Once the domain of the geeky or forward-thinking business owner, having your own website is now seen as an exciting and realistic prospect for many of us. You can use that website as a springboard for a burgeoning freelance career in your chosen field, to advertise homemade wares, to provide directions for your wedding, or simply to write down your thoughts and feelings as part of a blog. Having your own web space is wonderfully open ended like that, and a great way to get your name out there in whatever way you wish to be seen.
That’s why there are hundreds of different web hosting companies out there, keen to grab your attention and provide a quicker way of setting you up than the last web hosting site. So, where do you begin with knowing what you need from your web hosting provider? Well, there are some key things to consider before we delve into suggestions of the best hosting companies out there.
First of all, what do you actually need? Do you know your way around website design or are you planning on hiring someone to develop a website for you? In which case, you don’t need to worry about web hosting packages that include a website builder. Alternatively, if you’re doing it all yourself and you’re a novice, a web hosting site that offers quick WordPress installations along with extensive customer support is important for you.
Shared web hosting is one cost effective way of launching your site because it has your site hosted alongside other people’s businesses or blogs. By sharing resources, you save money but it can also slow down the performance of your site. People are used to sites loading pretty much instantly nowadays and if your site is sluggish, it may put them off waiting around or clicking through links. Shared web hosting is fine if you’re running a personal blog, but a bad idea if you have a growing business to develop online. First impressions count.
Another thing to consider is bandwidth and storage constraints. If you’re launching a business site and expecting it to grow quickly, you want a package that offers a substantial amount of bandwidth. Most of the time, storage isn’t as big a concern though, unless you’re uploading many high resolution images to advertise your products. Don’t get enticed by a service that offers more than you could ever possibly need. It might be a false economy.
Similarly, keep an eye on pricing. Many sites offer attractive introductory offers for the first year, but the price can ramp up significantly in later years. You can move your website over to a different web hosting company but this can be awkward to do if you’re not overly experienced with website development. Sometimes, it’s easier to stick with what you know, with one that doesn’t have any sneaky loopholes or caveats.
Now that you’ve had time to think about what exactly you need from your web hosting plan, we’ve taken a look at some key scenarios and determined the best web hosting sites for every situation.
Unlimited storage • Varied WordPress package options • Curated plug-ins
Limited tech support
It’s everything a WordPress blogger could want, right down to easy transfer options
TMDHostingIt’s everything a WordPress blogger could want, right down to easy transfer options.
TMDHosting is the best option out there for WordPress hosting. It offers three different packages for WordPress users, each of which match the shared web hosting package equivalents but with some neat WordPress friendly extras.
It’s the little things that add up fast for TMDHosting. There’s live malware protection, for instance, circumventing one of the key issues for an unsecured WordPress build.
Elsewhere, WordPress has been preconfigured to be as speedy as possible, with curated management plugins that have been adapted to make the process virtually hassle-free for you. It’s a well-designed system to ensure that novices can feel supported while those who know the ins and outs of WordPress don’t feel constrained.
The only real issue here is that tech support is a little limited, depending on how you like to communicate your issues. Support via ticket or live chat is available 24/7 but if you want to call and speak to someone, the hours are limited to typical business hours. That’s not always convenient, but if a helping hand isn’t an essential for you, it’s fine.
Loads of storage • 25 databases • 500 email accounts • Free domain name
Cluttered control panel • Not as cheap after a year
Easy of use and most of the features you need make 1&1 a great starter pack for the majority of users
1&1A cheap and flexible solution for those who want a starter package for their business or blog.
Virtual Private Server:
Pay a little more at £5 per month and everything switches to unlimited. In both cases, there’s automated installation options for popular software like WordPress and Joomla so, in theory, you’re only moments away from launching a simple blog or site setup. There’s access to the Website Builder too, which enables you to choose from a series of site templates to set up your own website that also includes social media fields and comment boxes. We’d be inclined to suggest you stick with something more WordPress-based if you’re new to website design though. It’s much more flexible.
Whichever package you choose, is a solid choice for anyone after a shared hosting package. It’s easy to use for a small business startup or as a personal blog launching pad. It’s flexible enough to grow alongside your business needs too, which is always good when looking at the long-term.
The only issue here is that the Control Panel is a little clunky and prone to sending you to outdated information. Fortunately, its 24/7 support is a lot more reliable. That reinforces its position as a solid starting place for a business website that needs a little guidance along the way.
Solid customer service • Great security features • Speedy performance
Not the cheapest • Limited storage and bandwidth
SiteGround might not offer unlimited everything like some competitors, but it makes up for it with useful features
SiteGroundSiteGround might not offer unlimited everything like some competitors, but it makes up for it with useful features.
Other security features include the SG Site Scanner that lets you know if your site is under attack, anti-spam tools like SpamAssassin and SpamExperts, IP address blacklists, Leech Protect to stop passwords being publicly posted, and SiteCheck to scan for malware.
Convenient features like being able to choose where in the world your site is based is great when you want to tailor speed and performance according to your main user base. Uptime is solid, and tech support is available via tickets, live chat or telephone, all of which are available 24/7.
The downside to SiteGround is its packages offer less storage and bandwidth than others, with the starter package costing £2.95 per month for a mere 10GB of webspace. However, if security is a big concern, you really can’t go wrong with SiteGround. It’s welcoming to webmasters who are new to the importance of security concerns, and takes some important worries off your mind.
Easy to use • Long money-back guarantee • Good for transferring between hosts
More expensive than others
InMotion isn’t as cheap as some but it’s thoroughly robust and offers great customer support for the rare times you have an issue
InMotion HostingA robust service that offers a 90-day money back guarantee, extensive options, and great security features.
That’s partly because of its wealth of reseller options. If you tie yourself into a 2-year contract, you can start with the beginner package (known as R-1000S) for £10.94 a month. That offers 80 GB of storage, 800 GB of bandwidth, a free dedicated IP, and unlimited cPanels. There are six different reseller packages available so there’s plenty of flexibility depending on your ambitions. The ability to switch between packages is certainly a massive help when you’re working your way up within the field.
Organisational tools are also included, such as free billing software and free domain reselling too, so you’re good to go with your business right from the get go. It’s not as cheap as some competitors but uptime is high and customer support is speedy and knowledgeable, while not being too intimidating. The 90-day money back guarantee is suitably reassuring too.
InMotion promises great uptime as well as comprehensive tech support, both phone and online based, so it’s a dependable name to use as part of your plan to become a reseller wizard. Just expect to pay a little more than other hosts, given its quality reputation.
Great shared and dedicated web hosting plans • Good customer service • High uptime
Not the cheapest out there • No speedy WordPress import feature
HostGator does everything fairly well and if you just need a one stop solution, they can offer it
HostGatorA one-stop solution that will fit a variety of needs, plus there’s excellent customer support.
The most basic shared hosting plan starts at £2.16 per month with that price giving you unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email addresses. Things steadily ramp up depending on your needs with cloud hosting of a similar quality starting at £3.89, and a WordPress optimised solution at £4.67 per month. All those prices are dependent on you tying yourself into a three-year plan though, so be aware if you only have short term aims.
For the more tech-minded user, a dedicated server starts at £93 per month. Reseller accounts start at £15.66 per month with VPS hosting priced the same. If you’ve kept up with pricing conventions, you’ll notice that HostGator isn’t the cheapest at everything it offers but it does remain highly competitive given its unlimited offerings.
Where things get even more appealing for the service is with its wealth of features. It has its own website builder that produces attractive results, one stop automated installations of popular CMS platforms including Joomla and WordPress, and its file manager tool is far easier to use than FTP software.
Perhaps most importantly for anyone considering taking the plunge, its uptime is almost flawless, and the same can be said for its customer service. It offers 24/7 telephone support as well as online web chat so you can easily get in touch if there’s a problem or you simply have a tricky question.
It’s a strong, multifaceted effort for the dinosaur themed company, with its only failing being that it doesn’t offer a quick import function if you have an existing WordPress setup elsewhere. Also, it is a little cheeky during purchase, since prices are based upon signing up for three years. Additional services such as HostGator’s SiteLock monitoring service are also automatically ticked, so be aware when making a purchase.
Despite that, if you just want something straightforward while you figure out what specific needs you require, HostGator is a really dependable starting place.
Fairly priced • Highly configurable • Speedy customer support
Only has US data centres
Hostwinds is a powerful solution aimed at those who know exactly what they’re doing
HostwindsSpeedy and powerful for business owners who know what they’re doing.
That’s apparent right from the moment you check out their servers. It’s possible to outfit them extensively. There’s the choice of operating system, hard drive type and size, and RAM, as well as how many IP addresses you require and how much outbound bandwidth should be taken into consideration. That does mean it’s a little intimidating for those who are completely new to the dedicated hosting game, but it’s worth taking the time to figure out.
Numerous options with Hostwinds just aren’t available elsewhere so it’s a huge boon if you have specific needs in mind. For example, if you just need a server, their price is competitive within the field.
You probably won’t be using it, but there’s Hostwinds’ Trendy Tools website builder thrown in too, as well as the option of automated installation of various other packages. If you’re spending this kind of money though, you should almost certainly already have a website design ready to upload anyhow.
More importantly for a business, customer support is pretty much flawless and very quick to reply whether via an online chat or phone call. Each server is fully managed so you don’t have to worry about basic maintenance tasks either, with Hostwinds also monitoring your server for any problems along the way.
The downside? Well, it depends on your customer base. Hostwinds’ data centres are solely based within America with expansion plans underway. That’s not going to be an issue for US-based businesses, but is something to consider if you’re further afield.
As technical as you want it to be • Expandable RAM and storage • Strong security features
May be intimidating for some
Powerful and comprehensive, DreamHost is an ideal place for a VPS, providing you know exactly what you’re doing
DreamHostDreamHost is powerful and comprehensive, making it the ideal place for a VPS.
For £10.75 per month, you get 1GB RAM, 30GB storage, and unlimited bandwidth and hosted domains. It’s a fully managed service so there’s always someone keeping an eye on any potential problems that may arise. The basic package is a little low specs wise compared to some competitors, so you’re more likely to go with the upgraded package that doubles both RAM and storage, leaving your business with a little more breathing room. In all cases, security features are DreamHost’s strong point with extensive means in which to keep your data and business safe from any potential threats.
Whatever the case, it’s easily possible to upgrade as you go along, making it ideal for a fast growing business. It’s fairly easy to set up too, providing you’re used to a minimalist control panel. In all of DreamHost’s packages, there’s a certain expectation that you know what you’re doing. That’s reflected in DreamHost’s lack of telephone support, although ticket based assistance is typically speedy.
Still, if you’re keen for a VPS, odds are you do know exactly what you’re doing, and you have a website ready to import directly onto the package. Expert users will revel in the keenly priced and flexible VPS services.
Exceptional customer service • Great uptime • Powerful features
Expensive • No shared hosting plans
If you’re willing to pay for high end customer service, as well as fantastic uptime, then Liquid Web Hosting is the solution for you
Liquid Web100% network/power uptime guarantee, advanced features, and high specifications make this service a serious option for serious businesses.
Managed WordPress hosting:
Its dedicated servers start at £155 for a single processor and 16 GB of RAM with that price ramping up to £468 per month for a superior dual-core processor and 32 GB of RAM. Speed is the key here rather than finding a bargain, but that means it’s ideal for a business intent on a strong online presence. VPS servers are also available starting at £46 per month for 2 GB of RAM, 40 GB of storage and 5 TB of monthly data transfer, with the high-end option starting at £171 per month for 256 GB of RAM and 1.6 TB of storage.
Managed WordPress hosting accounts are also available starting at £155 for 5 TB of monthly data transfers, 10 domains, and 100 GB of storage. Even Cloud hosting begins at £46 per month and works its way up to nearly £782 depending on your configuration. Introductory offers are available but for the first three months rather than a full year like with other web hosting sites.
It’s all suitably heavyweight and expensive services, but that’s because Liquid Web Hosting clearly prides itself on high-end service. It offers extensive security features such as firewalls, VPNs, malware scanning and removal, and nightly backups.
More importantly though, uptime is near flawless with a guarantee promising 100% uptime. Similarly, its tech support is phenomenal with speedy and thorough explanations to any problem you may come across. That’s available via phone, chat, or online ticket.