with the plans, you need to pay an extra $2.99 per month for that. However, I’d say that it’s pretty necessary for keeping your website safe because in the event your site gets hacked you’ll be back up and running inside one click. 

GoDaddy Windows Packages and Prices

When you decide to host your Windows website with GoDaddy, you have a choice of three plans as follows:

  • Economy – 1 Websites, Free domain name,  100 GB, Unmetered Bandwidth, Business Email, 10 x 1GB MySQL databases, 1 MSSQL (200MB) database, 50 FTP accounts
  • Deluxe – Unlimited Websites, Unmetered storage, Unmetered bandwidth, Business email, 2 MSSQL databases, 25x 1GB MySQL, 50 FTP accounts
  • Ultimate – Unlimited Websites, Unmetered storage, Unmetered bandwidth, Business email, Unlimited MSSQL databases, Unlimited MySQL, Unlimited FTP accounts

Click Here To Godaddy

Pros
  • Largest WebHost
  • 24/7/365 customer support
  • Backup and Restore
  • Unmetered Bandwidth
  • Free domain name
  • Odin Plesk
Cons
  • You need to pay extra for website auto-backups

The Bottom Line

There are some instances where Windows hosting is perfect, and others where you’d be best to opt for a Linux server.

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14 Oct 2019

10 MySQL Database Hosting Options

Database driven websites or “dynamic websites” rely on a database to run. MySQL is an extremely popular database, especially for PHP websites and websites that run on a content management system, for example, WordPress or Joomla. Databases make it easier to organize the content of your website.

When you use a database for content you can store large amounts of information, making dynamic websites great for blogs or eCommerce sites, and everything in between. The alternative is a static website, where the data is pasted directly onto the website and the data remains the same. You then have to go into each page to change the content.  Databases are also used for systems like business management systems where you have a lot of information to store and you want to be able to retrieve it easily. 

Databases also have the added benefit of not only being able to handle and retrieve large quantities of information, but you can also have multiple people working on a database at one time. MySQL is an open-source database management system and as such is free to use. However, you’ll normally use it via a website host. 

In this article we’ll explore the top 10 MySQL hosting options, these are hosts that offer MySQL database hosting and relevant tools to go in and manage your database.

Before I get into the best MySQL hosts, let’s first understand why it’s a great idea to use MySQL in the first place.

Why Should I Use MySQL?

MySQL is the most versatile database, as it can run on just about any platform – Microsoft, Linux, MySQL, FreeBSD, macOS, and Solaris. MySQL is also feature-rich. Ideal for working on massive datasets, often used by large websites (as well as small ones) to manage all of their data. Although MySQL is great for large companies, it is easy to use, making it a great choice for a beginner. 

When it comes to performance – MySQL is fast, even on shared hosting packages. You can use Apache, PHP, and other programming languages with MySQL, again adding to the flexibility of the database.

What Different Database Hosting Is Available?

Understandably you might want to know what other options are available to you. There are currently six main types of hosting MySQL is one. Then there are five others as follows:

  • MSSQL (Microsoft SQL) – Used to store and retrieve data, compatible with Linux and Windows
  • MS Access – MS Access used to be a big thing, but it’s not used by professionals anymore. It is a Windows-based database that has a graphical UI, it’s bundled with the Microsoft Office suite. 
  • Oracle – Used by banks, hence it is super secure. Can run on both Windows and Linux Oracle Corporation actually also own MySQL
  • PostgreSQL – Open-source and object-relational database available for Linux and Windows
  • MongoDB – Cross-platform database, classified as a NoSQL database, MongoDB uses JSON with schema. 

What to Look For in Your MySQL Hosting Provider

MySQL database hosting is offered by most reputable hosting providers. So what should you look for when choosing a MySQL database host? 

Firstly, check out how many databases you get with your plan. While most small projects require just one database, larger projects can require a few databases. Some hosts even offer unlimited databases, so that way you know you will have all of the databases you need. 

You’ll need a host that supports PHP in addition to MySQL hosting. That aspect is normally a given. You’ll also want to look for cPanel or Plesk to manage your database/s. cPanel is great for spawning and managing databases. 

Alright, now we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the Top 10 MySQL database hosting options of 2019.

1. Hostinger ($0.99 per month)

BEST FOR –Small to medium businesses

The super cheap $0.99 per month plan from Hostinger will get you just one MySQL database. This also doesn’t include a domain name. For just $2.59 you can get their Premium plan with unlimited MySQL databases and a free domain name. All of their shared hosting plans come with one business email account for free. Hostinger is great for customer support, you can contact them any time as they are available 24/7/365. Hostinger has their own custom developed control panel for you to manage your account. 

Oto.ne thing that is great about Hostinger is the fact that they d weekly backups for free. That’s great news for security, in case your website gets hacked, you’ll always have a backup to revert to . 

Click Here To Visit Hostinger

Pros
  • Unlimited databases for just $2.59 p/m 
  • Weekly backups
  • Email address
  • 24/7/365 customer support
  • Signature control panel

 

Con
  • Just 1 database on the cheap plan

2. HostWinds ($3.29 per month)

Hostwinds is an award-winning hosting company, headquartered in Washington, US. Hostwinds was founded in 2010. They offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a 99.999% uptime guarantee. You get unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space and all of their hosting packages, including their shared hosting, comes with cPanel to manage your databases. Which is pretty awesome, to say the least. 

Most importantly, Hostwinds offers unlimited databases. You’ll also get SSD drives, free website transfers, unlimited email addresses, and a free domain. The only thing you are restricted on when it comes to their shared hosting packages is the number of websites that you can host on the plan. The “Basic” plan is their lower plan that allows you to host one website. Their “Ultimate” plan allows unlimited everything and is just $5.17.

Click Here To Visit Hostwinds

Pros
  • cPanel
  • SSD Drives
  • 99.999% uptime guarantee
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited disk space
  • One-click app installer
  • Free website transfer
  • Unlimited emails
  • Free SSL certificates
  • Free domain
  • Unlimited subdomains
  • Instant setup
Cons
  • Just 1 MySQL database on the basic plan

3. HostGator ($2.75 / month)

BEST FOR – Beginner hosting with unlimited MySQL databases

No matter what kind of hosting you require, HostGator has you covered. You can bundle your database hosting with shared hosting, dedicated hosting or VPS. Hostgator also offers decent reseller hosting, if you’re thinking about setting up your own hosting company, then they are a great choice. They also offer a 45-day money-back guarantee. 

HostGator is home to some 8 million domain names. They offer a massive 4000 website designs to choose from for the front end of your website. Alongside a website builder, you’ll get a free domain name with your hosting and unlimited MySQL databases.  You’ll also get phpMyAdmin to administer your databases. 

Click Here To Visit hostgator

Pros
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • phpMyAdmin
  • Free domain name
  • Website builder
  • 4000 designs
  • Cost-effective
  • Feature-rich

 

Cons
  • Lots of upsells

PRO TIP: Remember to sign the BAA to activate your HIPAA compliant email hosting. 

4. A2 Hosting ($3.02 per month)

Best for – Cheap feature-rich shared hosting packages

Founded way back in 1999, A2 Hosting was originally called Iniquinet before renaming in 2003. A2 Hosting is now one of the fastest-growing and leading web hosts. A2 Hosting is best known for its 20x Turbo hosting, but they also offer just about every type of hosting package you’d ever need. Including great reseller hosting, with all of the software you need to start your hosting empire. The only downside to A2 Hosting is that they only operate out of 3 locations, Singapore, the US, and Europe. 

You’ll get a free SSL certificate, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited storage even with their lower plans. When it comes to database hosting, with their basic “Lite” plan you get 5 databases and for just $1 you can upgrade to their “Swift” plan to get unlimited websites and databases. What’s more, you can also get cPanel to manage your entire website. 

Click Here To A2hosting

Pros
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited databases with “Swift Plan”
  • SSL certificate
  • Anytime money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Just 5 databases with “Lite plan”
  • Just 3 locations

5. BlueHost ($3.95 / month)

BEST FOR –  Scalable, cost-effective web hosting with unlimited databases.

BlueHost is one of the leading web host providers. You’ll get every type of hosting from Bluehost. From beginner hosting with one-click app install, for WordPress and other apps. You can also get cloud hosting, shared hosting, dedicated hosting and VPS hosting. They offer 24/7 customer support via chat, phone, and email, which is great for those starting out. You get a free domain name and a free SSL certificate. 

Again Bluehost offers phpMyAdmin, the leading database admin tool so that you can create and change your databases. You get 20 MySQL databases with their basic shared hosting plan. For all other shared hosting plans you get unlimited MySQL databases. 

Click Here To Visit Bluehost

Pros
  • Unlimited databases on higher ticket packages
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Free domain name
  • Free SSL certificate
  • phpMyAdmin
Cons
  • No monthly payment option
  • Just 20 databases on the basic plan

6.  InMotion Hosting ($6.39 / month)

BEST FOR –High spec, 90-day moneyback guarantee fully featured hosting

InMotion offers the full range of web hosting packages shared, dedicated and VPS. InMotion has created its signature web builder called Premium Web Builder – which is free to use for people who host with them. In all honesty, their website is a bit of a turn off as it is so old fashioned looking, but their features and packages are decent. 

When it comes to disk space, Inmotion doesn’t disappoint, they offer unlimited disk space on all plans, unlimited emails, and unlimited bandwidth. You’ll get a free domain name and if you want to transfer your hosting over to them from another host, you can do this for free and experience no downtime. This is ideal for SEO. Backup and restore is also available on all plans. 

Inmotion offers data backups and a massive 90-day money-back guarantee. This is the best in the industry. You’ll get a free domain name and they’ve also invested in the best top of the range SSD drives, that are used for all plans. The only downside is that you’ll get just 2 MySQL databases on their “Launch plan” and will need to upgrade to their top shared plan “Pro” to get unlimited databases, this will cost you $14.71 per month. 

Click Here To Visit InMotionhosting

Pros
  • Great hardware
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • Free domain name
  • Unlimited MySQL databases on the “Pro” plan
  • Backup and restore
  • Free migration
Cons
  • Just 2 databases on basic plan
  • Quite expensive

7. SiteGround

BEST FOR – Unlimited MySQL databases with cPanel and phpMyAdmin

Let’s cut to the chase, SiteGround offers unlimited MySQL databases with cPanel and phpMyAdmin to manage them. They also offer a 100% uptime guarantee which is unheard of. Their databases are stored on separate hard drives to keep them performing efficiently. They also offer free SSL certificates and a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

The main downside to Siteground is that they only allow 10GB of webspace, while others on this list offer unlimited. also they only allow 10,000 website visits per month on their lower “Startup” package, even their “GoGeek” larger package curbs the visitors and storage space. 

Click Here To Siteground

Pros
  • 30-day money back 
  • SSL certificates
  • 24/7 support
  • Free daily backups
  • Unmetered Traffic
  • Free Email accounts
  • Cloudflare CDN
Cons
  • Restricted webspace
  • Restricted bandwidth

8. iPage ($1.87 per month)

BEST FOR – Small businesses, blogs or new projects

When you sign up with iPage you benefit from a wide range of features, such as 1000s of templates, free SSL certificate, and a free domain. You also get $200 free ad credits, which is a bonus. What is great is that you get free unlimited disk space and unlimited MySQL databases. You can manage your databases with phpMyAdmin.  Additionally, they have a drag and drop web builder to make life easy. 

You can lock in the low introductory price for up to 36 months depending on what plan you go for. iPage is geared toward offering easy to set up hosting with everything you need to get your project or plan off the ground.  They don’t cater to larger resource-heavy websites or apps that would require a dedicated server. But they are perfect for smaller projects. 

Click Here To iPage

Pros
  • Free domain
  • $200 ad credits
  • Unlimited MySQL
  • Free SSL certificate
Cons
  • No cPanel
  • No dedicated servers

9. Web Hosting Hub

BEST FOR –Small businesses or blogs

Founded back in 2010, Web Hosting Hub isn’t just a website host, they also offer web design services. They have their own in-house web development team and offer free hosting for one year when you decide to hire them to create your website. They offer a free domain name, 24/7 US-based tech support, unlimited bandwidth, disk space, and email and free SSL certificate. For managing your databases, Web Hosting Hub offers cPanel and SSH access. 

Web Hosting Hub is only any good for small businesses or projects as they only offer shared hosting. With their lowest-priced offering they give you 10 MySQL and PostgreSQL databases. But if you pay just $2 more per month you’ll get unlimited databases. They also offer a decent 90 day, no-quibble money-back guarantee.

Click Here To Webhostinghub

Pros
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • Unlimited databases on higher pans. 
  • Web design services offered
  • Free SSL certificate
  • cPanel
  • 24/7 US based support
Cons
  • No dedicated servers

10. GreenGeeks

BEST FOR –Small businesses or blogs

GreenGeeks is an eco-web hosting company. They offer a free domain name, free transfer, website builder, email accounts and a support team that you can contact 24/7. GreenGeeks offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Greengeeks have a 30-day money-back guarantee, great security features and a 30-day money-back guarantee. But what about the database side of things?

You get Unlimited MySQL databases from GreenGeeks. I love the fact you get cPanel with GreenGeeks as it’s great for database management. They also use the best SSD hard drives and offer a free drag and drop builder,

Click Here To Greengeeks

Pros
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Unlimited databases
  • cPanel
  • SSD  drives
Cons
  • You can only host 1 website on the basic plan

In Conclusion

There is no cookie-cutter approach to hosting. Everyone has different needs and will resonate with a particular host. When it comes to MySQL hosting, make sure you know what you need. If it’s unlimited hosting then go for Hostinger, Hostwinds or HostGator. Always check out the other features that you are getting with the package you choose. I hope that this guide has helped you to pick the best MySQL host for you.

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14 Oct 2019

9 Best PHP Web Hosting Companies WAMP/ XAMPP

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the ideal PHP host for your website. Uptime and performance are two defining factors that affect how the end-user feels about your website. Think of a website that is offline when you visit it, isn’t that a big turnoff? Or one that takes forever to load. These are also two of the myriad of defining criteria that go into Google’s algorithms for host-level SEO. Obviously, as the website owner, you’ll also want to take cost into the equation when selecting the best PHP web hosting company to fit your budget.

What is PHP and Why is it Used?

PHP is a general-purpose programming language, most commonly used to build websites and applications. PHP stands for Hypertext pre-processor. Originally PHP stood for “Personal Home Pages”, which is a lot less glamourous, but that just lets you know where the PHP programming language was born. 

With almost 80% of all websites running on PHP, it’s the #1 programming language of choice for websites. W3Techs say that eight out of every 10 websites run on PHP. This means that there are a lot of different website hosts to choose from to power your PHP website. This article is meant to demystify all of the fluff and provide a list of reliable PHP hosts.

Choosing The Best PHP Hosting Companies

After working in the online space for two decades I’ve come across all sorts of web hosts, some great and others are simply frustrating. This article is meant to be a guide that allows you to omit the months (or even years) of overwhelm that it takes to find the ideal PHP website host. 

When selecting the best PHP web hosting providers for this list we took the following four criteria into consideration:

  • Uptime
  • Speed
  • Pricing
  • Customer support

PRO TIP: Also lookout for the “renewal price” when selecting a host for the long-term. A lot of hosts advertise low hosting prices for a short period of time. After which the price often quadruples. 

1. HostGator Cloud ($2.99/mo)

BEST FOR – Unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email accounts, and unlimited storage

HostGator is one of the biggest names in the hosting world. HostGator offers all sorts of benefits that make it one of the top PHP hosting providers. For example, unlike Bluehost, you can migrate your site over to HostGator for free. 

HostGator offers unlimited bandwidth and storage, which makes it an amazing deal for just $2.99 per month. You’ll snag a free SSL certificate and unlimited email accounts as well if you decide to host with HostGator. 

When it comes to performance HostGator isn’t too shabby either. They have fast page load times and a 99.9% uptime. Making HostGator a great PHP hosting provider for SEO-friendly websites. 

A major downside to HostGator is that you’ll experience a steep price increase after the first 6 months have passed. The renewal costs are around $9.95 to $14.95 per month for most of their accounts. So that’s definitely something to look out for. 

You could jump ship and take advantage of another hosting provider after the 6-month period has passed.

Click Here To Visit Hostgator

Pros
  • Great customer support
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited Storage
  • 99.9% uptime
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Great performance
  • Scalable

 

Cons
  • Price jumps after 6 months

2. 1&1 IONOS (£1 per month)

BEST FOR – Cheap, scalable and flexible SEO-friendly PHP hosting

1&1 IONOS has some of the most attractive looking PHP hosting packages starting at just £1 per month. As one of the biggest and longest established hosts, they offer hosting in 15 different locations, which is ideal for SEO. 

1&1 IONOS prides itself on being scalable and flexible. They keep you informed on your hosting usage via email and allow you to upgrade incrementally. This is great for SEO as your site could go offline if it runs out of space. 

All of the most popular PHP CMS solutions can be installed easily, in one click. Such as Magento, PretaShop, and WordPress

All of the packages from 1&1 IONOS start at just £1 for the first 6 to 12 months, making them one of the cheapest hosts around. You also get a free lifetime domain name, which is unknown – as normally you get a domain name for free for the first year. They also offer a free wildcard SSL certificate and up to 25 email accounts. For the same price you can get up to 500 email accounts for 6 months and 500 GB of storage.

Click Here To Visit 1&1 IONOS

Pros
  • 15 Data centers
  • Free lifetime domain
  • Free Wildcard SSL certificate
  • One-click installation
  • Scalable
Cons
  • Price jump after 6-12 months

3. Bluehost

BEST FOR – Uptime and Performance – Great for beginners

Despite being banded around the web as the best cheap hosting provider at just $2.75 per month, I’m here to burst that bubble. Sure, Bluehost offers a decent PHP hosting experience, but you need to pay for a whole year upfront. 

Putting a barrier in the way of setting up hosting for some people that may have a lower monthly budget. In fact, the low price is merely introductory, but you can lock it in if you sign up for 3 years, which is a long time in the online space. 

Bluehost is a leader in the industry and offers some great features, such as 99.99% uptime guarantee and a super simple website hosting setup. You can install CMS solutions like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla with one-click, which makes it a great solution for beginners who don’t mind paying for years hosting upfront. 

Another downside of choosing Bluehost that’ll only apply if you want to transfer your existing site over to them is the fact that they charge $149 to migrate your website onto their platform. This is super steep and some providers will offer you this service for free. 

On a positive note, you’ll get a free SSL certificate and professional email addresses to match your domain name. You’ll also get a free domain name for your first year from Bluehost. 

Click Here To Visit Bluehost

Pros
  • Fast load time
  • 30-day Money-back guarantee
  • Great customer support
  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • cPanel
Cons
  • You need to pay annually
  • Don’t offer free website transfer

4. Hostinger ($0.99 per month)

Best for – Cheap, SEO-friendly PHP Hosting

Hostinger has data centers in 7 international locations. This is ideal for SEO as Google factors your website location into where they show your website. Hostinger also has an amazing page load time, which is great for SEO.

Like other hosts, you can only take advantage of the low prices when you sign up for a longer duration. The 99 cents price band is only applicable if you sign up for 4 years, which is quite long in my book. 

Most of the PHP hosting packages from Hostinger offer unlimited resources with the exception of their lowest (Single Web Hosting) plan that will give you one MySQL database, one email, 10GB of disk space and 100GB of bandwidth. 

You’ll get a free domain name with Hostinger for one year as well as a nice 30-day money-back guarantee. If Hostinger didn’t charge for priority support and SSL certificates they’d be higher up on this list for sure. 

Click Here To Hostinger

Pros
  • Great page load times
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited databases
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Free domain name
Cons
  • No free SSL certificate
  • Priority support is chargeable

5. SiteGround ($3.95 per month)

BEST FOR –  Daily backups and WordPress optimized hosting for smaller websites.

If you want to lock in the low price from SiteGround, you just need to sign up for a year, which isn’t too bad compared to other hosts. However, you need to keep an eye out for the higher renewal price after the first twelve months, when the price will jump to $11.95 per month. 

I’m a fan of hosts that offer daily backups and Siteground offers this service, which is nice. This keeps your website safe in the event it gets hacked or there is a server error, you can restore it in minutes. 

You get just 10GB of storage and bandwidth that’ll support 10k monthly visitors inside the price displayed, which is ok for a smaller website, but you’ll quickly need to upgrade with this size of hosting plan. 

SiteGround has servers in several global locations, which is great for selecting the most appropriate location for your server in relation to your ideal website visitors. If you are looking to move an existing PHP website over to Sitehost then they offer this service free of charge. 

Click Here To Visit Siteground

Pros
  • Daily backups
  • Global Server locations
  • Free site migrations
  • Optimized for WordPress
  • cPanel
  • Free site migration
Cons
  • Not cheap after initial period
  • Slower performance

6. A2 Hosting ($3.92 per month)

BEST FOR –Blazingly fast page load times

If you are looking to port your website over to A2 Hosting you’re in luck, they offer free site migration. A2 Hosting also has blazingly fast page load times that will please the most impatient website surfer, not to mention Google. Google penalizes slower websites so this is certainly a HUGE selling point for A2 Hosting. 

You’ll also get a free domain name, free SSL certificate and some great customer service if you choose A2 Hosting as your hosting partner. They also offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee. 

The renewal price for A2 Hosting is $9.99 per month, which isn’t too steep. 

On the other hand, the basic (cheapest) plan from A2 Hosts only allows for one PHP website and 5 MySQL databases.

Click Here To Visit A2hosting

Pros
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Eco host
  • Free site migration
  • Fast page load
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Free domain name 
  • Free SSL certificate
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
Cons
  • Restrictive basic plan

7. GoDaddy ($3.66 per month)

BEST FOR – Established PHP host that is easy to use with great performance

GoDaddy is probably the most well-known website hosts of all time. They currently boast 18.5 million customers and they have over 9k employees all over the world.

Although they are one of the most famous brands, they are not great when it comes to bang for your buck. You’ll need to pay extra for features like emails, backups and SSL certificates, which can bring them in at a much higher price. You cant do without most of these features, so really these features should be bundled as part of the package.

GoDaddy also only offer a free domain with some of their more advanced hosting solutions, like their WordPress hosting that comes in at $7.99 per month. 

The storage offered is pretty decent though, you’ll get 100GB of disk space and unmetered bandwidth, which is enough for most medium-sized PHP websites.

Click Here To Godaddy

Pros
  • Unmetered Bandwidth
  • A large amount of disk space
  • Great performance
  • 24/7 support
Cons
  • Below par customer support
  • many basic features cost extra

8. iPage ($1.99 per month)

BEST FOR –Cheap PHP hosting for beginners who already own a domain name

iPage is a great host for people who are on a budget. The low price of $1.99 is locked in for the first three years, which is way cheaper than a lot of other hosts who have higher renewal prices. They are also an eco-friendly host, which is ideal for the times we live in. 

You’ll benefit from great 24/7 customer support and a free SSL certificate as well as free professional email addresses when you choose iPage as your host. 

On the flip side, domain names are extortionate from iPage and they also charge $150 for transferring your PHP site over to their hosting. This is a lot when you think about other hosts that offer this service for free. If you don’t have a site to port over and already have a domain name from another host, then iPage could be a great option for you. 

iPage doesn’t perform so well when it comes to page load times, hence it’s ended up lower down on our list. 

When you look at the acceptible use policy with iPage their “unlimited bandwidth” is actually not what it seems. It actually amounts to 2-3GB of storage when you look at the fine print.

Click Here To iPage

Pros
  • 24/7 Live chat
  • Unlimited bandwidth (ish)
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free custom email address’
Cons
  • No cPanel
  • Expensive website migration

9. DreamHost

BEST FOR –Established eco-friendly PHP hosting

DreamHost was founded way back in 1996 and is a pretty well-known host with over 400,000 customers and over 1.5 million websites. They offer unlimited bandwidth and a massive 97-day moneyback guarantee. If you’re looking for a host that is eco-friendly then Dreamhost could be a great choice for you as they are a carbon-neutral PHP hosting provider. 

DreamHost is also extremely cheap at just $2.59 per month for PHP hosting. 

DreamHost doesn’t offer cPanel, instead, you get their own control panel, which will take you time to learn. I can’t say I am into other types of control panel as cPanel is best in class, so its a pity they don’t offer cPanel. 

The load times and uptime from Dreamhost are OK but nothing special.

Click Here To Dreamhost

Pros
  • 97-day moneyback guarantee
  • Eco-Friendly Host
  • Established host
Cons
  • No cPanel

The Bottom Line

There are many cheap deals that allow you to get up and running with your PHP website in a matter of hours. However, it pays to check out the renewal price. 

Often the introductory price is quite low and tempting, but the price rises significantly in around 6 months. Sometimes the price can be locked in for up to 4 years, so make sure you consider this and also read the fine print – such as the “Acceptable use policy” that outlines what unlimited means to that particular company. 

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30 Sep 2019

10 eCommerce Platforms for Subscriptions & Membership

With the increasing amount of companies taking their business away from traditional high-street stores, we’re seeing an upward trend of eCommerce being THE WAY TO SHOP. For this reason, people are looking for the perfect shopping experience. Sure, Amazon is great, and you should dive in and take your share of their $232.88 billion revenue.

But who wants to put their whole business in the hands of a big corporation? Instead, smart business owners are looking to form long-term relationships with stores that they can trust, and small businesses are getting rewarded for this shift in buyer preferences.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins-and-outs of subscription eCommerce and then delve into the 10 best eCommerce platforms for subscriptions and membership. 

What is Subscription eCommerce?

eCommerce is one thing – selling your products online, but eCommerce subscription is a whole new business model. Businesses offer subscription-based eCommerce for consumers to regularly receive goods (either digital or physical). For example, consumables that are required regularly, like shampoo, wine or socks. Subscription services can also deliver digital goods, think of Netflix or Audible. There are a plethora of ways to offer subscription-based eCommerce products and services. Other examples of subscription-based eCommerce businesses are the Dollar Shave Club, Teabox and Ipsy.

With 79% of US customers stating that they would be more likely to buy if they were offered free shipping – you could offer FREE shipping as a perk of your online subscription platform. You must get creative and provide a subscription service that is both needed and useful and provides world-class products conveniently and at the best price.

What are the Benefits of Subscription eCommerce?

If you’re looking to get started in the world of eCommerce subscription then you need a robust eCommerce platform that supports your needs. One thing that’s amazing about starting a subscription-based eCommerce site is that you’ll be working with repeat custom (a lot) and this means that you can take advantage of the fact that customer retention (ie. Selling to repeat customers)   is seven times more profitable than going out and attempting to acquire new customers.

You have the opportunity to build a relationship and talk to your customers regularly if they are members or subscribe to your website. You can then promote your other products to them, in a non-sleazy way of course. This equates to more sales and happier customers.

Cash-flow management is important in business and many businesses don’t know where their next income, lead or sale will come from. With the eCommerce subscription or membership model, you’ll be able to consistently know how much money will be coming in, allowing you to plan and make better business decisions.

1. Wix ($18 / month)

BEST FOR – Wix is a brilliant comprehensive web builder solution for complete beginners.

You can get up and running in a matter of hours with Wix because it is so easy. Wix also has a paid membership feature, that you can use to receive recurring monthly payments. This is a relatively new feature from Wix. You can make a custom membership section within Wix and show members pages that apply to their membership. This can be used for both digital and physical recurring subscription packages.

To get started you can sign up for a Wix account in seconds with your Facebook or Google ID. Then select the type of store you are starting, such as Electronics, Food & Drink or Beauty & Wellness. Setting up everything is easy with Wix.  You get a free domain name, the hosting is all done on the site and they even throw in free logo design.

Click Here To Visit Wix

Pros
  • Super easy to set up
  • Free domain name
  • £75 Ad vouchers
  • Commission-free
  • Professional logo
Cons
  • Not 100% customizable

2. WooCommerce (FREE)

BEST FOR – Free WordPress  eCommerce plugin offering ultimate freedom and flexibility

If you’re a fan of WordPress, WooCommerce will be a strong contender for your eCommerce subscription website. You’ll get all of the benefits of WordPress, such as easy content management, plugins, and themes and also be able to take advantage of its eCommerce capabilities.  Continually adding blog content is not only great to add value for your customers, but you can also attract new custom via SEO and inbound content marketing with a great blog attached to your store.

WooCommerce is a plugin that you can use with WordPress to make it into an online store. Most importantly, it allows you to take recurring subscription payments and manage your offering. WooCommerce, like WordPress, isn’t just cheap, it’s free, however, you’ll want to choose a nice theme or have someone create a custom web design for your website to make it stand out. Woocommerce has a lot of support and documentation online, making it a brilliant cost-effective solution for your eCommerce subscription website. You can also install additional plugins to boost your sites ranking on Google with great SEO plugins for WordPress.

One thing that I’d warn people who are new to WordPress is that because it is an open-source platform there are a lot of plugins that can leave your website open to hacking. So make sure to install some extra security to prevent your site from being hacked.  WooCommerce can also be integrated with Shopify, Amazon, and Magento.  

Click Here To Visit Woocommerce

Pros
  • Free Plugin
  • Use with WordPress
  • Integrate with Shopify, Amazon and Magento.
Cons
  • Easily hacked
  • Hard to navigate
  • Tech experience needed

3. Shopify ($9 per month + $15.95 per month)

BEST FOR – All in one eCommerce solution with multiple apps and add-ons

Shopify is one a leader in the eCommerce space. They also offer a subscription app that you can use to take recurring subscription payments. The app costs $15.95 per month on top of your Shopify fee. The app is specifically designed for subscription boxes and includes a build-a-box feature for both digital and physical ordering. You can start setting up your Shopify store with a free trial and the app comes with a free 3-day trial so that you can test-drive everything.

Click Here To Visit Shopify

Pros
  • Easy add-on for Shopify
  • 0% recurring fee
  • Scaleable
  • Responsive themes
  • Add on apps
Cons
  • Restrictive
  • Can get expensive with all of the apps

4. Squarespace Commerce Advanced ($46/ Month)

Best for – Beginners who need an all-in-one hosting and website builder

If you are new to the eCommerce world, it’s a good idea to get an all in one solution until you become familiar with all of the moving pieces that are involved with your eCommerce subscription service.  Squarespace does just that, you get everything that you need (apart from the payment gateway in one place).  Most importantly, Squarespace supports subscription models. They also provide a tonne of nice themes for your eCommerce store.

Squarespace also allows you to install a blogging module so that you can also add a blog to your eCommerce store. Blogs can be an important source of traffic, so this component is great to add on to your eCommerce subscription site.  They also offer comprehensive online tutorials, making Squarespace a great solution for the complete beginner. Squarespace can also be integrated with Amazon, WordPress, Spotify, and Magento.

Click Here To Squarespace

Pros
  • Great for beginners
  • Web builder and hosting included
  • Easy to use
  • Blogging module
Cons
  • Expensive

5. BigCommerce ($29.95 / Month)

BEST FOR – Customizable eCommerce platform

BigCommerce is not as easy to use for complete beginners as say Wix is, but it does offer some really great features for your eCommerce store. You can also create content to attract inbound customers. Once you get the hang of it BIGCommerce can be a great eCommerce platform that is available at a decent price.  They also offer 24/7 customer support if you get stuck with anything. If you are completely fresh when it comes to creating online spaces, then you might want to get some help if you decide to go with BIGCommerce

BigCommerce can be integrated with WordPress, Amazon, Shopify and Magento. If you’re looking for a feature-rich solution and you have some tech expertise then BigCommerce is well worth a look.

Click Here To Visit Bigcommerce

Pros
  • Feature Rich
Cons
  • Not for complete beginners

6. Recurly ($99 per month)

BEST FOR – Larger organizations looking to enhance subscription platform

Recurly is specifically designed for subscription management. They put a lot of emphasis on data analysis to improve the performance of your eCommerce subscription site. Recurly powers some of the biggest subscription sites out there and say they are “The Top Subscription Platform for Maximizing Revenue”. They offer a 30-day free trial so that you can test drive the entire platform. If you are looking for a top of the range eCommerce subscription platform then Recurly is well worth a look.

Click Here To Visit Recurly

Pros
  • Great analytics
  • Feature-rich
  • Coupon & discount tools
  • Quickbooks Integration
Cons
  • Expensive

7. POWr for Big Cartel ($10)

BEST FOR –Artist and makers running a Big Cartel Website

If you’re running an eCommerce site on Big Cartel, then you are most likely an artist, photographer or creator. To make your store into a subscription site you can use the POWr plugin for FREE. You don’t need to know any coding to integrate the POWr order form plugin . Best of all it’ll match your website branding. If you need more features, like discount codes or customization then POWr offers an advanced feature set that costs $8.09

Click Here To POWr

Pros
  • No coding required
  • Great for creators
  • Easy to deploy
Cons
  • Only for Big Cartel

8. OsCommerce (FREE)

BEST FOR –Those with tech skill looking for a solution that is cheap to deploy

OsCommerce is an all in one open-source eCommerce platform. If you have your own hosting, or you are happy to set one up with a hosting provider then you can deploy OSCommerce free of charge. You’ll need some tech experience to get OsCommerce up and running. Older versions of OsCommerce don’t allow you to take subscription payments, so you’ll need to ensure that you have RC2.2 version or newer to set up your subscription store.

Click Here To Oscommerce

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Customizable
Cons
  • Complicated to use

9. 3dcart

BEST FOR –Fast growing eCommerce owners with no technical skills, SEO-friendly
3dcart is a reliable and centralized platform that is gaining the confidence of users worldwide.

With 3dcart, you get an easy-to-use e-commerce platform that doesn’t require any software development skills. At the same time, they also offer you an optimized and advanced structure that’s capable of handling hundreds of products. This is great for businesses that are growing fast and need a suitable SEO friendly solution.

Finally, when it comes to subscriptions and recurring payments they offer an out of the box solution already included so, once again, no need for plugins or add-ons.

Click Here To 3dcart

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • No Transaction fees
Cons
  • None

10. OpenCart Express ($100)

BEST FOR –Advanced web developers/ designers that can customize as required

OpenCart is an open-source eCommerce platform that allows a lot of flexibility as to how you would like your store to look and perform. You can get a lot of additional functionality by using some of the extensions available from OpenCart. A few things you need to take into consideration – OpenCart is not easy to deploy, you’ll most likely need the help of a computer programmer to get the site as you want it. You also won’t have support from the company as it is open-source, but you can ask the community in the online forum or help and support.

This platform can be modded up the way you want, but you’ll also need some web hosting to put the site on and a domain name. If you want something easier, then Wix or Shopify are great options.

Pros
  • Open-source, so customizable
Cons
  • Complicated to set up

How to take Subscription Payments?

To take subscription payments for your eCommerce subscription store, you’ll need to integrate your chosen platform with a Payment Gateway. Thankfully it is easier than ever to set up an account and get up and running with your eCommerce subscription site. Years ago we had to deal with banks and complex systems, but now you can get everything set up in minutes from the comfort of your own home. There are many payment gateways to choose from, but the following are two of our favorites:

Payment Gateways to Integrate with Your eCommerce Store

11. Stripe

BEST FOR – Easy setup in minutes for UK, European and US businesses

Most platforms now have Stripe as one of the default settings. They have simple application program interfaces (APIs) that you can use to integrate with your online store. Stripe is an online payment processor that is primarily used in the UK, Europe, and the US. However, you can use Stripe Atlantas to set your eCommerce store up as a US company if you live in another location.

If you are in the UK, Europe or the US then you can set up your Stripe account and integrate it with your eCommerce store in minutes. Stripe can easily be integrated with most platforms such as – WordPress, Clickfunnels, Amazon, Shopify, and Magento.

Click Here To Stripe

Pros
  • Easy setup
  • Great API
Cons
  • Transaction fee (2.9% + 30cents per sale)
  • Waiting time for payments to arrive in bank

12. Paypal

BEST FOR – Quick account setup, fast payments, popular and easy to use

Paypal is a really easy payment gateway to use. I’d say it’s simpler than Stripe to setup in most cases. So if you want something quick and easy, then Paypal is a great option. The only thing is that they limit the amount of money you withdraw until your account has been up and running for a while. You can still take payments, but that’s something to bear in mind, if you have to buy stock. 

Click Here To Paypal

Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Fast withdrawl time
Cons
  • 5% transaction fee
  • Limit on initial amounts you withdraw

The Bottom Line

Make sure that you are offering a subscription service that is needed and useful. Selecting the best platform will lay a good foundation, that is – if people require the solution that you are offering.  Tailor your packages to your customer needs by speaking with them and optimizing your offering. Creating an eCommerce subscription can be a rewarding experience that brings recurring residual income, but it does need managed. Having a few payment methods can be a bonus – you could even allow people to pay in Bitcoin if that is something you are interested in.

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25 Feb 2019

7 Shopify Competitors: A Comparison of Alternative Options

Online shopping is quickly becoming one of the most popular online activities. Currently, there are almost 800,000 websites using Shopify as their chosen eCommerce platform. 590,000 of those websites are based in the U.S.A., followed by the U.K. and Australia.

There’s no denying that Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms when creating an online store.

 

When it comes to creating and managing online stores, there are quite a few options available. Although I find it hard to outline many faults with Shopify, some users may prefer an alternative.

 

Whether you’re looking for a cheaper option, different set of features, or are simply curious, I’ve reviewed 10 Shopify competitors (so you don’t have to)!

1. Wix (£22.00/Month)

There are almost 3.5 million sites powered by Wix (as of May 2019). Wix is an incredibly powerful alternative to Shopify, allowing people to create stunning websites and online stores in a matter of minutes. Wix’s market share shows that users truly love their platform.

What features does Wix have?

Wix ADI

Wix’s ADI is just one of my favourite features that Wix offers. When I mentioned you could create a website or store within minutes, I wasn’t joking. Wix ADI asks a few simple questions to gauge what your site is about and generates an awesome template based on your answers. If you like what you see, all you’ll need to do is fill in your content and you’re good to go!

Your website will be designed and created with mobile in mind. All of Wix’s templates, including their ADI design are mobile-friendly and responsive. You can edit a separate mobile version of your site if you wish too (though it can be a little fiddly).

Wix Stores

Although Wix isn’t solely an eCommerce platform, you can create your own online store. Just like it’s website’s templates, you can create beautiful online store fronts and product pages in no time at all. Once you’ve created your store, you’ll be able to manage everything, track products and orders, all from your desktop and mobile.

There’s plenty of payment methods you can use for your customers. Whether it’s PayPal, credit card, etc. it’s simple to integrate payment gateways to your store. What’s more, payments are commission free too (so you won’t lose a penny).

Wix Blog

It’s important to have a blog if you mean business in the online market. Not only is it good for your brand, it helps with SEO too. Wix’s blog feature makes it super simple to integrate a blog into your website or online store.

If you’re feeling inspired on the go or need to make quick changes, you can use Wix’s mobile app to access your blog. And if you require some help or invite guest writers, you can add blog contributors who can write and manage their own posts – fab!

Pros:

  • Monthly subscriptions mean you don’t have to pay out an annual fee all in one go
  • Wix is incredibly intuitive and easy to use
  • Wix’s ADI tool makes creating a website or online store a breeze
  • All of Wix’s templates are beautifully designed and professional-looking
  • There’s an absolute ton of features and tools available to use

Cons:

  • Once your website has gone live you can’t change your template (unless you start afresh)
  • Their mobile site editor can be temperamental at times

 

Visit Wix.com

2. BigCommerce ($29.95/Month)

There are 49,000 live sites currently on the internet using BigCommerce. This Shopify alternative offers many features, and a pricing plan to suit many users. Their essentials plan starts at $29.95 per month and boasts 0% transaction fees, unlimited products, a responsive website, blog, and up to $50k per year on sales.

What Features does BigCommerce have?

Store Templates 

Of course, when it comes to online stores, you may be interested in the features they have to offer. BigCommerce has a wealth of features that you don’t have to pay extra for. Their eCommerce website templates are a great starting point (they’re all responsive). As well as looking modern and professional, you also have the option of choosing a template that’s fast.

When I say fast, I mean fast in terms of loading speeds. BigCommerce have optimised templates to ensure that your online store loads within an acceptable time frame. This is perfect for your customers as well as your SEO if you want to generate more traffic and visitors to your site.

Server Speed 

It’s often easy to forget that when you use a eCommerce builder or website builder that they are your web host. BigCommerce guarantee a 99.99% uptime, as well as ensuring your site is PCI compliant. These little details allow you to focus on the content of your store, rather than having to worry about the back end.

Site Migration 

If you do decide to move your online store from another competitor to BigCommerce, it’s super easy. BigCommerce claim they have migrated over 20,000 stores to their platform. There’s an easy to use tool to make this happen, or you can contact BigCommerce’s expert team for help.

Pros:

  • No transaction fees, even with third party gateways
  • Extensive feature set even on lowest pricing plan
  • Plenty of SEO tools
  • Built-in blog
  • Ability to sell with companies like Amazon, eBay, and Facebook

Cons:

  • Limits on annual online sales
  • Pricing is high compared to competitors
  • No mobile app to manage online store

 

Visit BigCommerce.com

 

3. SquareSpace

SquareSpace not only provides eCommerce solutions, you can build websites for many professions. Whether you’re a budding artist, musician, or setting up a new shop, SquareSpace can provide the right tools. SquareSpace currently hosts over 1 million live sites, which gives an indication of it’s popularity.

What Features does SquareSpace have?

Product Catalog 

SquareSpace doesn’t put any limits on the number of products you can sell. As well as items, you can sell services, making it very versatile. When you list your products or services, you can do so with different variations, SKUs, etc. SquareSpace makes it really easy to setup an online store, regardless of your size. If you own a small business or large scale corporation, you can display all your items in one place.

Subscriptions 

It’s becoming a lot more common for online stores to offer subscriptions. Products like food boxes, postal services, etc. all require a subscription. SquareSpace allow you to create monthly subscriptions, annual product deliveries, or seasonal and one-time subscriptions. Users will find it easy to setup recurring subscriptions via your online store, and may even entice more traffic to your site.

Abandoned Checkout

The average abandoned checkout rate is almost 80%, which is a shockingly high figure. With SquareSpace, you can automatically setup rules so that your business will send out reminders to customers. When reminded, customers may revisit their cart on your online store and complete their purchase. This is a must have feature for any online business.

Pros:

  • Beautiful templates in terms of design
  • Plenty of eCommerce focused features
  • Easy to use
  • Customisable without the need to code

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to other competitors
  • Although easy to use, may not be very beginner friendly
  • Could do with more payment gateways

 

Visit SquareSpace.com

 

4. WooCommerce

If you have a WordPress site, you may want to consider WooCommerce. It’s an open-source eCommerce platform for WordPress customers (with over 61 million downloads).

The plugin is free and easy to install to any WordPress account. WooCommerce, like other online stores, doesn’t charge card transaction fees, and offers multiple payment gateways. In addition to the fresh install of WooCommerce, there’s plenty of add-ons available to customise the plugin to your liking.

What Features does WooCommerce have?

Sell anything 

You can pretty much sell anything using WooCommerce. Whether it’s digital or physical (or even both), it’s all possible to fill your online store with. If your business is affiliated with another site, you can provide affiliation links too, keeping everything in one place. When you put a product or item up for sale, you can offer an unlimited amount of variations, e.g. colours, sizes, etc.

Shipping Options 

WooCommerce gives you the ability to offer a multitude of shipping options for your online store. You can choose local pickup, delivery, or worldwide shipping. Or, if you only want to ship to certain locations, you can do this too. As well as location-based options, you can also set your own shipping rates.

Whether you want a flat rate, variable depending on size, location, etc. WooCommerce can calculate your preferences and provide the output to your customers.

Optimisation 

It’s important once you have your online store up and running that you optimise it. WooCommerce tools ensure you’ll get the most out of your business (and so will your customers).

You can add features like coupons to entice customers (and their friends) to purchase more. You can also make recommendations to customers as their shopping, taking them on an extended journey of your online store.

Pros:

  • Plenty of advanced features
  • Ideal for small or large online stores
  • Customer and admin accounts
  • Free and paid designs available

Cons:

  • Can be quite difficult to use
  • No direct support

 

Visit WooCommerce.com

5. LemonStand

LemonStand provides the usual eCommerce platform features. However, it also provides a large amount of flexibility, customisation, and automation to make your life easier.

Their pricing plan makes choosing the best option for you really easy. All of their plans include their main features, with the difference being the amount of orders you can take. LemonStand also offer a free 14 day trial, so it’s worth giving it a go (even just for the trial).

What Features does LemonStand have?

Flexibility 

As I mentioned, LemonStand provide lots of flexibility. You can setup and sell your products exactly the way you want to. As well as adding products in the ‘standard’ way, you can add custom fields to ensure that regardless of your needs, your products will still sell. You can sell any number of products with unlimited variants, add group-based pricing, discounts, and more.

Blogging

As with many websites now, you can add a blog to your online store. Customers like businesses who inject a little more personality into their websites, and this gives your the opportunity to reach out even further to them. LemonStand’s CMS allows you to create a professional designed website, online store, and blog. You’ll have full control over your content, posts, announcements, and even link products from your store to your blog.

Management 

When businesses create an online store, the last thing they’ll want to do is manage the back-end of their website. LemonStand ensure that they manage support, infrastructure, and maintenance. This means you can focus entirely on your business, without any additional stresses.

Pros:

  • Great support
  • Fixed pricing
  • Wealth of features
  • Highly customisable

Cons:

  • None of the plans offer unlimited products
  • Missing features compared to other competitors

 

Visit LemondStand.com

6. 3dCart

3dCart is a cloud based shopping cart, offering plenty of features for most businesses. Their plans all come with standard features including unlimited bandwidth, orders, 24/7 support, and more. eCommerce stores won’t incur any transaction fees and can be linked to existing blogs and social media stores like Facebook. Plans start from $14.25 per month, including unlimited products, which I think is pretty competitive in the market.

Features:

Responsive Themes 

3dCart will provide you access to over 60 free themes. All of these are mobile ready, meaning you won’t have to worry about optimising your online store for smart device users.

With so many internet users now accessing the world wide web via their smart phone, tablet, laptop, etc. it’s essential your site is optimised. If your eCommerce store isn’t mobile ready, you could be jeopardizing your user base, traffic, and SEO score.

Sales Channels 

Selling products solely from your online store is now a thing of the past. Customers want to interact in multiple ways, whether that’s through social media (Facebook Store), Amazon, Google, etc.

If you don’t connect with other channels, you could be losing out on a lot of your market. 3dCart connects your online store with the likes of eBay, Facebook, Amazon and Shopzilla with ease.

Secure Payments 

eCommerce providers offer multiple payment gateways. 3dCart has over 100 payment options for you to choose from. It’s really easy to accept payments from your customers with a wide range of providers. Popular choices include PayPal, Visa Checkout, Google Pay, etc.

The more payment methods available, the more customers you could potentially be gaining. All payment gateways are completely secure, too, so you’ll never need to worry about that.

Pros:

  • Plenty of free (mobile ready) themes
  • No setup or transaction fees
  • Unlimited products on all pricing plans

Cons:

  • Not as customisable as other shopping carts
  • Some user interface issues

7. BigCartel

BigCartel is my recommended choice for beginners into the eCommerce market. They offer affordable pricing plans, and even provide a free plan if you want to sell a limited amount of products. They may not offer as many features as other eCommerce stores, but they provide the market with an alternative that many users could make use of.

What Features does BigCartel have?

Custom Store 

Many website builders and online stores allow you to customise aspects of the themes and templates available. BigCartel allows you to customise your store to exactly how you want it. If you want to use their editor to add products, move content, etc. then it’s really easy to do.

But, if you’re feeling experimental, you can access the back-end code of each template and switch and change whatever you like.

Analytical Tools 

Once you’ve established a customer base, or even if you’re building one, it’s key to learn where they’re coming from, how they shop, etc. BigCartel’s analytical tools allow you to check stats on your products and run promotions based on data. You can setup marketing, edit your products, and change anything you like. Best of all, you can do all of this from your mobile device!

Niche Market 

Although this isn’t necessarily a feature, BigCartel really focus on getting small businesses up and running. Their pricing reflects this, making it easy and accessible for start-ups and individuals to start spreading their wings in the eCommerce market.

With BigCartel you can sell anything you like; paintings, music, t-shirts, you name it. BigCartel are 100% independent which means their focus is really on you.

Pros:

  • Free plan available
  • Very easy to use
  • Ideal for beginners and start-ups

Cons:

  • Basic themes
  • Limited features

 

Visit BigCartel.com

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