Selecting The Best Web Hosting In 2014 (The Big 6 Hosts In Review)

Taylor Hawkes

Author:

Updated: May 6, 2014

After I got so much positive feedback from my last years reviews I decided to take another swing at bat and write new web hosting reviews for 2014. I’m a programmer and I continue to develop websites for my clients - going on year 6 now with no plans of slowing. I launched a few dozens web sites on various hosting providers in the last year, keeping me far too “in-tune” with the changes that are going on in the web hosting industry. I'm hoping to put my (otherwise useless) knowledge of the web hosting industry to work by helping individuals and small businesses find web hosting providers that meet their needs. If you have any questions please reach out to me directly at thawkes@woodstitch.com or connect with me on twitter @TaylorHawkes or Facebook. I love getting feedback as it helps me stay in tune with questions people have when looking for web hosting. Also, if you find my reviews helpful please tweet or share this page.

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’re unsure of exactly what you need in a web hosting provider start here, otherwise I would recommend taking a look at the summary chart I put together, it has a ton’s of information including: a video of the hosting interface, packages/pricing/features list and results of a hosting speed test. If you trust my opinion enough you can just look at my summary and make a decision, otherwise read my full reviews and examine the pricing/features chart.

Summary Of My Finding

1. HostGator offers the best all around shared web hosting in 2014. If you are a business looking for web hosting, or simply unsure of what hosting provider to choose - HostGator is your best option (Hostgator should be the best option for 80% of readers).

2. iPage shared web hosting is your best option if you are an individual looking to setup a Wordpress website or a blog.

3. GoDaddy is the best hosting solution if you are looking for Windows hosting, reseller hosting or have the need to manage lots of (30+) domain names.

Overview Chart Of The Big 6 Hosting Companies
Hosting Service Starting Price Company Details Rankings Review Speed Website Rank
» 1 years $5.56/mo
» 2 years $4.67/mo
» 3 years $3.96/mo
Price.........#2
Speed........#5
Interface...#2
Features....#2
Read
Review
AVG 0.97s
See Results
Visit Site
1
» 1 years $3.50/mo
» 2 years $1.99/mo
» 3 years $1.99/mo
Price.........#1
Speed........#2
Interface...#3
Features....#3
Read
Review
AVG 0.58s
See Results
Visit Site
2
» 1 years $7.99/mo
» 2 years $6.99/mo
» 3 years $6.99/mo
Price.........#4
Speed........#6
Interface...#1
Features....#1
Read
Review
AVG 1.27s
See Results
Visit Site
3
» 1 years $4.99/mo
» 2 years $4.99/mo
» 3 years $4.99/mo
Price.........#3
Speed........#3
Interface...#4
Features....#4
Read
Review
AVG 0.63s
See Results
Visit Site
4
» 1 years $2.99/mo
» 2 years $2.99/mo
» 3 years $2.99/mo
Price.........#5
Speed........#4
Interface...#5
Features....#5
Read
Review
AVG 0.66s
See Results
Visit Site
5
» 1 years $7.99/mo
» 2 years $7.99/mo
» 3 years $6.99/mo
Price.........#6
Speed........#1
Interface...#6
Features....#6
Read
Review
AVG 0.49s
See Results
Visit Site
6
Web Hosting 101 - Where to start and what you should know about web hosting.

You need to know:

1.) Where to start and what type of web hosting you need. You need Linux shared web hosting. Expect to pay about $7/mo for web hosting and $14/year for a domain name. 2.) How to develop a website - knowing your options. If your building your own site use Wordpress and select a good theme (buying a professional theme is usually worth it). 3.) What features/ services to look for in web hosting company. Page loading speed and price are the two biggest things you should focus on. 4.) What to watch our for. (The gotcha's of web hosting) Watch out for low initial prices and "add ons" usually in the form of traffic builders, SEO or site security.

Where to start and what type of web hosting you need.

Unless you know otherwise you need shared Linux hosting. Expect to pay $5-$10/mo for hosting and $10-$15/year for a domain name.

Websites must be hosted on a computer somewhere, web hosting is simply the computer that holds all your websites files (usually html files). Technically speaking you could host your website on your own computer, however since this would require your to install a bunch of software and configure all sorts of setting it’s almost always best to host your website through a web hosting provider - ideally one of these 6 hosting providers.

So for the vast majority (about 95%) of individuals/businesses should be looking to purchase some sort of shared web hosting plan. Shared web hosting simply means that you share a physical computer (AKA web server) with others in order to reduce cost. Shared web hosting is generally contrasted with dedicated web hosting which means you get a entire computer to yourself. To give you a rough idea on price saving; shared hosting usually costs around $5-$10/mo and dedicated hosting costs $150+/mo. In the middle of these two type of hosting is VPS hosting (Virtual Private Server). VPS hosting is kinda technical - simply put; it’s shared hosting but you share with far fewer people. VPS hosting usually costs between $30-$100/mo. With shared hosting you will generally share a computer (web server) with around 700 other people, with VPS around 10 other people and with dedicated you don’t have to share at all. To summarize all that: unless you know otherwise you need shared hosting.

For those looking to build a website there are a basically 2 other things you will need beyond web hosting that usually come bundled with almost all web hosting providers. Those two things are: some sort of software to build/manage your website (Content Management System ) and a domain name. Generally speaking you will buy a domain name when you sign up for webhosting. You don’t have to host your website and buy your domain through the same company, however I would recommend that you do just to keep things simple. Domain names usually cost around $10-$15/year and the software to build your website is almost always included for free in a shared web hosting package. So expect to pay $5-10/mo for shared web hosting and $10-$15/year for a domain name. As a rule of thumb I expect to pay ruffly $100/year to keep a medium size website up and running.

How to develop a website - knowing your options.

If you’re not hiring a firm or individual to develop your website I recommend using Wordpress and selecting or purchasing a nice website theme - Themeforest is a great place to get templates.

You can always hire a web development company or a freelancer (usually much cheaper) to build your website. Alternatively, if you’re a do it yourselfer, you certainly have a couple of options for getting your own website up and running. FYI: If you do decide to hire a web development firm, I would still recommend getting your own hosting and having them upload the website files to your hosting account, this keeps you in complete control of your website.

If you are building your own website there are plenty of tools to help you get a good site up and running (even without having too much technical knowledge). There are two basic approaches, you can either: build your website on a website builder or use a popular content management system. I have always and will continue to recommend using Wordpress which is a content management system that helps you build/maintain your website. You can select from hundreds of free themes(site designs) or purchase a theme (usually for pretty cheap), and build really powerful websites that lend themselves really well to getting website traffic. Wordpress has a huge community of developers who are always building plugins for pretty much every feature you could ask for in a website.

Building your website on a website builder is another approach, however I don’t recommend doing this unless you only need a very basic/quick website. There are few really big problems with website builders including:

  • Functionality is often greatly limited, making certain advanced website features (checkout/forums/video & audio players) difficult or impossible to implement.
  • Website builders often restrict you to a very commonly used theme, meaning your website looks like thousands of other sites.
  • It’s hard to build a really useful website with a website builder, this makes getting traffic to your website harder. Wordpress has tons of features that allow you to distribute your content through various channels, website builders have none of these. One of the best things you can do to drive traffic to your website is regularly (weekly) write or create useful content, in general website builders don’t provide a means to publish a large amount of content. They are generally built around the idea of having 5-10 website pages. This is fine for some people, just don’t expect anyone to find your website through Google.

Decision making factors - what features/ services to look for in web hosting company.

So what factors should you look for when selecting a web hosting provider? I will make this real simple: price and speed are the two big factors you should look at. Web hosting providers are now offering very similar hosting packages, in 2014 almost all hosting providers offer all the features you will need in your website. It used to be that many hosting providers did not have certain features (multiple domain hosting, wordpress hosting, Mysql Databases) but now all these features come standard. The speed at which your website loads is incredibly important for getting website visitors, a slow website will kill your traffic. Hosting providers still vary substantially when it comes to page load speed so this should be one of your biggest consideration- view page speed data here.

Of course there are other factors to look at that I will go into, again you don’t need to understand all the factors, but I think they may be helpful for some, so I will outline them (sorry if I get too technical).

Operating System: Get Linux - it is the de-facto standard for web hosting. I know you probably feel more familiar with Windows, but I beg you not to purchase Windows web hosting unless you have a some strong case for it. The only time you should be using windows web hosting is if you are programming in a Windows environment - ASP/.Net/SQL Server. Windows web hosting is simply not as compatible with all the big CMS’s out there, especially Wordpress. Those CMS’s built for Windows hosting are slowly dying and windows hosting is notoriously slower, more difficult to manage and less reliable than Linux. If for some reason you do have to use Windows hosting I would recommend GoDaddy as they continually offer the best windows hosting at the lowest prices.

User Interface/ Control Panel: This is probably the biggest factor behind speed and price that I would focus on. Every hosting provider offers a slightly different user interface for managing all of your hosting features - see videos in this table. Although almost all hosting companies have the same functionality, working with that functionality can be a very different experience.

Programming Technologies: Linux hosting will have PHP, Ruby on rails and Perl and Windows hosting will have ASP/.net. Almost all hosting providers will have these technologies. The only thing that may vary is the version of PHP - a hosting provider should offer at least PHP 5.3 - the big 6 hosting companies all do.

Freebies: Some hosting companies offer credits such as Facebook/Google adds. These can actually have a pretty significant value ($200) if you are planning on advertising, so I would recommend selecting a provider that offers those freebies.

Content Management Systems: This used to be a very important factor, but now in days almost all hosting companies offer a similar package that includes one click installs for all the biggest content management systems usually including: Wordpress, Joomla , Blogger, Magento, Typo3, vBulletin and many more.

Sitback/Restore: All companies offer this, some provide it for free others make you pay for it

Customer Service: I don’t put too much weight on customer service. I found in my experience that customer service varies mostly by the technician that takes your call far more than it varies by the hosting company that you have an issue with. That being said, customer service on shared hosting is never going to be awesome, but it’s usually good enough to get what you need done.

Other Technical Stuff: Dedicated IP address- This is required for SSL (Ecommerce/selling stuff on your website). SSH Access - this feature gives programmers a great deal of control over the web server (requires technical know-how).

What to watch out for. (The Gotcha’s of web hosting)

There are a few ways that hosting companies will get you, making you pay for features that are essentially non-existent or effectively tricking you into paying more than you should. These are really common tactics, so be sure to look over these so you don’t fall prey to them.

Search Engine Listings / Increased traffic: You are flushing money down the toilet, I happen to know a little something about this business and whatever they offer you has absolutely no value. I can’t stress this enough: besides loading your website fast - there is nothing a hosting provider can do that will help your website get traffic. I see small businesses get sold on some sort of SEO package from hosting providers all the time; usually it only sets them back a few bucks a month, but I have seen some people get really ripped off and pay hundreds of dollars for absolutely nothing - don’t be stupid.

Various add on features: Whenever you checkout look for extra little packages that are being automatically added to your order, and remove them.
There are only two thing that you may want :

  1. “Whois Privacy” sometime called “Domain Privacy” - this means that when people lookup who owns the domain here they can’t see your information, this prevents spammers from getting your email address that you signed up with. I would recommend signing up with an email that you don’t mind getting spammed; then you don't need to get the “Whois Privacy” service. Overall your website will look more professional if it has real contact information in the Whois Database.
  2. Limitations on emails, databases, files and other features: Obviously hosting companies have to put caps on certain resources or feature they offer, the thing that you should watch out for is when they put really low caps on features in order to force you to pay more just to get basic site functionality. None of the big 6 companies I review have unreasonable caps on functionality, but watch out for these limitations if you are going with another provider. Here are the features I usually see restrictions on and a reasonable number that I would recommend most websites will need.

    1. Number of allowed domain names per hosting account: At least 10
    2. Number of emails: 50+
    3. Number of files or disk space: At least 50,000 files or 1GB of disc space
    4. Number of Databases: 10+
    5. Number of Database tables: This should be unlimited or 3000+
    6. FTP account: 50+

    CMS branded hosting providers I know I know, you want to find the best wordpress hosting provider, but guess what: all hosting providers offer one click wordpress installs. Don’t get sold on hosting providers just because they are pushing being able to host a Wordpress site better than anyone else. I can get real technical on why one host is not a better Wordpress host than another, but just take my word for it. If wordpress loading speed is an issue for you get a Wordpress cache plugin to help speed up your site - I built a really light weight one here or you can use use a different one.

    Tay's 2014 Top 6 Shared Hosting Companies In Review

    Tay's Opinion

    HostGator is the clear choice for businesses in need of web hosting, their flexibility also makes them the best option for those unsure of exactly what they need. HostGator simply know’s what customers need - top that off with fast servers, a simple to use interface, a feature rich cPanel and HostGator should be the go-to web hosting company for 80% of websites.

    Overview

  3. Owner: EIG
  4. Starting Price: » 1 years $5.56/mo
    » 2 years $4.67/mo
    » 3 years $3.96/mo
  5. Features: Packages & Features
  6. Video Review: Video Review
  7. Speed: AVG 0.97s
  8. Website url: Visit Site
  9. Overall Rankings (1=best)

    Price
    #2
    Speed/Quality
    #5
    User Interface
    #2
    Features/Flexibility
    #2
    Customer Service
    #2

    Coupon Codes

    SAVEPERCENT25 25% OFF
    SAVENINENINEFOUR $9.94 OFF

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
  10. Hosting Upgrades
  11. Professional tier hosting
  12. Price
  13. Cons
  14. Difficult to manage multiple domains
  15. Poor user interface
  16. Lack of "freebies"
  17. Technical support for professional tier hosting
  18. HostGator

    In 2014 HostGator gets number 1 overall out of the big six hosting companies. HostGator was acquired by EIG (who also owns Bluehost and iPage) in 2012 , this made me worry about their server quality as EIG has a bad habit of running lots of websites on one server. Fortunately this acquisition strengthened HostGator rather than weaken them. HostGator has kept their same high quality of servers and added some of EIG’s standard features putting them at the top of the hosting industry. They simply offer too many features and well rounded solutions to not be ranked first. They have a clean simple to use interface, a straightforward and incredibly competitive pricing model, simple one click installs, site backups and multiple domain management all included in their “Hatchling Plan”. And to top all this off they have pretty FAST servers which means your website will load fast - I LOVE fast servers.

    HostGator simply does things right, they don’t try to do too much and this has allowed them to perfect the features that your common website is going to need. They offer a great interface, but that is not the reason I like them so much. I like them because they have great servers, in general I found they don’t jam as many websites on each shared hosting server. No one ever seems to mention this as a factor when purchasing web hosting - frankly this should probably be the number one factor. Fewer people sharing your server means more system resources for you - which leads to a faster website. Perhaps that’s a bit technical, but bottom line is they have FAST servers that will be incredibly reliable. Just to give you a rough idea most shared hosting companies put between 500-1000 accounts on one server, I have even seen up to 2,000 (Yea that’s alot). I checked over 20 different sites on myipneighbors.com that were hosted by Hostgator and none had more than 10 neighbor websites shared on the same IP.

    Besides speed and reliability Hostgator offers simplicity which I think is really important. Their interface is in many ways the “most basic” out of the six hosting companies, they use cPanel and they have not customized it so much that you can’t recognize it. You can get to everything you need right from your cPanel, so you don’t have to navigate around to find certain hosting features. I also really like their “quick install feature” for installing Wordpress and other CMS's. This lets you easily install dozens of CMS’s including the big 3: Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal. Most hosting companies have simple installs, but HostGator has the “simplest” interface for doing one click installs.

    Hostgator also offers a site backup/restore system that allows you to make site backups/restores whenever you want. This feature comes included with all their packages which is nice. They also have very loose resources restrictions such as: 100k files, no specified limits on databases, email or ftp accounts. This usually means they are pretty lenient on customers as far as using resources, naturally if you make 10,000 databases they might have a issue, but in general they try to give customers plenty of server resources.

    To top all of this off Hostgator also offers great VPS/dedicated and reseller hosting, so if you have a shared account you can always upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server if you need a more powerful hosting solution.

    My one complaint about Hostgator is their domain management system and their billing system is not integrated with their primary cPanel interface. This means in order to manage your domains or billing you are taken to an entirely separate area and have to re-login. This is something they really need to fix.

    All in all HostGator offers the best all round hosting for the vast majority of individuals and pretty much every business. They offer by far the best hosting for all sorts of organizations such as, schools, churches, entrepreneurs, retailers, teachers, lawyers/law firms, restaurants, studios , etc... Their services are entirely oriented toward small businesses, this makes them such a well rounded hosting solution for a wide variety of organizations.

    Tay's Opinion

    iPage is best web hosting option for individuals needing smaller websites or blogs. It’s FAST, feature rich, offers a really easy to use interface and is INITIALLY really cheap - just be aware of the price jump after the initial term.

    Overview

  19. Owner: EIG
  20. Starting Price: » 1 years $3.50/mo
    » 2 years $1.99/mo
    » 3 years $1.99/mo
  21. Features: Packages & Features
  22. Video Review: Video Review
  23. Speed: AVG 0.58s
  24. Website url: Visit Site
  25. Overall Rankings (1=best)

    Price
    #1
    Speed/Quality
    #2
    User Interface
    #3
    Features/Flexibility
    #3
    Customer Service
    #3

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
  26. Fast Web Servers
  27. Cheap initial term prices
  28. vDeck offers clean/easy website management
  29. Great for bloggers & individuals
  30. One Click Installs
  31. Good customer service
  32. Hosting Management interface
  33. Google/Facebook/Bing Add credits
  34. Cons
  35. Post initial term price
  36. Dedicated IP's only offered with SSL
  37. Ipage

    iPage was the flagship hosting company of Ipower which was acquired by EIG in May of 2007. After going off the grid for a couple years iPage amped up their web hosting services and hit the market hard in 2009 and has since become one of the top hosting providers in the world.

    Overall iPage is probably the best hosting provider for websites built by individuals such as: bloggers, actors, musicians, students, authors, photographers etc… Bottom line is they have a really easy to use website management interface that includes website builders and one click CMS installs. iPage is built to allow a non-technical individual to get a website up and running all by themself, and they have done a better job of this than any other hosting company out there.

    The thing I really like about iPage is it loads rediculously fast for a shared web hosting company - see speed results here . This is really important for sites built on top of Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal or other Content Management systems. CMS’s like wordpress are actually pretty heavy, meaning they take a lot of computing power to load your page, if your hosting provider is slow and you have Wordpress, you are going to start seeing some really poor loading times, which can cause some serious issues with getting visitors to your website. iPage is able to keep it’s server speed so fast in part because they don’t offer dedicated IP addresses, this means they can easily move a website running slowly to a new server.

    There is of course a direct downside to not offering dedicated IP addresses. Dedicated IP addresses are needed in order for a number of technologies to work - fortunately most these technologies are not commonly used. The only exception to this is a SSL certification (allows for checkout on your website), and iPage does offer this feature. Because your average website is not going to need a dedicated IP address, but will need to be fast iPage is probably the best option for the vast majority of websites built by individuals.

    I rank the overall iPage user interface number 2 just behind Bluehost, it is really intuitive and includes: domain management, FTP account management, email management, database management and a bunch of other management tools. Basically all that fun stuff that you need in order to build/maintain a website. iPage uses a software interface called vDeck this in contrast with the more commonly used cPanel. Both pieces of software do pretty much the same thing, only cPanel has been around for longer and is generally considered more stable. That being said, vDeck now works almost as well and is usually a bit less expensive than cPanel.

    Pricing is a bit funny with iPage, in some ways I find their pricing method duplicitous, but on the flip side you can get a REALLY good deal on hosting for a few years. Basicly they have a really cheap “introductory price” (usually around $2/mo), but after the initial term they jack the price up to close to $10/mo. Fortunately you can lock in the “initial term” price for up to three years, which gives most individuals/businesses the time needed to build up a website, after that initial term they can either pay more or switch hosting providers. I am not a fan of switching hosting providers, in theory it is a simple process, but in reality there are all sorts of issues you are going to run into if you try to switch hosting providers. That being said, if you do go with iPage make sure you are either prepared for the price increase after the initial term or have a plan on what you will do with your site after it’s up.

    Tay's Opinion

    Bluehost is the best at everything except the one thing that matters most - SPEED. Bluehost is still the best option for websites that don’t use a CMS and new web developers.

    Overview

  38. Owner: EIG
  39. Starting Price: » 1 years $7.99/mo
    » 2 years $6.99/mo
    » 3 years $6.99/mo
  40. Features: Packages & Features
  41. Video Review: Video Review
  42. Speed: AVG 1.27s
  43. Website url: Visit Site
  44. Overall Rankings (1=best)

    Price
    #4
    Speed/Quality
    #6
    User Interface
    #1
    Features/Flexibility
    #1
    Customer Service
    #1

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
  45. Web hosting Industry leader
  46. Most robust cPanel and feature offering for small business web hosting
  47. Has really simple Wordpress , Weebly and Simple Scripts installation
  48. Great customer service
  49. Promotions $50/facebook add credit, $100 Adwords credit
  50. Easy to use multiple domain hosting for no extra cost
  51. Best User interface
  52. Cons
  53. Web Servers not very fast
  54. Bluehost itself not too cheap, see Justhost for better prices(same company)
  55. BlueHost

    I wish I could just scream “GET BLUEHOST!!!!” - they would be the perfect web hosting company despite one little flaw. Bluehost is just a little too slow, they rank last in speed out of the big six web hosting companies. Besides speed they do everything else just right. They have the best interface, the most functionality, most flexibility, least amount of restrictions and they have been around forever so they know exactly what customers need.

    They are also really cheap, or at least their sister companies Justhost and Hostgator are cheap. All of these companies are the exact same, so be sure to check between them and get the cheapest one. Generally speaking Bluehost is the most expensive and Justhost is the least expensive, this is simply because Bluehost is so well known.

    I hosted all my websites on Bluehost when I first started out as a developer, so I have kinda a personal tie to them. Up until one year ago I was recommending bluehost to almost everyone who asked me about web hosting. Now I would limit that recommendation to only two groups of people: new web developers and individuals building websites without a CMS.

    I think bluehost is still the best platform for those starting out as web developers or web designers. I like Bluehost for new developers for a few reasons: Bluehost offers dedicated IP addresses which is needed in order to run long PHP (or other) processes, open various ports and run various types of software. They allow SSH access - this means you can install various software packages on the server, which I used to do all the time. They have great PHP hosting because they offer a ton of flexibility including php modules, various php version and php extensions. Developer Note: Once you build your first website and it starts getting good traffic, you can just upgrade to a VPS and any loading speed issues will go byebye :-).

    Bluehost is also great for sites that don’t use a CMS like Wordpress or Joomla because those platforms are pretty heavy and usually cause the sites to load just a little too slowly. For sites built in pure HTML/PHP/ASP etc... the loading speed is no longer an issue. So for those looking to develop without a CMS I would highly recommend going with Bluehost.

    Generally speaking I have had the best experience with Bluehost customer service. I don’t usually evaluate customer service to highly when rating web hosting because it depends so much on the individual helping you. But all in all it seems like the Bluehost customer service really tries to meet all of your requests, they seem to go above and beyond for their customers - helping with situations that are not really in the scope of their hosting duty/responsibility. To give an example I once built a telephone system on a Bluehost shared hosting account. They helped me install custom software, open up custom ports and more to get this system working. Frankly, they should have required me to purchase dedicated or at least VPS hosting to run this system, but they really went out of the way for one shared hosting customer paying 6 bucks a month - this says a lot about the standards they are setting for their customer service.

    Tay's Opinion

    Godaddy did a 180 degree flip this year, bringing them from very bottom of my list to right in the mix. Go Daddy is great for those looking to buy/sell multiple domain names, windows hosting, reseller web hosting (for agencies) and lastly those looking for a website builder.

    Overview

  56. Owner: GoDaddy
  57. Starting Price: » 1 years $4.99/mo
    » 2 years $4.99/mo
    » 3 years $4.99/mo
  58. Features: Packages & Features
  59. Video Review: Video Review
  60. Speed: AVG 0.63s
  61. Website url: Visit Site
  62. Overall Rankings (1=best)

    Price
    #3
    Speed/Quality
    #3
    User Interface
    #4
    Features/Flexibility
    #4
    Customer Service
    #4

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
  63. Domain Management
  64. Windows Hosting
  65. Server Speed
  66. Website Builder
  67. Reseller Hosting
  68. cPanel
  69. Cons
  70. 1 Domain Limit on Economy Hosting Plan
  71. GoDaddy

    Godaddy definitely gets the award for most improved this year. It’s a bit cocky of me, but I really think someone from Godaddy read my review of them last year and decided to make some changes. Maybe it was me, maybe it was others, maybe it was their risque super bowl commercial, but for whatever the reason GoDaddy has taken their company in an entirely new direction. I am actually quite impressed at how such a big company was able to overhaul their interface and software systems so drastically in the past 8 months. Last year I pointed out a few big issue I had with GoDaddy all of which they have addressed.

    1. They have revamped their pricing model to be more transparent, my big issue with their pricing was not including emails in a hosting package - they now do include 100 emails with their smallest web hosting package.
    2. They were not using cPanel which is the industry standard for managing your hosting account - they are now using cPanel.
    3. They used to have a really annoying login system just to get in and manage your website, they have fixed the login system and it now works much better.
    4. Their general interface for managing everything was really bad, but is now much easier to use. I still don’t thinks it’s as intuitive as Bluehost, but all in all it’s pretty good.
    5. The one other thing they changed is they took down all the hot girls from their website. What is up with that? I didn't ask for that ;-).

    GoDaddy has always been known for selling domains, they are the biggest registrar in the world for a reason - they are really good at it. I have always recommend GoDaddy for those buying or selling lots of domain names, but until now they have been at the bottom of my list for web hosting. After all their improvements I actually will recommend their web hosting in some situations:

    1. Those looking for windows web hosting , I have said this before: Godaddy is simply the best hosting provider when it comes to windows web hosting.
    2. For small web/digital agency or others looking for reseller hosting. GoDaddy offers the best reseller hosting packages that include WHM which lets you set your clients up with their own cPanel.
    3. For those looking for a website builder GoDaddy has the best one out there. Most the other hosting companies: Bluehost, iPage, Hostgator offer Weebly web builder which frankly is very similar to what goDaddy uses which is called “Website tonight”. Both of these website builders allow you to select a theme and then create your website using a drag and drop interface. Godaddy offers much more competitive prices for their website builders, and they also offer more website themes. They also recently purchased template monster, so hopefully we will see an even bigger expansion of themes on their website builder. FYI: I would almost never suggest using a website builder , but if you absolutely must - use godaddy.

    Tay's Opinion

    1 & 1 has quick servers and competitive pricing, but this doesn’t outweigh their lack of functionality, poor interface and week website builder. They need to spend more time redesigning their user portal and less time building fancy looking advertisements.

    Overview

  72. Owner: United Internet
  73. Starting Price: » 1 years $2.99/mo
    » 2 years $2.99/mo
    » 3 years $2.99/mo
  74. Features: Packages & Features
  75. Video Review: Video Review
  76. Speed: AVG 0.66s
  77. Website url: Visit Site
  78. Overall Rankings (1=best)

    Price
    #5
    Speed/Quality
    #4
    User Interface
    #5
    Features/Flexibility
    #5
    Customer Service
    #5

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
  79. Fast servers
  80. Decent Pricing
  81. Easy to use Website Builder
  82. Monthly pricing option
  83. Cons
  84. No Cpanel
  85. Lack of functionality
  86. Bad control panel interface
  87. No one click installs
  88. Too many advertisements
  89. 1 & 1 Web Hosting

    One and one has been around for a while but did not really start gaining a big presence in the hosting industry until a few years ago. They really market their website builder software and this is usually how they get people to start hosting with them. Although they are one of the big six companies, I would not recommend them in almost any situation. They do have a pretty big share of the web hosting market, however I believe this is due to their good advertising rather than a good product.

    The thing they do best is their website builder, however that software is still not that good. I think both Weebly website builder used by iPage, Bluehost and HostGator and GoDaddy’s Website tonight is easier to use and provides more flexibility/functionality than the website builder that 1 & 1 offers. There website builder does not really have that drag and drop type interface, it just doesn't offer the user friendly design/functionality that is expected of software in 2014. Supposivly they offer over 100 different templates to use in the website builder, however these templates are so similar it’s tough to tell the difference.

    Another thing I really dislike about 1 & 1 is they don’t make it easy or intuitive to install your own CMS such as Wordpress, there is no one click install or simplified way of doing it - just the old fashion manual install -which can be a bit tricky for plain old muggles.

    They also built their own interface for managing your website rather than using cPanel or Plesk - this is incredibly unfortunate. Their interface is just really poor, it’s tough to describe: I’ll put it this way: it’s something I could have built in a few hours - and that is not just me being facetious. They just have a bunch of text links plopped onto one page, some links take you to important places like FTP access, others just try to upsell you on a feature. I really dislike when companies try to upsell their product in the midst of some sort of control panel or admin interface - this is one of my biggest pet-peeves. A control panel should contain only useful features and benefits that you can currently access - sell the customer on a product elsewhere.

    I guess it’s only fair that I mention a few things they do well. 1 & 1 actually has really fast servers and you know how much value I place on loading speed - this is a huge plus. I also saw a big speed jump from last year speed test to this years speed test, this may mean they have reworked their server infrastructure to speed up websites which I love to see. They are also pretty cheap or at least their most basic package is pretty cheap, at just under a few bucks it’s hard to find a hosting provider that is so fast for under 3 bucks. A person might even make a case that they are the best option for really simple html websites, but I won’t be that person.

    All in all 1 & 1’s quick servers and competitive pricing don’t outweigh their lack of functionality, poor interface and week website builder. They need to spend more time redesigning their user portal and less time building fancy looking advertisements. Although 1 & 1 is very good at selling web hosting customers on what they want, they are out of touch with what web hosting customers actually need. I will not be recommending 1 & 1 until they fix their user interface and make standard web hosting features readily accessible.

    Tay's Opinion

    I can’t recommend Yahoo web hosting in any situation. Yahoo has fast hosting server, but the hosting speed does not make up for their poor control panel, lack of features/flexibility and expensive prices.

    Overview

  90. Owner: Yahoo
  91. Starting Price: » 1 years $7.99/mo
    » 2 years $7.99/mo
    » 3 years $6.99/mo
  92. Features: Packages & Features
  93. Video Review: Video Review
  94. Speed: AVG 0.49s
  95. Website url: Visit Site
  96. Overall Rankings (1=best)

    Price
    #6
    Speed/Quality
    #1
    User Interface
    #6
    Features/Flexibility
    #6
    Customer Service
    #6

    Pros & Cons

    Pros
  97. Fast services & High Quality
  98. Custom website builder is pretty decent
  99. Cons
  100. Expensive
  101. Cheapest plan is not web hosting, bust just a website builder
  102. Bad user interface
  103. Difficult to buy web hosting
  104. Yahoo Web Hosting

    Yahoo web hosting is the fastest out of the big six, but besides speed they don’t do anything else all that well. Their most basic plan (which is not cheap) is not really a hosting plan at all, it’s really just a website builder. If you don’t allows ftp access and databases, you should not be able to call what you offer a hosting plan. Their basic plan includes a website builder that limits your website to ten pages; this is the kind of thing I would expect to be free or maybe pay about a dollar a month for - it is not a web hosting plan. In order to get web hosting you need to get the “advanced” package which is not unreasonably priced, but it is still the more expensive as compared with the other big 5 hosting companies.

    I have a few really serious issues with Yahoo hosting beyond just the price that lead me to not recommend them to almost anyone. First of all just purchasing hosting from them is a hassle. You have to sign up for an email account with them if you don’t already have one - I mean come on who uses Yahoo for email these days anyway?

    Besides forcing you to become a yahoo mail user, they also have a really bad interface for managing your website. Yahoo has always struggled at building easy to use software interfaces, but they especially butchered their web hosting control panel. If you are lucky enough to be able to figure out how to access your “web hosting control panel” you will still have a hard time doing much else. They do offer most the basic stuff you need for web hosting with the “advanced” package, such as: file management, ftp management, phpmyadmin, database setups, however it’s really tricky to find how to get to these areas. As far as CMS compatibility they do offer a simple way to install Wordpress, but that is the only software that they have a “one click install” for - so you are out of luck if you had another CMS in mind.

    They don’t provide the standard flexibility in the way of server setting like most hosting providers do. This is a little technical, but basically you will need some level of access to server setting when setting up a website. This usually has to do with file permission, Apache settings, PHP setting , Mysql Database settings. Yahoo gives you no control over these setting which differs from the other big 5 provides who at least give you some control over PHP, Mysql, Apache and server setting.

    Yahoo’s website builder is better than 1 & 1, but not as good Weebly (used by iPage, HostGator, Bluehost) or GoDaddy’s. All in all besides speed, Yahoo web hosting ranks really poorly in all aspects. If speed is the only thing that matters to you then Yahoo might be an option, however iPage is not too far behind them in the way of speed and Yahoo is so expensive you could almost just get a VPS (which would certainly be faster). I can’t recommend Yahoo hosting on any front. Sadly they are the one company who I just don’t see having the ability to improve their product in such a way that it can be a competitive option when it comes to web hosting.

Comments (54)

You're reviewing: Web host reviews 2014
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nKay says...
Nice article. Wee query-if i were to setup a simple company website with business email. What do you recommend? I would like to build my own website, i know bit of html. No knowledge otherwise you have clearly stated to stay away from website builder. Would you recommend a web hosting service. And that i buy the mail service from gmail? Looking forward to your thoughts
20th March 2014 2:37pm
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Taylor says...
nKay,
If you are coding it yourself I would actually go with Bluehost (Hostmonster right now because they are cheaper - it's the same company). My only issue with them is servers are a little slow, but it should be non issue with hand coded site. If speed is big concern for you then go with HostGator.
10th April 2014 12:40am
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Wade says...
Fantastic information. Finally some unbiased info from a real world expert user. I've been with Network Solutions for 8 years. It's been good, but very expensive. Time for a change. I'll probably go with one of your top choices but do you know anything about GreenGeeks? Seems to be very popular but the sample sites I checked out seemed slow. They were the only other host on my list to consider.
18th March 2014 4:28am
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Mel says...
Great reviews that have helped me get a handle on the web hosting world. I think I'm going to go with iPage now.
17th March 2014 10:24am
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Rob says...
Thank you for your article. It is time for me to renew my Bluehost account for $7 a month. If I was a new subscriber it would only be $4 dollars a month. I am trying to decide if I should jump ship and go with Ipage since it is only $2 a month. I am only using Bluehost for the email and domain registration. I never have gotten around to setting up a webpage. You did mention that it may not be worth jumping ship but for $5 a month I am wondering how hard it would be to move my email accounts to Ipage.
1st March 2014 8:26pm
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Taylor Hawkes says...
Rob,
You pry want GoDaddy for your needs, they offer emails & domains without having to purchase web hosting - no reason to pay more than you have to.

Again, I don't recommend moving around too much, however if you just have email and one domain maybe it's worth it. Remember iPage will also up there price after the initial term (3 years at most) - I would recommend GoDaddy for your situation.

5th March 2014 8:21pm
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Pah says...
What about other hosting company like siteground, dreamhost and asmallorange? Thank you.
9th February 2014 4:25pm
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Taylor Hawkes says...
Pah,
Dreamhost and asmallorange are also run by EIG, I don't think they offer anything better than EIG's flagship brand Bluehost - so I did not include them. I also don't think Siteground is a big enough player to be included here. They have decent (but not particularly great) shared hosting, but their VPS is over priced making it hard to upgrade your web hosting if needed.

My goal here is to provide a relatively straight forward guide to selecting a hosting company by including the top 6 recognized hosting brands - people should really be choosing from one of these. There are of course many other hosting companies out there, but many are re -sellers or simply offer the exact same service as say a HostGator, but at slightly higher price with slightly worse servers.

16th February 2014 9:34pm
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Shawn says...
Dreamhost is not part of EIG. I think that was an April Fools joke a few years back. That being said, I am not really fond of Dreamhost's support. I have been using them for years. If you are running anything important or robust enough for a VPS or dedicated server it would be nice to have telephone support. It takes ages to get any response from Dreamhost. Been using them for ages.
23rd August 2014 6:37am
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Carmen says...
thanks so much for these tips. very informative, answering even questions I didn't know I had. I went in ready to register with 1 and 1 and now I've changed my mind. will re-read your articles before I make my decision. thanks again.
3rd February 2014 7:34am
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Donald Moore says...
Thanks for the information but Dude use spell check or maybe even proofread your material.
1st February 2014 6:37am
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Taylor Hawkes says...
Sorry, I'm a programmer - we don't usually have to spell that well. I looked it over and believe I fixed most the mistakes.
2nd February 2014 10:16pm
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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
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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 24.95 is more of standard "VPS starter package" , but not at agreat cost. with Linode for example you can get almost that exact same package (on a faster server and twice the bandwidth) for $20 a month.

For readers looking for VPS - You pry don't need a VPS until you start getting 10,000+ site visitors a month. At that point you will need a VPS with at a minimum 1GB (1024MB) RAM - and likely more. VPS providers almost always bottle neck there services using RAM so thats the first metric to look at.

11th April 2014 1:43pm
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Clueless Wanderer says...
Thanks for this. Its the first review I have read that feels totally unbiased. The other's Ive read all give me a gut feeling of manipulation for revenue by the hosting companies
7th November 2013 4:30am
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Jesse says...
Might want to update your reviews here. Hostgator is now in the EIG fold, and customer service and performance has gotten much worse since aquisition by EIG in 2012. I've also used many different providers, and out of all of them, my best experience has been on a VPS platform with Servint. Although you're going to pay more than you would with shared hosting, with Servint you get rock-solid performance, and great support all the time 24/7.
28th October 2013 1:02am
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skeptic says...
Off the top of my head I see a few firms that have no right to be in the top 20 webhosts, let alone top 10...

justhost, hostmonster, 1&1, godaddy, ipage have all gotten lousy reviews on non-fake review sites.

Beyond hosting is NOT 4.99 . Even if you choose the lowest amount of cdn, it still starts at 15.39 - and that's for the lowest amount of bandwidth.

Might want to update your reviews.

15th October 2013 9:38pm
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Taylor Hawkes says...
Thanks for pointing this out I corrected the price on Beyond Hosting  ( I missplaced the decimal - my apologies.)

Those companies you mentioned are all among the largest shared web development companies, so there are going to be mixed reviews. I express my opinion in the article, but to summarize: all these companies provide a hosting product that is plenty robust enough to host the vast majority of websites, all at under ten bucks a month.

Most people seem to have a unrealistically high exception when it comes to the amount of service they should receive when paying $5-10/month. These are shared hosting companies, and you will simply not get the same quality of service that you would with a dedicated hosting service ($100-$200/mo). That being said shared hosting is still the right option for most small businesses getting less than 10,000 monthly visitors.
8th November 2013 6:37pm
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allen says...
Godaddy hosting experience was horrible.Customer service was not at all reliable and server was down.So I find out the solution for hosting which I did for my website.Customer service is really good..So I recommend you all to go this link
15th October 2013 6:21pm
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Tom Nguyen says...
As soon as I saw iPage at the top of the list, I stopped reading this article. iPage's servers are the slowest of the slow. They are even slower than GoDaddy's!
30th September 2013 11:25pm
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