So you’re looking for the best web hosting sites? Well there’s tons out there and it can be very challenging to distinguish the differences between each hosting provider to find the best fit.
Web hosts are a lot like cell phone companies, since everyone basically offers the same service – but the way they package it, what they include (and most importantly) how they price their plans can vary quite significantly (often to the detriment of us, the customers)!
Because of that simple fact, my mission is to deconstruct all of the web hosting companies online and give you – the visitor – a simplified and easy-to-use guide when researching hosting.
So far, I’ve researched, signed up, paid for and test-driven 43 different hosting websites, and narrowed down that large group to a selection of these top 3 that I confidently recommend.
Here’s the 3 best web hosting services based on my extensive research
- SiteGround Hosting
- Starting from just $3.95/month with 99.99% uptime & a free domain
- Awesome one-click tools (WordPress, WooCommerce, Caching, SSL)
- Some plans include a free website migration (I used it and it was seamless)
- → Visit SiteGround Now (best price guaranteed) to see why they’re my #1 pick
- Dreamhost Hosting
- Starting from just $2.59/month with 99.99% uptime & 30 day money back offer
- Hosts over 1.5 million websites, with a great reputation for customer service
- Established in 1996, with numerous consumer choice awards to its’ credit
- → Visit DreamHost Now (best price guaranteed) to learn about their great prices
- Bluehost Hosting
- Starting at just $2.75/month (intro offer) with 99.99% uptime guaranteed
- Excellent compatibility with WordPress including one-click install & plugins
- Offers a 97-day trial with a full money back guarantee for first time customers
- → Visit BlueHost Now (best price guaranteed) to learn about their easy setup
I’ve also built a handy hosting comparison table below to help you easily see all the differences between the recommendations
|Hosting Comparison →||SiteGround||Dreamhost||Bluehost|
|Cheapest introductory plan||$3.95/Month||$2.59/Month||$2.75/Month|
|Plans that I recommend||GrowBig||Unlimited||Plus Plan|
|Recommended plan price|
(features of these plans below)
|$5.95 Per Month||$7.95 Per Month||$5.95 Per Month|
|Exclusive pricing offer|
|Free domain included||✓||✓||✓|
|Host unlimited websites||✓||✓||✓|
|No restrictions on traffic||✓||✓||✓|
|One-click WordPress installs||✓||✓||✓|
|Free one-click SSL (https)||✓||✓||✓|
|Email address and webmail||✓||✓||✓|
|Premium website backups||✓||✗||✓|
|Unmetered SSD storage||✗||✓||✓|
|Free website migration||✓||✗||✗|
|Cpanel included in plan||✓||✗||✗|
|Server-level web caching||✓||✗||✗|
|Free Cloud Flare CDN||✓||✗||✗|
|Moneyback guaranteed offered||30 Days||30 Days||97 Days|
|Signup for the best price|
Unfortunately, there are some hosts I don’t really recommend…
Don’t shoot the messenger if you’re already using them, but there are some hosts that I don’t recommend at this time, either because I had a personal bad experience with them, or I just don’t think they offer a good enough product versus what they charge their customers.
- I don’t think Host Gator is a good host. There, I said it. I had some billing issues with them a few years back (wanted to cancel) and it was a complete nightmare dealing with them, support was very rude and it was a long, drawn out process (although to their credit, they refunded me in the end). I’ve also experienced (and heard other complaints) that their shared hosting is very very slow, particularly for WordPress based websites, as they cram tons of sites on the same shared IPs to increase their margins.
- I can’t really advise you to use the Big (Go) Daddy either for hosting. While I personally use them for registering all my domains (including this site), they’re traditionally known as a domain registrar rather than a hosting company. At recent glance, it looks like they’ve improved their hosting offering a fair bit, but it’s still pretty costly vs. the alternatives. Furthermore, GoDaddy has an excellent sales funnel (awesome for them) but for you, it means everything seems reasonable until it’s time to re-bill for your second year of service, at which point prices can go up 5 times or more for the service.
- There are a lot more bad hosts than the 2 above, but I mentioned them because they are quite well known and advertise a fair amount, so you’ve probably heard of them. In the end I leave it to you, but if you want to be sure you’ll end up with a good company please stick to the sites I’ve recommended and avoid the cheaper, less reliable hosts.
When it comes to hosting – it’s simple. The good ones all have these traits in common time-and-time again:
- Transparent Pricing: Pretty straight forward, but you’d be surprised how savvy those devious marketing departments are at different hosting sites. When I say transparent pricing, I mean CLEARLY indicating cost per month/year, taxes, extra fees and so on. Any hosting provider worth their salt will be upfront and honest with what they will charge.
- Excellent Customer Support: Seriously, who doesn’t want competent, knowledgeable and pleasant support staff to help them when they have an issue. This one is of paramount important for me, since there are technical aspects of hosting that can be really frustrating to figure out (ever tried recovering a server or dealing with a hacked site?) you want someone on your side when **** hits the technical fan.
- Solid Uptime, Reliability & Speed: One of the most vital aspects of competing online today is maintaining a fully functioning and fast website. Site speed is now one of the most crucial SEO signals, so if you’re serious about attracting visitors to your website via organic search, this is an imperative aspect to consider. Uptime, reliability and site speed usually go hand-in-hand, and quality hosts offer near 0 down time, with uptime guarantees up to 99.99% ( industry standard for all top tiers hosting companies). Some hosting companies (like my favourite Site Ground) have even built their own free caching tool that’s available to all customers and ensures your site is served lightning fast 24/7.
- Great Value-Added Services: This is another biggie! What I mean by “value added services” is what the guts of the hosting backend offers you. These days, hosts are pretty awesome when it comes to this stuff, but they used to be pretty terrible. I remember back in 2006 trying to figure how to upload my site and almost losing my hair (note: I have none now so this is no longer an issue, but i digress). So yeah, back to value-adds – basically some examples of this could include:
- One click installs for popular software (WordPress, Forums, Galleries, etc)
- Easy user management for creating FTP accounts and privileges
- Simple setup and installation of webmail for your domain (why do all free webmail providers suck so much? it plagues me to this day)
- Advanced tools like https and SSL installation, caching and server management
- Easy creation of databases for everything you need for your site
- Help migrating or transferring an existing site, if you’re moving hosting
- Appreciate Their Customers: Last but certainly not least, something that always makes companies stand out from the pack is the way they go about interacting with customers. To me, this goes beyond having a great service team, and extends into every facet of their business, from promotions and innovations to constantly adding new technology to their offering. All of the recommended hosts on this website appreciate the business they receive, and it shows each and every time you interact with them.