What is a Web Hosting Account? — Get Started with a Host (2017 Guide)

Recommendations, features, and prices of your first web hosting account

When describing web hosting accounts to beginners, most people employ the tried-and-true housing analogy: Shared hosting is like renting an apartment, VPS is a condo, and dedicated servers equate to owning your own home. In a never-ending quest to keep things interesting, however, I’ve compared web hosting accounts to pizza and the search for love. Now, it’s time to spice things up and turn to another passion of mine: Mexican food.

Believe it or not, web hosting can be thought of as an indulgent menu of meat, beans, cheese, and seasonings for you to arrange and prepare as you see fit. We’ve mixed together a five-course meal of hosting account descriptions, definitions, features, and prices, culminating in our picks for the best hosting accounts. What are you hungry for?

1. Web Hosting Definition

At the most basic level, web hosting accounts give you access to large computers, called servers, where you can store the files and information required to make a website or application. The servers connect to the internet to share and deliver that content to users. Although it’s possible for you to operate your own server and host your own website, doing so requires a ton of expertise and patience as you work through the numerous headaches that are bound to pop up. If you want more information, we’ve created a helpful guide that explains the basics of web hosting.

Why spend years learning how to make the perfect tortilla from scratch when you could simply go to your favorite Mexican restaurant on a whim? The vast majority of website owners will purchase hosting services from a reputable company, much like opting for a nice dinner out with friends.

2. Types of Hosting

Similar to Mexican food, the different types of web hosting accounts can largely be described as using the same ingredients in different configurations. Chow down on these hosting descriptions that compare shared, virtual, cloud, and dedicated servers, in addition to other specialized formats of web hosting.

Shared Hosting Definition

When it comes to Mexican food, shared web hosting is like the free chips and salsa brought out for your arrival, or maybe a heaping plate of nachos. Perhaps one of those giant margaritas served in a comically large glass with two straws?

Illustration of the different types of web hosting accounts

The web hosting account you choose is largely dependent on how much computing power you need.

The point is, you’ll be using a server’s computing resources alongside everyone else sitting at the table. Although you have no say on server settings or nacho toppings, the best plans come with everything you could possibly need — and probably even a few extra things you won’t touch. Seriously, who wants black olives on nachos? The same usually goes for niche hosting features, such as Secure Shell (SSH) access or phpMyAdmin, for inexperienced customers.

There are unwritten rules that everyone should have an equal share of both nachos and server resources, but you always run the risk of dining with that friend who grabs chip after chip and scoops out all of the best toppings. Those diners affect the mood at the whole table, just as a resource hog affects server performance for the other hosting customers. Even though many hosts tout unlimited storage and bandwidth, the companies will often penalize customers who go too far.

VPS Hosting Definition

Few things whet the appetite quite like a sizzling, steaming plate of fajitas heading your way. Many places offer fajitas made for two or four, and this is the perfect example of VPS hosting. Standing for virtual private server, VPS hosting plans mean that servers are divided into virtualized partitions or virtual machines, which then act as independent dedicated units.

Customers still share a server, but they each enjoy much larger portions and have greater control over their computing resources. Site owners on a VPS plan can configure their hosting stack by choosing the operating system, web server, database platform, or programming framework. Many rapidly growing sites turn to VPS hosting so they can quickly scale bandwidth and memory.

With VPS-style Mexican food, you can simultaneously share a meal with your dining companions and still eat exactly what you want. Don’t like onions but want extra sour cream? Enjoy!

Cloud Hosting Definition

Naturally, the most complicated form of web hosting is always the most difficult to work into these tasty analogies. In this case, we need to temporarily leave Mexican food to pay homage to Spanish cuisine — specifically, tapas. The fellow cloud hosting customers at the table can order many different dishes that everyone may sample from to create a full meal. No one goes hungry because there are always new dishes arriving and empty plates being bussed off the table.

Image of servers in a datacenter

No, cloud servers do not exist in the sky. The hardware is networked to provide top-notch scalability an reliability.

Eating tapas is akin to the nebulous type of hosting in that cloud hosting environments consist of several servers that are networked together and virtualized to share storage and processing resources. Cloud hosting is extremely performant, scalable, and reliable because servers are optimized to handle particular tasks. If something goes offline or crashes, other servers are ready to fill in to keep your website or application online. Likewise, new resources can be provisioned or turned off as your traffic scales up or down.

Dedicated Hosting Definition

Every Mexican menu has one — the massive, as-big-as-your-face burrito. As with dedicated servers, giant burritos represent the utmost in Mexican food indulgence. There is one plate, an enormous pile of ingredients that you chose, and nothing standing in your way. The restaurant will still provide the plate, silverware, and napkins, but you’re on your own; no one else at your table may nibble on your burrito unless you give them access.

With dedicated hosting, you are the lone customer on a server. The host will typically cook up and deploy your dedicated server within their datacenter, often including management services such as operating system updates and security patches. Customers, however, can enjoy total control over software and security programs, along with the processing power and storage space.

Other Hosting Services

Although nachos, fajitas, and burritos are typically among the most popular items at your favorite Mexican restaurant, you’ll often have much more to choose from. Just like the combo plates many restaurants offer, you can frequently mix and match more specialized hosting services to satisfy a particular craving. Here’s a list of the hosting equivalents of enchiladas, quesadillas, chimichangas, and chile rellenos:

  • Application hosting (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, PrestaShop, etc.)
  • Blog hosting
  • Control panel hosting (cPanel, Plesk, etc.)
  • Domain hosting
  • eCommerce hosting
  • Email hosting
  • Managed hosting
  • Managed WordPress hosting
  • Operating system hosting (Linux, CentOS, Windows, Fedora, Debian, Red Hat, etc.)
  • SSD hosting
  • Website builders
  • And many more!

Specialized hosting services appeal to customers with specific needs and functionality requirements. An online business won’t succeed without a hosting plan that includes eCommerce and marketing tools, while those tools might go unused with someone running a high-powered blog who needs a managed WordPress hosting plan.

3. Web Hosting Account Features

Naturally, most new hosting customers are going to look for plans with the most features for the lowest price. Hosting connoisseurs, on the other hand, will have a better understanding of the ingredients that most strongly delight their taste buds.

By understanding the major components of web hosting accounts, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions with your hard-earned money. You might find that marketing credits and SEO tools are more important to your online business, while professionals might place more value on the strong design a website builder can provide.

Domains and Emails

These two commonly get lumped together in hosting account descriptions, but domain names and email are distinctly different services. Domains are effectively the address web browsers use to find and display a website. Many hosting companies include a free domain name registration for the first year, a value around $10 to $15, when new customers sign up. If you already have a domain name, those same companies will usually apply that credit toward a free transfer or website migration.

Email accounts, which use the domain name as the second half of the address, use server space to store, send, and process your messages. Email addresses with a custom domain name tend to look more professional than the standard Gmail, so this tends to be an important feature for online businesses. The best email hosting plans typically come with spam and virus protection, as well as autoresponders, enhanced security, and support for various protocols, plus tools for forwarding and filtering.

Control Panels

Sure to be a first-time hosting customer’s best friend, a control panel acts as a translator, of sorts, for the most foreign menus. The user-friendly interface enables site owners to quickly and easily manage their hosting account.

Screenshots of cPanel and Plesk control panels

Control panels are popular platforms that allow new site owners to easily oversee their web hosting services.

The majority of hosting accounts use the Linux operating system, which is most often paired with the cPanel control panel. Windows hosting plans, best for sites and applications running ASP.NET, typically come with Plesk. Other options, particularly at VPS and dedicated hosting levels, include free and open-source control panels. We’ve prepared the ultimate guide to control panels for those who want more information.

Disk Space, Bandwidth, and Databases

Three of the standard components of a good web hosting account, even first-time shoppers can easily compare storage, data transfers, and the number of allowable databases. Many plans, especially at the shared hosting level, boast unlimited services — even though unlimited hosting isn’t actually possible, most customers won’t overstep the resource boundaries.

Disk space is measured in the gigabytes or terabytes available to store your files. Obviously, the more the merrier, but the big distinction here is looking for a small acronym: SSD, which stands for solid-state drives. This upgrade contributes to faster and more reliable websites but is usually a dollar or two per month more expensive.

Databases are an efficient way to store your information and typically correspond to what type of content management system you choose to install. Most tools will automatically walk you through a simple setup process to connect your information to your website. Bandwidth, which is also called data transfer, speaks to how quickly visitors can access your website. The more bandwidth you have, the faster your content is delivered.

Site-Building Tools

The taco bar of the web hosting world, website builders let you customize your meal without having to roll up your sleeves and cook. The tools enable drag-and-drop web design sans coding by providing hundreds of mobile-friendly templates and a WYSIWYG editor — what you see is what you get. Some of the well-known builders, including Wix and Weebly, come with their own hosting plans. Many hosting providers make builders available to customers, with some even taking the time to craft their own platform.

Marketing and SEO Tools

Finally, you’ve cooked this big meal — what if no one comes to eat? Search engine optimization and marketing tools get people in the door by making your site accessible and primed for success. A strong SEO plan will boost your website or brand’s visibility, traffic, and credibility, and often has a better return on investment than traditional advertising methods. Web hosts, particularly with shared hosting plans, frequently include tools to create site maps, edit metadata, and measure keywords. Beyond email marketing tools, some providers even include a credit of $100 or more to spend on search engine advertisements.

4. Web Hosting Account Pricing

All the hosting features might be nice, but we know the bottom line is usually the deciding factor when choosing a web hosting account. The trick, however, is to balance budgetary restraints with quality. You can save money by going to Taco Bell, but you’ll appreciate the authentic cuisine and fresh ingredients at the slightly more expensive sit-down restaurant.

Image of someone making an online payment

Web hosting accounts don’t have to break the bank. The most affordable plans are less than $5 per month.

Shared hosting plans start at only a few dollars per month, with providers usually giving customers a discount for committing to a year or more of services. For whatever reason, hosts advertise their monthly rates but typically bill for the entire year. Also, be sure to plan for additional fees: Domain name registration, professionally designed themes, and upgraded services for security, backups, and performance can push your invoice higher.

5. Host Recommendations

With all the various server configurations, specialized tools, and add-on services available to site owners of all levels of experience and expertise, the best hosting provider or plan entirely depends on your needs. What are you craving? How hungry are you?

Whether you’re looking for something light or are ready to chow down, we’ve broken down the hosting smorgasbord into bite-size portions to make the different types of web hosting dishes more digestible. Feel free to read our guide explaining how to choose a web host, or click the links below to go straight to the type of hosting that will serve you best.

Best Shared Hosting

Whether you’re looking for your first web hosting account or simply a new home for your existing website, one-click software installations, 24/7 customer support, and strong uptime guarantees should be go-to ingredients of a strong shared hosting option. As you look over the menu, keep an eye out for your favorite dish: It could mean getting high-performance SSDs, a website builder, or extra SEO help. Our three favorite hosts at this level represent a great cross section of the variety of hosting accounts available:

Bluehost.com

Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $2.95

  • Known for high-performance, low-cost shared hosting
  • FREE website builder with 1,000s of templates
  • Endorsed by the WordPress.org team as a top WP host
  • FREE CDN accelerates your site’s page loading
  • Usually $7.99/month, but our visitors pay $2.95/month
  • Get started on Bluehost now.
SHARED
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 Shared Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/shared

iPage.com

iPage review

Monthly Starting Price $1.99

  • An industry-leading shared host with competitive pricing
  • Attract visitors with a complimentary marketing suite
  • $500 in extras like Google AdWords and SiteLock security
  • Start selling online in minutes
  • Get more than 75% off today! (usually $8.99/month)
  • Get started on iPage now.
SHARED
RATING
4.8
★★★★★
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 Shared Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.ipage.com/shared

InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $2.95

  • A favorite for shared hosting (and dedicated or cloud)
  • FREE SSD storage packs 20x the performance
  • FREE SSL certificate and 24/7 support
  • 1-click installs for WordPress and popular CMSes
  • Get started with FREE website transfer service
  • Get started on InMotion Hosting now.
SHARED
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 Shared Hosting Plans
90 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.inmotion.com/shared

See more shared hosts »

Best VPS and Cloud Hosting

As your hosting needs grow and your server requirements become more complex, a strong VPS account will help you scale even further. The best plans typically come with upgraded hardware, free administrative tools, and included managed services to help you configure and maintain the most secure and performant hosting environment. These premium providers offer some of the best services at the most affordable rates:

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

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

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

See more VPS hosts »

Best Dedicated Hosting

At the top tier of the hosting world, dedicated servers represent ultimate luxury and responsibility. Customers can often customize their hardware and software configurations, in addition to selecting upgraded services for backups, security, monitoring, load balancing, and more. Although dedicated hosting accounts are among the most expensive, our recommended hosts make the servers an extremely worthwhile investment:

LiquidWeb.com

Liquid Web review

Monthly Starting Price $96.75

  • 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

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

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

See more dedicated server hosts »

Best Blog & WordPress Hosting

The globally popular content management system might power more than a quarter of all websites on the internet, but most uusers don’t understand the technical nuances of most effectively and efficiently hosting WordPress. The best WordPress hosts offer upgraded hardware, toughened security programs, and WordPress-specific support. If WordPress isn’t to your liking, send the dish back. Our hosting chefs will whip up one-click installations of several blogging programs for you to savor.

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

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

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

See more WordPress hosts »

Best eCommerce Hosting

Online shopping overtook in-store purchases in 2016, making eCommerce functionality a critically important feature to add to your business web hosting account. For those looking to do business online, many hosts offer specialized software to create and manage online stores. Optimized servers and plenty of storage space is key for showcasing multiple products and converting site visitors to consumers. In addition to securing your customers’ data, our top eCommerce hosts make designing your storefront a breeze.

SiteGround.com

SiteGround review

Monthly Starting Price $3.95

  • FREE Weebly site builder, daily backups, and CDN
  • 1-click software installs and optimized servers
  • FREE eCommerce plugin for WordPress
  • Test changes to your online store within the staging area
  • 24/7 support delivered by eCommerce gurus
  • Get started on SiteGround now.
ECOMMERCE
RATING
5.0
★★★★★
SiteGround: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 6 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): SiteGround’s shared hosting plans tout eCommerce necessities: 1-click installations of Magento, PrestaShop, WooComerce, or WordPress with the WP eCommerce plugin. If you opt for WP eCommerce, your server will be custom configured to fit your site’s... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name eCommerce Hosting Plans
30 days 10 GB - 30 GB New or Transfer www.siteground.com/ecommerce

Wix.com

Wix review

Monthly Starting Price $5.00

  • Build online stores quickly and easily
  • Choose from 100s of industry-specific themes
  • Drag-and-drop builder lets you customize without coding
  • Add features via the App Market
  • Quickly get your store noticed by popular search engines
  • Get started on Wix now.
ECOMMERCE
RATING
4.9
★★★★★
Wix: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 4 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Wix is one of the foremost names in website building and the company’s industry-specific theme collection sets the brand apart when it comes to building online stores. With the team’s drag-and-drop builder tool, you don’t need any programming... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name eCommerce Hosting Plans
14 days 500 MB - 20 GB Transfer www.wix.com/ecommerce

iPage.com

iPage review

Monthly Starting Price $1.99

  • $200-worth of ad credits with Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
  • FREE domain, email, and online store with cPanel
  • Blog and photo gallery setup wizards
  • FREE cloud storage account and unlimited bandwidth
  • PayPal, shopping carts, and Yellowpages.com listing
  • Get started on iPage now.
ECOMMERCE
RATING
4.9
★★★★★
iPage: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 5 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): If you’re looking to sell online, iPage is one of the best hosts you can trust to help you do it. They offer all the essentials, plus marketing guides, SEO tools, advertising credits, and more. They mesh top-tier support with affordable features…Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name eCommerce Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.ipage.com/ecommerce

See more eCommerce hosts »

Best Website Builders

Similar to the kitchen crew in your favorite Mexican restaurant, website builders prepare your online presence in a way sure to make your mouth water. Starting with the theme, users can customize colors, fonts, layouts, and more. Our favorite building tools also incorporate apps or plugins that add interactivity and new features to your website, such as a contact form or social media integration. Read on for our three favorites:

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

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

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

See more site builder hosts »

Getting Started With Your First Web Hosting Account is a Milestone

As someone who unabashedly tells friends about my willingness to bathe in my favorite restaurant’s creamy jalapeno sauce, I particularly enjoy thinking about Mexican food as a resource for something other than nutrition.

Once you’ve signed up for a web hosting account and get everything seasoned just the way you like it, your finished website is like the tasty dessert. Whether you prefer flan, sopapillas, churros, or tres leches, a successful hosting partnership will leave a sweet taste in your mouth. After such a delicious feast, however, be sure to leave a tip. Share your insights and advice below!

Laura Stamey

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