As with HostGator, watch out for pre-ticked extras when signing up to Bluehost. If you’re a small business working to a tight budget, it’s tempting to ignore any optional extras. Domain Privacy, though, is a bargain at $1 extra a month. It hides your details from the public domain, protecting you from scams like domain hijacking and spammers. This can save your business time and money (not to mention you a lot of stress).
We wanted to find environments that would be easy for brand-new customers to navigate while providing a range of technical resources to accommodate more experienced users. We checked each site for: a knowledge base with tutorials, a forum for user-to-user discussions, and a company blog or news section. We liked seeing user forums for the peer discussion, though we gave the most points to companies with knowledge bases — a section devoted to providing guides, tutorials, and diagnostics to help clients learn about building and running a website. We prioritized those that were easy to search, with comprehensive topics and in-depth responses.
Beyond that, Dreamhost is a 5-of-5 hosting company for many reasons. They operate their own control panel, which is convenient and easy to understand. While phone support isn't available 24-7, they are responsive to chat and tickets. The company uses superfast SSDs for all their storage, has a free SSL certificate (for more secured web browsing), and provides SSH access for those plans that are intended for more technical users.
Uptime measures a company’s track record for keeping websites online all of the time. In a perfect world, your website would be available to readers 100 percent of the time. But companies typically only guarantee 99.9 percent uptime, since occasional technical difficulties are inevitable. We used a third-party monitoring service to verify uptime claims and spot top performers: companies that kept their websites up at least 99.95 percent of the time. Less than 1% of difference in uptime may seem trivial, but each .01% of downtime equals 52 minutes of a broken website in real time.
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.
But that is not all. User experience isn’t defined by the user panel and how frustrating it is. Sometimes, it’s the little things which make you love the hosting provider for what it is. Take FastComet for example – after you place a purchase, a live agent calls you, manually charges the account and asks, if any help is needed. Should you, for example, decide that you want some software to be installed – that can be easily done as well!
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 UK. The table below gives you a handy overview of – in our opinion – the top 5 website hosts, sorted by rating, detailing the cost/mo, & their best features. We also went a few steps further and reviewed a total of 15 web hosting providers just below the table.
Another thing to consider is bandwidth and storage constraints. If you're launching a business site and expecting it to grow quickly, you want a package that offers a substantial amount of bandwidth. Oftentimes, storage isn't as big a concern though, unless you're uploading many high resolution images to advertise your products. Don't get enticed by a service that offers more than you could ever possibly need. It might be false economy.
We were impressed by multiple 24/7 customer support options, including phone, web, and ticket-based help. Bluehost’s help services are broken into three departments — Sales, Tech Support, and Account Management — which are each further broken down into up to eight subdivisions for more specialized assistance. Along with its 24/7 customer service lines, Bluehost also has a 24/7 live chat option.
WebHostingHub comes included with a premium website builder called BoldGrid, which provides you with an easy drag-and-drop experience for creating a professional-looking website fit for your industry, with numerous sample content in demos being available for your perusal. All content you need is already installed in BoldGrid while providing you with 100% ownership of the source code.
If you’re looking for a cheap web host, you probably don’t need much power right now, but you might some day. Both our top picks offer an upgrade path for sites that garner too much traffic for a simple shared server to handle. There’s no hard-and-fast rule for when to upgrade, but if your site grows in popularity and starts to slow down, consider talking to your host about upgrading to a VPS or dedicated server.
For example, you may certainly contact your host at any time, but when are they available to respond to your questions and concerns? How long will it take for someone to get back to you? Will there be someone to help you if your mission-critical website goes down at 3:00 in the morning? What language(s) do your host providers speak? Support in Malagasy is probably essential if you live and work in Madagascar, but fairly useless if you are in North America.
Honorable mentions this week include Rackspace, which handles both personal and enterprise hosting and platform services (backed by “fanatical support!”) and Nearly Free Speech, a contender in our last look at personal web hosts, who offers exceptional hosting plans for as low as $0.25 and promises to only make you pay for what you use. Finally, we should at least mention InMotion Hosting, which mobilized quite the effort to get their customers to vote for them.
iPage.com has been running for 20 years so your website will be in good hands. Currently, iPage is running a promotion for 75% off the regular price of $7.99 per month, so if you sign up now, you can have your website go live for only $1.99 per month. iPage provides a free domain name for your first year along with a free security suite. iPage also throws in about $500 in extras, including $200 marketing credits for Google and Bing. In addition, you get 1 GB of free cloud storage where you can store your email, documents, videos, photos, and files online.
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.
One thing we learned in reviewing the services listed here (and many more) is that even though the packages are very similar, they are not identical. Some are more security-focused than others, offering anti-spam and anti-malware tools. Others offer a variety of email marketing tools. While most of the hosts we've reviewed have built-in e-commerce, you may want to consider using a more-robust third-party online shopping cart application like Shopify instead.