Jul 10, 2019 By Team YoungWonks *
Which are the major web hosting providers today? This blog takes a look at the leading players in the website hosting market. But before we go into that, let’s first understand what the term web hosting means.
What is a web hosting?
Web hosting is a service that lets organizations and individuals post a website or web page on the Internet. A web host or a web hosting service provider/ platform then is basically an enterprise that offers technologies and services that are required for the website or the webpage to be viewed on the Internet. Websites are hosted, i.e. stored, on special computers called servers. When Internet users want to view your website, they just have to type the website address or domain into their browser, after which the user’s computer will then direct him/ her to your server and your web pages will be shared with them through the browser. Most hosting companies need you to own your domain in order to host with them. If you do not have a domain, the hosting companies can help you buy one.
In other words, web hosting is a basic requirement for any website as it is about the physical location of the website on the Internet; it is a sort of an online storage center for all the information, images, video, and other content that a website is made up of.
Website hosting is typically calculated in the amount of disk space a website is given on the server and the amount of data transfer or the bandwidth required for accessing the server. So if there’s a lot of customer interaction at a website, say a bunch of files to download, one will have to access the server frequently and thus need more web hosting transfer space than a website that has just some readable text shared on it. The more content one has on a site - be it photos, videos, PDF files - the more disk space will be needed for website hosting.
Web hosting sites are typically paid ones which means a client looking to host its website on a server needs to pay the former for its services/ storage. However, there are a few web hosting platforms that offer their services for free or for a lot less. In fact, several leading web hosting sites have free accounts or free packages wherein users can avail of certain benefits at no cost. This is primarily targeted at students or youth looking to learn by creating something new; so hobbyists and startups usually avail of such benefits whereas businesses looking for professional level benefits have to purchase web hosting space. This in turn makes web hosting a commercially viable business for the providers.
Cloud service providers, meanwhile, are companies that offer network services, infrastructure, or business applications in the cloud. A cloud here refers to the Internet; cloud computing then is essentially the storing and accessing of data and programs over the Internet servers instead of the hard drive on one’s computer. To understand this better, read our blogs on Introduction to Cloud Computing and Top 10 cloud service providers in 2020.
Shared below are some of the top 10 web hosting sites today, along with their advantages and disadvantages.
Leading web hosting sites today
The most in-demand web hosting sites today have gained their popularity today thanks to the impressive features, high performance (including uptime and loading speed), excellent customer support and attractive pricing. Keeping this in mind,
Let’s look at the big 10 web hosting sites in 2020 (in alphabetical order):
Talking point: Value-for-money, good service
Owned by the web giant Endurance International Group (EIG) and based in Utah, Bluehost was launched in the year 1996 and over the years, it has come to be known for its value-for-money web hosting services. On the site performance front, its load times range between 0.046 seconds to 3.43 seconds depending upon the geographical location. The price range is wide too, as it offers basic shared hosting from $2.95 monthly (on a three-year contract), with WordPress plans starting at $20 per month (also a discounted introductory rate). The contract includes an automated WordPress setup, along with other popular apps via a Mojo Marketplace-powered system. The cPanel-based area lets expert users tweak things.
Bluehost also offers users a Weebly-based basic website builder along with the basic account. This builder allows one to make a website of up to six pages (not including extras like site templates). The customer support is good too.
Overall, there are many user-friendly aspects such as affordability, features specifically curated for bloggers and impressive customer support for technical WordPress questions. For more information, visit: www.bluehost.com
Talking point: Good service, especially for WordPress hosting and for small businesses
Recommended by the makers of WordPress no less, DreamHost is a very popular web hosting site; it is said to be ideal for small businesses. Its web hosting plans include shared web hosting, cloud hosting, VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting, dedicated server hosting, WordPress hosting, Woocommerce hosting. The starting plan is a shared starter that is priced at $2.59/month for three years and $3.95/month for one year, which is quite cost effective. Plus there are no higher renewal rates; the money back guarantee lasts a whopping 97 days and the uptime is 99.6 percent.
Moreover, DreamHost has SSD storage; much like GreenGeeks this company is green as most of the power used by it has been generated by renewable sources. On the downside, their customer support leaves a lot to be desired. There is no cPanel and the Live chat support wait times are quite long at times. The text-based control panel is not always as intuitive either. There is no free site migration too.
All in all, it offers competitive price, decent speed, unlimited bandwidth and storage. For more information, visit: www.dreamhost.com
Talking point: Ideal for beginners
The world’s biggest domain registrar and easily among the cheapest web hosting providers for WordPress, GoDaddy is ideal for beginners. Shared web hosting, WordPress hosting, business hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated server hosting and reseller hosting are among GoDaddy’s several hosting plans. With 100gb storage and unmetered bandwidth offered, they have no restriction in their economy plan, plus the uptime is 99.97%, which is also impressive. The economy plan also gives users a domain name for free. Other advantages include fast load time (517ms), 30-day money-back guarantee, one-click backup and restore option and 24/7 phone support.
Among the cons, the economic plan is only $2.99/month, but it renews at $7.99/month, which is quite expensive. Emails, backups and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) come at an extra cost and the live chat support is limited. Even the 30-day money-back guarantee needs to be examined well as it is applicable only under certain terms and conditions. For more information, visit: www.godaddy.com
Talking point: Fastest WordPress hosting, environment-friendly
GreenGeeks is known for being one of the fastest WordPress hosting sites out there. As the name suggests, this web hosting service is environment-friendly as it buys power produced from environment-friendly renewable resources such as sun, wind and geothermal energy.
Moreover, its starting plan offers users unlimited bandwidth and storage, along with a free domain, a free SSL certificate by Letsencrypt, unlimited email accounts, free website migration, and My SQL database. And while only one domain is free, one can host unlimited domain on all of its plans.
Its other advantages include good customer support, an impressive 99.95 percent uptime, free migration, free data backup and restoration and free SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools. In fact, GreenGeeks also has an SSD disk space for all its plans thus making sites fast and responsive. However, using GreenGeeks also has some cons: for starters, the refund policy is not very clear, the renewal rates are rather high.
The Eco site starter plan costs $2.95/month if spanning across three years or $9.95 per month as part of a monthly plan. This hosting also has a WordPress hosting plan, which is similar to their shared hosting. For more information, visit: https://www.greengeeks.com/
Talking point: Overall good service, attractive pricing
Recommended by several professional bloggers and Youtubers, HostGator is known for its hatchling plan which, at $2.64 per month is rather attractively priced, although this rate only applies for a three-year term and the renewal rates are higher. The web hosting services offered include shared web hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, cloud hosting and dedicated server hosting. It is not the fastest web hosting service provider out there, but it guarantees an uptime of 99.99 percent.
Like many providers, HostGator too doesn’t have any restrictions on storage and bandwidth. Other big pluses of using HostGator include free site transfer, one-click installs, its Plesk and cPanel control panels, unlimited email accounts, free SSL certificates, 24/7 support and a 45-day money-back guarantee. No free domain registration, additional fee charged for restoration from backups, slower response times by customer support and no Windows-based VPS hosting make up the negatives. For more information, visit: https://www.hostgator.com/
Talking point: Cost effective web hosting
Easily among the cheapest web hosting providers in the market today, Hostinger’s starting plan is priced at just $0.80 per month (if purchased for two years). It has a good price to performance ratio in that it offers a decent uptime of 99.91 percent, gives unlimited bandwidth and database for all its plans except the single web hosting and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The customer support is pretty good too.
But given the low rates charged by Hostinger (especially in its starting plan), several things are not included in it: no free domain name, no SSL certificate. Another issue is that it still has an old Apache server while today most of the hosting providers offer a Litespeed server which is new and way faster. Also, Hostinger has a cpanel as well, but it is not easy to use when compared to other providers. All of this makes Hostinger an ideal choice for beginners with a tight budget. For more information, visit: https://www.hostinger.com/
7. InMotion Hosting
Talking point: Overall good for individuals and businesses
A reliable and reputed name in the industry, InMotion offers VPS hosting, dedicated server and shared hosting. The launch plan, costing $3.99 per month, may not be the cheapest one around but it does include a free domain, hosting of two websites in their server, free SSL. There’s also unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email accounts and SSD storage for all its plans. Also, it boasts 24/7 phone, live chat, ticket, and email support.
Other advantages include SSH access, free backup to its basic plan, a Softaculous cpanel, malware & DDOS protection and spam safe email. The uptime is 99.895 percent and it comes with a 90 days money-back guarantee, thus making it a good choice for individuals and businesses of all sizes. The cons include not providing Windows hosting, having a broad product focus and offering discounted price only for two-year lock-ins. For more information, visit: https://www.inmotionhosting.com/
Talking point: Cost effective web hosting, environment-friendly
Like many low cost web hosting service providers, iPage too has competitive pricing, but with a high renewal rate. The web hosting plans include shared web hosting (which at $1.99 per month is highly cost effective), VPS hosting, dedicated server hosting and WordPress hosting. The starting plan provides unlimited disk space, unmetered bandwidth and unlimited My SQL database. Other freebies included for all plans are free domain name for the first year, free SSL certificate and email address. The uptime at 99.97 percent is impressive, so is the customer support. Apart from this, iPage provides regular scanning for malware detection and is known for being environment-friendly.
That said, it is also among the slowest web hosting providers today. Moreover, there is only Linux hosting and no cpanel here; instead it offers vdeck which is said to not quite the same in terms of performance. Also, iPage charges for basic features like additional security, site transfer and backups. The domain names are not exactly cheap and the renewal rates are quite high too. For more information, visit: https://www.ipage.com/
Talking point: Fast WordPress hosting, good service, ideal for medium to big enterprises
SiteGround has a starting plan of $3.95 per month and renewal price of $11.95 per month, making it not so affordable for small businesses. However, it has an uptime of 99.99 percent, a 30-day money back guarantee and tons of features thrown in for free: free Letsencrypt SSL certificate, free site migration, free Cloudflare CDN, free daily backups, and free emails.
There are other advantages too: for instance, the panel is quite easy to use, the customer support is good and thanks to its excellent speed, SiteGround is among the fastest when it comes to WordPress hosting. With data centers in the US, Asia, Europe, there’s SSD storage included in all of its plans.
SiteGround scores well on the security front as well; the company uses an AI-based system to fix its servers. Siteground also provides a Supercache which is used for caching your site; it considerably increases the speed of the site.
On the downside, SiteGround - as mentioned earlier - is not affordable for everyone. There’s a setup fee for monthly billing, plus it doubles its price after the first year. Also, in the starting plan, it offers limited bandwidth (can handle only 10,000 visitors) and storage (only 10 GB).
But if you have a higher budget, SiteGround is a very good choice given the features it boasts. For more information, visit: https://www.siteground.com/
Talking point: Value-for-money, solid performance
This UK-based web hosting services provider is known for its solid performance and offering one’s money’s worth. The starting plan, for instance, costs £1.61 ($2.15) per month for a two-year lock-in period, whereas it costs £1.79 per month for a one-year commitment. This plan also provides unlimited bandwidth, Let’s Encrypt SSL and 10 mailboxes, in addition to 500MB storage. Users get to choose between cPanel hosting, cloud web hosting through Tsohost’s own cloud architecture and custom web management console.
The pros of Tsohost also include its speed that’s faster than most other players; shared hosting plans that support at least 3 domains, Windows, Linux and hybrid hosting; free daily backups; 60-day money-back guarantee and knowledgeable technical support.
Among its cons, Tsohost is not the fastest in terms of response times, there are storage limits in most of its plans and it is not exactly cost effective when compared to other rivals. Even the WordPress plans cover just the basics. For more information, visit: https://www.tsohost.com/
*Contributors: Written by Vidya Prabhu; Lead image by: Leonel Cruz