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If you're a business owner, a writer, or a hobbyist, sooner or later you're going to want a website. To have a website, you'll need a web hosting service. There are hundreds of web hosting companies available to host your site, but which one do you choose? And, how do you know what to look for?
The first step in choosing a web host is figuring out how much you want to spend per month in hosting costs. While some web hosts are nearly free when you sign up, there is often some fine print involved. Many web hosting companies will lure you in with cheap pricing at the outset, but then will raise the monthly subscription cost when you renew at the end of a month or a year.
Tuesday, January 19th
InterServer is the best little hosting company you never knew about. Started in 1999 by a pair of high school students who were reselling another company's hosting, InterServer has a happy community of users, short support response time, and their own server data centers. They earn our highest rating.
HostPapa had a meteoric rise to greatness as a hosting company and enjoys good reliability. However, despite its greater-than-average positive online comments from customers, it seems to suffer the same customer service problems that most hosting companies have when they become popular.
LiquidWeb is a well-established hosting company that focuses on more corporate web endeavors. The prices of their services start at just under $50 per month.
GoDaddy has a huge market presence in the website hosting arena. However, it suffers from poor site speed at scale as well as numerous customer service and tech support complaints from reviewers who are using the service.
HostGator is a Houston, USA-based company with over 9 million domain names and counting. It has been quite popular for new website owners who want inexpensive shared hosting.
FatCow is a hosting brand that doesn't take itself too seriously. It has moderately-priced plans to meet a variety of individual and small business hosting needs. Customer service is okay but not great. However, the downsides are its slow speeds, lower-than-average uptime, annoying upsells at registration, fees for daily backups, and cancellation fees.
iPage has very inexpensive hosting for brand new website owners just getting their feet wet. iPage is owned by Endurance International Group, which is a conglomerate that owns several hosting companies. The unfortunate trend with small hosting companies being subsumed by larger ones is that there are often declines in quality. As with almost all EIG companies iPage has some issues in the area of performance and customer support.
BlueHost is a good web hosting option for people just getting started with their static website or blog. However, due to its performance and availability problems, as well as poor customer service, it is not a good option for very long or for people who rely on their websites for eCommerce or high-trafficked content. BlueHost's pricing plans are difficult to follow. You may pay a small upfront cost but end up with a hosting plan that locks you into a longer term than you want to be in.
One is simple and cheap to start, having website builder software and other helper applications to add features and online storage. However, their customer service seems to be lacking, with numerous customer complaints and access to help available only by online form or live chat.
Some web hosting companies will offer you a lower overall cost if you choose to pay up front for multiple years. While some web hosts will seem really expensive compared to other, that's because they're usually offering more value for your dollar in more advanced or innovative features their cheaper competitors aren't covering. Whether you choose a more expensive host will depend on whether those features improve convenience or lead to a better return on investment (ROI).
That leads us to the next decision to make: features. You'll want to decide which features you genuinely need versus which ones you don't really need at all. Aside from the core service of hosting the actual website will be offerings such as web design, do-it-yourself site theme implementation, domain registration, email, eCommerce tools and setup, online advertising to promote your website, website development tools, and search engine optimization (SEO) help. Some of these will be important to you and others will not be necessary.
Security and performance are considerations that often get overlooked in the drive to find the cheapest web hosting available. Cheaper cost to you means the web host is cutting corners somewhere in how they host your site. Often that means "shared hosting", which means your site is put on the same web server as hundreds of others. There are security and site speed implications to this that often are not in your best interests.
Reputation can also be a key factor - web hosts with bad reputations or "fly by night" business practices can hurt your business or position in search results.
Finally, you want to know how reliable and supportive each web host is from the perspective of its customers. How many people are complaining about hacked sites, slow page load times, poor support, and price hikes over time? There will be many, many complaints across all web hosting options, so you'll want to narrow the list of things that are important to you and focus primarily on those as you evaluate options.
Once you have an idea of which web host you want to subscribe to, shopping online will make it easier than ever to find it. To summarize, as you decide which web host should get your business, keep in mind these criteria:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best web hosting companies available today. We hope these reviews will help you find the right web host to make your website appealing, secure, and affordable!
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