Three things make a real difference in customers’ decision-making. First, the ease of using the platform no matter the user’s technical skill (or lack thereof). Second, the ability to easily scale up to better plans or more server resources when a site becomes more popular. You should be able to stay with the same provider for the long haul. And, last, the availability and helpfulness of customer support. A hosting provider’s agents need to be there when you really need them—like if your website crashes or you want to upgrade your hosting resources.
The Best Web Hosting Services
- Hostinger – Best overall hosting company
- DreamHost – Best WordPress hosting
- SiteGround – Best ecommerce hosting
- Bluehost – Best hosting for beginners
- ScalaHosting – Best customer service
- GreenGeeks – Best eco-friendly web hosting
- HostGator – Best website hosting for scalability
- WP Engine – Best managed WordPress hosting
- A2 Hosting – Best shared hosting for site speed
- InMotion Hosting – Best for technical users
Best Overall Hosting Company
Hostinger does an admirable job at bringing web hosting services to the masses. The platform is easy to use for people of any level of technical skill, offers a variety of hosting packages that can let you scale up quickly, and delivers it all at impressively low prices.
Hostinger Pros and Cons
- Free domain name on most plans – For the first year, you’ll get a free domain name on all plans except the cheapest option. All domains with Hostinger also come with free WHOIS Privacy Protection to keep your personal information private—other hosts charge an extra $10 to $20 per year for this.
- Multiple payment methods – You can purchase any Hostinger plan using PayPal, Alipay, Google Pay, a credit card, or Coingate. Most hosting providers only let you use a credit card or PayPal.
- Step-by-step assistance – Even if you’ve never built a website before, Hostinger makes it easy with a completely guided set up process that only requires you to answer a few questions. There’s also an AI option that builds an entire website for you. We tried it out and were pleasantly surprised at how well it did.
- hPanel – Hostinger created their own control panel that’s more aesthetically pleasing and significantly easier than cPanel. There are helpful graphics, detailed explanations, and streamlined navigation menus that make it easy to find what you need and understand what you’re looking at. It’s a massive improvement and one of our favorite control panels.
- Affordable scalability – With Hostinger, scaling your plan is easy and affordable. There are multiple shared hosting plans that offer incrementally more storage space, staging options, free tools, and better management options for just a few dollars more per month. But you can also upgrade to cloud or VPS hosting without breaking the bank.
- Knowledgeable support – Once you connect with a support agent, they know what they’re talking about and go above and beyond to help. Rather than sending you straight to the knowledge base, they usually explain everything in detail—including screenshots or screen captures to make it even easier.
- No phone support – You can reach out to Hostinger support 24/7 via email or live chat. But there’s no way to get in touch with them over the phone.
- Support speed is hit or miss – After reaching out via live chat at different times throughout the day, we waited anywhere from five minutes to more than 20 minutes to connect with someone. Compared to most of the other hosts on our list, this is relatively fast but not as fast or consistent as we expected.
- No dedicated hosting – If you ever decide to scale beyond VPS or cloud hosting, you’ll need to switch to another hosting company if you want a dedicated server. For most people, this isn’t a major concern.
Hostinger Pricing and Hosting Plans
- Hostinger offers a lot of hosting plans—across the board, they’re all affordable compared to other providers. Plus, their renewal rates are consistently lower than others so you’ll get a lower up-front cost and long-term savings as well.
- There are three hosting plans to choose from, ranging in price from $1.99 to $3.99 per month. All of them include free email accounts, regular backups, SSL certificates, and SSD storage.
- When it’s time to renew your contract, you’ll pay between $3.99 and $8.99 per month depending on the plan.
Best WordPress Hosting
DreamHost is officially recommended by WordPress. Plus, it’s built with new or inexperienced users in mind, comes with WordPress preinstalled, automatically installs the right plugins for you, and has a range of free starter templates so you don’t have to start from scratch.
DreamHost Pros and Cons
- Easy WordPress installation – DreamHost makes WordPress installation a breeze. On all WordPress and shared hosting plans, it’s pre-installed so you don’t have to worry about it—it doesn’t get any easier than that.
- DreamHost panel – DreamHost skips cPanel and incorporates all site management into a simple user dashboard called DreamHost Panel. It makes navigation easy with a clean side panel menu that includes all the usual categories of website and hosting administration you’ll use.
- Plugins installed for you – DreamHost walks you through a series of easy questions about your new site and automatically installs a customized selection of WordPress plugins based on your answers.
- Free starter templates – If WordPress is new to you, DreamHost makes it super easy to design your site with free, professionally designed templates you can use as a starting point.
- Unlimited scalability – Aside from shared hosting, Dreamhost offers managed WordPress, VPS, cloud, and dedicated server hosting. It’s easy to switch plans, so you’ll never outgrow your hosting provider.
- No free domain name – Other hosts give you a free domain name for the first year, but DreamHost doesn’t. Instead, you’ll need to buy one for $7.99 or purchase one from a domain registrar.
- Only two support channels – Unlike other providers who offer phone and email support, DreamHost only offers live chat and ticketing.
- Difficult to reach a human – When you open the live chat support box, you won’t be able to actually reach a real person—instead, you have to navigate through an endless loop of links to knowledge base articles.
- Long wait times – Once we actually made it into the support queue to talk to a human, we were told the wait times to speak to an agent would be very long. We weren’t given an actual time frame, just “very long.” We never did end up talking to an agent, even though we tried numerous times and waited for more 30 minutes each time.
DreamHost Pricing and Hosting Plans
- DreamHost has two shared WordPress hosting plans to choose from. The best one for you depends on how many websites you want to build and the amount of storage space you need.
- Both allow for unlimited traffic, come with a free WordPress website builder, include SSD storage, a free SSL certificate, and have WordPress pre-installed. The more expensive plan lets you build an unlimited number of websites and also includes unlimited email addresses.
- You can choose from a three-year, one-year or month-to-month contract—DreamHost’s monthly contract is one of the most affordable short-term plans available, so it’s a great option if you’re just starting out.
- The cheapest plan varies from $2.59 to $4.59 per month depending on the duration you choose. Once the promotional period is up, you’ll pay between $5.99 and $7.99 per month.
Best Ecommerce Hosting Company
If you want to sell products and maintain full control over your website, we recommend WooCommerce hosting through SiteGround. It’s affordable and comes with everything you need to sell whatever you want, even if you’ve never set up a website before.
SiteGround Pros and Cons
- WordPress + WooCommerce in one click – Other hosts make it easy to install WordPress, but SiteGround goes the extra mile and automatically installs WooCommerce as well. In just one click, you get all the features you need to sell, including a shopping cart, payment gateways, shipping options, product listings, and more.
- WooCommerce Storefront theme – When you sign up, SiteGround automatically installs the official WooCommerce theme for you. It’s maintained and updated by WooCommerce developers, so you don’t have to worry about your theme causing problems. Plus, you’ll have a great starting point for the design of your store.
- Site Tools control panel – Instead of cPanel, SiteGround uses their own control panel. It’s much easier to use but also gives you quick access to all the functions needed to manage your store. You can even customize it further by pinning the links you use most often.
- Free performance tools – Ecommerce sites tend to load slower because they require more content and code. SiteGround helps mitigate this by including a range of performance tools, like a free CDN, full-page caching, solid state drives, and more ready to go out of the box. All plans also come with daily backups, a custom firewall, and automatic WordPress updates for security.
- Phone support – SiteGround is one of the few hosting companies that offers phone support for all its customers. Most don’t offer it at all, make you pay extra, or reserve it for the highest paying users. So, this is a major deal if you prefer hopping on the phone.
- Fast and friendly agents – Every agent we spoke to was knowledgeable, quick, and helpful. Plus, they all provided detailed explanations and were patient as we asked more questions.
- Support bot loops – Like most hosts we tested, SiteGround does make you jump through some hoops to get in touch with an agent via live chat. They have a support bot that’ll attempt to answer your questions, but you’ll eventually be able to get through.
- High renewal rates – While SiteGround’s introductory prices are comparable to other hosting companies, their renewal rates are incredibly high—for the entry level plan on a one-year contract, you’ll pay 7.5x the promo price when it’s time to renew. On the middle tier, the renewal rate is 5x higher. No matter what plan you choose (aside from monthly options), you’ll pay a lot more later.
- Expensive to scale – If you outgrow shared hosting and want to level up your site’s performance, you’re looking at a major jump in price. Other hosts offer affordable stepping stones you can take over time to make it easier on your wallet, but SiteGround immediately jumps up to $100 per month if you need more power.
SiteGround Pricing and Hosting Plans
- SiteGround offers three shared hosting plans that differ in the number of websites you can have, storage space, bandwidth, performance, and features.
- If you look closely, SiteGround’s shared, WordPress, and WooCommerce hosting plans are all identical. It can be confusing, so we wanted to point out that you can sign up for any of them and get the same features.
- These plans range in price from $2.99 to $7.99 per month with a one-year contract. When it’s time to renew, you’ll pay between $14.99 and $39.99 per month. You can also opt for a monthly plan with no long-term contract, but you’ll pay a lot more.
- They also offer premium cloud hosting that starts at $100 per month.
Best Hosting for Beginners
While other providers are fine if you’ve never built a site before, Bluehost truly takes out the guesswork and makes the process as easy as possible. The simplified control panel, automated theme installation, and optional real-time setup support make it second to none for beginners.
Bluehost Pros and Cons
- Fully guided onboarding process – As soon as you finish signing up, you’re taken into a full step-by-step website setup walkthrough so you don’t ever have to figure out where to click or how to move forward with Bluehost.
- Optional real-time setup support – While you’re setting up and designing your site, you can get additional 1:1 real-time assistance via screen sharing. You’ll be matched with a specialist who’ll guide you as you build your website. It’s expensive—$119 per month—but it’s there if you need it and you can cancel the service at any time.
- Simplified cPanel – Bluehost created a custom version of cPanel, specifically with beginners in mind. All of the advanced features you likely won’t need to touch are separate from the tools you’ll use every day. The simplified approach makes it easy to navigate while still giving you full control if you need it.
- WordPress & theme installation – Bluehost automatically installs WordPress and offers a curated selection of professional WordPress themes to make setup even easier for beginners. As you go through the guided processes, you’ll be able to choose from a range of options including both free and premium designs. The one you pick will be automatically installed for you.
- Full scalability – Regardless of how much your site grows, you can stay with Bluehost as long as you’d like because it offers the full spectrum of hosting options—shared, WordPress, ecommerce, VPS, and dedicated servers.
- Expensive add-ons – During checkout, you’ll see several add-ons that other providers give you at no cost. Daily backups, for example, are an extra $35.88 per year. WHOIS Privacy Protection is an additional $15 per year. Other add-ons include security (it’s free elsewhere) and an advanced SSL certificate (which you likely don’t need).
- Long-term contracts – Bluehost doesn’t offer month-to-month plans. You can only choose between paying for 12 months and 36 months up front.
- Frustrating live chat – Like most providers, Bluehost has a support bot that attempts to help you—Bluehost’s bot felt more frustrating than others. No matter how we phrased the question, it never understood what we were asking. After a few failed attempts, we were connected with an actual person. However, the person we talked to never answered our questions. Instead, they seemed to be copying and pasting information that was irrelevant to what we asked.
- Hit or miss phone support – We eventually gave up on the live chat and gave them a call. We were disconnected several times before finally getting through. Once we did, the rep we talked to was knowledgeable and helpful. Still, it was quite the time-consuming process to get an answer to a seemingly simple question.
Bluehost Pricing and Hosting Plans
- Bluehost’s shared and WordPress hosting plans are comparable in price to most providers. While it can be confusing navigating all of their hosting options, you’ll see the same four plans whether you click on websites & online stores, WordPress hosting, or shared hosting.
- There are three shared hosting plans and one specifically for WooCommerce. All of them come with SSD storage, easy WordPress installation, custom themes, and a free SSL certificate.
- Pricing ranges from $2.95 to $13.95 per month with a one-year contract. When your initial contract is up, you’ll pay $10.99 to $28.99 per month.
- VPS hosting starts at $29.99 per month and dedicated servers start at $89.98.
Best Customer Service
From helping potential customers choose the right plan and white-glove human migrations to immediate 24/7 customer support from helpful and knowledgeable reps, ScalaHosting’s customer service is undoubtedly a notch (or two) above the rest.
ScalaHosting Pros and Cons
- Straightforward interface – ScalaHosting’s main dashboard is clean, streamlined, and easy to navigate. You’ll find everything related to your billing, purchased services, support requests, and account details in one place.
- Free human-assisted migrations – Most providers on our list use an automated system to migrate existing websites, but ScalaHosting goes the extra mile with real humans who will do it for you. If something goes wrong, they’ll be able to fix it. Plus, they promise no downtime throughout the process.
- NVMe on every plan – Much like computers, solid state drives (SSDs) are becoming the norm because they’re faster than hard drives. However, NVMe SSDs are even faster. Most providers only provide these advanced storage solutions on expensive tiers, but ScalaHosting gives them to everyone.
- Immediate customer support – Every time we reached out for help via live chat, we were greeted by a real human right away.
- Agents go above and beyond – Each agent we talked to gave clear, actionable information, even offering additional details to resolve further questions before we even asked. It was clear to us that they really go above and beyond to keep their customers happy.
- Budget-friendly scaling – As your needs change, there are plenty of affordable upgrades you can make to boost your site’s performance and get additional features before moving on from shared hosting. You can also switch to self-managed VPS for $20 per month, managed VPS for $29.95 per month, AWS cloud for $61.95 per month, or a custom fully managed cluster solution whenever you’re ready.
- Any time guarantee – Most providers give you thirty days to see if it’s right for you. ScalaHosting lets you get your money back for any prepaid or unused services any time, no questions asked.
- Need a domain name to sign up – Unlike other providers, ScalaHosting doesn’t give you a temporary domain to use. So, you have to either already own a domain name or register one when you sign up—while that may not seem like a big deal, you have to know what you’re going to name your site before you begin.
- Domains are expensive – If you haven’t already purchased a domain name, buying one from ScalaHosting is expensive—$16.95 per year for a .com. Compared to just $7.99 per year with DreamHost, it’s a big jump. Plus, ScalaHosting’s cheapest tier doesn’t include one for free, so you’ll need to factor that into your up-front costs if you go with that plan.
- Still uses cPanel – ScalaHosting has a clean dashboard for managing your account, but you have to use cPanel to install WordPress and manage your website. It’s easy once you figure out how to do it, but having two separate dashboards makes things more complicated than other hosting providers with custom control panels.
- No phone support – You can only contact support via live chat, email, or ticket.
ScalaHosting Pricing and Hosting Plans
- ScalaHosting offers three shared hosting plans with monthly, three-month, six-month, one-year, and three-year contracts. The wide range of options might feel overwhelming, but it gives you the flexibility to set up billing however you’d like and ensure you get the right services.
- If you’re not sure which one’s right for you, you can reach out and chat with a real person before purchasing anything.
- Every shared hosting plan includes unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, a one-click installer for 400 different platforms, unlimited emails, and daily backups.
- The price for shared hosting starts at $2.95 per month and goes up to $15.95 per month, depending on the plan and contract duration you choose.
Best Eco-Friendly Web Hosting
GreenGeeks was one of the first hosting providers to do something about their impact on the planet back in 2008. Others have started to follow suit, but GreenGeeks goes further by putting three times their energy usage back into the power grid. They also plant a tree for each new sign up—it doesn’t get much greener than that.
GreenGeeks Pros and Cons
- No upsells – Once you’ve created your GreenGeeks account, you’ll appreciate an upsell-free, minimalist, and clean interface to manage your new site. Other providers clutter things up with tons of ads for their more expensive services, so this was a nice change.
- Free domain name with every plan – Some providers don’t give you a free domain name for the first year on every plan, but GreenGeeks does—even the cheapest one.
- Common tasks are a click away – GreenGeeks makes it incredibly easy to find all of the most important functions related to your site, including email addresses, the WordPress backend, security, and site statistics. While GreekGeeks uses cPanel, which isn’t our favorite for beginners, you likely won’t have to use it often (if at all) unless you’re doing something advanced.
- Quick Launch Wizard – Whenever you’re ready to launch your website, all you have to do is initiate the Quick Launch Wizard. It’ll help you build a new site from scratch, migrate an existing site, start from a starter site, or skip it and take care of everything on your own if you know what you’re doing. It provides a lot of options for users of all skill levels and includes one-click installation of 150 different platforms.
- Free performance and security tools – All plans include a free CDN, built-in caching with LiteSpeed, daily backups, and DDoS protection. The most expensive plan also includes a WordPress repair tool, a free advanced SSL certificate, and advanced object caching.
- Speedy, high-quality support – You can contact GreenGeeks via live chat 24/7 or by phone from 9 a.m. to midnight (EST). We did both and had a great experience with each channel. The reps we spoke to were very helpful and offered clear, actionable answers.
- Lack of up front contract transparency – On GreenGeeks’ pricing page, there’s no information regarding what contract lengths are available and how the pricing changes with each one. We reached out to customer support to get an answer—you can also see this information once you start the signup process. However, the lack of transparency could be misleading if you’ve never purchased web hosting before.
- Must have a domain name to start – Most providers don’t require a domain name to sign up. They usually give you a temporary domain you can use until you’re ready to take your site live. However, GreenGeeks doesn’t do that. You to either already have a domain name or purchase one when you sign up. If you decide to buy one during registration, they’re pretty expensive and you have to pay for WHOIS Privacy Protection as well.
- Less scalability than others – GreenGeeks only offers shared, VPS, and reseller hosting. Compared to other providers who also offer self-managed VPS and dedicated servers, there isn’t as much flexibility as you’d get with a different hosting company.
- We got flagged for a manual review – When we signed up to test GreenGeeks, our account got flagged for manual review. This didn’t happen with any other hosts. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but we did have to wait to get started until they reviewed our account.
GreenGeeks Pricing and Hosting Plans
- GreenGeeks has three shared hosting plans that are identical to their WordPress and WooCommerce plans. Regardless of the one you choose, you’ll get the same features.
- The price ranges from $2.95 to $8.95 per month. The biggest differences between the plans are storage space, the number of websites, and additional features like on-demand backups, WordPress Repair, and object caching.
- You can choose from monthly, one-year, two-year, or three-year contracts. If you go with the monthly plan, expect to pay an additional $15 one-time setup fee.
- When it’s time to renew, you’ll pay $11.95 to $26.95 per month.
- VPS plans start at $39.95 and include cPanel, a free SSL certificate, a free Softaculous license, managed support, and various levels of server resources depending on the plan.
Best Website Hosting for Scalability
HostGator offers the full gamut of hosting options from shared, cloud and WordPress to VPS, reseller, Windows-specific, and dedicated servers. It’s a great option whether you want to migrate from an existing provider that doesn’t offer what you need or you’re starting a fresh site you hope to scale quickly.
HostGator Pros and Cons
- Two-factor authentication (2FA) – When you sign up with HostGator, you’ll set up a PIN number to protect your account with 2FA so you know your account and site are always secure. Except for Bluehost, we didn’t see this added protection with anyone else.
- As much (or as little) help as you need – Once you’ve set up your account, the welcome screen gives you a chance to let them know how much help you need. You’ll answer a few questions about your experience level, how you’re going to build your new site, and which platform you want to use. Otherwise, you can skip it if you know what you’re doing.
- Free email and domain name – No matter the plan, you’ll get a free domain name for the first year. All plans also include email accounts at no extra charge.
- Upgraded cPanel – By now, you probably know cPanel isn’t our top pick for beginners. However, HostGator added one crucial detail to help users who’ve never used it before—in-depth descriptions of what everything does.
- Just about every type of hosting – No matter what you need, HostGator likely offers it. There are affordable entry-level shared, cloud, and WordPress plans but also advanced options for scaling without putting a giant dent in your wallet.
- Overwhelming number of plans – Most hosting providers make it look like they have a lot of plans, but they’re all the same. That’s not the case with HostGator. They actually are all slightly different, which can feel overwhelming.
- Too many upsells – Even after you’ve paid, HostGator still tries to upsell you to more expensive plans with additional features you probably don’t need. HostGator’s not the only provider that does this, but it does get frustrating and annoying.
- Need a domain name to start – HostGator doesn’t issue temporary domains so you have to have one picked out or already own one to sign up.
- Poor customer support – Every time we reached out via live chat, we had to wait what felt like forever to connect with someone. We even got entirely disconnected a few times and had to re-enter the queue at the end of the line. To make matters worse, most of the agents we talked to did little more than sending us a link to the knowledge base. Phone support agents were more helpful, but it still took a while to reach them.
HostGator Pricing and Hosting Plans
- HostGator’s shared hosting plans are the cheapest they offer. They all include unlimited storage and bandwidth plus free email accounts and a free domain for the first year.
- They range in price from $3.75 per month to $6.25 per month for a one-year contract.
- You can sign up for one month at a time or opt for a six-month, 12-month, or 36-month contract. However, you have to sign up for a 12-month agreement to get the advertised price—or you can get it even cheaper if you pay for three years in advance.
- HostGator’s cloud hosting starts at $4,95, WordPress hosting starts at $5.95, VPS plans start at $23.95, and a dedicated server costs as low as $89.98 per month.
Best Managed WordPress Hosting
If you have a WordPress site that’s receiving tens of thousands of monthly visitors and need something that can handle even more, WP Engine’s managed hosting is the way to go. Its sole focus on WordPress optimization makes it uniquely capable of handling even the most traffic-heavy websites.
WP Engine Pros and Cons
WP Engine Pros:
- Choose your server location – Other hosts don’t let you choose where your data lives, or only give you a handful of choices. WP Engine gives you full freedom to choose from any of their ten global data center locations. Having your data closer to your readers means they get a faster browsing experience.
- Free onboarding call – Once you’ve set up and activated your account, you’ll have the option of setting up a free call with a WP Engine expert to answer any questions and help you get started. None of the other providers on our list offer this level of service.
- Fully custom control panel – Even though WP Engine’s built for more experienced users, the clean and minimal user portal is one of the better ones we’ve seen. The aesthetic is nice and it’s pretty easy to find everything you need, from billing and invoices to your themes, plugins, backups, cache, and more.
- Easy setup process – Once you’ve added a new site to your account, you’ll get a go live checklist that walks through everything you need to do before launching.
- Built-in WordPress optimization – Other hosts leave it up to you to optimize your WordPress site because they host websites on non-WordPress platforms. Since WP Engine only hosts WordPress sites, they do several things on their end to optimize everything at the server level. As a customer, you’ll get automated core and PHP updates plus speeds that are 40% faster than alternative hosting providers.
- Limitless scalability – The entry-level plan offers significantly more than you’ll get with a cheaper alternative. However, you can basically upgrade as much as you need to without ever outgrowing WP Engine. Plus, it takes just a few clicks to upgrade or downgrade at any time.
WP Engine Cons:
- Intimidating at first glance – If you don’t know the first thing about configuring your DNS settings, WP Engine probably isn’t the right host for you. While they do make some things easy and take care of a lot on their end, it’s ultimately up to you to handle the technical aspects of setting up, updating, and maintaining your website.
- No phone support on the cheapest plan – It’s a bit disappointing that you can pay $20 per month and still not be able to talk to someone on the phone. Still, WP Engine’s phone support is reserved for the more expensive plans.
- Frustrating live chat bot – Despite the high price tag, WP Engine’s live chat is strikingly similar to the other, cheaper hosts on our list—you’ll still have to deal with an annoyingly persistent bot that tries to be helpful but isn’t.
- Inconsistent wait times – We’ve used WP Engine for years and have experienced both short and extremely long wait times trying to get in touch with someone to help us. During our additional testing, it took longer than 30 minutes to get a reply. On top of that, we were told no one was online to help us on a Saturday morning, leading us to believe that chat isn’t always available.
- Expensive – Out of the gate, WP Engine is nearly 10x the cost of just about every other host on our list. The most expensive plan starts at $194 per month. It’s a lot of money, which is why we don’t recommend it unless you actually have enough traffic to justify the cost.
WP Engine Pricing and Hosting Plans
- WP Engine offers managed WordPress hosting and WooCommerce-specific plans. Both solutions have four different tiers to choose from and a completely custom option—WordPress starts at $20 per month and WooCommerce starts at $24 per month.
- Every tier includes the same features so you get just about all WP Engine has to offer (minus premium add-ons) regardless of the tier you choose. As you upgrade to more expensive plans, you can get more websites and higher allowances for monthly visitors, storage space, and bandwidth.
- If you need more functionality, there are several add-ons to choose from, including automated plugin updates with the Smart plugin manager, Global Edge Security, real-time site monitoring, GeoTargeting, and Genesis Pro. All of these cost extra, regardless of the tier you’re on.
- There’s also an enterprise-grade tier with even better security, a dedicated success manager, white glove onboarding, and more. It starts at $600 per month.
Best Shared Hosting for Site Speed
A2 Hosting offers excellent speed optimization features at budget-friendly price. While you won’t experience the same speeds as you will with VPS, managed WordPress, or dedicated hosting, you’ll get a great balance of price and performance.
A2 Hosting Pros and Cons
A2 Hosting Pros:
- Numerous payment methods – With A2 Hosting, you’re not limited to just credit cards or PayPal. You can also pay with PayU, Skrill, paper check, wire transfer, or money order.
- Well organized dashboard – When you login to your account, the client area is simple, straightforward, and relatively clean. It’s not our favorite look-wise, but it’s easy to use and find what you need.
- Free migrations – If you want to switch to A2 Hosting because you want better site performance, the in-house team will handle it for you (in most cases). It can take one to two days, but you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself unless you know how.
- Performance features – All plans use a complete SSD setup, including your website files, the operating system, and the database behind your website. They also all come with automatic compression and caching to help boost performance and you can choose from four data centers to store your data as close to your readers as possible. The top two tiers come with even more, including a LiteSpeed server, pre-configured advanced cache settings, and NVMe storage.
- Plenty of room to grow – There’s a lot of scalability in the shared hosting plans themselves, which is nice. But you can also upgrade to managed WordPress, VPS (both managed and unmanaged), or a dedicated server without having to switch hosts.
- Strong customer service – You can get in touch with A2 Hosting via live chat, an online ticket, or picking up the phone. Every time we reached out, we had an excellent experience—each rep we talked to understood our questions and did everything they could to help. Plus, we never had to wait more than a few minutes.
A2 Hosting Cons:
- No guidance – Unless you feel comfortable with setting up websites, you’ll probably find A2 Hosting more challenging to use than other options on our list. You won’t see any helpful videos, checklists, tutorials, or guided walkthroughs anywhere. Instead, you’re entirely on your own to figure it out. If you’re brand new to web hosting, this can be a very frustrating experience.
- Multiple dashboards – To make it even more challenging, A2 Hosting still uses cPanel, so you have two separate dashboards that control different things. The client area is for managing your billing and account information. cPanel is where you’ll go to manage your actual website, including email accounts, domain names, and your SSL certificate.
- Tough to install WordPress – While installing WordPress does take one click, it can take several clicks and a lot of exploration to figure out where to even start. Other providers give you a shortcut, A2 Hosting doesn’t—you’ll need to dig around inside of cPanel to install it (or any other platform you want to use).
A2 Pricing and Hosting Plans
- A2 Hosting offers a wide range of hosting services from shared all the way up to reseller, VPS, and dedicated servers. For shared hosting, there are four different plans to choose from.
- All of them come with SSD storage, unlimited email addresses, choice of data center location, and a free SSL certificate.
- Pricing starts at $2.99 per month and goes up to $14.99 per month (for a one-year contract). You can also choose to go monthly if you don’t want to pay a lot today or sign up for three years in advance.
- When it’s time to renew, you’ll pay $11.99 to $28.99 per month.
- If you need something other than shared hosting, managed WordPress plans start at $11.99 per month, managed VPS starts at $39.99 per month, and dedicated servers start at $105.99 per month.
Best for Technical Users
If you have a grasp on setting up websites or you’re a full blown developer who wants complete control over their hosting setup, InMotion Hosting is the fluff-free provider for you. While beginners will struggle, experienced users will appreciate the streamlined dashboard and advanced options available.
InMotion Pros and Cons
- You might get an extra 10% off – We started to sign up for InMotion Hosting but ended up leaving for a while to do something else. When we came back, we were offered an extra 10% off. We discovered it on accident, but it could work for you as well.
- Choose your data center – Although there are only three to choose from, you get to decide where InMotion Hosting stores your data—the east coast, west coast, or The Netherlands.
- Bloat-free dashboard – If you’re an advanced user, you’ll appreciate the clutter-free, trimmed down dashboard that shows you everything you need and nothing you don’t. There are no frills, bells, or whistles to get in your way. As long as you know what you’re doing, you’ll appreciate the simplicity.
- Free ad credits – InMotion Hosting isn’t the only provider that gives you marketing credits, but it’s a nice touch that makes it even more suitable for advanced users who want to start getting traffic to their new sites right away. You’ll get $100 for Microsoft ads and $50 for Amazon product ads.
- Timely and helpful support – We tested the live chat and phone support. In both cases, we were pleasantly surprised at how helpful and knowledgeable the agents were. We had no issues getting in touch and appreciated the quick responses.
- Access to advanced features – All plans include complete SSH access, the ability to use PostgreSQL or MySQL, plus Python, Node.JS, Ruby, and GIT version controlling so you (or your developer) can work on your site however you’d like.
- Check your cart before you pay – The signup process with InMotion Hosting was easy and straightforward. But when we got to the actual checkout page, we noticed an extra item in our cart—a backup manager that we didn’t add ourselves.
- Don’t expect to get started right away – After completing the full checkout process, we were told it could take up to 30 minutes for someone to provision our account and that someone would call when it was ready. After several hours, we hadn’t heard anything so we reached out via live chat. The agent we spoke to said it would be another one to two days before we could start using our account.
- No phone support on the lower tiers – Like many other providers, InMotion Hosting reserves its phone support for customers that are paying more money. While others do it, it’s still a bit of a disappointment to see.
InMotion Pricing and Hosting Plans
- InMotion’s shared hosting plans are comparable in price to just about every other hosting provider on our list. There are four plans to choose from and a range of contract lengths, including one month, one year, two years, and three years.
- However, you’ll have to choose the most expensive tier if you want to pay monthly.
- For a three-year contract, the plans range in price from $2.49 per month to $12.99 per month. After your contract is over, you’ll pay $8.99 to $22.99 per month.
- If you want to sell web hosting services, InMotion Hosting has one of our favorite reseller programs. They also offer managed WordPress, WooCommerce, managed and unmanaged VPS, and dedicated servers. The unmanaged VPS servers are really affordable if you want even more control over your hosting environment.
Web Hosting Reviews Methodology
There’s a lot of noise in the web hosting space. Countless providers are competing for your business—all making bold claims about why they’re the best. This methodology explains how we cut through the hype to uncover the real story.
- User Reviews – First, we combed through thousands of verified user reviews on trusted sites like G2 and TrustPilot. We read through the comments, identified recurring themes, and compared it all to our own experiences using each web hosting service.
- First-Hand Experience – Then we signed up for a shared hosting package with every company on this top list. We also put our knowledge about web hosting temporarily to the side, so we could experience the process as a beginner or someone new to the world of web hosting.
- Expert Insights – Finally, we interviewed people who are actually using these web hosting services on a day-to-day basis. We wanted to hear from different types of people who build and host websites for themselves and for their clients.
Based on our thorough research, we identified four main factors to keep in mind as you’re shopping around and evaluating different web hosting providers. The best web host for us may not necessarily be the best option for you—which is why we called out different use cases for each provider on our list.
Ease of Use
This criteria encompasses the entire user experience, from signing up to canceling service and everything in between. We tested the 360-degree customer experience so you can go into the signup process for any host on this list with confidence.
As our team tested each hosting provider, we collectively narrowed down the most important elements of a user-friendly hosting experience:
- Ability to find information on different hosting options
- Quickly compare plans, prices, and features for each plan
- Simple signup that can be completed in just a few minutes, and the option to continue without a domain
- Option to purchase a domain name directly from the hosting provider or link an existing domain
- Simple navigation of the user dashboard, without any technical experience as a prerequisite to get around
- Quick start guides, tutorials, videos, or helpful explainers to get started
- The option to create a new website from scratch with the plans offered
- Easy connections to CMS platforms (like WordPress) with one-click installations
- Smooth cancellation process (we put those money-back guarantees to the test)
Web hosting doesn’t need to be scary or intimidating. If hosting providers nail these points, even beginners with no previous experience can easily sign up and go live.
Anyone using web hosting services is going to need customer support at some point. Whether you have a big issue or a small question, getting the help you need when you need it is critical.
Here’s what we evaluated in terms of customer support:
- Types of live support offered (phone, live chat, ticket support, email, etc.)
- Support hours (like Mon-Fri vs. 24/7/365)
- Responsiveness of live support agents and how long it takes to reach a real person
- Any hurdles in the support process (like having to talk to bots before getting help)
- How friendly and knowledgeable the support reps are
- The ability to quickly identify, answer, and solve the problems presented
- Any self-help resources and knowledge base articles available for DIY users
While we all want to get problems resolved ASAP, everyone has different preferences. So the lack of phone support from a particular might be a dealbreaker for some of you. Others may not care and will be happy to reach support via live chat.
Even if you don’t have a growth mindset today, that could change down the road. Switching hosting providers can be a pain, so knowing what resources a hosting provider has as your site grows is important.
These are the most important factors to consider as you’re planning for growth down the road:
- Opportunities to scale within the same plan category (like upgrading from an entry-level shared plan to a mid or top-tier shared plan)
- Other types of web hosting options—including VPS hosting, cloud hosting, and managed hosting
- How much traffic your current plan can handle before you need to upgrade
- Features and benefits you’ll get as you upgrade to higher tiers or hosting types
- What the upgrade process actually looks, like and what steps you’ll need to take
- The level of support you receive as you’re upgrading
Migrating to another hosting provider is a pain. So it’s important to look for a web host that not only gives you a fair price when you’re first starting out but also offers a wide array of options as your website grows over time.
Use-Case-Specific Hosting Needs
All of the top web hosting providers on our list are quality options. Some may have better customer service, and certain plans may get you higher uptime rates or page loading speeds.
But beyond the basics, you need to consider your specific situation—like the type of website you’re building or how you’re planning to monetize it. Here are some different scenarios that might help narrow your search:
- Starting a new website from scratch vs. migrating from another hosting provider
- Creating a blog on WordPress vs. building an ecommerce site on Magento
- Bundling domain registration with hosting vs. connecting a previously purchased domain
- Hosting a single website vs. hosting multiple websites on a single plan
- Wanting to manage updates and technical aspects on your own vs. hands-off hosting with a fully managed provider
For each of these scenarios, there’s no right or wrong approach. But there tends to be a better web host for certain types of needs. So if you have a specific requirement, double-check that your host can accommodate it.
Website Hosting Pricing and Costs
You may be tempted to focus solely on the amount you’ll pay-out-of-pocket today. We don’t blame you—if you’re just getting started, you probably don’t want to spend more than you need to.
However, upfront pricing is only half of the conversation. Every host on our list (except WP Engine) offers significantly discounted rates for new customers.
They often advertise these really low prices and make it seem like there’s no catch. But there is.
Once your initial promotional period is over, you’ll start paying regular rates. It’s not uncommon for your web hosting bill to jump 4x or 5x when it’s time to renew your contract.
On top of that, most web hosting providers want to lock you in for at least a year (or more). That’s why they tend to offer the best per-month pricing if you sign a long-term contract. If you don’t mind paying for it all upfront, this isn’t that big of a deal.
But if you want to try it out without committing to a long-term agreement, you’ll pay less today but end up spending more in the long-run because you’ll be paying more per month.
You may even be out of luck with some providers—many of them don’t offer monthly plans at all.
However, if you still want to pay monthly, DreamHost offers the most affordable month-to-month plans at just $4.95 per month for the first three months, then $7.99 per month after that.
Aside from actual hosting costs, you should also keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase a domain name. A lot of hosting companies will give you one for free for the first year. After that, they charge you a recurring fee that’s usually between $10 and $20 per year.
They’ll also likely charge you an extra $10 to $20 per year to protect your private information.
You can get the same thing with a domain registrar for a fraction of the price, but it’ll be more challenging to set up your website and manage two separate subscriptions.
Types of Web Hosting
There are six types of web hosting, including:
- Shared Hosting – an affordable entry-point for new websites
- Managed WordPress Hosting – enhanced performance for WordPress sites
- VPS Hosting – an upgrade from shared hosting with better performance
- Cloud Hosting – typically a unique and more affordable flavor of VPS hosting
- Dedicated Hosting – most people don’t need this, but you get an entire server to yourself
- Reseller Hosting – lets you sell hosting services to your own clients or customers
We touched on each of these types throughout our list, but focused mostly on shared hosting because that’s what we recommend for most websites. It’s cost-effective and the best place to start if your building a brand new website.
Companies like Hostinger offer scalable options as your website grows, so you can move to more capable plans when you need to.
In most cases, we highly recommend starting with shared hosting and upgrading later.
Other Website Options
For those serious about building a website, we recommend doing so with WordPress. To use it, you need a place to install the software and store all of your files.
Which is exactly what web hosting services give you. Without hosting, you won’t have a website.
The same is true if you want to code a custom website or use another content management system (CMS), like Drupal or Joomla.
However, a content management system isn’t the only way to build a website.
If your concept is simple and your site won’t see more than 10k visitors per month, a website builder might be better. It’s easier to set up, comes with everything you need in one package, and the heavy lifting is all done for you.
An ecommerce website builder follows the same idea, but is specifically for selling online. It comes with everything you need to build your store, facilitate online payments, handle shipping, and more.
Unless you fall into one of those two categories, it’s best to go with WordPress and shared hosting.