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Host Authority

You probably searched for something looking for the best VPS hosting plans, right?

Great, I think I can help.

I’m Jeremy and I’ve tried over 50+ different hosting companies in my years of digital projects, so I have a pretty good feel for the industry.

When it comes to reliable hosting for mid to large size websites and blogs, your options are pretty much either getting dedicated servers (most expensive) or going with a VPS.  [click to continue…]

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bluehostBluehost is one of the most popular web hosting services in the world because of their user friendliness, one-click WordPress installations, and a 100% in-house support team.

They offer low cost hosting plans for beginner and intermediate website owners. Their biggest drawback is the wait time for customer service.

Visit Bluehost.com (Starting at $7.99 $3.95/mo)


Bluehost is ideal for anyone looking for a simple all-in-one solution that is catered to beginning or intermediate bloggers or small business owners.

Here is how they’ve trended over the years:

Features

While Bluehost works well for advanced users, it’s geared for beginners (same class as Hostgator, Siteground, iPage and FatCow).

They’re also the biggest brand of the Endurance International conglomerate (1), alongside hosting companies A Small Orange, iPage, FatCow and Hostgator.

Their user experience, from the moment you sign up with your free domain to the moment your site is ready to go is insanely fast. They’ve calculated the process well and eliminated all unnecessary steps.

Bluehost, because of their pressures to remain profitable, will also try to “upsale” you on many pointless upgrades, but they’re not as nearly as ruthless as GoDaddy.

The biggest one to be careful of is their “quick start” add-on (UPSALE, cough!) service. For $79.99, you get a 45-minute session on how to set up a website. Obviously, you should never take this offer. Instead, sign up, and then call their support, and you can get the same service as getting your “quick start” service.

They’re also a super-savvy PR company, partnering with Grassroots.org membership (2) to offer free hosting for nonprofits and charities.

Customer Support

Their customer support is really kind and helpful, it just takes awhile to get a hold of them.

This is still a better situation than most hosts (which outsource their support to Barbados or wherever), but still not as ideal as, say, Siteground, who has killer support and super fast responses.

Some people who have had extensive experience with Bluehost accounts over the years noted that calling in the midnight hours (if you’re in the USA as their support team is based in Provo, Utah) is a good time to reach their support fast, although it still doesn’t guarantee a prompt response. Some have waited 15 minutes before someone attended their Bluehost support call, even though the call was placed at 2 AM.

Reviews

We looked at several online review sites to find out what customers were saying about Bluehost. We found that customers were most satisfied with the features and easy set up but had an issue with support wait times:

“It takes only 5 mins to setup then you are good to go, it is really easy to transfer or point domains to bluehost as well so a lot of time is saved.”

Another reviewer: “After switching a lot of hosts, finally joined BlueHost. Everything was easy, in a matter of minutes all of my website is transferred to the new one.”

Another reviewer: “The customer service, if you can call it that, is horrible. When trying to get ahold of tech support either by phone or by web, the wait time has never been less than 20min for me, and two times yesterday it was over 30 min.”

Another reviewer: “As of the last year or so no longer can I just reach tech support easily with a simple call. Getting tech support is like torture. You have to wait forever to talk to someone.”

Pros

1) Bluehost offers multiple plans for shared, WordPress, VPS, and dedicated hosting

2) Bluehost makes it super easy to scale or move accounts, if needed

3) Bluehost is a popular choice for low-cost web hosting because they offer reasonable prices for their shared hosting plan, which is the most popular

4) Bluehost has a separate hosting plan for WordPress, which is hosted on their VPS platform with custom architecture, so WordPress users can enjoy special attention and fast speed

5) Bluehost has an extensive knowledge base (3) that you can consult before submitting a support ticket, and its one of the better ones in the hosting industry

6) Bluehost has one of the biggest affiliate offers in the hosting space, paying out $65 per sale (and more, if you hit certain tiers) and paying out over $30k per month to some affiliate marketers (4)

7) Bluehost offers a cloud hosting option that is slightly more expensive than their shared option, but is worth it if you’re building a for-profit venture where upload speeds are crucial

Cons

1) Bluehost is known to have slow wait times when calling in support

2) Bluehost has no uptime guarantee published

3) Bluehost offers many unnecessary “upsales” such as a $79.99 “quick start”, seo services and overpriced website “builders”

Summary

Bluehost is one of the better options for beginners, which is why they’re one of the more popular web hosting companies. They offer multiple plans to accommodate all users, but are geared specifically towards beginners, as proven by their add-on services.

Click here to see the #1 rated web hosting

 

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arvixeArvixe is a popular hosting company that was founded in 2003, and later acquired by the hosting giant EIG who also owns Bluehost and HostGator.

They aren’t particularly known for exceptional customer service and lightning fast hosting servers, that’s for sure.

Click here to see the #1 rated web hosting

Arvixe offers just a few hosting options for individuals and businesses to scale and grow.

Here is how they’ve trended over the years:

Features

Arvixe offers three main features that you might be interested in.

1) No hidden fees:

Arvixe is unique in that they have no “introductory fees” that seem standard with other web hosting companies.

Many companies lure you in with their ultra low introductory fees while presenting in fine print what they really have to pay when they renew. Arvixe has one straightforward pricing system for each plan. When you sign up for their service, you’ll be specifically told when the renewal is, and how much you’ll be expected to pay at that time. And that fee is the same as what you’ll be paying right now if you sign up.

As with other companies like InMotion and SiteGround, you’ll save more money if you pay annually versus monthly or semi-annually, but that’s standard across the industry. The biggest saving comes from signing up for a 2-year plan, at 43% discount. Arvixe makes this clear when you go to the order page.

2) Free domain for life:

Most companies charge separately for your hosting account and your domain. But Arvixe offers free domain for life. As long as you stay with Arvixe and renew your hosting account year after year, the same will be the case for your domain name. This could potentially represent a ton of savings if you host more than one domain (website) on your hosting account, as you wouldn’t need to pay $10 for each new domain you register.

You still have the flexibility to transfer it to another hosting company if you discontinue your account with Arvixe. This can be a very attractive feature for webmasters with multiple sites.

3) Returning customer discounts:

If you’re a repeat customer, Arvixe offers up to 50% off for life on all your hosting account orders. This might not be necessary or particularly useful if you stick to one type of plan.

For example, if you primarily use their shared hosting plan, Personal Class or Personal Class Pro, you can have anywhere from 6 to unlimited number of websites. So you wouldn’t need to purchase another hosting account. But if you want a different type of plan, such as VPS or dedicated server hosting in addition to what you already have with Arvixe, the discounts could add up over time.

Customer Support

Not Arvixe’s strongpoint by any means.

Telephone support phone number is nowhere to be found. First red flag.

Lot of reports saying customer support team is hard to reach with long wait times just to get an email back. If you value efficient and helpful customer support, probably not the web host for you.

Reviews

We checked several online sources looking for Arvixe reviews. We found users were happy with the control panel options and uptime.

One happy customer writes: “My overall experience with Arvixe is great, I have everything I need on the Cpanel starting from domain management to custom software installers for ” ready to install scripts” which is regularly updated with the latest versions.”

Another reviewer please with uptime states: “Uptime has been very stable; I use uptime robot to monitor and it tells me my site has 99.96% uptime over the last 30 days. I’m very pleased with the value offered by Arvixe, their hosting is very affordable.”

Not all reviews were positive. We found users were upset with customer support and ticket resolution times.

One frustrated reviewer writes: “Their tech support doesn’t even care that they are not helping you. I have had a ticket open for over 2 months to try and get my e-mail back up.”

Another disappointed customer warns: “Tickets are responded to after months (yes, months!), which in this century is the same as a non-response.”

Pros

1) Reasonable Pricing: All of Arvixe’s hosting plans are priced reasonably. For the shared plan, you’ll pay around $7 per month or $60 per year, with free domain included. Their dedicated server plan starts at $175 per month for single processor servers.

2) Free Website Transfer: Arvixe offers free website transfer if you’re moving over from another hosting company.

3) Simple Pricing and Extras: With no confusing introductory fees, free domain for life of your Arvixe account, and returning customer discounts, Arvixe has enticing but simple extras that stand out from their competitors.

4) Multiple Plans: You have a choice of five different plans or “classes”: Personal, Business, Reseller, VPS, and Dedicated. One of these plans will most likely meet your needs.

5) 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee: Arvixe offers a very generous 60-day money-back guarantee, whereas the industry standard is 30 and very rarely, 45 days. You can cancel your account by emailing Arvixe’s sales department.

Cons

1) Complaints on Support: While Arvixe provides the standard support through live chat, and ticket system, there are some complaints on how they handle the customer issues. They don’t seem to offer phone support starting in 2015, which can be another issue.

2) Cloud Hosting: Arvixe does offer cloud hosting, but that option is hidden under “Dedicated Class” which can cause some confusion.

3) Website is Hard to Navigate: Arvixe’s website is somewhat haphazard and not user-friendly. You have to mouse over a lot of links to see the full explanation of features. It’s also not mobile-friendly.

Summary

Arvixe stands out from their counterparts in just a few ways: no introductory prices, free domain for life, and repeat customer discounts.

Their hosting plans are robust and should meet most beginners’ needs. With Arvixe’s generous money back guarantee you can feel safe giving them a shot.

Their support seems to have gone down since another company acquired them this year. If you are not technically savvy and feel you will need more support, Arvixe may not be right for you.

Click here to see the #1 rated web hosting

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ipageiPage specializes in shared hosting plans perfect for all levels of web users.

They’re also one of the more environmentally conscious hosting companies out there (see the top rankings here).

Click here to see the #1 rated web hosting

iPage started getting popular back in 2010.

Here is how they’ve trended over the years:

Features

iPage offers some cool features that you don’t always see standard with all hosting companies.

1) One Plan for Shared Hosting:

Unlike most web hosting companies that offer multiple tiers for their shared hosting plans (usually three or more), iPage keeps things simple by offering only one plan for shared hosting. But their one plan is still very robust and comprehensive. It offers all the standard features you would see, such as unlimited disk space and emails, free domain registration, site building tools (e.g. website builder using Weebly), online store, search engine and marketing credits for Google AdWords and Yahoo, security features using SiteLock, and 24/7 support.

All this comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. There are also hundreds of attractive mobile-friendly templates you can choose from. By keeping just one plan, iPage takes out any headache and prevents analysis paralysis.

2) A Green Company:

iPage is one of the handful of openly green companies (like GreenGeeks), dedicated to green energy and eco-friendly business practices. They purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset their energy by 200%. Their offices, servers, and data centers are 100% powered by wind energy. For every kilowatt-hour of energy, they purchase twice that amount of RECs. This is the same as planting 244 acres of trees.

Furthermore, they encourage their customers to be green also, by offering Green Certificates and Green Badge that states your website is eco-friendly. Depending on your field and industry, your business may benefit from green marketing campaign.

3) Community Directory:

Sometimes it’s hard to glean from a list of features exactly what you can do with iPage. That’s when their Community Directory comes in handy. It lists websites registered by iPage customers themselves, in all imaginable industries: arts, blogs, personal, business, entertainment and media, education, computers and internet, gifts and shopping, government, health, science, services, society, recreation, and miscellaneous. Many websites listed have been built by iPage’s website builder and one-click installations.

If you’re a beginner, you can browse through many sites made by iPage customers and know that the company offers all the tools for you to make a nice-looking, highly customized website even if you don’t know any code.

Customer Support

These guys offer a full US-based technical support team with a promise to answer calls in two minutes or less.

This is pretty good compared to some hosting companies, especially when you’re dealing with larger issues concerning VPS and dedicated servers.

Reviews

We looked over online reviews to find honest opinions about iPage. We found that customers were happy with their features and ease of use.

One happy customer writes: “I have been an iPage customer for 8 years, I picked them because of their extensive list of products and their availability of help! I have not been disappointed!”

Another reviewer loves the confidence iPage brings: “I love the simplicity of iPage. They take all the fear away when creating your own site. Even for a beginner it was easy to set up and the tech support helped me get it done.”

Not all reviews were positive. We found that users here were upset with refund and renew policies.

One frustrated reviewer writes: “IPage refused to honor their own written User Agreement and cancellation policy, which essentially guarantees a pro-rata refund of the unused portion of my contract. They refused to budge, and I had to file a dispute through my bank to get a refund.”

Another customer expresses frustrations at the loss of introductory rates: “they autorenew at 750% higher rate at whatever annual/multi year plan you were at. I cancelled and a month later still haven’t been refunded any of what they charged.”

Pros

1) Excellent Service: iPage offers 24/7 phone support, live chat, and support ticket system. They also have an extensive knowledge base and user guides to help you get started. There’s also an option to upgrade to premium support for a fee.

2) Attractive Templates: iPage offers hundreds of mobile-friendly templates, which are included in your membership. They look attractive and follow good design principles. You can preview a few of them on their website.

3) Inexpensive Introductory Price: iPage’s introductory price for their single plan is one of the lowest in the industry, at $1.99 per month. It’ll renew at the regular rate of $11.95 per month, but considering their robust plan, that’s still a reasonable rate.

4) 1 GB Free Cloud Space: With your membership, iPage offers 1 GB of free cloud space through JustCloud. You can store your documents, music, videos, and photos and access them from any device, anywhere.

5) North American Support: iPage only has call centers in North America, which means they don’t outsource their support to other countries.

Cons

1) Barebones Website: Perhaps owing to the fact that they only offer a single plan for shared hosting, iPage’s website doesn’t offer much information except for the standard list of features. It’s also not very user-friendly and difficult to navigate.

2) Dubious Extras: iPage offers a host of supposed incentives, but they’re standard features of any mid-tier shared hosting plan for other companies anyway. For example, they value their security suite that includes daily malware and spam scans at $100, but this is a fairly standard feature. They also value their support at $50, which is groundless and confusing since support is expected with any website hosting plan.

3) SiteDelux: Although iPage currently offers SiteDelux that optimizes websites for mobile devices, they’re discouraging people from using it.

Summary

iPage has a single plan for their shared hosting, which makes things simple.

They have a low introductory price but it still includes most standard features like unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, and a website builder. It also offers a free 1 GB to cloud space, which is a nice add-on.

Overall not a bad choice, but probably not the best, either.

Click here to see the #1 rated web hosting

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Owned by InMotion, Web Hosting Hub offers affordable shared hosting for web novices and new business owners.

They have data centers on both the East and West coasts and boast high speeds with their SSD servers.

Click here to see the #1 rated web hosting

Web Hosting Hub is pretty average when it comes to what they offer for hosting.

Here is how they’ve trended over the years:

Features

These guys offer three great features that separate them from the rest.

1) Pre-installed WordPress and PrestaShop:

WordPress is the most popular CMS and blogging platform. So you expect it out of every web hosting company. But in most cases, you’ll required to install WordPress yourself (here is the best hosting for WordPress).

Although this is done easily through a typical “one-click” installer, it still takes time and there’s a chance something may go wrong. Web Hosting Hub makes it just a bit easier to start working with WordPress right away. They offer pre-installed WordPress, so when you specify you want to auto-install WordPress during the checkout process, it’ll be up and ready for you.

The process is the same for PrestaShop, one of the most popular ecommerce software. This free installation for WordPress and PrestaShop are not limited to just one level; it’s offered across all three shared hosting plans, from Spark, Nitro, and Dynamo. One-click installers work well most of the time, but Web Hosting Hub’s pre-installed WordPress and PrestaShop just takes one step out of the overall process and shaves a bit of time.

2) On-boarding process:

Web Hosting Hub offers a professional, personalized on-boarding process for their new customers. This is clearly aimed at beginners who have little or no experience in buying a hosting package.

After you sign up with Web Hosting Hub, you’ll get a call from them. They walk you through setting up your new account in an on-boarding call. This way, if there’s ever something wrong with setting up a new account, you have someone to help you right away on the phone.

The on-boarding process also works if you have remaining questions about which plan works best for your goals. This is invaluable for novices that may feel overwhelmed when looking at all the different hosting options and specifications.

3) Choice of data center:

Many web hosting companies have just one data center. This keeps things inexpensive for them, but depending on where you live, you could be thousands of miles away from their servers. This means a slower website for you. Even seconds or microseconds of delay add up overtime and cause you to lose customers.

To mitigate this, Web Hosting Hub has two data centers: one in Virginia Beach, VA and one in Los Angeles, CA. When you sign up with them, you have a choice of which data center you want to use. Ideally, it would make sense to choose the one closer to where you live, to ensure your email and website can be delivered faster.

Customer Support

Pretty good support team offered by Web Hosting Hub.

Not a lot of complaints here, most people seem to get responses within minutes. Says a lot about a company, you won’t always get that going with giants like GoDaddy or BlueHost.

Reviews

We checked several online sources for honest Web Hosting Hub reviews. We found that customers were split on their opinion about customer service.

One happy customer writes: “I’m especially impressed with webhostinghub’s support and support team. Their support is 24/7, response time is very fast and the team is generally helpful and knowledgeable.”

Another reviewer agrees saying: “The support reps know their stuff, and point me to solutions quickly. I’m very happy with this company’s dedication to supporting its customers.”

We found negative reviews for Web Hosting Hub dealing with their customer support and resolution times.

One frustrated user warns: “They claim that they don’t know the issue, can’t comment on the issue or deal with the issue, and then they become rude and almost hostile to the paying customer.”

Another reviewer writes: “My biggest problem has been very poor support of Webmail. Support is slooooow (up to 48 hour response in some cases).”

Pros

1) 24/7/365 U.S. Based Support: Web Hosting Hub offers around-the-clock support through phone, email, a ticket system, and live chat. This is pretty standard, but their support community is impressive with Q & A, guides and whitepapers, and extensive help center.

2) 90-Day Money-Back Guarantee: Web Hosting Hub offers a 90-day money-back guarantee, which is quite generous compared to the industry-standard of 30 days or 60 days (rare).

3) Free Website Transfer: Web Hosting Hub doesn’t charge for website migration. The process is relatively painless; you simply let them know your existing hosting account information and they handle the rest. The transfer is good up to 3 websites.

4) Free Domain: You get a free domain included with your hosting package.

5) Free SSD: Solid-state drives are known to be up to 20 times faster and more reliable over mechanical hard drives. While some hosting companies charge extra for SSD, it’s included in every plan for Web Hosting Hub.

Cons

1) No Uptime Guarantee: They don’t openly claim any uptime guarantee on their website.

2) Shared Hosting Only: Web Hosting Hub doesn’t offer any plans on VPS, dedicated server, or cloud hosting. It’s strictly shared hosting.

3) Hackers in the Past: In 2012, Web Hosting Hub was one of the targets of TiGER-M@TE attack, but they handled it right away and openly communicated about this attack on their website.

Summary

Web Hosting Hub is your standard company that offers shared hosting plans only. Their introductory prices are competitive and they offer many extras. You have the choice of two data centers.

If you have an existing website, they offer a hassle-free website transfer so you don’t have to deal with the headache.

With Web Hosting Hub’s generous money back guarantee you can feel good about giving them a try. But if you are looking for options other than shared hosting or if you want an uptime guarantee you will need to look at another provider.

Click here to see the #1 rated web hosting

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inmotionInMotion offers robust web hosting packages for businesses and tech savvy users.

They’re not the cheapest hosting option out there, but they offer quality servers for advanced web masters and high traffic websites and blogs.

Click here to see the #1 rated web hosting

InMotion was pretty popular back in the day.

Here is how they’ve trended over the years:

Features

InMotion offers some great features. See for yourself:

1) Max Speed Zone: For VPS and Business Class hosting clients, InMotion Hosting offers their trademarked Max Speed Zone. InMotion Hosting is located in both east and west coast – in Virginia Beach, VA, and Los Angeles, CA. This bi-coastal option lets you choose which data center you want to be closer to in order to take advantage of their advanced routing network. You’ll have access to faster network than their competition, which means faster downloads, email, and website.

To make sure their performance lives up to their claim, they test from 35 U.S. locations and 46 locations from around the world. You can see various speed tests and demos on their website to see how fast you can expect your website to be.

2) BoldGrid Website Builder: BoldGrid is InMotion Hosting’s proprietary website builder. It’s built on WordPress but functions as an easy drag-and-drop editor so you don’t actually have to be familiar with WordPress. You own all content 100%. Unlike traditional drag-and-drop website builders that tend to make websites look elementary, BoldGrid allows you to create sophisticated, modern websites that are responsive and optimized for mobile devices.

In addition, you can purchase BoldGrid Copyright Coins, which allow you to buy media and content such as marketing content, photos, etc. from within BoldGrid on WordPress. All WordPress themes you can choose from are HTML5, and follow the best modern design practices. If you’re out of ideas for your website, you’ll have access to content and images you saw on the demo WordPress theme so you can customize them to your liking.

3) Free Data Backups: There are some hosting companies that claim no responsibility for backups, putting all the burden on the site owners. Many hosting companies charge for data backups, even if they’re as little as $1 per month. The ones that don’t charge, limit free data backups for their higher-tiered plans. InMotion Hosting offers free data backups across all their shared hosting plans, Launch, Power, and Pro.

Also, they’ll let you restore once every 4 months, whereas other companies charge to have your backup restored. For additional restores, it’s $49. Because sites larger than 10 GB won’t be backed up automatically, you’ll have to talk to the sales department for more options about that. Still, free backups and restores for websites under 10 GB are pretty generous. They also let you backup manually with their easy-to-use backup tool.

Reviews

We checked several Internet review sites for honest opinions about InMotion. We found many customers happy with their technical support and pricing.

One happy customer states: “I can not think of a problem that support did not attend to promptly. I am also happy with uptime and their pricing and have often recommended them to friends and business associates.”

Another user agrees saying: “I think one of the greatest pros of this company is the support they have. You can reach someone 24/7 and get help fast.”

Not all reviews were positive however. We found that some InMotion users were disappointed with uptime and specific service issues.

One frustrated reviewer writes: “The sole reason for this change is in due to their downtime issues. Every three months or so my server will go down for anywhere from a half an hour to a couple of hours.”

Another user is unhappy with some recent changes: “They seem like a great web host at first, and they were, until their new terms of service. Everything you could do with their service is now a violation of their terms of service.”

Pros

1) Free “No Downtime” Website Transfer: InMotion Hosting offers free website transfers, up to 3 or fewer cPanel accounts, websites, and/or databases. Free professional migration service means you don’t have to worry about downtime or losing your data.

2) Free SSD: InMotion Hosting offers free solid-state drives for increased performance, across all three of their shared hosting plans. Some companies charge for this or limit it to only their top-tier plan.

3) Free Data Backups: Free data backups are provided across all plans on shared business hosting.

4) 90-Day Money-Back Guarantee: InMotion Hosting offers a generous 90-day money-back guarantee with the usual limitations; the cost of your domain name or other extras you purchase won’t be refunded.

5) 24/7/365 U.S.-Based Support: InMotion Hosting has the standard around-the-clock support through phone, live chat, and email. They also have a very extensive knowledge base and help center that answers most technical questions you may encounter.

Cons

1) Hacked in the Past: InMotion Hosting was one of the targets of TiGER-M@TE attack in the past.

2) VPS or Dedicated Hosting Plan for Magento: This limitation is fairly common, but while other companies don’t “recommend” having Magento on shared plans but still allow them, InMotion Hosting doesn’t allow Magento altogether on shared plans.

3) No Windows Hosting: InMotion Hosting only has Linux-based hosting plans and no Windows hosting.

Summary

InMotion Hosting offers the standard packages you would see in similar companies (see: SiteGround, JustHost, and iPage), including unlimited disk space and bandwidth.

You have a choice of two data centers to maximize your website’s performance. You’ll have free data backups and a generous 90-day money-back guarantee, as well as SSD that’s 20 times faster than mechanical hard drives. However if you need Windows based hosting or want an uptime guarantee, you may be better off looking at another hosting provider.

Click here to see the #1 rated web hosting

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dreamhostDreamHost offers all types of hosting plans for bloggers and business alike.

From shared hosting to VPS hosting, DreamHost offers a variety of options, although their customer support has some room to improve.

Click here to see the #1 rated web hosting

DreamHost was pretty popular back in 2007.

Here is how they’ve trended over the years:

Features

1) 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.

2) 97-Day Money-Back Guarantee: Besides the 100% uptime guarantee, DreamHost offers another unusual guarantee (better than HostGator, Arvixe, and Web Host Hub). 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.

3) 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 (see the full WP hosting rankings here). 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.

Customer Support

People have had issues contacting the support team via chat and phone. Could be a big deal for those that are just starting out and will need to heavily rely on support teams.

However, most hosting companies will get back to you if you get their attention via social media, and it appears that DreamHost is active on Twitter.

Reviews

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.”

Pros

1) Multiple Options: DreamHost not only offers shared hosting plans, but also managed WordPress hosting, VPS, dedicated servers, and cloud services, so you’ll have many options to choose from.

2) One Free Domain Name for Life: While most companies offer one free domain for only a year, DreamHost offers one free domain name for the life of your account.

3) Unlimited Storage & Bandwidth: You have unlimited storage and bandwidth with your DreamHost plans, provided you adhere to the terms of service.

4) Unlimited Domain Hosting: You can have as many domains (websites) as you want in your account.

5) Cloud Storage Service: DreamObjects is DreamHost’s cloud storage service, so you can use it to backup your personal files or whatever you want. You can try it for free for 30 days.

Cons

1) Only Email/Ticket Support: DreamHost doesn’t offer telephone support or live chat, which could be an issue for some people.

2) No cPanel or Plesk: DreamHost has a proprietary web-based control panel, rather than cPanel or Plesk.

3) No Reseller Account: There is no reseller account offered with DreamHost.

Summary

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, or you may want to go with something cheaper.

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fatcow

FatCow provides a simpler hosting structure that caters to new businesses and other less technical users.

Offering hosting plans with shared servers and VPS servers, FatCow uses clean energy (wind) to power their equipment, making them one of the greener hosting companies out there (see: GreenGeeks and iPage).

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Company really started to get hot back in 2009.

Here is how they’ve trended over the years:

Features

FatCow offers some unique features that make it an intriguing hosting solution for new bloggers and website owners.

1) 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.

2) 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 sub-users, 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 web masters alike.

3) 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.

Customer Support

FatCow offers 24/7 support and it doesn’t seem to be an issue for users, so they must be doing something right.

Having a support team available at all times shouldn’t be overlooked, although most hosting companies are starting to adapt it as a standard (see the best overall hosting companies).

Reviews

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.”

Pros

1) Low Introductory Rate: $49 per year introductory rate is pretty hard to beat for such a comprehensive plan.

2) 1 GB Cloud Storage: With your plan, you get access to 1 GB of JustCloud storage so you can save your photos, files, music, and other media, and access it from anywhere and on any device.

3) 24/7 Support: FatCow offers the standard 24/7/365 support through phone, live chat, and a ticket system. They also have a pretty extensive knowledgebase and user guides.

4) Simple Plan: Having one simple plan makes things easier. You don’t have to suffer from analysis paralysis to see which plans would meet your goals and needs. For a flat-priced simple plan though, the Original FatCow Plan offers many features that you’d have to pay more for with other hosting companies.

Cons

1) No Uptime Guarantee: There is no published uptime guarantee on their website.

2) No Backup Included: You’re required to do your own backups manually and there doesn’t seem to be any service that’ll provide backups for even a monthly charge.

3) No Cloud Hosting: FatCow’s hosting plans are limited to shared, dedicated server, and VPS hosting.

Summary

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.

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a-smallA Small Orange is an exclusively Linux-based hosting company that offers a variety of hosting options for personal or business sites.

Their shared hosting plans are decent for beginners and small businesses with low traffic websites, but more experienced web masters could run into issues.

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A Small Orange continues to stay relevant in the hosting space, despite tough competition (see: DreamHost, FatCow, and Arvixe).

Here is how they’ve trended over the years:

Features

A Small Orange has some cool features for the novice website owners.

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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 (see: Web Hosting Hub and InMotion).

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.

Customer Support

A Small Orange has a support team, but you’re only able to reach them via live chat.

So if you like to have a phone number readily available for 24/7 phone support, these guys might not be your best option.

Also, no reports of any support ticketing system, a common system in many of the top hosting companies implemented to help streamline customer support and make sure all customers are assisted in a timely manner.

Reviews

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.”

Pros

1) 90-Day Money-Back Guarantee: A Small Orange offers a very generous 90-day money-back guarantee, with the usual limitations. For example, your domain cost or any extras won’t be refunded.

2) Uptime Guarantee: According to the terms of service by the company, they offer 99.9% uptime guarantee in a given calendar month. Although there is no uptime tracker available on their site.

3) cPanel Included: For lovers of cPanel, A Small Orange provides this popular control panel.

4) Weebly Website Builder: A Small Orange offers website builder powered by Weebly. Weebly is simple and intuitive to use, and you can upgrade to have more functions for $11 per month.

5) Free Migration: A Small Orange offers a free migration service if you’re coming from another hosting company.

Cons

1) Limited Support: The support seems limited only to live chat, as no other information (phone number or ticket system) is published on the website.

2) No Proprietary Website Builder for Free: While the company uses Weebly as their website builder, they don’t have a proprietary free website builder that other companies provide with more robust functions.

3) Limited Storage and Bandwidth: A Small Orange’s shared plans offer limited storage and bandwidth, even for higher-tiered plans. The lowest tier has 500 MB of storage for $2.92 per month and the highest tier has 30 GB of storage for $20 per month.

Summary

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.

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a2A2 markets themselves as the “developer friendly” web hosting company and they cater primarily to this crowd.

(If you are just starting out with your first web project, you might want to consider something cheaper with free site builders and helpful tutorials.)

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The guys at A2 were one of the first to offer SSD servers, something that has grown increasingly popular in the industry (see: KnownHost, InMotion, and ASO).

Here is how they’ve trended over the years:

Features

A2 offers some features that make it stand out from the typical hosting company.

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

Customer Service

No complaints here. A2 offers 24/7 network monitoring and a US-based support team available all day, everyday (including a “guru crew” and a team devoted to WordPress support).

Definitely one of the better customer service reputations out of the top hosting companies.

Reviews

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.”

Pros

1) Uptime Guarantee: A2 Hosting has a published 99.9% uptime guarantee on their website.

2) Free Website Migration: A2 Hosting offers a free site migration if you’re using cPanel with your current host. You only have to contact the support staff to have it done.

3) cPanel Included: A2 Hosting includes cPanel, one of the most popular and well-known control panels for managing websites.

4) Money-Back Guarantee: They have a fairly standard 30-day money-back guarantee with the usual caveats, such as no refunds on domain registrations, setup fees, and SSL certificates (outside the 7-day window).

5) Discount for TeslaThemes: TeslaThemes is a premium WordPress theme club. Their themes are attractive, mobile-optimized, and come with a lot of built-in functionality. A2 Hosting gives 20% discount for TeslaThemes if you purchase any of the three plans.

Cons

1) Not Marketed for Beginners: This isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, but A2 Hosting is definitely geared more towards developers. If you’re a beginner, you’ll face a learning curve.

2) PHP 7 Only on Turbo Plan: PHP 7 is only available and supported on their highest-tiered plan, Turbo.

3) No Domain Included: No free domain is included with any of the plans.

Summary

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.

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