Web Hosting Comparison Chart 2017: Top 21 Hosts & Services

Web Hosting Comparison Guide Graphic

It’s no longer a question: Businesses need a website to keep up with the current market. If you’re not online, many people won’t know you exist — at least, the 95% of consumers who search for local businesses online might miss you. But who needs them?

Business owners aren’t the only ones who benefit from a beautiful and powerful online presence. Creatives can share their artistry. Writers find a platform from which to be heard worldwide. And computer science majors can flex their programming muscles or show off their HTML prowess.

Whatever your web mission, choosing a host is the first step toward setting up a site that will attract customers, engage readers, or catch the attention of potential employers. A web host stores website files on servers and sends them to the browser when someone visits your site. Plans can vary, and there are different types of web hosts to choose from. Knowing the options can help you make the best decision for your online project. Let’s compare, shall we?

Cheap Web Hosting Comparison Chart

Shared web hosting is a good option for businesses looking to keep costs down. A shared web hosting provider will host multiple sites, owned by multiple customers, on one server. The site owners share the costs of operating the server, so pricing is much lower than VPS or dedicated hosting, usually less than $10 per month. However, site owners are also sharing the server’s ability to transfer data, which means your site’s performance can be slow if one or more of your hosting neighbors experience a traffic spike.

Our experts have evaluated all the top hosting providers, assessing their cost, support, usability, and server reliability. Below you’ll find the top recommendations for what we affectionately refer to as value hosting:

1.
iPage.com

iPage review

Monthly Starting Price $1.99

  • Featuring easy setup and superb reliability since 1998
  • FREE domain and FREE Google marketing included
  • Unlimited disk, bandwidth, and emails
  • FREE site builder and shopping cart
  • Get more than 75% off today (was $8.99/month)
  • Get started on iPage now.

CHEAP
RATING

5.0
★★★★★

iPage: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 5 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): Whether you're a first-time website owner or a web veteran, iPage’s excellent hosting services and fantastic list of extras make them one of the best values in web hosting.Unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and emails are just a part of what makes iPage’s... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cheap Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.ipage.com/shared

2.
Bluehost.com

Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $2.95

  • Known for performance at a low price
  • Endorsed by WordPress.org team
  • FREE Weebly site builder and templates
  • FREE Cloudflare CDN
  • Get 63% off today (was $7.99/month)
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

CHEAP
RATING

5.0
★★★★★

Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): If you’re looking for an affordable host, Bluehost is a solid, reputable choice, but their low cost coupled with their supremacy in the shared hosting arena is what makes this provider such a value deal. The Bluehost name is listed toward the top of many of... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cheap Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/shared

3.
InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $2.95

  • FREE BoldGrid builder and templates
  • FREE website and cPanel migrations
  • FREE SSD storage makes your site load up to 20x faster!
  • FREE security suite including SSL and hack protection
  • Unlimited bandwidth and emails
  • Get started on InMotion now.

CHEAP
RATING

4.8
★★★★★

InMotion: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 5 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): InMotion offers an excellent business-class shared hosting plan. While carrying a higher price tag than other cheap hosts, it has a very nice list of features to help justify the extra cost. For the IT crowd in the audience, you’ll appreciate SSH access, as... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cheap Hosting Plans
90 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.inmotionhosting.com/shared

Compare more cheap web hosts »

WordPress Web Hosting Comparison Chart

WordPress is the platform of choice for large and notable companies, including TechCrunch, the New Yorker, and BBC America. Now powering roughly 27% of the internet, WordPress is far and away the most popular website-building and management software. Because WordPress is such a popular choice, most, if not all, web hosts will offer integrated WordPress as a feature.

Many web hosts offer WordPress hosting and configuration services to make building and publishing a WordPress site simple even for beginners. The software is either pre-installed or can be installed using a single-click auto-installer tool provided by the host. Everything is ready for you to start building out the site from the beginning, and your WordPress site data is (typically) backed up automatically.

We’re mega WordPress nerds here at HostingAdvice, and we’ve reviewed just about every WP-savvy host worth knowing. Check out 2017‘s best in the WordPress hosting biz next:

4.
InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $2.95

  • WordPress pre-installed
  • FREE SSL certificate and unlimited bandwidth
  • FREE domain, site transfers, and data backups
  • Host unlimited WordPress sites on one account
  • Choice of datacenter locations
  • Get started on InMotion now.

WORDPRESS
RATING

5.0
★★★★★

InMotion: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 7 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): InMotion, long known for their shared hosting options, entered the WordPress space with a solid option built upon their reputation for great support and reliability. Costing a small premium over other budget-minded options, they do include some nice features... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name WordPress Hosting Plans
90 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.inmotionhosting.com/wordpress

5.
Bluehost.com

Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $2.95

  • Formally endorsed by WordPress
  • VPS technology and included CDN
  • ManageWP pre-installed
  • Automated data backups
  • 63% discount exclusively for HostingAdvice shoppers
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

WORDPRESS
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 5 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): Aimed at personal bloggers and first-time users, Bluehost’s WordPress hosting packages are a great alternative to simple shared hosting. These service come at a premium, compared to Bluehost’s standard shared plans, but the WordPress optimization and... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name WordPress Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/wordpress

6.
A2Hosting.com

A2 Hosting review

Monthly Starting Price $3.92

  • FREE Cloudflare CDN and 1-click installs for WordPress
  • Turbo Server, SSD speed boost, and A2-optimized caching
  • A2-optimized WP plugins for performance and security
  • SSL certificates, PayPal integration, and 24/7 support
  • FREE HackScan and KernelCare
  • Get started on A2 Hosting now.

WORDPRESS
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

A2 Hosting: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): If shared web hosting is what you need, A2 Hosting is the perfect host to help launch your site with your choice of CMS, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and others. As part of A2's promise to emphasize performance, they've concocted several A2-optimized... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name WordPress Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited RAID-10 $14.99 www.a2hosting.com/wordpress

Compare more WordPress web hosts »

Site Builder Hosting Comparison Chart

Website builders bring a coding-free web design experience. Rather than beating your head against the keyboard as you attempt to understand HTML and CSS, you can point your mouse and click on various areas of your website within a web browser and drag site elements, such as images and text boxes, into place. The visual you see in your editing preview window mirrors what visitors will see on the frontend of your site.

Most shared hosts offer some kind of website builder as an option, particularly to their shared hosting customers. Our favorite site builder plans to recommend to newcomers are listed below:

7.
Wix.com

Wix review

Monthly Starting Price $5.00

  • No coding skills needed with drag-and-drop website builder
  • 100s of templates with industry-specific designs
  • Add features via the App Market
  • Build an eCommerce store easily
  • Build small sites on a budget
  • Get started on Wix now.

WEBSITE BUILDER
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

Wix: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Website building is where Wix shines. The thousands of templates, the intuitive editor, the industry-leading designs that cater to a variety of specific fields and use cases — all these facets represent a platform that excels at facilitating easy web design... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Website Builder Hosting Plans
14 days 500 MB - 20 GB Transfer www.wix.com/site-builder

8.
iPage.com

iPage review

Monthly Starting Price $1.99

  • Choice of Weebly or WebsiteBuilder by iPage
  • #1 Pick for WYSIWYG site building with FREE domain
  • 100s of professionally designed, customizable themes
  • Start your personal blog or business site in minutes
  • Get +75% off your first month
  • Get started on iPage now.

WEBSITE BUILDER
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

iPage: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): Do you want your website built today? If you answered "yes," you should look no further than iPage. In fact, it's possible for you to be online before you even finish reading this article. Thanks to iPage's user-friendly interface, instant provisioning, and... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Website Builder Hosting Plans
30 days 100 GB - Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.ipage.com/site-builder

9.
BoldGrid.com

BoldGrid review

Monthly Starting Price $3.49

  • Integration with Fotolia and Flickr image databases
  • Pre-built and customizable content with GridBlocks
  • Responsive themes with tablet and mobile editing views
  • Generates clean, efficient, and compliant HTML
  • SEO, gallery, and forms plugins
  • Get started on BoldGrid now.

WEBSITE BUILDER
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

BoldGrid: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 5 minutes
Laura Stamey (HostingAdvice.com): After taking the BoldGrid suite of plugins for a test drive, we experienced how they make WordPress more accessible for beginners and much more efficient for professional developers.Because BoldGrid requires a separate hosting account and WordPress... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Website Builder Hosting Plans
90 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.inmotionhosting.com/boldgrid

Compare more site builder hosts »

VPS Web Hosting Comparison Chart

Investing in a virtual private server, or VPS hosting, can be a nice middle ground between shared and dedicated server hosting. As is the case with shared hosting, a VPS host hosts multiple sites per server, but fewer sites are on each server. This raises the cost, but it’s still less expensive than most managed web hosting services or renting your own dedicated server.

Our favorite VPS hosting providers tout SSD speed, ultra-reliable uptime rates, and technical support you can trust. See our expert recommendations in the following reviews:

10.
InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $19.99

  • 50% off the first month with added discounts the first year
  • Real-time redundancy powered by a cloud infrastructure
  • FREE cPanel/WHM licenses with enterprise-grade CentOS
  • FREE server management for patches and updates
  • FREE SSDs and SSL certificate for faster, secure hosting
  • Get started on InMotion now.

VPS
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

InMotion: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): Boasting market-leading VPS hardware, slick management software, and free SSD drives and backups, InMotion offers the most attractive VPS plans you'll find anywhere.Each VPS plan comes with free SSD storage arranged in RAID 6, which is incredibly fast and... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name VPS Hosting Plans
90 days 75 GB - 260 GB SSD New or Transfer www.inmotionhosting.com/vps

11.
LiquidWeb.com

Liquid Web review

Monthly Starting Price $29.50

  • Only pay for resources you use with daily billing
  • 5TB of outgoing bandwidth and FREE incoming bandwidth
  • API access and cPanel available
  • Instant provisioning and SSD speed
  • FREE Storm® Firewall and real-time server monitoring
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.

VPS
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

Liquid Web: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 7 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): It's no secret by now that Liquid Web is known for best-in-class technology and reliability that exceeds expectations (from uptime to technical support). Their VPSs embody that reputation to its fullest — including a new Managed WordPress product (Hop one... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name VPS Hosting Plans
N/A 50 GB - 1.6 TB SSD FREE (1 year) www.liquidweb.com/vps

12.
Bluehost.com

Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $19.99

  • 2-4 cores and 4-16GB of RAM
  • Endorsed by the WordPress team
  • Redundant storage and optional SiteLock security
  • Seamless migration from Bluehost shared plans
  • Get 50% off your first month (was $29.99, now $14.99)
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

VPS
RATING

4.8
★★★★★

Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 5 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): When comparing the performance versus price of VPS plans, Bluehost brings supreme value to the table. In addition to competitive pricing, they offer premium support and excellent uptime compared to other VPS options in the industry. If you’ve outgrown shared... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name VPS Hosting Plans
30 days 30 GB - 240 GB SSD FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/vps

Compare more VPS web hosts »

Dedicated Server Web Hosting Comparison Chart

The big man on campus, dedicated hosting boasts the highest reliability, compute power, data transfer and storage potential, privacy, and security. It also carries the most technical responsibility and cost burden.

When we reviewed the top dedicated server plans, we compared price, storage and RAM, uptime rate guarantees, and network monitoring features, in addition to support and premium services. Check out our top picks:

13.
LiquidWeb.com

Liquid Web review

Monthly Starting Price $79.00

  • FREE incoming bandwidth and choice of operating system
  • Custom configurations with SSDs and instant provisioning
  • Auto-migrations, backups, and 24/7 Sonar Monitoring™
  • Storm® Block/Object Storage and Load Balancer Add-Ons
  • Our visitors pay $96.75/month! (usually $129/month)
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.

DEDICATED
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

Liquid Web: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 8 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Liquid Web's strong suit is their managed dedicated server hosting. They own and operate three state-of-the-art datacenters in the US and have over 50 developers working tirelessly to build and maintain custom solutions for added performance and... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Dedicated Hosting Plans
N/A 211 GB - 1,775 GB SSD New or Transfer www.liquidweb.com/dedicated

14.
InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $99.99

  • Rebootless kernel updates
  • 1-click installs and FREE SSDs
  • cPanel/WHM licences with FREE SSL
  • Tier 1 network with redundancy
  • 99.999% net uptime via Smart Routing™ technology
  • Get started on InMotion now.

DEDICATED
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

InMotion: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 5 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): InMotion offers amazingly fast, reliable dedicated hosting on market-leading hardware — making it an easy choice for anyone seeking a premium dedicated host. From free SSDs to a fanatical support team, InMotion has all the bases covered for both small-scale... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Dedicated Hosting Plans
30 days 500 GB - 1.2 TB SSD FREE (1 year) www.inmotionhosting.com/dedicated

15.
Bluehost.com

Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $79.99

  • RAID 1 mirrored storage
  • Minimum 3 IP addresses per plan
  • Modern hardware, spec'd and maintained in house
  • 24/7 expedited support from the dedicated team
  • Sign up today for 50% off first month
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

DEDICATED
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 5 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): Built on OpenStack technology, with a minimum of four cores per server, Bluehost offers reliable and flexible dedicated hosting options at an extremely reasonable price. We continually praise their shared hosting options for having fantastic hardware and a... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Dedicated Hosting Plans
30 days 1 TB FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/dedicated

Compare more dedicated server hosts »

Managed Web Hosting Comparison Chart

Managed web hosting brings a white-glove or concierge service to the hosting experience. The term “managed” means the hosting company takes care of the hands-on IT work required to keep the server running optimally. They handle the hardware while you maintain the software and your site databases, files, and media content. This type of web hosting carries the highest price tag, but many find the peace of mind and server administration assistance worthwhile.

Many of the best hosts overall offer managed services as a part of their premium plan portfolio. The best managed hosting plans are featured below:

16.
LiquidWeb.com

Liquid Web review

Monthly Starting Price $79.00

  • Choice of self-, semi-, or fully managed services
  • Enterprise-grade Intel hardware
  • Linux or Windows operating system
  • RAID SSD storage for added speed
  • 100% network uptime
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.

MANAGED
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

Liquid Web: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 8 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Liquid Web's strong suit is their managed dedicated server hosting. They own and operate three state-of-the-art datacenters in the US and have over 50 developers working tirelessly to build and maintain custom solutions for added performance and... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Managed Hosting Plans
N/A 211 GB - 1,775 GB SSD New or Transfer www.liquidweb.com/managed

17.
InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $99.99

  • FREE server setup by their experts
  • 99.999% network uptime guaranteed
  • FREE OS/cPanel security patches and updates
  • FREE SSDs make your site load up to 20x faster
  • Custom server configurations and FREE SSL security
  • Get started on InMotion Hosting now.

MANAGED
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

InMotion: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 5 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): InMotion Hosting is a web leader in managed services, whether you’re shopping for a VPS or a dedicated server. Starting with the custom server configurations and complimentary setup by their experts, you won’t be disappointed…Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Managed Hosting Plans
30 days 500 GB - 1.2 TB SSD FREE (1 year) www.inmotionhosting.com/managed

18.
HostGator.com

HostGator review

Monthly Starting Price $76.56

  • Custom server configurations and award-winning support
  • Choice of Linux or Windows operating system
  • Unlimited MySQL databases with phpMyAdmin
  • Full root access and cPanel/WHM control
  • Backed by an industry-leading reputation
  • Get started on HostGator now.

MANAGED
RATING

4.8
★★★★★

HostGator: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): HostGator carries an esteemed reputation in the hosting market, and that legacy extends into their managed services. For high-powered servers equipped to handle your growing business, look no further than the reliable hosting packages of HostGator…Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Managed Hosting Plans
N/A 500 GB - 1 TB RAID FREE (1 year) www.hostgator.com/managed

Compare more managed web hosts »

Managed WordPress Hosting Comparison Chart

Hosted WordPress is often offered with a shared server setup, meaning multiple sites are run on a single server. As we covered above, managed hosting means your host handles your hardware while you handle the software and site content.

Managed WordPress hosting, however, takes things a step further by managing software updates to the WordPress Core, security patches, and bug fixes. Some hosts may even help you manage your plugins. If you’re serious about WordPress hosting, give the managed services below some serious thought!

19.
InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $2.95

  • WordPress pre-installed for you at checkout
  • Zero-downtime site transfers
  • WordPress updates done automatically
  • Plugins, SSDs, and caching for top speed
  • Help from WordPress fanatics and FREE SSL security
  • Get started on InMotion now.

MANAGED WORDPRESS
RATING

5.0
★★★★★

InMotion: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 7 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): Between OptimumCache, SSD storage, and always-there support, InMotion Hosting is a no-brainer provider for managed WordPress hosting. You’ll have a team of seasoned WordPress aficionados on hand to assist with anything from initial site transfer to... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
90 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.inmotionhosting.com/managed-wp

20.
Bluehost.com

Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $2.95

  • 1-click WordPress installs via enhanced cPanel
  • VPS power and NGINX architecture for extreme speed
  • Advanced CDN and WAF protection
  • Custom control panel simplifies WP site management
  • Instant provisioning and regular backups
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

MANAGED WORDPRESS
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 5 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): From a custom WordPress control console to core software updates, Bluehost is a go-to for managed WordPress hosting services. Their plans are ideal for the first-time site owner, but their in-house-maintained hardware and performance-boosting technologies are... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/managed-wp

21.
SiteGround.com

SiteGround review

Monthly Starting Price $3.95

  • Managed services for all WordPress plans
  • In-house-built technologies for speed and support
  • WordPress kept up to date with automatic backups
  • Easily test and deploy changes via staging area
  • 3 levels of caching for optimal performance
  • Get started on SiteGround now.

MANAGED WORDPRESS
RATING

4.8
★★★★★

SiteGround: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): The SiteGround team touts fully managed services across all hosting plans, including WordPress. They cater their managed WordPress plans to customers in search of speed, performance, scalability, and support. With automatic backups taken regularly and a... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
30 days 10 GB - 30 GB New or Transfer www.siteground.com/managed-wp

Compare more managed WordPress hosts »

Types of Web Hosting Comparison

Web hosting options vary broadly and businesses of all types will find something compatible with their needs. Some kinds of web hosting are ideal for small startups just getting off the ground (cheap yet reliable), while others can accommodate more established businesses (faster data transfer and managed services).

Shared Hosting

Shared servers are the entry-level hosting option. They’re the cheapest and require minimal, if any, technical know-how. Multiple websites are hosted on a single server, and therefore share its resources such as data transfer and disk space. This can be the perfect option for a small- to a medium-sized site with fewer than 30,000 visitors per month.

Providers such as iPage and Bluehost offer a free domain name, ample storage and bandwidth, and unlimited email accounts – all for typically less than $10 per month. In addition to the popular “unlimited everything” perk, some of the benefits of shared hosting include comprehensive support and ease of use.

VPS / Cloud Hosting

Virtual private server (VPS) or cloud hosting can be a good middle-of-the-road option between the lowest pricing (shared servers) and highest reliability (dedicated servers). A VPS is a physical server that usually has multiple sites hosted on it. However, it’s much more sophisticated than shared servers in its ability to distribute server resources – and it carries a lighter price tag than for dedicated hosting.

Different Types of Hosting graphic

A VPS also allows for more customization and control of data transfer and storage, and thus many business owners will opt to switch to a VPS as their sites grow. Several virtual private servers can be installed on a single physical server, and customers can take as much space as they need. Many hosts even offer daily billing in which you only pay for the resources you consume. VPS hosting essentially acts in a similar way as a dedicated server without actually being one.

Dedicated Server Hosting

Dedicated hosting is the premium option. This hosting option allows customers to lease an entire server dedicated to their site only. The best option for large sites that experience heavy traffic, dedicated server hosting allows for more control over all aspects of your web hosting.

A dedicated server might be managed by the provider or by the IT team of the company that purchased it. The benefits of dedicated hosting include greater flexibility, enhanced security, and a unique IP address. However, it can be a hefty investment, so businesses should carefully review their needs before deciding to go with dedicated hosting.

Specialty Hosting (Managed, eCommerce, WordPress, etc.)

There are many ways to build and manage a website – eCommerce platforms, such as Magento or PrestaShop; content management systems, such as Joomla or Drupal; and blogging software, like WordPress, being just a few examples. The web hosting market can accommodate a wide variety of platforms and methods for creating, publishing, and administering web content. Applications can be integrated directly into the web hosting environment, making it simpler to use the site management tool with a given web host.

WordPress.org screenshot

WordPress is a known favorite in application-specific, or specialty, web hosting.

Many major hosting providers have capitalized on the swath of web tools and licenses beloved by site owners by crafting application-specific or otherwise specialty hosting plans such as:

Use the links above to jump to the descriptions of each specialty hosting service below.

  • cPanel hosting: Some web hosts offer the popular web hosting control panel cPanel as part of their hosting packages, pre-installing the software for you. The control panel allows VPS and dedicated server users to more easily manage their servers, databases, and hosting settings. Shared hosting customers enjoy the intuitive interface from which they can install apps, like WordPress or PrestaShop, and manage their domains, email, and files.
  • Domain hosting: All websites need a domain name that must be hosted along with the actual site content. Typically, a server will host both the domain (where the site is located) and the site. The best domain hosts offer a complimentary domain name registration for at least the first year of service.
  • Drupal hosting: As a popular content management system, it’s a no-brainer that many web hosts offer quick installation of Drupal as a feature. Rather than needing to manually install Drupal, a Drupal hosting customer can get started building their site right away.
  • eCommerce hosting: If you plan to have an online store, an eCommerce hosting package may be worth consideration. Website builders and web hosts offer easy tools and templates for displaying products, securely processing payments, and managing inventory online.
  • Email hosting: Web hosting plans typically come with email hosting services, but some plans tout exclusive email features for those who don’t necessarily need an elaborate web presence so much as an email account hosted at their domain name. Premium email hosting plans include spam filtering, virus protection, and support for popular protocols such as SMTP and IMAP.
  • Joomla hosting: Like Drupal, Joomla is a CMS, and it’s the second most popular platform for building sites behind WordPress. Built by developers, for developers, Joomla is preferred by those who have a lot of web content to manage and need to configure a complex, data-heavy website or portal.
  • Magento hosting: Leading online store builder Magento gives businesses the opportunity to show off their inventory and profit on the web. Providers that offer Magento hosting typically have single-click installations and free templates along with managed backups and 24/7 support.
  • Managed hosting: Some companies with ample IT resources may choose to manage their own VPS or dedicated servers. However, due to time or staff constraints, or simply for convenience, you can opt for a managed hosting plan. The provider offering the web hosting service will handle server administration, including security, backups, and systems management and monitoring.
  • Plesk hosting: Like cPanel, Plesk is a web hosting management panel. If you plan to partially of fully manage your server, you might be interested in a web host with Plesk as a built-in feature. Functions that Plesk manages include email and domain name systems, databases, file systems, and plugins.
  • SSD hosting: Some hosts boast SSD hosting, or solid-state drives for data storage. An SSD hosting plan is ideal for those who need ample disk space and bandwidth. Folks interested in SSD hosting should consider dedicated or virtual servers for optimal performance.
  • Website builder hosting: Website builders are a means of creating basic to elaborate websites with little or no coding involved. This is a popular option for businesses without their own web team. Wix, Weebly, and other website builders come standard with most shared hosting plans.
  • WordPress hosting: Again, the web’s most popular blogging platform and website management software is featured in the portfolios of most, if not all, reputable web hosts. You can expect single-click installations for the software, or even the luxury of having WordPress pre-installed.

Some hosting plans offer more options than others, and not all applications and hosting types are available with all providers. It’s important to weigh which built-in features are absolutely essential to your website-building venture before signing up for any plan.

Features We Looked For When Making Our Web Host Comparison Charts

Getting your website off the ground requires a great web hosting service. In our evaluation of web hosting providers, we looked at key features that make for a positive web hosting experience and compared the leading providers in the industry. The factors we considered included uptime, website builders, and eCommerce integration. Read on to learn more about the features you should look at when determining which provider and plan is best for you.

Uptime is the percentage of time that a server is operational. When you’re running a website, you want users to be able to access it at all times. When a server experiences downtime, your site would be unavailable, but ideally, this happens rarely. An industry-wide goal for how much uptime a server should have is “the five nines” – an uptime of 99.999%, meaning the system is highly reliable. However, 99.9% uptime is pretty standard and should more than suffice for the majority of hosting users.

Website builders and WordPress let you create an online presence with little to no coding knowledge required. If this is what you need for setting up your site, make sure your web host provides integration for the site builder you want to use. Easy installations for WordPress or pre-installed website builders with ready-made templates are ideal for those who want to drag and drop elements of their site into place — where what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG).

Control panels allow site owners to manage the administrative features of a website such as domain names, email, files, databases, and plugins. Look for web hosts that offer a built-in control panel, such as Plesk or cPanel, if you want an intuitive interface for managing your servers and hosting features.

cPanel dashboard

Web hosting control panels, such as Plesk, ISPmanager, and cPanel (pictured) simplify server management.

Shopping carts are a necessity for businesses offering their products for sale on their site. Joomla, Magento, and other online store platforms can be found in many web hosting plans as integrated features. Some also offer additional eCommerce tools like ZenCart or PayPal. Review your options for eCommerce integrations so you can choose the one that makes the most sense for your store.

Site statistics and web analytics tools allow you to view how many people have visited your site and its individual pages, as well as what links people who visited your site clicked on. This information is useful for optimizing your pages, link placement, and content strategy, and ultimately getting more people to spend more time and make purchases on your site. Other potentially useful insights include the number of databases and subdomains on your site and how much disk space you’ve used. Some web hosts provide this data for free while others require you to pay extra for certain information.

Mailboxes and email storage offered by web hosts give you professional email addresses with your website’s domain name. Ideally, a web host will offer unlimited mailboxes so you can give each of your employees an individual email address and have room to grow. You’ll also want ample mailbox space so you won’t have to worry about needing to delete files and possibly losing important data.

Reliable technical support is essential — whether you plan to manage your own server or rely on the hosting provider to manage it. Something can always go wrong, and you want to be able to talk to someone who can answer questions and generate solutions. Consistent technical support, ideally 24/7, gives peace of mind and swift issue resolution.

Picture of server technicians with a technical support graphic

The quality of service and expertise provided by your web host can make or break your site’s success.

These are some of the most important qualities to think about as you review web hosting options. The presence or absence of these features can make or break the success of your online presence and determine how effectively you can manage your site to your preferences.

Read Reviews Before Choosing a Web Hosting Provider

Not all web hosts are suited for all types of businesses, blogs, or portfolios. That would be impossible. When choosing a web host, as well as a particular plan offered by a chosen provider, read through the list of options carefully and weigh them against your specific requirements.

Be sure you know what these requirements are so that you don’t end up with features not suited for your site (too little data storage, or too slow data transfer, for example). The goal is to pay a cost-effective amount for exactly what you need. If you’re unsure where to begin with web host shopping, start here.

Alexandra Leslie

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