Web hosting is an essential part (and expense) of running a website – you can’t have a website without a web host. The goal of this page is to help you in your purchase decision as well as educating you on the various terms, what they mean and what kind of web hosting you actually need.
This review is based on uptime, website load speed, cost and customer reviews.
What is Web Hosting Exactly?
In order for a website to be live on the Internet it must be connected to a computer. If that computer is turned off, loses power, crashes etc, your website will no longer be visible which is why you need a computer that’s on 24/7.
In the early days of the Internet many individuals hosted sites on their own computer. Even the mega large dating site “Plenty of Fish” which serves up BILLIONS of page views and is the largest dating site in the world was hosted on the founders (Marcus Frind) home computer for the first 6 months of its existence.
The Best Web Hosting For WordPress
You need a web host as an online content creator. If you’re wanting to create a website or start a blog with WordPress, you’ll need a quality host to help you achieve your online goals. Here are our favorite 7 web hosts for WordPress we reviewed (we reviewed more, but only these 7 we would feel comfortable sending our readers to):
- Blue Host
- Green Geeks
- Host Gator
- Dream Host
- WPX Hosting
SiteGround – The Best Web Host For WordPress
SiteGround is one of only three recommended web hosts by WordPress and for good reason. They constantly out perform the competition with regards to speed and up-time. This is essential for building a profitable blog or website because Google has publicly stated that your website needs to load in under three seconds.
SiteGround also provides unique in-house WordPress speed and security solutions to make your site as fast and secure as possible. They also offer automatic upgrades, built-in WP caching, and a CDN. They are lastly one of the few companies offering location specific hosting with 3 data centers in USA, Europe, and Asia.
Pros: Fast, reliable web hosting. Excellent customer service and you can get a 70% discount on your purchase.
Cons: SiteGround has a great introductory price with our link but they tend to cost more per hosting package when compared to similar hosting packages at other providers after the introduction period.
SiteGround is also not ideal for websites that go viral and suddenly get bombarded with traffic.
BLUE HOST: The Name Brand of The Hosting Industry
Since 1996, Blue Host has been providing reliable hosting for millions of websites. Blue Host is the Coca Cola of web hosts. Not the best host around, but they are a safe and reliable choice.
Blue Host is still one of the few hosts offering a free domain name (for the first year) with a purchase of a hosting account. They offer a wide variety of packages ideal for someone just starting out. They also have a custom Blue Host portal to make managing your websites easy.
Pros: A safe and reliable choice for web hosting. Millions of people trust them and they are recommended by WordPress.They also offer a an excellent introductory rate.
Cons: Blue Host customer service is mediocre. They outsource their help desk and take a long time to resolve issues.
Green Geeks – The Most Under Rated Host
Green Geeks is an excellent shared hosting company. They provide fast, reliable hosting and I have no idea why they’re not more popular. If you’re looking for an alternative, indie web host that offers managed updates, strong security solutions and US based support check out Green Geeks. Green Geeks (as the name implies) is an eco-friendly web host as they are the only host that is an EPA Green Power Partner.
Pros: Fast hosting, excellent introduction price, US based support and they strive to be environmentally friendly.
Cons: They are a shared hosting company. If you have a high traffic website, Green Geeks is not your best option as they don’t provide more advanced hosting packages.
HOST GATOR: The best budget web host
Use coupon code: GATORPRO for an exclusive discount
My first web host back in 2009 was Host Gator. I eventually moved away from them because the did not offer a VPS solution at the time (they do now). I need something a step up from a shared host but not a full on server. Host Gator offers some very affordable shared hosting, similar to Blue Host.
Where they really standout however is their “cloud” hosting option. It’s excellent and quite affordable. If you’re will to learn how to manage a cloud hosting account you can get excellent hosting for cheap.
Pros: A suite of services. Good shared hosting, excellent cloud hosting and they offer various type of hosting solution for websites both big and small. Overall, they are the best budget web host for those looking for quality hosting for cheap!
Cons: Their shared hosting could be better. As this guide is aimed at first time web host buyers, I would like to see Host Gator improve this aspect of their business. They are a good web host, but for shared hosting there are better options.
Dream Host – The Other Recommended Host by WordPress No One Talks About
WordPress recommends three web hosts: SiteGround, Blue Host and Dream Host. For some reason Dream Host gets loss in the mix but they are another good shared hosting option for those looking to create a website or start a blog for cheap.
Dream Host offers a wide range of hosting solutions for for various types of business both large and small. Dream host has shared hosting, VPS, cloud and dedicated servers. They also have flexible payment plans (yearly or monthly) and provide a very competitive introductory rate for new customers.
They have been in business since 1997 and are a reliable choice for your first web host.
Pros: Highly rated, recommended by WordPress, good introductory rate and their prices are competitive to other hosts.
Cons: Dream Host websites load slow typically. In various tests, website response time for Dream Host was a bit lacking when compared to other web hosts.
Kinsta – The Small Business Web Host
Kinsta is a professional grade web host. They are designed for small business websites that get a lot of traffic or for high traffic niche websites. This is not to say that Kinsta is not ideal for smaller websites, but their market is profitable high traffic websites. If you’re someone who has a big website you should be on Kinsta. If you’re someone who has numerous niche websites (that all get traffic), you should consider Kinsta.
Pros: They are an excellent host and meet the needs of professional web masters who make their living from their websites. They are also an excellent host for high traffic small business websites.
Cons: They are the most expensive host on the list. Kinsta is not your starter host, they are a company you go with after having an established website.
WPX Hosting – The Best Host For High Traffic Websites
Note: websitecreativepro.com is hosted with WPX Hosting
WPX Hosting is one of the best web hosts for mid level websites that get 30,00 – 100,00 visitors a month. With the tools and support required to handle high traffic websites, WPX hosting is quite affordable for the quality of the web hosting they provide.
With WPX you get a streamlined user experience from start to finish. FREE migration of all your websites. This one is huge because WPX’s price is cost prohibitive for new content creators. It just does not make sense to get your web hosting from WPX if you don’t even have a website yet.
But once you do have a high traffic website you can migrate it over with the help of WPX for free. Then on top of this you get fast, responsive hosting and support for your high traffic website or blog.
Pros: One of the best web hosts today. The ideal WPX customer has a high traffic niche website that is getting 50,000+ page views a month or more.
Cons: They are a web host for established websites. Unless you have the cash to spend, go with a more affordable host for your website but keep WPX on your radar as your website grows.
Web Hosting Terms Explained
A server is an industrial strength computer that stores the files for your website and is connected to the Internet 24/7.
Think of it like a tiny flash drive. When you plug that flash drive into a USB port on your computer and open a file you’re making a request for that data from the flash drive.
It’s much the same with a server except on a much more complex scale.
Your server has the websites files, a fixed IP address, and name servers defining that server.
Your website will have a fixed IP address too. At the domain registrar where you registered your site (Name Cheap) you simply define the name servers to that of your server.
So now when anyone goes to the IP address of your website or the name of your website a request will be made to the server where you files are and content will be delivered.
It’s like your hard drive. How much space do you have on your computer now? 100 GB of space? 200? Disk space is the same deal.
If you’re looking to build a simple site for your physical business, then you don’t need that much. If you’re looking to host movies and music then you need a lot more.
Also known as bit rate. Data, regardless of wireless or wired travels in units called bits. The channel capacity of a device like a server determines the speed of the bit rate (ie how fast and how much bits you can access when making a request).
This is why it takes time to download a song rather than being instantaneous. Bandwidth is the measure of bits consumed per second.
All you need to understand is that it’s database management software. It’s required to run things like WordPress, forums, and scripts.
Used to encrypt data (bits) during communication transfer. Think of like accessing this site. The data traveling from my server to your computer is not encrypted, it does not need to be as it’s not sensitive information.
Now think of inputting your credit card information to buy something. THAT information transfer you want and need encrypted. SSL and the newer TLS certificate are used for this purpose primarily by business.
Most hosts totday offer a free SSL certificate BUT you need to tell your host to activate it for you. Otherwise your site will simply be http instead of the more secure https.
C stands for control, it’s software to help you manage your account on your server with an intuitive, visual interface.
Plesk is an alternative to Cpanel. I recommend Cpanel for it’s ease of use. Why? Because it makes transferring your site easy if you ever decided to switch web hosts.
This stands for “Web Host Manager.” It’s software designed to manage multiple Cpanel (or Plesk) accounts on a server. You get WHM typical when you get hosting at the VPS level or above. In other words, when you have your own server, or virtual server you will typically have multiple websites (each with their own Cpanel account). WHM helps you manage these multiple accounts.
This term refers to how many domain names you can host on your account. Typically this feature is listed as “unlimited” for all but the most basic plans.
Cheap affordable (and reliable) hosting. Perfect for someone starting out, or someone wanting to build 1 or 2 new websites. Shared hosting means that you share your hosting with hundreds of other websites on ONE server.
The costs are low because multiple websites (all of which get minimal amounts of traffic) are on one machine.Shared hosting is perfect if you’re launching a new website.
You have low amounts of traffic so it makes no sense to spend money on resources you’re not going to use. Also, you can always scale up as your website grows. For a more technical explanation for those who want to nerd out on shared hosting, check out the Wikipedia page.
Pros of Shared Hosting:
- Shared hosting is perfect if you’re just starting out online and have no web traffic.
- It has a low cost that allows for a low barrier of entry when creating a website.
- It can accommodate a few websites and a couple of thousand visitors a month.
- You can always scale up as your website becomes more popular.
Cons of Shared Hosting:
- You have little control over your hosting account beyond the most basic functions (which is fine if you’re just starting out from scratch).
- You’re sharing a server with hundreds of other websites. If one of those websites goes viral and gets tens of thousands of visitors it could affect the performance of your website.
- You have limited control over what scripts you can install. Scripts are programs that software that automate tasks or add additional features like forums.
- Your web hosting account can get suspended if your website gets an excessive amount of traffic or uses a heavy amount of scripts. Ideally if your site goes viral because of Facebook, Twitter, or StumbleUpon you want your site to live. But if it’s hosted on a shared account your web host may pull the plug on your site.
Distributed is the name of the game with cloud hosting. Check out Host Gator, they provide great Cloud Hosting.
When you purchase a cloud hosting plan what you’re buying are virtual resources that are spread across multiple computers that are acting as one. Cloud hosting has a lot of flexibility as your files and content are not one machine.
If more resources are needed because of a high traffic spike cloud hosting is great. It also has redundancy protection as multiple copies of your site are on multiple machines. So if there is a problem with one machine in the network, your content can easily be migrated to another machine.
In a nut shell, that’s cloud hosting.
Cloud hosting is very different and is typically the best option for new websites in my opinion. Where with other types of hosting like share hosting, all associated files are on one single machine that shares resources with other websites, cloud hosting however has your files spread across multiple computers.
Because of this, cloud hosting tends to be fast and reliable where a shared hosting account may be a bit less reliable (though cheaper).
Cloud Hosting Pros:
Cloud hosting is a little bit more expensive than shared hosting, but the performance is a whole lot better.
Excellent up-time. Where a shared hosting package might be slow because a site on the server got a spike in traffic or perhaps there was some tech issue. On a cloud host, sites are simply migrated to another machine.
Cloud hosting beats shared hosting in every way. Better speed, better performance, more secure.
Managed WordPress cloud hosting is available and is much better than a share hosting package. Managed means the hosting company takes care of all the technical upgrades and software on the back end. So your package functions like a shared hosting package where you have limited controls ( a good thing if you don’t know what you’re doing).
Cloud Hosting Cons:
If you do get a true cloud hosting package, you’re going to have to learn and develop some IT knowledge because you’ll be in complete control and also completely responsible for your virtual machine. It’s sort of like being given a motorcycle when you’ve have no idea how to even ride a bicycle. New software to learn, you’ll need to manage resources, updates and upgrade. This is what make a shared hosting account still a great option because it’s a “get it and forget it” option.
If you’re going to use a managed WordPress cloud hosting package you’ll be limited to what scripts and plug-ins you can use. Most managed WordPress plans will also restrict you to only using WordPress. So other scripts like forum software, Joomla or Drupal won’t be allowed.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
A virtual private server (VPS) is like shared hosting but on a much bigger scale. Instead of sharing a server with hundreds other websites like you do on a shared account, your website and your hosting account is but one of maybe 4-6 other hosting accounts on a server. Because of this, you get greater resources to your websites, you’re able to handle larger amounts of traffic, and you have more account control on the back end.
A VPS is the middle ground when you need more resources than the highest level shared account, but not quite the resources (and the cost) of a full on server. A rule of thumb is to get a VPS when your website is getting 2,000 visitors a day, 100,000+ page views a month.
Keep in mind though, this is not always the case. E-commerce stores for example tend to need to scale up more quickly than a simple content driven website. Your web host will inform you when your website is starting to take up resources beyond your current account and what options you should begin looking at.
If you have no idea how to manage a VPS, get a “managed VPS” package. Managed means your web host takes care of the updates and security for your hosting account so all you have to do is manage your websites. If you just go out and get a non managed VPS on you’re own and it’s up to you to take care of security and updates. It’s more technical, so if that sound like something you would rather not do, just get a managed VPS.
Overall, you should get a VPS as soon as you can afford it in my opinion. You can afford it when your websites are making $500+ a month. Again, for those who want to nerd out and learn more about a VPS here is a more technical explanation here.
- You are guaranteed a certain level of resources because you own a certain percentage of a server.
- You’re still sharing resources, but it’s only with a few other websites (not hundreds).
- You’re account won’t be suspended.
- You have almost complete control over your server.
- VPS hosting is very powerful and can host dozens of sites and can handle thousands of visitors a day.
- You can resell hosting if you want.
- You can get managed VPS hosting where a company manages your VPS for you by taking care of software upgrades.
- VPS is overwhelming for new users. If you’ve never managed a website before and have no experience; getting a VPS is a lot like getting a 1000 CC motorcycle that you have no idea how to ride.
- New software like WHM to learn. It’s best to start with reseller hosting or shared hosting as a rookie because it gives you time to get comfortable with WordPress and Cpanel before moving onto more complicated setups where you have more control (not a good thing if you don’t know what you’re doing).
- You need to configure your own nameservers. You do this buy buying a domain name and setting that domain name as your nameserver. With shared hosting or reseller hosting you’re given a nameserver.
- VPS costs more.
Reseller hosting costs roughly the same as a VPS and is designed for you to resell the hosting to clients you work with. Say you’re making websites for clients – you could package a hosting account along with your design services.
Wait! Why would I do this instead of affiliate marketing for a web host?
If your a designer looking for a way to sweeten the deal for your clients AND you’re looking for a way to build recursive monthly income, go with reseller hosting. You won’t get the big one time affiliate commission, but you’ll develop a consistent monthly income.
Most reseller accounts start at $30 a month. So you would need to get 4 or 5 clients and put them on one reseller account and charge them say $14 a month. 14×4 = 56. So you would be making $56 dollars a month – the $30 for the reseller account. Giving you a profit of $26 a month so long as your clients stay on your account.
Why would anyone do this you might wonder? Why would a customer pay more? Well stupidity for one because people don’t shop around and are not aware of what things should cost, and second, the reseller (if he or she is smart), would offer tremendous bonuses for customers who use his or her reseller company.
If I was to start a reseller company, I may not be able to offer the most competitive prices, but I could offer more value through website instruction.
Why would anyone do this or need such an option?
It”s designed for professionals like web designers, programmers etc to be able to offer an added service to their own services. It’s also ideal for anyone who wants to undertake the difficult task of building a web hosting business by reselling the services of an already established web hosting company.
Can I just use reller hosting for my own websites?
Yes! You don’t have to resell the hosting, but if you’re just going to host your own websites why not get a managed VPS that is designed for one account.
Is affiliate marketing better?
I would say yes. Most web hosts, if you’re able to send new signups are happy to pay anywhere from $60 or more for new signups. If you did not actually have to mange the reseller account and be the tech support guy for your clients I would go with reseller hosting as it would scale slowly over time. But since you have to be part tech support I personally prefer to go with affiliate marketing.
A dedicated server is simply a large, powerful computer you can rent from a web hosting company. It’s ideal if you have a high traffic website or websites (a million+ of visitors a month with a tremendous amount of bandwidth usage).
Is a dedicated server right for you when starting out? NO WAY. This is designed for business that are getting traffic and making money and can justify the cost of spending $90 or more on a dedicated server.
Dedicated Server Pros:
- A dedicated server is the most expensive and powerful level of hosting for all but the most popular of websites.
- You get 100% of the resources dedicated to only you.
- You have nearly complete control of your server. It’s your machine and you can do whatever you want.
- Strong enough to handle tens of thousands of visitors a day.
- You can resell hosting to others.
Dedicated Server Cons:
- Not for novice users. There is a big learning curve with using a dedicated server.
- You need to setup nameservers.
- Expensive, BUT if your needs are as such, you should be pulling in more than enough money online to cover all associated costs.
Dedicated serves come with WHM (web hosting management). Same as a VPS. It’s a program that is designed to give you control over your whole entire server including various cpanel accounts and what not.
In that order. I don’t want to have to fuss around with learning how to manage a dedicated server. Now, if you have a team of people running a website. Maybe you built a massive website and now have a dedicated tech guy, then sure. Perhaps a standard server makes sense, for most though a managed server is the headache free solution.
That’s basically it for this introductory material on web hosting. If you had no idea what web hosting was before, you should have a much better grasp as to what your needs are.
If your starting out get a shared hosting account with SiteGround.
Your options are many. But for new websites, SiteGround has nice combination of price, performance and support you need when starting out.
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