10 Best Web Hosting Services in 2021
The most comprehensive web hosting test ever conducted
We tested the world’s most popular web hosting services to see which ones really live up to their claims. We hosted the exact same website on each provider’s servers for a period of three months, and checked loading speeds, uptime, and security. We also challenged the support teams to see if they could provide adequate help – even when things got tricky.
Our team spent long months carefully testing hundreds of web hosts from all around the world and recording all the data, and now, the results are in. We had quite a few surprises along the way – some of the hosts we were betting on ended up performing terribly, while others exceeded our expectations. Let’s take a closer look at the best of the best.
- Cheapest prices in the market for long-term plans
- Uses LiteSpeed technology for top speeds
- Simple user experience with a proprietary control panel
- Supports WordPress and hundreds of other CMS
Hostinger is known for its aggressive marketing, so I was particularly curious to see if it was all just talk. My expectations were not very high, but what can I say – I was truly surprised. With such low prices, I never thought I’d see such excellent performance test results.
What do I mean by excellent? Well, our testing shows that even on Hostinger’s basic plan, which costs only $1.39 per month if you sign up for the long term, loading speeds almost equaled what we saw from much more expensive services, such as Nexcess and Kinsta.
If you want to host anything from a personal blog to a business page and you’d like to get your website online as quickly and as cheaply as possible, you really can’t go wrong with Hostinger. Before you sign up, visit our Hostinger coupon page to see the best deals currently available.
- Best managed hosting for multiple platforms, from WordPress to Magento
- Streamlined, custom-built control panels for maximum efficiency
- Excellent worldwide speeds, with multiple locations available
- Automatic full-website backups to a remote server
While Hostinger is a great cost-effective solution, you’ll have to make your own optimizations and reconfigurations to make the most out of it. The alternative is managed hosting, and Nexcess (part of the Liquid Web family) provides just that. It’s more expensive to have a true professional do the hard work for you, but it’s the easiest, safest, and most worry-free way to host a website.
Nexcess’s managed service supports multiple platforms, with specific server stacks and configurations that enable each platform to reach peak performance. If you’re not sure what that means, don’t worry – Nexcess takes care of everything for you. With high speeds and increased stability guaranteed, the only thing left for you to do is build your website.
Why is it #2 then? As it is a managed service, it is much more expensive than Hostinger. Still, it’s among the cheaper managed options available, and you should definitely consider it.
- The best choice for flexible hosting on a month-to-month basis
- Data centers on both US coasts let you quickly serve American audiences
- The only basic plan that lets you build unlimited websites on different domains
- Multiple security protocols included, including a malware scanner
InterServer is one of the best options if you’re targeting a North American audience. When we tested its US data centers, the loading speeds all over the US and Canada were great. Even in many Western European countries, speeds were still acceptable – but keep in mind that visitors from other parts of the world may have to wait longer for your site to load.
There are other things to like about InterServer, though. I personally like how there’s only one shared plan, and it comes with unlimited resources. You get a generous allocation of server space and bandwidth, and InterServer doesn’t even limit the number of domains you can connect on a single account. This makes it ideal if you’re looking to build multiple small websites.
The fact that InterServer’s monthly prices are among the cheapest in the market doesn’t hurt either. The basic plan costs only $2.50 per month, and you can check our InterServer coupon page for additional savings.
- Fastest, most consistent speeds in our testing
- Easy-to-use, minimum-fuss control panel
- 23 worldwide data center locations built on top of Google Cloud Platform
- Specifically designed for WordPress hosting
Let me say this right away – if price wasn’t an issue, Kinsta would absolutely be #1 on this list. There’s so much to love about the service, from the stylish and super easy-to-use panel to the phenomenal speeds we saw every time we tested it.
It’s a fully managed service, much like Nexcess’s, but with a few key differences. It only supports WordPress, its professional support team is much more readily available (response in under one minute, 24/7), and performance is even better.
I’ll let you in on a little insider secret, too. These guys really don’t care much about affiliate deals, advertising, or any of the things that hosts like Hostinger spend so much time and money on. It’s clear that they focus on one thing, and one thing only – delivering the best product possible.
So, what’s not to like? First, there’s no email hosting. Second, the price. It’s even more expensive than Nexcess (which in itself isn’t cheap), but if your budget allows it, Kinsta should definitely be your choice.
- American host with multiple US locations
- Haggling a bit can net you great prices
- A detailed knowledge base, superior to most other hosts
- Slightly confusing interface
InMotion is very similar to InterServer in the sense that both companies maintain data centers on both US coasts, aimed mostly at American audiences. We’ve tested InMotion’s D.C. data centers and found that while speeds were not as fast as InterServer, they were still well within an acceptable range.
So, why not just go with InterServer? Because while InterServer’s service does not lack strengths, it has a huge problem delivering quality support. InMotion does a decidedly better job at recruiting actual English speakers and training them properly, making it that much easier to get help.
The support experience doesn’t end there. InMotion has amassed what is maybe the most detailed knowledge base around, filled with countless tutorials on how to perform each and every hosting-related task. Simply speaking, even if you’re a huge technophobe, you’ll be alright.
- Best low-priced option for features and performance
- Faster loading times than most shared hosting providers
- Multiple upgrade options, from enhanced shared plans to powerful VPS
- An anytime pro-rata refund lets you enjoy long-term prices without the commitment
While InMotion Hosting combines excellent support, great features, and respectable speeds, A2 Hosting delivers a slightly different mix: features are generally similar, but loading speeds are even better. The support? Nothing to write home about.
A2’s long history in the web hosting business makes it even easier to recommend. With a proven record of consistent speeds and high uptime over many years, it’s the kind of host you can simply trust.
If you feel generally confident about your ability to follow guides and tutorials, the lack of available (and/or knowledgeable) support agents shouldn’t be that much of an issue. Given the fact that you can always quit the service and get a pro-rata refund, I’d say it’s worth trying.
- Best for reaching audiences in Asia and Oceania
- Decent performance and uptime
- Great management panel with smart cPanel integrations
- A great support experience almost all the time
FastComet’s use case is simple. If you want to reach audiences in locations such as Japan and India, you have three options: Go with Kinsta, which is expensive. Risk it with a local host, where bureaucracy and the language barrier are bound to be an issue. Or choose FastComet, which offers a streamlined and easy-to-use service, and operates data centers in each one of these locations.
FastComet’s deployment and performance in the US and Europe are nothing to scoff at either, but it’s the extra locations that make it a true gem. Don’t even try serving South-Asian visitors from a data center located in Europe – they’ll jump ship long before your website loads.
Another great part of the service is FastComet’s highly-trained support agents, which I’ve had mostly fantastic experiences with. The only issue is that occasionally you might get matched up with a less enthusiastic agent, one who is more eager to waste your time and say “I’m sorry, that issue isn’t covered by our support service.” I’ve found that mysteriously, the next agent I speak with is usually very happy to help.
- A hybrid between shared and managed hosting, offering the best of both worlds
- Powerful features, much more streamlined than cPanel hosts
- Speeds are slower than the other hosts on this list
- Support is difficult to reach
SiteGround has quite an interesting story. Up until lately, it was simply a very good and very dependable cPanel host, meaning it did pretty much what every other shared host does, although usually better. After the hosting industry shakeup caused by cPanel raising prices, SiteGround became a different beast altogether.
After months of intense testing and development, SiteGround launched Site Tools, a ridiculously easy-to-use control panel. It lets you quickly set up all important aspects of your hosting, much like what Nexcess and Kinsta offer.
But… the service is still based on shared servers, meaning that performance is not nearly as fast as those premium hosts. Actually, in our testing we discovered that out of the ten hosts on this list, SiteGround was usually the slowest. Still, if you’re looking to pay shared hosting prices and get a lot of the perks managed hosting has to offer, SiteGround is a great option.
- The best support you can find for shared hosting
- Dedicated and well-trained support agents that always go the extra mile
- Bargain prices and free domain with long-term plans
- Green, environmentally-conscious hosting that invests in renewable energy
Guys and girls, you’ve reached #5 on our list. While all hosts on this list are great and deserve your consideration, from this point on, there are compromises involved. Still, they each have their strong suits, and GreenGeeks is no different.
We love GreenGeeks for many reasons, from its multiple data centers that deliver surprisingly fast speeds, to the powerful cPanel features it includes with every plan. And yet, the best part of GreenGeeks is hands down the support experience.
Even great hosts like InterServer and Nexcess struggle with maintaining a professional live support service 24/7. GreenGeeks’ team outperforms them all, and it’s a true pleasure to work with them. They really know what they’re doing, go way beyond what’s expected when lending a hand, and are always a live chat away.
- Great cPanel hosting with unlimited resources
- A lot of potential for performance
- Includes important features like caching
- Security tools and upgrades available
There’s a reason why Hostwinds is last on our list, and it’s not because it’s bad. On the contrary. Hostwinds’ shared hosting plans are great, packed with almost every important feature, and all come with no resource limitations.
But you can get better features with InterServer. And SiteGround’s interface is easier to use. And while support is generally great, I’ve also had some miserable experiences, with agents proposing some rather preposterous fixes to rather simple issues.
What’s the saving grace? During my performance tests, I discovered that at its peak, Hostwinds delivered some of the fastest loading speeds of all the hosts on this list. Better than Nexcess’s best. If you have experience with hosting and are able to perform optimizations and configure things yourself, there’s a good chance you can make Hostwinds into a performance champion.
The Global Web Host Comparison Project – How We Did It
Now, I try to be a trusting man. When people tell me they can do something, I want to believe them. But when each and every host in existence claims to be the very best, how can anybody take their word for it?
“Blazing speeds,” for example, is a term that’s commonly thrown around. Some hosts apparently think it applies to a sluggish three seconds loading time for a basic landing page. “24/7 expert support service” that’s only occasionally manned, and never by experts, isn’t any better.
The only way to really size these companies up is to test them. And so, I set on a journey to find the answer to the most important question:
Which web hosting services are actually the best ones today?
The process wasn’t easy, as the competition was fierce. I broke my analysis down into three smaller questions:
- Who are the most popular and most appreciated web hosts today?
- What am I looking for in a quality hosting service?
- After signing up to and thoroughly testing the contenders, how do they compare in terms of features, performance, ease of use, prices, and support?
I’m happy to report that the project went well and that I was quite surprised by the results myself.
Before we get started, I’ll just mention that we hosted our sites on servers located in the hosts’ US data centers, and you can see the results on this page. But our tests don’t end here – we also had 30+ Website Planet experts from all over the world test these hosts in their countries and compare them to local hosts. To see the results of the local tests, you can change the language in the upper right corner of this page.
Who Are the Top Web Hosts Available Today?
To find my contenders for the coveted spot of the world’s #1 host, I looked for versatile companies that offer hosting for clients of all sizes – from simple shared hosting and managed WordPress to VPS machines, dedicated servers, and cloud solutions.
First on the list was the obvious Hostinger. It’s a host that just keeps on growing, with many millions of customers. Personally, I didn’t think this industry giant would score highly, as oftentimes big companies cruise along on name recognition alone, forgetting about trying to be the best. Still, real testing had to be done to determine this.
I had to delve deeper to find my other hosts, as I didn’t want to just go according to popularity. I convened with our Website Planet experts from all over the world (Zoom meetings!) to get their opinions on the best services available today. I also asked around in various web development communities, groups, forums, and subreddits. Basically every place I managed to get into.
We all discussed our past experiences with dozens of web hosts and debated which ones have been a disappointment, which ones have continuously exceeded our expectations, and which ones were just… meh. We also compared feedback from actual clients to understand which hosts they’ve chosen as the most reliable ones.
The hosts that came up the most often during this research phase make up the bulk of my list.
I’ll explain the testing process and discuss the results in a short moment, but first of all, let me introduce Website Planet’s final list of contenders. You can click each web host’s name to read a full, honest review.
- A2 Hosting – Full Review
- SiteGround – Full Review
- Nexcess – Full Review
- Hostwinds – Full Review
- Kinsta – Full Review
- GreenGeeks – Full Review
- Hostinger – Full Review
- InterServer – Full Review
- InMotion Hosting – Full Review
- FastComet – Full Review
Alright! My dream team was ready, and it was time to start. The next steps were to test each one separately, obsessively gather the results in way too many Google Sheets, and finally compare them.
If You Want To Test a Web Host, You Have To Build a Real Website
It isn’t possible to evaluate the quality of a web host without using it for real, and to use it for real, you need to build a website. WordPress was my obvious go-to platform, but my website still needed to be about something…
Which brings us to a dark and rainy February night. I was waiting for the bus when I realized my phone battery was dead. With nothing much else to do, I sat there staring at my shoes. And then it hit me. Why were my shoes so boring? If I could have a smart phone, why couldn’t I have smart shoes? Just imagine the potential.
Well, I’m honored to share with you my very own fictional startup, The Autonomous Shoes:
Armed with my revolutionary idea, I bought a flexible WordPress landing page theme and quickly designed a website. I then uploaded this exact same website to each of the 10 hosts.
For each host, I repeated the same process:
Before signup, I had a long chat with support to size them up. I played dumb (really dumb), asked a ton questions, and tested how honest and professional the agents were.
If they tried to push me into buying an advanced plan I didn’t need, told tall tales of how performance in Australia would be amazing (even though their servers are located in the US), or showed a general lack of understanding, I took points off.
After that, I created a hosting account with each of them and purchased a domain name. I always went for the most basic shared hosting plan available, and thoroughly documented the process. I wanted to understand how easy each host is to use, and to check which ones try to weasel some extra bucks off you when you’re not looking.
I installed WordPress, uploaded my custom theme, and started checking what the plans actually include. What resources will you be getting and what tools stand at your disposal? What features are freely available and what lies locked behind a paywall?
When all my websites were up and running, I contacted support again, telling the agents that my loading speed was disappointing, and asking for help making my website faster. I then proceeded with the suggested optimizations.
The final step (that is still ongoing) was my performance tests. I measured loading times in the US and all over the world, and set up uptime monitors to see which hosts were the most reliable. The tools I used were:
- GTmetrix PRO
- Sucuri Load Time Tester
- UptimeRobot’s Pro plan
Results and Analysis – How Did Each Host Fare?
After months of experimenting with the hosts and gathering data, I was finally able to complete my mission – to compare the hosts and find the best one.
I’ve ranked each service in five categories:
- Ease of Use
You’ll find a detailed table for each category, followed by an explanation and in-depth discussion of all comparison criteria.
Features are what each service gives you. The options, resources, tools, services, perks, and bonuses that are provided as part of the plan.
|A2 Hosting||SiteGround||Nexcess||Hostwinds||Kinsta||GreenGeeks||Hostinger||InterServer||InMotion Hosting||FastComet|
|Bandwidth||Unlimited||~10,000 visits||2TB||Unlimited||~20,000 visits||Unlimited||100GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||30GB|
|Control panel||cPanel||Site Tools (proprietary)||Nexcess (proprietary)||cPanel||Kinsta (proprietary)||cPanel||hPanel (proprietary)||cPanel||cPanel||cPanel|
|Auto-installers||Softaculous||App Manager||Pre-installed||Softaculous||Pre-installed||Softaculous||Auto Installer||Softaculous||Softaculous||Softaculous|
|Platform support||Full support||Limited||Very Limited||Full support||WordPress only||Full support||Full support||Full support||Full support||Full support|
|SSL Qualys Score||A+||A||A||A||A||A+||A||A||B||B|
|Backups||Paid add-on||Automatic daily backups||Automatic daily backups||Paid add-on||Automatic daily backups||None||Paid add-on||None||Paid add-on||None|
|Number of domains||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||Unlimited||2||1|
|Number of email accounts||25||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||No emails||Unlimited||1||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|CDN||Easy CloudFlare integration||Easy CloudFlare integration||No CDN||Easy CloudFlare integration||Kinsta CDN||Easy CloudFlare integration||Paid add-on||Easy CloudFlare integration||No CDN||Easy CloudFlare integration|
|Final features score||4.4||4.6||4.8||4.5||4.7||4.3||4.2||4.8||4.3||4.6|
Everything you host is going to take up space. From your WordPress (or any other platform) installation to your text, images, videos, and files, it all counts towards your allotted disk space.
Still, don’t jump to the conclusion that more is always better. 10GB is certainly enough for blogs, business pages, and even e-commerce stores with thousands of HD pics. “Unlimited space” sounds amazing, but it’s always bound to some “fair use agreement” and you’re never the one who gets to decide what’s fair.
When people visit your website, the host sends them the page they requested. In the same way that all your hosted data counts towards your disk space limit, your bandwidth is how much data you’re allowed to send a month. The more visitors you have, the more bandwidth you’ll require.
SiteGround and Kinsta provide the least amount, although they will still do well for small-to-medium websites. The other hosts do significantly better, making it so that bandwidth will never be your bottleneck. Nexcess is the true champion, guaranteeing an obscene amount of traffic.
Do you speak Linux? Nope. That’s why control panels were invented. They allow you to easily edit and configure your hosting solution, from DNS records to databases and email accounts.
Most hosts offer cPanel, which is the most popular option out there. As far as basic hosting management is concerned, you can never go wrong with it. Hostinger and SiteGround each developed a panel of their own, and while both mimic cPanel in some ways, they fail to deliver an equally powerful solution.
Kinsta and Nexcess completely did away with the idea of a fully-fledged control panel. They don’t offer nearly as many options as the contenders, but there’s a reason for that – both services are managed, meaning they’re already taking care of most configurations for you.
Installing CMSs (Content Management Systems) like WordPress used to be a tedious manual process, but today, most hosts offer an easy-to-use automatic installation.
Most hosts went with Softaculous, a very capable auto-installer that offers easy installations for hundreds of CMSs. SiteGround has a self-developed solution that works very similarly. Kinsta and Nexcess, true to their promise of managing things for you, don’t give you any access to such a service. Instead, your CMS of choice comes pre-installed.
What CMS can you actually install with each service? WordPress is popular, but it’s far from the only website platform available today – hundreds of options exist, from Joomla and Magento to self-developed PHP-based projects.
Almost all hosts provide “full” platform support, meaning that you can use the hosting to run any CMS you desire. SiteGround is slightly more limited, offering a few dozen options or so. Nexcess supports only the most popular platforms . Kinsta is strictly a WordPress service, and can’t be used for any other CMS.
I can’t stress the importance of an SSL certificate enough. It secures and encrypts your visitors data, guaranteeing their safety while browsing your site. It’s a must for e-commerce sites, and is also known to positively affect Google rankings and SEO in general.
While SSL certificates used to be quite expensive, today there’s a much cheaper solution. Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates are free to use, and any host can easily choose to provide them. That is exactly what almost all of these hosts did.
The only host that didn’t was Hostinger – no SSL certificate was included when I signed up. The thing about Hostinger is that it often tweaks its plan features, and currently there does seem to be an SSL included. Still, be sure to check.
SSL Qualys score
Qualys tests the strength of your website’s SSL protection, ranking it on an A to F scale. Care about your visitors, your SEO, and about being a responsible adult? Anything less than a A ranking is cause for concern.
Apart from FastComet and InMotion Hosting, all other hosts scored an A or above, guaranteeing you complete peace of mind. What should you make of the B score? That these hosts could’ve done better, but for reasons unknown, chose to neglect this aspect of the service. That’s bad news.
While all auto-installers can be configured to run a CMS backup onto your disk space, this is not what I’m talking about. I’m looking for full system backups that are automatically made and stored on a remote server. That means that if your hosting space was compromised by hackers, an untouched backup still exists.
Most hosts only provide these backups as a paid add-on, which is a crying shame. It’s absolutely necessary. InterServer doesn’t provide such a service at all for its shared plans. GreenGeeks supposedly performs nightly backups that are available in the event of a service malfunction, but you can’t access them yourself.
Number of domains
This does not refer to the actual domain URLs you own, but to the number of separate websites you can host with your plan. One domain is obviously the minimum, and is usually what basic plans offer. Pay more for advanced plans, get more domains.
This is true of all the hosts on this list except InMotion Hosting and InterServer. InMotion Hosting gives you 2 domains on the basic plan, while InterServer’s plan comes with unlimited domains – which is undoubtedly the host’s biggest selling point. Just remember that behind-the-scenes computing resources are still limited, so use this plan for running multiple small landing page sites and one-pagers – not resource-hungry megastores.
Number of email accounts
If you want to use your hosting for email, and are planning on giving out addresses to dozens of your employees and business partners, be sure to check what your host offers. Hostinger, for example, offers just a single email account with its basic plan. A2 Hosting does better, with 25. All others, except Kinsta, let you open unlimited accounts.
Kinsta, sadly, has no email hosting at all, meaning you’ll have to shell out for a separate email service such as G Suite.
Your website is hosted on a physical server somewhere in the world. The farther your visitors are from this location, the longer it will take them to load your website. Looking to offset this? Enter a CDN (Content Delivery Network). A CDN caches (creates copies) of your website and spreads them over a global network of servers, guaranteeing speedy content delivery.
Kinsta excels here and gives you access to its premium CDN service, which truly delivers the goods. Most other hosts offer easy, one-click integration with the 3rd-party Cloudflare. Cloudflare has a free service, but it’s not the fastest. Hostinger hides this easy integration behind a paywall, which is truly ridiculous. Nexcess doesn’t offer any easy integration, meaning you’ll have to manually do the configuration yourself.
A CDN isn’t the only thing that can cache your website pages. Your hosting server can do it too! Why let your server “build” your homepage every time a visitor arrives, when it’s the exact same homepage every time? A caching tool creates ready-to-send versions of your pages, significantly reducing the load on your server.
Almost all of these hosts offer some form of server-level caching, meaning static sites are guaranteed a speedier delivery. Sadly, A2 Hosting and InMotion offer no such option, limiting you to the vastly inferior client-level caching plugins. FastComet only includes caching in its advanced plans.
A malware scanner, WAFs (Web Application Firewalls), or any other tool that helps you secure your hosting is highly appreciated. It’s a dangerous world online, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Most hosts turned out to be disappointing on this front, not providing a single security tool out of the box. Among the ones that do, it’s usually a basic cPanel malware scanner. InterServer takes the prize here by letting you access a full range of scanners and security suites, all pre-installed and easy to use.
Features – Bottom Line
InterServer and Nexcess share the win. InterServer wins by using cPanel, going the “unlimited” way, and including powerful security measures. Nexcess and its custom panel might not have the security tools, but automatic backups, going 30 days back, generate a lot of appreciation on my side.
The biggest loser is probably Hostinger. While it’s still a very capable service, I found that most advanced options were either missing or required separate purchases.
Ease of Use
Not enough companies take the time to plan out the user experience and make it as seamless as possible. Still, ease of use is of the utmost importance – learning how to play nice with a badly designed service can cost you hours, even days.
|A2 Hosting||SiteGround||Nexcess||Hostwinds||Kinsta||GreenGeeks||Hostinger||InterServer||InMotion Hosting||FastComet|
|Account activation||Two days||One hour||Immediate||Two days||Immediate||Two days||Immediate||One hour||Immediate||One hour|
|Connecting the domain||5||5||3||5||3.5||5||5||5||3.5||4.5|
|Installing a CMS||5||4.5||5||4||5||4||4.5||4||5||4.5|
|Using the account area||4||4.5||5||4||5||4||3.5||3||3.5||4.5|
|Final ease of use score||4.2||4.4||4.7||4.3||4.7||4.3||4.5||4.3||4.0||4.7|
Nobody wants signing up to a service to feel like high school homework. I’ve ranked each service on a 1-5 scale according to how easy it was to get on board, which in a perfect world consists of me inputting my email address, choosing a password, and entering payment information. If they asked me annoying questions, requested irrelevant data, or in any way complicated this process – I took points off.
Most hosts did pretty well here. Some had me going through extra pages and were slightly confusing, but that’s a relatively minor offense. Still, Nexcess and Kinsta asked for the least amount of details, did not hinder my progress in any way, and basically let me finish the whole thing in under a minute.
Immediate account activation
Silly me, thinking that after signing up and entering my very legitimate payment information, I’d immediately be activated. How wrong I was. Many hosts have “anti-fraud” protocols in place, and these protocols were very quick to block my purchase and send me back to the drawing board. You might not get tagged by the protocols, but I share with you only my honest experience – how long it took me to get my account going.
Kinsta, Hostinger, and InMotion Hosting were the only hosts to immediately activate me. SiteGround and InterServer made small charges to my credit card, which took a while to show up. I then had to enter them to get successfully verified. FastComet asked for a screenshot of my credit card charge.
A2 Hosting, Hostwinds, and GreenGeeks all blocked my order on account of “fraud.” The process of getting in touch with the sales team, providing a copy of my passport (which I didn’t feel comfortable at all with), and finally switching to PayPal, took two days.
Connecting the domain
Ranked on a 1-5 scale. It’s really easy to score highly here. All a host has to do is to put the nameservers or server IP in a visible spot, and include a quick guide on what to do. How can you fail this super basic step that every client has to go through?
Kinsta made this surprisingly hard, and had me manually configuring DNS records. This is something that almost all other hosts automatically do for you, and it took me an hour I’m never getting back. With InMotion Hosting, I needed to change my primary domain. It took me time to find out this extra step was required, but the process itself was relatively easy.
Installing a CMS
From 1 to 5. As long as an auto-installer is included, this is easy. Just click it, enter your new website details, and go live.
SiteGround and Hostingerdid better, letting me automatically install WordPress right after signup. A2 Hosting, InMotion Hosting, Nexcess, and Kinsta were the best – WordPress was already pre-installed and waiting for me.
Using the account area
Ranked from 1 to 5. Between the hosting control panel and you, stands the account area. This is usually some weird twilight zone that lets you view your plans, go over billing, purchase more stuff, or really, sometimes, just be there. The more complicated it is to navigate, or the more it’s filled with annoying upsells, the less happy I get.
InterServer scores very low here due to the fact that the account area is an under-designed mess, filled with upsells and links to products you don’t have. Hostinger is very sleek, but constant upsell popups pushing you to upgrade your plan or purchase more add-ons are a constant pain. InMotion Hosting’s account area looks like it was designed by my grandma, who despite being a phenomenal person, is not a user interface expert.
Kinsta and Nexcess offer what is basically a perfect user experience, seamlessly integrating an easy-to-use account area with the hosting control panel. That means less time loading pages, navigating menus, or making wild guesses about what lies where.
Ease of Use – Bottom Line
Kinsta and Nexcess, despite suffering from some silly issues that could’ve easily been remedied, still win this one. Pre-installed CMSs and super easy-to-use account areas mean you’ll be able to enjoy the full power of your hosting while wasting the least amount of time trying to fiddle with it.
This is the most important aspect of a web hosting service. My test website is very similar to the blog, business page, or portfolio you might want to host, so these results are a very close approximation of your actual performance.
You might’ve seen other “testing” websites that offer performance metrics of various web hosts. I’m sad to say that most of them are going about it the wrong way – entirely. If you’re interested in learning how to do it right, we’ve written a full article on the subject.
|A2 Hosting||SiteGround||Nexcess||Hostwinds||Kinsta||GreenGeeks||Hostinger||InterServer||InMotion Hosting||FastComet|
|Data center locations||US, NL, SG||US, NL, SG||US, UK, NL, AU||US, NL||Global GCP cloud servers||US, CA, NL||US, NL, SG||US||US||US, CA DE, NL, SG, JP, IN, AU|
|GTmetrix average speed||1.3||2.02||1.82||1.82||1.2||1.7||1.56||1.94||1.97||1.85|
|GTmetrix fastest speed||1.1||1.4||1.3||0.9||0.8||0.8||1||1||0.8||1.1|
|GTmetrix slowest speed||1.6||2.5||2||2.9||1.6||2.4||1.9||3.4||5||2.8|
|GTmetrix PageSpeed score||B 88||B 88||B 85||B 89||B 88||A 94||B 88||B 88||B 89||B 88|
|GTmetrix YSlow score||B 88||A 90||C 70||B 84||A 90||B 86||B 84||B 83||B 89||B 88|
|Sucuri fastest speed||4.285||0.644||0.211||0.697||0.144||0.752||0.117||0.282||–||0.339|
|Sucuri slowest speed||5.05||3.244||2.215||4.364||2.033||4.552||1.11||4.275||–||2.259|
|Sucuri global average speed||4.836||1.436||0.665||3.338||0.631||1.832||0.499||1.513||–||0.888|
|Uptime guarantee||99.9||99.9||100%||No guarantee||99.9||99.9||No guarantee||99.9||No guarantee||99.9|
|Final performance score||4.5||4.5||4.8||4.0||4.9||4.6||4.8||4.4||4.2||4.3|
Data center locations
The geographic locations where the companies’ servers are. Most hosts operate more than one data center, although there’s nothing wrong with focusing on just one. Just remember, you need a data center that’s close to your target audience. Running a French politics blog, written in French, aimed at French citizens? Don’t host it in Los Angeles. Go for Paris, or at least Amsterdam.
Using Google Cloud Platform, Kinsta is easily the winner when trying to reach those hard-to-get-to audiences in such locations as Japan or Australia. FastComet comes in a close second, and most other hosts operate from Amsterdam and the US east coast, sometimes also running a data center in Singapore. InMotion Hosting and InterServer also run data centers in Los Angeles, making them a great choice for west coast audiences.
The technology that powers your website. Think of it as the code (not to be confused with the actual server, which is the physical machine that runs the code) that was written by some very talented people to make sure your visitors can view your pages and interact with your site. Apache and its successor, Apache 2.x, are the oldest web server technologies commonly used today. They’re great and reliable, but newer web servers, like Ngnix and LiteSpeed, are known to outperform them.
A2 Hosting, Hostwinds, InMotion Hosting, and FastComet are all lagging behind in this aspect.
Speeds, measured in seconds, are based on a large number of factors, some under your control and some beyond it. Visitors from different locations, and sometimes even the same visitor on a different time of the day, will get slightly different speeds. Still, average loading times of over 3 seconds are disgraceful. Anything close to 3 seconds is simply bad. I’ve used GTmetrix and Sucuri Time Load Tester to measure loading speeds over a long period of time, and have collected some interesting data for you:
GTmetrix speeds – How long the GTmetrix Dallas testing server took to load our website, in seconds. Why Dallas? Because that’s the only testing server in the US, and our websites are all hosted in the US. That means that loading speeds in Dallas are a good way to measure our hosts’ maximum performance. I ran these speed tests on an almost daily basis, and now I present you with the average speed and both the slowest and fastest speeds recorded for each host.
GTmetrix average speed – When talking about the average speed, Kinsta and Hostinger leave all the others in the dust. Hostinger’s success is very surprising, and the fact that a shared hosting service manages to even come close to Kinsta’s managed platform is nothing short of amazing.
GTmetrix fastest speed – The best case scenario. GreenGeeks, Kinsta, and Hostwinds score phenomenal times, with most hosts coming in shortly after. SiteGround is the slowest of the bunch, but still, not by much.
GTmetrix slowest speed – How bad it can get. Kinsta’s worst speed is still faster than most hosts’ average, but A2 Hosting and Hostinger also shine with respectable times, even in their darkest hour. InMotion Hosting’s 5s time means that your visitors will most certainly not get to view your site, as they will simply jump ship around the 3s mark.
GTmetrix scores – GTmetrix provides scores, from 1-100, on how optimized your website is. I’ve asked every host for help with optimizations to improve my scores, but some of them already had tools working in the background that affected them. A high score doesn’t necessarily mean high loading speed, but the higher the score, the less a web developer (even a talented one) can do to enhance the speed. Two scores are given, PageSpeed and YSlow, and I present them both to you.
As I said before, I implemented any optimization that the technical support suggested (and was within an average user’s abilities). The different server setups, coupled with the fact each host gave different advice, account for the differences in the scores.
Sucuri Load Time Tester speeds – Sucuri uses a global network of testing servers to give you an idea of how well a website will perform in different locations. After running multiple tests, I calculated the averages of the fastest speed, slowest speed, average global speed, and the final Sucuri score. InMotion Hosting blocks Sucuri as part of its firewall protection, failing this test instantly.
Sucuri global fastest speed – As all the websites are hosted in North America, the shortest times were almost always observed there. A2’s surprisingly weak performance requires more testing, especially as its GTmetrix speeds have been substantially better.
All other hosts’ best speeds are great, with Hostinger and Kinsta fully loading in record time.
Sucuri global slowest speed – The location varies, but this is usually Singapore or Bangalore, India. Slow speeds are not surprising, and even expected. What is surprising is that Nexcess and Kinsta still clock in under 3s, and Hostinger delivers an unprecedented 1.11s record.
Sucuri global average speed – It’s easy to identify three distinct tiers: Kinsta, Nexcess, and Hostinger are the top performers worldwide; SiteGround, GreenGeeks, and InterServer are significantly slower, but still respectably fast; A2 Hosting and Hostwinds show very limited potential in serving global locations. FastComet is an interesting case, as many locations can’t seem to test it, leading to a skewed average. Still, it shows promise.
Uptime is measured in percentage, and I used UptimeRobot to test it over several months. 100% means the website was never down. 99% means that it was down for 1% of the testing period. That’s 1% of the time when no visitor was able to view your website. Translate that to lost customers, lost readers, whatever – they’re not going to try and visit your website again. Most hosts guarantee (or at least aim for) around 99% uptime. I like my websites shaken, not stirred, and with at least 99.99% uptime.
I’m happy to report that uptime results were fantastic for all hosts. Give it time. When they falter, I’ll be here with the update.
Reliable hosts guarantee uptime in their SLA (Service Level Agreement). They stand by their guarantee, and offer you reimbursement if they can’t live up to their promise.
Thing is, some companies are sneaky devils. They use misleading language to run away from responsibility, or define an “uptime guarantee” in ways that work for them – but not for you.
Hostwinds, for example, promises that the network and the power supply will be a-ok. What happens if the actual machines malfunction? Well, that’s not on them. Hostinger guarantees uptime under very vague conditions, and will only reimburse you for 5% of your fee as “solely determined by them”. I can’t count these as actual guarantees.
InMotion advertises a “99.9% uptime guarantee”, but has not a word about it in the SLA. By contrast, Nexcess offers a 100% uptime guarantee in its SLA.
Performance – Bottom Line
The winners are clear: Kinsta, Nexcess, and Hostinger. How the cheap Hostinger manages to be as speedy and reliable as the two most expensive services on this list is above and beyond me. Hostinger agents did provide me with a long and useful optimization guide, but I never expected performance to be this great.
The losers? Hostwinds and InMotion Hosting. They perform relatively okay when close to home, but if speed is the name of your game – look elsewhere. The lack of an uptime guarantee doesn’t exactly scream “top performance” either.
When you have a question, or simply need help, you’ll have to rely on the host’s support agents, tutorials, and knowledge base. If you’re a beginner or a little less tech-savvy, you have to be sure that these guys will be there for you.
|A2 Hosting||SiteGround||Nexcess||Hostwinds||Kinsta||GreenGeeks||Hostinger||InterServer||InMotion Hosting||FastComet|
|Support channels||Chat, ticket, phone||Chat, ticket, phone||Tickets, phone||Chat, ticket, phone||Chat, phone||Chat, ticket, phone||Chat||Chat, tickets, phone||Chat, email, phone||Chat, tickets, phone|
|Going the extra mile||3||3.5||4.8||4.3||3||5||3||1||2||4.4|
|Final support score||3.5||4||4.7||4.2||4.3||4.8||4||3.2||4.3||4.6|
Ranked from 1 to 5. If you’re looking to sign up, you probably have questions. That’s why having a professional agent available is important. One that knows his stuff and won’t try to sell you plans or products you don’t need. I tried to talk with all the hosts before signing up. Surprisingly, it wasn’t always an option. Live chat is obviously my preferred way, but prompt email responses are also appreciated. Just don’t make me call you. I don’t want to.
Nexcess’s professional agent was honest, quick to respond, and simply got me psyched about signing up. FastComet was also great, promptly answering my questions with a solid knowledge of the service and no overselling. A2 Hosting, Hostwinds, and GreenGeeks faltered here and there, but were generally dependable. Best thing about all of these hosts? They were available through live chat.
Hostinger made me use email. I got good answers in less than an hour, but I was still not impressed. Kinsta also made me use email, which was surprising for the amount of money the service costs. I didn’t get an answer to my questions, but the option to make a phone call was available. Ugh.
InterServer’s agent was disappointing. He had a weak grasp of the English language, and didn’t seem to understand how loading speeds are affected by physical distance from the data center.
SiteGround gets the minimum score here because the company simply doesn’t have any way of contacting it before signup – except snail mail. I’d love to make some pen pals, but not like this.
I can forgive companies for neglecting pre-sales support, but as a paying customer, my demands go way up. I want live chat and also the option to get support through phone, email, tickets, fax, and telepathy. I’m not going to use those options, but I like to know they’re there.
All of the hosts offer the standard mix of chat, tickets, and phone support. Nexcess was particularly quick to respond on live chat and equally quick to offer a solution.
To provide the most reliable support, the team needs to be in-house. Hopefully, that means in the very same building as the technicians, sales staff, and all other company personnel. Outsourcing the support to second and third-rate manpower companies in India makes things a lot cheaper for the hosts themselves, but it spells disaster for you. When talking with such agents, expect broken English, a general lack of knowledge, and sometimes a complete inability to assist.
Eight of the ten did okay, but not A2 Hosting and InterServer. The situation with InterServer became increasingly depressing as testing progressed. Agents were struggling with basic English, and interactions ended up taking way longer than they should. A2 Hosting’s outsourced support is not as bad, although you still have to use “baby-talk” with them, at least for most of the time.
When I decide to contact support, I want an agent to be available to me 24/7. And to answer my message in a timely manner, which in my book is around 30 seconds. I gathered data on how long it really took to get support, and what the working hours were.
All hosts advertise a 24/7 support service, but with some, this isn’t actually the case. A2 Hosting, InMotion Hosting, and Hostinger took a very long time to answer questions on live chat, sometimes making me wait up to an hour, or even longer.
What good is a support agent that answers immediately and doesn’t know the first thing about connecting a domain to a hosting account, or about setting up an SSL certificate? No good. I’ve ranked them from 1 to 5 based on my experiences. I had multiple interactions with each host’s support, and got a good idea of what’s going on.
Let’s make it simple: You can’t count on live chat help from InterServer. The agents are not trained for the job, and are only there to give you the illusion of support. InterServer does have actual agents available through tickets, and I eventually stopped trying chat support completely.
What about the rest? They’re hit or miss. With FastComet, for example, one agent tried to reinstall my website in an attempt to solve an unrelated issue. Another agent turned out to be an optimization machine, spending a long half hour improving my site’s speeds and earning an A in my book.
Going the extra mile
Sometimes you’re going to be in need of a helping hand, but the specific issue you’re dealing with isn’t covered by the service level agreement. Many times, the agents know exactly what needs to be done. It’s up to them to either make you a happy customer, or to cling to rules and regulations and say “Sorry! That’s not part of the service!” It’s okay to do the latter. Really. But if you want a place in my heart, you’ve gotta go the extra mile.
InterServer fails miserably because it can barely go the first mile. Let’s not bother it with extra ones. Nexcess and Hostwinds were surprisingly open to making my life easier – A Nexcess agent suggested to install a WordPress theme for me (it’s a one-click no-brainer and any other host tells you to either Google it or look for the button), and the Hostwinds agent made many optimizations on his own. FastComet also scores highly here, although it really depends on the agent and on how Jupiter aligns with Mars.
But the absolute winner here? GreenGeeks. I’m not exaggerating – these guys want to help. Badly. They will sit with you for an hour and guide you on how to use WordPress for the first time. They will optimize your website for you, thoughtfully taking care of every issue and providing full information each step of the way. They’re the best.
Support – Bottom Line
GreenGeeks, knocking it out of the park. As I said, this is how support should be. Nexcess, Hostwinds, FastComet, and Kinsta are good, but they all suffer from something – annoying ticket system, minor mistakes, or a strict adherence to not doing anything they’re not obligated to do.
InterServer greatly disappoints with its outsourced live chat offering, but things get better if you’re willing to go the ticket route and wait longer.
How much do these services actually cost, and how much value are you getting for your money? Additionally – what payment options exist, what aren’t the hosts telling you, and can you leave if you’re not happy?
|A2 Hosting||SiteGround||Nexcess||Hostwinds||Kinsta||GreenGeeks||Hostinger||InterServer||InMotion Hosting||FastComet|
|Basic plan price||9.99||11.95||19||8.99||30||9.95||9.99||5||7.46||9.95|
|Long term plan price||7.99||5.95||15.83||5||25||2.95||0.99||4||6.39||9.95|
|Payment period (in months)||1, 12, 24, 36||12, 24, 36||1, 12||1, 3, 6, 12, 24, 36||1, 12||1, 12, 24, 36||1, 12, 24, 48||1, 3, 6, 12, 24, 36||12, 24||1, 3|
|Payment options||Credit card, PayPal, Skrill, transfer||Credit card, PayPal upon request||Credit card||Credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin||Credit card||Credit card, PayPal||Credit card, PayPak, Bitcoin||Credit card, PayPal||Credit card, PayPal, transfer||Credit card, PayPal|
|No automatic upsells||✔||✘||✔||✘||✔||✔||✔||✔||✘||✔|
|No hidden fees||✔||✘||✔||✔||✔||✘||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Money back guarantee||Anytime pro-rata||30 days||14 day free trial||✘||30 days||30 days||30 days||30 days||90 days||45 days|
|Domain purchase (.com)||14.95||15.95||15||14.84||✘||13.95||8.99||11||15.99||9.95|
|Final pricing score||4.5||3.8||3.5||3.9||3||4.6||4.9||4.9||4.7||4.5|
Basic plan price
In dollars, simple as can be. The monthly price of the most basic shared hosting plan. Sometimes monthly plans aren’t available, and in those cases I’ve calculated the monthly price as the plan price / number of months.
Wondered where Kinsta and Nexcess were going to get you? It’s right here. The basic monthly price is much, much higher than any other host on this list. Kinsta is actually six times more expensive than InterServer, who’s the obvious winner. Even when paying monthly, the price is still an amazingly fair $5.
Long-term plan price
The trick with most hosting companies is that to get the best possible prices, you need to sign up for the longest possible term.
Hostinger becomes the absolute cheapest option in the history of web hosting… when you sign up for four years. It’s truly an amazing price, but it’s up to you to consider how your needs will change in four years – the plan will stay the same.
Some of you want to sign up to a service and start a business that you know is going to be around for years. You might be alright with signing up for years in advance. But some of you want flexibility. That’s monthly payment: the ability to change your mind and be done with the plan by next month.
Sadly, you’re not getting that with InMotion Hosting, where it’s a minimum one-year signup. SiteGround is even worse, letting you choose a monthly “trial” plan, but after a month, announcing that the trial is over and now it’s either a yearly subscription or bust.
Please God, let me pay with PayPal. But credit cards are also okay. And I appreciate having other options, like bitcoin or chickens.
Kinsta gave me no PayPal and no chickens, instead sticking to credit cards like it’s the jolly 1990s. GreenGeeks let me pay with PayPal, but it’s not recurring. I had to manually pay my monthly invoice every time. It was a major disappointment with both of them.
No automatic upsells
When signing up to the service, some hosts automatically add extra services you never asked for. Because… they want you to pay more. Usually, these hosts are already charging more, compared to their competitors. It’s a sneaky, disgusting business practice.
The main offenders here are SiteGround, Hostwinds, and InMotion Hosting. They all seem to think that they know better than you, and add a backup service or some other extra that balloons the monthly cost past the Kinsta stratosphere. I recommend being very careful with them.
No hidden fees
Hidden fees are almost as annoying as upsells. These are fees that surprisingly pop up, usually when you’re already set on buying the product. Made-up terms like a “Setup fee” (it’s all automatic – nobody is “setting up” your new account) that come with a $15 price tag are a big no-no in my book.
SiteGround fails this one completely, and on multiple levels. It charges a setup fee only when signing up for the monthly trial (what kind of trial costs extra?), and doesn’t refund it even if you sign up for yearly after the month is over. GreenGeeks also has a setup fee in place, but the agent was kind enough to remove it upon my request.
If hosting with a company doesn’t work out, you’ll want to bid them adieu and get your money back. With a money-back guarantee, that’s possible, and that is the situation with all these hosts… except Hostwinds.
Among the considerate nine, it’s worth pointing out how InMotion Hosting gives you a full three months to make up your mind, and how A2 Hosting will give you a pro-rata refund, even after one year of a two-year subscription.
I don’t recommend hosting your website and purchasing your domain from the same company, but sometimes the deal is too good not to consider.
Hostwinds, GreenGeeks, and InMotion Hosting will throw in a free domain if you sign up for a year or longer. InterServer lets you purchase a heavily discounted one, and Hostinger… changes its offering often. I got a free domain when signing up, but it isn’t always there.
Even if you got a free domain, it’s only free for one year. The second year, you’re going to be paying full price. FastComet and Hostinger have the cheapest prices among these ten (for a .com domain), and all others are surprisingly expensive. But seriously, guys, don’t buy a domain where you host. Just go with Namecheap or Namesilo. They’re cheaper, more reliable, and include Whois protection for free (all hosts on this list charge for it).
Pricing – Bottom Line
This is one section where Kinsta didn’t stand a chance. Our speedy and powerful hero is not only more expensive, but also offer less flexibility and no payment methods other than credit cards. Shame.
The winners are Hostinger and InterServer. Hostinger easily wins for long-term hosting, boasting what are simply the cheapest plans you’ll be able to find in the market. You can sign up for anything between one month and four years, and you can even pay by bitcoin if you so desire.
InterServer is best for keeping things flexible and affordable. The monthly price is very fair, making InterServer an obvious choice for you savvy customers who want to get more and pay less without committing for years to come.
Popular Hosts That Didn’t Make the Cut
Some big names that you’ve probably come across in your online travels are missing from my top ten list. While some of them actually have a place in the “Worst 10 Hosts” list I’m planning on getting to one day, others were simply not good enough.
GoDaddy – It’s the most famous web host of all times, but who cares? I signed up to see if it has a place in this list, and when I tested it for three months, what I discovered was a weak service offered at prices that can net you far superior hosting. The WordPress hosting plans are better, though (and you can read about my experience with GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting here.)
HostPapa – I actually liked HostPapa in the past, and found it to be a generally dependable host. I signed up again to check how it’s doing today, and despite the fact that nothing was horrendous, nothing was very good either. Speeds were disappointing, features were missing, and it’s bad value for money compared to the competition.
Bluehost – Aaah, Bluehost. You’ll find these guys in the top spot of many lists around the internet. The reason is simple, and has nothing to do with the quality of the hosting – Bluehost hands out the most lucrative affiliate deals in the market. Anybody recommending them at #1 is bound to make a hefty sum for every new signup. We actually tested the service, and found that while it isn’t the worst, it has no place in our top ten list.
HostGator – A cool gator logo doesn’t make up for constant downtime and nonexistent support. Don’t believe what the ads promise.
HostMonster – It’s slightly less known, but actually belongs to the same hosting conglomerate as HostGator. Suffers from all the same problems and more.
Other hosts that my colleagues and I tested were Namecheap, Dreamhost, A Small Orange, iPage, Web Hosting Hub, FatCow, and One.com. The conclusion is the same for all of them: you can do better. I’m here to make sure that you will do better.
Final Conclusions and Recommendations
Feeling a bit lost after being bombarded with all this data? Well, not to toot my own horn or anything, but the most detailed hosting comparison ever done can seem confusing at first.
Before I go into specific use cases for each host, let me reiterate one thing – there are no bad hosts on this list. There are no mediocre hosts on this list. All ten companies provide a good, dependable service, and the rankings only have to do with how well they performed relative to each other.
Now let’s see which host is best for you.
Kinsta – Best WordPress hosting available if you’re willing to pay the price
More expensive doesn’t always mean better, but that’s definitely the case with Kinsta. The premium price tag of $30/month might seem way over your budget limit, but my testing found Kinsta’s managed hosting to be simply the best. It’s easy to use, has data centers location all over the world, and delivers consistently spectacular loading times. Keep in mind that only WordPress is supported, and that no email hosting is available – meaning you might be dealing with yet another monthly expense.
Nexcess – Best for managed hosting of multiple CMSs
Nexcess’s hosting isn’t cheap, by any means, but it’s considerably more affordable than Kinsta. Speeds are just as good, sometimes even better, and in addition to managed WordPress hosting, you can also find customized plans for Drupal, Magento, and others. How is it cheaper then? No live support, meaning you might wait hours before help arrives, and no integrated CDN. Still, a fantastic solution for those of you who are willing to spend extra, but not as much as Kinsta’s asking for.
Hostinger – Best for personal websites, has the cheapest long-term plans
I’m going to be as honest as possible – if you’re running a business-critical website or an e-commerce store that’s bound to experience huge traffic spikes, don’t choose Hostinger. This is shared hosting, meaning it’s best for projects like blogs, portfolios, businesses looking to get an online presence, and the like. If that’s what you’re looking for, go for the long-term plan and enjoy the cheapest hosting in the world. My testing still has Hostinger out-performing almost all other hosts in terms of speed, and there’s plenty to love about the simplified control panel.
GreenGeeks – Best for beginners who will make the most of the fantastic support agents
With full, unrestricted access to a lot of cPanel’s features, GreenGeeks is a fantastic entry point into the hosting world. It’s affordable, relatively fast, and the personal support agents make the whole experience a cinch, even for beginners. There are things to learn, but you’ll never be looking for the answer on your own. If you’re looking to maximize your options and minimize the costs, it’s an easy choice.
InterServer – Best for hosting unlimited websites on an affordable, flexible plan
InterServer has two main strong suites: its cPanel functionality is practically unlimited, and its monthly price is only $5, beating out all other hosts on this list. If you’re looking to host multiple small sites, whether it be landing pages, local business pages, sales funnels, or time-limited projects, InterServer will let you connect as many domains as you want. All other hosts here offer only one domain on the basic plan, except InMotion Hosting which offers two. I think InterServer’s unlimited domains makes for a better deal, if that’s what you need.
InMotion Hosting – Best for trying out the hosting world, with plenty of time to decide
After signing up for InMotion Hosting, you’ll immediately have access to what is maybe the most detailed knowledge base in the market. Everything is clearly laid out, and you can go from zero to hero in the span of a few tutorials. What’s more, InMotion gives you an unprecedented 90-day money-back guarantee. That’s three times more than what most others offer. Give it a chance, take your time, and simply get that full refund after you’ve had enough.
A2 Hosting – Best value for money in terms of features and speeds
A2 Hosting is like GreenGeeks without the great support, but with faster speeds. It’s also a great place for your website to grow – there are upgrades available for faster shared servers, and if the need arises, you can always migrate to A2’s powerful VPS plans. A great part of the service is that you’ll always be able to call it quits in the middle of your contract and get a full pro-rata refund, making the long-term commitment a non-issue.
FastComet – Widest global deployment shared hosting data centers, coupled with great support
If you’re looking for shared hosting, you’ll usually only find it in three areas: the US east coast, the Netherlands, and Singapore. FastComet is the exception. The company has data centers in hard-to-get-to locations such as Japan, India, Australia, and more. If your audience is located in one of these areas, don’t even think about hosting in Europe – loading times will be practically endless. It’s true that Kinsta’s global deployment is even more impressive, but its price is also three times what FastComet charges. Do the math and see what’s right for you.
SiteGround – Best for users looking for cheap managed hosting, willing to compromise on speeds
With its own custom control panel, SiteGround is a reliable hybrid between managed and shared hosting for more limited budgets. While it isn’t as streamlined and easy to use as Kinsta and Nexcess, it still does quite a bit to make your life easier and let you focus on your actual website. Wondering what’s the catch? That would be the speeds. On average, my SiteGround site couldn’t pass the 2s mark, making it one of the slower services on this list. Remember that 2s is still respectable, and that barely any downtime was noted. This is simply the price you pay for saving on the monthly costs.
Hostwinds – Best for tech-savvy users who can bring it to its full potential
Hostwinds didn’t really blow me away, and actually came last or second-last in many categories I tested. Still, its fastest GTmetrix recorded time was one of the best I saw. That goes to show that with some tweaking and optimizing, Hostwinds can actually do much better than it did for me. I wouldn’t recommend a novice to try and attempt it, but if you have some experience in the field, it just might be the service for you.
Why is Bluehost not included in your list of top web hosts?Because after actually testing Bluehost, I could barely find reasons to recommend it. The internet is filled with “top hosts” rankings that put Bluehost in the first place, but the reason for that has everything to do with the money Bluehost is paying them. You’re welcome to read all about my actual experience with Bluehost here, but let me make it short and sweet for you – it isn’t worth your time.Can I host a website for free?Kind of. Free hosting exists, but while it won’t cost you money, it will cost you visitors. These free services are slow, unreliable, and unsecure, and if you use one, you should expect anything from constant downtime to your entire project being hacked and/or blacklisted. It’s best to avoid these issues altogether, and go with a great cost-effective solution like Hostinger instead. Or, if you have a different host in mind but are worried about the cost, why not check out the latest Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for web hosting in 2021? You might just get lucky.What is the average cost to host a website?If you intend on paying monthly, you’ll find that most shared hosting services sell for around $10 a month. The best deal comes from InterServer, which goes for $5 a month. Premium managed hosting providers, like Nexcess and Kinsta, are more expensive, but come with a lot of added value. Don’t forget to consider domain name costs when making your budget, and keep in mind that long-term contracts can net you better deals – up to 90% savings with Hostinger. Before you commit to a long-term contract with any host, be sure to check our web hosting coupon page for all the latest deals.Can I change my web hosting company?Yes, you can. If you’re unhappy with your current web host, know that many of the companies on this list provide free website migrations. Contact support after signing up to your new service, and the agents will happily take care of everything for you. Some hosts, like InterServer, will even clean a hacked website as part of the process.Which web host is best for WordPress?While all hosts on this list fully support WordPress, their use cases differ. If you’re looking to build a WordPress blog or a simple business website, Hostinger should definitely be first on your list. InterServer is your best bet for multiple low-resource WordPress installations, whether you’re creating landing pages or running a link-building project. For mission-critical websites and WooCommerce stores, go with Kinsta or Nexcess.Which web host is best for small businesses?Hostinger is an excellent and affordable option if you’re looking to showcase your business, but I wouldn’t recommend using it for a full-fledged e-commerce store. If your website is going to be the center of your business strategy, and especially if you plan on selling products, Nexcess or Kinsta would be a much safer choice.Which web hosts offer free SSL?All hosts on this list currently offer free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, although Hostinger only recently added it to its basic plan. If you’re thinking about using Hostinger, keep in mind that it sometimes changes the plan features. During signup, be sure to double-check that an SSL is indeed included in the package.
- InMotion Hosting
- A2 Hosting
- The Global Web Host Comparison Project - How We Did It
- Who Are the Top Web Hosts Available Today?
- If You Want To Test a Web Host, You Have To Build a Real Website
- Results and Analysis - How Did Each Host Fare?
- Ease of Use
- Popular Hosts That Didn’t Make the Cut
- Final Conclusions and Recommendations
So happy you liked it!