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.
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.
HostGator gained points for uptime monitoring and regular backups, along with free cPanel or Plesk. We liked that SSH is available for the more technically inclined site operators and that dedicated IP addresses could be purchased. We did take points off because it's sometimes difficult to tell what the price is once promotional plans run their course. That said, with a generous 45-day money back guarantee, there's a solution for almost everyone at HostGator.
Whether you’re a website beginner or an expert, you need the right set of tools to get started. For beginners, we prioritized companies that didn’t charge exorbitant fees for WordPress or daily backups. Wordpress is one of the easiest ways to get a blog up and running without requiring you to design one from scratch. All of our finalists offered a Wordpress installation button, but we preferred hosts who didn’t upcharge for it. Website backups ensure that, if your site does go down, you’ll still be able to recover your data. If you’re running your website solo, the easiest way to ensure you’re backed up is to go through your web host.
Unlimited service offerings: Every company we reviewed claimed to offer unlimited services of some kind, most commonly storage and bandwidth. The web hosting industry is competitive, so companies will use this language to attract new customers. Know that unlimited never means infinite. Instead, each company has a predefined range of storage and bandwidth based on your plan. If you use more than your allotted amount, you may be required to upgrade your plan, or the company might suspend your account until usage decreases and the issues is addressed. Each company handles this differently, so it's important to look at the terms of service agreement before signing up.
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Pricing in our list of cheap web hosts is based on the regular monthly prices, with no discounts applied for the starter plans. If the host offers monthly plans, that's the price we use, even though many of them work out to be cheaper on a per-month basis if you pay upfront for the annual plan. If you're buying on price, you might not want to pay the full year up front, even if it means saving a bit on the back end. Some budgets really are that tight, and some projects may not last a year. Our cutoff for inclusion in this table is that a provider must charge $8 per month or less. Yes, that's an arbitrary number. We chose $8 per month because that means you can have web hosting for less than $100 per year.
We’ve done the analysis, web hosting reviews & comparisons so you don’t have to, resulting in a list of the best web hosting companies for the United States. The table below gives you a high-level overview of – in our opinion – the top 5 website hosts, sorted by rating, detailing the cost/mo, & how much disk space they offer. We also took our top 5 and reviewed them separately just below the table.
Many web hosts offer limited features in their starter packages and then expand the offerings (sometimes tremendously) for higher-tier plans. Read the small print to make sure the plan you are selecting offers what you need. If you need a site builder application to design your website, make sure that the low-cost web host you are picking actually comes with a site builder. Many of them require you to pay for the builder as a separate add-on. Website builders usually don't cost a lot of money, but if you can find a web host that includes one for free, that's money in your pocket. And, if it's integrated with your hosting service, you're more likely to have a smooth, supported experience.