10 Best Web Hosting Companies 2018
User Reviews & Expert Comparisons
This is the Hosting Tribunal!
We subscribe, test and evaluate the service of the best website hosting providers.
We subscribed and tested the performance and overall value of 30 web hosting providers to find the best hosting services.
You can check at glance the best hosting sites.
In addition to this research, you can also find answers to following questions:
What is the best shared hosting service?
What things should I consider when picking a web host?
Which type of web hosting is the best for me?
Our comprehensive website hosting reviews are a central part of the picture you get by studying the complete profile of the hosting sites we examine.
We tested their products, conducted interviews with their executives, compared their hardware to others and found out who is:
- The best shared hosting provider
- The best WordPress hosting service
- The best VPS host
- The best dedicated offer there is
We are planning to add more hosts and services, including reseller hosting, unmanaged dedicated hosting, email hosting.
10 Best Website Hosting in 2018
Disclaimer: We are doing this work to make a living online. We get affiliate commission when you pick a web host from our ratings table.
Our web hosting ratings are dynamic and democratic in nature. In order to create unbiased web hosting reviews, we rely on real-time data and the final grade a host receives is based on user reviews as well.
Here is a spreadsheet with results of all hosting providers on 20 different factors.
Here are the best shared web hosting providers for 2018 based on their uptime, support and load times:
SiteGround gained solid reputation through sold tech and, friendly support and thoughtful investment in infrastructure. The best web hosting company in 2018 so far.
2. HostGator Cloud - Simple and reliable hosting
Loading speed: 0.872s
Support: Good support, good knowledge base
3. A2 Hosting - Fast and scalable hosting
Loading speed: 0.6625s
Support: Stellar support, excellent knowledge base
4. DreamHost - Innovative and reliable hosting
Loading speed: 1.180s
Support: Stellar support, excellent knowledge base
5. FastComet - Hosting for designers and newbies
Loading speed: 0.818s
Support: Excellent support, excellent knowledge base
6. InMotion Hosting - Support and speed
Loading speed: 1.732s
Support: Stellar support, the best knowledge base
The Review Process – How and Why
For a more detailed view on how we measure, what characteristics we measure and why we measure them in our website hosting reviews, click here.
Go to the actual plans of any web hosting provider, and you will see tens, if not hundreds of services being offered. If you are a first-timer, you’d be outright mesmerized by the functional opulence, the abundance of tools you can get for your web presence for, like, $3 per month.
The fierce competition in the field dictates that marketing must be top-notch to stay relevant.
However, the main factors for each and every web hosting service – shared, VPS, managed dedicated – are three:
- Uptime – When your site is offline, even the most advanced hosting suite accounts for nothing
- Speed – Loading time has a direct impact on user experience and Google ranking
- Customer support – All things technical break occasionally, such is their nature; having a support team that is knowledgeable and eager to help is a huge advantage
These three factors are the cornerstones for any meaningful web hosting comparison. It cannot be any other way because a site that loads fast and is always online trumps everything else. At the end of the day, the reason to purchase a web hosting service is to have your page easily accessible at all times.
The technical support factors in heavily because a well-trained and responsive team does not only resolve issues quickly but also prevents them from happening.
Of course, we consider the financial aspect of hosting and take into account the initial and renewal fees of the hosting packages. Very often, the two are quite different things. Tied to the price are the features offered. Most modern hosting companies offer a stunning variety of tools for new and experienced users alike.
We also consider the scalability, whether upgrading to a bigger plan is justified and whether the bigger packages are truly suitable for sites with greater demands for space, bandwidth and programming tools.
Here is how we go about checking the best website hosting services:
- We buy a shared web hosting plan and set up a default WordPress installation without any add-ons enabled.
- We hook up the site to a live monitoring provided by StatusCake to track uptime and server response times.
- Once a month, we test the site by putting the server under simulated test, sending a load of 50 concurrent users through Load Impact.
- Besides the three main factors, we check plan features and limitations, pricing, payment schemes, scalability.
- We accumulate end-user reviews to help us complete the picture
- Finally, we compare the data to find the best shared web hosting services, the best web hosting for WordPress, the best Joomla hosting providers, the best options for Drupal, the most reliable VPS solutions and the most powerful dedicated servers.
How to Choose a Web Hosting Service
If you have no idea what hosting is and how it works, just read on. We explain in brief some key elements. If you have a clue but still don’t know what to pick, check out this section.
Choosing a web hosting plan is easy, as long as you have a concept in mind. Here are several strategic pointers to consider:
- Is web hosting something you are planning to profit from or simply want to have some online presence? – If aim for the latter, a website hosting free of charge probably is a better option. There are plenty of site builders with free plans for that can put your name online with minimum fuss.
- How much effort are you going to put in your site? – Effort is a more important factor than money here, as hosting plans can be downgraded and upgraded relatively easily, adjusting the monthly expenditure accordingly. If you have a strategy in mind and have an idea how to grow your site, check what options to scale up a host provides. This way, the moment you need more bandwidth and computing resources, you wouldn’t need to search for a new hosting company.
- How many sites do you want to launch? – The number of hosted domains tells only half the story. Best check things like allocated CPU, RAM and bandwidth per plan as they can be, realistically, much more restrictive than the number of hosted domain names.
- Where is your target audience located? – Choosing a data center close to the potential audience you wish to reach translates into faster loading speed for the end users, which is very advantageous when it comes to ranking with search engines like Google. The best web hosting for UK located business is not the same as for one located in Australia. Always pick a data center located on the same piece of land the bulk of your visitors walks upon.
- Do you need specialized hosting? – Are you planning on using WordPress or Joomla? If so, something optimized for the respective CMS could be a good idea, at least further down the road. Consider a company that provides it. You can start with basic shared plan and upgrade seamlessly to a specialized plan when the time is right.
- What do your developers need? – If you are paying for a custom-coded website, always ask the developers if they have a preferred hosting option. They would have, usually, but if they don’t, ask what technical requirements they have.
Common Types of Web Hosting: Shared v Cloud Hosting Solutions
Shared and cloud hosting are the two most widely known web hosting services, even though cloud hosting is a very broad term.
Shared hosting is the absolute king of hosting in terms of popularity. It has the largest user base for two main reasons: unmatched affordability and unparalleled ease of use.
Shared hosting has been around for many years now, and it is the “entry” level hosting, so to speak. It is the best web hosting for small business owners or for starting bloggers, as it requires no technical knowledge, very limited maintenance and costs a few dollars per month. The smallest shared hosting plans range between $3 and $5, typically, while the most expensive ones rarely exceed $20 per month.
These low fees are not a marketing trick but a reality because the end user pays only for a portion of the web server and its resources. The cost for running a Linux server 24/7/365 is distributed among all users – often several hundred per server – who pay for chunks of the server space. That’s why the solution is called “shared hosting”; all users share the resources of a single machine.
Neat arrangement, eh?
The main tradeoff is the somewhat limited control. Since the server is used by many people, no single user has root (administrator) access with the possibility to alter the server configuration.
Another intrinsic downside, which the reliable web hosting providers mitigate well, is the presence of other users. Sometimes it takes a single poorly coded site to hog a lot of server resources and slow down the performance of all websites hosted on the same machine.
Additionally, poor maintenance and bad security practices can lead to security hazards. Website owners forget to update their CMSs on time, get their insecure passwords stolen, use a bad plugin or have a poorly coded page. All these can lead to a relatively easy security breach, be that a malware injection or something else.
If not contained on time, the hackers could gain access to other sites hosted on the same server.
These limitations and potential threats go unnoticed in 99% of the cases, though. A well-configured server with proper account segmentation and defenses is largely immune to the risks. The top hosting companies are well aware of these risks and take serious measures to prevent them from ever happening.
If you want to learn more about shared web hosting, click here. Note that when we say “website hosting reviews” here, we mean shared hosting, unless specified otherwise.
Cloud hosting is, more than anything, a catchy marketing phrase, as cloud computing is all the rage for a few years now. In the realm of web hosting, the term “cloud” can refer to many things.
In some cases, it is not much more than a glorified shared environment, with technical characteristics well-aligned with standard shared solutions. Generally, cloud plans also include limited access and inability to tweak the server configuration. The main advantages are:
- Possibility to allocate more resources easily – Allocating additional disk space or processing power should be easier
- Distributed load – In case the performance of the hosting server deteriorates, your site can be moved automatically to another server to avoid disturbance of service
- Better defense against DDoS (potentially) – Theoretically, a well-built cloud infrastructure can handle DDoS attacks better, but that depends on many, many factors
Keep in mind that these are very general characteristics, as cloud solutions differ from one company to the next. Inevitably, they are developed in-house and have certain specifications that make them unique. To illustrate the differences, with Dreamhost DreamCompute, the service is akin to a virtual private server (VPS), whereas in the case of Hostgator Cloud we have a better (and pricier) version of the basic hosting plans.
As I said, it is a catchy marketing phrase.
What is hidden behind it varies a lot.
Specialized Hosting – WordPress, Magento, Drupal and Joomla
Going for specialized hosting is worth considering when you have a certain budget and clear-cut growth strategy. Experience as webmaster and site manager is clearly an advantage.
To put it simply, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are general-purpose content management systems (CMS). They are easy to install on virtually any kind of Linux web hosting server and relatively easy to use. They provide a website building environment that can be utilized by people with practically no coding knowledge, even though Drupal is far from simple.
Once the site is built, it can be updated, modified, tweaked and maintained through the administrative interface of the respective CMS.
I didn’t put Magento in the same group as the other three because it is a framework focused on the creation of e-commerce websites. It shares similar characteristics – website building interface, content management – and is an extremely potent tool.
Among these four applications, WordPress is by far the most popular. It is best suited for blogging but thanks to myriad extensions (plugins, as they are known) it can create any type of website.
Joomla is slightly more complex than WordPress but also offers impressive functionality. It is a very solid choice for e-commerce activities.
Drupal is probably the most powerful of all thanks to its unique architecture. It is a flexible framework rather than a classic CMS and boasts excellent security and functionality, but using it requires certain technical acumen.
These are the four most popular tools for website creation at the moment. Together, they power nearly 40% of all websites in existence.
Their immense popularity – especially that of WordPress, which powers over 30% of the internet – is something many web hosting companies embrace giddily.
Today, you can find many hosting products tailored specifically to suit one CMS. Some of them, like the offerings of SiteGround, are very affordable while others, like the BlueHost managed WordPress hosting, lean toward the expensive solutions.
In the future, we are going to include reviews of the specialized web hosting packages, but don’t forget that any of these four solutions can work on a shared Linux server quite well.
The smallest hosting packages might not be powerful enough to deliver smooth performance to Drupal or Magento, as these systems need resources to unleash their full potential, but bigger plans should do the trick.
Advanced Hosting Solutions
Suitable for businesses and traffic-heavy sites, virtual private servers (VPS) and dedicated servers are a whole different story.
The main selling point of shared hosting is its low entry level. Cheap and easy to set up, it is ideal for most.
However, people and organizations with large sites that need a lot of backend customization and drive loads of traffic would be much better off on a separate server, with firmly allocated resources and a great degree of control over the server configuration.
A virtual server is a virtual image of a server installed on an actual physical server. Typically, one real server has several virtual instances sitting on top of it, using its resources.
Unlike shared hosting environment, each virtual machine has a dedicated amount of computing power – CPU, RAM, hard disk – and provides a much greater degree of control to the end user, who can tweak the very configuration of the VPS.
When a VPS is not enough – online casinos, gaming servers, huge websites – an entire physical server must be rented. This is known as dedicated hosting, and it comes in two variations: managed and unmanaged. Managed means that the support team (normally, the system administrators and not the first line of support) of the web hosting provider help with the initial configuration, consecutive updates and even regular maintenance.
Unmanaged dedicated server means that the end user receives the hardware and can do with it whatever she or he pleases.
Now, low-end VPS might have slightly less computing power than the largest shared plans, but, in general, both virtual and real servers come with some serious resources.
The thing is that with great power comes great geekiness, as both solutions require sysadmin knowledge. And being a system administrator is anything but easy.
Many web hosting companies offer special packages for people who wish to start their own hosting business but lack the necessary infrastructure.
There are many ways to make money online. Reselling the services of a top web hosting company is one of them.
You can get a white-labeled hosting package with a remarkable degree of control, tailor your own hosting plans and sell them as if you are the one running the data center and the servers.
Not bad, right?
It can be quite profitable if you have a knack for business and some technical orientation.
What is domain name?
Domain name is the address of the website we type in the browser, i.e. HostingTribunal.com. This is our domain name.
What is DNS?
DNS stands for domain name system, and it is crucial for the smooth functioning of the global network. One of its responsibilities is to translates domain names to IP addresses, as IPs are the language the machines comprising the global network speak. Because of the DNS we can type HostingTribunal.com and reach the site; without DNS we would need to memorize the IP address of the server.
What is a web server?
Web server is a powerful computer, configured to handle incoming and outgoing traffic to and from local and global networks.
Do I need a database?
In all likelihood, yes, you do. Sites created solely on HTML could work without one, but modern web design usually deploys a database or two. Practically all web hosting plans include databases.
What is DDoS?
Distributed denial of service is an attack on a network that comes from thousands (or hundreds of thousands) sources. The idea is to consume the entire bandwidth of a certain network segment, thus blocking all meaningful traffic and halting the service that normally uses the attacked network.
What is website migration?
Migration is the transfer of a website or entire web hosting account – databases and email included – from one hosting provider to another. It is best handled by the migration team of the receiving host, as they are familiar with the specifics of their hosting environment and can troubleshoot potential issues in a timely and more adequate manner. Mostly all of the best website hosting providers have dedicated migration teams and offer free migrations.