How to Choose a Web Host: 5 Tips & Best Services (Feb. 2024)

Choose Web Hosting

For developers, bloggers, small business owners, and others, learning how to choose a web host is like searching for Mr. Right. It’s a familiar question: Which hosting provider should I trust with my heart (er, websites)?

If done right, you can spend a lifetime of happiness with a reliable and high-performing host who is always available through phone, chat, or email to answer your burning late-night questions. However, rushing into a hosting relationship without doing your research could lead to feeling trapped, misled, or extorted. Choosing the wrong host often ends with headaches and a messy, expensive divorce — and you again alone, holding on to all the files you used to share.

We consider ourselves hosting matchmakers and have put together a step-by-step guide to share how to look for hosts and highlighted some of the hosts with the most attractive features — all in the name of helping you find a host you will love for a lifetime.

1. Know Which Type of Hosting You Need

Before you start looking for a hosting mate, take a moment to think about what you’re looking to get out of your next relationship. Just like light sleepers probably shouldn’t date people who snore, your needs will affect your compatibility with certain hosting providers and services.

A personal portfolio website doesn’t need a dedicated server, just like a high-traffic, high-volume online store shouldn’t cut corners with the cheapest shared hosting plan.

Shared Hosting is Great for Small to Medium Sites

In shared hosting, several customers and websites share the same server. On one hand, shared hosting is classic first-boyfriend material — simple and uncomplicated. Most first-time hosting customers should turn to a shared package when entering the web hosting world, then decide when it’s time to upgrade to a VPS or dedicated plan to meet your increasing needs.

From a different perspective, however, a shared host is cheating on you with hundreds or thousands of others. Because server resources are split among so many sites, performance sometimes suffers as your website grows. If you’re ready to get serious and really boost your traffic, you probably won’t want to settle down with a shared hosting plan.

Price, support, storage, and performance are all important features to consider when shopping for a shared hosting service. Other differentiators include eCommerce offerings and free domain options, along with perks like advertising credits, a website builder, and upgraded hardware.

InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $2.29

  • High-quality hosting, no matter the format
  • 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 Our Review»
InMotion: Our Expert's Review

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): InMotion Hosting offers an excellent business-class shared hosting plan — with a price tag lower than several other budget hosts. For the IT crowd in the audience, you’ll appreciate SSH access, as well as support for PHP, Ruby, Perl, Python, WP-CLI, and other popular languages. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
90 days 100 GB SSD - Unlimited SSD FREE (1 year) 5 minutes

HostGator.com

HostGator review

Monthly Starting Price $2.64

  • Get 74% off monthly pricing
  • A perfect blend of price and performance
  • Intuitive control panel with 1-click CMS installs
  • Unlimited everything — from domains to databases
  • Around-the-clock expert support
  • Get started on HostGator now.
SHARED
RATING
★★★★★ 4.6 Our Review»
HostGator: Our Expert's Review

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): HostGator is a great compromise between performance and price. The company offers unlimited emails, MySQL databases, disk space, and bandwidth, plus one-click installs of popular open-source projects, in addition to a 99. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB SSD - 40 GB SSD FREE (1 year) 4 minutes

SiteGround.com

SiteGround review

Monthly Starting Price $2.99

  • FREE CDN, email, and daily backups
  • Hassle-free website and email migrations
  • Unlimited traffic, databases, and email
  • Industry-leading customer support response times
  • HostingAdvice readers get 86% off
  • Get started on SiteGround now.
SHARED
RATING
★★★★★ 4.6 Our Review»
SiteGround: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): Providing hosting with the perfect balance of technological innovation and superior customer support, SiteGround offers a range of affordable hosting services to meet your needs. In addition to the expected cheap web hosting perks — a free website builder and unlimited bandwidth — the company specializes in custom-built tools to deliver strong and positive user experiences. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB SSD - 40 GB SSD New or Transfer 6 minutes

See more top shared hosts »

VPS Hosting Offers More Flexibility for Fast-Growing Sites

VPS, which stands for virtual private server, is a happy middle ground between the casual dating of shared hosting and the commitment of a dedicated server. The server is divided into virtual machines, which act as independent dedicated servers. VPS customers still share a server, but they each have much larger portions and greater control than those with a shared hosting plan.

Because you can add or remove additional computing resources as needed, VPS hosting plans are akin to dating around — you might have a relatively serious relationship with your main server squeeze, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have someone else on standby for when you have an itch you need scratching.

Our favorite VPS hosts usually include storage with high-speed SSDs, or solid-state drives, along with managed services for software updates and patches. Depending on your comfort level with the technical side of things, you’ll want to look for a free cPanel license or full root access. You will also see top VPS hosts include monitoring, security, and CDN services to keep you around.

Hostinger.com

Hostinger Review

Monthly Starting Price $4.49

  • Cloud-based SSD storage for speed and reliability
  • Double your RAM with burst periods
  • FREE dedicated IPv4 and IPv6 addresses
  • Custom control panel for reboots and OS installs
  • HostingAdvice readers enjoy more than 50% off
  • Get started on Hostinger now.
VPS
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
Hostinger: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Hostinger's laser focus on providing affordable hosting solutions shines brightest with the company's VPS packages. The company provides six different virtual server plans, including one that costs less than $5. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 50 GB NVMe - 400 GB NVMe 1 - 8 cores 4 GB - 32 GB

Kamatera.com

Kamatera Review

Monthly Starting Price $4.00

  • Cloud VPS that's more flexible and affordable
  • Load balancer, firewall, and managed services
  • Premium Intel CPUs with 300% more power
  • Choose between monthly or hourly billing
  • Sign up today for a 30-day FREE trial
  • Get started on Kamatera now.
VPS
RATING
★★★★★ 4.8 Our Review»
Kamatera: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Backed by cutting-edge cloud computing technology, Kamatera adds instant and limitless scalability to the VPS hosting marketplace. Each cloud or virtual server is equipped with blazing-fast SSD storage and Intel Xeon Platinum CPUs. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
5 minutes 20 GB SSD - 4 TB SSD 1 - 32 cores 1 GB - 128 GB

A2Hosting.com

A2 Hosting Review

Monthly Starting Price $2.99

  • Turbo server & cache options for faster page loads
  • Well-built plans starting with 4GB RAM
  • FREE CDN plus auto-installs with Softaculous
  • Multilingual support and up to unlimited databases
  • Enhanced security with and daily kernel updates
  • Get started on A2 Hosting now.
VPS
RATING
★★★★★ 4.8 Our Review»
A2 Hosting: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): While A2 Hosting's turbocharged shared hosting platform gives site owners ample room to grow, the company's tech prowess is on full display with its portfolio of VPS options. Ranging from unmanaged, bare-metal environments to stress-free, fully managed space, A2 Hosting is sure to have the perfect option for your expanding online presence. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
7 minutes 20 GB SSD - 450 GB SSD 1 - 10 cores 1 GB - 32 GB

See more top VPS hosts »

Dedicated Hosting Offers Maximum Server Resources and Security

Finally, you’ve found The One. High-performing sites need dedicated hosting, which entails using an entire server to power your website or applications. As the name implies, dedicated servers are ready to wait on you hand and foot and meet your every configuration need. Customers have complete control over the doting architecture, meaning they can customize security systems, operating systems, load balancers, and more.

The dedicated kind of love doesn’t come cheaply, however. Dedicated hosting plans are among the most expensive, given the top-notch hardware, managed services, and around-the-clock support. High-end hosting, however, comes with a number of luxury features, including automatic migrations and backups, dedicated IP addresses, and choice of operating system.

InMotionHosting.com

InMotion Review

Monthly Starting Price $69.99

  • Bare-metal or managed servers available
  • 1-on-1 time with a server administrator
  • 99.99% uptime via Smart Routing™ technology
  • Tier 1 network with redundant bandwidth
  • SSH root access and DDoS protection on all servers
  • Upgrade for cPanel, migration, and auto backups
  • Get started on InMotion now.
DEDICATED
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
InMotion: Our Expert's Review

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): InMotion Hosting offers amazingly fast and reliable dedicated hosting on market-leading hardware — making it an easy choice for anyone seeking a premium dedicated server host. From free SSDs to a fanatical support team, InMotion has all the bases covered for both small-scale and large-scale operations. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
7 minutes 1 TB SSD - 3.2 TB SSD 12 - 32 cores 192 GB DDR4 - 512 GB DDR4

IONOS.com

1&1 IONOS Review

Monthly Starting Price $32.00

  • Explore server deals to find the best rates
  • High powered modern AMD and Intel processors
  • Unlimited traffic and 1 Gbit/s network connectivity
  • 8-minute deployment with full API control
  • Auto backups, DDoS protection, and RAID-1 storage
  • Get started on 1&1 IONOS now.
DEDICATED
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
1&1 IONOS: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): If you need blazing-fast speed, optimum uptime, top-notch flexibility, and full control over the fate of your website the dedicated servers from 1&1 IONOS have you covered. The company offers an assortment of entry-level, performance-focused, and business-class server options. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
7 minutes 480 GB SSD - 2 TB HDD 2 - 32 cores 12 GB - 256 GB

LiquidWeb.com

Liquid Web Review

Monthly Starting Price $75.00

  • Linux or Windows with choice of 3 control panels
  • 100% network and power uptime guarantees
  • Custom configurations and instant provisioning
  • Auto-migrations, backups, and real-time monitoring
  • Block/object storage and load balancer add-ons
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.
DEDICATED
RATING
★★★★★ 4.8 Our Review»
Liquid Web: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): Liquid Web's strong suit is managed dedicated server hosting. The company owns and operates five state-of-the-art datacenters in the US and Europe works tirelessly to build and maintain custom solutions for added performance and security. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
8 minutes 480 GB SSD - 960 GB SSD (+ 2 TB SATA) 4 - 16 cores 16 GB - 64 GB

See more top dedicated server hosts »

2. Determine What Type of Site You’re Building

Just as how the amount of expected traffic or server load affects which type of hosting plan you’ll want to find, your type of website will determine which features are most important to have. Some hosting providers, for example, promote eCommerce functionality while others concentrate on blogging and search engine optimization.

Blog: Consider a WordPress Web Host

With WordPress recently crossing the 28% mark and powering more than a quarter of all websites on the internet, the content management system is an easy pick for writers looking to share their thoughts online. Seemingly every host offers streamlined one-click installations of WordPress, but the best providers include upgraded hardware, unlimited storage and bandwidth, pre-installed programs, and dedicated WordPress expertise and support.

Bluehost.com

Bluehost Review

Monthly Starting Price $1.99

  • Recommended by WordPress.org since 2005
  • Automatic WordPress updates and initial install
  • FREE WordPress themes in the Bluehost Marketplace
  • 24/7 support via live chat, phone, and email
  • Get exclusive discounts on WordPress plans
  • Get started on Bluehost now.
WORDPRESS
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): Bluehost's WordPress hosting packages are aimed at first-time site owners and personal bloggers. These services come at a premium compared to the standard Bluehost web hosting (basic shared hosting) plans, but the WordPress optimization and platform-specific resources are arguably worth the cost. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB SSD - 100 GB SSD FREE (1 year) 7 minutes

SiteGround.com

SiteGround Review

Monthly Starting Price $2.99

  • Officially endorsed by WordPress.org
  • FREE migration plugin or automated installation
  • Pre-installed Git, 3 caching levels, and FREE CDN
  • FREE WP setup wizard, staging, and auto-updates
  • Fast, 24/7 support via custom chat system
  • Get started on SiteGround now.
WORDPRESS
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
SiteGround: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): Want a hassle-free, WordPress-optimized hosting service. SiteGround has thought of everything you need to get your site up and running. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB SSD - 40 GB SSD New or Transfer 6 minutes

Hostinger.com

Hostinger Review

Monthly Starting Price $2.69

  • 1-click WP install, PHP 7+, HTTP/2, and LiteSpeed
  • All-in-one security protections from BitNinja
  • WordPress optimizations boost performance
  • No price markup for WordPress services
  • Daily backups, FREE SSL certificates, and AI Tools
  • Get started on Hostinger now.
WORDPRESS
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
Hostinger: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): As much as we love WordPress, one of our biggest pet peeves is when hosting providers exploit the popularity of the world's most-used content management system by offering so-called WordPress hosting that, in reality, is exactly the same as the host's shared server plans. Fortunately, Hostinger's ultra-fast infrastructure and easy access to SSL certificates and backups sets up the company to outperform the vast majority of the violators of our admittedly made-up rule. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 100 GB SSD - 200 GB NVMe FREE (1 year) 4 minutes

See more top WordPress hosts »

Online Store: Consider an eCommerce Hosting Service

For more than just marketing your brand, an online store is a must-have for business owners. In 2016, analytics firm comScore found that consumers buy more things online than in stores. More than half of the US population shops online, so businesses should find a web host with strong eCommerce options.

The top hosts take care of the added security requirements associated with protecting customer and payment information while also providing beautifully designed templates, access to shopping cart software, and integrations with services such as PayPal and email marketing tools.

IONOS.com

1&1 IONOS review

Monthly Starting Price $1.00

  • Drag-and-drop online store builder for $1/mo
  • Quickly sell products, services, and digital goods
  • Cross-platform selling integrations with social media, Amazon, Google, and eBay
  • Built-in metrics, promos, and coupons
  • Track competitors' Google and social media activity
  • Get started on 1&1 IONOS now.
ECOMMERCE
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
1&1 IONOS: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): The online store builder from 1&1 IONOS gives entrepreneurs a full suite of selling and marketing tools at their disposal — and all for a ridiculously low price. The company’s lightning-fast architecture and tools for SEO and marketing metrics will make your customers’ buying experience quick and enjoyable. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days Unlimited SSD FREE (1 year) 4 minutes

Nexcess.net

Nexcess review

Monthly Starting Price $14.00

  • Code-free design tools for eCommerce stores
  • Templates for retail, food, clothing, and services
  • Custom WordPress integrations and optimizations
  • 24/7/365 support via phone, chat, and email
  • Try StoreBuilder with a 30-DAY FREE TRIAL
  • Get started on Nexcess now.
ECOMMERCE
RATING
★★★★★ 4.8 Our Review»
Nexcess: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Designing, deploying, and maintaining an online store is best done with a quality host. Nexcess created a one-of-a-kind site builder exclusively for optimizing online stores. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 30 GB - 100 GB New or Transfer 5 minutes

A2Hosting.com

A2 Hosting review

Monthly Starting Price $11.99

  • 20 times faster performance that boosts sales
  • 80+ software options: Magento, OpenCart, WooCommerce, PrestaShop, and others
  • Fully managed WordPress and server environments
  • Worry-free migration and 24/7 support
  • DDoS protection and layered security measures
  • Get started on A2 Hosting now.
ECOMMERCE
RATING
★★★★★ 4.8 Our Review»
A2 Hosting: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): For those who understand the importance of page load speed and sales, look no further than A2 Hosting. The company boasts premium storage, optimized security, and one of the most diverse portfolios of one-click software installations we’ve seen. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 100 GB SSD - Unlimited SSD New or Transfer 4 minutes

See more top eCommerce hosts »

Online Portfolio or Résumé: Consider a Website Builder

Job seekers are finding it increasingly important to have an online presence

, even if the desired industry has nothing to do with web design or marketing. For those job applicants without any technological know-how — or, let’s be honest, tech-savvy folks who just don’t feel like going through the motions of developing a site — website builders are the fastest way to produce a professional online presence that showcases your work.

Many hosts partner with a website builder program, such as Weebly, to provide customers with drag-and-drop tools to create a website, but we really appreciate hosts who craft their own custom solution. InMotion Hosting even went as far as creating a one-of-a-kind website builder, BoldGrid, which eases the stress of first-time site owners who are struggling to design something on WordPress. Still other website builders, including Wix and Squarespace, offer standalone services and customized themes to help you land an interview.

Wix.com

Wix Review

Monthly Starting Price $0.00

  • No coding skills needed with drag-and-drop builder
  • 100s of templates with niche-specific designs
  • Add features via the App Market and Wix Events
  • Easily create ecommerce functionality easily
  • Great way to build small sites on a budget
  • Get started on Wix now.
WEBSITE BUILDER
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
Wix: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (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 for the non-tech-savvy user. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
14-day FREE trial 2 GB - Unlimited FREE (1 year) 4 minutes

IONOS.com

1&1 IONOS Review

Monthly Starting Price $1.00

  • No coding skills necessary with MyWebsite Creator
  • Free domain name or transfer your existing site
  • FREE social media and marketing widgets
  • Pro templates with pre-filled text and images
  • Multilingual support and tools for SEO
  • Get started on 1&1 IONOS now.
WEBSITE BUILDER
RATING
★★★★★ 4.8 Our Review»
1&1 IONOS: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): If you're in need of a one-stop shop for designing and launching a website, you should be pleased to hear that 1&1 IONOS offers its own custom website building tools for both desktop and mobile devices. In addition to a free domain and email address, along with unlimited storage space, the 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite platform includes all the essentials for starting a site from scratch. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB - Unlimited FREE (1 year) 5 minutes

Hostinger.com

Hostinger Review

Monthly Starting Price $2.69

  • Drag-and-drop design from custom tools
  • FREE access to hundreds of specialized templates
  • Built-in ecommerce and payment processing
  • Easily switch among widescreen, desktop, tablet, and mobile previews
  • Support for 31 languages and 99.9% uptime
  • Get started on Hostinger now.
WEBSITE BUILDER
RATING
★★★★★ 4.6 Our Review»
Hostinger: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Whether you're taking your first foray into website hosting or are a developer looking to save some time, a strong website builder can dramatically streamline the creation process and enable users to launch a website in five minutes or less. Fortunately for customers, Hostinger has invested heavily in crafting an impressive visual editor sure to appeal to users of all levels of experience. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 100 GB SSD - 200 GB NVMe SSD FREE (1 year) 3 minutes

See more top website builders »

Personal Site: Consider a Low-Cost, High-Value Host

Whether you’re sharing snapshots from a recent trip to the beach or giving friends and family information about your upcoming event, personal websites still need to convey information in a visually appealing way. Hosting customers don’t need to break open the piggy bank to create a stunning site — hosts attract beginners and hobbyists by making web hosting extremely affordable and easy to use.

Just because you see bargain-basement prices, however, don’t assume that services will be subpar. Many offer unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts to go with 24/7 support and online marketing credits. To get the best deal, keep an eye out for hosting providers that include high-speed solid-state drives or a content delivery network.

Hostinger.com

Hostinger Review

Monthly Starting Price $2.69

  • Unlimited everything, from storage to databases
  • FREE site builder & WP performance upgrades
  • FREE daily or weekly backups
  • Custom control panel and auto-installation scripts
  • SSH access & unlimited FREE SSL certificates
  • Get started on Hostinger now.
CHEAP
RATING
★★★★★ 5.0 Our Review»
Hostinger: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): As the shared hosting market becomes increasingly saturated, unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts have become surprisingly average. Hostinger, however, extends the routine, expected metrics to greater lengths — the number of websites, databases, FTP users, subdomains, and parked domains are all unrestricted for most customers. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 100 GB SSD - 200 GB NVMe FREE (1 year) 3 minutes

IONOS.com

1&1 IONOS Review

Monthly Starting Price $1.00

  • $1/month for 12 months
  • No hidden fees, pay just $12 at checkout
  • Easy setup and 24/7 expert support
  • FREE domain or transfer, plus FREE SSL certificate
  • Unlimited storage and databases with most plans
  • Get started on 1&1 IONOS now.
CHEAP
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
1&1 IONOS: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): If budget is the main factor on your mind when searching for your next web host, search no more. 1&1 IONOS has an impressive range of robust web hosting and website building packages for what may be the best price we've ever seen in the world of hosting. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB - Unlimited FREE (1 year) 4 minutes

A2Hosting.com

A2 Hosting Review

Monthly Starting Price $2.99

  • FREE Cloudflare CDN and SSD speed boost
  • Optimized caching and 1-click installs
  • Unlimited email, domains, and databases
  • Advanced security and FREE HackScan
  • 24/7 support via phone, chat & tickets
  • Get started on A2 Hosting now.
CHEAP
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
A2 Hosting: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): There are plenty of excellent cPanel shared hosting providers out there, so what sets A2 Hosting apart from the rest. Not only does the company offer a ton of features, but it has custom-built its packages for enhanced performance, speed, and security — putting your priorities above pricing. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 100 GB SSD - Unlimited SSD New or Transfer 4 minutes

See more top cheap hosts »

3. Understanding Features and the Resources You Require

New web hosting customers naturally flock to the providers and plans that offer the most features for the fewest dollars. Instead of just seeking out the most attractive partner, however, you can find greater hosting happiness by looking for a service that is compatible with your specific needs. Businesses might prioritize email functionality over storage, for example, while a developer might prefer high bandwidth rates and stringent security.

The technical features of web hosting might be confusing to beginners, and hosts sometimes use confusing lingo to market their services. You don’t need to be wary of mythical plans offering unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts, but you should understand the various hosting components and limitations providers might impose.

Domain Name Registrations

Even though they commonly get lumped together, domain registration and web hosting are two different services. Your domain name serves as your website’s address and can be registered and hosted with a different company than the one hosting your site’s files. I prefer to keep all my hosting resources in the same account, and many of the best domain hosts include free transfers and migrations. Some providers even include free domain hosting for the first year of newly registered addresses.

IONOS.com

1&1 IONOS review

Monthly Starting Price $1.00

  • Register domains for $1 (or FREE with hosting)
  • FREE domain privacy to protect your information
  • Easy setup with domain lock and 2GB email inbox
  • 99.9% uptime, plus daily backups and recovery
  • FREE SSL certificate for safer data transfers
  • Get started on 1&1 IONOS now.
DOMAIN
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
1&1 IONOS: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): While many popular hosts reserve free domain registrations for its higher-tie plans, 1&1 IONOS gives every customer the perk — along with free domain privacy, email inbox, and SSL certificate. Trust your site with a company that hosts more than 12 million domains on its platform. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB - Unlimited FREE (1 year) 4 minutes

See more top domain hosts »

Email addresses and inboxes

Email hosting appeals particularly to business owners

who want the notoriety and name recognition of including the domain name in email addresses. Hosting providers often include advanced email features, such as forwarding and filtering services, autoresponders, and enhanced security, for clients who need several inboxes or marketing tools.

Hostinger.com

Hostinger review

Monthly Starting Price $1.59

  • Easily import contacts, messages, and calendars
  • Antivirus checks and anti-spam
  • 1-click integrations with 50+ productivity tools
  • Collaborate with polls, shared to-do lists
  • Less than $2 per mailbox per month!
  • Get started on Hostinger now.
EMAIL
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
Hostinger: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Showing major value, Hostinger email plans come complete with all the collaboration and productivity tools you’d expect from higher-priced hosts. We especially love the easy integrations with platforms like Twitter, Google Drive, and others. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB SSD - 50 GB SSD FREE (1 year) 3 minutes

See more top email hosts »

Storage and RAM

Storage, or disk space, is probably the easiest hosting feature to understand, as well as the component you probably have to worry about the least. Many shared hosting providers offer unlimited storage; while that might not be technically possible, most personal or small business site owners won’t come close to reaching the limits. As you move to VPS and dedicated plans, storage can be configured as you go.

Picture of a hand holding a memory chip

Finding a hosting plan with high RAM means faster reading and writing of your stored data.

The biggest thing to look for when it comes to web hosting storage is a little acronym: SSD. Solid-state drives are much faster and more reliable, but they come at a higher price. Traditional hard-disk drives, on the other hand, are more common in the unlimited plans because they typically come with higher capacities.

As with your personal computer, RAM in web hosting serves a similar purpose: quickly processing stored data. The hardware interacts with your storage drives to accelerate page load times, and many consider RAM to be among the most important features to consider when choosing a host.

Bandwidth and Data Transfer

Also impacting your site performance, bandwidth accounts for the amount of data downloaded or uploaded from a website. Also called data transfers, bandwidth is all about how quickly visitors can access your site’s information — the higher the bandwidth, the higher number of people who can view your site at the same time. Again, most hosting customers will receive much more bandwidth than they’ll use in a given month, but boosting your data transfer limits is a surefire way to grow your site’s traffic without losing performance.

Uptime Rates and Reliability

As entrepreneurs know, time is money. Every second your site is inaccessible can mean hundreds of missed sales opportunities, damaged brand reputation, and lost productivity. The Amazon Web Services outage in early 2017 cost companies an estimated $150 million during three to four hours of interrupted service.

Most hosts guarantee a certain amount of uptime and will reimburse you for any unplanned outages beyond the service-level agreement. Guarantees typically range from 100% to as low as 99%, although most shared hosting customers will find themselves perfectly happy with the ultra-common 99.9% uptime threshold. Larger businesses, however, might prefer to pay a premium for a few extra nines.

Security and Support

Although a website’s security is largely dependent on an administrator’s behavior and password strength, among other characteristics, the hosting company’s infrastructure can represent one of the largest weaknesses. More than 40% of websites are compromised because of a host’s vulnerability, so be sure to look for the providers that include firewalls, monitoring services, and other security add-ons. Bonus points for automatic backups and hands-free WordPress updates.

Hosting customers would be hard-pressed to find a provider that doesn’t offer 24/7 support through multiple channels, but actual execution varies wildly. Whether you have a billing question or need technical help getting unhacked, customer service should be responsive and ready to assist. Unfortunately, this critical aspect of hosting is hard to discern until you are already signed up for a plan and find yourself needing help. Definitely do your research to tell if a host’s support stacks up.

4. Understand How Web Hosting Pricing Works

We know, price usually reigns supreme when shopping for a new web host. I’ve even been sucked into the low-cost hosting scavenger hunt. While your costs should definitely factor into your decision, don’t sacrifice support and performance.

Also, don’t forget to budget for services such as domain name registration and any themes or plugins you might need to add. Hosting itself can cost as little as a few bucks per month, and most providers will give you a discount for signing up for a year or longer — and that’s in addition to the deals our favorite hosts allow us to pass on to you.

Why Free Hosting Isn’t Always a Great Idea

We’ve covered the free and nearly free hosting options before

, and our advice remains the same: proceed with caution. The convenience and savings are attractive, but the added features, support, and security you can gain by signing up with a reputable hosting provider are well worth the slight cost.

Wix, for example, offers one of our favorite site building platforms on top of vibrant themes and secure eCommerce tools. You can design and deploy your site for free, but you’ll be restricted to a Wix.com subdomain. Upgrading to one of the economical plans removes email, domain, and eCommerce restrictions. Best of all, you can start designing for free with Wix!

Wix.com

Wix Review

Monthly Starting Price $0.00

  • Start designing for FREE
  • FREE domain with most plans
  • Drag-and-drop templates, specific to industry
  • Exhaustive knowledgebase of articles
  • Huge app market available
  • Get started on Wix now.
CHEAP
RATING
★★★★★ 4.8 Our Review»
Wix: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): Wix is known as a web-leading site builder service that's one of the most affordable — because getting started is absolutely free and about as easy as processes get. You can log in via Facebook or your Gmail account and be editing your new web property within minutes. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
14-day FREE trial 2 GB - Unlimited FREE (1 year) 4 minutes

See more top cheap hosts »

Why Cheap Hosting Providers Have More Value to Give

Because hosting companies can pack thousands of hosting customers onto a shared server, providers can afford to include dozens of value-added services with hosting plans. By signing up for an affordable hosting plan, you can experiment with luxury options, such as content delivery networks, automatic backups, website builders, and eCommerce tools, to explore different avenues of online success.

Hostinger.com

Hostinger Review

Monthly Starting Price $2.69

  • Unlimited everything, from storage to databases
  • FREE site builder & WP performance upgrades
  • FREE daily or weekly backups
  • Custom control panel and auto-installation scripts
  • SSH access & unlimited FREE SSL certificates
  • Get started on Hostinger now.
CHEAP
RATING
★★★★★ 5.0 Our Review»
Hostinger: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): As the shared hosting market becomes increasingly saturated, unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts have become surprisingly average. Hostinger, however, extends the routine, expected metrics to greater lengths — the number of websites, databases, FTP users, subdomains, and parked domains are all unrestricted for most customers. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 100 GB SSD - 200 GB NVMe FREE (1 year) 3 minutes

See more top cheap hosts »

5. Think Ahead: Choose a Host With Which You Can Grow

Don’t be afraid to daydream about the bright, busy futures of your websites. Some of the more budget-driven web hosts concentrate solely on shared hosting, meaning you’ll have to part ways and take your chances out in the hosting dating pool when you’re ready to move forward with VPS or dedicated services.

We strongly prefer hosts we can stick with for the long haul. HostGator, our top choice with which to scale, makes VPS provisioning and deployment a breeze. Flexible software options, coupled with powerful hardware and award-winning support, make the company a great choice to usher your website from the shared to dedicated hosting ranks. HostGator offers unlimited free cPanel migrations and up to 90 manual migrations based on which VPS plan you choose.

HostGator.com

HostGator Review

Monthly Starting Price $2.64

  • Familiar and easy-to-use cPanel control panel
  • FREE drag-and-drop custom website builder
  • Unlimited disk space, email, and bandwidth
  • Flexible term lengths with no contract required
  • 74% off your first three years
  • Get started on HostGator now.
BEST OVERALL
RATING
★★★★★ 4.5 Our Review»
HostGator: Our Expert's Review

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): HostGator has been around for more than a decade and is well-respected for its large number of servers and consistent reliability. Known mostly as a shared hosting provider, HostGator still supplies decent dedicated and VPS options if you need your site to scale. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB SSD - 40 GB SSD FREE (1 year) 6 minutes

Best Web Hosting Services – Top 6 Overall

Finally, what we’ve all been waiting for — now that we’ve explained the different types and benefits of hosting services, here are the providers we consider the best of the best.

1. Best Value

Here at HostingAdvice, we prefer to think of plans and providers in terms of value instead of simply following what is printed on the price tag. Between time spent waiting for shoddy support teams, and ultimately transferring your site elsewhere, those free or ultra-affordable plans often end up costing more in the long run. Take the time to find the plan that, for a few extra dollars, unlocks a bevy of useful tools and services that ensure your long-term success.

1. Hostinger.com

Hostinger Review

Monthly Starting Price $2.69

  • Unlimited everything, from storage to databases
  • FREE site builder & WP performance upgrades
  • FREE daily or weekly backups
  • Custom control panel and auto-installation scripts
  • SSH access & unlimited FREE SSL certificates
  • Get started on Hostinger now.
CHEAP
RATING
★★★★★ 5.0 Our Review»
Hostinger: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): As the shared hosting market becomes increasingly saturated, unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email accounts have become surprisingly average. Hostinger, however, extends the routine, expected metrics to greater lengths — the number of websites, databases, FTP users, subdomains, and parked domains are all unrestricted for most customers. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 100 GB SSD - 200 GB NVMe FREE (1 year) 3 minutes

See more top affordable hosts »

2. Best VPS Hosting

Once you leave the safety nets of shared hosting behind, the quality of infrastructure, managed services, and software tools become supremely important. VPS hosting offers customers more computing power and control than shared hosting without the expenses of running a dedicated server. Flexible VPS scalability means you should find a top-tier host to help you ride out the traffic waves and prepare for the next hosting step.

2. Hostinger.com

Hostinger Review

Monthly Starting Price $4.49

  • Cloud-based SSD storage for speed and reliability
  • Double your RAM with burst periods
  • FREE dedicated IPv4 and IPv6 addresses
  • Custom control panel for reboots and OS installs
  • HostingAdvice readers enjoy more than 50% off
  • Get started on Hostinger now.
VPS
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
Hostinger: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Hostinger's laser focus on providing affordable hosting solutions shines brightest with the company's VPS packages. The company provides six different virtual server plans, including one that costs less than $5. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 50 GB NVMe - 400 GB NVMe 1 - 8 cores 4 GB - 32 GB

See more top VPS hosts »

3. Best Dedicated Server

Once you’ve reached the top of the hosting universe, you don’t want to trust your booming business website with just any hosting provider. The best dedicated servers come with performant architecture and luxurious managed services for a price that won’t cripple your organization. Our top choice prioritizes reliability, security, speed, and support no matter how you choose to configure your server.

3. InMotionHosting.com

InMotion Review

Monthly Starting Price $69.99

  • Bare-metal or managed servers available
  • 1-on-1 time with a server administrator
  • 99.99% uptime via Smart Routing™ technology
  • Tier 1 network with redundant bandwidth
  • SSH root access and DDoS protection on all servers
  • Upgrade for cPanel, migration, and auto backups
  • Get started on InMotion now.
DEDICATED
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
InMotion: Our Expert's Review

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): InMotion Hosting offers amazingly fast and reliable dedicated hosting on market-leading hardware — making it an easy choice for anyone seeking a premium dedicated server host. From free SSDs to a fanatical support team, InMotion has all the bases covered for both small-scale and large-scale operations. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
7 minutes 1 TB SSD - 3.2 TB SSD 12 - 32 cores 192 GB DDR4 - 512 GB DDR4

See more top dedicated server hosts »

4. Best for Blogs / WordPress

As we’ve said before, WordPress can be tricky to host. Some of the burden falls on hosting providers’ hardware and software solutions, while customers can derail their website by improperly editing PHP files, using shoddy themes and plugins, and not updating the content management system frequently enough.

Screenshot of WordPress dashboard

Supporting 28% of all websites, WordPress is a powerful and intuitive publishing platform.

The popularity of WordPress, however, has inspired a few hosting companies to rise above the rest; our pick for the best blogging and WordPress host combines technical expertise with user-friendly features and support.

4. Bluehost.com

Bluehost Review

Monthly Starting Price $1.99

  • Recommended by WordPress.org since 2005
  • Automatic WordPress updates and initial install
  • FREE WordPress themes in the Bluehost Marketplace
  • 24/7 support via live chat, phone, and email
  • Get exclusive discounts on WordPress plans
  • Get started on Bluehost now.
WORDPRESS
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): Bluehost's WordPress hosting packages are aimed at first-time site owners and personal bloggers. These services come at a premium compared to the standard Bluehost web hosting (basic shared hosting) plans, but the WordPress optimization and platform-specific resources are arguably worth the cost. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB SSD - 100 GB SSD FREE (1 year) 7 minutes

See more top WordPress hosts »

5. Best for eCommerce

A tech-savvy developer can create a lot of custom solutions from scratch, but even they know to look elsewhere for help when it comes to hosting an online storefront. Given the security demands with processing payments and storing credit card information, not to mention the difficulty coordinating inventory management, order processing, and shipment services, there’s no wonder a strong eCommerce host can make a huge impact on your business. The best hosts focus on usability so you can focus on the products and passions behind your business.

5. IONOS.com

1&1 IONOS review

Monthly Starting Price $1.00

  • Drag-and-drop online store builder for $1/mo
  • Quickly sell products, services, and digital goods
  • Cross-platform selling integrations with social media, Amazon, Google, and eBay
  • Built-in metrics, promos, and coupons
  • Track competitors' Google and social media activity
  • Get started on 1&1 IONOS now.
ECOMMERCE
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
1&1 IONOS: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): The online store builder from 1&1 IONOS gives entrepreneurs a full suite of selling and marketing tools at their disposal — and all for a ridiculously low price. The company’s lightning-fast architecture and tools for SEO and marketing metrics will make your customers’ buying experience quick and enjoyable. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days Unlimited SSD FREE (1 year) 4 minutes

See more top eCommerce hosts »

6. Best Website Builder Hosting Service

Following the usability thread, site builders break users out of the cookie-cutter template mold by adding drag-and-drop content blocks that guarantee a website that showcases your personality, brand, and design aesthetic. The WYSIWYG approach, or what you see is what you get, bodes well for inexperienced, first-time site owners. Once your design is built, extend your website by upgrading your integrations with eCommerce, marketing, and events tools.

6. Wix.com

Wix Review

Monthly Starting Price $0.00

  • No coding skills needed with drag-and-drop builder
  • 100s of templates with niche-specific designs
  • Add features via the App Market and Wix Events
  • Easily create ecommerce functionality easily
  • Great way to build small sites on a budget
  • Get started on Wix now.
WEBSITE BUILDER
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
Wix: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (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 for the non-tech-savvy user. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
14-day FREE trial 2 GB - Unlimited FREE (1 year) 4 minutes

See more top website builders »

Choosing a Web Hosting Service Doesn’t Have to be a Daunting Task

Don’t feel lonely or intimidated on your quest for finding Mr. Right. Skip the blind dates and, instead, choose to start a relationship with a web host your friends at HostingAdvice will vouch for.

When reviewing hosting providers and their specific services, we weigh the importance of cost versus quality and how certain features will help your site succeed. We go through support channels to ensure our recommended web hosts will be there to help troubleshoot any issues in a timely manner.

Your hosting soulmate should stick by your side no matter what’s in store, whether it’s a night of bar-hopping or a quiet night in spent sinking into the couch.

If you find yourself stuck between two hosting suitors, our host versus host reviews show how the two services stack up against each other. Here’s to finding your hosting love of a lifetime!

Advertiser Disclosure

HostingAdvice.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). HostingAdvice.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

Our Editorial Review Policy

Our site is committed to publishing independent, accurate content guided by strict editorial guidelines. Before articles and reviews are published on our site, they undergo a thorough review process performed by a team of independent editors and subject-matter experts to ensure the content’s accuracy, timeliness, and impartiality. Our editorial team is separate and independent of our site’s advertisers, and the opinions they express on our site are their own. To read more about our team members and their editorial backgrounds, please visit our site’s About page.