Finding the best web hosting provider for your website is not always a straightforward, enjoyable process. There’s a lot of misinformation, hidden fees and affiliate links hanging around the review sites. Here we’ve tested twenty of the top ranking web hosting services and simmered them down to the top five that will get your site up and running in no time.
Pitfalls to avoid:
If you want to do your own research but want to know what to look out for, here’s a quick checklist:
This is seriously important. There’s little point in creating a beautiful website if it’s built upon weak hosting foundations. 40% of consumers abandon a website that takes 3 seconds or more to load.
This is another aspect of your plan that is essential to know before you sign up. A site’s uptime refers to how much time a site is “live”. Sometimes crashes happen, but the top providers keep this to an absolute minimum. For instance, all of the providers on this list have an uptime of at least 99.98% and, many provide uptime guarantees.
If a company offers an “unlimited” amount of anything, be it bandwidth, disk space, or subdomains, be prepared to scroll around their site for what they define “unlimited” to entail. They will normally equate unlimited to what they consider to be reasonable usage which is nothing to worry about if you are running your average website. The trouble comes in when you have vast memory space or subdomain requirements. Unlimited is an impossible statement and is used as a marketing tool to get more customers.
Page building is a trap!
When customers enter the bank details and sign up to their hosting site, the enticement is there to use the hosting provider's drag and drop, super quick and simple website builder. This can be a real mistake. If you ever need more advanced capabilities, you may find yourself locked into their service, and it can be a sticky process to migrate your site to another provider.
Now, that we know what to look for, let’s get onto the review!
SiteGround is the best web hosting provider, however, their not the best for everyone, so it might be worth your while to have a look at the other options to see if there is a service provider that better fits your requirement.
Siteground has an average uptime of 99.99%. This is .05% better than the industry average of 99.94%. Although, downtime has an adverse effect on both UX and sales.Their loading times are equally as impressive, though surprisingly not the fasted on our list. SiteGround’s average loading time is 1.3 seconds per page. This is down to the company’s investment in using the latest speed technologies. All of their plans come with managed WordPress hosting, SSL certificates and CloudFlare CDN The secret to their success comes from their in-house software solutions. The norm these days is to use ready-made software solutions. The hosting service also has a very consistent load time, averaging at 716ms.
Security wise, SiteGround’s got you covered. They use site isolation to prevent security breaches on one of your site’s affecting your sites on your server. It also provides HTTP/2 technology, which is the safest option currently available. Their web application firewall (WAF) protects your site from breaches and SiteGround implement proactive patches for any threats that do emerge on your site. In terms of customer support, SiteGround has been ahead of the game for a long time. You can use chat, phone and a ticket system all of which operate 24/7 with an average response time of 8 minutes. However, their competitors are closing in and, all of SiteGround’s competitors on this list provide 24/7 support.
All plans come with fully managed WordPress hosting. WordPress now powers 30% of all sites online which makes SiteGround an enticing option for customers. Note that SiteGround comes with data storage limit depending on your plan but ranges between 10GB and 30GB. The packages also come with monthly resource limits, which limits the number of users per month which varies between 10,000 and 100,000 visitors. If you need more bandwidth you will need to upgrade to cloud hosting.
This is for the budget-hunters out there. If you are looking for a basic domain that provides all the services to build a site, then look no further. You’ll see the “unlimited” term tossed around regarding their bandwidth limits, subdomains, FTP, email accounts, and MYSQL databases, but they do provide plenty for regular site consumption.
The major pros of Hostgator are its 99.9% uptime guarantee and 24/7 customer service and $200 credit in Google and Bing Ads. You also get an included website builder. Hostgator also has plans optimized for WordPress.There is a 45-day no-quibble money-back guarantee. However, their subscription fees aren’t going to make much of a dent in your bank account with rates starting from $2.64/month.
A unique aspect of HostGator is the option to resell your own hosting plans through HostGator.The hatchling plan comes with a private SSL certificate and dedicated IP address, which means that you can start taking payments and running your business straight away.One of the drawbacks, however, is that you don’t get the domain free for a year like other hosting providers on this list.
You may not have heard of this hosting provider before. They certainly don’t have the same presence as HostGator or BlueHost, but in terms of customer support and speeds, A2 hosting is an impressive package.
A2 Hosting is 50% faster than the industry average and has the quickest loading times on our list. The reason for this is A2 Hosting’s limit of the amount of site on a single server. This is the driving force of their speedy loading times, with most branded sites loading in under a second! Remember, when we said earlier about the importance of loading times on abandonment rates? Well, this service has definitely got you covered.
Their customer support is also a thing of beauty, giving you lots of options from chat, email, phone or ticket submission with lightning fast times.
So if A2 hosting is the quickest with excellent customer support why aren’t they holding the top place. Well, the answer is in their uptime which sits at 99.92%. Although this isn’t terrible at 0.02% off the industry standard, it’s enough to topple it from the top spot. Especially, if your site brings in a lot of traffic, these crashes can be the cause of a lot of lost revenue, as much as $7,900 per minute!
Like SiteGround, A2 Hosting also provides HTTP/2 technology to ensure maximum site security. This isn’t the cheapest option on the market, but it ticks all the boxes!
iPage currently caters for over one million sites. This hosting service unlimited domains with unlimited bandwidth within reasonable usage. This particular host has dedicated server options as well as VPS which makes it powerful enough to cater to larger businesses. iPage doesn’t offer a guaranteed uptime, but with their average being 99.98%, they have an excellent track record.
In aptly named ‘The Essentials’ package, you’ll get everything you need to get started plus $100 in both Google and Bing Ads credits. iPage offer “unlimited” bandwidth and disk storage space, and 99.95% of their customers have more than enough storage space for their needs.
If you’re looking for the top level of support, security and control, then take a look at their dedicated hosting plans. In this package, you will get an entire server devoted to your site. You will be able to download any application without restrictions, and you won’t have to share speeds with other iPage customers.
Keep in mind that iPage doesn’t provide specialized e-commerce plans. As a side note, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly web hosting option, this company buys enough Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) to offset its energy usage by 200%.
Bluehost currently hosts 2 million sites worldwide. Although it’s the WordPress optimized option is more costly, it’s definitely worth it. You’ll pay extra for the site migration.
We like Bluehost’s policy for performing daily site check as well as its competitive pricing. Be aware that the price jumps quite a bit after the promotional period. 24/7 phone support is a definite bonus for when you’ve got any queries about your site’s performance.
Blue Host has a very strong security game with a three-part anti-spam protection system. All directories are also password-protected. They also offer CloudFlare which not only provides extra security but also increases your site’s speed!
Bluehost has gotten a bad name for excessive upselling on their customer support channels. They also don’t offer a ticket-based support system, which is really useful when you need to get in touch with technical staff for guidance quickly. They do, however, provide 24/7 live chat and phone support.
So that’s it from us, there’s a lot of competition out in the market which gives you plenty of hosting options for your site. This article helps to narrow the focus down to the absolute best in the market, but still provide options depending on your specific site’s needs; whether its customer support, speed, reliability, security or a well-priced all-rounder, there’s an option on this list for you.