HostAuthority has searched far and wide to compile the top hosting providers to help you choose which one to use for your website or blog.
Next, we have created a detailed guide to help you pick the best hosting company for your particular needs. The guide includes all of the potential features, options, and guarantees you should look at before making your final decision.
Overview: With excellent hardware for the fastest speed, incredible customer service, and a very affordable rate; SiteGround is our number one hosting provider.
SiteGround is one of the most coveted hosts on the internet.
Their excellent customer service and a wide range of options make it the perfect host for small businesses and bloggers. Those who use web applications like WordPress, Joomla, or Magento will enjoy the speed of your site.
The SSD servers are spread across the globe in the U.S.A., Europe, and Asia to help users access your files fast. The company was founded by professionals who understand the need for the best tech. SiteGround also offers a personal touch, with customer support that is genuinely enjoyed by many. The programs they offer appeal to almost anyone who needs hosting with generous guarantees and free backups for your data. As one of the most highly-rated hosts online, most of their customers have only good things to say about them.
All of these factors add together to make them our overall best hosting platform available.
StartUp: $3.95/mo for shared hosting
GrowBig: $7.95/mo for shared hosting
GoGeek: $14.95/mo for shared hosting
Overview: Bluehost is the perfect platform for bloggers, internet marketers and WordPress fans due to their affordable and powerful shared plans.
Bluehost has become one of the best options for small businesses, bloggers, and niche site webmasters.
Their plans give an all-inclusive solution for anyone looking for one place for their hosting. Their 100% U.S. based customer phone support team can help you any time of day and night if you have any problems. If you use WordPress for your sites, you’ll be happy to know that Bluehost was the first hosting company recommended by WordPress themselves.
Due to their early adoption of the WP platform, Bluehost has been adopted by many affiliate marketers and has a very well known an easy to use affiliate program. There are so many reasons to choose Bluehost, which is why they’re one of our top choices.
Basic: $3.49/mo for shared hosting.
Plus: $5.95/mo for shared hosting.
WordPress Blogger: $28.53/mo for WP hosting.
Overview: HostGator is a favorite among bloggers and small business owners due to the upfront options and clear pricing structure.
HostGator is one of the best entry level hosts on the market.
A great option for beginners who need a blog or a business site. Their plans are robust, easy to understand and affordable. They are so beginner friendly that the least expensive plan is called, “Hatchling” to signify the birth of your new site. E-commerce stores and entrepreneurs can benefit from the free 1-800 number that is given to all “business” plan customers.
HostGator also offers one of the most generous affiliate programs with an increasing payment system that tops off at $125/sale. The environmentally conscious will enjoy that the company has no carbon footprint because they purchase renewable energy credits equal to 130% of their emissions.
With a significant portion of the entire internet’s traffic running through their servers, this host is one of the most popular online.
Hatchling: $5.56/mo for shared hosting.
Baby: $7.96/mo for shared hosting.
Business: $11.96/mo for shared hosting.
Overview: DreamHost offers all encompassing hosting options for bloggers and business alike.
Web: $5.95/mo for shared hosting.
VPS: $15.00/mo for VPS hosting.
DreamPress: $19.95/mo for VPS hosting.
Ideal Customer: Any tech savvy users looking for multiple hosting options but that won’t need a lot of extra support will find what they need with DreamHost.
100% Uptime Guarantee: It’s likely you’ve heard of 99.95% or even 99.99% uptime. DreamHost is very unusual in that they offer a 100% uptime guarantee, across all their hosting plans, whether shared, VPS, or dedicated. That’s a bold claim, but it’s also clearly stated in their terms of service. A failure to provide 100% uptime will result in you getting compensated. If at any time your website, database, email, FTP, or SSH become unavailable, you’ll receive a DreamHost credit equal to 1 day of service, for 1 hour of downtime. This caps off at 10% of your next pre-paid renewal fee. Understandably, the uptime guarantee doesn’t cover scheduled maintenance, coding or configuration errors on your part. DreamHost considers your downtime to start when you open a support ticket, so the faster you’re aware of your website going down and open the ticket, the better. However this level of guarantee is very attractive to all users looking for a reliable host.
97-Day Money-Back Guarantee: Besides the 100% uptime guarantee, DreamHost offers another unusual guarantee. Contrary to the industry standard of 30-day, 45-day, 60-day, or even the rare 90-day money-back guarantee, DreamHost has a 97-day money-back guarantee. There are the usual caveats though. The money-back guarantee applies only to accounts purchased by credit cards. Refunds are only available for shared hosting. Domain registrations, SSL certificates, and other extras are not eligible for refund. Still, this unusual guarantee makes DreamHost stand out among competitors and also shows that they stand behind their products with confidence. The combined money back and uptime guarantees provide some of the best customer assurances on the market.
DreamPress 2: As WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS and blogging platform, most web hosting companies offer it. Some even go as far as having a customized plan just for WordPress. But DreamPress 2 takes it one step further by managing WordPress sites on virtual private servers. DreamPress 2 is DreamHost’s exclusive plan for WordPress. While you can install WordPress on regular hosting accounts, DreamPress 2 is specifically optimized for WordPress. It’s hosted on virtual private servers, making WordPress highly reliable and fast. All MySQL databases are hosted on an isolated virtual private server as well. There’s also auto-scaling RAM; DreamPress 2 will dynamically scale your WordPress site’s resources so you don’t have to be afraid of your website outgrowing the available resources. There are websites hosted by DreamPress 2 that see as many as 2.1 million visitors per month. Your files are hosted on 30 GB of SSD storage. You’ll also have access to support specialists who exclusively deal with WordPress issues, via live chat, email, or Twitter. With DreamPress 2, you only have to focus on building and maintaining a very nice WordPress website, while DreamHost handles all the updates, fine-tuning, and backing up your files.
We have checked several online review sources and found that DreamHost customers have had positive experiences with customer support.
One long-term customer writes: “I’ve used DreamHost for a long time and they have always been wonderful to work with regarding help with applying and purchasing new features.”
Another reviewer agrees saying: “They’ve always answered my support questions, kept a very good uptime record for me, and provided a solid interface and dashboard.”
Not all reviews were positive however. We found some DreamHost customers disappointed with email issues and the control panel.
One frustrated user states: “Performance sucks even for webmail. Multiple tickets to them about the problem and they still wont resolve that the db calls are timing out.”
Another reviewer warns: “Unlike most other web hosts, they opt to build their own administrative panel and its not very intuitive to use. Finding the simplest of things turns into a nightmare.”
We also checked Twitter to see what people are saying about DreamHost. We found one user singing their praises:
@dreamhost you have shown me a new hope for website hosting! Truly, I am happy!! ♫♫♫ ….and kudos to you, Chris S!
— Randy Compton (@randycompton) September 30, 2015
Another user is very frustrated with the lack of customer support:
@dreamhost answers to problems are "we sent an email (BS) check your spam" BAD BAD service.
— Pacific Herbs (@pacherbs) August 15, 2015
DreamHost is one of the most well-known and popular web hosting companies, with unusual guarantees. The 97-day money-back guarantee and 100% uptime guarantee show they’re confident in what they have to offer. Other than that, their plans are straightforward and fairly standard. If you’re used to cPanel or Plesk though, you might not like DreamHost’s web-based control panel. A few reviews claimed the panel was not intuitive and was difficult to navigate. If you are a beginner and feel like you may need some hand-holding, the lack of phone or chat support may be a deal breaker.
Takeaway: DreamHost is WordPress-friendly, with their own customized plan, DreamPress 2, that’s exclusively for WordPress websites. If you’re an avid WordPress user, you’ll definitely want to look into DreamHost’s DreamPress 2 since they host your WordPress sites on virtual private servers.
Overview: Fatcow provides a simpler hosting structure that caters to new businesses and other less technical users.
FatCow: $4.08/mo for shared hosting.
Basic VPS: $19.99/mo for VPS hosting.
Business VPS: $47.99/mo for VPS hosting.
Ideal Customer: Small businesses or website novices looking for hosting with simple yet competitive prices and easy to use features will enjoy Fatcow.
100% Wind-Powered: Many hosting companies are going “green” these days and some elaborate on the fact as one of their main selling points. But FatCow is one of the few companies that is 100% wind-powered, not just partially. The company purchased wind-generated Renewable Energy Certificates to offset 200% of their electricity used in website hosting. This commitment is equivalent to planting 2,390 acres of trees or not driving over 6.1 million miles per year. If you rate eco-friendliness high on your list, you can be assured that your website and emails are truly green with FatCow. Their staff also makes an effort to be eco-friendly by riding their bicycles to work, printing on both sides of the paper, and using public transportation.
The Original FatCow Plan: Most hosting companies offer multi-tiered plans. There’s a basic and barebones plan, a mid-tier (and supposedly most “popular”) plan, and a higher-end business plan. The plans get even more complex with VPS and dedicated hosting. FatCow does offer VPS and dedicated hosting, but they take out all the complications of shared hosting by providing only one plan, their Original FatCow Plan. This all-in-one hosting has most of the standard features offered by other companies’ high-level plans, including unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited mailboxes, free domain name, website builder, shopping carts, unlimited number of FTP users and subusers, search engine marketing, and ad credits to name a few. It even throws in 1 GB of JustCloud Storage. Having just one plan for shared hosting makes pricing much simpler. The plan is quite robust and comprehensive for the price. They now have a good introductory pricing of $49 a year with no setup fees and instant activation. These features make this plan very attractive to novices and experienced webmasters alike.
Farm-Fresh Web Icons: Every web designer knows that having a collection of resources (free or paid) at his/her disposal saves time and makes the design process easier. To answer this, FatCow has free Farm-Fresh Web Icons. Since this is free and readily downloadable by anyone, you don’t actually need to sign up with FatCow’s services. But what’s commendable is that by creating these icons and making them available for free, FatCow demonstrates their commitment to the design community. This isn’t something every web hosting company does. Many web hosting companies do offer their own templates, but they’re often poorly designed or don’t follow modern design practices. On the contrary, FatCow’s Farm-Fresh Web Icons are attractive, usable, and there are close to 4,000 of them. They’re free to use for private or commercial purposes. This feature can be extremely useful for any web designer or blogger.
We have looked at online reviews for Fatcow to see what customer had to say. We found that many customers were pleased with their pricing and bonus features.
One happy customer writes: “We have been with Fatcow.com quite a few years now. The cost is one of the cheapest in the industries. They have been very supportive, available at all times.”
Another reviewer agrees saying: “Their pricing for this hosting plans were nice they gave me a free domain with free advertising credits from google, bing and facebook.”
Not all reviews were positive however. We found users were disappointed with add-on fees and inconsistent service.
One reviewer states: “I am very disappointed with Fat Cow. We started off great. I got a great deal and a decent website. Then they started tacking on all these additional charges and add-on that I didn’t even request.”
Another frustrated customer explains: “Fatcow seems to deliver an inconsistent customer experience. Some of my sites work well there, and others don’t.”
We also checked Twitter to see what people are saying about Fatcow. One user is happy with his experience with customer service:
— Paul Hocking (@Phocking) November 4, 2015
Another user is frustrated because customer service can’t be reached:
— matthew mikulsky (@mikulsky) September 29, 2015
FatCow takes the headache out of hosting by offering one simple shared hosting plan, but it’s still robust and includes most features that you’ll likely look for. You can be assured you’re dealing with a green hosting company as 100% of their operations are wind-powered. They also display commitment to the web design community by offering their own icons. But there is no uptime guarantee and the lack of any auto-backup features may concern some users. If you want to try cloud hosting or would like more control you will have to look at other hosting companies.
Takeaway: FatCow isn’t exactly distinguishable from other web hosting companies, but their simple pricing plan and low introductory pricing makes the company ideal for personal websites, bloggers, and small business websites.
Overview: A Small Orange is an exclusively Linux-based hosting company that offers a variety of hosting options for personal or business sites.
Tiny: $2.92/mo for shared hosting.
Small: $5.00/mo for shared hosting.
Medium: $10.00/mo for shared hosting.
Ideal Customer: Any level of webmaster or small business that wants the option to choose from a variety of straight forward hosting packages but is comfortable with chat only support.
Clementine Managed Hosting: A Small Orange offers what they call Clementine Managed Hosting, which is their turnkey service for managed servers. Under this plan, the company performs all updates and maintenance for you, including O/S updates, new software and tool installation, security patches, server optimization, and backups. Clementine Managed Hosting offers the best of both worlds: it’s easy to use as a shared hosting account, but with the performance of VPS or dedicated server. Your website is on a private Linux container with low-density configuration, but without the cost you’d normally incur with having a dedicated server. The regular Clementine Plan is $45 a month and comes with 2 CPU cores, 2 GB RAM, 30 GB SSD, 1 TB monthly bandwidth, and 1 cPanel user account. The higher tier, Clementine Plus, comes with 8 GB RAM, 2 x 128 GB SSD (or 1 TB HDD), 5 TB monthly bandwidth, and 1 cPanel user account.
Business Hosting: A Small Orange has special emphasis on businesses. They have a separate level of plans dedicated just for businesses that are not part of their regular shared plans. Their business plans have 3 tiers – startup, small business, and enterprise. All three levels include a free SSL Certificate, which is normally valued at $39. They also have PCI-compliant servers, meaning their servers meet the data security standards guided by the Payment Card Industry. This is an important feature for business accounts that are online merchants and regularly deal with accepting payments. All business plans come with enterprise database support, including PostgreSQL and MariaDB designed to power heavy ecommerce needs. In addition, all business plans ensure your websites have lower customer densities than on regular shared plans, to accommodate and execute the processes of any heavy ecommerce software.
Two Data Centers: Having two or more data centers isn’t completely unheard of, but those with two data centers tend to be bi-coastal. They typically have one data center in the east coast and one in the west coast. A Small Orange is different in that their two data centers are located in Dallas, Texas, and Dearborn, Michigan. There’s no mention of whether you can choose one or the other, but it can be assumed your website will be allocated to the server that’s closer to where you are. The location of your hosting server is important to your sites overall performance, speed, and reliability. Both data centers have high performance, carrier-neutral networks, and provide all the amenities, security, and redundancy you’d expect from any other hosting company.
We have looked over several online reviews for A Small Orange. We found customers happy with resolution times and set up speed.
One happy customer writes: “Their resolution time is amazingly low… You ask them for any assistance and they will make sure that the correct thing is delivered to you. Their uptime is excellent, I have never faced any downtime so far.”
Another reviewer states: “A Small Orange set me up in a matter of minutes. This was the fastest set-up I ever experienced, compared to other hosting companies I have used.”
Not all reviews were positive however. We also found customers frustrated with their uptime guarantee and support ticketing system.
One disappointed customer warns: “Their 99.9% uptime guarantee only applies to their cheap plans (makes no sense). Our sites are constantly down. Constant issues. Seriously terrible uptime.”
Another reviewer complains that: “Every ticket response is replied by a different person and they don’t read back the full ticket case just the last response.”
We also checked Twitter to see what people are saying about A Small Orange. This user is happy with his migration and ensuing service:
Moved a whole lot of hosting to @asmallorange last week and I couldn't be happier with it. Good server, great customer support.
— Lemon (@AhoyLemon) November 10, 2015
Another user is frustrated at the lack of reliability:
@asmallorange Maybe you guys should rethink your business as running a reliable hosting company does not seem to be what you are good at 🙁
— George Paulussen (@ghp123) December 6, 2015
A Small Orange offers a variety of plans, but their emphasis and attention to businesses stand out. They have 3 plans dedicated solely for business owners, whether small or enterprise. Some of the features are limited where other hosting companies would provide them for free. For example, there is no proprietary website builder and no unlimited storage and bandwidth. However, with free migration and a generous money back guarantee, you can feel good about giving A Small Orange try.
Takeaway: If you’re looking for a lot of storage and bandwidth, A Small Orange might not be appropriate for you. You’d be paying an awful lot for a limited amount of storage and bandwidth.
Overview: A2 markets themselves as the developer friendly web hosting company and they cater primarily to this crowd.
Lite: $3.92/mo for shared hosting.
Swift: $4.90/mo for shared hosting.
Turbo: $9.31/mo for shared hosting.
Ideal Customer: Any developer or webmaster looking for optimized performance boosters or who use TeslaThemes.
A2 Optimized Caching and Software: A2 Hosting is geared more towards web developers. As such, they have high-performance servers and caching options. Their proprietary A2 Optimized Caching is a pre-configured site accelerator. It’s a cPanel plugin that provides pre-configured caching options for your websites in a single interface, causing your pages to load faster. There are three caching options: Turbo Cache, OPcache/APC, and Memcached. Turbo Cache stores entire HTML contents and are served without running PHP for up to 20 times faster page loads. OPcache cuts PHP response time in half and is available for PHP 5.5 or higher. APC is available for the earlier versions of PHP. Memcached speeds up MySQL databases by keeping the most important data in memory for faster retrieval. A2 Hosting also provides A2 Optimized Software, which has automatically configured the fastest page loads for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, PrestaShop, and more popular applications. Compression and caching are auto-optimized so you don’t have to configure the optimal settings yourself, unless you want to.
High Performance SwiftServers: Slow websites drive visitors away. That’s why A2 hosts all websites on their exclusive High Performance SwiftServers. Not all features of SwiftServers are available for all the plans, but many are. There are multiple server locations, from Michigan, Amsterdam, and Singapore. The free version of CloudFlare CDN is included in all plans, providing an average of 200% faster page loads. CloudFlare upgrades are provided for a fee for faster mobile speed. Railgun Network Optimizer is included for free with the highest plan (Turbo), and available for a fee for the other plans (Lite and Swift). A2 Hosting also provides HTTP/2, which is significantly faster than HTTP and represents a major update since 1999. It’s projected to provide 20-30% faster delivery of files than HTTP. The Turbo plan also includes websocket proxy integration, which creates a two-way interaction between a website and a browser for live content and real-time games. These are just some features; if you wanted all the extensive features of SwiftServers, you’d be best served by their Turbo account.
Quadruple Redundant Network: While A2 Hosting has data centers in three different places, it’s possible one or more of them could go down. With that in mind, they have multiple global transit carriers to make sure you remain connected. They include 10G Level 3, 10G CenturyLink/Saavis, 10G Cogent, and 2.5G Comcast. A2 Hosting is one of the very few hosting companies to offer this kind of network redundancy to make sure their customers don’t experience service interruption. A2 also offers you the chance to test their data centers. On their website they offer a 100MB File Download Speed Test and a V-Speed Third Party Speed Test which allows you to test the upload and download speeds of the data center of your choice.
We have checked several online review sites looking for honest opinions about A2 Hosting. We found that customers were happy with the various features and pricing.
One customer is happy with the overall hosting experience saying: “I’ve never experienced better features, functionality, up-time, and support – tech, billing & customer – than what I receive at A2 Hosting.”
Another reviewer agrees: “The uptime has been fantastic and the support staff is always responsive, polite, and helpful. The pricing has also been very satisfactory.”
We also found negative reviews for A2. Here customers were disappointed with the level of support and data limits.
One unhappy customer states: “The ‘support gurus’ did not seem to read my queries, and when they did reply, their answers seemed to be computer generated stock phrases and links, not related to what I was asking.”
Another frustrated reviewer warns: “But beware if your databases exceed 500MB that you may find it difficult if not impossible to perform routine admin tasks using A2 provided utilities via their cPanel such as phpMyAdmin.”
We also checked Twitter to see what people are saying about A2 Hosting. One user is happy with everything about the host:
@a2hosting i just love everything about a2hosting.. great uptime, great support, nice control panel.. everythings is just awesome.. 10/10
— Fida (@fidaktk) August 29, 2015
Another user is experiencing trouble contacting support:
@a2hosting Support not answering. Any idea how much longer the servers will be down? This is critical for clients.
— Webtactics (@webtactics_au) December 24, 2015
A2 Hosting mainly targets developers rather than casual users who simply want to maintain their personal websites or blogs. They offer a variety of optimized performance boosters. Although they place heavy emphasis on performance, their three shared hosting plans still have reasonable prices, introductory or otherwise. You will just have to purchase your domain from another site before you get started.
Takeaway: If you’re a developer, you’ll be interested in their turbo server and proprietary optimized caching. But you can still benefit from A2 Hosting as a beginner, as there are one-click installers for popular apps like WordPress and cPanel that is known to be user-friendly and intuitive.
Overview: GoDaddy’s primary business model is selling domain names but they also offer affordable hosting with a variety of features.
Starter WordPress : $2.99/mo for shared hosting.
WordPress Economy: $3.49/mo for shared hosting.
WordPress Deluxe: $4.49/mo for shared hosting.
Ideal Customer: Anyone looking for a one stop shop to purchase a domain, hosting, SSL, or email marketing software will benefit from GoDaddy.
Code Signing Certificate: GoDaddy offers something not too many web hosting companies do – code signing certificates. Code signing is digital signing of executables and scripts. Some purposes of code signing are 1. To guarantee the author of software, 2. To Guarantee the code hasn’t been corrupted and 3. To eliminate security warnings during download and installation. GoDaddy provides code signing certificates for $169.99 a year. These certificates inspire confidence in users when they download something from your website, like Java applets, web scripting codes, and Active X controls. They also prevent unidentified third parties from altering your code. It’s a nice service for software developers and content publishers. GoDaddy also offers a driver signing certificate which works nearly identical to code signing certificates, but for Microsoft hardware drivers.
Email Marketing: Most web hosting companies offer emails and some help with email marketing, but when it comes to actual email marketing software, they tend to partner with other companies like Constant Contact, AWeber, or Mailchimp. But GoDaddy has their own email marketing software. It’s simple and intuitive to use, with a drag-and-drop email composer, analytics and reports, integration with social media and other tools like Facebook, Etsy, and Google Analytics, and automatic removal of bad addresses. GoDaddy’s email marketing service comes in 3 different tiers, starting at $4.99 per month (500 contacts) up to $9.99 per month (5,000 contacts). The good thing about this proprietary email marketing software is that you’ll get access to the same support 24/7 that knows GoDaddy inside and out. This helps you troubleshoot any problems you might have with integrating the email software with your website.
GoDaddy Garage: The Garage is a blog operated by GoDaddy aimed at small business owners and blogging pros. It’s free and accessible to anyone, so you don’t have to sign up with GoDaddy for it. But it’s unique because it shows that GoDaddy’s involved with the small business and blogging community. Almost all web hosting companies have a blog; that is nothing new. But most of them are abandoned or updated with poor content. The Garage is different because it’s updated almost daily with useful posts on running a small business and resolving technical issues. Multiple authors from different industries submit the posts that are highly educational and practical. The blog is on a WordPress platform so it serves as a showcase of what you can accomplish with WordPress. It is worth your time to check out The Garage while you’re on GoDaddy’s site looking at all that they offer.
We have looked over several online reviews to find out how customers feel about GoDaddy. We found that customers were happy with their pricing and uptime.
One happy customer writes: “Godaddy is amazing with the quality features it provides against such a low cost. I have been working with godaddy since last 3 years and I have had no problems with it!”
Another reviewer agrees saying: “GoDaddy is a pretty good first time host, uptime is pretty good and their prices are cheap, especially with their frequent discounts.”
Not all reviews were positive however. We found that customers were frustrated with customer support and resolution times.
One disappointed reviewer explains: “A great brand with some awesome products BUT if you are stuck with a problem it is to stay for long, verrrry long like forever, as the support team does not seem to care about any of its clients issues.”
Another customer agrees saying: “GoDaddy boasts world class support. But these tech support agents only seem to want to get you off the phone and not help you with any real problems.”
We also checked Twitter to see what people are saying about GoDaddy. One customer is happy with the level of support:
— Claudia (@claudiamarz_) December 7, 2015
Another user is upset that support has been unable to resolve an ongoing issue:
@GoDaddyHelp Your support is very bad and useless. You are not able to solve problems! Still facing same issue since your update!
— Security Affairs (@securityaffairs) November 23, 2015
GoDaddy is an interesting option for web hosting because their primary focus is on domain names. GoDaddy’s homepage is primarily devoted to domains so you’ll have to look to find their hosting information. They offer other services like email marketing software, code signing certificate, online bookkeeping. Their personal plans are reasonably priced and they have an award-winning support, though the support channels are limited.
Takeaway: If you’re interested in having a one-stop shop for all of your needs – web hosting, domain names, email marketing, dedicated IP, etc. – then GoDaddy would be a good choice. But if you’re paralyzed by all their offerings that have little to do with web hosting, you’d be better off looking elsewhere.
Overview: Hostway is a well established hosting company offering packages that will appeal to both individuals and busniesses.
There is no pricing information listed on Hostway’s website, but there is a phone number for the sales team.
Ideal Customer: Any individual or business looking for a wide selection of hosting plans or looking to try managed servers risk free.
6 Months Free Managed Servers: HostWay has a very generous offer of 6 months free managed servers. If you want to try out managed servers but don’t know what the process entails, now you have a risk-free way of doing so with HostWay. Managed servers negates the need for in-house IT, so you can focus on your business rather than worrying about day-to-day tasks like backups, patching, updates, and more. HostWay guarantees 100% uptime for their managed servers and offers 24/7/365 support by their in-house data center. You can also customize your solutions to match your goals and optimal hosting environment. You can add on managed security services, ideal for PCI-compliance initiatives or HIPAA compliance.
Geographically Dispersed Datacenters: HostWay has 4 geographically dispersed datacenters in North America: Austin, Chicago, Tampa, and Vancouver. Having multiple locations presents several advantages. Customers have the ability to choose one or more locations, although the location of cloud resources shouldn’t really matter. People tend to like knowing where their infrastructure resources are located, so giving them that option is nice. Redundancy is another advantage of having geographically dispersed datacenters. If a natural disaster or some other catastrophe cripples one location, there are other locations for backup or recovery purposes. Reduced latency is also a big advantage. Companies in the West Coast, Australia, or East Asia can connect to the Canadian cloud to bring their servers closer to their own time zone. Likewise, people in the Central Time zone can connect to the datacenter in Austin and people in the Eastern Time zone can connect to Tampa.
Brand Ambassadors: HostWay has their own word-of-mouth program that is slightly different than a regular referral program. It’s called Brand Ambassadors – it’s an elite group of their customers who share their success stories on social media, review sites, blogs, and HostWay’s Ambassador page. Common review sites are Webhostdir.com, Hostsearch.com, Whoishostingthis.com, Besthostratings.com, among others. Brand Ambassadors get entered into a drawing every quarter for a prize and are the first ones to receive updates about beta releases and special products. The drawing prizes are worth your time, the last one being an iPad for the winner. To get started with HostWay’s Brand Ambassador program write a user review and then fill out a simple form on their website telling them your information and the URL of the review.
We have looked at several online sources for Hostway reviews. We found that users are split in their opinion about tech support.
Here one customer is happy with their service: “We have never had an unscheduled outage in all of that time and the customer service has always been very responsive and knowledgeable when we’ve needed help with changes.”
Another reviewer writes: “Whenever I have a question tech support can resolve it in the shortest possible time. I would recommend Hostway for it’s excellent service both in it’s reliability and tech support.”
We also found several negative reviews for Hostway’s customer support and billing.
One frustrated customer states: “Their support is by far the biggest joke I’ve ever ran into. They can’t solve even basic issues. I ended up walking them through what they had to do to fix things.”
Another upset reviewer writes: “Totally shady company! Offers absolutely no refunds. Automatically bills you in advance even if you have requested them to stop.”
We also checked Twitter to see what people are saying about Hostway. This user is happy with the level of communication from the host:
@Hostway Thank you for the detailed updates throughout the day. I appreciate your responsive support. I hope you rest well this evening.
— Myra Golden (@MyraGolden) September 15, 2015
Another user is upset at an ongoing email issue:
@Hostway Over 10 hours now no email service, customer service no help. Lots of "I apologize " Very disappointed
— Harvey J Smart (@hjsmart) September 15, 2015
HostWay’s products aren’t really appropriate for someone looking for a simple shared hosting plan. They’re more appropriate for people looking for scalable cloud solutions and managed servers, or a hybrid. They have geographically dispersed datacenters to increase speed and reduce latency.
Takeaway: HostWay is geared more towards people looking for cloud hosting and managed server hosting. Their 6 months free managed servers is a good deal to take advantage of. If you’re looking for cloud solutions, you’ll find many options with HostWay through their public, private, and dedicated private solutions.
Overview: WebStarts caters to beginners and novices looking to start a new website.
Free: $0.00/mo for shared hosting.
Pro: $4.89/mo for shared hosting.
Pro Plus: $7.16/mo for shared hosting.
Ideal Customer: Anyone looking for easy to use web design tools to get started making their web presence.
Free Website: Free websites might be a relic of the past since Yahoo shut down Geocities some years ago, but WebStarts is one of the very few hosting companies still offering it. Of course, there are limitations. You can’t have a custom domain name and the number of web pages you can create is limited to 5. And there are dreadful ads shown on all pages. But the reason it’s still a good deal is because it’s free and it gives you a good chance to experiment with WebStarts’ support and their website builder. Their free templates are very attractive and follow all modern trends and design practices. If you’re looking for a simple portfolio or personal website, WebStarts’ free plan would be perfectly reasonable. Support is limited for free websites however. Only paid versions are able to use phone support. Users of the free option are limited to email and help documents.
Rich Website Builder: WebStarts’ website builder has more features than typical website builders. They’ve teamed up with WePay to let you accept credit card payments right away. You can create custom forms and integrate your website with Twitter, Pinterest, or other social media sites. You can create a “members only” part of your website. You can make one page designs with anchor links, which is not a very common feature of a drag-and-drop website builder. Their image editing features are fairly sophisticated, with the ability to set image opacity. You can completely customize their existing templates with different images and text, so you don’t end up having the same boring website design as everyone else using the same template.
Designer Platform: You can easily become WebStarts’ partner through their designer platform, with your own web design without knowing code. Designer Platform allows you to create and sell websites without writing a line of code. You can save your designs as templates to save time and streamline your process. You can brand your designs with your own logo. This is an interesting platform for budding designers. It’s similar to selling your own WordPress themes, except you don’t have to know how to build complicated themes yourself. There is no mention of how big this platform is and how many people are involved, but if anything, it’s a good platform to test your skills and improve your designs.
We looked at online review sites to find out what Webstarts customers were saying. We found that many users were happy with its ease of use.
One happy customer states: “I’ve tried a number of website builders and found webstarts to be the best. They’ve got good customer service and I like the drag and drop editor.”
Another reviewer agrees saying: “It helped almost immediately, and it was really easy to create! Their easy to use interface and video tutorials made it easy to make an entire working website in less than a week. Thanks Webstarts.com!”
We also found several negative reviews as well. These users are unhappy with customer support and billing hassles.
One frustrated reviewer writes: “After attempting to cancel my account with webstarts .com , They have not stopped billing my submitted credit card for membership, and they do not reply to any inquiries that I make to them!”
Another customer warns that: “They are not easy to get ahold of, and once you get a real person, they are often rude and usually not helpful; the billing function continues w/o your notification and exact knowledge of what it is for, and its very difficult to resolve billing mistakes.”
We also checked Twitter to see what people were saying about Webstarts. This user is happy with their mobile feature:
@webstarts Your mobile editor is very good it works rather well
— Luke Barger (@BargerLuke) April 16, 2015
Another user is also frustrated with billing and refund issues:
— Alx (@EceeGaming) June 10, 2015
WebStarts offers the dying breed called a free website, even though it comes with ads and is limited to only 5 pages. Their regular plans have reasonable introductory prices at 50% off. While there is limited support except for higher-tiered accounts, their knowledgebase is pretty solid and should answer most questions. WebStarts obviously aims more toward beginners, with a powerful website builder that has many rich features.
Takeaway: WebStarts offers shared hosting plans only and aren’t for sophisticated users who want more control. If you’re completely design-illiterate and don’t require a fancy website, WebStarts is definitely worthwhile, especially considering they have a free website for you to try out.
Overview: Siteground offers a variety hosting plans that will appeal to anyone from beginners to established businesses.
How much does Siteground cost?
StartUp: $3.95/mo for shared hosting.
GrowBig: $7.95/mo for shared hosting.
GoGeek: $14.95/mo for shared hosting.
Ideal Customer: The best option for web designers or bloggers looking for a variety of features and applications.
Optimized Setup for Popular Applications: Almost all web hosting companies support most popular applications like WordPress, Joomla, or Magento. You can install any of those CMS, typically with a one-click installer. But that’s where they stop. Siteground is unique in that they offer special hosting solutions for WordPress, Joomla, Magento, and other popular applications. These solutions come with Siteground’s proprietary optimized server setup, security, speed systems, free templates, and detailed tutorials. There are multi-tier plans – StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek – to meet any hosting needs, including web space, number of visitors, and application-specific features like caching, staging, and repo creation. Support is optimized for specific applications. For example, on a WordPress plan, you’ll deal with experts who are knowledgeable in WordPress. Premium support is included with higher plans (GrowBig and GoGeek).
Student Hosting: Student web hosting is surprisingly uncommon, which is a shame since everyone knows students can really use discounts. Siteground offers student plans starting at $1.99 a month, which includes all the features of a regular hosting plan excluding free domain. This robust plan includes 10 GB of storage space, multiple versions of PHP, unlimited traffic, unlimited MySQL databases, automatic daily backups, fast speed, and user-friendly cPanel. This plan is suitable for beginners and advanced users. Not only that, there is also Faculty Partnership that includes a custom sign-up page for a specific school or course. Best of all, Faculty Partnership is offered for free. The high level of support applies even to these low-priced or free accounts. Everyone has access to the 24/7 support by experts.
Unique Account Isolation Technology: Siteground was one of the first web hosting companies to use isolation technology, to isolate each account in its own directory for their shared hosting. They use unique chroot mechanisms to achieve this. The biggest advantage of account isolation is that if there is a single account that’s corrupt or has a major security flaw, other accounts on the same server wouldn’t be affected. Also, the common problem with a shared hosting plan is that if one account hogs too much resource, it affects the others on the same server. The account isolation technology helps manage server resources more efficiently even on a shared server. If you want maximum security and resources, you’ll always be better off with VPS or dedicated hosting, but since that’s not always affordable, it’s reassuring that Siteground has this isolation technology to ensure one black sheep in the herd doesn’t jeopardize the good accounts.
We looked at several different online sources to find honest opinions about Siteground. We found many users had positive things to say about their tech support and quick resolution times.
One happy customer writes: “The service to get things repaired are quick – usually within 1 hour, but generally about 15 minutes for me. Many times the tech team already has an issue discovered and is working on it before I contact them!”
Another reviewer agrees saying: “They boast about a 10 minute response time to their tickets, and that’s no idle boast. The last four tickets I raised were responded to in an average of 8 minutes, and all of them resolved immediately.”
We also found some negative reviews. Users here are upset with the site speeds and service with Cloud hosting.
One frustrated customer writes: “I moved from shared hosting to Cloud hosting, and ever since I started spending more money with them it’s been awful. My sites are slower, they gave me an IP address that was on email blacklists.”
Another reviewer had a similar issue saying: “They advised me to upgrade to their cloud service. Once upgrade the service went from bad to unbelievably bad, they then advised me to downgrade to my original plan, by the time I had done this I had spent over $300 for nothing!”
We also checked Twitter to see what customer were saying about Siteground. This user is excited at the level of support she has received:
@SiteGround Great customer service and tech support. I wish all web hosts were this good.
— Kelli Wise (@kelliawise) December 21, 2015
Another user is experiencing different issues with his website due to an area outage:
@SiteGround yeah my site is down too. First SSL certificate broke, now this. Bad for business (mine and yours)
— Joel Rendall (@joelrendall) October 15, 2015
Siteground is a good choice for people preferring WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal. Their pricing isn’t the lowest, but it’s backed by good user reviews and superior support. The glaring disadvantage is that they don’t offer unlimited disk space for shared hosting plans, but it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever need unlimited disk space for any of your websites.
Takeaway: Siteground is the best option for shared hosting. Their unique account isolation technology ensures your account is safe even if one on the same server is hacked or compromised. Support is the best, and pricing is more than fair. For a shared hosting plan, this is the best type of security you can ask for. Get a discounted rate of Siteground here.
Overview: Hostgator offers affordable shared hosting as well as a plethora of other hosting features.
Hatchling: $5.56/mo for shared hosting.
Baby: $7.96/mo for shared hosting.
Business: $11.96/mo for shared hosting.
Ideal Customer: Perfect for small businesses or any level of personal site that wants affordable shared hosting with lots of extras.
Eco-Friendly: HostGator is one of the few web hosting companies who is openly dedicated to green energy. It can take a lot of energy to power millions of websites and keep them running, resulting in a larger carbon footprint. HostGator buys servers that are 36% more power efficient. They also invest in wind energy that can help offset server emissions. They purchase certified renewable energy credits (RECs) that are climate-friendly and wind-powered. All these efforts by HostGator to provide green hosting are equivalent to moving hundreds of cars from American roads or powering hundreds of homes per year. If you or your business is eco-conscience then choosing host gator will keep with your goals and values.
Separate Billing Area: Most web hosting companies use the same portal for billing and the control panel. HostGator has intentionally separated the two areas and have a dedicated billing area. This is good for security, because if you ever want someone else (a friend, associate, web developer, etc.) to have access to your control panel, you can do so without compromising your security and exposing your billing information. The billing area has the standard features you would see, like your billing history, account credits, and areas to manage your payment, subscriptions, and credit cards. However, you might find using separate logins for your billing and control panel a tad bit annoying. HostGator recognized this and recently introduced single sign-on so you can use the same login credential to navigate both areas.
CodeGuard: There are many reasons to constantly backup your website, especially if you have content that changes frequently. Backing up can protect you against CMS upgrade woes, like when WordPress releases a new version. But backing up can be a hassle, especially if you’re not technically savvy. Enter CodeGuard. CodeGuard is an add-on service HostGator customers can purchase for shared hosting packages. This service monitors your website, backs it up daily, and provides you the option to restore a backup to revert to the previous version of your website. After the initial backup, if CodeGuard senses a change in your website’s code, it’ll continuously backup your website automatically. You can also perform backups on-demand in addition to daily backups, depending on the level of plan you purchase.
We looked at different web hosting review sites to get honest opinions about Hostgator. Many users were positive about their features and ease of use.
One happy customer writes: “I chose Hostgator as a beginner. They do have a comprehensive feature list, including the very appealing CodeGuard backup service.”
Another reviewer agrees saying: “The Hostgator Cpanel is full of features. My most favorite feature is the quick install facility that enables anyone even with the minimal skills to install WordPress in a minute.”
Not all reviews were positive. We found some Hostgator users upset at the lack of support and resolution times.
One frustrated reviewer states: “Support is totally non existent. Live chat has never once worked for me despite numerous attempts. The “continue” button just does nothing & after contacting them via opening a ticket I never got a reply.”
Another disappointed customer writes: “They let my server get hacked, I submitted a ticket, and they suspended my sites. I submitted another ticket and haven’t heard back from them in 5 days.”
We also checked Twitter to see what customers were saying about Hostgator. We found split reviews here. One user is happy with tech support:
Shoutouts to @HostGator for having consistently good tech support. I'm legit impressed
— [-FU-] pidgezero_one (@pidgezero_one) December 17, 2015
Another user has a down site and no help:
— Edet Ime Edet (@edetbizplans) December 23, 2015
HostGator is one of the most well-known and popular web hosting companies. They offer different levels of hosting plans with a separate billing area and unlimited disk space and bandwidth, among other standard features. They’re priced reasonably but lack email security protections. With a generous 45 day money back guarantee you can check out HostGator to see if they are right for you. However if you are looking for cloud hosting you’ll have to check out other providers.
Takeaway: HostGator is a solid choice for beginning and intermediate users, especially for WordPress. Their support system also earns high marks from various reviews found online. Their partnership with Weebly also means their drag-and-drop website builder is a cut above others. HostGator is also one of the few companies that is openly dedicated to green energy and employing eco-friendly technology.