We required all of our web hosts to offer at least three types of hosting: shared, dedicated, and VPS or cloud hosting. Shared is most likely your first step if you’re just starting to build your website. Dedicated and cloud hosting are upper service tiers that can help your website flourish as it grows, and an upgrade option will save you the future trouble of migrating to another company as you expand.
If a host claims 99% uptime, that may seem perfect! But consider the 1%. One percent over a year can mean a couple days of downtime for your site. Days of downtime equal loss of access, thus loss of revenue, yet you’re still paying for the service. So the negative space of an uptime percentage is kind of like what it will cost you when the server is down.
Choosing is simple: select hosting that will support the script, platform, or CMS you want to use. And if you aren't sure, go for Linux hosting. For example, WordPress will run on Linux and Windows, but hosts generally recommend that you run it on Linux. However, if you want to use a Windows-specific technology like ASP.NET, you'll need a Windows host.
InMotion Hosting not only has a great service offering, it was also one of the most transparent companies we reviewed. It's been providing hosting services for 15 years. It offers shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated servers, WordPress hosting, reseller hosting and managed hosting. Its wide-range of service offerings and plans mean there's an option for any small business, regardless of the type. It's shared hosting plans also come with a solid security offering. For these reasons, InMotion earned our best pick for best web hosting service for small business in 2018.
That said, not all web hosts offer email. WP Engine, for example, does not. In such instances, you must email accounts from a company other than your web host. GoDaddy, for instance, sells email packages starting at $3.49 per user, per month. That might sound like a hassle, and just one more thing to keep track of, but there are actually some webmasters who feel that separating your email hosting and web hosting services is smart. That way, one provider going offline won't completely bork your business.

The best hosting companies provide a moneyback guarantee period. This ranges from 30 to 90 days, depending on the company. If you cancel your services within this allotted time, you'll receive a refund, but some companies will deduct certain fees from it for things like domain registration. If you cancel your services after this allotted time, you likely won't receive a refund. A few companies we looked at may even charge an early cancellation fee.
If you not yet heard of FastComet – you are in good company. FastComet is one of the fastest growing, yet still less known, web hosting providers, but this is changing now, as word of mouth plays a role. Your site will be super-fast with their SSD-only disk storage, free CDN, and worldwide server locations. They offer perfect configurations and free tools for WordPress sites, in addition to shared hosting, dedicated server, and cloud hosting.
1&1 Web Hosting's security offering is unmatched by competitors. It's one of the few companies we reviewed that provides the same level of security on all its plans. Most companies tier their security plans, so the most expensive plan holder have the highest levels of security. 1&1 brings the same level of heightened security to all its plan holders. It offers SSL wildcard certifications, daily backups, data recovery services, DDoS protection, geo-redundancy and redundant network connectivity. This level of security means your business will always be protected. For these reasons, 1&1 earned our best pick for most secure web hosting company in 2018.
If you aim to have a web presence, you've got to have email. It's a convenient way for potential customers and clients to send you a message, Word document, or other files. Thankfully, most web hosts include email in the price of their hosting plans. Some web hosts offer unlimited email account creation (which is great for future growth), while others offer a finite amount. You, naturally, should want unlimited email.
Bluehost uses cPanel as its site management system. The Utah-based company has done an excellent job adding simple but useful customizations to the cPanel layout. Sections are very clearly laid out and the process is simple to follow. It strikes a great balance between simplicity for beginners but having the functions needed for more advanced users.
Once you decide you price range, you need to consider how long you'll need web hosting. If it's a short-term project—say, less than a month or two—you can typically receive a refund should you cancel your hosting within 60 days. Some companies offer 30-day money-back guarantees, others offer 90-day money-back guarantees. Once again, it's beneficial to do your homework.
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