All of our top picks include most add-ons for free, like daily backups and basic SSL encryption. But it’s worth paying the extra $10 a year for private domain registration. This keeps your personal information out of the internet’s required registration database, WHOIS. Instead of listing your phone and address, your server will list a proxy, so you won’t have to contend with spam calls to your real phone number. (One tester from our original review on web hosting, published in 2016, has only just recently stopped receiving daily telemarketing calls — almost two years later.)
HostGator has great shared plans ready for every individual, as well as exclusive WordPress packages. By being one of the leading hosting companies in the world, HostGator gives you a lot for your buck. Picking the cheapest option, their Basic shared plan is a flexible web hosting solution for a personal website. Like with every other plan, you get a free website builder, zero-cost page transfer and $200 marketing budget. You can use the latter with Google and Bing for a quick boost.
Ranking 10th on our top 20 cheapest web hosting sites list is PlotHost. This provider mainly offers shared hosting and reseller hosting plans, with the company aiming to serve VPS hosting and dedicated packages in the future. With this platform, users have access to cPanel, making it easy to navigate and manage your data. Users can create as many cPanel accounts as they please with the hosting reseller plans. Its cPanel and WHM comes included with a Softaculous add-on, allowing you to one-click install over 400 scripts needed for your website operations.
VPS hosting is one step up. It uses a single server, but makes virtual copies of it — even though lots websites live on the same server (just like with shared hosting) each one gets its own personal copy. You get your own IP address, root access to your individual space, increased security, and stabilized site performance. VPS hosts are still designed to handle low-to-moderate traffic levels, but if you don’t want your site’s performance to be impacted by anyone else’s, it’s worth it.
Whether I’m geeking out with Ryan, Laura, and the team, or sketching out server diagrams to explain the basics to my grandmother, talking about a career in web hosting is always a creative endeavor, and I love it. Hopefully, this guide has cleared up some of the common confusions of hosting services, and you’re ready to sign up with the web host that best fits your upcoming site needs.
Domain validation (DV) is the most affordable and most common option, and it’s free with all of our top picks. This level certificate indicates that the domain is valid and the applicant controls that domain. It’s easy to obtain and doesn’t require any paperwork. On a site with DV, you’ll see a green padlock in the browser bar, and for most sites, this is plenty.
If you’re actually looking for super high quality managed WordPress hosting for the United States, WP Engine is what you need! They are the market leader when it comes to hosting WordPress sites, and with good reason (though are a tad expensive). They have an in-house custom built caching system to serve pages super-fast (called EverCache), and combined with their CDN, they are the fastest WordPress hosting company around!

You’ll only need to step up your SSL level if you need to connect your website to a physical company or business, or if there could be confusion about your web address. Your options are organization validation (OV), which costs $80+ and validates the site owner’s legal existence and physical address, or extended validation (EV), which verifies this same information but through third-party, not self-reported, sources. You’ll spend $100+ a year for an EV certificate and the browser padlock will also display your company name. Many banks have this level of validation on their websites, but both Google and Amazon simply use OV.
GoDaddy provides several cloud hosting packages to meet your small business needs. In addition to its domain registration services, GoDaddy offers a complete email marketing software solution. The software has a host of features: a drag-and-drop email composer; automatic removal of bad addresses, duplicates, and unsubscribes; and integration with Facebook, Google Analytics, and Etsy.
Shared hosting, also sometimes referred to as virtual hosting, is a web hosting environment where each individual hosting account is stored on a single web server. Think of a web server as a very powerful computer loaded with resources. Each of the accounts on the server share the same system resources whether it is disk space, data transfer or server processing power.
Dreamhost has a really good reputation, and with good reason. They’ve maintained their high-quality hosting services throughout the massive price-war going right now, people really like them as they’re extremely reliable. The only downsides would be the lack of data centres in the UK, and the cost… which you have to pre-pay for 3 years if you want the cheapest rate. It’s not ideal, but they do offer a 97 day money-back guarantee, which is nice.
You gain the most web-building functionality if you create a self-hosted site. This typically involves transfering the free WordPress CMS to server or signing up for a web host's optimized WordPress plan. With an optimized plan, the host automatically handles backend stuff, so you don't have to worry about updating the plug-ins and CMS, and enabling automatic backups. In these instances, the WordPress environment typically comes pre-installed on the server.
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