The best web hosting companies of 2017, with a detailed review featuring their services, prices and packages
Finding the best web hosting companies can be rather complicated, especially if you are new to online business. There are a vast range of companies offering web hosting services, with different features and plans.
Starting Your Research for a Web Hosting Company
Before you start browsing for web hosting companies and plans, you should analyze the structure of your company. The type of hosting plan may vary a lot depending on your business plans.
If you plan to work with multiple domain names, make sure your hosting plan allows that. In some cases, especially on shared hosting plans, there is a limit on the number of domains you can host in your plan.
Another important factor is bandwidth. Some hosting plans offer unlimited bandwidth even on the cheapest packages. However, in some cases, you might not really need it, depending on the type of website you will have.
Best Web Hosting Companies 2017 Table
This table features the best web hosting companies in 2017 and some of the characteristics of their cheapest hosting plans:
Best Web Hosting Companies 2017
Below are some of the best web hosting companies with a brief explanation of their packages and features.
Click here to see hosting offers on Bluehost
Bluehost is one of the most popular web hosting companies. Founded in 2003 by Matt Heaton Bluehost quickly become one of most preferred hosting companies among small business.
Even if Bluehost has been around since 2003, it was just in 2013 that they have introduced VPS and dedicated hosting in their range of products.
Nowadays Bluehost counts with a number of hosting plans that are suitable for all types of users, from personal blogs to big corporate interactive websites. Bluehost also has one of the highest up-time rate among the main hosting providers, which is definitely a plus.
The cheapest available hosting plan at Bluehost is currently at $2.95 per month, which is an extremely low price. This valid if you buy the cheapest shared hosting plan for 36 months. If you buy it for 12 months (which I recommend for startups), you will still pay a very low price of $4.45 per month
Bluehost has a 24/7 support via email, chat or phone. The Bluehost chat support is rather fast, and it doesn’t take too long until you can chat with a human. However, some other companies might be even faster in this sense.
You can easily perform a one click install of WordPress from within the Bluehost cpanel. Cpanel is the best solution among most shared hosting plans as it saves time and allow users to manage and change many features on their hosting plan without much technical knowledge
Bluehost has servers in Provo, Utah where the company has its headquarters. Bluehost has a very satisfying speed even for their shared plans, which is important for SEO and user experience.
Click here to see hosting offers on Namecheap
Namecheap has been founded in 2000 by Richard Kirkendall. It is probably most well known for its great domain registration services, but it also has a good variety of affordable hosting plans.
Apart from hosting plans, Namecheap also offers a wide range of services, related mostly to domain registration and transfers. They even offer incorporation services.
Namecheap has an extremely aggressive pricing strategy and is one of the most economic options for those starting a new website.
Namecheap has extremely competitive prices, especially if you are a new customer. Their cheapest shared hosting plans cost only $9.88 per year, which is an extremely low price.
In the second year however, the renewal prices jumps to 38.88 per year, which is among the average rates for the cheapest shared hosting plans available.
You can host up to 3 domains on the cheapest shared hosting plan, with unlimited bandwidth and up to 20 GB of disk space (SSD).
In terms of support, I would consider Namecheap to be one of the best companies offering hosting services. From my personal experience, I have not yet experienced a delay of more than one minute to talk with a human customer support representative.
The level of expertise of the customer support staff is quite elevated, and most of the issues are usually solved, or at least explained quickly.
Installing WordPress in your Namecheap hosting plan is as easy as most main hosting providers. In your Cpanel dashboard, you can scroll down and find Softaculous.
Softaculous is a script libraby available on Cpanel of different hosting providers, Namecheap included. It allows the end user to Install WordPress with just a few clicks. Softaculous can also install different content management systems like Drupal, OpenCart, Joomla and many others.
The loading speed for most hosting plans on Namecheap is competitive to the main hosting companies.
Namecheap has servers located in the USA (Phoenix, Atlanta) and also in the United Kingdom. However not all hosting plans are available for all locations, so please double check if this is important for your business model.
Click here to see hosting offers on Hostgator
HostGator is one of the most popular hosting providers and has been on the market since 2002. One of the most curious facts about HostGator is that its founder Brent Oxley sold the company in 2012 to Endurance International and declared that he wanted to travel the world.
The company also has a strong presence in the Indian market, with offers specific to the needs of that South Asian market.
HostGator has a wide variety of different hosting plans, that will satisfy almost all types of users. That included shared and dedicated hosting plans, VPS hosting and also WordPress hosting.
If you are new to blogging and want to start earning online, I would recommend the Hatchling or Baby Plan (shared hosting). Alternatively, you can go for their Starter WordPress plan.
In case your website picks up fast, you can easily upgrade your plan to a superior one, according to your needs.
HostGator has attractive price, in harmony with the market competition. They offer very competitive prices in most hosting market segments, and in my opinion, especially on WordPress hosting.
Their cheapest hosting plan is a shared hosting one, called Hatchling. It’s price start as low as $2.78 dollars per month for a 36 month billing cycle, which is quite attractive. You can also opt for shorter billing cycles, as low as 1 month, which is something very few hosting companies offer.
The Hatchling shared plan offers unmetered bandwidth and disk space, which are definitely impressive features for such an economic hosting plan. However it supports only one domain. In case you have more than one website, you should definitely consider upgrading to a plan with more features.
In general, HostGator offers a pretty decent support setup, with chat and phone available 24/7 year round. From my experience, contacting HostGator by phone has had a inferior waiting time than using the chat. However I consider the chat more effective especially you need to type specific data, instead of spelling
They also offer a ticket system which is pretty reliable and effective, but in all cases I have solved my issues using the chat or phone support.
Using WordPress on a HostGator hosting account is pretty straightforward. Like most hosting plans, you can do this via cPanel.
HostGator cPanel uses Quick Install to install WordPress, and it is a very fast process.
The speed of HostGator hosting plans is very similar to most of the main hosting providers. They have their main server located in Provo, Utah and Houston, Texas. According to their website, they also have servers in other locations.
Click here to see hosting offers on DreamHost
Dreamhost is one of the most traditional hosting companies, and is based in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1996 by a group of undergraduate students and in 1997 it already had its first hosting customers.
Other than offering shared, dedicated and VPS hosting plans, Dreamhost is also involved in a number of other ventures. The most relevant ones are Inktank and Akanda.
Dreamhost is not as aggressive as other hosting companies when it comes to their most basic package. On the other hand, it’s most basic package offers some advantages that other companies provide only in more complete hosting plans.
The cheapest shared hosting plan offered by Dreamhost costs 7.95$ per month if you opt for a 3 year billing cycle. You can also opt for a monthly billing cycle at 10.95$ per month or 9.95$ per month for a yearly billing cycle.
Apart from unlimited bandwidth and disk space, the shared hosting plan offered by Dreamhost includes unlimited domains on your hosting account. This feature is usually limited in most entry level hosting plans.
Dreamhost has a different type of approach when it comes to support. They do not offer a phone support like many other companies, but their support is however pretty effective.
They offer a live chat, which in my opinion is more effective than a phone support. On a chat support there are no misunderstanding with spelling words or numerals, for example.
Other than that, there is also the usual email support and a ticket system. If you want, you can request a callback, when a technician will contact you via phone.
Unlike most companies that use cPanel to manage your account, Dreamhost has its own hosting panel. Installing WordPress is as easy as in any other hosting company though.
All you have to do is login to your Dreamhost panel and select the One-Click Install tool. After, you should select WordPress. This WordPress install will come with basic plugins, as it normally does in most cases.
Dreamhost has a very good reputation and boasts an uptime of 100%. If you are running a simple WordPress website from a shared hosting plan, its speeds will be similar then on other major hosting companies.
The company servers are based in the USA.
Click here to see hosting offers on iPage
iPage has been offering web related services since 1998. In 2009 it restructured itself to become a web hosting provider, and offers shared, VPS, dedicated and WordPress hosting.
iPage has a very inexpensive plan called “Launch”. It may be a good option if you want to have a micro-website for your business that doesn’t require a lot of space.
The company also offers a wide variety of different hosting plans aimed to all types of users and companies.
Click here to see hosting offers on A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting has definitely a guaranteed place as one of the best hosting companies. They have great offers for shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting.
Their Swift shared hosting plan has one of the best value for money features among all hosting companies. A2 Hosting has servers located in the US, the Netherlands and Singapore.
Click here to see hosting offers on InMotion Hosting
InMotion Hosting is also a hosting company to be considered if you are looking to start your websites.
One of the biggest advantages of InMotion hosting is that they offer a 90 day money back guarantee. That gives you plenty of time to try a new venture and see if your hosting plan is up to your business requirements.
GoDaddy was found in 1997 under the name of Jomax, and the story behind its start is quite interesting.
Bob Parsons, the founder of GoDaddy, sold his previous company called Parsons Technology Inc. to Intuit during the mid 1990’s. The sale price was of $64 milion, and Bob decided to retire. He has changed his mind however and in 1997 decided to start a new company, which later has become GoDaddy.
Nowadays GoDaddy is one of the main player on the hosting and domain business, with more than 61 milion domains registered.
The company offers a wide range of services including hosting plans, domain management and even SEO services. In the hosting business they offer from basic shared plans to dedicated plans with all possible features available.
If you are a new customer, there are extremely good hosting offers provided by GoDaddy.
Currently, GoDaddy has two plans available at their cheapest rate. For as low as 3.99$ per month you can get shared or WordPress hosting plan. Among WordPress hosting providers, GoDaddy is definitely one of the cheapest.
The cheapest shared hosting plan is called Basic and it is a good choice if you a newbie on online business. It offers hosting to just one domain, however it offers 100 GB of disk space which is quite a lot.
It also offers unlimited bandwith. The biggest advantage of this plan in comparison to other hosting companies is that it also includes a free domain (.com and some other options available). That can be understood as GoDaddy invests a lot in the domain niche of their business.
The basic WordPress hosting package has the same price of the Basic shared plan, but there are a few differences. Apart from having great solutions tailored exclusively for WordPress users, it has a disk space of 10 GB.
The Basic WordPress plan also has a limit of 25000 unique visitors per month, but you can upgrade your plan if your websites grows beyond that.
GoDaddy offers 24/7 phone support for all their products.
You can easily install WordPress on your GoDaddy hosting account using Cpanel. From your Cpanel dashboard, you can install WordPress or other web applications with Installatron.
If you have a Windows hosting account, the procedure is very similar. You can do it directly from your hosting account dashboard at GoDaddy.
Just like all the other best web hosting companies, GoDaddy speeds and uptime are quite satisfactory.
If you run a simple website or blog, GoDaddy will be able to provide optimal data transfer speeds for your visitors.
Types of Web Hosting
After analyzing these factors, you will have to determine the type of web hosting that is more suitable to your needs. There are basically four types of web hosting plans to consider:
In a shared hosting plan, many features such as a CPU, memory, network are shared on the same web server. While most shared plans will host a number of domains using the same IP, you can also get a dedicated IP for your shared plan.
You may probably ask yourself: Why would I want to share a web server with other hosting customers?
The main reason behind is money. Shared plans are multiple times cheaper than dedicated servers. If you are starting with your own blog and you don’t want to invest much I would definitely go for shared hosting. If you have a startup company with a decent amount to invest, you should consider one of the options below.
Dedicated hosting has a number of advantages when compared to shared hosting. In a dedicated hosting plan, your website (or websites) will be the only one (s) runningon that server.
A dedicated hosting plans has a number of advantages in terms of security, managing bandwidth, CPU and web server tweaking. However it also involves more work and skills to manage it. There are a number of managed dedicated hosting plans, which will save you a lot of time to setup and maintain your server. Managed dedicated hosting is however more expensive than dedicated hosting plans without this feature.
In recent years, a new type of hosting has been gaining popularity, especially among WordPress users. WordPress hosting plans will save you time if you only run WordPress websites, as they have a number of specific services towards these customers.
However, you can run WordPress in any type of server, shared or dedicated. So what is the real advantage of WordPress hosting?
As these hosting plans are specially made for WordPress, you will have some useful features like: daily WP backup, WordPress expert support, server speed optimized for WordPress, etc.
VPS hosting is another option to be considered for your new website venture. It sits somewhere between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. VPS stands for virtual private server, and it has a number of advantages compared to shared hosting.
With a VPS hosting plan you will have much more flexibility than a shared plan, and a number of unique features. In a virtual private server, you have specific capacity allotted to your account (CPU, bandwidth), so the traffic or eventual problems on whether websites on the server will not affect you as in shared plans.
How to Find a Good and Reliable Hosting Plan
There are some key factors which are essential to decide whether a hosting plan is good. These factors will have strong influence on your website performance and consistency, so you should really research them thoroughly:
Your hosting server speed is crucial for a number of factors. There are two main things that influence a website speed: the server speed, and the way the content is presented.
While taking care of the way the content is present is a topic for another post, the server speed depends on your hosting provider. Regardless of your type of plan, server speeds may vary. However, shared plans may experience more issues with speed depending what the other shared customers are doing with their websites.
Your site loading speed with influence heavily on how visitors will interact with your content and also the bounce rate.
The website speed is also a factor of relevance for Google to determine your pages SERP. So, the faster your website is, the higher it will rank on google (but many other factors are also important here).
Security is also crucial when choosing a hosting plan. There are two main points to consider here: backups and website security.
The concerns are higher with security if you are using a shared hosting plan. Since there are other users with websites on the same web server as yours, you will not be able to control what kind of content they upload, and this content might be considered harmful by search engines. This can be a problem for your website, and a strong reason to get a dedicated hosting.
If you opt for a WordPress hosting, the level of security is also higher, and service and security are optimized for WordPress use.
When it comes to backups, you should definitely maintain your own backups, even if the hosting companies run daily backups. If you have a small WordPress website, you can use the Duplicator Plugin, which is probably the fast way to backup and restore a website.
However, if your website has a slightly superior amount of content, the Duplicator Plugin might not be able to backup your website. In this case, you will need to backup your site using cpanel.
If you have a WordPress site (or another popular CMS) you can save all the files using the File Manager, and backup your database using the Backup Wizard.
Support is also critical when choosing a hosting plan. I would essentially recommend companies that have better solutions then solving issues with tickets.
Whenever I have a hosting related problem, I prefer to contact companies that offer a live chat. Live chats will in most of the case solve your problem almost instantly, or at least give a greater insight on the situation.
Some hosting websites with a live support will put on a queue for a considerable amount of time. If you have issues or questions often, that may add up a lot of wasted time.
Some support companies might only have a contact number or a ticket system. It will really depend on how fast they respond tickets, which might be annoying at times.
Disk space is another extremely important factor when choosing your hosting plan. It is also important to stress that depending on the type of website you have, your need for more disk space will vary greatly.
For a personal blog, or a business blog ran by one person, 20 GB or more will do just fine in most of the cases. However, if you want to host big files on your server, especially videos, or selling digital content that might be big, you should opt for a plan with more bandwidth.
There are many companies selling shared plans with unlimited disk space, but double check if they are really unlimited. Sometimes unlimited plans have some kind of restriction so I strongly advise double checking what exactly you are buying.
Bandwidth is another key feature that must be analyzed before buying a hosting plan. The greater the number of visitors on your website, the more bandwidth they will consume. If there is any type of download of large files on your website, like videos or courses, this number can mount quickly.
There are many plans, included shared ones, that are provided unlimited bandwidth. I think that is something you should really consider. However, if you expect to have traffic with high bandwidth usage, I would suggest probably going for a dedicated hosting plan.
Number of Domains
The number of domains is usually unlimited for most of the hosting plans. However, if you are just starting, you may find some shared plans covering a limited number of domains.
If you work with a determined amount of domains, or you just run one website, you don’t have to worry about this. If you manage numerous clients’ websites or microsites, make sure the hosting plan you are purchasing will not limit you later. Even if you can change your hosting plan at any time, it is more work to handle.
It is also important to be able to host multiple domains if your website is focused on different target areas. Example: (yoursite.com, yoursite.co.uk, yoursite.fr, yoursite.in). Each one of them will count and may reach your domains quota quickly.
Some WordPress hosting plans and a number of shared plans offer the possibility to host only one domain. While this is ideal if you are completely sure that all you need is one domain, in many cases it might not be enough.
Other Points to be Considered
Apart from the factors mentioned above, there are some other important aspects that might be considered when buying a hosting plan:
If your main market is for example Belgium, it’s strongly advised that you have your web server based in Belgium or somewhere near. Let’s understand through a simple example why this is important:
Company A and company B are focused on the British market. Company A uses a web server based in London, while company B’s server is in Australia. Considering that Company A is very likely to deliver content at higher speeds to the British market, search engines will give an advantage to it when compared to company B.
Which means basically that your website will have acceptable speeds regardless of the server location, but, if you want to beat the competition, you better optimize your website as much as possible.
Most companies will display very directly where their servers are located, and you have any doubts, you can contact their support and find out before purchasing.
You can have a shared hosting plan and still have your own dedicate IP.
Usually on a shared hosting plan, more than one site (or even hundreds or thousands) share the same ip. In most of the cases it shouldn’t reflect in any kind of setbacks if you don’t have one, but having a dedicated IP might have key advantages.
Having a dedicated IP is necessary for using an SSL certificate, which increases your site reputation and security.
An SSL certificate has two basic advantages for the website using it: encryption and authentication.
Websites without an SSL certificate do not add a layer of encryption to the data exchanged between the server and the user, which make it much easier for anyone to access this data.
Authentication is another important aspect provided by an SSL cerficate, which will guarantee your data is being sent by the actual server that it claims to be. In many times of attack, you might be accessing a website that is not legitimate, and the SSL helps avoiding this.
When purchasing your hosting and domain, I strong advise you to invest in domain privacy. Domain privacy is in most cases very inexpensive and adds an important layer of security to your website.
Any website is subject to domain whois queries, in order to identify the owner of the domain. With domain privacy, a company acting on your behalf will have their data displayed instead of your own name and personal address, if you have bought the domain as a physical person.