The Best List of Top Web Hosting Companies

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The Top Types Of Web Hosting Platforms

Shared Web Hosting

There are a variety of different web hosting platforms to choose from, and one of the most popular is shared web hosting. This means that your website is hosted on a platform that is shared by others websites. These are oftentimes a cheaper option, with all shared sites sharing the same costs. This leads to costs as low as $10 a month.

But this also means that everything is shared — including performance, operations, and speed. Most new businesses choose this type of platform because it’s great for startups that aren’t yet seeing a lot of traffic. If you’re looking for something easy and cost-effective to start, check out shared web hosting platforms. Popular shared web hosting platforms include Bluehost, HostGator and SiteGround.

Cloud-Based Web Hosting

Cloud-based web hosting is another platform that’s great for growing businesses. It’s one of the newer forms of web hosting, a result of the growing cloud network. This hosting platform works by connecting hundreds of singular servers together to create one giant server. There’s a lot of flexibility here, with the provider able to add more hardware to the server as it grows to accommodate the influx. It’s great for increasing traffic because the platform can always grow to your needs.

It’s a great option for growing businesses that expect to see heavy traffic. These servers can accommodate growth and expansion with ease, and they give brands the freedom to play around with their site. Cloud-based web hosting platforms are the great in-between options for brands who aren’t necessarily new and small but haven’t amassed an overwhelmingly large following yet. Well-known cloud-based web hosting platforms include InMotion Hosting, HostGator and LiquidWeb.

Virtual Private Server (VPS)

Virtual private servers, VPS for short, are exactly what they sound like. They are virtual servers that live separate from an extensive community of servers. They share one physical server but are broken down into multiple servers that websites can live on. It’s not yet its own, separate entity. But it’s the bridge that connects shared servers and private, personal servers. These are the next step for businesses and websites that are gaining more traffic and growing.

Virtual private servers are a relatively affordable option, costing a couple hundred dollars for a plan. And they’re easy to manage, with hardware resources being shared across servers without the risk of losing computing power as a result of the other websites being hosted. Great VPS options include Bluehost, iPage, and HostPapa.

Reseller Web Hosting

Reseller web hosting platforms are just like shared web hosting platforms, with a little added bonus. With these platforms, you get additional tools and features to help customize your site and create an experience geared more towards your brand. Software, control features and more are just a few of the added functionalities that make reseller web hosting platforms a great choice for growing brands and websites.

Some additional tools include website templates, additional technical support, private name servers and more. These can really help take your website to the next level and establish your brand as a leader and an authority. InMotion Hosting, SiteGround, and A2 Hosting are great places to look for reseller web hosting.

Dedicated Web Server

Dedicated web servers are servers that brands can rent from a hosting company. This gives you full control over the service, power, performance, and speed. With these servers, you’re in charge, and you don’t have to worry about the cons of shared servers like operations lagging and slow loading times.

Big brands and business are often on a dedicated web server because they’ve gotten to the point where traffic is heavy and they need to be on top of all of their website design and development needs. That means that dedicated web servers tend to be more expensive and require more admin help in the form of a system administrator. Check out Bluehost, iPage, and JustHost for dedicated web server options.

Questions To Ask The Best Hosting Platforms

Experience

When it comes to deciding on a web hosting platform, you want to make sure you’re working with a provider that has had years of experiencing hosting websites so that you know you’re getting the most for your dollar.

  • How long have you been in the business of web hosting?
  • What experience do your technicians have?
  • How many customers are on each server?
  • Have you worked with brands like mine in the past?
  • What types of web hosting do you offer?

Pricing

Brands old and new need to make sure they’re putting money into their business — that’s the only way they’ll see growth and success. But businesses also have to be wary of hidden fees and charges that could rack up without their knowledge. Here is a selection of questions to ask about pricing and cost.

  • Do I pay monthly or is it a one-time purchase?
  • How are upgrades handled?
  • Are there setup fees?
  • Will I be charged if I cancel?
  • Are there additional bandwidth charges?

Packages

Hosting platforms come with a variety of different packages, and many offer different types of hosting in their entirety. If you plan on growing and want to see where these platforms can help you grow, you need to understand the many different packages they offer and what you’re eligible for.

  • What web hosting platforms do you offer?
  • How much do package upgrades cost?
  • What features and functionalities do I get with each package?
  • Will I be able to upgrade as my website grows?
  • Can I pay extra for additional services outside of these packages?

IT Help

As a business owner or small business employee, you might not have the dedicated resources or knowledge to keep a site up and running on the backend side. That means you’ll want access to IT help and support to help solve problems and keep the site maintained as your site grows and evolves.

  • Is tech help available 24/7?
  • How do I contact you to request technical support?
  • Is your tech support in-house or outsourced?
  • How quickly can I expect a response?
  • What kind of IT support do you offer?

Security

By 2021, cybercrime will cost the business world $6 trillion. With cybersecurity concerns growing each and every day, it’s important that your website is secure and protected against threats like malware, ransomware, and hacking. This could have a negative impact on your brand and business, so it’s important to find out if you have to get any additional security support from the start.

  • How do you handle security?
  • Do you integrate security systems or is that my responsibility?
  • Who will have access to the backend of my site?
  • What can you do to ensure my website isn’t hacked?
  • What security threats can you protect against?

How To Choose The Top Web Hosting Platforms

Server Type

Considering the dozens of different kinds of web hosting platforms, it’s important that you know what kind of server type is best for your business — whether you want a private server, a shared platform or your own dedicated server — understand what your business needs are and choose from there. And thankfully, these platforms are extremely knowledgeable about what websites of all shapes, sizes and industries need — so they can help you fill in the blanks and decide on a server type that will help your business thrive.

Depending on cost, performance and business needs, the type of server you need will change. And these top web hosting platforms all come with different tools, resources and functionalities that will illuminate specific pathways to business success.

Features

Most web hosting platforms come with the basics that will get your website up and running, but many offer extensive and comprehensive tools that can help personalize your site and infuse it with functionalities that will align your brand as a leader in the industry. Forty-four percent of consumers online cite that having questions answered by a live person during an online purchase is one of the most important features that a website can offer them — and that’s just one instance of the impact special tools can have on consumers.

These are tools that you’d otherwise have to pay for and figure out all on your own. Some of these exciting and innovative features include e-commerce features, storage capabilities, bandwidth, domain, security and support tools that streamline the web development process and take the guesswork out of creating an efficient and successful site. This means that you have more time to focus on your brand, products and services and have to focus less on the creation of your website as a whole.

Growth

As a business owner, you want your business to succeed. That means it’s going to grow and by choosing one of the top web hosting platforms, you have access to the tools and resources you need to grow and adapt online.  You want to choose a host that you can stay with for the long haul — hosting platforms that allow you to upgrade your plan, integrate new tools and access larger storage volumes for the influx of traffic you’ll be receiving. For instance, studies show that an added second of page loading time results in a 27 percent drop in conversions and sales. Web hosting platform providers can pinpoint this and offer the tools to help your server grow with you.

These companies offer flexibility in their plan options and are built to grow along with you. These servers are a powerful resource for businesses, taking out the stress of creating your website from scratch. And they are built with your future in mind.

Support

Unless you hire a dedicated in-house team that focuses solely on IT help and web development, it’s doubtful you have the experts you need on hand. But the best thing about choosing a web hosting agency is that they often take care of everything behind the scenes. They know how to pinpoint and fix bugs. They know what tools to integrate and where. They can answer any problems you have with ease and efficiency so you can focus on what matters most to you — which is likely building a lasting and impressionable brand.

IT support is vital in a world that is becoming more digital. So you need to make sure you have a team that you can count on — web hosting providers offer this support and guidance so you never have to stress about your website failing.

Knowledge

Not only do the best web hosting platforms come with support, but they come with an extensive knowledge about websites and the technical aspects of an online platform which can help you create a design that sells, engages and inspires. Thirty-eight percent of consumers will stop engaging with a site if it doesn’t look the part — your sales team might not know that, but these experts will. They’ve likely worked on thousands of websites across a variety of industries, so they innately understand the digital landscape and know what insights and advice to offer to help you get off your feet and start increasing your website traffic.

You might not know what it takes to run a successful website, but these experts do -- and they can help guide you in the right direction so that your website engages with the right audiences and gives them the tools that will lead to a positive user experience.

Top Value Propositions and Differentiating Factors of the Best Web Hosting Companies

Overview

Web hosting is a fact of doing business online. In order to have your site function on the web, you have to pay a web host for the privilege. Many businesses neglect to factor in the price of hosting plans when estimating costs for building and running a website, and it’s not uncommon to encounter confusion when trying to parse the differences between web hosting providers.

What follows is an overview of the primary types of web hosting and which kinds of website each hosting solution is best suited for. We also cover the main differentiating factors that distinguish the top web hosting companies from the competition.

Types of web hosting

Shared hosting - Shared hosting is the least expensive hosting option available to you. With shared hosting multiple websites share space on the same server, which is what keeps costs low. The potential drawback of this option is that because space is shared, a traffic surge on one site can monopolize server resources and result in performance issues for another site sharing the same server. Still, because of its affordability shared hosting is usually a good option for small businesses, freelancers, bloggers, and individuals.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting - VPS hosting is something of a happy medium between shared hosting and dedicated hosting (see below). With VPS hosting you still share a server with other websites, but you have dedicated resources so traffic spikes on another site do not diminish the resources available to you. You are also able to customize your setup the same way you’re able to with a dedicated server.

Dedicated hosting - Dedicated hosting is the most expensive option because it allocates dedicated servers to each customer. With this option you’ll have the entire server to yourself, which means speed shouldn’t be an issue. Having dedicated servers is usually only necessary for websites that receive very large amounts of traffic.

Additional hosting options

What is cloud hosting?

With cloud hosting, a group of servers are employed to manage multiple sites.The result is that in the case of an issue with one server, the other servers can pick up the slack. This reduces the risk of website downtime. Cloud hosting is highly scalable and websites are charged based on actual usage, which means you don’t end up paying for bandwidth you don’t need.

What is reseller hosting?

Reseller hosting is a web hosting option that allows you to re-sell server space to other websites and businesses. In essence, you buy server space from a hosting company and they allow you to turn around and re-sell that space at whatever price you choose. Reseller hosting allows you to become a hosting provider yourself and can be a good option for web designers and developers who want to offer hosting services to their clients, for example.

Uptime guarantees

The most important aspect of running a website is making sure that it is never (or almost never) offline. That’s why uptime guarantees are a critical consideration when evaluating web hosting options. If your web host goes down, so does your website, and that means lost business and angry customers. Top hosting providers guarantee 99% and better uptime. Some even guarantee as much as 99.9%. This is the threshold you should be aiming for, and you can feel free to dismiss any providers who fall below it.

24/7 technical support

Second-only to uptime guarantees in evaluating potential web hosting solutions is the quality and reliability of support you can expect to receive. Top hosting services offer 24/7 customer support which helps ensure that when problems arise they can be resolved quickly. It’s important to evaluate exactly how customer support is handled, however. Many businesses prefer to have the option of actually speaking to a customer service representative on the phone if they wish, but this isn’t an option provided by every hosting company. Other forms of communication may involve email, a web ticketing system, and live chat. Be sure you’re familiar and comfortable with the level of customer service available to you before entering into an agreement.

Email hosting

If you’re running a business, you need professional business email addresses for you and your employees. Most top web hosting companies offer email hosting as an add-on service included in the monthly price of hosting. Be sure to pay attention to how many e-mail accounts are included, as you may end up paying extra in the case that account creation is not unlimited. If your top hosting option does not include email hosting, you’ll need to look elsewhere for this service and factor in the additional cost (though it’s usually minimal in the grand scheme of things).

Malware and spam protection

Malicious attacks and spam are part of doing business on the web. Because there’s no way to avoid them entirely, it may be important to you to engage a web host that can help deal with malware and spam quickly and efficiently. Certain hosting packages include automatic detection and removal of malware as part of your hosting plan.

Migration

Many top hosting companies offer free server migration to transfer your site from your existing host to the new one. While this isn’t a consideration for brand new businesses, it can be a windfall for anyone switching providers, especially those without the technical expertise in-house to manage such a process. Allowing the web host to handle the migration on your behalf can help ensure the process goes smoothly. For new businesses, some hosting providers will even cover the cost of domain name registration.

How web hosting companies market themselves

Being discovered via search is critical for web hosting companies who generate a significant amount of business through paid and organic search channels. Most companies don’t think about hosting until they need it for the first time or until some issue with their current host precipitates a migration. Once a need is identified, most people turn to search to identify the top web hosting solutions. As a result, SEO and paid search are chief marketing priorities for web hosting companies.

A good way to get a sense for who the industry leaders are is to look at the content they publish and distribute. Top hosting companies are generally highly engaged in the tech industry and they publish a lot of material designed to help companies navigate the process of identifying the best hosting solution for their business. Content marketing and social media marketing are at the forefront of their efforts to do so.

Takeaways:

Choosing a web hosting solution can be a confusing process. Ultimately it’s impossible to recommend the best solution for everyone because the ideal host varies based on the specific needs of each business. Evaluating and understanding your own business needs is a critical first step to choosing an effective web hosting provider. Once you understand your needs, you can evaluate your options based on the following criteria:

●     Uptime guarantees - What uptime guarantees does the web host offer? Are they upfront in sharing their uptime statistics? Are guarantees stated clearly in your agreement?

●     Customer support - Does the hosting company offer 24/7 technical support? How is support managed -- through phone, ticketing, email, live chat, or all of the above? What are average response times for customer requests?

●     Email hosting - Is email hosting included in your web hosting package? Are email accounts unlimited or will you have to pay once you surpass a certain threshold? What other enticements does the hosting company offer? For example, some hosting plans include domain registration and money-back guarantees within 30 days.

●     Malware and spam protection - Does the hosting company offer malware and spam protection as part of their service? How will threats and attacks be handled if and when they do occur?

●     Migration - Will the hosting company handle server migration on your behalf, or will you be responsible for doing so yourself? Do you have the resources to handle the process on your own if required?

Top Qualities of the Best Hosting Companies

Storage and Bandwidth

Your site’s storage and bandwidth needs are what determine how much you will pay for hosting. Small, text-based sites with limited audiences won’t require much of either, but larger sites with big media files will need to be careful about accurately assessing their requirements. Regardless of your site’s needs, most top hosting companies offer solutions to fit a range of websites of all sizes, including unlimited bandwidth options. You want to go into the evaluation process with a clear idea of what your site’s storage and bandwidth needs are so you can make an informed hosting selection.

Guaranteed Uptime

When you pay a hosting company, you’re basically paying for the privilege of having your site displayed on the internet. Uptime is, in a nutshell, the essence of what a hosting company is responsible for. As a client, you should feel confident that your site is going to be available when visitors arrive. That’s why guaranteed uptime should be part of any agreement you make with a hosting company. Otherwise what are you paying them for? Top hosting companies will generally guarantee 99% uptime or better. 

Support

With guaranteed uptime you can minimize risk, but you can’t prevent every single issue that might occur. There are bound to be problems at some point in your relationship with your hosting company, and when there are, you need to be able to get help to resolve the issue. Top hosting companies offer high quality support to their customers. Make sure you understand the way customer service works at your hosting company. For example, will you be able to reach someone 24/7? Will you be able to speak directly with a representative on the phone or does all communication go through web chat and email?

Scalability

Even though you’ve been careful in estimating your storage and bandwidth needs, you can’t predict the future. A bit of press coverage might send a spike in traffic your way, or a mention from a social media influencer could cause an unexpected flood of visitors. You want to make sure your hosting company can handle spikes and that they’ll be able to meet your needs if and when your business expands and your traffic grows. Top hosting companies will be able to offer solutions that can meet your growing needs.

Backup

Despite your best intentions, accidents and malicious attacks do happen. In the case of lost data, a hosting company that does regular backups of your site is a life-saver. Top hosting companies include regular backups (every 24 hours is the target you should aim for) so you can rest easy that in the case of a catastrophe, you’ll be able to recover with minimal losses.