"Email Hosting vs. Web Hosting" Differences & The Best Services 2018

I never realized how muddy and cluttered the information on web hosting was until I started working on HostingAdvice. Definitions are ambiguous. Clarifications raise more questions. And “common language” seems to mean, “We use the same words to mean four different things, and if you don’t understand the difference, too bad, you commoner.”

Take a basic question, for example: What’s the difference between web and email hosting? Simple enough, yet it’s been beaten to death with confounded responses. There seems to be an online game going on — who can give the most obfuscated answer to the simplest ask?

The short and clear answer: Web hosting involves website files being stored on one or more servers, or computers, whereas email hosting refers solely to the storage of email data. It gets confusing when a company offers both and mixes up the naming conventions, so I’ve made it my mission to clear up any confusion in the next 1,000 words or less.

Definitions & Differences: Email Hosting vs. Web Hosting

In a nutshell, the web host serves up webpages when someone types yourdomain.com into a web browser, whereas an email host owns the server from which content is fetched when an email is sent to yourname@yourdomain.com. The line between email and web hosting has become blurred in recent years, as more providers offer combo packages that include free hosting for your email accounts with the purchase of a web hosting plan. Fortunately, the roles and responsibilities happening behind the scenes are actually pretty straightforward. Your website, domain, and related email accounts are three separate entities that can live in different places.

  • Web hosting is a service that enables your website to live on the internet and be accessible to web browsers. Your web content is hosted on a server.
  • Email hosting is a service wherein your email content is stored on a server. It can be the same server that’s hosting your website content, a server managed by another host, or two different servers managed by the same hosting company.
  • Domain hosting is a tangentially related service worth noting for the sake of clarity. Your domain is the memorable name given to your website, e.g., HostingAdvice.com. You register that name with a domain registrar, but for that domain to be online, you need domain hosting. More often than not, you’ll get domain and web hosting in one fell swoop — and many folks knock out domain, email, and web hosting needs with one plan/provider.

As I mentioned, bundled email and hosting packages are all the rage these days, so in the next few sections, we’ll cover the best services to meet your unique storage and server needs.

Best Web Hosting and Email Services Overall

Typically, we recommend opting for an email-friendly web host, though some larger companies may prefer to separate their email and web hosting needs. We understand not everyone needs both web hosting and email hosting, so while the majority of this article outlines the best-bang-for-your-buck combo packages, we’ll start with the top hosts for email and hosting, respectively.

Top 3 Web Host Reviews

A quality web host should hit on the three hallmarks of reliability: plenty of server space, reputable uptime rates, and competent customer service on-call should anything go wrong. Whether you’re on the hunt for email, domain, WordPress, or cloud services, our recommendations point to hosts that consistently hit these support factors out of the park. Our current favorites for quality, reliable web hosting are reviewed below:

BEST OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • FREE site transfer or new site setup with 1-click install
  • FREE automated daily backups, CDN, email, and SSL
  • 24/7 expert support with no wait time on phone or live chat
Starting Price/Mo. $3.95
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space 10 GB - 30 GB
Domain Name New or Transfer
Best Overall Hosting Plans www.siteground.com
Our Expert's SiteGround Review
With an impressive breadth of overall hosting services offered, SiteGround is a leading innovator in the hosting space — from custom software solutions to premier customer support. They offer the full range of web hosting... read more +

With an impressive breadth of overall hosting services offered, SiteGround is a leading innovator in the hosting space — from custom software solutions to premier customer support. They offer the full range of web hosting features, including a free Cloudflare CDN, cPanel with SSH access, and unlimited MySQL databases and bandwidth — not to mention their prize-worthy customer support.

Tech Talk with Tenko Nikolov (CEO) & Ivo Tzenov (Founder)

We got a chance to sit down with both the CEO, Tenko Nikolov, and Founder of SiteGround, Ivo Tzenov, to discuss the technology behind some of their incredible innovations. They gave us the inside scoop on SiteGround's features, and took us through the solutions they've engineered to enhance the user experience.

Custom-Built Customer Service: Chat and ticketing systems

What's SiteGround's strongest "pull" factor, you ask? Well, customer service has been their claim to fame, without a doubt. However, customers come to SiteGround for the support, only to be blown away by the custom solutions they've built to make the hosting experience as stress-free as possible.

SiteGround has engineered an in-house chat software that allows users to select and rate thoroughly vetted customer service agents with whom they've worked previously. They've written their own ticketing system as well, which is comprised of an algorithm designed to select appropriate technical support representatives for specific tasks.

In-House Solutions: Shared, WordPress, Cloud, & Dedicated

They've taken their preference for in-house software solutions for customer support and applied it to their entire business. "All of our infrastructure and all of our code beds are done internally," Tenko said.

For their shared hosting service, they've conceived a one-of-a-kind server isolation system that prevents vulnerable servers from taking down entire networks. In place of VPS hosting, they've built their own cloud container platform, featuring thousands of containers and top-notch scalability and security. All SiteGround hosting service users benefit from their unique downtime prevention mechanism, which has helped SiteGround develop their reputation for uptime rates: 99.996% annually and 99.999% monthly.

Other Unique Perks: SuperCacher and In-House Backups

In the cases of caching and backups, customers have access to SiteGround's in-house SuperCacher, with a flexible range of options to meet any and all page load needs at optimum speeds. Their custom backup software improves upon technology off the shelf, which often takes up to a day to run. Instead, SiteGround customers receive daily backups from a system that only takes about an hour.

Final Word: Unmatched User Experience with SiteGround

SiteGround is, without a doubt, an esteemed leader in customer service within the hosting industry. They've emphasized that commitment to quality with the unique, custom solutions they've built. On the development side, they devote a tremendous amount of time to UX testing, epitomizing their commitment to the user experience.

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BEST OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • FREE domain and site builder
  • 1-click WordPress installs
  • Unlimited site traffic and in-house support available 24/7
Starting Price/Mo. $2.95
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Best Overall Hosting Plans www.bluehost.com
Our Expert's Bluehost Review
Bluehost has long been a favorite of mine in the shared and WordPress hosting spaces. They adhere to modern standards for hardware, and their customer support is fantastic. For the vast majority of customers, Bluehost’s... read more +

Bluehost has long been a favorite of mine in the shared and WordPress hosting spaces. They adhere to modern standards for hardware, and their customer support is fantastic. For the vast majority of customers, Bluehost’s shared server options will accommodate their hosting needs for a web presence. Once you outgrow the traffic allowances of shared web hosting, however, Bluehost excels in the VPS and dedicated hosting niches, too.

What makes Bluehost packages most appealing is their reputation for affordability and usability. Web novices and veterans alike can appreciate that. Added incentives, such as free domains, marketing credits, and unlimited emails, make this provider a bang-for-the-buck favorite throughout the hosting community.

For those just getting started, perhaps on their first website, we’d like to point out that Bluehost has revamped their user experience — beefing up the user-friendliness factor significantly in recent years. Users will find the dashboard and overall customer experience to be welcoming — about as non-daunting for newcomers as web hosting gets. If you’re looking for WordPress hosting specifically, whether on a shared, cloud, or dedicated server, you’ve come to the right host. Bluehost is one of the few providers endorsed by the WordPress Core team. Install the popular blogging platform in a single click via the control panel, or have their managed services team take care of it for you.

As previously mentioned, Bluehost also tops the charts in server hosting — offering fantastic performance at competitive prices. With two to four cores and guaranteed resources, your virtual or dedicated server will be performant, powerful, and online virtually 24/7. The Bluehost team leverages industry-leading open-source technologies, such as KVM and OpenStack, to eke out as much performance as possible, leaving you with the utmost flexibility and reliability. Sold? VPS and dedicated plans include instant provisioning, because waiting for your server is so 2000s.

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BEST OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Free domain, with up to unlimited domains, emails, and storage
  • Drag-and-drop site builder and 1&1 Click-and-Build Apps available
  • Easily create an online store and gain exposure with $50-worth of ad credits
Starting Price/Mo. $0.99
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE for life!
Best Overall Hosting Plans www.1and1.com
Our Expert's 1&1 Review
Since the early 2000s, 1&1 has grown to become a trusted host for millions of website-owning customers. A reputable leader in web hosting, they offer shared, dedicated, and virtual servers, as well as resources for... read more +

Since the early 2000s, 1&1 has grown to become a trusted host for millions of website-owning customers. A reputable leader in web hosting, they offer shared, dedicated, and virtual servers, as well as resources for website building and eCommerce.

Interview with Javier Salcedo, Head of Product Owner Server

The latest news, however, surrounds the release of the new 1&1 Cloud Server, which we got to discuss with 1&1's Head of Product Owner Server, Javier Salcedo.

Introducing the New, Dynamic 1&1 Cloud Server

1&1 recently launched their dynamic 1&1 Cloud Server, to add to their breadth of offerings. Javier debriefed us on the need for this product, and 1&1's ambitions in designing it.

Only Pay for What You Need with Custom Configurations

"We want to deliver all the capabilities you would expect, then make it very easy to use," Javier said. "Trying to combine the two is a real challenge, but that's where we want to be." With custom configurations, 1&1 allows cloud users to select settings for CPU, RAM, and disk independently of one another, and customers only pay for what they can control.

All-SSD SAN Storage for Power, Speed, & Performance

Combining forces with Solidfire, 1&1 opted to only offer SSD storage for their cloud solution. Their SSD hosting for cloud features 11x compression ratios and a price-for-performance rate that's left customers very satisfied, according to Javier. "The results of an external benchmark executed by Cloud Spectator with an external company have been extremely good," he said, "and there have been wonderful reactions from customers regarding no limits on storage."

1&1 Offers All the Hosting Essentials to Get You Going

All 1&1 hosting plans come with a free domain name registration and all the setup options you need to launch a site quickly and easily. In addition to their shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting, they have free site building tools available, both for mobile and desktop.

Unlimited Domains, Databases, Emails, & Apps

1&1 users can get up to unlimited storage, domains, and email accounts, and 1&1 offers a broad variety of packages to meet your hosting needs within your financial means. Their 1&1 App Center features over 140 Click-and-Build Apps to help you customize the perfect web experience for you.

Preinstalled App Templates & WordPress-Friendly Hosting

1&1 streamlines your site launch by offering easy installations of popular web applications. At checkout, you can include preinstalled app templates for WordPress, Drupal, or Magento, and they even offer WordPress-specific hosting packages.

1&1 MyWebsite: Build a Customizable Site from Scratch

In addition to the free site building tools for desktop and mobile, 1&1 offers plans specific to website building: 1&1 MyWebsite. These packages feature drag-and-drop site building, with professional-looking templates and mobile optimization available.

Get Your Brand Out There: SEO, Marketing, & eCommerce

When it comes to marketing your site — gaining visibility in search results and exposure to your target audience — 1&1 pulls out all the stops.

Custom Tools for Gaining Exposure & Tracking Site Statistics

To start your site's marketing, 1&1 offers $50-worth of credits towards paid advertising with Bing and Yahoo! Then, their SEO Assistant tool helps you boost search engine rankings and their SiteAnalytics tool is there to help you track your site's success.

Resources for eCommerce & Building an Online Store

Building an online store with 1&1's eCommerce website builder is just as easy as building a website or blog with 1&1. Four plans are available for online retailers to build websites equipped to present up to thousands of products. Stores can be available on desktop, mobile, and tablet.

Customers should take advantage of 1&1's cross-selling opportunities, options to translate stores into multiple languages, and optimization tools. With 1&1, you can use major online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay to broaden your customer base, or make your store available on Facebook. Then, using 1&1's SEO Dashboard, you can improve your online store's positioning in search results, ensuring that buyers find your online shop easily.

Finally, Rest Easy with 1&1 Security, Reliability, & Support

Web hosting customers are alotted unlimited webspace, unlimited site traffic, and incredible uptime rates and reliability.

DDoS Protection, SiteLock Scanning, & New CDN

1&1 offers proactive protection against DDoS threats, with SiteLock malware scanning available for added security as well. Their new CDN ensures the latest protection features for your site, and you can upgrade to 1&1 CDN Plus, with HTTPS support and mobile browsing optimization.

Geo-Redundant Datacenters & 24/7 Support

With the most advanced technology supporting their seven datacenters, 1&1 prides itself on its leading-edge, geo-redundant servers. They offer 24/7 customer support and a Webspace Recovery feature, so help is always available, should catastrophe strike.

Last Words on 1&1 Cloud Server & 1&1's Hosting Solutions

It's no secret that 1&1 is a leading name in web hosting, but after speaking with Javier and getting to know the new 1&1 Cloud Server, we can see how they rose to fame.

1&1 has built their business putting the needs and expectations of customers first. Whether it's a click-and-build online store or a powerful cloud solution with tons of customizable configuration and payment options, 1&1 anticipates customer desires and strives to meet and exceed expectations.

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Top 3 Email Host Reviews

While we still expect reliability and room to grow to be high on the list of features outlined in our top-recommended email hosts, there are other variables to consider when evaluating a niche service. We like to see hosts include a complimentary domain name registration and free email accounts. The ability to host unlimited domains on one account is a plus, as are unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email allowances. Our favorite hosts for email, listed below, capitalize on these points while offering other email-friendly features such as IMAP/POP3 support, spam filtering, and integration with Google Apps.

EMAIL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • FREE domain and unlimited emails
  • 1-click WordPress install and FREE site-builder
  • $150 in advertising credits with Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
Starting Price/Mo. $2.95
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Email Hosting Plans www.bluehost.com/email
Our Expert's Bluehost Review
For email hosting with security and tons of available features, Bluehost is one of our favorites. They include a free domain name for a year, POP3 and IMAP security for unlimited emails, plus email forwarding and three web-based email solutions… read more + For email hosting with security and tons of available features, Bluehost is one of our favorites. They include a free domain name for a year, POP3 and IMAP security for unlimited emails, plus email forwarding and three web-based email solutions… collapse info -

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Free Web Hosting with Email Accounts is Okay

This is something we harp on a lot here at HostingAdvice: Free isn’t always a good thing in the world of web hosting. While it’s human nature to search for the free option first, you’re likely to be disappointed by the limited server space, nonexistent support personnel, and obnoxious onsite advertising if you take that route. That’s why we typically encourage coughing up a few measly dollars per month for quality (see below). However, there are a select few providers, including 000webhost and x10hosting, that actually offer decent free hosting services. Our #1 pick for free hosting with email accounts, however, is listed below. Click the links to check out our review.

CHEAP RATING
4.7/5.0
  • FREE site builder for easy designing
  • Competitive rates based on needs
  • 1-click WordPress installs with cPanel
Starting Price/Mo. $2.45
Money Back Guarantee 15 days
Disk Space 15 GB - 500 GB
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Cheap Hosting Plans www.one.com/shared

Our Expert's One.com Review

Affordability is a major selling point for One.com (which bodes well in the shared hosting space). They offer the bare essentials in domain and email hosting, as well as basic site building, at a cost... read more +

Affordability is a major selling point for One.com (which bodes well in the shared hosting space). They offer the bare essentials in domain and email hosting, as well as basic site building, at a cost that's hard to beat. Their pricing ranges from a quarter to a mere six bucks per month, with increased allowances for storage, CPUs, databases, and domains with each package upgrade. Your domain name registration is taken care of for the first year with all plans.

The real bargain to be had with One.com is their "Starter" package, particularly if you're looking for email hosting. This is their most basic plan and for three dollars you can host a single domain for a year, with unlimited email accounts at that domain and a free site builder to get a simple site launched quickly and easily.

All plans come with a free website builder and a minimum of 15 gigabytes of storage to get you started. If you're looking to build a more dynamic or interactive website, you should probably opt for a "pricier" package ($3.50/month compared to $0.25/month). For example, their "Professional Plus" plan is recommended for building a WordPress site, where WordPress can be added and installed in a single click within cPanel.

All in all, One.com is certainly a worthy contender for the cost-conscious hosting shopper. If you want the basic necessities for getting a simple web page up and running quickly, one of their highly affordable shared hosting plans will probably have you covered.

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Cheap Web Hosting with Email Accounts is Better

It’s 100% free — so what could go wrong? Don’t fall for the false advertising.

We’ve all been there. You think you’ll have no regrets, and then you feel cheated and irritated when you end up paying more to make up for the faults of a rip-off service.

Let’s skip that step and opt for a low-cost, high-quality service recommended by experts. Especially if you’re browsing for professional purposes, you must think of your hosting as a worthwhile business investment. Accept nothing short of ample storage space, free email hosting, 99.9% uptime rates, and (if desired) easy-to-use design tools to get a website up and running. Our favorite host to recommend for cheap pricing met with premium service is below.

CHEAP RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Known for performance at a low price
  • Endorsed by WordPress.org team
  • FREE Weebly site builder and templates
Starting Price/Mo. $2.95
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Cheap Hosting Plans www.bluehost.com/shared

Our Expert's Bluehost Review

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.... read more +

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 our reviews categories, and with good reason. They offer excellent hardware configurations, a generous list of extras, and fantastic support and reliability — all at a price point that’s, generally, lower than the competition.

The speed and performance result from very modern hardware and a global content delivery network. They also offer nearly unlimited everything, including storage, emails, and bandwidth, and many other perks. For example, they include a free domain and marketing credits to get your site off the ground — adding to their value.

We rank Bluehost at or near the top for their WordPress, VPS, and dedicated options and if those fit your needs, please check them out. You’ll be happy to note their incredibly competitive pricing across the board.

We are convinced Bluehost has the goods to meet your hosting needs today and in the future, but more importantly, they are too. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee should you become dissatisfied with any of their plans for any reason; however, we’re willing to bet you won’t be.

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Best Email and Web Hosting for Small Business

If you’re like many business owners, your livelihood begins and ends with your email inbox. It’s how you communicate with employees, clients, partners, and vendors. We live in an increasingly digital and mobile world, and instant access is do or die when it comes to the content ushered through your email server. We’ve thoroughly vetted the most popular hosting companies, making note of the features and services that directly benefit business owners, and we encourage you to take a look at the hosts below. Find out why we recommend their email and web hosting packages for SMBs.

EMAIL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • FREE domain and unlimited emails
  • 1-click WordPress install and FREE site-builder
  • $150 in advertising credits with Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
Starting Price/Mo. $2.95
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Email Hosting Plans www.bluehost.com/email

Our Expert's Bluehost Review

For email hosting with security and tons of available features, Bluehost is one of our favorites. They include a free domain name for a year, POP3 and IMAP security for unlimited emails, plus email forwarding and three web-based email solutions… read more + For email hosting with security and tons of available features, Bluehost is one of our favorites. They include a free domain name for a year, POP3 and IMAP security for unlimited emails, plus email forwarding and three web-based email solutions… collapse info -
EMAIL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • FREE domain for new and existing transfers
  • 1-click app installer and over 300 apps available
  • Business-Class hardware and eCommerce-ready options
Starting Price/Mo. $3.99
Money Back Guarantee 90 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Email Hosting Plans www.inmotionhosting.com/email

Our Expert's InMotion Review

For business-class email hosting, look no further than InMotion. They offer a free domain name, SSD drive, and secure IMAP email. Their 1-click app installer gives you easy access to over 310 apps, plus Google app integration with a 3-step wizard… read more + For business-class email hosting, look no further than InMotion. They offer a free domain name, SSD drive, and secure IMAP email. Their 1-click app installer gives you easy access to over 310 apps, plus Google app integration with a 3-step wizard… collapse info -
EMAIL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • FREE site transfers and 1-year domain name registration
  • Unlimited domains, disk space, and email addresses
  • Email forwarding, autoresponders, and WebMail
Starting Price/Mo. $1.99
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Email Hosting Plans www.ipage.com/email

Our Expert's iPage Review

With iPage, users get a free domain name and email account, plus unlimited bandwidth, disk space, domains, and MySQL databases. They offer POP3/IMAP support for unlimited emails, plus autoresponders, virus checking, and spam filters… read more + With iPage, users get a free domain name and email account, plus unlimited bandwidth, disk space, domains, and MySQL databases. They offer POP3/IMAP support for unlimited emails, plus autoresponders, virus checking, and spam filters… collapse info -

See more email hosts for small business »

Get the Best Deals on Web Hosting with Email Using Online Coupons

BOOM. Asked and answered in just over 1,000 words, give or take some HTML code — how’d I do? If there are any questions lingering in this gray area of a topic, please drop me a line below. If not, hopefully, you’ve found the right service to meet your hosting needs. Sweeten the deal by checking for any online coupons or promotions currently available. Some of the most popular basic hosting discounts are listed below. Click the orange buttons to activate!

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60% Off Basic Hosting

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexandra Leslie

Alexandra Leslie’s interest in website administration was sparked in her teens, priming her for a fast-paced career in managing, building, and contributing to online brands, including HostingAdvice, Forbes, and the blogs of prominent hosting providers. She brings to the table firsthand experience in reviewing web hosts, perfecting website design, optimizing content, and walking site owners through the steps that add up to a successful online presence. Today, she combines her extensive writing experience with technical understanding to unpack some of the most complex topics that daunt novice website owners, as well as the subjects that excite veteran technologists within the HostingAdvice readership.