Here's the situation: You've got a website to launch, and you don't want to spend forever figuring out the best place to host it. You just want something that works well, keeps your site running fast, and won't break the bank. Is that too much to ask? We don't think so.
Let's face it: Picking the best web hosting company for your needs can feel like you're lost in a maze of tech jargon and endless options. How much is too much per month? What kind of server load can your provider handle? And what's your site's uptime going to be like? Don't sweat it. We've got your back.
We've sorted through the noise to bring you a no-nonsense list of the best web hosting companies in 2023. Whether you're setting up a small blog or launching the next online empire, we've found options for everyone. So sit back, relax, and read on to find the perfect fit for your website.
And if you're thinking about launching a Taylor Swift fan site or something, a word to the wise: You're going to want to spring for something that can handle all that traffic.
Best web hosting companies in 2023
If you need to host a website but don't want to get lost in a maze of plans and tech jargon, HostGator is your go-to. It's perfect for anyone looking for something solid but straightforward. Starting at just $12 a month, its Linux-based Hatchling plan hooks you up with unlimited disk space, data transfers, and email, Want more bang for your buck? They've got "Baby" and "Busines"s plans that pile on the perks like unlimited domains and nifty SEO tools.
More of a Windows person? They've included an option for that OS, too. Starting at $10 a month, you get all the space and data transfers you could want. And if you're big on domains, the Enterprise plan lets you juggle up to five of them.
In terms of building your website, if you need help with that, the Gator website builder is a simple drag-and-drop interface that makes it simple to put together your new online home. Need something fancier, or have a soft spot for WordPress? You can run pretty much any content management system you want. And its File Manager tool isn't just a glorified FTP client. You can edit files without jumping through hoops.
Plus, HostGator has a pretty good offer that not all of the competition matches. You can sign up for a year and snag a free domain name. It's not groundbreaking, but hey, it's a freebie that can save you some additional money by not having to go through a third-party to register.
Plus, if you need help after getting started, the host's 24/7 customer service is fantastic, based on our testing. You're talking to a human in under a minute -- not a robot -- and the reps are quick and savvy. They'll make sure you have what you need, and the know-how to tackle whatever issues come your way.
So, if you're after no-nonsense web hosting that doesn't skimp on features, HostGator is where you want to be, especially if you're a beginner to web design or hosting in general.
Key features of Hostgator:
- The drag-and-drop website builder makes creating a site simple.
- Sign up for a year and get a free domain name.
- There are excellent customer service options.
- A variety of multiple plans fit different hosting needs.
- Linux and Windows-based plans to fit different customers.
Looking for web hosting that offers a lot of features without a big price tag? Hostinger might be for you. It's super affordable, especially considering what's on offer.
For example, its "Business" plan is only $4 a month currently (down from $15 and includes a variety of features such as NVMe storage, daily backups, and free SSL. It even supports up to 100 websites on a single plan, which is great news if you have multiple projects that also need hosting options.
It's also surprisingly easy to use, even though Hostinger uses a custom control panel called hPanel instead of the industry-standard cPanel. This change might be a bit frustrating for anyone who's used cPanel in the past, but hPanel is surprisingly intuitive and user-friendly. It's great for anyone new to website management while serving up advanced features for the people who already know their way around it.
Hostinger's shared hosting options start at $1.99 a month with basic features. They also offer a Premium plan for $2.99 a month that significantly expands the capabilities, including support for up to 100 websites and a free domain.
It's important to keep in mind, however, that while Hostinger is a solid choice for smaller sites or personal projects, it's not the best choice for any bigger, busier, enterprise-level needs. For everyone else, though? It's a great investment.
Key features of Hostinger:
- Its new hPanel control panel is intuitive and simple.
- There are multiple, affordable hosting plans available.
- You get a wide variety of features without a large price tag.
- It's a great option for anyone with smaller web projects.
Bluehost is known for its ease of use and affordability. So whether you're hosting your hundredth website or you're getting started on your very first page, it's a great choice to kick things off with.
Like many of its hosting competitors, Bluehost offers you a free domain name that comes with your subscription, which can save you a small sum upfront. The hosting plans start at a reasonable $3 per month, and you get plenty of great features to help set up your website without much hassle.
New to building websites and need a little more help getting started? Bluehost's cPanel and customer support are super user-friendly. The company also offers 24/7 customer service, so you're never without help. It may not seem like the greatest offering in terms of perks, but you never know when you're going to need more help.
Bluehost also offers shared hosting, which is a great option for small sites. That service comes with the added benefits of free SSL certification and a free domain. But if you plan on sticking with it and growing your website, you may find that shared hosting doesn't meet your performance requirements. In that case, Bluehost has tons of more robust options, like dedicated hosting and VPS hosting for more flexibility and bandwidth.
Bluehost offers a good balance of price and features for anyone just getting started with building websites or anyone who's satisfied with a smaller host. If you need something more robust you'll have to shop elsewhere, but for everything else, Bluehost has you covered.
Key features of Bluehost:
- It uses the intuitive cPanel for website creation.
- It offers a variety of affordable plans with a wide range of features.
- Your subscription comes with a free domain name.
- There are multiple hosting options, from dedicated hosting to VPS and everything in between.
DreamHost has carved out a space in web hosting, thanks to its reliability and affordable plans. Unlike some hosts that scale back features in their monthly plans, DreamHost keeps most of its offerings available for both monthly and yearly subscribers.
When it comes to reliability, DreamHost is hard to beat. The company is so confident in its uptime that it offers a 100% guarantee. If you have any downtime at all, you'll likely get a refund. There's also a super generous, 97-day money-back guarantee that applies to certain hosting plans, but it gives you the peace of mind to try the service and see if you like it before committing.
On the security front, DreamHost doesn't cut corners. It offers free SSL certificates and additional security protocols. All of these come wrapped in a user-friendly, custom control panel that differs from the industry-standard cPanel, but it's still pretty intuitive.
However, DreamHost isn't without its drawbacks. It does have fewer global server locations than some competitors. And DreamHost's servers are only based in Virginia and Oregon. This can be a major concern for anyone needing a global audience, since having servers closer to your visitors generally means faster load times. Also, unlike other providers that offer free email accounts, DreamHost charges extra for this, at least in its basic plans.
Customer support is an area where DreamHost excels, despite charging a bit extra for phone callbacks. However, it does offer robust email and ticket support with a live chat and an active online forum.
DreamHost does simplify the installation process for some popular content management systems (CMSs) like WordPress. But if you're planning to use a less common CMS, be prepared for a steeper learning curve. If WordPress has what you're looking for and more, you should be good to go.
All things considered, DreamHost offers a lot of bang for your buck, especially for those who value flexibility and robust features.
Key features of DreamHost:
- DreamHost has a 100% uptime guarantee for high reliability.
- The company offers affordable plans for both monthly and yearly subscribers.
- A generous 97-day money-back guarantee is available on certain plans.
- Free SSL certificates are provided for enhanced security.
- A custom, user-friendly control panel is available to set websites up with.
GoDaddy goes beyond its well-known role as a domain registrar to offer a variety of hosting services. And of course, it has its brand recognition to lean on, too. It also has plenty of user-friendly features, especially its one-click installations for popular apps like WordPress. This is a major time-saver and eliminates the need for manual setup, making it approachable for both beginners and experienced developers.
GoDaddy's website builder streamlines the process further. You can pick from a variety of templates to kick-start their website, although this convenience might be a trade-off for those who want more creative control.
But where GoDaddy really stands out is in its customer service. In an era where automated bots are becoming the norm, GoDaddy offers 24/7 phone and web chat support. The quick response times are a big plus, often less than two minutes for phone support.
On the performance front, GoDaddy offers quick load times, thanks to multiple data centers across different continents. While they are planning to extend their reach with additional data centers, their current setup already provides solid global performance. And as you might be expecting, the service offers some pretty awesome extras, like a free domain for the first year and complimentary Office 365 email.
You might not think it based on the somewhat cringeworthy ads we've seen from the service over the years, GoDaddy remains a strong choice for web hosting, even if it isn't the cheapest one you'll run across.
Key features of GoDaddy:
- There several user-friendly features that can save you time.
- You can choose from a variety of pre-made templates to get started building a site.
- You get quick load times as there are multiple data centers worldwide.
- There are great extras, like a free domain for your first year and Office 365 email.
- The customer service options are stellar.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting just means finding a place online to store and display your website. Your content is uploaded and published so that others can see it. Using a web hosting service essentially gives you space on a third-party server where you can store all the elements that make up your website. Consider your hosting provider as your website's landlord, looking after all the server maintenance and security issues. Often, hosts even throw in some extras, like email. In short, if you want your website to be accessible on the internet, you're going to need some type of web hosting.
How does web hosting work?
First, you choose a domain name, which is basically your website's address. Now what? You have to link that address to server space that your hosting company provides. So, when someone wants to visit your website, they'll type in your domain or click a link to your site. That action sends a request through the internet to your server. Your server responds by sending back the files that make up your website. The end user's browser takes those files and puts together the website for them to see. You must have somewhere for all of your website's materials to reside if you want to publish it for the world to see.
What types of web hosting options are there?
There are several ways to get web hosting. Shared hosting is the budget option of the hosting world. You're sharing a server (and all its resources like CPU, memory, etc.) with other websites. It's the cheapest option, but you're also getting what you pay for: lower speed, less security, the works. Next up is VPS, or Virtual Private Server hosting. It's like having your own apartment in a building; you still share some amenities (the server), but you've got a dedicated partition that's all yours. It offers a bit more oomph in terms of speed and reliability.
Dedicated hosting is the penthouse suite, essentially, and the most expensive. You get an entire server to yourself -- lots of space, lots of resources, and lots of control -- but it'll cost you. Lastly, cloud hosting is a newer option. It's a network of servers that work together to host your website. You can start small and grow your hosting resources as your website gains traction, without the hassle of moving everything to a larger server.
What should you look for in a web hosting company?
Your first order of business is figuring out what you actually need from a web host. The type of website you plan to launch will determine your hosting requirements. Performance is another important factor. You'll typically want to aim for fast server speeds and a minimum uptime of 99.9%. Good customer support should also be high on your list. Go with the provider that gives you the best support available: That's typically 24/7 support across multiple channels, so you can get help whenever you need it.
Of course, as your website grows, your hosting needs could change. Pick a provider that allows for easy scalability without hefty fees or downtime. It might be super tempting to opt for a cheap plan, but remember that you usually get what you pay for. Balance the cost with the features you genuinely need. Security is non-negotiable when it comes to web hosting, so make sure the provider you go with offers robust features like firewalls and SSL certificates. Lastly, don't forget to read reviews and seek recommendations to ensure you're making an informed choice.
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