What is a Web Hosting Account? Get Started with a Host (2024 Guide)

What Is A Web Hosting Account

What is a web hosting account, you may ask? Well, when most people describe hosting to beginners, they 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?

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.

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.

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:

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
★★★★★ 5.0 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

Bluehost.com

Bluehost Review

Monthly Starting Price $1.99

  • Cheap shared hosting from a trusted provider
  • Ideal for hosting a WordPress website
  • FREE Weebly website builder and Cloudflare CDN
  • Unlimited traffic and 24/7 live chat support
  • Get 75% off today with our Bluehost coupon
  • Get started on Bluehost now.
CHEAP
RATING
★★★★★ 5.0 Our Review»
Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): Bluehost pricing is about as competitive as the industry offers. Sign up for a shared hosting plan for as little as $1.99 per month, and WordPress hosting packages are consistently priced; a VPS plan starts at around $31.99 per month; and the dedicated hosting rates are as little as $91.98 per month. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 10 GB SSD - 100 GB SSD FREE (1 year) 5 minutes

See more shared hosts »

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!

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:

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 VPS hosts »

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 and 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. Check out some of the most exciting cloud hosting plans on the market today:

Kamatera.com

Kamatera review

Monthly Starting Price $4.00

  • Ultimate scalability with limitless customizations
  • Create and deploy servers in 60 seconds
  • Easily add load balancers and firewalls
  • Stellar 99.95% uptime guarantee
  • Sign up today for a 30-day FREE trial
  • Get started on Kamatera now.
CLOUD
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 Our Review»
Kamatera: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Starting with more than 60 operating system images to choose from, Kamatera is a strong option for developers who know exactly what environment works best for their project. Customize your cloud server as needed and deploy in less than a minute. 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

IONOS.com

1&1 IONOS review

Monthly Starting Price $4.00

  • Start with $100 in credit for your first month
  • Auto scaling with premium Intel processors
  • Customized operating systems (Linux or Windows)
  • Deploy Linux instances in less than 1 minute
  • Transparent costs and by-the-minute billing
  • Get started on 1&1 IONOS now.
CLOUD
RATING
★★★★★ 4.8 Our Review»
1&1 IONOS: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): Boasting 99. 998% platform availability, the popular cloud hosting services from 1&1 IONOS deploy more than 2,500 virtual machines each week. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 10 GB NVMe - 640 GB NVMe 1 - 24 cores 512 MB.- 48 GB

Hostinger.com

Hostinger review

Monthly Starting Price $8.99

  • User-friendly hosting powered by Google Cloud
  • Isolated resources and integrated CloudFlare
  • Built on CloudLinux with LVE containers
  • Automated, daily backups and integrated caching
  • Instant setup with intuitive custom control panel
  • Get started on Hostinger now.
CLOUD
RATING
★★★★★ 4.7 Our Review»
Hostinger: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Hostinger offers something for everyone. From two cloud hosting plans that leverage the company’s global datacenter presence to a premium service powered by Google Cloud Platform, you’re sure to find what you need. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 50 GB NVMe - 400 GB NVMe 2 - 6 cores 3 - 12 GB

See more cloud hosts »

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.

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:

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 dedicated server hosts »

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:

  • 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.

Specialized 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 Blog & WordPress Hosting

The globally popular content management system might power more than a quarter of all websites on the internet, but most users 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.

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

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

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

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.

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

Hostinger.com

Hostinger review

Monthly Starting Price $3.99

  • Supercharged servers optimized for sales
  • Accelerate your store with FREE SSDs and caching
  • Custom control panel with enhanced security
  • FREE domain name and SSL certificate
  • Sign up now for 75% OFF
  • Get started on Hostinger now.
ECOMMERCE
RATING
★★★★★ 4.9 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 200 GB SSD - 300 GB SSD FREE (1 year) 3 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

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 $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 site builder hosts »

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 (also known as low-code development) 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.

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.

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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.

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!

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