Best Web Hosting Services of 2020

Large corporations, small businesses, and individuals are spoilt for choice when looking for the best web hosting provider. There are quite a lot of very good web hosting plans available at the moment. There are also some very heavy discounts available and being offered by top quality web hosting companies, so even the task of identifying the best cheap web hosting solutions has become difficult.

This web hosting review narrows down the field to the five best web hosting companies operating right now and the deals that they are offering on their web hosting plans. We will identify the best web hosting packages for small businesses, the perfect online store systems for business websites and we will find ways that startups can keep their hosting costs down when entering the world of eCommerce. We will explain the different types of hosting accounts available and what a typical hosting package includes.

The best web hosting options

The website hosting industry has its own trade terms, which you will need to learn in order to work out which server hosting type is best for you. Web hosting solutions are offered in the following types:

  • Shared hosting plans
  • WordPress hosting
  • VPS hosting
  • Reseller hosting
  • Dedicated servers
  • Cloud hosting

Each configuration has its own conventions and pricing standards.

Shared hosting plans

Shared plans put several hosting accounts on the same server. This is the most cost-effective form of web hosting and the most widely used. It is suitable for individuals and small companies for either a blog or an online store, or a website that combines both elements.

All accounts are sat on top of a common operating system, which manages the whole server. This could present a security risk because if any customer could get to the operating system, the shell script language would be available to them, allowing them to access the files of other accounts on the server. For this reason, operating system access is always blocked on shared hosting plans.

The user’s credential gains access to a hosting platform that is supported by a control panel. The most frequently used type of control panel in these plans is cPanel. It is impossible to break out of the account management software to get to the operating system. The control panel provides all of the functions that an administrator would usually need operating system access for, such as file handling procedures.

WordPress hosting

Most WordPress hosting plans are shared server hosting accounts with the WordPress software pre-installed. WordPress sites can also be created with any standard shared hosting plan because most web hosting providers make the WordPress software available for free. Where this is the case, the user can get a one-click installation of the CMS from a resident installer, included with the plan.

Many web hosting providers advertise eCommerce hosting packages that are based on a system called WooCommerce. WooCommerce is a free plugin for WordPress. It adapts the content management system to create a typical online store layout. The WooCommerce system also provides guidance for the small business owners setting up an online store on what steps to complete in order to get the site fully operational. A typical WordPress hosting plan will also include a free WooCommerce option. WooCommerce hosting plans are shared hosting services and usually any shared hosting plan that gives access to WordPress also makes WooCommerce available.

VPS hosting

“VPS” stands for “virtual private server.” This is a blend of the cost benefits of a shared server and the privacy and security offered by a dedicated server. In this scenario, special hardware management software divides up the resources of the server, including processors and disk space. This creates separate accounts, which each needs an operating system installed on it.

The partitioning system is called a hypervisor and it is impossible for the user of one account to break through the hypervisor wall and access the files of another account. The settings of the hypervisor can be adjusted, however, so it is very easy for the technical support team to adjust the space allocated to each account. So, users of VPS hosting accounts usually get the option to pay for more processors or more disk space.

VPS hosting packages are less likely to include as many free extras as a shared hosting system. This is because it is assumed that the typical customer of a virtual private server is a larger business that has its own technicians. The advantage of a VPS over a shared hosting plan is that the account holder can get down to the operating system, so it is expected that the customer wants greater control and already has software to install and a technical team to carry out the work.

Some VPS hosting providers will make a free software library available for the customer to install applications on the VPS. In some cases, the customer will be provided with a control panel. In some cases, the customer will get a control panel and won’t get access to the operating system as well. VPS hosting accounts can be used for WordPress hosting and that software can be made available for the customer to be installed or can be installed by the support team of the web hosting provider.

VPS web servers are provided either as a bare server with no operating system or with an operating system installed on it, which is usually Linux. Some VPS hosting packages just include the web server. This is called an unmanaged VPS hosting service. The alternative is a managed VPS hosting package, which includes the services of a technical support team.

Reseller hosting

Reseller hosting is a sub-type of VPS hosting. In these plans, the account holder has the right to subdivide the account and sell on those subaccounts to others. In this case, the reseller makes money by levying fees for each sub-account that totals more than the original web hosting provider charges for the reseller hosting package.

A reseller hosting package usually allows white labeling, so that the reseller can replace all logos and identifiers of the original hosting service to create his own branding. The customers of the reseller do not realize that they are not dealing with the owner of the underlying server. They will never access the customer support team of the original web hosting company but will get access to a support team provided by the reseller.

Dedicated servers

A dedicated server is an entire server rented to one customer.  This can be offered with or without an installed operating system. Where no operating system is pre-installed, the account holder is usually offered a list of operating system options, which are usually all flavors of Linux. The account holder also has the option of sourcing an operating system and installing it on the rented server.

Dedicated hosting is offered as either an unmanaged plan or a managed package that includes technicians. The dedicated server packages usually include very few extras other than an uptime guarantee, a stated disk capacity and processor count, and a bandwidth pledge. It is common for the dedicated hosting plan to include a dedicated IP address. Dedicated servers are usually only of interest to large corporations with a heavy web presence.

Cloud hosting

The term “cloud hosting” can be applied to any web hosting package. However, in its narrowest definition, cloud hosting refers to a platform that is installed on a server. A platform is san extra layer added to an operating system. It provides commonly used services. In the case of cloud hosting, the most commonly used platform is OpenStack. The platform manages server resources so that they can be accessed by remote users. This platform can be loaded onto a VPS or a dedicated server.

Typical web hosting package contents

There is very tough competition in the web hosting world right now and, as well as offering big discounts, web hosting providers are piling in extra services to try to attract customers. The shared hosting plan has the highest volume of business and this is where new customers can get the most free extras with a hosting package. Here are some of the lures that are currently on offer:

Free domain name – Most of the web hosting providers are also domain registration services. New websites will need both hosting and a domain name, so it makes sense to buy them both together.

Free SSL certificate – An eCommerce website has to use the HTTPS schema otherwise the connection isn’t secure enough for people to enter their credit card details. The SSL certificate is an essential component of HTTPS. Also, Google blocks access to sites that don’t use HTTPS.

Unlimited websites – Most of the overhead involved in web hosting lies in setting up an account, the cost of enabling multiple websites on the same account is marginal and it also encourages hosting customers to buy more domains from the associated domain name registration division.  

Unlimited bandwidth – A web server will refuse connections and the website will appear to be offline if there is not enough processing capacity at the internet interface.

Unlimited email accounts – a website’s proprietor and staff need to be able to use the same domain name on email addresses as the domain name of the website. These should be managed from the control panel of the hosting account.

SSD disks – Solid state disks are faster than other configurations. Faster disks mean the processor can fetch the necessary files for requested web pages and send them out quicker.

Unlimited storage – HTML files don’t take up much space. However, images, videos, and other visual content do need a lot of room. Databases and other services can also use a lot of space and access log files will keep growing through the life of the site. Unlimited disk space removes the worry of running out of room.

Content delivery network (CDN) – A CDN stores copies of the website in data centers around the world. Being close to faraway visitors means that web page code has less distance to travel. Therefore, CDNs improve the load times of websites. They also keep the site available during downtime on the main server. The most successful CDN provider is called Cloudflare.

The best web hosting providers

We have created a shortlist of the best web hosting providers. These are the web hosting companies to investigate for the best web hosting packages, whether that is a shared hosting plan, VPS hosting, or a dedicated server.

The five best web hosting providers of 2020 are:

  1. Bluehost
  2. HostGator
  3. Hostinger
  4. GoDaddy
  5. SiteGround

The plans offered by each of these web hosting providers are detailed in the following sections.

Bluehost

Bluehost offers business hosting on VPS and dedicated servers as well as shared hosting plans. The hosting platform also offers packages for WordPress sites for individuals and small businesses. The web hosting company also runs a domain name registration service. Bluehost has been recommended by WordPress.org since 2005.

Shared hosting plans

  • Four plans available
  • Free domain name
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Basic plan for one website
  • Unlimited websites on higher plans
  • Unlimited storage space on all but the entry-level plan
  • WordPress and WooCommerce available for one-click installation

WordPress hosting plans

  • Free domain name
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Basic plan for one website
  • Three plans based on shared server hosting
  • Three single-site WP Pro plans including marketing and SEO tools
  • Credits for Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising
  • Three eCommerce plans that include WordPress and WooCommerce
  • Starter eCommerce plan for one website
  • Two eCommerce plans for unlimited websites

VPS hosting

  • Three VPS hosting plans
  • Free SSL certificate
  • CentOS Linux operating system
  • Free domain name
  • Unmanaged and managed options available
  • Optional cPanelcontrol panel

Dedicated servers

  • Three plan levels
  • A free domain name for one year
  • A free SSL certificate
  • CentOS Linux operating system
  • Unmanaged and managed options available

Pros

  • Fast SSD disks
  • Free site migrations
  • Weebly website builder
  • CloudflareCDN available as an add-on
  • 24/7 customer support team
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No uptime guarantee
  • No native email system

HostGator

Founded in 2002, Houston-based HostGator is one of the longest-serving and most successful web hosting companies in the world. The business also has a domain registration service. Web hosting plans from HostGator include shared hosting plans, VPS hosting, and dedicated servers.

Shared hosting plans

  • Three shared hosting plans
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free domain name
  • Unlimited disk space
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Google AdWords credit
  • Bing Ads credit
  • Unlimited subdomains
  • Unlimited FTP accounts
  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • PHP5, Ruby on Rails, Perl, and Python available
  • The entry-level plan, Hatchling, hosts one website
  • Baby and Business plans host unlimited websites
  • Business plan includes a dedicated IP address
  • WordPress and WooCommerce available for one-click installation

WordPress hosting plans

  • Three WordPress hosting plans
  • Plans for one, two, and three websites
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free domain name
  • Unlimited disk space
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Google AdWords credit
  • Malware protection
  • Daily backups

VPS hosting

  • Three VPS hosting plans
  • Managed hosting service
  • Choice of two or four CPU cores
  • Options for 2, 4, or 8 GB RAM
  • Disk space options: 120, 165, or 240 GB
  • RAID-10 disk configuration
  • Unlimited websites
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Unlimited subdomains
  • Free website development tools and templates
  • Weekly backups
  • Two IP addresses with each account

Dedicated servers

  • Three dedicated server plans
  • Choice of Linux or Windows
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Choice of 4 core/8 thread or 8 core/16 thread CPUs
  • Choice of 8, 16, or 32 GB RAM
  • Choice of HDD or SDD disks
  • RAID-1 disk configuration
  • DDoS protection
  • Around the clock technical support team
  • The option of unmanaged or managed service

Pros

  • Free site migrations
  • A 99.9 percent uptime guarantee
  • A free month of service if the service misses its uptime guarantee
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Access to live chat support
  • A hassle-free 45-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Bandwidth capped on WordPress plans

Hostinger

Hostinger is an employee-owned web hosting provider and domain registration service that is based in Lithuania. The web hosting company hosts more than 29 million websites and offers shared hosting plans, VPS hosting, and shared servers. It also has a specialist WordPress hosting service and Minecraft hosting services. The cloud hosting plans from Hostinger provides resources for the hosting account over a cluster of servers.

Shared hosting plans

  • Three shared hosting plans
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free CloudflareCDN
  • Entry-level Single Shared hosting account with one email account and limited shared resources
  • Unlimited website hosting on two higher plans
  • Unlimited email accounts on two higher plans
  • Unlimited MySQL databases on two higher plans
  • Unlimited FTP accounts on two higher plans
  • Up to 100 subdomains on two higher plans
  • Free domain name on two higher plans
  • WordPress available for one-click installation
  • WooCommerceplugin for free

WordPress hosting plans

  • Three WordPress hosting plans
  • All plans cater to an unlimited number of websites
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Weekly backups on Starter plan, daily backups with the other plans
  • WooCommerceplugin available for free
  • Free Jetpacks
  • CloudflareCDN
  • Extra security features
  • Specialist WordPress technical support team
  • Free SSL certificate

VPS hosting

  • Flexible build-your-own-plan service
  • Tailored VPS hosting for Minecraft hosting
  • Options for 1 to 8 GB RAM
  • Options for 1 to 8 CPU cores
  • Options for 20 to 160 GB of storage space
  • Options for 1,000 to 8,000 GB bandwidth
  • Choice of Linux or Windows
  • Dedicated IP address

Cloud hosting

  • Free domain name
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Dedicated IP address
  • Hosting on a server cluster
  • Three cloud hosting plans
  • 100 percent uptime
  • Load balancers
  • Unlimited websites
  • Choice of 3, 6, or 16 GB RAM
  • Choice of 2, 4, or 8 CPU cores

Pros

  • SSD disk drives
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Live chat support access
  • Free site migrations
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • The website builder is a paid add-on
  • No unlimited disk space offer

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is both the largest web hosting company in the world and the world’s largest domain registration service. GoDaddy offers shared hosting plans and specialist WordPress site hosting services. The company also offers VPS hosting, dedicated servers, and reseller hosting plans.

Shared hosting plans

  • Four Linuxshared hosting plans
  • Three Windowsshared hosting plans
  • Free domain name with all plans
  • Unlimited bandwidth with all plans
  • Single-site plan with limited server resources
  • Unlimited website hosting on top three plans
  • Extra security features including DDoS protection
  • One-click installation of WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal
  • More than 125 applications available for free

WordPress hosting plans

  • Four WordPress hosting plans for one website
  • Multiple WordPress site hosting plans for 5, 10, 25, and 50 sites.
  • Security features include malware scanning
  • Free domain name with single-site plans
  • Free SSL certificate with all but the two entry-level single-site plans
  • Free plugin library

VPS hosting

  • Four VPS hosting plans
  • Unmanaged and managed options
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Options for 1,2,4, or 8 CPU cores
  • Options of 1, 4, 8, or 16 GB RAM
  • Option of Linux or Windows
  • Option of control panel (cPanel or WHM)

Dedicated servers

  • Four dedicated server plans
  • Unmanaged and managed options
  • Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC servers
  • SSD or HDD disk drives
  • Disks with RAID-1 architecture
  • Free DDoS protection
  • Choice of Windows or Linux
  • Choice of cPanel or Plesk control panel

Reseller hosting plans

  • Four reseller hosting plans
  • Choice of 2, 3, or 4 CPU cores
  • Choice of 4, 6, 8, and 16 GB RAM
  • Pre-configured accounts for white-labeling
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Domain registration pass-through

Pros

  • 99.9% Uptime guarantee
  • Security features
  • Free site migrations
  • DDoS protection
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • No native email account manager
  • No free SSL certificate offer for cheaper shared web hosting plans
  • Doesn’t run a money-back guarantee but offers a 48-hour cancellation period
  • Website builder is a paid add-on

SiteGround

SiteGround hosts more than two million websites. The web hosting company offers shared hosting plans, WordPress site hosting, VPS hosting, and reseller hosting plans. The hosting service calls its dedicated servers cloud hosting plans.

Shared hosting plans

  • Three shared hosting plans
  • StartUp plan for one website
  • Two upper plans host unlimited websites
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free unlimited email accounts
  • Free CDN
  • Unlimited databases
  • WordPress available for free
  • Plugin library including WooCommerce
  • Weebly website builder

WordPress hosting plans

  • Standard WordPress accounts relabeled for WordPress hosting
  • Three eCommerce plans identical to standard shared hosting plans

VPS hosting

  • Four VPS hosting plans, labeled Cloud Hosting
  • Managed service
  • Choice of 2, 3, 4, and 8 CPU cores
  • Choice of 4, 6, 8, and 10 GB RAM

Reseller hosting

  • VPS account can be adapted for reseller activities
  • White-labeling
  • Sub-accounts easy to create, each with individual cPanel

Pros

  • SSD disks
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No free domain name offer

The best of the rest

This hosting review has narrowed down the best web hosting services to just five. However, there are other web hosting providers that nearly made it into the top five. Web hosting services that deserve an honorable mention are:

  • DreamHost
  • InMotion Hosting
  • A2 Hosting
  • GreenGeeks

Read through the description of the plans in this hosting review. Concentrate on the size of hosting package that is appropriate to your hosting needs.