The Best Web Hosting Services of 2014
|$4.00 at Arvixe||$8.95 at DreamHost||$0.00 at Weebly||$3.96 at HostGator||$5.99 at InMotion||$9.95 at SiteGround||$5.99 at BlueHost||$3.99 at GoDaddy||$6.95 at HostMonster||$2.99 at Network Solutions|
|Disk Space||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||10GB||100 GB||100 GB||100 GB||300 GB|
|Number of Domains||6||Unlimited||0||1||6||1||1||1||Unlimited||1|
|Unlimited FTP Accounts|
Every business—even if it only has one employee—needs a Website, and even if you’re not running a business you might still want a site of your own. Thanks to the wealth of options and services available, setting up a website with your own personal domain (that is, with a URL in the format http://www.yoursitename.com) is both easy and affordable. The first step is to find a Web host, the company who will store your files on its servers. As you can see from the above table, Web hosts are all different, with different bandwidth, storage capacity, applications, email features, and of course, prices.
While Web hosts can offer dedicated hardware and even virtual private servers (in which multiple sites share hardware but otherwise have isolated, virtualized software), this list focuses mostly on shared packages, the most common (and affordable) way to set up Web site. This means a single server at the Web host is serving up multiple Websites. For your purposes, though, it doesn’t matter since you are the only one with access to your files, and you can’t access someone else’s files.
Before you can decide which Web host meets your needs and which Web hosting package to buy, you need to figure out your basic requirements. These shared servers are affordable, but if you are worried about performance and speed, you need to be looking at dedicated or virtual servers.
Many of the Web hosts offer limited features for the starter packages, and then expand the offerings (sometimes tremendously) for higher-tier plans. Read the small type to make sure the plan you are selecting offers what you need. If you need a site builder application to design your Website, make sure that the low-cost Web host you are picking actually comes with a site builder. Many of them require you to pay for the builder as a separate add-on.
You also want a Web host with 24/7 customer support—if not by phone, then by chat. Forums, knowledge bases, and help tickets are all well and good, but sometimes you just need that human on the other end of the support call.
Some Web hosts offer a choice of Linux or Windows hosting. If you have specific applications that require Windows, such as SQL Server or a custom application written in .NET, then you need to make sure your Web host has Windows hosting. But don’t let the idea of a Linux host intimidate you. Most Web hosts nowadays offer a graphical interface or a control panel to simplify server administrator and Website management. Instead of typing at the command line, you will be clicking on icons most of the time.
One thing we learned in reviewing the services listed here (and many more!) is that even though the packages are very similar, they are not identical. Some are more security-minded than most, offering antispam and antimalware tools. Others offer a variety of email marketing tools. While most of the hosts have built-in e-commerce, you may want to consider buying and installing a robust e-commerce application instead.
Some Web hosts give you plenty of room to grow even within the tier, and others require you to upgrade to a more expensive plan. Consider how much you expect to grow your website and how soon before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan.
If you’re ready to select a great Web hosting service, click the links below to read our in-depth reviews of the biggest and best names in the space.
|Arvixe Web Hosting
$4.00 at Arvixe at Arvixe Everyone has different requirements, but odds are high that Arvixe will meet most of your needs. Arvixe hits all our major requirements, with unlimited bandwidth and storage, spam filters, helpful customer support, e-commerce and blog hosting, and more. Read more ››
|Dreamhost Web Hosting
$8.95 at DreamHost at DreamHost Dreamhost offers more high-end Arvixe, but it is slightly harder to get started. If you are a savvy Website administrator and don’t need the hand holding, then considering investing in Dreamhost’s unlimited everything (bandwidth, storage, emails) for all your Web hosting needs. Dreamhost doesn’t have a site builder, so be prepared to purchase one, build your site elsewhere, or just migrate over an existing site. Read more ››
|Weebly Web Hosting
$0.00 at Weebly at Weebly Weebly stands out like a sore thumb on this list of Web hosting services because it isn’t a Web hosting service in the same way the others are. Weebly is a site builder—one of the best ones we’ve seen—which means whatever site you create is yourname.weebly.com. If you want to use your own domain name, there are plenty of Web hosts with site builders—many of them even use Weebly! But if you don’t care about your domain, Weebly is definitely worth considering. Read more ››
|Hostgator Web Hosting
$3.96 at HostGator at HostGator That cartoon alligator notwithstanding, HostGator is a serious Web host. It is stable and reliable, and if you are worried about pricing, HostGator’s raft of discounts and promotions will keep costs under control. The control panel makes it easy to find anything you need, from third-party apps to site statistics. Reaching customer service can be a little tricky, but the Web chat is always just a click away. Read more ››
|InMotion Web Hosting
$5.99 at InMotion at InMotion InMotion Hosting is one of the easier and cheaper Web hosting services out there, and thankfully, the company didn’t skimp on its features. You will find plenty of e-commerce and email marketing tools at your fingertips. The customer service is top-notch. Read more ››
|SiteGround Web Hosting
$9.95 at SiteGround at SiteGround SiteGround is the anti-Dreamhost. You pick SiteGround for your Web hosting needs if you need a lot of hand-holding and help getting your Website up and running. You may get less technical bang for your buck, but its phenomenal customer service and tutorials are perfectly suitable for small businesses and individuals. Read more ››
|Bluehost Web Hosting
$5.99 at BlueHost at BlueHost Bluehost is a respectable Web host that makes setting up a site or WordPress blog a breeze. It looks and feels a lot like HostMonster because they share a parent company, but if you are very security conscious, you may like Bluehost’s offerings better. The Mojo Marketplace has a great selection of third-party applications that you can install to your account. Read more ››
|GoDaddy Web Hosting
$3.99 at GoDaddy at GoDaddy GoDaddy has one of the slickest marketing machines on the Web. If you’ve only heard of one of the services on this list, chances are it’s GoDaddy. GoDaddy offers incredible customer service, email that’s integrated into Microsoft products, and a flexible site-building tool, but some niggles prevent it from being the king of the Web hosting hill. Read more ››
|HostMonster Web Hosting
$6.95 at HostMonster at HostMonster HostMonster in many ways looks and feels like Bluehost as they share the same parent company. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are cookie cutter copies, as HostMonster is easy to use and offers a lot of cool add-ons. Like many of our other top-rated Web hosts, HostMonster offers Weebly as its site builder. Read more ››
|Network Solutions Web Hosting
$2.99 at Network Solutions at Network Solutions Like GoDaddy, Network Solutions lets you put your domain registrar and Web host eggs into one basket. Tons of add-ons are available, making Network Solutions one of the most customizable services out there. If you will be managing a lot of email accounts, Network Solutions has one of the best email management tools we’ve seen. Read more ››