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.     
For email, security starts with spam, otherwise known as unsolicited email. This is often the bane of not only those who live in their email inboxes,but also of the IT administrators who manage email services. The good news is that spam filters are getting better every day and email providers tend to deploy the very latest and greatest for their customers. The bad news is that these filters still aren't perfect, which means they can catch a lot of "good" email but often vary significantly in effectiveness. Today's spam filters are based largely on machine learning (ML) as the primary method of determining what's bound for the trash bin. Given that ML gets more effective over time, it is no surprise that the services that have been around the longest tend to have better spam detection.
Hosted email often comes as part of another service, such as web hosting or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Since that means there will be many extras available with these services, it's inescapable that you'll be paying for those extras in some way. Purchasing them usually means a slight uptick in that per-user price. Many businesses find that, once they're done selecting all of their needed "optional extras," their end price can often reach as high as $10 or more per user. This can start to add up for larger teams. It's somewhat like buying cable service: sometimes you need to pay for the channels you don't want to get the couple of channels that you need. There is also the old adage that "you get what you pay for" when it comes to quality. This is almost always true when considering an email host.

Hostgator is a joke. My website was down several times in my 2 years contract. I’ve been using Ionos and GoDaddy for 20 years and hardly any problem but HostGator has dropped my websites for several reasons, first time the server was down almost 6 hrs for a resource issue, they tried to upsell me to a dedicated hosting (I have already a $600 reseller plan), second time a problem with their billing system. And then ina a 2 months period my account was deleted 3 times!!! Everytime, after dealing with their almost inexisting tech support I had zero follow up on their guarantee of uptime which is only on word becuase no one ever contacted me EVER.

The user gets his or her own Web server but is not allowed full control over it (user is denied root access for Linux/administrator access for Windows); however, they are allowed to manage their data via FTP or other remote management tools. The user is disallowed full control so that the provider can guarantee quality of service by not allowing the user to modify the server or potentially create configuration problems. The user typically does not own the server. The server is leased to the client.
Many web hosts offer WordPress hosting and configuration services to make building and publishing a WordPress site simple even for beginners. The software is either pre-installed or can be installed using a single-click auto-installer tool provided by the host. Everything is ready for you to start building out the site from the beginning, and your WordPress site data is (typically) backed up automatically.
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.
Virtual private server (VPS) or cloud hosting can be a good middle-of-the-road option between the lowest pricing (shared servers) and highest reliability (dedicated servers). A VPS is a physical server that usually has multiple sites hosted on it. However, it’s much more sophisticated than shared servers in its ability to distribute server resources – and it carries a lighter price tag than for dedicated hosting.
It shouldn't come as any surprise that, like other web host providers, A2 Hosting's unlimited plans aren't actually unlimited. It expect you to use its service like "similarly situated customers." This is like being on a highway. If everyone is going a few miles above the speed limit, you're probably okay, but if you're barreling down the fast lane past everyone else, you're probably going to be asked to slow down. 

As with backups, SSL certificates are not a necessary feature your web host must offer, this is especially so since companies like Let’s Encrypt offer them for free. However, if you’re looking to streamline the process of getting your site fully equipped and online in no time, the extra convenience of getting this certificate from your web hosting provider is a nice add-on.
GoDaddy InSight is a technology system that provides tailored recommendations gleaned from insights across more than a million GoDaddy customers in different locations and industries. InSight is designed to help you improve your online presence by providing you with performance metrics and advice on how to improve them. GoDaddy InSight powers a central dashboard where you’ll find your: 

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.

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.
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With a web hosting plan from HostPapa, you’ll get a dedicated, professional IT team, without the cost! The Papa Squad is ready to tackle any of your web hosting issues, and we’re ready to help 24/7. The Papa Squad are technical customer service experts with the knowledge and experience to help you solve any web hosting challenge that your website may face. No matter how many visitors, the amount of traffic or the number of orders your website receives, we’re here to make sure your web hosting solution can handle it all.
Rounding out the wins, InMotion offers a full 90-day money-back guarantee. On top of that, here's a special money-saving hint. In a chat session confirming pricing and offerings, the operator offered me some special prices and deals that reduced the published price by a few bucks. I was also told that while promotional pricing does go up at the end of the offer period, if you contact customer service, InMotion has a "loyal customer discount" that may bring the price back down.
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. 

Unlike shared or VPS hosting, dedicated hosting makes your website the lone tenant on a server. To extend the housing metaphor, having a dedicated server is like owning your own home. The means that your website taps the server's full power, and pays for the privilege. If you're looking for a high-powered site—an online mansion for your business—dedicated hosting is the way to go. That said, many dedicated web hosting services task you with handling backend, technical issues, much as homeowners have manage maintenance that renters generally leave to their landlords.
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