Are you looking for the answer straight away? The best web hosting provider for most people is definitely SiteGround. SiteGround has got phenomenal customer service, is blazing fast, and has fantastic uptime.
The hosting landscape is extremely complicated to navigate. There are literally thousands of hosting providers to choose from.
If you pick the very first hosting service you find in Google, you might not end up with a provider that offers the best value or fits your needs.
At the same time, you’re probably not too keen on undertaking a week-long crusade to find the best web hosting provider out there by yourself.
That’s where this guide comes in.
Thanks to many years of web development, I can tell you exactly what the best hosting providers are. I’ll also explain what exactly separates these companies from the pack.
Furthermore, this guide tells you how to find the best hosting provider for your specific needs, offers advice to save money, and answers frequently asked questions about web hosting.
The top 4 best web hosting providers
- SiteGround – The best allrounder
- Hostinger – Best cheap hosting plans
- Kinsta – Best managed WordPress hosting
- GreenGeeks – Best green hosting provider
#1 SiteGround – The best allrounder
WebsiteGecko runs on SiteGround. So it shouldn’t surprise you that I recommend them as the number one hosting provider.
SiteGround’s strength lies in that they offer an amazing service for an incredibly wide range of websites. Their starter plans are cheap enough for websites with little traffic. But at the same time, several websites boasting millions of visitors use SiteGround, too.
As a SiteGround user you won’t have to switch providers as you grow. You can simply upgrade to a more advanced hosting plan.
All of SiteGround’s hosting plans are optimized for WordPress. Among other things, this means you get automatic WordPress updates and speed optimizations.
Besides this, SiteGround offers most of the WordPress features you’ll see at much more expensive hosting providers. Also, their customer support is exclusively staffed by WordPress experts who understand the platform through and through.
Speaking of SiteGround’s customer service: it’s phenomenal. Any time I’ve got a question, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to get a hold of a customer service rep. And whatever the problem, they’ve been always able to sort it out for me in next to no-time.
Whether you’re looking to switch hosting providers or start from scratch, I’d seriously consider choosing SiteGround.
#2 Hostinger – Best cheap hosting plans
Is it possible to get good web hosting for under a dollar a month? According to Hostinger, the answer is a resounding yes.
Most cheap web hosting isn’t worth your while. Slow loading times, a lot of site downtime, uncapable and/or unreachable customer support… You really don’t want to get anywhere near it.
Hostinger breaks the mold entirely when it comes to cheap hosting. Their service is blazing fast, comes with excellent customer support, and has great uptime. Their customer service might not be as fast as that of some other providers, but we’re still talking here about a waiting time which doesn’t exceed 40 minutes.
Where Hostinger shines is in their affordable, shared hosting plans. For cloud hosting and VPS-hosting, I’d recommend a more premium provider.
Bottom line, Hostinger is a superb option for smaller websites and hobby projects.
#3 Kinsta – Best managed WordPress hosting
Kinsta is the Ferrari among managed WordPress hosting services.
This provider separates itself from the other hosting providers on this list in the following two ways: you can only use it for WordPress websites and it’s a lot more expensive.
Thus far, Kinsta might not strike you as a very appealing option. You can only run type of website on it and it’s expensive?
But Kinsta did not make this list without reason. Kinsta happens to be the best premium, managed WordPress hosting out there. And it is perfectly suited to a specific type of website.
Do you have a business WordPress website with a ton of visitors or a super popular blog and are you looking for a carefree hosting experience? Then Kinsta is a great option to consider.
Their customer support is top-notch and your site will run without a hitch. Kinsta’s uptime is in a league of its own.
Another advantage about Kinsta is that their features are pretty much the same across their plans. This means it’s super easy to choose a plan: just pick one according to your monthly visitors and you’re good to go. You’ll never have to worry that when picking one of their cheaper plans you’ll be getting a subpar experience.
Do keep in mind that Kinsta is complete overkill for new websites with not too many visitors. You should only consider them for established websites.
#4 GreenGeeks – Best Green Hosting Provider
GreenGeeks is the most eco-friendly web host in the world.
Now, I can imagine that sustainability isn’t something you usually associate with web hosting. Yet, according to the Web Neutral Project the internet is responsible for 10% of all energy usage worldwide. It’s hard to imagine, but the internet emits more CO2 than the entire airline industry.
GreenGeeks acknowledges this problem and has decided to do something about it. For all the energy they consume, they’re putting 3 times as much right back into the grid through wind energy.
But aside from its green mission, GreenGeeks offers an excellent web hosting service.
For starters, I was extremely impressed by their customer service, which addressed my questions in less than a minute – consistently. On top of that, their hosting is lightning fast, boasts excellent uptime and to top it all off, is affordable.
It’s hard not to be a GreenGeeks fan. If you’re looking for the best sustainability-minded web hosting provider out there, then go with GreenGeeks.
What kind of hosting is best for your website?
Now, let’s figure out what kind of web hosting is the best fit for your website.
The best web hosting for small businesses and freelancers
As a small business owner or freelancer, you’re a jack of all trades. Marketing, sales, customer support and bookkeeping – there’s a constant barrage of activities which place a demand on your time.
Costs are important. But a factor that possible is even more critical is time. You don’t want to jump hoops to solve issues with any of your business tools.
As an entrepreneur, it’s therefore important to have a super reliable hosting provider. A hosting provider which ensures your business website is always online. And which, whenever a problem arises, lets you talk to their support staff within a matter of minutes. And of course, you’re looking to get all of this for a fair price.
At some stage I used web hosting from a company which charged extra for direct support. Even though their hosting plan already was expensive. Whenever I ran into a problem or question, I’d find myself in a game of email Ping-Pong which would span multiple days. With something that concerns something as critical as your website, this is the very last thing you want.
If you want to make sure you don’t run into a similar scenario, then SiteGround is the way to go. Their 24/7 support lets you speak with them at any moment in mere minutes. Plus, their service boasts fantastic speed and uptime. As a small business owner or freelancer, they offer exactly what you need for peace of mind.
The Best Shared Web Hosting
For 99% of new websites, shared web hosting is the way to go. It’s by far the most affordable kind of hosting available. The low costs, however, aren’t at odds with the quality of the service.
With shared hosting, your website shares a server with other websites. The majority of websites don’t take up all that many resources given their modest visitor numbers. Because of that, most websites don’t require a dedicated server.
In theory, shared hosting can cause problems to your website. For instance, if one of the websites on your server has a massive spike in visitors, this could slow down your site or cause downtime.
But in practice this rarely happens. The shared hosting providers in this guide have a 99.9% uptime at least. With some of them, average uptime even exceeds 99.99%.
Now, you might be wondering at which point your website will outgrow shared hosting. Usually this is around the 100,000 visitors a month mark. Do keep in mind that the select few websites that ever hit this number take years in order to do so. Once your website reaches this stage, you can easily upgrade to a more advanced type of hosting.
Although some hosting companies claim their most extensive hosting plans can handle 100,000 visitors a month, it might make sense to upgrade well before that. At around, say, the 50,000 visitors a month mark.
Why? Well, with that many visitors your site is likely to generate a good amount of revenue. Spending a bit more on your hosting to ensure better performance, would therefore be the smart thing to do. As a rule of thumb, the more visitors your site attacks, the more you’ll benefit from fast, high-quality hosting.
The best WordPress hosting
WordPress is for most people the best platform to build a website on. The statistics underpin this: more than a third of all websites are built on WordPress.
And if we’re talking about blogging, then there isn’t even a debate. All other platforms pale in comparison.
10 years ago, setting up a WordPress site was quite a hassle. This isn’t the case anymore. Even if you have no technical knowledge whatsoever, it’s really easy to create a WordPress website in a couple of hours.
Web hosting providers have jumped on WordPress’ popularity by offering hosting geared towards WordPress websites. This is referred to as managed WordPress Hosting.
Managed WordPress hosting is a concierge service where all technical aspects of hosting a WordPress website are being taken care of by the hosting provider. Think about security, speed, WordPress updates, daily backups, website uptime and special plugins which further optimize your site.
The idea behind managed WordPress hosting is offering you a carefree experience, which ensures website maintenance costs you as little time as possible.
One of the best parts of managed WordPress hosting is the high-level customer support you can expect. Customer service gets taken care of by genuine WordPress veterans instead of someone just reading from a script.
Of course, all of this comes at a price. Managed WordPress hosting is more expensive than “regular” web hosting.
One thing to keep in mind is that managed WordPress hosting can come in all shapes and sizes: it can be shared hosting, cloud hosting, or VPS-hosting.
So, for who does managed WordPress hosting make sense?
If you’re planning to attract many visitors to your site (think 20,000+), then managed WordPress hosting is 100% worth it. If you’re a small business owner or freelancer but don’t expect to get that much traffic, I recommend managed WordPress hosting as well. The extra security and time saved website maintenance make this a no-brainer.
For side projects and hobby websites however, managed WordPress hosting is far from a necessity.
Here you can read more about WordPress hosting.
The best cheap hosting
In some cases, it makes total sense to pay as little money for hosting as possible. For instance, you want to start a personal website geared towards friends and family. Or you want to kick off a side project which requires a website.
Whatever you’re exactly after, once it turns out your website requires some heavy hitting hosting, you can always switch to a more premium hosting provider.
As you can imagine, with cheap hosting you often get what you pay for. You can’t really count on world-class performance or customer service when spending a couple of bucks a month. And if you choose really cheap (or even free) web hosting, you can expect a ton of problems such as a slow site and loads of downtime.
Deals that seem too good to be true, usually are.
Luckily there is one extremely affordable hosting company which doesn’t want to make you throw your laptop out of the window. This is Hostinger. Choose them if you’re looking for the best cheap hosting provider.
Here you can read more about cheap web hosting and what to keep in mind when going with a cheaper hosting provider.
The best cloud hosting
Cloud hosting is perfect for when your site should have as little down time as possible, draws in a sizeable audience and is growing quickly.
Cloud hosting holds several advantages over shared hosting.
With cloud hosting your site is spread among a number of servers. You can imagine the cloud as a web of computers which are interconnected. Once more computers get added to the network, the cloud growth stronger and more robust. If one of the servers goes offline, this is no problem. Your website can simply tap the other servers within the cloud.
This is also perfect for scaling your bandwidth. Do you expect a visitor spike at some point? No problem. Cloud hosting can offer you exactly the capacity you need to deal with the influx.
All of this ensures it’s pretty much impossible to experience any downtime when using a cloud hosting plan.
When your site has got many visitors or is on the verge of getting many visitors – say more than 50,000 per month – cloud hosting starts to make sense.
How do you pick the best web host for your site?
Before we dive into the criteria of good web hosting, let me summarize a few guidelines to help you pick the best web hosting provider for your website:
- Are you a freelancer or small business owner and do you want as much peace of mind around your hosting without breaking the bank? Choose SiteGround
- Is budget not much of a concern and are you looking for the most premium WordPress hosting experience out there? Then go for Kinsta
- Are you planning to build a really big website or is your website already big? Then pick either SiteGround or Kinsta
- Are you looking for the cheapest provider out there without compromizing on quality? Then Hostinger is the best option by far
- Are you looking for a great hosting company but are you looking for a green option? Then GreenGeeks is the best hosting provider for you
When following these guidelines, the odds that you’ll have to switch hosting companies at some stage will be pretty slim.
At this point I’m pretty sure you’re curious about the factors on which we judge web hosting providers. What actually matters?
Let’s have a look.
If your website is offline, it doesn’t matter how advanced your web hosting provider is. There’s no point in having a website if there are reasonable odds it will be offline when people try to visit it.
The hosting providers on this list are the cream of the crop when it comes to uptime. Pick any of them and you’ll find that the odds of your website going offline will be incredibly slim.
Some of them are even fully transparent around their uptime (you can check the stats on their website) and offer a partial refund whenever they dip below their uptime guarantee.
Nobody likes slow websites. People tend to click away once they have to wait over 2 seconds for a page to load. Besides, Google doesn’t like slow sites either. The slower your website, the lower your web pages will appear in the Google search results.
You can influence your site’s speed in a number of ways. Caching, small image sizes and picking to the right platform for your site all influence speed. But at the end of the day, everything hinges on your hosting provider. Slow hosting = slow website.
When talking about website speed, consider this. Research has shown that one second of slower loading times could cost Amazon $1.6 billion in sales.
And although your site might be quite far removed from Amazon when it comes to revenue, the rule still applies. Slow loading times cost you money.
Image this. You visit your website and to your dismay it’s offline. So you head over to your hosting provider’s website. Their contact page doesn’t contain a phone number or live chat. All you can do is fill out a contact form.
You send them a message. After half a day, you still haven’t received a response. By now, you break into a cold sweat. Visitors are starting to complain about being unable to reach your site.
After a day you finally receive a response. What happened? Well, as it turned out your payment details were expired. Which meant your subscription was unable to automatically renew.
When everything is finally sorted, your website has been offline for two entire days.
For most people this scenario would be an absolute disaster. But once you pick a hosting provider whose hosting plans seem to be priced a little bit too attractive, you’ll run into such problems sooner or later.
My advice? Pretty much any hosting provider offers a money-back guarantee. This means you can set up your website and go all out on their customer service – no holds barred. Call them, use the live chat, gauge their response times and see how capable the support staff is. Make sure the quality of the hosting company meets your standards.
If they don’t, make the switch to a different provider.
The hosting companies in this guide have been thoroughly vetted with regards to their customer service. I vouch for them. Still, it does make sense to test this yourself as well.
Sites with tons of traffic require a different kind of hosting from sites with more modest traffic numbers.
Shared hosting will more than suffice when your website has got less than 50,000 monthly visitors. And if your site doesn’t exceed 10.000 visitors per month, the cheapest shared hosting plan will be totally fine in most cases.
But once you’ve got a big website, or are planning on scaling your site rapidly, you’ll outgrow shared hosting. At this point, it makes sense to make the switch to cloud-hosting or VPS-hosting. And once you get really big, you’ll require a dedicated hosting solution.
If you’ve got big ambitions for your site, don’t be stingy on hosting. The extra money you’ll spend will easily pay itself back through the superior service you’ll be getting. Think for instance about the time saved on hosting maintenance, or how much more money a faster site could earn you.
Most shared hosting plans will cost between $4 and $20 a month. For most websites, I wouldn’t want to pay any less than this.
For instance, looking at Hostinger’s cheapest plan, it doesn’t come with backups. Hostinger’s Premium plan costs you just a couple of dollars a month more but offers backups plus better performance. In the majority of cases, this makes it a much more sensible option. However, for a personal website aimed at friends and family, this cheapest plan would be fine.
There’s a neat little trick to benefit as much as possible from a hosting plan’s introductory fee. If you pay multiple years in advance, you’ll end up paying the introductory fee throughout those years. With some hosting providers, this means you get to pay the introductory fee for up to 4 years.
Doing this with Hostinger’s aforementioned cheapest plan, means you can get yourself 4 years of hosting for less than $50.
You might already have a website and are looking to switch hosting providers. This process isn’t always as frictionless as you’d like it to be.
Luckily, many web hosting companies offer a professional migration service which can save you days of pain and sorrow. SiteGround’s support team for instance, offers a free website migration which doesn’t take longer than 2-3 working days. For one of my websites, they actually got the job done in half a day.
Free web hosting? Don’t bother
I can’t think of any situation in which I’d recommend free web hosting. Free web hosting is slow, unreliable and has terrible or non-existing customer support.
But what about, say, a one-time event for which you’d like to put up a simple website? In that case I’d recommend you use Google Sites. This is a free-to-use website builder to which you can link your own domain. It’s basic but suffices for one-page websites or sites with just a few pages. The fact that you can hook it up with your own domain name ensures your site will have a professional feel to it.
After months of research, I’ve managed to come up with this shortlist of best web hosting companies. I hope this guide has helped you pick the perfect hosting provider for your website.
In case you have some questions or would like some more advice, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
Here are the best web hosting providers once more:
- SiteGround – The best allrounder
- Hostinger – Best cheap hosting plans
- Kinsta – Best managed WordPress hosting
- GreenGeeks – Best green hosting provider