When looking for a hosting company, there are some important aspects to consider when signing up. Most of the companies we reviewed are transparent with their service offering, but there may be some fees or other aspects to their services that are hidden around corners. As we researched, we found that it's important to ask questions about fees, future pricing, and the level of storage and bandwidth provided.
Some hosts charge extra for the tools you might use to design your website. Other hosts require you to commit to a three-year hosting agreement in order to get that low per-month price. Or the price is an introductory one, and after a month, you will revert to a higher price. Until you know what features you need and how quickly you plan to grow, don't commit to annual plans.
A2 Hosting is on par with SiteGround, they also have a variety of blazing fast servers world-wide + have great support. While they don’t have the official WordPress recommendation, their performance with WP sites is amazing. As is their performance with the majority of popular CMSs, their servers are well-optimised and include 1-script installers for most CMSs.
HostGator has been around for a loooooong time, in that time, they’ve gone from good to bad, back to decent again. They’re cheap as chips, but you’ll feel it in the quality of their services, support, and security. We’ve had multiple sites hacked on their servers, all having similar themes and plugins to other sites on different hosts, and they didn’t get hacked.
Static cache takes a copy of your static content and puts it on the hosting server’s RAM memory – dramatically reducing the load times. Memcached does something very rare for shared hosting servers – it saves user requests as well, adding a layer of speed to the static cache. Finally, dynamic cache goes a step further and caches the entire website, converting it to HTML and saving even more time. With all of the layers combined, SiteGround Supercacher offers all of the latest web technologies for your website.
Honorable mentions this week include Rackspace, which handles both personal and enterprise hosting and platform services (backed by “fanatical support!”) and Nearly Free Speech, a contender in our last look at personal web hosts, who offers exceptional hosting plans for as low as $0.25 and promises to only make you pay for what you use. Finally, we should at least mention InMotion Hosting, which mobilized quite the effort to get their customers to vote for them.
Uptime measures a company’s track record for keeping websites online all of the time. In a perfect world, your website would be available to readers 100 percent of the time. But companies typically only guarantee 99.9 percent uptime, since occasional technical difficulties are inevitable. We used a third-party monitoring service to verify uptime claims and spot top performers: companies that kept their websites up at least 99.95 percent of the time. Less than 1% of difference in uptime may seem trivial, but each .01% of downtime equals 52 minutes of a broken website in real time.
Many services offer so-called unlimited or unmetered service for whatever amount of bandwidth, disk storage and sites you use. It's important to understand that most terms of service actually do limit the definition of "unlimited" to what's considered reasonable use. The bottom line is simple: if you're building a pretty basic website, unlimited means you don't need to worry. But if you're trying to do something excessive (or illegal, immoral or fattening), the fine print in the terms of service will trigger, and you'll either be asked to spend more or go elsewhere.
In particular, Web Hosting Hub uses BoldGrid as a site builder. BoldGrid is actually an add-on to WordPress, so there's no lock-in. This overcomes the major problem of most site builders: you're locked into that host and that tool, often requiring you to completely rebuild your site if you want to expand. By using a WordPress-based solution, all of the rather considerable power of WordPress is available for future expansion.
PHP Hosting: Most hosting providers support PHP hosting, with many now offering PHP7, easy to implement, and boasting a huge development community, PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor is a core feature of many hosting plans. As the programming language that powers popular applications like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, if it’s PHP hosting you’re looking for then you will have no shortage of web hosting options.
Cloudways allows you to deploy, manage, and monitor high-performance apps and websites directly on cloud servers, cutting out the usual web hosting middle-man (this is NOT for beginners). If you know your way around a server, these guys are awesome! Good support, the choice a LOT of providers, from Digital Ocean, to AWS, to Vultr, they have the goods.
Awardspace: This fully-featured web host almost made it to our final contender list, but lost points for poor customer service. Awardspace’s free tier offers the same 99.9 percent server uptime as its paid plans, packs in a web-based email client, and even includes one-click installation for WordPress and Joomla blogs. However, 1GB storage and 5GB bandwidth limits for free accounts mean you won’t be able to host large files, like videos, or sustain more than a few thousand visits a month. Awardspace will also relentlessly try to upsell you to its paid packages.
We looked for hosts that made it easy for shoppers to compare services by clearly listing service tiers, the differences between those tiers, and how much we could expect to pay for each. Companies were dinged for being misleading. For example, the incredibly low prices advertised on the front page were sometimes only an option if you signed up for a company’s longest-term contract, and some companies also tacked on a “setup fee” if you signed up for just a month-long contract. Other companies advertised special features that weren’t revealed to cost extra until we’d already signed up.
They got other customer-centric bonuses for 24/7 support, including 24/7 toll-free callback phone support, free domain name and SSL certificates for as long as you remain a MochaHost customer, a website builder with 500 free templates (and a service that will custom-design your site if you need), a site migration service. In addition, all plans are e-commerce ready and come with free shopping cart software.
With 1&1’s Basic package, you get 100 GB storage, 1 free domain for the first 12 months and an SSL certificate. For scalability, level 1 is included. Meaning, up to 2.5 GB RAM of which half is always guaranteed. You see an instant traffic increase? This allows your website to work uninterrupted. Scalability goes up to level 5 in just one click. Be always prepared.
As a TJ Maxxinista and lover of a good BOGO deal, it’s safe to say I’m a fan of cheap — but not cheap quality. The same rules apply for web hosting: I want a fantastic deal of a product for a price that doesn’t make me cringe. Fortunately, I’ve found that many of the top-tier providers in the industry actually offer monthly plans in the $5 to $15 range, but you have to know what to look for.
MangoMatter created a book review site for The Children's Book Council, a not for profit that promotes Australian children's books. Tom was helpful and engaged from the initial idea to the finished product. He gave us some very good suggestions and helped us along the way. He provided excellent training so we could manage the site ourselves and his ongoing tech assistance has been invaluable. We would highly recommend MangoMatter.
If you're not sure of the type of hosting your business needs, you might want to start small, with shared Web hosting. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package of, say, VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting in the future. Unfortunately, some hosts don't offer all hosting types. Consider how much you expect to grow your website, and how soon, before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan. It's worth spending the time up front to make sure that the host you select with is able to provide the growth you envision for your site, as switching web hosting providers midstream is not a trivial undertaking.