Once the domain of the über geeky or forward-thinking business owner, having your own website is a very wise move for many of us. You can use that website as a springboard for a burgeoning freelance career in your chosen field, to advertise homemade wares, to provide directions for your wedding, or simply to write down your thoughts and feelings as part of a blog. Having your own web space is wonderfully open ended like that, and a great way to get your name out there in whatever way you wish to be seen.
The answer is simple – your computer may break, be turned off or electricity could go down. When your computer is down, so is your website – so it’s better to trust a dedicated hosting provider to take care of that for you. Just below, you’ll even find a tool, which helps to monitor the availability of every page on the web and see, so you can see how their servers perform.
When you’re ready to take your data into your own hands and run your own blog, own your own photos, and host your own apps, it’s time to find a good web host that can put it all on the web for you, give you the tools, bandwidth, and storage you need, and support you when you need help. Thankfully, there are dozens of great companies looking for your business, and this week we’re going to look at five of the best, based on your nominations.
Please note that each account on a shared server does not feature root access. Users looking for administrative level access to their server should certainly consider our VPS Hosting or Dedicated Server plans. Additionally, customers who have eCommerce sites or existing websites that receive a large amount of visitors each month may want to consider VPS Hosting as well. Otherwise, you'll discover that A2 Hosting's shared hosting is an excellent solution for your website.
It’s worth noting that both of our recommendations are shared hosting packages; a simple, inexpensive form of web hosting that shares a single server’s resources among hundreds of customers. This is fine for a lot of smaller websites, but if you expect to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, you may want to look into higher-end VPS or dedicated server packages. Luckily, both of our top cheap web hosts offer viable upgrade paths should you ever need them.
GlowHost has no setup fee, even for month-long contracts, and offers the best one month contract rate — while other providers tacked sign-up and set-up fees onto their base price, GlowHost’s one-month plans start at just $8.95 with no additional fees. For year-long subscriptions, GlowHost also offers a generous money-back guarantee period of 91 days (in contrast, FastComet’s money-back period is 30 days). This gives you more time to figure out if it’s the right host for you.
Bluehost is running a sale for 2018, with a 50% discount on all of its plans that lasts until your first renewal date. While this current sale won’t last forever, it does offer significant savings in the present: BlueHost’s cheapest year-long plan at the current price is only $35, compared to $60, the average cost of the cheapest year-long plans of our other top picks. The current discount may make it a great choice for anyone planning to upgrade their growing website in the future.
Shared hosting is a perfect platform if you have modest website needs. In particular, this means if you are just starting a website, have a small business website or just run a website as a hobby with minimal resource needs. Shared web hosting is also a popular option if you run a simple blog or forum. In short, shared Hosting is ideal if you have small websites or are just getting started because it is a good learning environment to get your “ feet wet” with a minimal investment.
At A2 Hosting, the advantages of our shared web hosting packages are obviously speed. However, the other pros of these plans include affordability and convenience. Our shared web hosting environment means we can offer reasonably priced hosting plans because our customers are not only sharing server resources, but they are also spreading the cost of hardware, server maintenance, security updates and other factors among all customers on the server. As an A2 Hosting shared server hosting customer, you also do not have to worry about server uptime and technical support because that's our job. Our shared web hosting packages come with an abundant amount of resources like disk space, data transfer and email accounts that are perfect for your personal and small business websites. These are just a few of the reasons why we offer the best web hosting for small businesses and general users.
The platform doesn’t come short on free tools and services as well, providing SSD on all hosting plans, free SSL certificate, and access to 24/7 customer support reachable through phone, live chat, and ticketing. The platform also boasts an enhanced cPanel integrated with the user area for a more intuitive user experience. Popular applications such as WordPress and Joomla also benefit from auto updates.
Rounding out the wins, InMotion offers a full 90-day money-back guarantee. On top of that, here's a special money-saving hint. In a chat session confirming pricing and offerings, the operator offered me some special prices and deals that reduced the published price by a few bucks. I was also told that while promotional pricing does go up at the end of the offer period, if you contact customer service, InMotion has a "loyal customer discount" that may bring the price back down.
We’re serious about high security. The latest hardware and software firewalls protect our infrastructure. We diligently tweak and secure the Operating Systems running on our servers. And we constantly scan, probe and test our defense systems to ensure that we’re one of the most secure hosts around. The Namecheap commitment to security means your websites are safer here.
Once you choose your provider, it's time for you to open an account with the monthly plan that fits your needs. If you still have questions about which plan is suitable for you, call their customer support staff and have them assist you through the registration process. Companies will generally charge a credit card on a monthly basis, however, some companies will also offer discounts for paying a yearly payment at once.
A Small Orange hosting reminds me a bit of what some of our other contenders were like earlier in their lives—homegrown hosting companies with a serious focus on customer service rather than size and scale. With A Small Orange, you can get a variety of plans with different bandwidth and disk space options that also feature unlimited databases, unlimited email addresses, unlimited subdomains, and more for as low as $35/yr ($2.91/mo). Few of their plans offer the same kind of unlimited disk and bandwidth options you’ll see from the big guys, but A Small Orange makes up for it with plans to suit every budget and every need, detailed stats, bit-by-bit upgrades for people who have needs that fall between plans, and more. Plus, A Small Orange is committed to real, quality customer support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can see all of A Small Orange’s plans here.
FatCow wants to be friendly to you, your budget, and the environment, making it one of the more intriguing options for those looking to start their own website. FatCow gives you unlimited bandwidth, storage, and access to easy-to-use website builders. FatCow also utilizes wind power to run its hosting, which is pretty unique. The website has a bit of a cartoonish vibe compared to others, but it offers a ton of services that first-timers and veterans alike will appreciate. Ground zero of FatCow is the Weebly Drag and Drop Builder in the control panel that allows you to select your domain name or website address. Then, you just do as the icon says, drag and drop the elements you want to add to your web page. The sucky thing about FatCow is the super high renewal rate. Check 'em out below:
Pros: Flexibility to scale is a great benefit that cloud hosting can provide. That means if your business grows rapidly, your server will scale with it. It’s also a product that’s available for you as soon as you need it, since it’s constantly existing in one form or another in the cloud. It’s a reasonable cost and works very well for a low-staffed account.
The best web hosts on the market include these web builders in their service offerings. Some include popular existing site builders like Weebly, while other hosting teams have engineered their own platforms for website design and development. For example, 1&1 has 1&1 MyWebsite, and InMotion’s BoldGrid sits atop WordPress for a more intuitive experience, whether you’re building your first site or your fourteenth.
TMDHosting is the cheapest of our four finalists. Compared to FastComet, GlowHost, and InMotion, its service plans are less expensive at almost every tier. The cost savings aren’t huge — at most, $36 per year — but if you don’t need the specific features offered by our top picks, there’s no reason to avoid TMD. We also liked that for its affordable price, TMDHosting offers a good number of servers (seven altogether), including five international ones — Amsterdam, London, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney — in addition to Chicago and Phoenix.
For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web... See Full Bio