Having a web presence is essential for building a business in our digital world.
But figuring out how to get started can be an overwhelming experience: One look at the options available and you’ll run into a slew of jargon like uptime, VPS, SSL certificates and WordPress.
Let’s put those terms to the side for a minute. If you want to set your business up online, the first thing you’ll need is a web host — that’s basically your website’s “house” on the Internet. Without a web host, your site won’t be able to make it online.
In this article, we’re going to narrow the choices down for you. We’ll go over the nine best web hosting providers, we’ll break down what makes them stand out and how they compare and, finally, we’ll go over the things you should look for when evaluating a web host on your own.
So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
Best WordPress Hosting: DreamHost and WP Engine
While pretty much every web host will support WordPress, some hosts are specifically designed with WordPress in mind. These hosts offer something called managed WordPress hosting. You can think of it like a luxury service that handles all the technical parts of your WordPress site so you can focus on being creative, updating your content, etc.
Unfortunately, managed WordPress isn’t cheap. It comes at a significant premium compared to regular web hosting. However, it ensures that your site will always be up to date, optimized and secure. For example, you won’t have to worry that you’ll miss a security update and leave your site vulnerable to attack.
For managed WordPress hosting, we recommend DreamHost’s DreamPress offering. Not only is it one of WordPress’s three official recommendations, but it’s carbon-neutral, provides a 100% uptime guarantee, has reasonable prices, and offers fast page load times.
If DreamHost doesn’t suit you for one reason or another, WP Engine may work better for you. Unlike DreamHost, managed WordPress is the only product that WP Engine offers, so you can rest assured knowing that it has the whole thing down to a science.
Best Cheap Web Hosting: Hostinger
When you’re running a business, money is always a concern. In some cases, going over your budget can lead to serious financial troubles either in the short- or long-term. When you need to keep web hosting costs low, Hostinger is a great option.
Although it doesn’t offer the same level of reliability that other more expensive options do, it still provides some great features like fast load times and superb customer support. Although the host definitely isn’t perfect, it does offer a great value for less than a dollar per month.
However, we would recommend not trying to go any lower in price than Hostinger. Thankfully, Hostinger is able to provide a high-quality service at this low price point, but most budget web hosts will bring some serious performance issues with them that could end up costing you more than a higher-end web host.
Free web hosts may be enticing, but you’re better off sticking to one of the better-known brands. In most cases, you’ll save yourself some major headaches.
Best Shared Web Hosting: DreamHost, Bluehost and SiteGround
Shared hosting refers to a hosting arrangement in which several different sites share the same server. This keeps costs low as the host doesn’t have to cordon off an entire server just for one website.
Shared hosting is the best option for most businesses, but it does bring certain risks with it. Since your site is run on a shared piece of hardware, issues with the other sites can sometimes affect yours. For example, if one of the other sites on your server experiences a major spike in traffic or a DDoS attack that takes the server down temporarily, your site will go down, too.
In practice, situations like that are fairly rare, so it’s not worth it for most businesses to shell out the extra money for a dedicated server. However, if you run a particularly large business or one that can’t afford any risk of downtime, a dedicated server may be in order.
That said, if shared hosting fits the bill for you, we highly recommend DreamHost, Bluehost and SiteGround. These three sites are all reasonably priced, extremely reliable, and very fast. Many would consider them the leaders of the hosting industry. And if you do find that shared hosting is too much of a liability for you, these three providers also offer dedicated hosting.
Best Cloud Hosting: DreamHost, WP Engine and SiteGround
If the risks associated with shared hosting have you a bit concerned, you may want to consider cloud hosting. Like shared hosting, sites that are hosted on the cloud do not have their own dedicated servers. However, instead of the entirety of a site resting on a single server, the site is split across multiple different servers in the cloud.
Because they are spread out across several different servers, the sites are protected against downtime due to traffic spikes, DDoS attacks, etc. However, like dedicated hosting, cloud hosting is significantly more expensive, and most small businesses won’t see much benefit from it anyway.
That said, if you are expecting high volume to your site, say around 50,000 visitors per month or more, then cloud hosting may make more sense. Websites with large numbers of visitors can definitely benefit from the decentralized nature of cloud hosting. If you don’t have the budget for that, though, shared hosting will most likely suit you fine. Just remember to get a shared hosting plan that can accommodate the amount of traffic you’re anticipating.
Best Eco-Friendly Hosting: GreenGeeks and DreamHost
As concerns continue to grow surrounding the state of our climate, it’s in every business’s best interest to do their part and lower its carbon footprint as best it can. While web hosting may not immediately seem like an obvious source of pollution, carbon emissions from the energy that powers data centers are a major issue.
Luckily, there are several web hosting providers that have made it their goal to combat climate change as much as possible by going carbon neutral or even carbon negative. As you can imagine from the name, GreenGeeks is leading the pack in this regard, with a carbon-negative web hosting package. GreenGeeks estimates its emissions with the help of an environmental consultant and then purchases three times that amount in carbon offsets, essentially putting more energy than it consumed back on the grid.
DreamHost also engages in a similar strategy. However, it also makes sure that the process itself is as efficient as possible by using efficient cooling systems and ensuring that its facilities are Energy Star and LEED certified. Additionally, the company invests in statewide clean energy initiatives. By combining these two approaches, DreamHost has been able to become carbon neutral.
Best Small Business Hosting: DreamHost, Bluehost and SiteGround
When it comes to small business hosting, our recommendations are the same as those for shared hosting. In fact, most small business hosting will use shared hosting, so the results are the same.
DreamHost, Bluehost and SiteGround are all leaders in the hosting industry, and for good reason: They all provide a reliable, fast and reasonably priced web hosting service. Their user interfaces are easy to navigate and if you do have a question, it’s easy to get in touch with their excellent customer service teams.
Out of these three options, Bluehost is the cheapest, DreamHost has the highest uptime guarantee and is carbon neutral, and SiteGround has a track record of amazing customer satisfaction.
Luckily, you don’t have to make a decision sight unseen. Each of these three options offers a money-back guarantee, meaning that you can try before you buy. DreamHost’s guarantee lasts 97 days, Bluehost’s lasts 30, and SiteGround’s also lasts 30. However, if you want to test them out, be careful not to make any additional purchases like domains, email, etc. These extra purchases may not be recompensed if you decide to make use of your money-back guarantee.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with any of these. They all have fantastic offerings, and the choice will largely come down to personal preference.