To host a website on the internet, an individual or company would need their own computer or server. As not all companies had the budget or expertise to do this, web hosting services began to offer to host users' websites on their own servers, without the client needing to own the necessary infrastructure required to operate the website. The owners of the websites, also called webmasters, would be able to create a website that would be hosted on the web hosting service's server and published to the web by the web hosting service.
One thing we would note, however, is that it’s always best to work with a hosting provider that understands the importance of separating these different technologies from one another on the server. In other words, WordPress installations should not share space with Drupal installations. It creates for an insecure environment and can severely compromise your website’s performance.
The cloud certainly makes delivering email to your users easier but, for the vast majority of organizations, there's still going to be some setup required beyond simply activating the service. At a minimum, a domain must be purchased and configured to point to the new email host. The service provider can make this process very simple or they can make quite hard; this is something you should watch for in the provider's customer support forums as well as in our reviews. In most cases, there is a validation phase that will require some technical familiarity, though a few providers go so far as to walk even neophyte users through it step by step. Other solid services bolster excellent support with tutorial articles and videos that also walk you through the process. The worst will leave you to figure it out on your own.
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.
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.
For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew. You can a find Jeffrey online at jeffreylwilson.net, or send him a tweet at @jeffreylwilson
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
While all the hosts atop our email hosting reviews tout reliable security features, SiteGround and InMotion lead the market when it comes to secure email hosting. As you’re comparing hosting plans, look for words like IMAP or POP3, SPAM filtering, virus protection, and 24/7 server monitoring. SiteGround and InMotion Hosting offer all of the above, whether you’re shopping for business or pleasure.
You can also host your website on WordPress.com, but that's different from the kind of hosting mentioned above. WordPress.com uses the same code from WordPress.org, but it hides the server code and handles the hosting for you. In that sense, it resembles entries in our online site builder roundup. It's a simpler but less flexible and customizable way to approach WordPress hosting. It's definitely easier, but if you want to tinker and adjust and optimize every aspect of your site, it might not be for you.
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.
What about the time you clicked on that PayPal link that wasn't really a PayPal link? "Phishing" is a term applied to either websites or emails that pretend to be something they're not in hopes of getting a user to click on something they should have ignored. This tactis is done in hopes of then getting users to provide confidential information they would have otherwise kept to themselves, typically like passwords, financial information, or other personal data. While there are security measure that fight this, the mechanics behind phishing are, unfortunately, also consistently becoming more sophisticated. Even some dedicated antivirus and business-class hosted endpoint protection suites are having trouble keeping up.