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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.
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It's a strong, multifaceted effort for the dinosaur themed company, with its only failing being that it doesn't offer a quick import function if you have an existing Wordpress setup elsewhere. Also, it is a little cheeky during purchase, since prices are based upon signing up for three years. Additional services such as HostGator's SiteLock monitoring service are also automatically ticked, so be aware when making a purchase.
Downsides to HostGator include the lack of a free domain and the cPanel interface looks a little dated. First-time users might find the crowded layout confusing. If you use WordPress, however, you won’t need to access the cPanel. HostGator’s own site administration is not as sleek as Bluehost’s (number two on our list of best small business web hosters).
If you register a domain with Bluehost when signing up for a hosting account, there is a domain fee that is non-refundable. This not only covers our costs, but ensures that you won't lose your domain name. Regardless of the status of your hosting service, you'll be free to manage it, transfer it after any required lock periods, or simply point it elsewhere at your convenience. You retain ownership of your domain until the end of its registration period unless you elect to extend it.
Dedicated servers are used to power complex applications and high-traffic websites. You might also opt for one if you serve a large quantity of media, such as high-resolution images, audio files, and streaming video clips, or you see very high levels of traffic (or perhaps both are applicable). Dedicated hosting also provides the highest level of security and server customization possible. Also see: Colocation.
You also want a web host with 24/7 customer support—if not by phone, then at least by chat. Forums, knowledge bases, and help tickets are all well and good, but sometimes you just need to communicate with another human to get things ironed out as quickly as possible. That said, not all 24/7 customer support teams are equal. Companies like GoDaddy and Liquid Web boast incredibly knowledgeable and helpful customer support squads—a fact that we confirmed in our in-depth reviews of those web hosting services.