Whether you’re a business owner, a working professional, a web developer or an artist, your website is the most important piece of advertising in your toolkit. Provided you’ve done your homework and optimized for the right keywords, it’s the first thing your potential customers are going to see when they Google your name.
Now, imagine how much business you could lose if people click on your link only to land on a “server down” page. To ensure that your website is always online and doing its job, you need a webhosting service that understands how important your site is to you.
To find the best web hosting services in the business, we’ve turned to our friends at Reddit. Why read all the advertising hype, when there are real people talking about their experiences? So we’ve searched r/webhosting, r/webdev, and r/web_design to see what real webmasters are saying.
Here are the ten most popular web hosts we found.
To begin with, let’s look at some paid services. These web hosts range from top-tier, pro-grade hosting services to mid-sized companies that offer cheap web hosting. For most people, a paid web host is going to be your best option.
SiteGround guarantees 99.99% uptime, which is as good as it gets in this industry. They are a full-service web hosting company that provides several tiers of service, from a $3.95 10GB plan for smaller sites, up to a $240, 120GB plan for professional sites with a lot of demand. All tiers receive 24/7 customer service from someone in your time zone, which means you won’t be sitting on hold for hours because it’s the middle of the night where the customer service center is.
There are two features which really make SiteGround worth using. First is the 99.99% uptime. Second, they host your site on an SSD drive, which provides significantly faster load times than a standard HDD server. They also offer free migration for WordPress sites, as well as free SSL and HTTPS support for ecommerce sites.
If you purchase their cloud hosting service, SiteGround offers support for multiple domains on a single account. Even better, you can provide your clients with personalized access to their own sites, complete with individualized control panels. This is a great feature for developers, since it allows you to support multiple clients without the need to open multiple accounts. It’s also a good feature if you’re running a large site with multiple subdomains; for example, a national company website with individual sites for local branches.
DigitalOcean doesn’t just provide web hosting. They provide a complete virtual private server (VPS). they our top choice for web developers, simply because it offers you an insane number of options. This isn’t just a web host; it’s a complete, customizable VPS. You even have your choice of OS. Run your server on Ubuntu, FreeBSD, Fedora, Debian, or CentOS, without being restricted to your host’s preferences.
This service offers scaling fees, so you only pay for the server time you use. Use the bare minimum? You’ll pay $5 a month. Use all 16TB of storage space, with SSD storage and backups? You’ll pay $1,600 a month. No worries. If you’re getting that much traffic, it’s well worth the investment. To protect you from overspending, services are offered in tiers, so you’ll never go over what you’re willing to spend.
One other nice feature they offer is a credit for any downtime, up to 100 percent of your monthly bill if there’ a significant outage. Since DigitalOcean only makes money when your site is up, they have every incentive to treat you right. Another nice feature is their support for Kubernetes and floating IPs. This allows you to utilize custom APIs to create a truly unique site.
That said, the downside of being able to customize all your settings is that you have to customize all your settings. As a result, this service is for advanced developers only. If you’re running a simple WordPress site, there are better options out there.
If you’re running an enterprise WordPress site, WP Engine is the most secure option available. WP Engine is designed to provide maximum support to WordPress users. Be warned. Their entire business model is based around WordPress. If you’re trying to host a custom site, there are better, cheaper services available.
That said, if you’re running an enterprise site with WordPress, you’re liable to run into the same issue over and over again: security. This isn’t a slam on WordPress. It’s just the nature of the beast. Because more websites are built with WordPress than with any other framework, hackers have honed in on WordPress, and many exploits are designed specifically to attack WordPress sites.
As a result, many developers are in a bind. For most sites, WordPress is simply the easiest option. Why spend dozens of hours building a custom API, when WordPress offers so many features for free, without the need to reinvent the wheel? On the other hand, a custom API with a few changes in code can be far more secure, since hackers aren’t likely to invest time in finding an exploit in one lonely website.
WP Engine applies WordPress updates the moment they’re released, maximizing both security and ease of use. They also provide free SSL certificates, which is a nice budget-saving option for any enterprise site.
You’ll pay more for WP Engine hosting than you will for many other services. But you can assure your enterprise clients that their — and their customers’ — data is as secure as possible.
DreamHost offers everything from inexpensive, un-managed hosting to a custom VPS service. If you’re looking for affordable service at any level, DreamHost is one of the better low-priced web hosts out there. They offer three sets of plans:
All of their plans include speedy SSD storage, and all but the lowest of the basic plans includes free email. Another nice feature is the free domain. This lets you keep all your information in the same place, although it’s not as big a deal if you’re hosting multiple domains, since only one of them will be free.
DreamHost is particularly popular choice for resellers. The VPS is fully managed, and 80GB plans start at $10 a month. That’s a low price for hosting a bunch of domains.
That said, let’s remember that this is a budget service. Their load times are on the long side, and some features are missing. For example, they offer limited server-side support for mySQL.
One last thing we should mention about DreamHost: they offer free hosting for nonprofit organizations. If you’re setting up a site for a nonprofit and want more than you can get from a free web hosting company, DreamHost is an excellent alternative.
Namecheap got their start as a domain registrar, and now offers a wide variety of web hosting services. They are one of the most popular web hosts on the ‘net. While they offer several tiers of service, two of these services in particular are responsible for their success.
The first is their managed WordPress service. We’re not going to mince words here. As managed services go, it’s lacking in features. There are no automatic backups, no automatic security updates, no WordPress themes, and no free SSL certificate, although you can buy one for an added fee. That said, the service is insanely cheap, and you get a free domain name. It’s a good choice for a first-time developer to get their feet wet on a budget.
The second popular Namecheap service is their dedicated reseller tier of offerings. These are essentially a VPS that comes pre-configured for resellers, complete with an easy-to-use control panel. They also provide support for migrating your existing sites over to Namecheap, so you can make a painless transition to your new host. And where better to host your sites than one of the most affordable domain registrars on the web?
All of Namecheap’s services provide SSD storage, and managed plans include a mail server. Just beware of their basic, shared offerings. There are far better options available for a far lower price.
KnownHost is one of the most popular managed VPS hosting services in the business. They offer three tiers of service: a shared hosting tier, a dedicated reseller tier, and a managed VPS tier. While all three are a good value, their managed VPS is by far the most popular.
This service includes RAID-10 SSD storage, which is a great feature if lightning speed and 100 percent uptime is your goal. You’ll never lose your data on these servers. Even if you do, KnownHost offers free backups, which means that your site will be back online in minutes, not days. They also offer free migrations, along with 24/7/365 support, so you can manage your sites anytime, anywhere.
All KnownHost plans include free DDOS protection, SSD storage, and free SSL certificates, making them a solid choice for ecommerce sites. The only thing we don’t like about this service is that they don’t offer any WordPress plans, so you’ll need to manage your own WordPress site on a shared server if you want to go that route.
That said, KnownHost offers some of the best shared server value on the market. Their top plan in that category includes unlimited storage and bandwidth. Now, not every website is going to need that kind of capacity, it’s nice to know that it’s available if your site grows. Shared hosting also includes Patchman anti-malware protection, which is a nice touch.
A2 Hosting is a discount hosting service that provides a variety of service options. If you want the benefits of a paid hosting service but don’t want to pay for premium pricing, A2 Hosting may be a good fit for you. They offer several tiers of service, including shared hosting, dedicated servers, managed WordPress hosting, managed and unmanaged VPS hosting, and dedicated accounts for resellers.
Their shared hosting is good, but there are better options out there both in terms of price and service. That said, their managed WordPress hosting is very competitive, and comes with a Jetpack license for automatic backups, hundreds of WordPress themes, and email spam filtering. Please be aware that you’ll still have to set up your own mail server, which may be a drawback for inexperienced developers.
A2’s VPS hosting is also competitive. They offer both managed and unmanaged options. However, where they really shine is their hybrid managed VPS with root access. This is a nice compromise, since A2 will take care of critical security updates, while still allowing you to customize the server to your heart’s content.
A2 Hosting offers free SSL for all tiers of service, as well as free migration. The only thing we didn’t like was their customer service, which has longer response times than other, higher-priced web hosts.
Vultr offers competitive pricing on bare servers and online storage for developers who are willing to do all their own setup. Sometimes, you don’t need a managed server. Sometimes, you don’t need any software. Sometimes, you just need a bare server that’s connected to the internet. If that’s what you need, Vultr has you covered.
This company offers two basic types of services: dedicated servers, and dedicated cloud servers. The dedicated servers are available in a variety of configurations, whether you’re looking for a high-performance web host or a cheaper, slower server for backup storage. Cloud servers are also available in several tiers, and you can easily upgrade as your website grows.
On the one hand, we love Vultr’s affordable pricing. Depending on what you need, you can get up and running on a Vultr server for far cheaper than you will with any of the competition. We also love how easy it is to customize a Vultr server. Install your own OS, build your own custom API, and run as many server-side scripts as you like.
That said, beginners will probably want to stay clear of this service. Technical support is limited to hardware, and you have to configure everything yourself. This includes setting up your own mail server, installing your own malware protection, providing your own SSL certificate, and performing your own migration (if necessary).
If you know what you’re doing, Vultr is a great option. Just don’t expect anyone to hold your hand.
If you’re just getting started, you might not want to spend money on a website just yet. That’s understandable. Here are two free web hosting services that will get you up and running. Just be prepared to upgrade to a paid service if your website becomes popular.
Google Cloud offers a scalable cloud hosting service, with a basic, free service tier that’s sufficient for most smaller sites. They are a cloud based web host, similar to Amazon. However, there are significant differences between these two services. To begin with, Google offers higher storage limits for free service (up to 30GB), as well as offering a $300 credit for new accounts. This gives you some freedom while you’re setting up your site, since you’re liable to exceed the ordinary usage limits if you’re doing a lot of uploading and downloading.
Google’s cloud services are compatible with ordinary, industry-standard technology like mySQL, Jenkins, Packer, and Kubernetes. While Amazon’s walled garden approach limits you to their proprietary software, Google is relatively easy to migrate to. That said, Amazon’s proprietary services are already set up, while you’ll have to do all your own setup on Google if you’re creating a new site from scratch.
Google Cloud is also an excellent choice for mobile developers. They offer a specialized backend for hosting mobile sites and apps, with servers that are specifically designed to meet your unique needs. The Google App Engine is also included with your account. This service is designed for quick deployment of cloud-based apps, and makes mobile development easier than ever.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is an à la carte web hosting service that charges only for what you actually use. AWS is designed for sites to start small and grow big. The free base package includes 5GB of SSD storage, 750 hours of micro-server time, and app integration with the Amplify console. As your site grows, you’ll be charged only for the storage and server time that you actually use, at very reasonable rates.
The downside of AWS is that it has a very steep learning curve. All of the technology, like DynamoDB, is proprietary, so even experienced web developers will have to re-learn a lot of the basics in order to get the most out of AWS’ services. Now, you could just use AWS as a VPS as you would with any other host, but you’d be missing out on the scalability, and you’d end up overpaying for system resources you’re not even actively using.
That said, if you’re willing to put in the work, AWS is a great service. They offer excellent uptime for paid services, and they run some of the most popular sites on the web, like Netflix and Airbnb.
As we hope you can see, Redditors love all of these web host services. From Amazon’s cloud service to WP Engine’s fantastic WordPress support, to DigitalOcean’s complete custom VPS, they’ve all got something to offer. And depending on your budget and what kind of site you’re running, any one of them may be the right choice for you.
But if you’re looking for the best all-around service, SiteGround is where the action’s at. Whether you’re running a small, niche site or a large, professional site with a lot of traffic, they allow your site to grow organically, with no bandwidth limit. Even their basic packages provide free SSL and HTTPS to give your site the credibility it needs. And with unlimited mySQL support, you won’t need to worry about your site going down because server-side processes have hit their limit for the month.
No matter what service you end up choosing, we hope we’ve helped shine a light on what all of these services have to offer. By paying attention to what developers and admins are saying on Reddit, we’re sure we’ve found the best.