Best Web Hosting Review: Comparing Web Hosts (Free, Cheap and Premium)

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Are you looking for the best web hosting service? You’re in the right spot.

It is crucial to choose the right web hosting service for your website. Website owners are well aware of the importance of publishing great content to their website, but they often underestimate the importance of choosing a reliable web hosting service.

Every web host service is not created equal. It could impact your SEO rankings, revenue, traffic, and overall ranking if you make the wrong decision when choosing a web hosting provider.

Which is why we’ve compiled this best web hosting review article. We’ll walk you through the best web hosting services in Canada, best web hosting for WordPress, best eCommerce website host, best shared hosting plan.

Our best web hosting reviews will help you decide which host is best suited for your website.

But before we go on, let’s look at what web hosting really is.


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Web Hosting Definition

Web hosting allows you to publish your website and web applications on the internet.

When you get a web hosting service, you basically rent space on a physical server to store all files and data necessary for your website to function properly.

According to Namecheap, when a web hosting provider allocates space on a web server for a website to store its files, they are hosting a website. Hosting makes files (code, images, etc.) that make up a website available online. Each website that you have visited is stored on a server.

What is a server exactly? A server is a computer that connects other users from around the world to your website. Web hosting service providers provide the servers, connectivity, and related services needed to host websites. They offer a range of hosting plans to meet all your hosting needs, from small blogs to large companies.

Reliable web hosting is crucial if you want to establish an online presence. Today, there are hundreds of web hosts that offer thousands of web hosting options. There are many web hosts that offer affordable hosting plans with limited options, as well as more expensive services for businesses. Your website’s intended use and budget will determine which plan you choose.

The right hosting plan will give you the resources you need to ensure your website loads quickly and reliably.

In this post, we will explain everything you need about choosing the right web hosting service as well as a web hosting plan. 

Types Of Web Hosting

The most difficult part of setting up a website involves choosing the right web hosting plan that will suit your business. This is because there are many options, and their prices vary greatly. 

However, the cost of web hosting is not the only thing that matters. The functions associated with each type and plan matters most because businesses differ in terms of need. For instance,  A eCommerce site will require different features than a WordPress blog. So it is important to choose a type that provides the right amount of resources and features so your website can be set up for success.

In this section,  we will explain the various types of web hosting that you have to choose from, their pros and cons, as well as help you make a decision. Let’s get to it!

#1  –  Shared Hosting

Shared hosting plans is the most popular choice for website owners. This plan allows multiple users to share a single server. This means that a single computer (a shared host server) can host many (or even hundreds) websites.

You can share resources with other users but you won’t have access to their files, private information or other data. Because hosting providers can split server upkeep costs between multiple users, the upside to shared plans is that they are often very affordable.

Although shared hosting may not have the best reputation in the industry, the quality of your service will be determined by the hosting provider. Some shared hosting plans have very limited features, but others are capable of handling websites with decent traffic.

Shared plans are the best choice if you’re looking for web hosting as a starter. It’s not unusual to find shared hosting plans starting at $2 per month in today’s web hosting market.

To get the best rates, many web hosts will try to lock you into long-term contracts. This is not necessarily a problem if you are confident about the webhost you use. However, it can be daunting if this is your first time choosing a plan.

The pros of shared hosting

  • It is easy to find plans starting as low as $2 per month.
  • You can expect excellent performance from small- and medium-sized websites depending on the service provider.

Cons of sharing hosting:

  • Websites with high traffic often find shared plans ineffective.
  • You will often need to sign up for multi-year contracts in order to get the best rates.

Who should use shared hosting? If you are starting a website for the first time, shared hosting should be your best option. You’ll be able to use all the tools and have plenty of space to work with the right provider. You can scale up as you grow.

#2  –  Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

Virtual Private Servers are one step above Shared hosting. They offer higher performance and customization when compared to shared hosting. A virtual private server (VPS) works in the following way: a single physical server can contain multiple partitioned sections. Each VPS (or container) acts as a complete system dedicated to your site. You get dedicated resources and, in certain cases, access that server’s configuration.

VPSs offer greater isolation between users, even though you still share the same physical server. This can improve security and performance. You might also be able, depending on the hosting provider, to set up your VPS from scratch so that you have exactly what you want.

A single-core VPS running 1GB RAM will suffice to run a basic WordPress website. If you are new to web hosting, it can be difficult to determine how much resources are needed for each project, and in such a case, a VPS might not be the best option for you.

VPSs may not allow you to access a control panel from the box. To set up your website and configure your server, you may need the command-line. This can be difficult if you don’t have any experience with the command line.

Prices can vary as VPSs come in a variety of resources. We recommend that you budget at least $20 per month to host on a Virtual Private Server (though you might find cheaper ones).

The pros and cons of VPSs

  • Your website will be provided with all the resources you need.
  • You might be able to configure your VPS according to the needs of your host.

Cons of VPSs

  • It can be difficult to calculate the resources that you will need.
  • A VPS configuration requires technical knowledge.

Who should use a virtual private server? A VPS is a great option if you need full control of your server, without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a dedicated plan. These plans offer a high degree of customization, making them attractive.

#3  –  Dedicated Hosting

A dedicated server will give you exclusive access to one server or more. This means that you will have complete control over the configuration of your server, while the web hosting provider just houses it.

Dedicated servers are typically the best when it comes to web hosting. But they can be very expensive and you will need to pay more if you want a private server. You can expect to pay a minimum of $100 per month for this level and prices will only increase from there. 

A dedicated server is not necessary if you are just starting a website for fun. This type of hosting solution is only for established websites and businesses that require access to high-powered hardware.

A dedicated server is not necessary if you are just starting a website for fun. This type of hosting solution is only for established websites and businesses that require access to high-powered hardware.

The pros of dedicated hosting

  • You have a complete server all to yourself.
  • Most situations allow you to configure your server to suit your needs.
  • Uncapped bandwidth available on most web hosts 
  • Cons of dedicated hosting
  • It is a costly option.

Why should dedicated hosting be considered? Websites that need the best performance and have the budget will be better served by dedicated hosting.

#4  –  Managed Hosting

Managed Hosting is somehow a little different. Managed hosting is not a plan but a service. Managed hosting allows your provider to take care of many of the website maintenance tasks that you would normally have to do. Backups, security monitoring, and software updates are just a few of the tasks that managed hosting can take care of.

Managed hosting plans come in many flavors. There are managed shared plans and managed VPSs. All of these hosting options come with a small additional cost. This allows you to concentrate on your portfolio, blog, or e-commerce site.

The definition of managed hosting differs from one provider to the next. Many hosting companies provide 24/7 support for all aspects of your website’s operation. Others will only take care of maintenance.

Before you sign-up for managed hosting, it is important to find out exactly what “extras” your provider offers. Managed hosting typically starts at about $15 per month, this varies from host to host.

The pros of managed hosting

  • Your provider will handle basic maintenance tasks.
  • Your web host might optimize your website’s performance depending on their requirements.

Cons of managed hosting

  • This hosting plan is usually more expensive than regular plans.
  • You are less in control of your server’s configuration or site optimization.

Managed hosting is for you: Managed hosting makes your life easier. Managed hosting is for you if you don’t enjoy managing website maintenance with tools and are willing to pay a little more for white-glove support.

#5  –  WordPress Hosting

WordPress powers more than 30% of websites online. WordPress is used by imArena as well as millions of other websites, from large businesses to hobbyist blogs.

It shouldn’t surprise, then, that many web hosting providers offer WordPress-specific plans. WordPress-specific plans usually include some level or managed service. These plans often include free licenses for premium themes and plugins.

Remember that you don’t have to use a WordPress-specific plan in order to set up a website using the platform. These plans are optimized to improve performance and simplify your life. This type of hosting is a good choice if you intend to use WordPress.

There are many hosting platforms that work exclusively with WordPress-specific plans. This means that they often have WordPress experts as part of their support staff, which can be a great perk. The best part is that WordPress-specific plans tend to be about the same price as their generic counterparts.

WordPress Hosting:

  • Many times, comes with some level of managed service.
  • Access to WordPress-specific perks such as one-click installation and free plugin licenses.

Cons of WordPress hosting

  • It is only for WordPress users.

Who should use WordPress hosting? WordPress can be set up on any web hosting plan. WordPress hosting is a great investment if you are looking for a CMS-specific plan.

#6  –  Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting can be a bit more complicated. People often refer to the cloud as distributed VPSs when they talk about it. This works by having a virtual server hosted on many computers, instead of being stored on one machine.

This network of computers is called the “cloud.” It allows you to easily scale up your server’s resources according to your needs. Cloud hosting is also very reliable. It is easy to scale the server’s resources as needed.

Although all this sounds great on paper, cloud hosting can be difficult for newbies. Many cloud hosting providers charge per hour. The process involves creating an instance (which is basically a VPS), configuring it for your needs, and then accumulating fees.

Cloud hosting can be very affordable or extremely expensive depending on the configuration of your server. 

Cloud hosting pros:

  • It is highly scalable.
  • You have the option to customize your server in any way you like.

Cloud hosting’s cons

  • Cloud hosting payment structures can be complicated.
  • This is not the best choice for people who have never had to configure a server.

Who Is Cloud hosting For?: Cloud hosting is a great option if you enjoy tweaking your server’s configuration, and need a high level of scalability.

Features to Look For in a Web Hosting Service

Aside from knowing the types of web hosting we have, there are also several features you should not ignore when choosing a web hosting service or company.

If you don’t consider these features, you might end up wanting to move your website to another web host and that can be quite technical for a beginner. Even experts still find it a bit uncomfortable to move their site from one web host to another.

So to avoid such encounters, we will be showing you the key things to look out for when choosing a web hosting service.

#1  –  Good Reputation

Make sure you are going for a company with a good reputation. How will you know? A little research on Google will show you.

Companies with a good reputation will provide high uptime of at least 99.9% and excellent customer support.

You should also check whether the host is independent or how secure they are with your personal information.

It is also important to verify the security system used by the host company.

However, don’t just assume that only big web hosting companies have a great reputation.

Small and emerging companies can offer more value to your blog or company than well-known and established service providers in today’s webhosting environment.

#2  –  Network Uptime

Nothing is more devastating than paying for a web hosting service only to realize that your website is not accessible due to poor delivery from your web hosting company.

This is not just annoying for the owner and the visitors to your website, but it also causes problems in other areas like SEO. Google, for instance, can de-rank your website and that will decrease the number of organic visits you get. 

The industry standard for network uptime is a 99.9% uptime guarantee. This means that the network should be available 99.9% of the time during a billing cycle, which also means that the network should not be down for more than 43 minutes per month.

This guarantee does not cover all network outages. If the outage was caused by an error from your end, it will not be counted under this guarantee. You may need to read their network’s Terms of Service document for more clarification.

#3  –  24/7 Tech Support

This is, in the opinion of most people, the biggest one. Can I reach someone on the phone if my site goes down for no apparent reason? Can they help me get my site up again?

Check out their customer service reputation before you decide to go with them. How long does it take to resolve a ticket? What is their plan of action if they discover a problem on a site? A little research on Google will show you the experience some of their customers may have had. 

You should find out what other ways they can be reached for support, such as email, chat, toll-free phone, and chat. Do they have a 24/7 staff? Are they able to outsource support?

All hosts are different, both in terms of price and technical specifications. Some host their own support team, while others view customer service as an afterthought. Avoid the latter.

#4  –  Storage

You need storage space in a web host to store your files – images, videos, text etc. This is why one of the most important things you should consider when choosing web hosting is the storage limit. 

For small websites and medium sites, a few gigabytes should suffice. Some hosts offer unlimited storage. However, you may be surprised to know that if you read their Terms of Services, you’ll see that it’s unlimited until you go over the “normal site usage.” 

This means that you should be careful when you see web hosts offer you unlimited storage because most times in their terms of service, there is usually a limit cap to the amount of storage you can use in a given plan. 

#5  –  Bandwidth

If the bandwidth allocated to a website is not enough, it can crash or cause the web pages to load slowly. This can be very frustrating for your website visitors – indeed slow loading is one of the main reasons why potential customers bounce out of a website. Bigger bandwidth allocation means that more visitors will be able to access your site at its optimum speed, which adds to their user experience.

There are many factors that affect the bandwidth used, such as the type and size of media files, code, and design, content, number of visitors, pages visited, and whether they download or upload anything to the site.

If a visitor visits one page, then leaves the site, it will consume far less bandwidth than if they visited multiple pages, stayed on one page for a considerable time, or downloaded/uploaded large files.

So if you think your website is going to upload heavy-sized files like videos, software, etc., or if you are going to get many web visitors to your website, you should make sure you go for a large number of bandwidth or unlimited bandwidths. But bear in mind that for most web hosts, the fair usage policy also applies to their unlimited bandwidth allocation.

#6  –  Hardware

This one might require some reading or question-asking. What type of machines does your hosting company use What machines are your hosting company using? Are they brand-new, top-of-the-line machines or can they be repurposed from spare parts and chicken wire?

You should ask the hosting company what type of servers they use. Hardware can impact the performance of your site and its servers.

#7  –  Pricing

This is the main aspect that most people consider when choosing a web hosting provider. However, it shouldn’t be the deciding element. It is important to remember that price differences can make it difficult for you to get what you pay. Jumping on a deal that is the cheapest is not the best option. If you depend on your website to make money, it is important to take precautions. Non-outsourced support costs money. A hosting company charging $1.99 per monthly likely won’t offer such features. Take a look at each host’s features and then compare their prices.

#8  –  Control Panel

If you are not a very tech-savvy person, it is better to go for a web host that has an easy-to-operate control panel. This is like your backend dashboard where you can control your site – like installing WordPress, creating email accounts, setting up FTP, installing SSL, and many more. 

With an easy-to-use control panel, you won’t need to call your hosting company’s support for some basic things because it will make it easy for you to figure out and do on your own. Popular control panels are cPanel and Plesk. Both are quite easy to handle.

#9  –  Can Host More Than One Domain Name

If you have one website, it’s very likely you’ll soon have another. It would be tedious to manage hosting accounts for each website you own. Make sure you can host multiple domains with your web host. You will find that there is a limit to the number of domains you can have in one account. Be sure to check! There will usually be an area in the admin panel where you can add your domains and select which sub-folders they should point to. This is also true for subdomains.

#10  –  Data Security & BackUps

By signing up for web hosting services, you are literally asking a company on the internet to be a safe home for your website.

For robust security, the most reputable web hosting providers have SSL encryption for protection against DDoS attacks, and they are DSS/PCI-compliant.

Note, however, that even with these security measures taken by the web host, you need to invest in strict security applications like buying an SSL certificate which will be used by Google to mark your website as a Secure website, as well as make your visitors feel safe.

Also on security is the issue of backups on-site.

You don’t want your website hosted on a server without backups (daily) because website crashes or poor backups could result in the loss of important data, bad coding, or even exposure of your website to hackers.

So, while checking out the security systems, the web host offers in their plans, ensure that they also provide free backups, preferably every day

#11  –  Supports Multiple Email Accounts Creation

Many web hosts offer email accounts for domains. It is important to find out how many email accounts they will allow you to set up. Also, make sure to review their options for receiving mail. 

Is there a webmail interface? There are many options that you have to choose from. Integration with Google Apps (for Gmail interface) is possible. Do they offer IMAP or only POP mail? These are some of the things to look out for in a web host depending on the needs of your business.

#12  –  Migration Services

Find out if a web host offers migration services. While some web hosts offer free migration services, others will charge you for it – and then there are those who don’t offer it at all. 

This is important because at a point in the life of your website, you may need to move from one host to another. Don’t wait till you get to that point before you enquire to avoid being surprised at the conditions of your web host.

#13  –  Free Offers And Promotions

To encourage people to sign up with them, some web hosts offer some freebies to attract new customers. However, be sure not to focus only on the freebie and look out for other features listed in this post.

Some freebies that some web hosts offer are:

a)  1 Year Free domain registration

Many web hosting companies offer free domain registration if you decide to host with them, some offer a discounted price, while others don’t give out this as a freebie. 

So if you are interested in such, make sure to check it out.

b)  Free SSL

SSLs are important to protect the information that passes through a website and are necessary in today’s online world. You need it not only to gain the confidence of your web visitors but also for Google not to flag your website as dangerous thereby unranking your website.

c)  Free Google Ads Credit

If you ever plan on running ads on Google, which you will likely want to do if you are a business, then you will need money for it. But getting some free Ads credit to use on Google is a sweet deal for those who know its importance. 

Some web hosts don’t give this freebie, while some give from $50, $100, or even $500 Ad Credit depending on your hosting package. So you can also lookout for this.

10 Best Web Hosting Companies

1.  BlueHost

web hosting by bluehost

Taking the top spot in our web hosting provider leaderboard is Bluehost. The Utah-based company, which is nearly two decades old, is owned by Newfold Digital. It powers over two million websites worldwide.

It provides basic shared hosting starting at $2.75 per month on a 3-year contract. The WordPress plans start at $20 per month although it’s a discounted rate. Automated WordPress setup is included in the price. You can also access other popular apps through a Mojo Marketplace-powered platform. A cPanel-based area allows expert users to modify things.

You also get excellent customer support and a free site-migration tool. The end result is user-friendly and has plenty of power.

Check out our more detailed Bluehost review

2. Hostgator

Also part of Newfold Digital, Hostgator delivers an impressive range of hosting services, ranging from domains to dedicated servers at very competitive prices and backed by a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

There are 3 specific shared hosting plans offered by Hostgator – The Hatchling Plan, The Baby Plan, and The Business Plan. The Hatchling plan comes with unlimited bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, a free domain name, and much more. These allocations are large enough to accommodate the needs of one domain.

If you need to upgrade, the Baby plan is available. It offers the same features, but unlimited domains. This means you can host as many websites as you like for $2.98 per month.

You can choose the Business plan for more complex sites that do not require a server. It includes a dedicated IP, an upgrade to Positive SSL, and a collection of SEO tools.

Additional benefits include a 45-day money-back guarantee and free transfers to new accounts within the first 30 days after signing up.

Check out our more detailed Hostgator review

3.  Hostinger

Hostinger has over 30 million users and offers the lowest prices due to its low overheads and running costs.

It prefers to use its own technology (for example, it has its own customized control panel instead of the ubiquitous – and sometimes controversial – cPanel), so that it can better deliver performance and features at a much lower cost.

Their plans – Single shared hosting, Premium shared hosting, and Business shared hosting all offer free SSL. However, the single shared hosting plan has limited bandwidth and storage. 

You can get started with Hostinger with as little as $1.39/mth for their Single shared hosting, $2.59/mth for their premium shared hosting, and $3.99/mth for Business shared hosting.

Check out our article for a more detailed Hostinger Review.

4.  Liquid Web

Liquidweb hosting

Try Liquid Web Hosting

Liquid Web is an expert provider of high-end managed hosting solutions for everything from email to WordPress, WooCommerce, VPS, dedicated, and assorted other cloud products.

Many plans offer more than you would expect. Liquid Web does more than just update WordPress. It also checks for issues and updates plugins before putting them live on your site.

Liquid Web’s dedicated and VPS plans offer additional managed hosting options that cover many areas. The company has its own data centers that are fully managed and have a network infrastructure. Software is updated, supported, and installed. There cheapest dedicated server plan costs about $199/mth. There are no external migration fees, spam, and virus protection to keep threats at bay. System monitoring allows for quick notification of any problems.

Liquid Web is not for bargain-hunters, and the baseline prices are often higher than those of some competitors. However, you are getting the best quality support and hardware so you get what you pay.

Check out our more detailed Liquid Web review

5.  WP Engine

WP Engine offers a comprehensive managed WordPress service that can help you with setup, updates, security, performance optimization, troubleshooting, and a whole lot more.

Many of these are invisible to end-users, but a well-managed service should. WP Engine takes care of WordPress updates so you don’t have to. They are not released blindly like other hosts. WP Engine tests them first to ensure they do not cause any problems.

WP Engine is a powerful platform that offers many additional features. The Staging area lets you work on a copy or part of your website, making it ideal for testing plugins and themes without having to affect the production site. Integrated performance tests are another feature that can help you speed up your website.

The WP Engine’s most basic plan is expensive – about $30 per month. This could be worth it if you are looking for an optimal environment with excellent tools and support.

Check out our more detailed WPEngine review

6.  Cloudways

Cloudways is an innovative web host in the world of web hosting. Cloudways offers a way to access popular cloud hosts that have high capacities, instead of renting space on company servers.

Basically, when you sign up for Cloudways, you get to choose from cloud hosting setups offered by DigitalOcean (our choice), Linode, Vultr, Amazon AWS, and Google Cloud.

Cloud hosts are not easy to use for anyone who isn’t familiar with server work. Cloudways is your gateway to cloud hosting, and they do all the heavy lifting. Cloudways’ user-friendly dashboard allows you to interact with them rather than directly with cloud hosts.

This is a great solution for web projects that require high scalability and/or host other web tools (such as a mobile app)

Check out our more detailed CloudWays review

7.  A2 Hosting

Web hosting by A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting is a great choice because they offer a wide range of web hosting options, plans, and special offers.

There are plans available for shared hosting as well as unmanaged and managed WordPress hosting. VPS hosting is also available (unmanaged but managed), and offers for resellers.

A2 Hosting offers plans specifically for running a CMS such as Drupal, Joomla, Magento. Their shared hosting plans start as low as $2.99/mth.

A2 Hosting is the best web host for testing new projects quickly. They allow you to make monthly payments rather than having to purchase hosting for a full year.

Check out our more detailed A2 Hosting review

8.  MacHighway

MacHighway, a Florida-based web hosting company, has been in business since 1997.

MacHighway’s platform can be used with any operating system, including Windows. It is well-known for its excellent web hosting and email solutions.

MacHighway is not only known for its high-quality services but also because of its affordable prices that will suit all budgets. There are three types of shared hosting plans available: Small, Medium, and Large.

All packages include unlimited bandwidth, and all annual subscriptions come with one domain registration. This provider doesn’t offer SSL certificates for free or cheaply.

MacHighway offers plans starting at $3 and up to $7.Prices vary depending on the type of hosting plan that you choose. Below is the latest pricing table, which is updated every week.

Check out our more detailed MacHighway review

9.  iPage

iPage is a domain and web hosting provider for small businesses. It offers really cheap web hosting with it’s cheapest plan, the Go Plan at $1.99/mth (calculated for 3years). With this plan, users still get unlimited disk space, a free domain name, free SSL, and much more. 

iPage has numerous features that can help you develop your site and you can use their mobile-optimized site builder.

Contacting iPage customer service is easy via the online ticketing system. They also offer 24/7 chat and phone support. iPage offers a 30-day guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with your services.

Check out our more detailed iPage review

10.  Jaguar PC

JaguarPC is a privately-owned Colorado-based hosting company founded in 1998. They have the highest uptime guarantee of any web host. JaguarPC will pay 10x for every hour that your website is down.

Customers have access to 24/7 live chat, phone support, and email support. There are also active user forums, self-help tutorials, and self-help videos.

The basic JaguarPC plans come with free daily backups, 75GB SSD disk space, 1000GB bandwidth,  Free SSL, and DNS management for $6.97/mth on a 6-month contract.

Check out our more detailed JaguarPC review

11.  BionicWP

BionicWP, a new player in WordPress hosting, was founded in February 2020. It is still launching big tools and making a name.

BionicWP manages WordPress platforms. It is a managed WordPress platform that specializes in “truly”, or fully managed hosting. This means the provider handles all aspects of infrastructure management, patching, security updates, speed optimization, and other tasks. Even tasks such as content updates and plugin installation are performed by the tech team.

The provider offers managed hosting as well as a WP maintenance package. This means that you get both hosting and support for your WordPress website.

Their basic plan comes at $27.50/month per site, and you get 5GB storage, 50GB CDN bandwidth, 20,000 visitors.

Check out our more detailed BionicWP review

In Conclusion

So far, we have completely touched on all the important factors to consider when choosing a web hosting company and all the different types of web hosting we have.

It is our intention that this article will help you make the best-informed decision for your next web project and we hope we achieved that with you.

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