Web hosting is a key component in establishing an online presence via a dedicated website. Today we look at the best hosts for your website in 2021.
So in this article, we present five of the best web hosting services that are trusted by millions of websites. There are many reasons why they are popular and while webmasters trust them. We will also discuss these reasons to provide you with all the relevant information you need to make the right choice.
The structure of the article begins with an explanation of web hosting. Next we discuss the best five web hosts including the cons and pros of each of them.
We followed up with the importance of good hosting, the types of hosting, and finally factors to consider when choosing a web host. These factors include server uptime and server load time.
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What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service that allows organisations and individuals to post a website onto the Internet. This service is usually carried out by web hosting service providers, known simply as web hosts.
It is important to look out for the best web hosts since they are the ones that provide the necessary technologies and services for websites to be viewed on the internet. A major component of this is called the webserver.
Web servers are computers dedicated to storing websites and serving them up for access whenever they are needed.
Let’s explain this further with the illustration of moving to a new place.
When Brad decides to get a new apartment as an undergraduate, he might have bought all that he needs to live comfortably – bed, couch, TV (maybe a PlayStation controller ?), and so on. However, no matter how good all the stuffs that Brad gets are, he still needs a place to keep them. So, he goes out and gets a place to rent. Without a house, Brad is really just a homeless guy with lots of stuff.
The same applies to websites too. After a beautiful website has been built, it would just sit on a local computer or server. For other users of the internet to view it, space would have to be rented on the internet. Hosting is what that act of renting is called. A Server is that space in the house which is rented. All the luggage that gets brought into space can be likened to the Website. The landlords, in this case, are the web hosts.
5 best web hosts for websites
There are several companies offer hosting services. Find below our list of the best web hosts based on server speed, uptime and flexibility (the range of services that they offer).
Bluehost currently powers more than 2 million websites and is one of the renowned names in the hosting business. It is among the top recommendations for hosting by WordPress. According to statistics by Hosting Facts, Bluehost offers arguably the best Shared hosting uptime in the business at 99.991%. They had a cumulative downtime of 52 minutes for 12 calendar months.
Pricing and Plans
Bluehost offers 3 types of hosting plans; Shared, VPS and Dedicated Hosting. Their shared plan can go as low as $2.95/month. VPS hosting costs $18.99/month. Dedicated hosting costs $79.99/month.
All of the plans above come with varying levels of services rendered and discounts depending on the number of months subscribed for. The price of each plan rises after the first year. It is thus advisable to make a subscription for a sizeable amount of months if you’re sticking with Bluehost.
- Best uptime (99.99%)
- Fast, 405 ms load time as average
- Good & quick customer support
- Recommended by WordPress.org
- 1-Click installs for website builders
- Cheap introductory cost
- Website transfers are not free
- Higher renewal rates
Dreamhost has been in the web hosting industry for about 25 years and is the preferred hosting service of about 1.5 million websites. They have managed to maintain an average of 99.94% uptime. Dreamhost is also the second of three recommended web hosts by WordPress.
By registering on Dreamhost’s Basic Plan, you get one website with a free domain name, and SSL certificate included. This site can handle unlimited traffic (or bandwidth) and storage.
Also, DreamHost has its own website builder called Remixer. However, they also offer access to SquareSpace, Weebly, and Wix in their app library.
Furthermore, Dreamhost makes use of their own custom panel and not the popular cPanel.
Pricing and Plans
Dreamhost offers Shared Website Hosting at $2.59/month.
VPS Hosting costs $10.00/month.
Managed WordPress Hosting starts at $19.95/month.
Dedicated Server Hosting starts at $149.00/month.
Cloud Hosting costs $4.50/month.
Dreamhost also offers new users a 97-day money-back guarantee.
- Fast Load Time – 648ms
- High Basic Plan Limits
- Above Average Uptime – 99.94%
- 97-Days Money-Back Guarantee
- Unlimited Disk Space and Network Transfer Limits
- Among the Cheaper Options
- No Higher Renewal Price Increase
- Good, but Limited Live Chat Support
- No cPanel
- Only offer paid migrations
SiteGround is a top name in the game of web hosting. Fast load speeds are a result of their servers spread across four continents. This is also helped by the fact that they are connected to Cloudflare’s CDN. SiteGround offers a good uptime of up to 99.99%. In fact, they agree to offer you one-month free hosting as compensation for every percentage they fall below that threshold.
SiteGround also has its inbuilt site builder and offers free website transfer to their servers. The fact that SiteGround is only the third hosting service recommended by WordPress stands them out as top guns in the industry. Also, all their cloud services are run on Google’s servers. This partnership makes sure that they run remote services over one of the best-maintained networks in the world.
Pricing and Plans
SiteGrond offers 3 plans– Startup, GrowBig and GoGeek. They each initially cost $6.99, $9.99 and $14.99 per month. The catch with SiteGround subscriptions though is that they rise significantly after the first year– more than doubling. If you don’t have a domain name you would have to pay $15.95 a year.
SiteGround also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. All plans offer free SSL, daily backup, free CDN, free Email, managed WordPress and unlimited databases.
- Good uptime (99.99%)
- Stable page load time (673ms)
- Good customer support
- Free site migration
- Free CDN and SSL on all plans
- Higher renewal rates
- Limited storage for Startup plan
While Domain.com is more known for the domain services they offer, they are up there with the best of web hosts. Domain.com have simply carved out a niche in delivering the basics. While they don’t offer cloud, VPS, dedicated, or reseller server options their uptime average above 99.9% for shared servers.
Domain.com do not place a cap on the disk space afforded to users. Also, they offer unlimited bandwidth to all users. They offer what is known as a shared architecture, sharing with customers both the hardware and the ‘pipes’ they use to transmit data across the web. When a customer’s traffic outgrows the shared architecture (this happens only 0.5% of the time) they work with the customer to identify scalable solutions, such as their Virtual Private Servers. Furthermore, Domain.com offers SSL Certificates to users for website security.
Plans and Pricing
Domain.com plans are Basic, Deluxe and Ultra. The plans are available at $3.75, $6.75 and $13.75 every month. Unlike other web hosts though, they do not offer discounts on multi-month subscriptions. The upside is that the price stays the same after the initial subscription. The maximum amount of months in a single subscription is 36.
- Good shared and WordPress hosting packages.
- Excellent uptime.
- Quality customer service.
- Multiple website-builder tools.
- Stable subscription prices.
- No cloud, VPS, dedicated, or reseller server options.
- Doesn’t offer Windows-based servers.
InterServer is another reliable web host that has been in business for long– since 1999. In that time, the company has risen from humble beginnings to being one of the most reliable web hosts around. They have 4 privately-owned data centres, all located within the United States.
InterServer offers free website migration to new customers and offers an average uptime of 99.97%. Their WordPress hosting is also one of the best around. Also, they support more than 400 scripts for 1-click installs. Interserver has 24/7 phone, live chat and ticket system support.
InterServer makes sure to utilize only 50% of available resources at all times. This allows them to support the growth of customer’s websites without experiencing performance issues. Also, they place limits on the number of new customers allowed to join the server each day, so that they can continue offering optimum quality to existing customers. In other words, InterServer never oversells!
Pricing and Plans
InerServer offers ASP.NET, VPS and Dedicated hosting. They are all priced at $8, $6 and $80 respectively. Standard Web Hosting starts at $5/month. On InterServer customers get a PriceLock feature. This means that they won’t hike the prices on you; no matter what, no matter when. They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Free website migration.
- 24/7 Customer Service.
- Consistent Uptime Record – Average uptime is above 99.97%.
- Fast Servers and high server performance.
- Stable Renewal Plans.
- USA only data centres.
How important is good hosting?
If you plan to build an online presence, dependable web hosting is crucial. Anyone could ideally host their websites online themselves. However, this would require you to know how to set up a WWW server, having an Internet Service Provider that supports the amount of required bandwidth to run this server constantly, your network being fast enough in the fast place, your computer being able to handle the load that would come if your website gets lots of requests, and importantly said computer NEVER going off since going off would mean the downtime of the website. Therefore, it is more logical to pay someone to handle this hassle for you.
Consider how many businesses nowadays run primarily online; with sales and business leads coming from their websites. Potential customers no longer need to wait around on websites anymore because they are simply spoilt for choice. So when your website loads slowly or has downtime, it’s potential (or many times literal) money being lost. This is why who hosts your website is a very important piece of detail.
Types of hosting
Hundreds of web hosts exist today offering varieties of web hosting services. Choosing the right web host would mean seeing whose plans and services best suit your desired needs. Since none of the hundreds of web hosts available call themselves “No. 2”, we need to understand what the types of hosting services they offer mean.
- Shared hosting
In a shared hosting environment, one server is shared between you and other users. The overall cost of maintaining the server is shared between its users, making this the most economic type of hosting. Users share the physical server and the applications running within it. The major downside to shared hosting is the amount of load makes it slower.
- Dedicated hosting
Dedicated hosting is you leasing an entire web server to yourself. This allows for faster performance, as you have all the server’s resources– physical and applications –entirely. However, the cost of server operation is entirely your responsibility. If you run a website that requires higher levels of security and greater system resources this is a good choice.
- Colocation hosting
Colocation hosting, like dedicated, involves you having a server all to yourself. The main difference is, with colocation hosting the server hardware and resources would have to be purchased by you. The only use of the data centres is for housing the hardware. In these data centres, security is provided for the hardware as well as other essential services. However, the server is entirely yours and its use is in your full control.
- VPS hosting
Virtual Private Server hosting is a website hosting environment that allows for resources such as RAM and CPU to be dedicated to your account. This is done by splitting the resources of a Dedicated server by users’ specifications. The resulting server is known as a virtual server. While users of shared hosting all share the resources of the server with no guarantee of RAM or CPU, with VPS you get what you pay for.Shared hosting also does not provide full root access to the server, as opposed to VPS package where users are given full root access to perform commands and make configuration changes to their hosting environment.
- Website builders
Website builder services should be the choice of beginners. They cater to their needs, by making it possible for them to create websites without any technical skills or knowledge. Generally, they make their interfaces browser-based and simple. Websites are then easily hosted online without further need for jargon-filled setup.
The importance of server uptime
As we earlier stated, a server is a computer that is dedicated to giving your website to users when requested. Like all machines though, servers tend to run into issues at times. Whenever your server is down, your website is automatically going to have issues loading. In choosing a web host, therefore, server uptime is a big factor to consider. This is because depending on the popularity of your website even a little downtime could be money lost. Check out what an hour of server downtime did to Amazon here.
Now, you may not necessarily be posting Amazon-like figures in website visits but anything less than 99.94 uptime is a no-no. The average shared host, however, has an average of 99.59% uptime. That is about 35 and a half hours of downtime a year, in spite of all promising 99.99% uptime. Here‘s a year’s worth of server uptime analysis showing how the top web hosts perform. You may also want to try out this server downtime calculator to see what you could lose from your website not loading. In fact, server uptime is so important that some web hosts offer money-back or compensations on uptime below 99.90%.
The importance of load time
As ISPs and user devices have gotten faster, people have gotten less patient with websites. Statistics show that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Also, a 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. In context, an e-commerce site making $100,000 per day, could potentially lose $2.5 million in lost sales every year over a 1-second load delay. Also, search engines such as Google use page-load speed as a ranking criterion.
Now that you understand the importance of web hosting to your online presence, it’s certainly something you’d give lots of thought before making that decision again in future. The web hosts listed above are clearly ahead of the pack in terms of quality of service and value for money. Don’t take our word for it though, head over to their websites using the links, then let us know what you think.
Already tried any of these and have a differing opinion? What works for you? What should or should not have made it to our fave 5? Let us know in the comments below.