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Web Hosting Reviews: Updated 2021

When you take into account all the factors that make a good web hosting service (speed, security, customer support, flexibility, and ease-of-use), Hostinger gives you the best “bang for your buck”.

Their plans are more affordable than many of the other big names in web hosting but we don’t see much (if any) drop in performance or features.

You can get their cheapest shared hosting plan for $1.39/month if you sign up for 4 years.  That means you can get a phenomenal hosting platform for 4 years for $66 TOTAL!

Their dashboard is extremely intuitive and easy to figure out even for a beginner.  When you’re first starting out, sometimes it’s difficult to figure out all the components of web hosting and how they all fit together (domain registration, SSL certifications, WordPress installation, email, etc.).  The Hostinger dashboard makes all this very easy to understand and use.  I can’t recommend Hostinger enough especially for newbies.

  • Incredible value for the price
  • Easy-to-use for beginner
  • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • Free Domain and SSL
  • Add-on features are also cheap.
  • Customer support is only chat and email — no phone support

"Best Sign-up Bonus"

HostGator has been around for years and it’s a familiar brand name in hosting.  Their service and hosting technology is extremely reliable and it’s hard to find any weakness in their hosting service.

Their customer service may not be quite as responsive as some of the more expensive hosting companies.  It will be harder to get a live customer support person on the phone to talk through any problems that you might have.

But here’s where Hostgator gets really interesting:  They will give you $150 in credit on Google Ads AND $100 on Bing to advertise your site.

Even on their most inexpensive “Hatchling” plan (that costs $3.95/month if you sign up for the year), you still get $250 in ads credit.

If you’re just starting your website, this will give you some momentum and it covers more than the first 2 years of your hosting cost!

  • $250 In Google & Bing Ads Credit
  • Affordable especially for annual plans
  • Free migration
  • Free website builder included
  • Phone support is not as quick as more expensive plans

"Cheapest Web Hosting"

If you’re looking for the most affordable option on this list, iPage is the one. But just because iPage offers bargain hosting plans, doesn’t mean they don’t have excellent performance and service.  The are actually one of the most reliable hosting providers around.

Most hosting companies offer shared hosting plans, but iPage built their business around it. The result is an extremely efficient and reliable hosting service at a cheap price.

An annual plan costs only $2.99/month ($35 total for the year) and a 3-year commitment costs only $1.99/month! That comes with a free domain, free SSL, and unlimited traffic. Most shared plans cap your bandwidth while iPage does not.

For someone who wants a simple, no-frills hosting plan that still has all the basics that you need, i-Page probably you’re best bet.

  • Very Cheap Plans
  • Unlimited Bandwidth and Traffic
  • Free SSL Certificate at sign-up
  • Free Domain at sign-up
  • Unlimited Domains
  • Unlimited storage space
  • 30 day back Guaranty
    • No monthly plans available (annual only)

"Best All-Around Web Hosting"

Bluehost is considered by many to be the “Cadillac” of hosting companies. Their customer service is exceptional which can be a lifesaver if you ever run into trouble with your site.  Having a knowledgeable person to speak to on the phone is critical to help you through issues that you may have along the way.

The technical specs for BlueHost are first-class as well.  As far as server speed (which affects how quickly your site loads), security features, and WordPress hosting options, you’re not going to find anything that beats BlueHost.

Recommended Plan for beginners is the basic plan under shared hosting.  If you are 100% sure that you will be running WordPress to develop and manage your site, then it’s probably a good idea to get the WordPress “basic” hosting plan.

Here is the craziest part of Bluehost, if you sign up now, they will give you $200 in marketing credit for paid ads ($100 on google and $100 on Bing).  This is enough to more than cover your first year in hosting cost.

  • Reasonable Pricing
  • Generous Sign-up Bonus
  • Easy to use for beginners
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 customer support
  • One free WordPress site transfer
    WordPress recommended host
  • Higher renewal fees
  • more expensive than budget options

"Best Customer Support"

GoDaddy is more known for domain registration than it is for web hosting but that is starting to change.  Their technology for hosting is remarkably fast and they have many different options for web hosting plans to find the one that matches your site and business.

Where GoDaddy really shines is in customer service.  It is OUTSTANDING!  You can speak with an expert on the phone in no time and the person is likely to be from your local market.  If you run into trouble with your site, it gives you peace of mind that you can have a consultant on the phone to help you through issues (even when those issues sometimes fall outside of their web hosting service).

One drawback is that SSL certificates are more expensive than most other shared hosting plans.  This does not make much of a difference if you only have one site, but it adds up if your site portfolio starts to grow.

  • Exceptional Customer Service
  • Great Page Speed
  • Over 150+ One-Click Install Applications
  • Good value for one website
  • Total cost gets expensive if you add several websites to host

"Best Web Hosting For WordPress"

There are many great hosting options on this list, but SiteGround scores among the highest in the most categories  (Lighting fast load times, outstanding features, friendly and available customer service).

However, where they really shine is the bells and whistles they have for managed WordPress hosting.

All Plans come with the SG Optimizer WordPress plug-in that lets you easily tweak the elements of your site to make it extremely fast. In addition, WordPress sites run on SiteGround servers that are optimized for WordPress to make the site fast and secure.

The “Startup” plan is $6.99/month and it’s recommend for beginner sites.  If you know you will be using WordPress for your site, it’s probably a good idea to pick their WordPress hosting plan to improve load times and help your SEO rankings.

  • Great WordPress tools and free WordPress optimizer plug-in
  • Quick Servers
  • Marvelous Customer Support
  • FREE Daily Backup
  • User-Friendly Custom Dashboard
  • May be growing too fast.  Great service could suffer with too many customers.

"Best For Small Businesses On WordPress"

WPEngine is the “enterprise” solution for WordPress managed websites. As the name suggests, WPEngine is only for WordPress. So if you don’t plan on using WordPress, you can move on to the next hosting solution.

The truth is that WPEngine has more service, power and bells & whistles than most people need for their website and hosting solution. For that reason, it’s more expensive than the more cost-friendly hosting options. That’s why it’s recommended for small businesses. If you’re running a small business, you don’t want to also worry about issues with your website. The support team at WPEngine is like having your own IT department.

Their service also comes with premium “ready-to-g0” WordPress themes so you can have a professional-looking site immediately. Their security features go above and beyond what’s needed for most people (again probably only needed for small businesses).

The startup plan at $25/month is recommended. They are giving 3 months free if you sign up for an annual plan.

  • Optimized for WordPress
  • Daily Backups
  • White glove service
  • Free Site Transfer
  • 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • WordPress only
  • Can’t purchase a domain
  • No email addresses
  • Too expensive for a small site ($22/month)

Common Questions About Hosting

What is Web Hosting?

When trying to understand web hosting, it’s helpful to imagine the world wide web as a giant library of information.  Each book on the shelf represents a website with all the information that the website contains.  If you want your book to be found and accessible by people browsing the shelfs of the giant library, you need to make sure your book has a spot on the shelf.  

This is what web hosting is … it gives your website a “spot on the shelf” in the giant library of information that is the internet.

Web hosting is the storage of a website on web servers that are connected to the internet so that people who are looking for your particular website can find and access the site when they type in the site’s URL address (www.yourwebsite.com).

What is a Web Server?

A web server is not much different than your personal computer and actually looks a lot like a desktop computer without the screen. 

But rather than running applications for you and storing your files, a web server’s purpose is to store websites (and all the text, images and coding of those sites) and also hosting web applications (as opposed to the applications that are stored and run from your own computer). 

A web server obviously needs to be connected to the internet so that it can be accessed.

How much does it cost to host a website?

This is not an easy answer because there is so much variety when it comes to web hosting.  It’s like asking how much it costs to buy a car.  There are many different kinds of cars and the costs can vary quite a bit.

How much you pay for web hosting will depend on the type of hosting you buy, the add-ons you include (like SSL certificates, email hosting, etc), and the length of time you commit to a hosting company.  If you are willing to commit to at least one year of hosting, the savings can be substantial compared to paying month-to-month.

The cost of hosting a website can range from a few dollars a month to several hundred dollars per month depending on the type of hosting you buy.  The main types of web hosting are shared hosting, managed wordpress hosting, dedicated hosting, VPS hosting, and cloud hosting. 

What is "shared web hosting"?

Shared hosting is what it sounds like: it is websites sharing the storage space on servers with other websites.  Shared hosting has been a fantastic development for the internet because it allows people with less money to afford hosting and share their websites with the world.  

Hosting involves buying and maintaining web servers, keeping them connected to the internet, storing them in a data center, providing power to the data center, keeping the room cool (servers give off a lot of heat!) among other things … for all of these reasons, the cost of web hosting can add up very quickly.

But with shared hosting, all of these costs are shared between the website owners hosting their sites on the same web servers in the same data center.  

The cost of buying a shared hosting plan is dramatically less than paying for all of these costs yourself. It’s similar to buying a ticket for air travel.  If you were to rent the entire plane, the costs would be extremely expensive and unaffordable.  But if you buy a ticket for a seat on the plane and share the cost with all the other passengers, the costs are much more reasonable.

What is "dedicated web hosting"?

Dedicated hosting is storing a website on its own “dedicated” web server.  While you share the costs associated with maintaining the data center (power, cooling, and internet connection), you’re not sharing the costs of buying and maintaining the web server.  For this reason, dedicated hosting is more expensive than shared hosting, but still relatively affordable.

The advantage of dedicated hosting is that you don’t share the server with anyone else and therefore you can configure it however you want and also choose what type of hardware you want (disk space, processor, etc.)

Most smaller websites do not need a dedicated server.  However, if you know there are certain things you need for your website hosting (for example, the ability to run an uncommon web application on it), then it might make sense to have dedicated hosting.

Furthermore, if you don’t want to share a web server with other websites, it might make sense for you.  

Do I need dedicated hosting?

If you’re asking this question, you probably don’t need a dedicated hosting plan.  The reason is because the benefit of having a dedicated hosting plan is that it gives you the option to choose the type of server hardware that you want and configure it however you want.  It’s a blank slate that is all your own to customize.  But if you don’t know what you want, then you probably don’t need a dedicated hosting plan.  Especially since it will cost you more money than a shared hosting plan or VPS hosting.

What is "VPS hosting"?

VPS stands for “virtual private server” and VPS hosting uses virtualization technology to give you a hosting environment that (for all practical purposes) works just like a dedicated server.  

VPS hosting runs a virtual machine and it looks and acts just like its own dedicated web server.  In a virtual private hosting environment, you can configure the server however you want it set up and you can run practically any web application you want on it.  However, the actual hardware is shared with other virtual machines.  

Think of VPS hosting like a condominium with its own private entrance.  In the condominium, you can decorate it however you want and do whatever you want inside your own condo.  What you do inside your own condo has no impact on any one else in the condominium and vice versa.  However, the condos share the same roof and other infrastructure.

This is not a perfect analogy but it’s the best we can come up with.

What is the difference between VPS hosting and dedicated hosting?

The difference between VPS hosting and dedicated hosting comes down to the actual hardware of the web server.  VPS hosting provides a dedicated web hosting environment that runs on a virtual machine that is indistinguishable from a dedicated web server.  With VPS hosting, you can set up your virtual hosting environment and configure it however you want, but it runs on the same hardware as other virtual hosting environments.  

However, these environments are completely partitioned and separated from one another.  This separation is “air tight” and there is no chance that your virtual private server conflicts with anyone else’s.

Dedicated hosting actually runs on its own dedicated web server (different hardware).  For this reason, the advantage of dedicated hosting over VPS hosting is that you can pick the hardware you want rather than running it in a virtual environment.  For this reason, it’s also more expensive than VPS hosting.

What is "cloud hosting" and how is it different from web hosting VPS?

Cloud hosting runs the web hosting services for the website on several different servers at the same time.

Cloud hosting is very similar to VPS hosting except the hosting resources for each website are duplicated on different servers.  The advantage to cloud hosting is that if one server has a problem, the website is not affected.  The traffic is simply redirected to a different cloud environment that is hosting the site.

Cloud hosting is a fantastic solution, but given the cost, it is more suited to enterprise businesses or websites with a very high traffic volume.

What is Managed WordPress Hosting?

Managed WordPress hosting is a hosting plan where the server is specifically optimized and configured to host a site that runs on WordPress.  These plans could be shared plans, dedicated or VPS plans.  However, most of the time, managed WordPress hosting is on a shared server.

The advantage of getting a managed WordPress plan is that it will make your site perform better if it uses WordPress.  These hosting environments help WordPress sites load faster.  They also help secure WordPress sites which are sometimes vulnerable to attacks.

If you know that your site will use WordPress, it’s a good idea to buy a managed WordPress hosting plan.

What kind of web hosting should I get?

Ultimately, this is a decision that only you can make … however, we’ll give some direction on things to consider when choosing a web host.

First, think of how much traffic you will get to your site.  If it’s a simple site that won’t get a lot of traffic, then it probably makes sense to get a simple shared hosting plan that only costs a few dollars a month.

If your site runs on WordPress, it might also be a good idea to choose a managed WordPress hosting plan that will make your WordPress site fast and secure.

If you anticipate a lot of traffic to your site, or your site is a critical part of your business (for example, an e-commerce site), then it might be a good idea to consider a VPS hosting solution.

What is a dedicated IP?

An IP address is like your mailing address of the internet.  A dedicated IP gives you your own IP address so there are no other websites sharing the same IP address as yours.  

Think of it this way:  imagine you live in a building and there are two options for you when receiving mail.  You can either have the mail sent to the building and the building staff who sort through the mail and distribute it to the right people in the building.

Or … you can have your own personal mailbox located in the building.  Your mail is delivered directly to the mailbox and you don’t share a mailing address with anyone else who lives in the building.  

This is a good way to think about a dedicated IP address.  It’s like your personal mailbox for the internet.

Is a dedicated IP worth it?

This is a matter of preference and opinion.  Some people insist on having a dedicated IP address so their website is never grouped together with any other websites.

Keep in mind that no one will ever type in your website URL and accidentally be taken to the wrong website that is sharing your IP address.  But  …since computers and search engines read and see only IP addresses, (not URL addresses), it’s possible that your website could be grouped together with other websites in the eyes of Google and other search engines.  For this reason,  some people prefer to have their own dedicated IP address.  

If you have a very large site or one where SEO is very important, then it’s probably a good idea to have a dedicated IP address.

Is a dedicated IP faster?

A dedicated IP will not speed up your page load time.  Page speed has more to do with other things like the efficiency of your site’s code, your host’s server speed, caching, CDNs, and other factors.

Do shared hosting environments have different IP addresses?

They usually do unless it is specified.  You will have to pay for a dedicated IP so you will know if you have your own dedicated IP address.  Keep in mind that it is an option to have a dedicated IP on a shared hosting plan and there are advantages to doing so.  But the default for shared hosting plans is to have a shared IP.

Why is web hosting so expensive?

The cost of web hosting can vary substantially depending on what type of plan you buy.  For a shared hosting plan, you can find very affordable deals.  For example, you can buy 4 years of hosting for one website through Hostinger for $0.99/month.  That is $49 total and a very reasonable price for 4 years of hosting.  iPage also has a plan with only a 1-year commitment for only $1.99/month.

If you need a dedicated hosting plan or VPS plan, these are more expensive (at least around $25/month).  But keep in mind these plans allow you to build out your own custom hosting environment.  In the case of a dedicated hosting plan, you are actually getting your own hardware.  It’s not surprising these plans are more expensive.

What is the best website hosting platform for SEO?

The hosting platform you get for your site is not a very important factor for your site’s SEO rankings.  Far more important for SEO are your backlinks, domain authority, quality of your content, your site’s organization and structure, and the loading speed of your site.

The last point is where hosting might play a role.  However, most of the top hosting companies have servers that are all fast.  Far more important for the page load time of your site is the efficiency of your site’s code and caching of its page elements.  There are lots of tools and plug-ins on WordPress and other CMS platforms to help you streamline the code of your site.

As far as the speed of your hosting company’s servers, Alpha Hosting checked out the fastest for us and this is probably due to their advanced server caching features that can speed up your page.

What is the best web host?

There is no one answer to this question.  On ProHostingReview.com, we have tried to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of all the major platforms.  Here’s what we believe all these companies do best:

Hostinger: best value hosting and “bang for your buck”

Hostgator: most generous sign-up bonus

iPage: cheapest 1-year hosting plans

Alpha Hosting: Fastest and best ecommerce hosting

BlueHost: best all-around hosting features

GoDaddy: best customer service

SiteGround: best managed WordPress hosting

WPEngine: best hosting for small businesses

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