How to choose a web hosting provider? What is the best web hosting company? What are the most important factors to consider?

With all the web hosting options available it can be overwhelming to choose the right one to host your website.

Luckily, we researched everything for you.

Over the last 4 years, we’ve monitored over 30 services to show you the best web hosting companies.

Our in-depth expert reviews will help you avoid costly mistakes when choosing your web hosting provider.

Here is our data-backed hosting review process in detail:

  • We sign up with the web hosting plan offered by the hosting service
  • We set up a blank WordPress website
  • We monitor their performance (uptime and speed)
  • We check their features, limitations, pricing and customer support
  • We publish the review (updating twice a year)

If you want to just see the detailed data, then you can do so from this Pingdom data page and this table.

Our Top 3 Website Hosting Picks

Here are the top 3 recommended hosting providers that stand out from the crowd with their reliability, performance, and ease of use.

Disclosure: We’ve partnered with all of these hosting companies and earn a commission should you decide to purchase through our links. This is at no additional cost to you and often can get you the best deal possible.

Best Cheap Option

4.5

  • Decent Uptime (99.95%)
  • Fast Load Time (363ms)
  • Cheapest Plan ($0.80/mo)

Visit Hostinger
Read review

Cheapest entry-level web hosting provider with reliable service.

Best Overall Option

4.6

  • Best Uptime (99.99%)
  • Fast Load Time (380ms)
  • “Intro” Cost ($2.75/mo)

Visit Bluehost
Read review

Most reliable hosting provider for new websites with 24/7 live chat.

Best Unlimited Option

4.5

  • Good Uptime (99.98%)
  • Fast Load Time (412ms)
  • No Bandwidth/Storage Limit

Visit HostGator
Read review

Most unlimited hosting plan with unmetered bandwidth/storage.

Bluehost – Best Overall Hosting ($2.75/mo)

bluehost homepage
4.6
Uptime (24-months): 99.99%
Speed (24-months): 380ms

Bluehost (established in 1996) is the most reliable beginner-friendly web hosting out there. The cheapest plan starts from just $2.75/mo (if you pay for 36-month in advance), renewals start at $7.99/mo. With the basic plan, you can host 1 website. The plan includes a free domain for 1 year, 50GB SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL and 24/7 live chat support.

Bluehost offers quick install options for free CMS platforms, such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and more. All plans come with 30-day money-back guarantee, free custom domain name for 1 year and 5 email accounts.Visit Bluehost.com (63% off)Read detailed review

HostGator Cloud – Most Unlimited Hosting ($2.99/mo)

HostGator homepage
4.5
Uptime (24-months): 99.98%
Speed (24-months): 412ms

HostGator offers unlimited storage and bandwidth and good support to assist you. The cheapest plan starts at $2.99/mo (with a 6-month commitment) and renews at $14.95/month or $3.98/mo (with a 36-month commitment) renewing at $9.95/month. You can host 1 website and thee plan includes generous unmetered storage and bandwidth, free SSL and a solid 45-day money-back guarantee.Visit HostGator.com (60% off)Read detailed review

Hostinger – Cheapest Web Hosting ($0.80/mo)

Hostinger homepage
4.5
Uptime (24-months): 99.95%
Speed (24-months): 363ms

Hostinger is one of the cheapest web hosting options with solid performance. The cheapest plan starts at $0.80/mo (with a 48-month commitment) and renews at $2.15/mo. You can host 1 website and the plan includes 10GB SSD storage, 100GB bandwidth, and a sound 30-day money-back guarantee. Hostinger doesn’t include free SSL.Visit Hostinger.comRead detailed review

Other Recommended Providers

Below is a list of other recommended hosting providers that didn’t make the top 3 but are good options worth considering depending on your needs.

While all of these companies offer a good service, some aspects don’t perform as well as our top 3 picks.

Read on to find out yourself.

SiteGround – Best WordPress Support ($3.95/mo)

SiteGround homepage
4.3
Uptime (24-months): 99.99%
Speed (24-months): 681ms

SiteGround has the best support and good performance but all that comes with a price (high renewal cost). The cheapest plan starts at $3.95/mo (with the 12-month commitment) and renews at $11.95/mo. You can host 1 website and the plan includes 10GB SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, and free SSL. Your purchase is backed by the 30-day money-back guarantee.

Visit SiteGround.com
or read our in-depth SiteGround review

A2Hosting – Fastest Shared Web Host ($2.96/mo)

A2 Hosting homepage
4.2
Uptime (24-months): 99.93%
Speed (24-months): 320ms

A2Hosting has the fastest page loading speed from the reviewed service providers. The cheapest plan starts at $2.96/mo (with a 24-month commitment) and renews at $7.99/month.

You can host 1 website and the plan comes with unlimited storage, bandwidth, and free SSL. To make things even better, they offer a risk-free anytime money-back guarantee.

Visit A2Hosting.com
or read our in-depth A2 Hosting review

GoDaddy – Most Popular Web Host ($4.33/mo)

4.0
Uptime (24-months): 99.97%
Speed (24-months): 545ms

GoDaddy is the most well-known brand offering a decent performance but a higher initial price. The cheapest plan starts at $4.33/mo (with a 36-month commitment) and renews at $8.99/month. You can host 1 website and the plan includes 100GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. The plan doesn’t include free SSL.

Visit GoDaddy.com
or read our in-depth GoDaddy review

GreenGeeks – Best Eco-Friendly Option ($2.95/mo)

GreenGeeks homepage
4.2
Uptime (24-months): 99.96%
Speed (24-months): 453ms

GreenGeeks is an environmentally friendly web hosting company with good performance. The cheapest plan starts at $2.95/mo (with a 36-month commitment) and renews at $9.95/month. You can host 1 website and the plan includes unlimited storage and bandwidth, free SSL and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Visit GreenGeeks.com
or read our in-depth GreenGeeks review

DreamHost – Good Overall Value ($2.59/mo)

DreamHost homepage
4.0
Uptime (24-months): 99.94%
Speed (24-months): 654ms

Hosting over 1.5 million websites, DreamHost offers good performance at a good price but has no live support option. The cheapest plan starts at $2.59/mo (with a 36-month commitment) and renews at $4.95/mo. You can host 1 website and the plan comes with the unlimited storage and bandwidth, free SSL and a generous 97-day money-back guarantee.

Visit DreamHost.com
or read our in-depth DreamHost review

All 30+ Shared Web Hosts Reviewed…


WEB HOSTING SERVICEPLAN COSTMONEY BACKAVG. UPTIMEAVG. SPEEDOUR RATING
Bluehost$2.75/mo*
renews $7.99/mo
30
days
99.99%
stats
380ms
stats
★★★★★
Read review
HostGator Cloud$2.99/mo*
renews $9.95/mo
45
days
99.98%
stats
412ms
stats
★★★★★
Read review
Hostinger$0.80/mo*
renews $2.15/mo
30
days
99.95%
stats
363ms
stats
★★★★★
Read review
SiteGround$3.95/mo*
renews $11.95/mo
30
days
99.99%
stats
681ms
stats
★★★★
Read review
A2 Hosting$2.96/mo*
renews $8.99/mo
Anytime99.93%stats320ms
stats
★★★★
Read review
GoDaddy$4.33/mo*
renews $8.99/mo
30
days
99.97%
stats
545ms
stats
★★★★
Read review
GreenGeeks
$2.95/mo*
renews $9.95/mo
30
days
99.96%
stats
453ms
stats
★★★
Read review
DreamHost$2.59/mo*
renews $2.59/mo
97
days
99.94%
stats
654ms
stats
★★★
Read review
iPage$1.99/mo*
renews $7.99/mo
30
days
99.97%
stats
759msstats★★★
Read review
Hosting24$0.80/mo*
renews $2.15/mo
30
days
99.96%
stats
717msstats★★★
Read review
Site5 Hosting
$6.95/mo*
renews $6.95/mo
45
days
99.99%
stats
640ms
stats
★★★
Read review
WestHost$1.99/mo*
renews $8.00/mo
30
days
99.94%stats883msstats★★★
Read review
HostGator (Shared)
$2.75/mo*
renews $6.95/mo
45
days
99.99%
stats
1113ms
stats
★★★
Read review
A Small Orange$6.51/mo*
renews $6.51/mo
90
days
99.98%
stats
655ms
stats
★★★
Read review
Web Hosting Buzz
$4.99/mo*
renews $4.99/mo
30
days
99.95%
stats
419ms
stats
★★★
Read review
FastComet$2.45/mo*
renews $9.95/mo
45
days
99.98%
stats
852msstats★★★
Read review
MDDHosting$4.00/mo*
renews $4.00/mo
30
days
99.89%
stats
361ms
stats
★★★
Read review
Midphase$3.95/mo*
renews $6.95/mo
30
days
99.99%
stats
1134ms
stats
★★
Read review
One.com$2.49/mo*
renews $4.99/mo
15
days
99.76%
stats
520ms
stats
★★
Read review
NameCheap
$1.44/mo*
renews $2.88/mo
Non Refundable99.86%
stats
728msstats★★
Read review
HostPapa
$3.95/mo*
renews $7.99/mo
30
days
99.95%
stats
757msstats★★
Read review
InMotion Hosting$3.99/mo*
renews $7.99/mo
30
days
99.94%stats830msstats★★
Read review
JustHost$3.95/mo*
renews $9.49/mo
30
days
99.90%
stats
756msstats★★
Read review
Web Hosting Hub$4.99/mo*
renews $8.99/mo
90
days
99.94%stats757msstats
Read review
HostMonster$4.95/mo*
renews $9.49/mo
30
days
99.96%
stats
927ms
stats

Read review
WebHostingPad
$1.59/mo*
renews $4.50/mo
30
days
98.37%
stats
1108ms
stats

Read review
HostRocket
$5.99/mo*
renews $5.99/mo
30
days
99.91%stats905ms
stats

Read review
HostMetro
$2.95/mo*
renews $5.99/mo
30
days
99.80%
stats
1205ms
stats

Read review
FatCow$4.08/mo*
renews $4.08/mo
30
days
99.86%
stats
1186ms
stats

Read review
HostNine$7.69/mo*
renews $7.69/mo
45
days
99.81%
stats
907ms
stats

Read review
Arvixe$7.70/mo*
renews $7.70/mo
45
days
92.97%
stats
7148ms
stats

Read review

About Our Web Hosting Review Process

Unlike other sites, we actually sign up and pay for web hosting.

We break down information about available packages and services, hidden fees, payment methods, and more. When we look at a web host, we start by reading over their terms of agreement to find out if there are any hidden, unfair terms that consumers should know about.

Then, we take a look at what kind of customer support they offer, whether it’s a live chat, phone, ticket, or email. Once we get a test site up and running, we evaluate the user interface of the host’s control panel and the total activation time.

We also monitor our site performance by plugging our domain names into Pingdom to look at speed and uptime.

Pingdom speed and uptime tracking

We look at how fast sites load in certain countries and across certain devices. Our reviews also look at the quality of customer support for each host. We actually contact each host to see how long they take to respond and whether or not they are friendly and helpful.

Based on all of the above, we assign a total rating for each host that ranges from 0 to 10

If you wish to submit your own web hosting review, click here.

Why Uptime and Load Time Matters

Uptime and load time matter because they affect traffic, which in turn, most likely will affect your overall revenue.

You’ve got to keep an eye on both of these metrics because they indicate your site’s quality of performance. Uptime refers to the total time that your website is up and running without problems. Downtime refers to the time when your website is offline and unavailable to visitors and potential customers.

website uptime is important

The time your website isn’t running, you’re losing money.

At the same time, if you have a slow load time, your bounce rate will be off the charts. People don’t want to wait forever for web pages to load. In fact, they won’t wait longer than 3 seconds if they’re using a mobile device to browse. Today, more page views happen on mobile than on desktop.

That’s why you should make sure that your load times are fast and that your uptime is high.

What is Shared Hosting?

how shared hosting works

Shared hosting consists of multiple websites on the same web server owned by the web host.

This is easily the most popular (and cheapest) method of web hosting. If your site has high traffic, you might not want to go with shared hosting. Sometimes, resources aren’t shared equally when it comes to this hosting method.

A server provides resources like hard drive space and RAM for storing files. These resources can slow down if a site you’re sharing the server with is receiving tons of visitors or has incorrect coding.

This can lead to your website going down or experiencing super slow load times. Therefore, only go with shared hosting if your revenue doesn’t depend on your site’s performance (or if you’re not receiving gobs of traffic).

What is Cloud Hosting?

how cloud hosting works

Unlike shared hosting that relies on one server, cloud hosting uses a cluster of servers that work together to store your website’s files and data.

Cloud-based hosting is great because it’s more efficient and secure than other hosting methods. These cloud systems protect your site against attacks better than traditional hosting systems because all the resources of multiple servers are in one virtual network.

Since the servers are virtual, clients only pay for what they need and use. When a physical server connected to the cloud goes offline or malfunctions, the virtual servers won’t be affected.

Think of it as a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan: you’ll never pay for resources you don’t need. And, if you need more to cover a jump in traffic, all you’ve got to do is pay a bit more money for that period of time.

What is WordPress Hosting?

WordPress hosting is for WordPress websites only. It’s fast because every aspect of WordPress servers has been optimized for setting up WordPress.

Your loading speeds will be much faster on WordPress in comparison to some other shared hosting sites. This is also true for your uptime. It’s also more secure because you’ve got a support team of WordPress experts to back you up if your website is attacked. Plus, your server will always be up to date.

WordPress is a bit less customizable than other hosts, though. For example, certain plugins aren’t permitted, and some plugins can’t be altered. Also, if you choose WordPress as your host, then you will also have to use WordPress as your CMS; it won’t allow you to use other CMS providers.

Site Transfers (FREE or Not?)

What if you pick a web host only to discover that you don’t like it? Site transfer, also known as site migration, allows you to move your website to another host.

Moving to another website consists of transferring the website’s files and databases, configuring your site with the new host, and directing your domain’s DNS to the new host. Once you pick a new site host, they can usually help you out with this process. The cost will depend on the host you’re switching to, but it can range anywhere from $150-$400.

But some web hosts on our list, like HostGator and GreenGeeks, offer free web transfers.

GreenGeeks web transfer

For paid transfers, you can sometimes transfer more than one site. For example, it’s $149.99 to migrate as many as five websites and 20 email accounts to Bluehost.

Bluehost site transfer

The site transfer will usually take a few days.

For a host like HostPapa, it will take 5 to 7 days to complete a site transfer. They recommend modifying DNS entries before starting the transfer so that it takes less time.

They can also update your DNS entries, but this service will add 24 to 72 hours before your site becomes live. With A2 Hosting, it’ll take anywhere from 2 to 4 days.

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