What are the best hosting providers
Web hosting services are an essential part of getting online. Every website needs hosting, and while some larger sites handle this themselves, us mere mortals use web hosting providers.
This necessity has led to a ton of options for web hosting, with thousands of suppliers providing a huge array of plans. We’ve used data to cut through the noise, comparing the top providers feature-by-feature to figure out who ranks best from every angle.
But first, the overall rankings. From our thorough research, we’ve compiled this definitive list of the best web hosting providers in 2020:
For business owners and site managers, Bluehost is often considered to be the default choice for web hosting. They’ve been around a long time, offer great hosting at a great price, and have a great reputation for supporting their customers.
If you get stuck or have a problem, they have 24/7 support by phone or live chat. No hoops to jump through either. They list their support number and live chat options right on their site, you can reach it within two clicks.
They also offer hosting that will support whatever direction your business grows.
Let’s say you start with a standard shared hosting plan and want to install WordPress. They have an easy 1-click install to make that happen.
Then if your site keeps growing and you want to upgrade to managed WordPress hosting to speed up your site and improve security, they have that too. Or if you want to get more control by upgrading to VPS or dedicated hosting, they have plans for both.
The point is that Bluehost covers everything you could possibly need from a host. If you start with them, you’ll never need to switch to someone else.
Bluehost offers excellent value for money, though that’s partially because you can only sign on for long-term contracts (the shortest contract is 12 months). As with many providers, the cheapest rate requires signing up for at least 36 months.
Check out the cheapest introductory price for each hosting type, compared to the cheapest renewal price, below:
Shared hosting: $2.95 per month, renews at $7.99 per month
Shared WordPress hosting: $2.95 per month, renews at $7.99 per month
WooCommerce hosting: $6.95 per month, renews at $13.99 per month
VPS hosting: $18.99 per month, renews at $29.99 per month
Managed WordPress hosting: $19.95 per month, renews at $29.99 per month
Dedicated hosting: $79.99 per month, renews at $119.99 per month
Bluehost’s Basic shared plan can be a bit restrictive to larger sites, but for most, it’s a great option. SSL, unlimited bandwidth, and 99.98% uptime come with each plan, so it’s really just a question of how much scalability you need.
Dependable server uptime
Superb WordPress integration
Less storage on basic plan compared to competitors
Potential CPU throttling
HostGator is another big name in small business web hosting, and it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
While HostGator does have an extensive self-serve knowledge base is, it doesn’t offer any sort of email support — just phone and live chat. Be prepared to get on the phone whenever you have a question.
Unlike some hosts, Hostgator does include support in all its plans. If you want a hosting plan that’s cheap and includes support, this is the host for you.
HostGator does offer Windows hosting in addition to Linux, as well as a variety of options to upgrade, including cloud hosting, VPS hosting, managed WordPress, and a dedicated server. Shared hosting plans start at $2.75/month.
HostGator tends to rank highly on tech publications like PCMag, but customer reviews are pretty dreadful: it has only one star on Trustpilot. If you’re interested in trying HostGator, I recommend taking full advantage of the 45-day money-back guarantee and testing out their support thoroughly before committing.
Shared hosting starting at $2.75/mo.
WordPress hosting starting at $5.95/mo.
Reseller hosting starting at $19.95/mo.
VPS hosting starting at $29.95/mo.
Dedicated servers starting at $119/mo.
Cloud hosting starting at $4.95/mo.
HostGator is a full-service hosting company, with plans for almost any need. Whether you're starting out and need a very basic shared site, or need to be able to operate your own machine dedicated solely to your company, HostGator has a service that can help.
InMotion may not look flashy, but it’s a solid web host with truly excellent technology, a wide assortment of plans, and a legion of longtime customers.
Its massive self-help knowledge base is the industry standard, and customer support is among the best. Don’t believe it? Try for yourself. InMotion’s 90-day free trial period for shared hosting is one of the longest around and gives you plenty of time to test out InMotion’s support team.
InMotion’s plans are really straightforward and almost identical. As you upgrade, you’ll get faster servers and extra databases, websites, and subdomains. It’s a straightforward approach we like, especially for small businesses and websites that aren’t overly complex. No pushy upsells or confusing tiers to worry about.
Even the entry-level plans have excellent customer support. It’s 24/7 via 5 communication channels: phone, chat, email, tutorials, and Q&A, which were actively answered.
I also appreciate that none of this support is hidden or hard to find. The phone number is broadcast at the top of the page and the chat support login is easy to find in your admin panel.
There’s nothing more annoying than 24/7 support that requires you first unearth the contact methods on your own. It’s a waste of time and tells me exactly what I need to know about the host.
I also appreciate that the support is available at your level — whether you’re just starting and need someone to walk you through the ultimate basics with a friendly and supportive demeanor, or you want someone who can talk specs and technical nuances like a pro, the InMotion support has you covered.
InMotion also has some of the best VPS hosting options. They even have two types of VPS hosting so you can get the exact amount of support or flexibility that you want.
InMotion regularly runs promo pricing, with deals that start as low as $5/month. Normal pricing for shared hosting bumps up to $8–$9/month after the initial contract is up.
In addition to shared hosting, InMotion offers upgrades to managed WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated servers.
A2 Hosting has a reputation for having some of the fastest web hosting around.
At every hosting tier (shared, VPS, dedicated), A2 Hosting beats other hosts on speed. So if you’re looking for pure speed, this is your best pick.
A2 Hosting also has a 99.9% Uptime Commitment on all plans so you know you’ll have a reliable host that won’t be down often.
I also really like their free site migrations that come with every hosting package. If you’ve set your site up on a bad host and want to migrate, this is a fantastic deal. It’ll save your dozens of hours trying to get your site rebuilt. Let the A2 Hosting team deal with it.
Like many of the other web hosts, there are 1-click installs for all the popular CMS tools like WordPress, Magento, and Drupal.
If you plan on hosting multiple websites, you’ll need to get the Swift plan which is an extra $2/month after the promotional period ends.
One trick to save money with A2 Hosting: the promotional prices end on renewal. To lock in the 63% discount for as long as possible, go for the tri-annual billing which will bill for three years at once. You’ll get 2 years of hosting for free.
SiteGround has one of the best reputations among web hosts with a rabid fan base and glowing reviews.
Along with DreamHost and Bluehost, SiteGround is one of WordPress’s three recommended web hosts. WordPress hosting is built into all of its shared hosting plans, you’ll get automatic updates, streamlined security, and expert technical support.
SiteGround is widely considered to be a leader in shared hosting. Its servers are ultra-fast and extra secure, and SiteGround is constantly deploying new updates to keep them that way.
While all its shared hosting plans are powerful, SiteGround is especially well-known for its highest-tier shared plan, GoGeek, which is suped up with tools developers will find especially useful, including a staging server and Git repo creation. Lots of small business and personal websites will probably find this overkill, but if your needs are more complex than the basics, SiteGround has a lot to love.
There is one downside. Once you blow through SiteGround’s introductory pricing, your plan’s price will triple.
For example, its lowest tier of shared hosting jumps from $4/month to $12 and its highest tier jumps from $12/month to $35. That doesn’t feel great.
In fact, it was the reason for most of the one-star reviews on TrustPilot. Watch for this when you’re comparing pricing and remember that your hosting plan will last a lot longer than the promotional period.
SiteGround also has the shortest trial period of all our other shared hosting our top picks: only 30 days. This isn’t a major problem though. You’ll be able to easily evaluate any host within a month.
SiteGround does have cloud hosting and dedicated servers. In fact, SiteGround is one of our top picks for cloud hosting. If you think there’s a chance you’ll need to upgrade to some serious hosting power once you generate lots of traffic, SiteGround is a great option that will make upgrades easy later.
SiteGround’s customer support is available 24/7 across all channels — phone, chat, and email — and its knowledge base is rich and well-organized.
SiteGround is an amazing option for businesses with room to grow. There’s plenty of upgrades to support you along the way.
Although its support has improved in recent years, GoDaddy is still lagging behind its competitors in this area. Its live chat feature isn’t available around-the-clock, but GoDaddy’s 24/7 phone support is very good.
GoDaddy also offers a free domain for one year, even on its basic plan, plus a one year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 for email. Unmetered bandwidth and unlimited storage are also major benefits of GoDaddy’s hosting plans.
GoDaddy’s cheapest introductory and renewal prices are as follows:
Shared hosting: $3.99 per month, renews at $7.99 per month
WordPress hosting: $6.99 per month, renews at $9.99 per month
Reseller hosting: $39.99 per month, renews at $54.99 per month
VPS hosting: $4.99 per month, renews at $7.99 per month*
Dedicated hosting: $129.99 per month, renews at $169.99 per month
GoDaddy is also one of the few providers that doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, which can be frustrating when you’re testing the waters.
That being said, GoDaddy’s ability to provide domains, hosting, and website building tools all in one place make it a strong option. But if value for money is your top priority, you’ll be better off with Bluehost or HostGator.
If you’re looking to keep the cost of your hosting as low as possible, seriously consider Hostinger. Their lowest plan starts at less than a dollar.
All of these rates are promotion so they’ll go up at renewal. But you’re able to lock in these ridiculous prices on a longer subscription. You can literally sign up for two years of hosting for $1/month if you pay for the two years upfront. That’s an amazing deal.
Even after the promotional pricing ends, the pricing is still super low. The single-site plan only costs $2.15/month, one of the lowest rates in the industry.
The best part? Hostinger doesn’t feel like cheap hosting.
Yes, they have some tricks that try to persuade you to become a customer like the fake countdown timers. But they’re pretty mild compared to more aggressive hosting companies like GoDaddy.
From the marketing to the UI for managing your site, it feels like a premium host.
The uptime, site speed, and support are all pretty good too. They have a 99.9% uptime guarantee along with 24/7 support whenever you need help. Don’t expect them to be quite as good as other hosts but the value per dollar is unbeatable.
iPage hosting has just one shared hosting plan. This may sound strange, but its self-described “one size fits all” shared plan offers.
Unlimited disk space
Unlimited domain names
Free website builder
vDeck control panel
Unlimited domain names is a rarity for shared hosting plans. However, iPage’s 99.95% uptime will be discouraging to some.
iPage may only have one web hosting plan, but it does vary in cost. The price is dependent on how long you sign up for: for example, if you commit to a three-year deal, you can pay as little as $2/month. After the initial period, however, this price renews at $8/month.
Two-year signups cost $2.50/month and then renew at $9/month, while one-year signups cost $3/month and renew at $10/month.
DreamHost is notable for doing things its own way.
It doesn’t use the standard cPanel that most hosts use. It has built a completely custom control panel that you’ll use to manage your website. Many of Dreamhost’s customers do love it but it could make things much more difficult should you ever need to migrate off Dreamhost.
I wouldn’t plan on migrations into Dreamhost to be easy either. So it’s a great option for brand new sites.
In addition to shared hosting and managed WordPress hosting, DreamHost offers low-cost upgrades to VPS and cloud hosting, as well as dedicated servers should you ever need them. Even their VPS plans start at $10/month.
DreamHost is another one of WordPress’s three recommended hosts, and includes some managed WordPress hosting in its basic shared plans. It also offers a managed plan with more bells and whistles called DreamPress.
Monthly plans under $3/month are available if you pay annually, $8/month if you’d like to add email. It does have an industry-leading free trial period — a full 97-day money-back guarantee — and transparent pricing that doesn’t increase after your initial contract.
Customer service is a little less traditional: email support is available 24/7, but live chat is only on during business hours, and you actually have to pay $9.95 to get technical support over the phone. DreamHost calls this a “nominal fee” — I call this annoying. If you would like lots of support while you set up your site, I’d pick a different host.
That said, the free trial period is the longest in the business — 97 days. Shared hosting plans start at $2.59/month, and since DreamHost doesn’t do promo pricing, it won’t jump after your first contract is up. This is one of the lowest hosting prices out there, it’s a great option for anyone looking to save every dollar.
What’s really worth noting is the outstanding offers DreamHost has for nonprofits: one free Unlimited shared hosting plan (which includes unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited sites, and email hosting) for 501(c)(3) organizations, plus a 35% discount on the souped-up DreamPress-managed WordPress hosting. That’s a fantastic deal.
When most people think of managed WordPress hosting, they think WP Engine.
And for good reason — it provides a truly excellent product. It does come at a price though. A fully managed WordPress host is noticeably more expensive than shared hosting providers.
WP Engine’s lowest-priced plan is $30/month, and that’s only for one 10GB site with max 25,000 visitors/month.
But when you factor in what WP Engine does for that price, it’s an incredibly appealing option for WordPress site owners. As a managed WordPress host, WP Engine only provides service to WordPress users, which means its entire infrastructure can be optimized for WordPress.
Your site will be wicked fast, there’s virtually no downtime, and lots of maintenance tasks get taken care of automatically. If you want a blazing fast site where everything is taken care of automatically, you’ll want WP Engine.
Customer support is also laser-focused on WordPress, which makes for highly competent knowledgeable support staff available through tracked tickets and on live chat 24/7.
Just be mindful of the price. You’ll be paying more in order to get a lot more. With that said, WP Engine is the ultimate choice for any business running on WordPress. If you don’t want to waste time managing the hosting component of your website, then these are the guys to turn to.
HostPapa’s Starter shared plan is its most basic plan, and offers two websites instead of just one. In addition, you’ll get free domain registration, 100GB SSD storage, and unmetered bandwidth.
If you upgrade to the popular Business shared plan, you’ll not only get unmetered bandwidth, but also unlimited SSD storage and websites.
One important feature that HostPapa doesn’t offer is free backups, which will cost you extra. This may be off-putting for some, because free website backups are an easy way to feel more secure in your hosting.
HostPapa’s special offers can often help you save up to 70% on certain plans. But the jump between introductory and renewal prices is a big one, as you’ll see below:
Shared hosting: $3.95 per month, renews at $7.99 per month
WordPress hosting: $3.95 per month, renews at $8.99 per month
VPS hosting: $19.99 per month, renews at $50 per month
Reseller hosting: $29.99 per month, renews at the same rate