Welcome to the CNET 2020 directory of web hosting services. In this directory, we'll look at a few of the best web hosting providers like Bluehost, A2Hosting, Hostinger, DreamHost, HostGator, InMotion Hosting and more. In this evaluation of the best web hosting providers, we're featuring commercial web hosting companies that offer WordPress, VPS, shared hosting and many more web hosting services, along with a variety of annual and monthly plans.     
HostGator gained points for uptime monitoring and regular backups, along with free cPanel or Plesk. We liked that SSH is available for the more technically inclined site operators and that dedicated IP addresses could be purchased. We did take points off because it's sometimes difficult to tell what the price is once promotional plans run their course. That said, with a generous 45-day money back guarantee, there's a hosting solution for almost everyone at HostGator.
Also known as a Virtual Private Server (VPS), divides server resources into virtual servers, where resources can be allocated in a way that does not directly reflect the underlying hardware. VPS will often be allocated resources based on a one server to many VPSs relationship, however virtualisation may be done for a number of reasons, including the ability to move a VPS container between servers. The users may have root access to their own virtual space. Customers are sometimes responsible for patching and maintaining the server (unmanaged server) or the VPS provider may provide server admin tasks for the customer (managed server).
In housing terms, VPS hosting is like renting your own apartment in a larger building. You're much more isolated than in the roommate situation mentioned above; it's still possible that a neighboring apartment could causes annoyance for you, but far less likely. In web hosting terms, Site A's traffic surge won't have nearly as much impact on Site B or Site C. As you'd expect, VPS hosting costs more than shared hosting. You'll pay roughly $20 to $60 per month.
HostGator gained points for uptime monitoring and regular backups, along with free cPanel or Plesk. We liked that SSH is available for the more technically inclined site operators and that dedicated IP addresses could be purchased. We did take points off because it's sometimes difficult to tell what the price is once promotional plans run their course. That said, with a generous 45-day money back guarantee, there's a hosting solution for almost everyone at HostGator.
The company's entry-point pricing is extremely low, and while this will buy you up to three years of very low-cost hosting, do be aware that its post-promotion price will increase substantially, putting its subsequent year pricing more in line with the rest of its competitors. That said, we liked its 24/7 phone customer support, SSD support on some plans and 30-day money-back guarantee.

Migration or transfer services are often free or offered at a reasonable fee. These services help move your existing site to the new hosting provider. They can save a huge amount of hassle. Just remember that the migration process is often automated, and may fit in with the host's processes and needs rather than yours. Not everything may migrate, and you may find the organization of the newly migrated site makes for harder maintenance in the long run.

While most businesses will have such suites in place, it often falls to the email service to provide an additional layer of anti-phishing and anti-malware protection. Our reviews found a surprising variance in this department, however, ranging from very robust to completely non-existent, so be careful. Since it's such a huge liability for business owners, this could be one of the most important factors in terms of background features. At the very least, it's better than filing an insurance claim or outright losing funds due to simple social engineering tactics.

For those unlucky enough to choose an email host that doesn't have built-in spam detection, it can often be an ordeal to route email correctly through a third-party filtering service. Some businesses actually prefer engaging with a third-party spam filterer, mostly for compliance or customization reasons. But, for the majority of SMBs, this is headache they would be best off trying to avoid.
Shared servers are the entry-level hosting option. They’re the cheapest and require minimal, if any, technical know-how. Multiple websites are hosted on a single server, and therefore share its resources such as data transfer and disk space. This can be the perfect option for a small- to a medium-sized site with fewer than 30,000 visitors per month.
If you're on a budget and looking for the best free web hosting service, we'd recommend Weebly. The free option comes with free SSL security and 500MB storage, plus SEO and lead capture and contact forms. As you'd expect, there are limitations that come with choosing a free option: you'll have a Weebly-branded URL and ads on your site. If you want to remove these, you'll need to bump up to a paid plan. Users can also benefit from Weebly’s range of stylish website templates.

Allows clients to become web hosts themselves. Resellers could function, for individual domains, under any combination of these listed types of hosting, depending on who they are affiliated with as a reseller. Resellers' accounts may vary tremendously in size: they may have their own virtual dedicated server to a colocated server. Many resellers provide a nearly identical service to their provider's shared hosting plan and provide the technical support themselves.
Post initial setup, a primary concern will be the log-on issue. If your organization is fine with a separate log-on for your email provider, then this step will be quick. However, that's not typically what businesses want or users expect. In general, users expect to sign onto their desktops and have their email and file sharing sign-ons happen as part of that one-step process. Not surprisingly, this is called Single Sign-On (SSO) and it's enabled in one of three ways: through the use of a back-end directory service like Microsoft Active Directory (AD); an identity management service, like Okta (one of our Editors' Choice winners in that category); or several compatible web services that include SSO along with other apps and email services, like Google G Suite Business and Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium (two of the top providers reviewed here). Which method you choose depends on how your business is configured today and your long-term cloud services strategy. It's definitely a conversation you'll need to have either with your in-house IT staff or your outside IT consultant.
The company doesn't list a virtual private server offering, but it bills its Elastic Sites service as a VPS alternative, offering the ease of use of a simple shared hosting plan and the performance and scalability of a VPS. GlowHost also offers a number of different cloud hosting plans, with special attention to providing enterprise-grade services.
A dedicated server is best suited to anyone looking to build complex websites that need to look after hundreds of users in a no-compromise environment. (Think Amazon.) It’s like having your own computer: you don’t have to share your space, power or resources with anyone else. Dedicated servers are usually the fastest and most powerful choices available, though some of the high-end VPS options can give the lower performing dedicated servers a run for their money – so check the specs.

Website builders and WordPress let you create an online presence with little to no coding knowledge required. If this is what you need for setting up your site, make sure your web host provides integration for the site builder you want to use. Easy installations for WordPress or pre-installed website builders with ready-made templates are ideal for those who want to drag and drop elements of their site into place — where what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG).

If you require a lot of functionality and versatility from your website, you’ll benefit from programs and applications that can help you build your site. Our Web hosting plans give you access to free, server-side applications that can be used to develop and customize your website, including popular Content Management System (CMS) applications like WordPress® and Joomla!®. You can even add a Dedicated IP if you plan to add an SSL Certificate later.
The biggest drawbacks: scrubbing your records is not fast enough because the emails are retained for 14 days, and system logs up to 180 days. Also, compared to Rackspace, Zoho and G Suite, Fastmail has less storage space for a basic plan: only 2 GB for $3/user/month. Still, we’re giving it the highest rating, 5 for Value, on account of the sheer number of supported features.
Welcome to the CNET 2020 directory of web hosting services. In this directory, we'll look at a few of the best web hosting providers like Bluehost, A2Hosting, Hostinger, DreamHost, HostGator, InMotion Hosting and more. In this evaluation of the best web hosting providers, we're featuring commercial web hosting companies that offer WordPress, VPS, shared hosting and many more web hosting services, along with a variety of annual and monthly plans.     
The company also offers higher-end Windows and Linux servers, available with Plesk and cPanel respectively. We were very intrigued to see that the company offers low-end Atom-based dedicated servers as well as the more traditional Xeon-based machines. One great resource for those doing some basic experimentation, or site development, is that it has a free, three-month trial for one of its lightly equipped Atom servers.
Mailboxes and email storage offered by web hosts give you professional email addresses with your website’s domain name. Ideally, a web host will offer unlimited mailboxes so you can give each of your employees an individual email address and have room to grow. You’ll also want ample mailbox space so you won’t have to worry about needing to delete files and possibly losing important data.
If you're not sure of the type of hosting your business needs, you might want to start small, with shared Web hosting. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package of, say, VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting in the future. Unfortunately, some hosts don't offer all hosting types. Consider how much you expect to grow your website, and how soon, before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan. It's worth spending the time up front to make sure that the host you select with is able to provide the growth you envision for your site, as switching web hosting providers midstream is not a trivial undertaking.

An uptime guarantee from a web host basically says “We promise that your website will be online __% of the time during this billing cycle.” The best web hosts will set that guarantee as close to 100% as possible, and that’s exactly what you should be looking for. By having this guarantee in place, you’re assured compensation from your host in the case that there is a server outage or something else takes your site down.


Data protection is another key email security concern. Inboxes often contain GBs of business-critical and personal data, so not just hackers but also legitimate marketing companies can make big money off mining email data—and this sometimes includes the very company that is providing the email service to you. Fortunately, most companies, including your hosting provider, are pretty good about keeping out of private data, but it's important to be aware of when these policies have failed. Security breaches are commonplace and it's important to know how your data is being managed. To protect yourself, be sure to inquire about data safety capabilities on the provider's side, especially around encryption and malware scanning. But be sure to implement additional measures on your side, as well, including encryption for those using local email clients as well as deploying personal virtual private networks (VPNs) to folks accessing their email from multiple locations.
The availability of a website is measured by the percentage of a year in which the website is publicly accessible and reachable via the Internet. This is different from measuring the uptime of a system. Uptime refers to the system itself being online. Uptime does not take into account being able to reach it as in the event of a network outage.[citation needed] A hosting provider's Service Level Agreement (SLA) may include a certain amount of scheduled downtime per year in order to perform maintenance on the systems. This scheduled downtime is often excluded from the SLA timeframe, and needs to be subtracted from the Total Time when availability is calculated. Depending on the wording of an SLA, if the availability of a system drops below that in the signed SLA, a hosting provider often will provide a partial refund for time lost. How downtime is determined changes from provider to provider, therefore reading the SLA is imperative.[11] Not all providers release uptime statistics.[12] Most hosting providers will guarantee at least 99.9% uptime which will allow for 43m of downtime per month, or 8h 45m of downtime per year.
HostPapa uses Solid State Disks (SSD) for data storage. For your website hosting, this means a much faster loading speed. If your server can display your website at lightning speed, this will contribute to the user experience on your site. This includes more time spent on site, more interaction, more pages visited, eventually getting you to the goal you have for your website, whether it’s selling something or sharing your expertise, etc. 

In housing terms, VPS hosting is like renting your own apartment in a larger building. You're much more isolated than in the roommate situation mentioned above; it's still possible that a neighboring apartment could causes annoyance for you, but far less likely. In web hosting terms, Site A's traffic surge won't have nearly as much impact on Site B or Site C. As you'd expect, VPS hosting costs more than shared hosting. You'll pay roughly $20 to $60 per month.


I’ve been with siteground for a number of years now after changing from another hosting company. I am more than happy with the level of support I get – its quick, efficient and they talk in layman’s terms – in terms a non techy person like myself can understand. I’ve never had to wait for more than a few minutes for someone to help me – this support is so important

Managed web hosting brings a white-glove or concierge service to the hosting experience. The term “managed” means the hosting company takes care of the hands-on IT work required to keep the server running optimally. They handle the hardware while you maintain the software and your site databases, files, and media content. This type of web hosting carries the highest price tag, but many find the peace of mind and server administration assistance worthwhile.
Once you decide you price range, you need to consider how long you'll need web hosting. If it's a short-term project—say, less than a month or two—you can typically receive a refund should you cancel your hosting within 60 days. Some companies offer 30-day money-back guarantees, others offer 90-day money-back guarantees. Once again, it's beneficial to do your homework.
One's website is placed on the same server as many other sites, ranging from a few sites to hundreds of websites. Typically, all domains may share a common pool of server resources, such as RAM and the CPU. The features available with this type of service can be quite basic and not flexible in terms of software and updates. Resellers often sell shared web hosting and web companies often have reseller accounts to provide hosting for clients.
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