Best web hosting services in 2021
In this article, I’m going to spotlight the best web hosting providers out there. Plus, you’ll find a checklist to help you pick the right option for your site.
Every website needs web hosting. But, first, let’s address what exactly it is. Web hosting is a service that manages and maintains the physical servers on which all of your website files are stored. Servers communicate with browsers, making your site visible online.
But lately, this service has become so much more than just a bare server-browser communication.
That's what we now expect from all hosting providers:
- We expect hosting to be easy to manage.
- Extra functionalities such as staging environments and website builders are expected.
- We want the providers to take care of speed optimizations.
- Without proper security, we don’t even consider the hosts.
- 24/7 customer support is now a must.
And these are just a few main things that hosting providers are expected to take care of.
It’s a win-win situation for us users. We can get an all-inclusive service and forget about technicalities. Well, apart from building a site itself.
So when testing and reviewing the hosts, I take every little detail into consideration. The providers go through rigorous performance tests, security and ease of use review, as well as customer support and pricing analysis. Only the worthy reach this website, not to mention this list.
This article shortlists all of the best web hosting providers and the key findings of them. Strengths and shortcomings included, so you know what you’re getting exactly.
Best web hosting 2021: ranked
- Hostinger – best web hosting overall
- Bluehost – best web hosting for beginners
- SiteGround – premium-level services
- HostGator – cheap and easy hosting
- DreamHost – best flexible plans
- A2 Hosting – performance-focused option
- Liquid Web – best managed VPS
- ScalaHosting – best affordable VPS
- InMotion Hosting – classic cPanel hosting
- InterServer – best month-to-month hosting
Use the list to quickly navigate through providers that interest you the most. Also, don’t forget that there’s a quick checklist at the end of this article to help you pick. You can jump straight to it, if you’d like.
|Features||Free SSL, weekly backups, SSD storage, LiteSpeed web server|
|Best for||Cheap performance-focused hosting|
It’s a surprising fact that the cheapest provider on the list offers the best service overall. Hostinger’s prices start at just $1.39/mo with generous features, speedy performance, intuitive control panel, and helpful customer support included.
Despite its cheapest plan costing just a bit more than a dollar, Hostinger has a lot to offer.
- Performance excels in reliability (100% uptime), speed (0.8s website load time), and power (50VUs). It features performance-boosting technology such as LiteSpeed web server and caching. Plus, you can pick one of its 7 server locations worldwide.
- Hostinger uses an easy to use custom control panel that it calls hPanel. It’s functional and features a couple of additional perks you won’t see in the classic cPanel such as WordPress and Access Manager.
- Customer support is available 24/7 via live chat. Response times are sometimes slower, but agents make up with their friendly attitudes and expert knowledge.
It all sounds almost too good to be true, but we did thorough tests for Hostinger review. And it proved to be very much capable.
Hostinger has 3 shared hosting plans: Single ($1.39/month), Premium ($2.59/month), and Business ($4.99/month).
The plans come with a free SSL certificate and weekly/daily backups. Each plan has different server resources and features for various needs:
- Single is a great plan for both first-time users and businesses that need only 1 website. It comes with 1 site limit, 30GB SSD storage, and 100GB bandwidth for 10 000 monthly visits. Unfortunately, the domain is not included.
- Premium is the most universal plan with generous resources for both personal and business sites. It comes with 100GB storage for 100 websites and bandwidth for 25 000 monthly visitors. Free domain counted in.
- Business adds 200GB storage and bandwidth for up to 100 000 monthly visits. Plus, you get daily backups and a free domain. It’s a great plan for smaller eCommerce stores and other heavy websites.
While the features and prices are great, there’s one catch – the lowest prices come with a 48-month billing subscription, meaning that prepayment is needed.
The cheapest Single plan will cost just $66.72 for 4 years of hosting. That’s a long time to forget about the next bill altogether! If 1-site is not enough for you, Premium offers amazing value for money too.Check Hostinger Pricing Now!
To check what Hostinger is capable of, we monitored it for over 2 months and stress-tested the server. It showed great reliability and server power in both tests.
Hostinger remained up 100% of the time throughout the testing months. That’s surprising considering its 99.9% uptime agreement. At the same time, only praises right here.
As for the server response time, it averaged at 511ms. This makes it slightly better than an average shared host.
Where Hostinger impressed me the most was stress testing. I’ve sent 50 bots to put significant pressure on the server, and it handled the test perfectly fine.
Look at the blue line representing server response times. It’s mostly flat with a couple of bumps, while the grey line (bots) increases. This means that it’s powerful enough to handle such load with no issues such as slowing down.
Overall, Hostinger shows A++ performance results, making it hard for competitors to beat.
To sum up, Hostinger is the best web hosting service overall, excelling in all the major categories: pricing, performance, ease of use, and support. It will suit both personal sites such as portfolios and businesses with eCommerce projects.
- Cheapest pricing available with well-equipped plans
- Servers in 7 different locations
- Speedy performance and 100% uptime
- Friendly 24/7 live chat support
- Support response times are sometimes delayed
- Requires to pay for the full term in advance
|Features||Functional interface, cPanel, WordPress staging|
|Best for||Beginner-focused WordPress hosting|
A giant in the industry, Bluehost offers various hosting solutions starting at $3.95/mo. However, it mainly focuses on plans for WordPress hosting. In fact, it’s one of only 3 providers recommended by the platform. Popularity might be one thing, but Bluehost earns its spot here because of how functional and easy to use it is.
For its services, Bluehost uses a combination of custom dashboard and cPanel. But you don’t even need to reach the main control panel to set up and manage a website.
- You can install WordPress, add domains, as well as set up performance and security settings all from the native interface.
- Additionally, you’ll even get a staging tool for WordPress – somewhat a rare find in shared hosting.
- If you need advanced functions, you can also turn to Bluehost’s integrated cPanel. The customized cPanel sports a fresher and sleeker look than the default version.
Overall, it’s easy to see why Bluehost is the no. 1 pick for many people with its reputation as well as its management panel.
Bluehost offers 4 shared hosting plans: Basic ($3.95/month), Plus ($5.95/mo), Choice Plus ( $6.95/month), and Pro ($13.95/month).
All plans come with unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificates, and a free domain for a year.
- Basic gets you hosting one website and 50GB SSD storage. This plan is best for smaller projects – a personal site, portfolio, or a business landing page.
- For unlimited sites and storage, Plus is the best option. Just a couple of dollars extra, and you are not as limited as with Basic.
- Choice Plus adds domain privacy and CodeGuard automatic backups for a year. Initially, that’s just a dollar extra, but renewal is much higher.
- Pro plan is hosted on lower density servers (fewer users per server), meaning more server power to your site. It also includes dedicated IP, backups, and domain privacy, making it an option for bigger business ventures. At the same time, for this price, you could already opt for a decent Cloud or VPS plan.
The good thing is that you can opt for yearly, two-year, and three-year billing without changing the monthly rate. At the same time, the longer you stay, the further and cheaper the renewal will be.
For the cheapest price, pick Basic with a yearly subscription. At the same time, the best value is with the Plus plan with a 3-year subscription. Also, we are always looking to acquire the best deals, so there might be a discount waiting for you at the checkout cart.Check Bluehost Pricing Now!
Over 2 months of monitoring and testing, Bluehost came out with very reliable performance results. It scored an almost perfect 99.99% uptime. At the same time, servers were not as impressively powerful.
Bluehost had 6 outages – 11 minutes of downtime in total. That’s a very reliable 99.99% uptime. Quite surprising, as the provider does not give any promises for this metric.
The average response time was 361ms, which is an exemplary result. At first, Bluehost was slower, but the response time improved in the second half of the period.
Now, less impressive was stress testing. Instead of the maximum 50, Bluehost handled 15 Virtual Users over 5 minutes.
At the same time, the blue line that indicates server response times reflects the grey line, which stands for the number of visitors. The more visitors join in, the slower the server gets.
That is not ideal, meaning that we are reaching the maximum server capacity to handle the traffic.
On the other hand, that’s not unexpected – cheap plans usually handle 10 000 to 15 000 monthly visitors. And that’s the number that 15VUs would add up to, if they stayed on your site for an entire month.
Also, keep in mind that Bluehost will perform best for US-based audiences – that’s where the servers are located.
Bluehost’s performance is great – reliable and speedy. At the same time, cheap plans will only support low to medium traffic spikes.
As a whole, Bluehost is among the best web hosting companies for its top-notch functional interfaces, good prices, and reliable performance. It’s a great option to start and grow your website from scratch.
- Functional dashboard with staging tool
- Helpful cPanel integration
- 99.99% uptime result and fast response time
- No uptime guarantee
- Servers in the US only
|Features||Caching, staging, multi-user tools, white-label hosting|
|Best for||Premium hosting for business needs|
One of the most impressive providers on the list, SiteGround is famous for performance-focused plans, excellent customer support, and many tools to help you manage a successful website. While any website could take advantage of the features, it’s more of a business option, starting at $4.99/mo. Keep in mind that a big summer discount is live right now, so it's your chance to score a good deal before prices go up again.
But let's look at what makes SiteGround a good option:
- For starters, SiteGround’s plans come with some serious speed-boosting technologies. This includes its in-house caching solution (SuperCacher), SG Optimizer plugin, Ultrafast PHP setup, and a broad server location choice covering the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
- Besides that, SiteGround also offers various features and tools to enhance WordPress management. Among them are collaboration tools, staging environment, as well as WordPress Starter and Migrator plugins to quickly get a site up.
- Of course, there’s no forgetting SiteGround’s impeccable customer support. Here, help is available 24/7 through various channels such as live chat, phone, and ticket. As for the agents, they are helpful, fast, and skilled.
Overall, SiteGround reaches a whole different level when it comes to shared hosting – it’s a premium service. You get top-notch quality, features, and performance.
SiteGround has 3 shared hosting plans: StartUp ($4.99/month), GrowBig ($7.99/month), and GoGeek ($14.99/month).
All plans will get you free SSLs, a custom caching option, possibility to add collaborators, free email accounts, and daily backups.
- StartUp will support 10 000 monthly visits and will give you 10GB storage for 1 website. It’s the only plan that doesn’t feature staging and Ultrafast PHP setup.
- GrowBig, with unlimited websites and 20GB storage, can accommodate up to 25 000 visits monthly. It also adds staging, adding collaborators feature, and Ultrafast PHP setup. It’s the most universal plan.
- For resource-hogging websites, you can consider GoGeek. The plan comes with 40GB storage and bandwidth for 100 000 monthly visits. It also doubles as a reseller or agency plan – allowing you to provide white-label hosting to clients.
SiteGround might not be the cheapest one around, but it’s on a whole different level. You’d rarely see such features and quality with other shared hosting providers.
Pick GrowBig with a 1-year subscription to get the advertised price. Just keep in mind that the renewal will be higher ($24.99/mo). To avoid higher renewal, you can opt for a 3-year subscription. It raises the monthly rate to $17.49, but renewal stays the same. Also, see if a seasonal discount is available to lower the pricing even more.Check SiteGround Pricing Now!
I am not at all surprised that SiteGround scores are very high when it comes to reliability, speed, and server power.
In 2 months, SiteGround was up for 99.99% of the time, with just 3 outages that lasted 7 minutes in total. Barely any downtime, to be honest.
The average response time was more impressive, at 217ms. That’s one of the best results you’ll see today.
And I’m not even done yet.
SiteGround also handled 50 virtual users over 5 minutes easily. That’s a big traffic spike that could easily result in 50 000 monthly visits. And my website is hosted on the GrowBig plan, which promises 25 000 visits/month.
The graph shows that the SiteGround server was equally fast with both 0 and 50 visitors on the site. The blue line representing server response times is as flat as a table while the grey line (visitors) increases.
I really don’t have a bad word about SiteGround’s performance. It’s as fast, reliable, and powerful as any business requires.
Altogether, SiteGround is a more advanced shared hosting option designed for business use. That being said, it’s easy to use – you just get better tools and better performance than on an average host.
- Powerful and speed-optimized servers
- Extra management tools such as staging
- Servers in 4 continents
- Premium pricing
- Free domain is not included
|Features||cPanel hosting, free website builder|
|Best for||Affordable and easy to use hosting|
Cheap and simple, HostGator is a popular option among first-time users. The plans are equipped with unlimited resources and all the essentials, so no extra expenses are needed. You’ll also get to use cPanel, which is the most standard web hosting management panel available.
HostGator is really among the most beginner-friendly options available. Trust me, it took no more than 5 minutes after the purchase to get a website running, set up a professional email, and check if SSL was working.
That’s thanks to the HostGator interface setup.
It has a nice user interface with shortcuts to the most important cPanel management modules. That’s WordPress installation, email setup, and so on. You don’t even need to navigate the panel to have your website launched.
This is very beginner-friendly because as functional and standard cPanel might be, it can still look intimidating the first time you see it.
All in all, HostGator’s user-friendly interface and generous resources catapult the provider into this list of best web hosting.
HostGator has 3 shared hosting plans: Hatchling ($2.75/month), Baby ($3.95/month), and Business ($5.95/month).
All 3 plans include unmetered bandwidth and disk space. Plus, there is free site migration, SSL certificate, and domain, too.
- Hatchling is a hosting plan for 1 website. It’s best for a portfolio, personal blog, or testing out the waters with new business ventures.
- Baby is great for small businesses or if you have multiple websites since it comes with unlimited domains.
- Business additionally adds an upgrade to Positive SSL certificate, dedicated IP, and search engine optimization (SEO) tools. Unless you are sure that you need these features, there’s no need to choose this plan.
As with many hosts, you got to stick with HostGator for 36 months to get the cheapest price. At the same time, it has a lengthy 45-day money-back period, so not much risk here.
The Baby plan is the most universal option. Just $0.75 more expensive than Hatchling, it doesn’t limit the number of websites you can create.Check HostGator Pricing Now!
For a cheap price, HostGator surprised me with excellent performance results. It was very reliable with >99.99% uptime, speedy response times, and the ability to handle the traffic.
Over more than 2 months, HostGator was up and online >99.99% of the time. Just 3 outages and 5 minutes of downtime in total.
As for response time, it was quite average at 525ms. Considering that the industry averages at around 600ms, it’s a good result.
Most impressive of all was the ability to handle 50 virtual users stress test.
HostGator’s server response times (blue) remained flat when more and more visitors (grey) were sent to the website. That’s a very exciting result to see on some of the cheapest hosting available.
Altogether, HostGator is an impressive host, and I’m not surprised why it is so popular. It’s cheap and performs really well, not to mention the ease of use and features included. A perfect option to start a website, really.
- Cheap all-inclusive plans with SSL and domain
- Great performance results
- Easy to use interface
- Servers are based only in the US
- Unclear storage limits
|Features||Custom control panel, WordPress website builder, automated migration|
|Best for||Flexible billing options|
A huge name in hosting, DreamHost focuses on WordPress and is even endorsed by the platform. Part of its attraction is that all of DreamHost’s plans have heaps of useful features designed for easy WordPress management. You also get some of the most attractive prices available.
- DreamHost uses its own custom control panel. It’s a modern-looking and functional interface. What’s surprising is that the provider made WordPress installation actually one click. While others use it as a buzzword and require you to click around some, it’s really as simple as 1 click with DreamHost.
- If you already have a website and look for a better place to host it, one of DreamHost’s more notable features is its migration plugin. The plugin helps you to easily migrate your WordPress site to DreamHost. With this plugin, no technical know-how is necessary as the process is automated.
- Besides that, you can also use premium BoldGrid website builder to design your site on WordPress. It has a selection of modern templates as well as additional tools to design your own pages.
To sum it up, DreamHost offers quite a range of features and tools. In fact, it has all the essentials you need to manage a website.
DreamHost has 2 shared hosting plans: Starter ($2.59/month) and Unlimited ($3.95/month). So the choice is very simple.
Both plans will get you a bunch of stuff – free domain and its privacy, daily backups, unmetered bandwidth, and free SSL certificate.
- Starter comes with 1 website limit and 50GB storage. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include email accounts.
- Unlimited limits neither website number nor storage that you can use. Email accounts are also available for free. Overall, it’s a much better option as for a little more than $1, you get a plan that you might not ever need to upgrade.
Just like many hosts, DreamHost expects you to purchase the longest 36-mo subscription – it features the best prices, but yearly and even monthly options are available. And they are not too pricey compared to other hosts.
- Starter 1-year subscription costs just $2.95/mo, while the monthly rate increases to $4.95 without commitments or contracts.
- Unlimited 1-year subscription costs $2.95/mo just like Starter, but renewal will be higher. The monthly rate is $8.95 without a contract.
Overall, choosing the Unlimited plan is the best value if you need hosting for 1-year. At the same time, a monthly rate without renewal increases is also a budget-friendly way to get hosting.Check DreamHost Pricing Now!
DreamHost comes out as one of the top web hosting providers, performance matters considered. It keeps a close uptime to its 100% guarantee and manages to handle a big traffic spike.
In 2 months of monitoring, DreamHost had just one 1-minute outage. That’s >99.99% uptime. And while it doesn’t reach the guaranteed 100%, you simply cannot be disappointed with this result.
The 231ms average response time is nothing short of impressive either. Plus, it remained quite stable throughout the monitoring period.
It’s just worth mentioning that such good results are visible from the US where DreamHost has its servers. Other locations might experience more latency.
As for stress testing, DreamHost doesn’t disappoint either. It handles the full 50 virtual users’ load.
The response time (blue) is a little bumpy, but it doesn’t follow the number of visitors line (grey). This means that you can expect DreamHost to remain fast even when under pressure (with dozens of users on your website simultaneously).
In the end, DreamHost’s performance is almost ideal – speedy, reliable, and powerful.
To sum up, DreamHost is a good option when it comes to WordPress hosting. It’s quite universal – you get good performance and ease of use for a cheap price. At the same time, it’s not a simplified version – business users and beginners will find it equally good.
- 99.99% uptime result
- Affordable month-to-month rates
- Easy to use interface
- Servers only in the US
6. A2 Hosting
|Features||cPanel interface, LiteSpeed web server, server location choice|
|Best for||Business websites that need a performance boost|
A2 Hosting is a somewhat old-school provider, using classic cPanel for hosting management. It’s a no-fuss option when it comes to the management itself, but the provider has more than earned its place among the best performance-focused hosts.
One of the first things you notice when visiting A2’s website is that it promises to deliver 20x faster hosting. Sure, these are big marketing words, but the provider definitely has some power stocked up.
A2 Hosting has Turbo-labeled plans that come with a unique infrastructure:
- Enterprise-grade AMD EPYC processors;
- NVMe drives;
- LiteSpeed Web Server with caching engine;
- 3-level advanced caching;
- A2 Optimized software with image and code compression available;
- HTTP/3, QUIC, and ESI.
These are all the latest technology that works to ensure the best server (and website) performance.
So while your management interface might look old-school, A2 Hosting packs serious power under the servers. It’s always those who look unsuspicious that are guilty, right?
A2 Hosting pricing
A2 Hosting offers 4 shared hosting plans: StartUp ($2.99/month), Drive ($4.99/month), Turbo Boost ($9.99/month), and Turbo Max ($14.99/month).
The plans all come with unlimited transfers and email addresses. Plus, they also include freebies like SSL certificates and migration.
- The Startup is the regular entry plan – 1 website limit and 100GB of SSD storage. That’s enough space to publish all of your portfolio, not just the nicest bits.
- Drive does not limit resources and storage. It also adds daily backups. Affordable enough, it’s a good option for personal use.
- All the good stuff starts with Turbo Boost. You get the same unlimited stuff, but your site will be hosted on the powerful infrastructure with caching and other perks included. It’s a business-oriented plan.
- Turbo Max features the same perks as Turbo Boost, but the number of users per server is much lower. This means that you’ll get even more resources and performance benefits.
Honestly, I think that only the Turbo plans should be considered here. The Startup and Drive are not as cheap to be affordable for personal use. Meanwhile, given the benefits offered, only Turbo-labeled plans make sense for businesses.
Choose Turbo Boost with a 2 or 3-year subscription to enjoy a longer-lasting introductory discount. Talking of which, we are always on the lookout for the best deals, so don’t be surprised if a discount is waiting for you on A2’s website.Check A2 Hosting Pricing Now!
A2 Hosting performance
Just as promised, A2 Hosting delivers speedy and reliable performance, not to mention its capability of withstanding big levels of traffic.
2 months and counting, A2 Hosting delivers stable 99.99% uptime. Just 4 outages and 7 minutes of downtime in total.
Meanwhile, server response times are not 20 times faster. It falls in the perfect average at 597ms. And while we’ve got providers that beat this time, it’s still a good result.
Now, more impressively, A2 Hosting holds up to all 50 virtual users that I’ve sent as a stress test. That’s a big wave of traffic coming in, but A2 doesn’t even flinch.
The blue line representing server response time is very flat, with just minor bumps throughout. It’s not affected by the increasing number of visitors (the grey line). I’m not surprised by such results – A2 Hosting puts a lot of effort into optimizing its servers.
So as a whole, A2 kind of delivers what it promises. But take those big claims with a grain of salt. It’s fast, stable, and reliable, but not dozens of times better than other speed-focused hosts.
Altogether, A2 Hosting is more of a premium business-focused hosting option. It will make sure your website is reliably and speedily available at all times to all visitors. It’s no-fuss performance-focused hosting.
- Big disk space allowances
- Servers in 4 continents
- Speed-boosting features
- Higher pricing than average
- Old-school looking interfaces
7. Liquid Web
|Features||Server management, control panel, WAF|
|Best for||Mission-critical projects|
Liquid Web holds the ground as the best VPS host among all the shared service providers. The company is known for its managed plans focusing on power and security. It’s an option for mission-critical projects.
For developers, agencies, and larger business owners, Liquid Web’s managed VPS is a no-fuss solution to get a powerful hosting service. It’s deployed and managed for you, so all that is left is to actually develop your project.
What’s surprising is that I, a sworn shared hosting user, tried Liquid Web’s VPS, and it was smooth sailing:
- I got the server launched for me in around 5 minutes;
- InterWorx control panel works on 2 levels – server (NodeWorx) and website (SiteWorx) management, so it was easy to navigate;
- SSL and app installation is basically automated, just like with shared hosting;
The learning curve is only expected because InterWorx is a unique panel that’s not often used. Yet still functional and intuitive. Plus, customer support is available in 30 seconds (really, they promise that).
Altogether, as advanced as it might be, Liquid Web is a user-friendly VPS option.
Liquid Web pricing
As expected, Liquid Web is a more expensive solution with a starting price of $15/mo. It can be scaled to $999+/mo, depending on your needs.
All of the plans come with a bunch of stuff: free SSLs, 10TB of bandwidth, server monitoring, DDoS protection, firewalls, as well as InterWorx control panel. Then, it all comes down to your needs:
- $15/mo plan comes with 2GB RAM, 2 CPUs, and 40GB disk space
- $25/mo will get you 4GB RAM, 4 CPUs, and 100GB disk space
- $35/mo is the plan with 8GB RAM, 8 CPUs, and 150GB disk space
- $95/mo option comes with 16GB RAM, 8 CPUs, and 200GB disk space.
The plans are all the same, hosted on identical servers. You simply can configure what level of each resource you need.
I’d like to also add that Liquid Web prices for managed VPS are quite low, with other options usually starting at $30.
What’s good is that you get a big introductory discount and can pick a billing period to suit your needs: 1-month, 1-year, or 2-years. Of course, as introductory might suggest, the renewal prices will be bigger, so I recommend the 2-year option for savings.Check LiquidWeb Pricing Now!
Liquid Web performance
Liquid Web definitely shows some class with reliability, promising and delivering on 100% uptime agreement.
I monitored Liquid Web for a little bit more than 2 weeks. During this time, the provider kept my website online 100%, just as promised.
As for the server response time, 521ms is quite average, in my opinion. At the same time, this is a VPS provider, so getting optimizations in place is your own responsibility. That means this is just the bare server speed that can be improved if needed.
The stress testing results were also great. Not surprisingly at all, Liquid Web handled all 50 Virtual Users.
At the same time, the server response time (blue line) increased a little bit when as many as 40 VUs joined in and remained there until they started disconnecting. This means that once a big surge of traffic hits the server, it might slow down just a little bit. But that’s not a big issue at all, considering how small the slow down was.
So with a completely bare server, Liquid Web is very reliable, quite speedy, and able to power through a lot of traffic.
Altogether, for advanced projects that require the utmost reliability, Liquid Web is the best option available. Plus, it’s rather easy to use and not too expensive for a premium service.
- Premium managed VPS plans
- Huge introductory discount
- 100% uptime agreement and result
- The learning curve is expected
- Higher renewals
|Features||Full server management, SPanel, server security|
|Best for||Affordable and easy VPS hosting|
ScalaHosting aims to make managed VPS hosting affordable and easy enough for beginners to use, starting at $9.95/mo. I must admit, it succeeds – I didn’t have a single question regarding server and hosting management during the testing.
The provider offers managed VPS plans, which means that all server-level tasks are the responsibility of the host. Of course, you get all the needed access for your own configurations, but only if you want that.
This makes the provider great for users that outgrown shared hosting. Or if you’re building a site from scratch that’s meant to attract high levels of traffic.
It won’t be much more difficult than any shared hosting, as the provider includes its own control panel SPanel.
SPanel really is inspired by our well-known cPanel. So all the familiar management options are there. WordPress can be installed in a couple of clicks, same for adding domains or reaching file manager.
You’ll also get access to the server management dashboard. It’s a bonus, honestly, as you can do your own custom configurations if you want to work with different frameworks or set up speed configurations.
Altogether, ScalaHosting succeeds in making VPS an option not just for tech geeks but also regular folks like me (and maybe you?).
ScalaHosting managed VPS servers start at $9.95/mo and can be scaled as much as needed.
What’s interesting is that all packages are equipped with some generous features:
- Free domain
- Free SSL
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Daily backups
- Server security package
- Free migration
When you’re starting out, that’s all the essentials covered. You shouldn’t have any extra expenses.
At the same time, it’s worth mentioning that the advertised price is with the introductory discount. When it comes time to renew, the bill can be 2 times higher.
I recommend choosing the cheapest $9.95/mo plan with a 3-year subscription, so you can take advantage of the introductory discount for longer. The monthly option is available too if pre-paying doesn’t fit your budget.Check ScalaHosting Pricing Now!
Talking about performance, ScalaHosting, as expected, outperformed many of its competitors in the shared hosting sector. With 100% uptime, speedy response times, and dedicated resources, it proved to be very powerful.
Monitored over 2 weeks, ScalaHosting stayed 100% up and running, no comments needed.
Server response time started really good but quickly peaked and settled at around 550ms, bringing the average to 443ms. That’s a very good time, considering that no optimizations are in place.
Scala also nailed the stress test, welcoming all 50 virtual users.
On the other hand, the response time (blue) was dependent on the number of visitors (grey). The server slowed down when more visitors were sent its way. Not a huge issue, but good to know beforehand.
ScalaHosting results on the cheapest server are really good. It’s reliable and capable of handling traffic surges.
Overall, ScalaHosting really can be a good beginner-friendly VPS option. It’s best to use if you have a website that requires more power than shared hosting can provide.
- Affordable managed VPS plans
- All-inclusive packages with domain, SSL, and control panel
- 100% uptime result
- Significantly higher renewals
- The learning curve is expected
9. InMotion Hosting
|Features||cPanel control panel, free SSLs, DDoS protection|
|Best for||Web hosting for business|
One of the more well-known providers around, InMotion offers a range of hosting solutions. For the most part, the provider caters to larger websites and businesses. But, its abundance of features at a low entry price for shared hosting ($2.49/mo) makes it attractive for smaller projects, too.
- For hosting management, you’ll get to use the classic cPanel, making InMotion one of the few contenders left that offer purely cPanel-based management.
- What’s more, InMotion includes a series of free extra features in its plans. Among them are free BoldGrid (a drag-and-drop website builder for WordPress), themes, advertising credits, and visitor statistics.
- Plus, InMotion is no slouch in the security department, too. All of its plans come with a range of security measures. This includes a free SSL certificate, hack protection, and DDoS protection.
All in all, InMotion Hosting offers an extensive list of features covering multiple aspects of hosting. It’s secure and equipped to handle business needs.
InMotion Hosting pricing
InMotion has 3 main shared hosting plans: Launch ($4.99/month), Power ($4.99/month), and Pro ($13.99/month). But, by clicking on one of our links, you’ll unlock the 4th one – Lite, lowering the price to $2.49/mo.
The 4 plans all feature free SSL certificates, unlimited bandwidth, free emails, a security suite, and marketing tools.
- Lite comes with 1 website limit and 10GB SSD storage – it’s best for smaller websites.
- Launch allows hosting 2 websites. It comes with 50GB disk space, a free domain, and 10 email accounts. If you’re a beginner or a casual user, this plan should be more than sufficient.
- Power, meanwhile, comes with 50 websites 100GB storage. You’ll also get caching included. For small businesses, you can give this plan a go.
- Pro plan is hosted on a server with fewer users on it, meaning more resources and better performance. You can host 100 websites using 200GB bandwidth on it.
You know the drill by now: there’s always a catch. In this case, you can only enjoy the lower prices if you commit to InMotion for 2 years. Besides that, the plans will also renew at more than 2X their initial prices.
For testing out the hosting waters, the Lite plan is an affordable option. However, the Launch plan should suit the majority of users’ needs.Check InMotion Hosting Pricing Now!
InMotion Hosting performance
InMotion Hosting proved to be a strong competitor, delivering reliable uptime. And while it cannot brag about server speed, the power behind them is enough to withstand a small army.
During the 2-month-long testing, my site was available 99.98% of the time and saw an average response time of 759ms.
Staying true to its 99.9% uptime guarantee, my InMotion site saw 3 outages and a total of 16 minutes of downtime. That’s a very good result.
A bit disappointingly, InMotion didn’t perform as well speed-wise. Instead, my site’s average response time landed on a rather mediocre 759ms. Not quite terrible, but definitely not ideal, either. Plus, I also find InMotion’s lack of data centers outside of the US pretty disheartening.
The stress testing results were definitely more impressive. InMotion Hosting handled all 50 Virtual Users.
It’s also nice to see that the server response time (blue) was not dependent on the number of visitors (grey covered by purple). There were quite a few bums that lasted just a moment each, but the provider stayed fast throughout the test.
So performance considered, InMotion signals are a little bit mixed – it’s reliable and powerful, but speed could be improved.
Altogether, InMotion Hosting is not the cheapest provider out there, but it does have a lot to offer: inclusive plans, cPanel, reliability, and quite some power under its servers.
- cPanel hosting management
- Inclusive plans with strong security features
- Powerful servers
- Servers are only in the US
- Speed results could be better
|Features||Strong security and site recovery, weekly backups, cPanel|
|Best for||Month-to-month affordable hosting|
A less mainstream name, InterServer offers a wide range of hosting solutions for websites of all sizes. This includes cloud, VPS, and dedicated hosting services. One of its main attractions is its offering of no-nonsense and reliable hosting at very affordable prices.
For such an affordable provider, InterServer sure does pack quite a punch in its plans:
- To start, InterServer offers some serious security measures, including weekly backups, a Cloudflare content delivery network (CDN), and its proprietary security solution — InterShield.
- Besides, InterServer promises to utilize only 50% of the server capacity. This means users are not packed tightly on one server – there’s space left for growth and more even resource distribution.
- Lastly, you’ll be using the classic cPanel control panel. It’s functional, intuitive, and there’s a bunch of material on how to use it.
Overall, InterServer packs quite a few robust features in its affordable plans.
InterServer offers 3 shared hosting plans: Standard ($2.50/mo), Boost 2 ($9.95/mo), and Boost 4 ($19.95/mo).
All plans come with:
- Unlimited storage, data transfer, domains, and emails
- Weekly backups
- Free migration
- Free SSL certificates
- Security package with DDoS protection, malware scanning, and firewalls.
What is different is server resources in terms of CPU and RAM – each more expensive plan is hosted on a less crowded server.
This makes me focus on the Standard option – it’s the most universal one that allows you to see how much you actually need and upgrade as needed.
You can pick Standard with 1-month ($2.50) , 6-month ($15) , and 12-month ($30) subscriptions. After the introductory period is over, the plan will renew at a $7/mo standard rate.Check InterServer Pricing Now!
Performance test on the Standard plan showed that it’s reliable and capable of handling traffic for small-to-medium-sized websites.
InterServer maintained a nice 99.99% uptime throughout 3 months. It offers the standard 99.9% uptime guarantee but, just like any good provider should, it did better than this guarantee. My site saw only 13 minutes of downtime.
As for its average response time, 662ms is a bit slower than average but still fits into a good result. Plus, servers are only in the US, making it the best option for US-based audiences.
Regarding stress testing, InterServer proved that the cheapest plan can easily host a small-to-medium traffic level website. It handled 35 virtual users.
Even though InterServer passed the test, its speed (blue) slowed down as more and more virtual users (grey) joined in. Also, the red line appeared, indicating a couple of failures to deliver requests.
So that means that my cheap plan is capable of supporting around 35 000 monthly visits.
Altogether, InterServer does not show the top performance result, but for the price – it’s very much capable of hosting business websites, blogs, and personal projects.
All in all, I enjoy InterServer’s straightforward plans and pricing. Thanks to cPanel, it’s easy to use, and performance results are more than satisfactory. It’s a good option when you’re having a hard time picking a host.
- Standard cPanel interface
- Strong security features
- Universal plans for the majority of the sites
- Servers are only in the US
- Unclear how much server resources you get
Best web hosting: final recommendations
Tried and tested, each hosting provider on this best web hosting list proved to be a reliable option. At the same time, different hosts suit different needs. For a recap, here’s what each provider does best:
- Hostinger is the best provider overall delivering the cheapest prices and strong performance.
- Bluehost is the most functional and easy to use provider focusing on WordPress.
- SiteGround is a premium WordPress hosting option with tools to make management easy.
- HostGator is a beginner-friendly option with the classic cPanel interface and affordable prices.
- DreamHost is an affordable yet high-quality provider with flexible billing options.
- A2 Hosting is a performance-focused host offering the classic cPanel interface.
- Liquid Web is the best VPS option for mission-critical websites and advanced needs.
- ScalaHosting is a managed VPS option offering affordable prices and ease of use.
- InMotion Hosting sports extensive features in its web hosting plans for business.
- InterServer offers no-nonsense reliable web hosting with affordable month-to-month billing.
Best web hosting providers compared
|Provider||Hostinger||Bluehost||SiteGround||HostGator||DreamHost||A2 Hosting||Liquid Web||ScalaHosting||InMotion Hosting||InterServer||WP Engine||GoDaddy||HostPapa||Cloudways||Flywheel||Namecheap||IPage||TMDHosting||JustHost|
|Data center location||Yes, 7||US only||Yes, 5||US only||US only||Yes, 4||Yes, 3||Yes, 2||US only||US only||Yes, 7||Yes, 3||Yes, 3||Yes||Yes, 7||Yes, 3||US only||Yes, 7||US only|
|VPS or Cloud hosting||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||❌||✔️||❌|
|Control panel||hPanel||cPanel||Site Tools||cPanel||custom||cPanel||multiple||SPanel||cPanel||cPanel||custom||cPanel||cPanel||cPanel||custom||custom||custom||cPanel||cPanel|
|Price range||From $1.39/mo||From $3.95/mo||From $6.99/mo||From $2.75/mo||From $2.59/mo||From $2.59/mo||From $15/mo||From $3.95/mo||From $2.49/mo||From $2.50/mo||From $22.50/mo||From $2.99/mo||From $3.95/mo||From $10/mo||From $13/mo||From $1.18/mo||From $1.99/mo||From $2.95/mo||From $3.95/mo|
|Review||Hostinger review||Bluehost review||SiteGround review||HostGator review||DreamHost review||A2 Hosting review||Liquid Web review||ScalaHosting review||InMotion Hosting review||InterServer review||WP Engine review||GoDaddy review||HostPapa review||Cloudways review||Flywheel review||Namecheap review||IPage review||TMDHosting review||JustHost review|
Best web hosting by category
We did cover the best website builders overall, but you migh be looking at hosting for a very specific purpose. If that's the case, here's some of what we've covered so far:
- Small business web hosting: small business usually means lots of responsibilities for the owners. We picked the providers that take the burden of technicalities off of your shoulders.
- eCommerce web hosting: selling online requires more power, server space, and security than a regular text-based website. We have picked the best providers for the task.
- WordPress hosting: WordPress is a powerful way to build a website, but even it can be made better. These providers know how to do that perfectly well.
- Minecraft server hosting: modded or completely DIY, here are the top options for fast and reliable Minecraft hosting.
- Reseller hosting: starting your own hosting company or simply taking care of your clients' websites – these providers have all the tools needed.
- VPS hosting: when the whole server is too much and shared hosting is too limiting, VPS saves the day. Here are the best providers you can choose from.
- Cheap web hosting: tight budget, big ambitions? No need to settle for low-quality web hosting as I picked affordable options that deliver serious power.
- Fastest web hosting: speed is your top priority? Pick from these providers that passed our performance tests with flying colors.
- Unlimited web hosting: while no server can actually have unlimited storage or bandwidth, these providers won’t care if you upload 10GB worth of files or 20GB.
- Dedicated server hosting: get a whole server machine for the biggest of needs. We picked the best managed and unmanaged dedicated server providers to choose from.
- Windows hosting: for specific Microsoft-based projects, there are not too many hosting choices. However, we tested and picked the 4 options that won’t let you down.
- Web hosting Australia: for those targeting the land down under, choose these hosting providers.
- Web hosting Canada: here are some of the best hosts if your audience (or you) are located in Canada.
- Web hosting UK: real quality web hosting providers for UK audiences gather in this list.
- Cloud hosting: combining modern tech with web hosting needs delivers perhaps the most promising type of hosting for mission-critical projects. Check out our top picks.
- Adult web hosting: some nudity, tobacco, alcohol, or gambling on your website? These providers won’t censor any content as long as it’s legal.
- Web hosting for developers: in this post, we discuss various options for developer needs. From cheap options to test things out to providers that will give you full control.
Picking the best hosting provider: checklist
When picking the hosts for this best web hosting rankings, we went through huge testing and analysis. All the details including pricing, performance, customer support, security, and interfaces were scrutinized. No kidding, our team had heated arguments when discussing which provider is best for what kind of user and if they are even worth being listed. So technical details are already taken care of – only the best-performing providers are on the list.
But now, it’s time for you to make a decision.
So I prepared a quick checklist to help you pick the right option. That includes considering:
- Personal needs, so you can pick the option that matches your skill level and budget.
- Website needs, so it gets enough server resources and power.
- Your audience needs, so they are not left waiting minutes till the site loads.
Below, you’ll find a checklist on how to work around these needs. Considering all the details, not only you’ll be satisfied with the choice, but it will pay dividends later.
Considering personal hosting needs
Hosting a website is similar to choosing a place to live – you can get a dorm room, rent a flat, or build a house. Well, and all of the in-betweens. Each comes at different price points and maintenance needs. If you’re:
- First-time user – choose a dorm. That’s shared hosting offering all-in-one packages: check if SSL, domain, intuitive control panel, and 24/7 customer support are included. The price should also be low, up to $3/mo.
- Business user, look at more advanced shared hosting options. Tools for marketing, speed optimizations, and enhanced security are important right here. At the same time, they’ll add a small learning curve. Prices can get up to $10/mo, although cheap options like Hostinger are available.
- Experienced pro, you probably know what you’re looking for. But VPS is definitely offering the most control for custom solutions. You can get it as low as $4 and scale as needed.
Your website requirements
The majority of the websites are not needy. On average, they take around 1-2GB of space. Dang, photos alone take more than 30GB of space on my phone! So this one here is not about getting enough. This one here is about not overpaying for the resources you don’t use.
- Small websites such as one-pagers, portfolios, or blogs easily fit on the entry plans. They offer from 10GB to 100GB of storage and can support up to 30 000 monthly visitors, which is more than enough. The catch, though, is that you usually can host only 1 website on such a plan. So consider if you’re going to add a second website in a year or so.
- For small business websites that might sell online – mid-range plans are the best bet. They come with more than 1 website allowance, 30-100GB storage space, and can support around 50 000 to 80 000 monthly visits. More server resources also mean better performance, so websites will load fast.
- Big commercial projects require either performance-focused shared hosting or managed VPS. Look at high-end plans that can support more than 100 000 monthly visits, include speed optimization features, security for malware and DDoS, daily backups, and reliable uptime.
Knowing your audience
Some visitors are pickier than others, but one thing is certain – all of them want a good user experience. For example, 3 seconds is around that time when a visitor notices issues with page loading speed. A pickier one might leave immediately, causing your bounce rates to skyrocket. That results in worse places on search engine listings as well as loss in revenue.
One way to ensure optimal performance is to pick a provider that has servers close to your target audience. Check that before purchasing. Some options with global data centers include Hostinger, SiteGround, and A2 Hosting.
Other than this, consider:
- Are your visitors looking for you specifically? Maybe you only show your site to potential clients, or they already know your brand – in this case, no need for an expensive performance-driven plan. They have a goal in mind, and that’s looking at your site – no matter if it loads in a second or 5.
- Are you competing for search engine rankings or using paid advertisement? 3 seconds is all you have to impress the visitors. Look at all the best hardware and newest software to stay on top of your game. That includes technology like caching, content delivery network, and even load balancers in the case of VPS. It’s better to pay more for hosting and get your visitors buzzing on the site, ordering services, and purchasing your production than give this easy win for the competitors.
Choosing the best hosting option is really as easy as this. Take a minute or two to consider what kind of website you’re building. Be critical about your skills and budget – there’s no need to overpay or choose an advanced option for the very start. Last but not least, get to know your audience.
Best web hosting FAQs
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service that puts your website online. Web hosting providers operate servers on which the files of your site are stored. But it’s more than that. Providers also take care of the software, maintenance, security, and support. Choosing a reliable provider, your only responsibility will be to create a website.
Can I host my website for free?
Yes, you can host a website for free by using one of the services that offer free hosting. But I don’t recommend doing that. More often than not, you’ll face unreliable service that doesn’t work properly, not to mention the risks of getting your data leaked. If your budget is tight, there are cheap alternatives that will ensure high-quality service.
Can I switch web hosting companies?
Yes, you can easily switch a web hosting company. That’s even advised, if your current one doesn’t meet the expectations. The majority of the hosts actually provide free or even automated website migration, so the transfer is effortless.
Can I host my own website?
Yes, you can host your own website, but that only works in theory. To host your own website, you’d need a server (a personal computer can be used) that’s always connected to the internet. You’d need to take care of software setups too, but that’s the easy part. Keeping that server online is a different story – if you have an electricity outage, your server and website will go down.
How much does it cost to host a website?
Website hosting can cost anywhere from $1 to $999+ a month depending on the service you choose. The cheapest and most popular option is shared hosting that should cost up to $15/mo.
Minecraft server hosting: modded or completely DIY, here are the top options for fast and reliable Minecraft hosting