Finding the right website hosting company to meet your needs. Watch Video

Taylor Hawkes

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Updated: Nov 8, 2013

Please see my 2014 web hosting reviews for updated reviews. These reviews are from 2013, so they will be less accurate.
I have been a web developer for over five years now and I have my own personal websites running on 9 different hosting companies. I have also worked with many other hosting providers when developing websites for my clients. Bottom line is I spend way too much time in front of the computer building websites, but the good news is I’m one of the few guys who actually knows what I’m talking about when it comes to finding the best web hosting provider.

Disclosure: I receive commissions on a referral bases from most of these web hosting companies. I spend a lot of time and work very hard putting together and keeping my reviews up to date, relevant, unbiased and accurate as possible.

If you don't care to know all the gory details then just look at my summary and make a decision, otherwise take a look at What you need to know about web hosting which basically cuts through all the hog wash sales gimmicks that hosting providers use. Finally you can take a look at my 2013 Reviews of Best Web Hosting Providers .

Summarizing my finding

1. Ipage Web Hosting is at current the best all around web hosting option for individuals/small businesses that don't need cPanel (This should be 90% of readers). If you don't know what cPanel is then you don't need it, but this review gives you more info anyway. Ipage is also the fastest shared web hosting see details here.

2. Bluehost is the best all around option if you must have cPanel. Be sure to compare bluehost, Hostmonster and Justhost prices and select cheapest one (they offer the same product).

3. Beyond Hosting is the best option if you are a web developer or larger business looking for more serious hosting solutions.

4. Godaddy is the best option if you are only looking to buy domain names in bulk or for some odd reason need Microsoft web hosting.

Quick Breakdown of Top Website Hosting Providers

Hosting Service Company Price Hosting Teer Cpanel CMS Support Multiple Domains Review Score
EIG » 1 years $3.50/mo
» 2 years $1.99/mo
» 3 years $1.99/mo
Small Business » Joomla
» Wordpress
» Drupal
Visit Site
Read Review
97
EIG » 1 years $7.95/mo
» 2 years $6.95/mo
» 3 years $6.95/mo
Small Business » Joomla
» Wordpress
» Weebly
Visit Site
Read Review
88
EIG » 1 years $7.95/mo
» 2 years $6.95/mo
» 3 years $6.95/mo
Small Business » Joomla
» Wordpress
» Weebly
Visit Site
Read Review
87
EIG » 1 years $7.95/mo
» 2 years $6.95/mo
» 3 years $6.95/mo
Small Business » Joomla
» Wordpress
» Weebly
Visit Site
Read Review
87
Host Gator » 1 years $5.56/mo
» 2 years $4.76/mo
» 3 years $3.96/mo
Small Business » Baskit Visit Site
Read Review
85
Go Daddy » $2.99/mo Small Business
Proffesional
» Custom Visit Site
Read Review
78
Beyond Hosting » 1st year $4.99/mo
» $6.99/mo
Small Business Visit Site
Read Review
89
1 & 1 » 1st year $49.99/mo
» $69.99/mo
Small Business » Custom Visit Site
Read Review
78

What you need to know about web hosting

You need to know :

What to expect from web hosting providers

Before delving into the details of web hosting just know that for almost everyone looking for web hosting you should basically expect to pay $12/year to own a domain and $6/month to host your website and emails.

This price is what it is, you can try to get cheaper, but you will just have to pay in hidden fees or miss out on some hosting service that you will need and then be forced into purchasing for more anyway.

You actually don't have that many options

There are seemingly thousands of hosting companies out there, however this really is not the case. Most companies simply re-brand the exact same service. You only have about 4 serious companies to choose from when it comes to small business web hosting .

You have EIG (aka: BlueHost/Hostmonster/JustHost/iPage) , Godaddy, Hostgator and the new comer 1&1. These are the industry web hosting standards, if you go with any web hosting company not in that list you better have a good reason for doing so. Note: this list is specific to what I consider "small business web hosting teer" the industry standard for the "professional web hosting teer" is entirely different.

If you are looking for professional teer hosting there are many more options. The most well known names are rack space, and amazon EC2 web hosting . Then there are many other smaller companies personally when it comes to professional grade hosting. I recommend going with smaller company that you can build relationship. I have chosen to go with Beyond Hosting who I highly recommend.

What you actually need from a web host

If you are a small business or individual you only need basic web hosting. I know I know, but your putting a Eccomerce website or a big community website. STILL you only need basic web hosting, If you don't believe me leave a comment telling me why and I will explain why your wrong. Here is what you need:

  • Ability to purchase and manage one or more domain names ( Included in all hosting companies)
  • Ability to manage email (Included in all hosting companies)
  • Ability to Host/Manage website files & Databases (Included in all hosting companies)
  • Cpanel Interface (All except GoDaddy)
  • LAMP stack - Linux,Apache,Mysql,PHP
  • Ability to easily install various CMS like wordpress/joomla/droopal ect...
  • Various add ons including : Dedicated hosting, SSL, Root/Shell access
This list is what you need, if a company does not provide these things go elsewhere. All the companies I reviewed except Godaddy provide all these necessities.

The Gotcha's of web hosting

    1. Among all small business hosting providers customer is survivable , but not great. If you have advanced needs your going to have to find a professional web guy to help you out.
    2. Hosting provider try to up sell you on ton of products/add ons that you DO NOT NEED GoDaddy is by far the worst at this. Simply select their cheapest option and keep clicking "no thanks".The only add on you might want is domain privacy so people can't see you own the domain, however assuming you are running a ethical/honest business I would not recommend getting domain privacy.
    3. Don't get sold on:
    • Really Cheap/ free hosting providers
    • Unlimited anything - Most small businesses will not hit their limits, but the limit are there.
    • CMS specific providers.For example many hosting companies boast that they are a Wordpress or Joomla hosting company, this is a bunch of malarkey - everyone can host wordpress.
    • SEO add/ons or packages. At best you are paying for nothing, at worst you pay to make your new website get flagged as spammy. Simply DON'T buy any SEO packages from your hosting provider.
    4. Get linux based web hosting or Suffer a horrid fate.

Tay's 2013 Reviews of Best Web Hosting Providers

Ratings

Price
100
User Interface
99
Server Quality
100
Add On Features
85
Customer Service
94
Business Ethics
100

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Hands down best price for web hosting services offered
  • New interface called vDeck offers clean/easy website management
  • vDeck allows Ipage to price cheaply
  • Really fast loading times
  • Pretty good customer service
  • Low prices in 2013 to grow customer base
  • Cons
  • Uses new technology "vDeck" for hosting interface
  • Prices may rise a little in the future
  • Ipage

    Ipage is relatively new to the web hosting industry after they were recently acquired by EIG (same company that runs , bluehost, hostmonster, justhost) they started building a substantial customer base and are now one of the leading hosting providers.

    For the price I think Ipage offers the most competitive hosting service on the web. My guess is the price will go up a little in 2014, however I think it will always be a couple bucks cheaper than bluehost.

    So why is Ipage so cheap? All in all Ipage is really good and very comparable to what you would get with bluehost, however there is one slight catch. Ipage uses a different interface for managing all your hosting services, this interface is called vDeck and is a relatively new piece of technology, at least compared to it’s its more popular and well known rival cPanel. cPanel is licenced software meaning hosting companies have to pay for it for every new customer they acquire. vDeck is cheaper for hosting companies to licence than cPanel, this allows hosting companies to pass the savings onto their customers.

    From working with vDeck it seems to offers all the main features that cPanel provides and has a nicer interface (aka looks prettier). However given that it is a new technology and does not have years of fine tuning it is likely to experience some issues that will need fixing/upgrades as time goes on. For the vast the majority of businesses/individuals looking for hosting, vDeck should work fine. Although I have to say I don't love the idea of replacing cPanel as so many people are familiar with it and it - and it works so dang well.

    As far as site performance Ipage is the second fastest at of all the shared hosting providers (see fastest web hosting companies here.) - meaning your Ipage site will load really fast.

    Ipage also provides a good amount of flexibility when working with PHP. They provide access to the "php.ini" file which allows you to change the majority of PHP settings. The one small downside is they do not have PHP version 5.4 but rather 5.3. This is fine for most website, but may cause issues for those looking to run the latest PHP technologies. They also do not provide a simple way to install PHP extensions - you can read my article on understanding what you need in a PHP hosting provider for more information.

    My experience with their customer service has been fine, although like other shared providers it various substantially based on who you talk to. All the technical support I have talked to do their best to solve your problem, and although I usually have to figure stuff out myself, I still give them "A" for effort.

    To summarize: If you are a small business or individual and have not heard of cPanel or are willing to use a different interface for managing your website hosting, I have to recommend to Ipage, they are simply way too cheap and offer way too much to ignore.

    Ratings

    Price
    80
    User Interface
    98
    Server Quality
    80
    Add On Features
    95
    Customer Service
    95
    Business Ethics
    80

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
  • Web hosting Industry leader
  • Most robust cpanel and feature offering for small business web hosting
  • Has really simple Wordpress , Weebly and Simple Scripts installation
  • Customer service is above average
  • Has lots of promotions including $50/facebook add credit, $100 adwords credit
  • Easy to use multiple domain hosting for no extra cost
  • Best User interface among all the web hosting providers
  • Cons
  • Can't upgrade to higher teer of service if your site really high traffic
  • "Unlimited Filespace" is in fact pretty limited
  • Not the fastest performance
  • Blue Host

    I am reviewing Blue Host, Hostmonster and Just Host as one hosting provider because they are all owned and operated by the same company (Endurance International Group). All three hosting services are pretty much identical, from time to time you will see them differ slightly, but this is simply the company tweaking it's business model with A/B testing to see what product works the best. Endurance International group owns many website hosting providers, see a full list here if you are curious.

    In my honest opinion Blue Host is the best hosting option for 90% of individuals/businesses looking for web hosting. They have set the industry standard that all other hosting companies are attempting to imitate or spin off. Blue Host provides a incredibly easy to use to interface that allows you to manage tons of hosting features. They offer the best PHP hosting on the web including the newest version PHP 5.4 with full "php.ini" access for changing setting and they have simple interface for PHP extensions install.

    They like many other claim to have “unlimited” hosting space, which is simply not true. It is however sufficient for the vast majority of small businesses and individuals. They also offer by the best interface for managing multiple domains and websites under one account. To give you a ruff Idea I currently host around 30 small businesses websites with them and rarely have any issues with there servers getting bogged down.

    Blue Host targets small businesses and individuals, the one big downside to hosting with them is they do not offer any sort of server upgrades, meaning if your site starts to get really heavy traffic (10k) plus visitors/day your website will start to slow down. This is really a non factor though since any sites getting 10k+ visitors should move to professional grade hosting which costs closer to $100/month.

    Ratings

    Price
    90
    User Interface
    70
    Server Quality
    90
    Add On Features
    80
    Customer Service
    90
    Business Ethics
    90

    Coupon Codes

    SAVEPERCENT25 25% OFF
    SAVENINENINEFOUR $9.94 OFF

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
  • Hosting Upgrades
  • Proffesional teer hosting
  • Price
  • Cons
  • Difficult to manage multiple domains
  • Poor user interface
  • Lack of "freebies"
  • Technical support for professional teer hosting
  • Host Gator

    Host Gator is an interesting hosting provider because they seem to merge the low tier hosting business model with the professional grade hosting model. What I mean by this is they offer a hosting package for small businesses at around $6/month and they also offer dedicated VPS hosting all the way up to around $200/month for some serious computing power. The fact that they offer such a wide array of hosting packages makes them more appealing for companies that plan on getting high traffic in the near future, allowing them to start with the cheap option then upgrade as needed.

    The biggest downside to Host Gator is their relatively poor user interface. They actually offer most of the same features as other hosting providers, however their interface makes it harder to access these features. Their most notable flaw in my opinion is their lack of GOOD support for managing multiple domains. They only recently offered the ability to manage multiple domains at all and now their interface for doing so is simple not user friendly. The big issue here is they tie their hosting management interface to a particular domain name. For example to access their Cpanel you would go to “www.myexampledomain.com/cpanel”. As you might imagine if you have ten domain names this causes serious issues in managing all those domains under one hosting account. They seem to have realized this flaw and hopefully they will fix it the near future.

    One other downside to Host Gator is they do not offer too much in the way of freebies/add ons. For most people this is not a huge deal, but many other hosting providers offer promotions like free Google Adwords credit and free facebook ads credits. Those freebies can be really nice and save you a few hundred bucks, which is great when you are getting started with advertising like Google Adwords.

    As far as customer service I have found Host Gator to be “Ho Hem”, they usually try to be helpful but they are clearly not very technically savvy. This is not a huge shock, however it concerns me for those business who choose to use Host Gators professional teer hosting services (ie:$150/month). Generally hosting companies who offer this level of computing power for hosting, also have some serious GEEKS behind the computers to help you out when you need it. Since Host Gator lacks those people, I would be wary about hosting serious websites (100k+/monthly visitors) with them.

    All in all Host Gator offers a hosting service that IMO only fits the needs of a small market. I would consider that market bloggers who may be getting enough traffic to need more serious hosting solutions, but at the same time don't need a high level of technical support.

    Ratings

    Price
    90
    User Interface
    60
    Server Quality
    90
    Add On Features
    70
    Customer Service
    70
    Business Ethics
    90

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
  • Multiple Domain Management
  • Offer Windows Hosting
  • Cons
  • Poor User Interface
  • Lack of Cpanel
  • Hidden Fees
  • Go Daddy

    O Boy here we go! Godaddy has more domains registered through them than any other hosting company in the world. On first glance they appear to the cheapest hosting provider however this usually ends up not being the case, as they sell you almost everything individually. Bottom line is you will end up paying more or just as much hosting your website on Godaddy as you would with any other hosting provider.

    Godaddy chose not to use Cpanel, but rather develop their own customer solutions for managing domains/hosting and other features. This was a HORRIBLE decision, their user interface is worse than dreadful. For example to do a simple thing like upload a file to the server you have to log in like 10 times, accidently buy a few things then navigate a maze of confusion just to finally get at what you need. Their system literally logs you out every few minutes, so by the time you get where you need to be you will probably be logged out again. To put it subtly, their user interface needs a massive overhaul.

    So why are they such a dominate force? I believe for a few reasons, they actually do a few things really well. The first thing they do really well is market their products and strategically price to gain a large customer base (hints all those hot Godaddy girls). They also offer great affiliate incentives, so besides this review you likely won't see too many negative reviews popping up on google. The other thing they do really well is domain registration and management. Godaddy offer a huge marketplace for purchasing domains, including what I believe to be the best & biggest domain auction in the world. To be fair, their user interface for managing and purchasing domains is actually quite good, likely the best among all hosting provider. I believe since they are so good at selling domains, people just say what the heck and also purchase hosting with them - which is perfectly logical since it's easier to purchase domain + hosting through the same provider.

    My one other concern with Godaddy is their pricing practices border the line of unethical, meaning they hit you with hidden fees. I personally own hundreds of domains through them and often will get hit with odd charges, an example is if a domain dispute arises they charge you like $20/bucks, they also make it conveniently simple for domain disputes to arise. Hmmm.....

    To summarize Godaddy is the best in the businesses when it comes to buying and selling a domain names. If you need to purchase and manage a lot of domains, they are your go to provider. When it comes to web hosting their pricing is comparable with other hosting providers, however since they do not offer Cpanel and have a poor user interface for managing web hosting features I would NOT recommend them as a web hosting provider.

    Ratings

    Price
    85
    User Interface
    90
    Server Quality
    85
    Add On Features
    95
    Customer Service
    99
    Business Ethics
    85

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
  • SSH/Root Access
  • Excellent Customer Service
  • Professional Grade Computing Power
  • SSD Hard Drive
  • Cons
  • Highly technical knowledge required
  • Expensive compared to "small business hosting"
  • RAM bottleneck
  • Beyond Hosting

    Beyond hosting is a professional grade hosting company, they are a relatively small hosting company but still plenty big enough to ensure they are not going anywhere anytime soon. This is a hosting provider I would only recommend to companies who have an in house professional web developer or some sort of dedicated computer GEEK. They do not offer the same “ease of use” as the other hosting providers (small business web hosting providers).They offer professional grade linux hosting packages, some packages include Cpanel some do not. If you are used to working with Cpanel then get the Centos or Fedora OS which comes with Cpanel, otherwise you can just manage everything via SSH/Shell (You do have Root access).

    Personally I am a Ubuntu Guy, I host about 30 websites on one of their VPS servers which costs me about $60/month. They offer a huge amount of Bandwidth, Disk Space, and CPU power for $60/month the only trouble is they bottleneck the RAM. This is partially a PHP issues, but since most use PHP, I believe it's a known bottleneck used so you have to upgrade your hosting package. Even so, the computing power is still well worth it.

    The big plus to going with Beyond Hosting is their technical support is REALLY GOOD. These are actual professional server administrators you are talking with, nut just $10/hour patsies. For example, they noticed that my account was pushing IO pretty hard and they took the initiative to upgrade my hard drive to SSD, the IO is no longer an issue. This is the kind of technical support that you simply WILL NOT get with the $6/month hosting providers.

    To summarize, Beyond hosting is great for those who have professional hosting needs and have a highly technical person who feels comfortable working on a linux shell.

    Ratings

    Price
    98
    User Interface
    97
    Server Quality
    98
    Add On Features
    70
    Customer Service
    89
    Business Ethics
    98

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
  • Easy to use Website Builder
  • No Technical knowledge required
  • Great Pricing
  • Cons
  • No Cpanel
  • Lack of flexibility
  • 1 & 1

    1 &1 is a new comer that seems to be making some waves in the web hosting world. I personally do not manage any websites using 1 & 1, but many of my clients do so I thought their product is definitely worth a closer look.

    1 & 1 offer a similar hosting package to that of Blue Host except instead of having a standard Cpanel they have developed their own “Website Builder”. Even though I hate the fact they don't have Cpanel, I must admit that their website builder is probably the most intuitive and easy to use interface on the market.

    Basically anyone with little to no computer experience will be able to register a domain and get a website up and running in a day or so. This is unique in that most other hosting providers assume some level of computer savely 1 &1 simply does not. The flip side to this is since they offer such a simple user interface, some more technical things are difficult or simply not available. In other words they do not provide a lot of flexibility for your website.

    If you are a non technical individual looking to get a website up yourself I think 1 & 1 is a great option. They are extremely competitively priced, they offer enough functionality to allow you to get up a decent website and no technical skills are required. I think for musicians, at home businesses, actors and other 1-3 person businesses 1 &1 is a great website hosting option.

    Comments (27)

    You're reviewing: Best hosting providers 2013
    Newest | Oldest   Helpful   Positive | Critical
    Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarEmpty Star 4/5 (18)
    1 2 3 > [last]
    Gravatar
    Genie says...
    I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your
    weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a
    great blog like this one today.
    Yesterday 1:36am
    Gravatar
    Alissa says...
    I need to to thank you for this fantastic read!!

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    as a favorite to check out new things you post…

    16th April 2014 7:32am
    Gravatar
    Celesta says...
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    Also, I have shared your website in my social networks
    16th April 2014 6:13am
    Gravatar
    Vickey says...
    Article Source: Stevens works in Internet and Network Marketing.
    Now you have plenty of profitable ideas you can
    use to start making money as a photographer.
    Either the products that you don't require any more; or the
    products of another company can be sold online.
    15th April 2014 7:09pm
    Gravatar
    Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarEmpty Star
    Deanna says...
    Have you done any research on a company called BigScoots? I just came across a chat thread about them on another page and everyone had very good things to say about them and they are not an EIG company. I use iPage myself but am always trying to keep on top of what is out there.
    15th November 2013 7:10am
    Gravatar
    Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
    Taylor Hawkes says...
    I have not heard of them until you plugged them here.... They look like mostly a VPS & Dedicated Hosting - For VPS I would still recommend a big name like Linode, Rackspace, AWS or Beyond Hosting. On first glance they appear to run there own data center which is a good sign. They seem to have strangely small VPS packages starting at $6.95 with incredibly low RAM - (128MB).... Cmon - Apache might be able to load a single web page with that, but probably not. There VPS packages for Read More
    11th April 2014 1:43pm
    1 2 3 > [last]
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