Technology Blog

The Web Hosting Handbook: Everything (Almost) You Need To Know

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Web Hosting Companies

There are a ton of web hosting companies on the web and countless web hosting comparisons, reviews, coupons and deals of those hosting companies also exists. And almost all of the bloggers recommends at least one web hosting company of their choice.

The problem is, the web hosting provider recommended by ‘Blogger A’ could be the worst rated hosting company by ‘Blogger B’ or vice versa. Again, a good percentage of the bloggers or the “best web hosting reviews and ratings” are biased.

For instance, HostGator.com is among the Top 10 Web Hosting Companies (actually at #2) by PC Magazine in 2015 and its Editor Rating is EXCELLENT(Screenshot) — when it’s easily one of the worst rated host in 2015.

And recently I noticed that an ‘award-winning’ blogger was promoting a Black Friday deal of a web hosting company that he otherwise loved to hate. Then again, there are bloggers who is hosting their website with ‘Host A’ but they are promoting ‘Host B’. You know why? Affiliate commissions. Period.

Web Hosting: Everything (Almost) You Need To Know

Today, I just wanted to give you my personal perspective about “web hosting”. And no, I’m neither going to write an individual review of a host nor going to recommend a specific host.

Instead, my goal is to discuss several aspects of web hosting plus compare some of the most popular web hosting companies (with a price comparison chart). I believe you can choose a web hosting plan by yourself once you go through the entire article.

Web Hosting Companies: What You Need To Know

If you Google “web hosting companies” then most probably you will land on at least any one of the following websites (either directly from search results or indirectly from other web pages): BlueHost, iPage, HostGator, FatCow, JustHost, EasyCGI, Dotster, Dot5Hosting, HostMonster, HostNine, iPower, StartLogic, PowWeb, PureHost, Globat, Netfirms, Apollo Hosting, ResellerClub, Directi, BigRock, A Small Orange, Arvixe, Domain.com, or Site5.

Now what’s the point? Simple! They’re just different brands of a single web hosting company called Endurance International Group, Inc. (EIG).

Who is EIG?

EIG is the world’s largest web hosting company (or rather a holding company) with at least 50 brands and they combinedly have millions of customers.

Is that a good thing? No, not at all. Because they’ve ruined (almost) all the brands that they have acquired. The best example is HostGator.com. It was once the best web hosting company (this blog was also hosted there for the first 6-7 years).

I haven’t moved out of HostGator even after its acquisition by EIG as it didn’t change the management or service at first. And then the impact was visible as eventually the best rated customer service became the worst rated.

For instance, the Live Chat waiting period increased to 30 minutes from less than 7 minutes. If I remember correctly they used to have “Flash Sales” only twice or thrice a year, until 2011-12. And now, they have a “Flash Sale” every single week. No one’s buying HostGator, eh?

And if you check web hosting reviews sites then you will see that almost all the top spots are dominated by EIG owned brands. Perhaps those review sites are endorsed by EIG itself or maybe it’s just a coincidence (:D).

Let me now explore some of the popular (I said ‘popular’ and not the ‘BEST’ as there’s no definite way to know if they are the bestest or not) hosting companies out there. And I have included both EIG and Non-EIG web hosting companies for you as one of them could still be the right choice for you in terms of features or pricing or whatever.

Top 10 Web Hosting Companies (Affordable)

  1. HostMetro
  2. Eleven2
  3. Hawk Host
  4. A Small OrangeEIG
  5. HostWinds
  6. WebHostFace
  7. ArvixeEIG
  8. NameCheap
  9. CrocWeb
  10. One.com
  11. GoDaddy
  12. WebHostingPad
  13. HostPapa
  14. IX Web Hosting
  15. iPageEIG
  16. FatCowEIG
  17. HostNineEIG
  18. MyHostingEIG
  19. HostMonsterEIG
  20. DotsterEIG

Top 10 Web Hosting Companies (Standard)

  1. Web Hosting Hub
  2. InMotion Hosting
  3. SiteGround
  4. GreenGeeks
  5. WestHostUK2
  6. midPhaseUK2
  7. MonsterMegs
  8. MDDHosting
  9. TMDHosting
  10. StableHost
  11. WebHostingBuzz
  12. WireNine
  13. A2 Hosting
  14. Site5EIG
  15. BlueHostEIG
  16. Media Temple
  17. DreamHost
  18. 1&1
  19. JustHostEIG
  20. HostGatorEIG

Top 10 Web Hosting Companies (Premium)

  1. DigitalOcean
  2. Linode
  3. SingleHop
  4. Liquid Web
  5. SoftLayer
  6. HostDime
  7. WiredTree
  8. Rackspace
  9. KnownHost
  10. Limestone Networks
  11. Online.net
  12. OVH
  13. HostWay
  14. WPEngine*
  15. Synthesis*
  16. Pressidium*
  17. Pagely*
  18. Pressable*
  19. Flywheel*
  20. WordPress.com VIP*

EIG = An EIG Brand
UK2 = An UK2 Brand
* = WordPress Hosting
Strikeout = Not Recommended

I tried my best to classify the hosting providers as accurately as possible but please do let me know if you do spot an error. Anyway, it’s just a matter of time before a ‘Popular Non-EIG Host’ becomes a ‘Popular EIG Host’.

Because most of the popular EIG brands (like BlueHost, HostGator, Site5, etc.) were once an independent web hosting company and EIG acquired all of them. In fact, they’re literally trying to acquire each and every hosting brand — big or small — on the web to dominate the industry.

It’s worth mentioning that they even offered to buy the web hosting company (which didn’t even exist) of a friend who was just a reseller. So, if you start a web hosting company and make it look good then EIG will probably make you an offer that you can’t refuse. 😀

Coming back…

Web Hosting Plans: What You Should Know

There are several types of web hosting plans that one should be aware of — and the most common ones are:

  • Shared Hosting
  • Reseller Hosting
  • Virtual Private Server Hosting (or VPS Hosting)
  • Cloud Hosting
  • Dedicated Hosting
  • Managed Hosting

I will give you a brief idea about what it is and what it means to you. And there are so many technical terms and catches — in a web hosting plan — which I have explained below under “Web Hosting Catches” and “Web Hosting Features”.

Shared Hosting

Shared Hosting is the most popular — and also the most affordable — web hosting plan. It’s super-easy to manage a shared hosting plan and it’s equally good for beginners as well as experienced webmasters. Shared hosting basically means that you’re sharing your server (resources as well as the cost) with hundreds (or even thousands) of other websites. And that makes it affordable for everyone.

The majority of websites on the web are actually hosted on a shared hosting plan. It can cost as low as $1 per month to as high as $25 per month depending upon the hosting brand and their resources. If you have a new website or an existing blog or website that’s not getting a lot of traffic then a shared hosting plan is all what you need.

Also, it’s good for a personal website or a small business website (assuming that they do not get a ton of traffic every single day and all they need is an online presence plus business email). And hey, a shared hosting is all you need to host multiple websites as well — as long as they are not getting thousands of visits a day.

Reseller Hosting

Reseller Hosting takes shared hosting to its next level by allocating specific disk space and bandwidth to a user. So, if you want to host all your websites and need separate control panel then you can go for a reseller plan.

It’s easy to manage and is more cost effective when compared to other options like VPS Hosting or Dedicated Hosting (explained below). What’s more? You can even start your own web hosting business in your brand name by reselling your server space.

Your customers obviously won’t get the technical support directly from the web hosting company but you can get it for them (without their knowledge) when there is a server related issue. Reseller hosting is super-popular among web designers who develops and manages the websites of their clients.

Again, web hosting companies may also have a “reseller program” in which the web hosting company offers a discount to their resellers. It’s again created for web designers and developers who manages and maintains the websites of their clients.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

Virtual Private Server, more commonly known as VPS, can be considered as a virtual machine or a reseller hosting on steroids. It basically means that the web hosting company is sharing a dedicated server (that is, the processing power of the server) with multiple users.

However, it gives you better control as if you own a dedicated server because unlike a shared hosting or reseller hosting, VPS comes with dedicated memory plus gives you root access (to install advanced software or to customize your virtual machine). So it works like a dedicated server though it doesn’t exist physically.

You can manage a VPS hosting just like a shared hosting plan. And it gives the comfort of all the hosting plans (shared, reseller, and dedicated) to some extent without costing a lot of money. And it’s the next best option once you started overusing the resources of a shared hosting plan.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud Hosting is tricky as it’s marketed in different ways by different hosts. Anyway, cloud hosting basically means that the web hosting companies combine their servers (or the computing power) to form a massive pool of resources and they divide it and sell it labelling as a ‘virtual cloud’.

Cloud hosting can be considered as a VPS hosting on steroids. Because both exists virtually. It’s just that a VPS hosting is formed from a single server (or maybe a few) while cloud hosting is formed from a cluster of servers.

Some hosts are offering cloud hosting instead of VPS Hosting while others offer both. The billing of cloud hosting also varies as it can be resource based billing or fixed monthly billing (like a regular hosting plan).

Cloud hosting is more costly when compared to VPS hosting but it has its own advantages like scalability (it will scale up when there’s a traffic spike) and reliability (your data is copied to servers across different geographies).

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated Hosting gives you total control over the server because you’re actually renting a physical server. It’s one of the most expensive web hosting plan as a server is dedicated to one person and you’re not sharing your resources with anyone else.

Dedicated servers are essential for large e-commerce websites or blogs/websites with millions of pageviews a month. So, there are no such thing as server outage caused by other users and you don’t have to worry about security as no one else has access to your server. And you can install any software that you want to. Dedicated hosting is 2x to 5x more costlier than a VPS hosting.

Managed Hosting

Managed Hosting (especially Managed WordPress Hosting) is becoming increasingly popular these days with a lot of companies offering different plans and different pricing. So, what is it? Managed hosting means that you do not have to worry about the technical aspects of your CMS-powered website.

Your web hosting company will manage it for you (including server, backups, updates, security, staging, uptime monitoring, page loading speed, etc.). so that you can focus on publishing (or rather the business). Plus, you might also get additional support for your CMS (WordPress, Joomla, etc.). Managed hosting is obviously the most expensive hosting plan though it may not look so expensive.

For instance, WPEngine (one of the most popular managed WordPress hosting service) was charging a friend almost $600 per month when her monthly pageviews hit over a million. Meanwhile, a dedicated hosting won’t cost more than $200-$300 per month and it can easily handle a million pageviews with proper optimization.

That said, managed hosting is still recommended for those who want a peace of mind and don’t mind its overpricing.

Web Hosting Catches: What You Need To Know

Here are few web hosting catches that you should be aware of while signing up for a new web hosting plan. I believe it’s more useful and relevant for those who are going to purchase a web hosting plan for the first time.

1. Unlimited Web Hosting

You might have already come across web hosting plans with unlimited domains, disk space, bandwidth, databases, emails, etc. However, the reality is that there’s no such thing as an “unlimited hosting plan”. The reason is pretty simple, a hardware with unlimited disk space do not exist. It’s just a marketing tactic practised by the web hosting companies to make their hosting plans super-attractive.

Web hosting companies are basically overselling the disk space and bandwidth as they assume that a website do not use more than a certain disk space and bandwidth. And what happens when you cross the limit? Well, they will simply suspend your account and of course they can do it.

When you sign up for a web hosting plan you accept their terms of service and it usually says they will suspend your account when you host say more than 100,000 files or uses say 25% of the server resources or something like that. Or, they will give you a warning and will push you to upgrade your web hosting plan (of course by purchasing one of their costlier VPS hosting or dedicated hosting plan).

When you buy a web hosting plan, you’re actually paying for disk space, bandwidth, and CPU (processing power). And it costs the web hosting provider too. So it means that the more disk space, bandwidth, and processing you use the more it will cost the web hosting provider.

On the flipside, if you are not using the allocated resources then it means that you are paying for something that you are not using. If you purchased an “unlimited web hosting” and is hosting a lot of websites in the same account then it can lead to a higher usage and your hosting company may raise a red flag.

For instance, here are few excerpts from the “Terms of Service” of:

BlueHost

Bluehost does NOT provide unlimited space for online storage, backups, or archiving of electronic files, documents, log files, etc., and any such prohibited use of the Services will result in the termination of Subscriber’s account, with or without notice. Accounts with a large number of files (inode count in excess of 200,000) can have an adverse affect on server performance. Bluehost may request that the number of files/inodes, database tables, or total database usage be reduced to ensure proper performance or may terminate the Subscriber’s account, with or without notice.

HostGator

You may not: Use twenty-five percent (25%) or more of our system resources for longer than ninety (90) seconds at a time. Activities that could cause this excessive use, include but are not limited to: CGI scripts, FTP, PHP, HTTP, etc.

The use of more than two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) inodes on any shared or reseller account may result in a warning, and if no action is taken to reduce the excessive use of inodes, your account may be suspended. Every file (i.e. a webpage, image file, email, etc.) on your account uses up one (1) inode.

InMotion Hosting

Customer agrees that Customer shall not use excessive amounts of CPU processing on any of Company’s servers. The maximum number of files is 50,000 per account. Any violation of this policy may result in corrective action by Company, including assessment of additional charges, disconnection or discontinuance of any and all Services, or termination of this Agreement, which actions may be taken in Company’s sole and absolute discretion. If Company takes any corrective action under this section, Customer shall not be entitled to a refund of any fees paid in advance prior to such action.

iPage

iPage reserves the right to suspend, discontinue or delete the accounts of Users whose use of disk space, bandwidth or other resources results in or presents the risk of degradation of service to other customers, regardless of the amount of disk space, bandwidth or other resources included in the User’s plan.

User agrees that User shall not use excessive amounts of CPU processing on any of iPage’s servers. Any violation of this policy may result in corrective action by iPage, including assessment of additional charges, disconnection or discontinuance of any and all Services, or termination of this Agreement, which actions may be taken in iPage’s sole and absolute discretion.

I have highlighted the terms of service of only four hosts — BlueHost (unlimited hosting hugely endorsed by its affiliates), HostGator (hugely promoted cPanel host with an unlimited plan), InMotion Hosting (this blog is hosted by InMotion Hosting), and iPage (one of the most popular unlimited web hosting with a lot of freebies) — as they are ones hugely promoted by its affiliates. All web hosting companies (especially the ones with shared hosting plans) will have a similar terms of service.

2. Data Backups

You know the importance of backups, right? Ideally, all web hosting companies (at least the popular ones) are supposed to offer free backups. But that’s not the case. Once again, let me show you few excerpts from the terms of service of BlueHost, HostGator, InMotion Hosting, and iPage.

BlueHost

For its own operational efficiencies and purposes, Bluehost from time to time backs up data on its servers, but is under no obligation or duty to Subscriber to do so under these Terms. Bluehost will not attempt to back up accounts that exceed 50,000 files or 30 Gigs of space for any reason.

HostGator

If an account exceeds one hundred thousand (100,000) inodes it will be automatically removed from our backup system to avoid over-usage, however, databases will still be backed up as a courtesy in our sole discretion.

InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting maintains, as a convenience to its clients, regular automated data backups on accounts equal to or less than 10 gigabytes in total size. This service is included only with Business Class or Virtual Private Server hosting accounts and is provided at no additional charge. Hosting accounts greater than 10 gigabytes in size will not be included in regular data backups; this service is, however, available for an additional service charge for accounts exceeding the 10 gigabyte size limit.

iPage

iPage does not maintain backup copies of User Web sites or e-mail. iPage cannot guarantee that the contents of a Web site will never be deleted or corrupted, or that a backup of a Web site will always be available. IT IS THE USER’S SOLE RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE OFFLINE, BACK-UP COPIES OF THE USER’S WEB SITE AND USER CONTENT AND DATA. NOTE: IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT USERS BACKUP FILES OFFLINE, EVEN IF USER PURCHASES OR HAS PRODUCTS, SUCH AS SITE BACKUP AND RESTORE.

As you can see, BlueHost, HostGator, and InMotion Hosting offers free backups but it comes with a catch. Meanwhile, iPage do not offer free backups at all (but remember a 3-year iPage hosting plan costs 60% less than the other hosts).

So, always check whether the web hosting plan that you are planning to buy comes with a free data backup service and read the terms associated with it. Also, check whether their control panel has the option to create manual backups.

Most of the standard and premium cPanel web hosting companies (like BlueHost, InMotion Hosting, etc.) gives the option to create manual backups of your full web hosting account. But if it’s a low-cost web hosting plan then you might not get that option unless you pay for it.

For example, HostMetro.com offers an affordable cPanel web hosting (and it’s unlimited too). But they do not offer the “Backup” option in cPanel and it costs an extra $19.95/year. However, they do offer weekly automatic backups for accounts that are using less than 1 GB disk space though they do not guarantee it.

And yeah, always have your own local backups. Just in case.

3. Promotional Pricing

Promotional Pricing is one of the most underrated web hosting aspect. You probably noticed, by now, that almost all web hosting companies are running promotions 24 x 7 and 365 days a year. They run promotions like 20-50% OFF every single day and during special occasions like Black Friday, New Year, July 4th, etc. the discounts can be as high as 80-90%. It’s a good thing, right? Well, not necessarily. Here’s why (scrolls below).

What you should realize is that the discounts are applicable for the first billing term (or the initial term) only. The best example is iPage.com. As of today, the iPage Essential Hosting Plan (their unlimited hosting plan) costs just $23.88 for 1 year, and $47.76 for 2 years, and $71.64 for 3 years as the current promotion is 83% OFF.

It’s an affordable web hosting plan, right? Think again. Because the renewal costs are $155.40 for 1 year, $286.80 for 2 years, and $394.20 for 3 years. In other words, $155.40 per year for a mediocre web hosting plan when you can buy a premium web hosting plan for less than $120 per year.

Don’t be surprised if you didn’t read about it in one of the reviews by a blogger. If you didn’t sign up because of renewal pricing then it costs them an affiliate bounty of $100 (or more).

4. Auto-Renewal

Almost all web hosting plans renew your web hosting plan automatically unless you disabled it manually after signing up (yes, you can do it). It also means that they will renew your account even if you didn’t want to. So if you purchased a domain name or few add-ons like Domain Privacy, SSL, Backup, Security, etc. along with a web hosting plan then they will renew all of them and it will cost you accordingly.

Needless to say, you will be billed at regular pricing and NOT at the promotional pricing. The first thing that I do after purchasing a domain name or hosting or almost anything that comes with a recurring fee is disabling its automatic billing (unless I want it otherwise).

5. Money-back Guarantee

All web hosting companies offer a money-back guarantee of at least 30 days. It means that you can cancel your plan anytime within this period and you will get a full refund. However, most of the money-back guarantees also comes with a catch. For instance, if you purchased a domain name (or another add-on) along with the web hosting plan then you won’t get its refund.

The best example is again an iPage Essential Hosting Plan. iPage’s hosting plan came with an “Anytime Money-back Guarantee” when they launched the service. It means we can cancel our iPage account and get the full refund anytime, right? Wrong. They will issue a full refund only if you cancel the account within the first 30 days.

But still it’s good as we can cancel the account, say after 3 months, and get the balance amount, right? Wrong. There’s a cancellation fee of $35 and if you registered a domain name through iPage then there’s another $15 domain fee.

It means that, if the total cost of your iPage web hosting plan was $50 (including a domain name) then you do not get any refund at all. And if you cancelled the account within the 30-day period then you get a refund of $35 (and not the full $50) assuming that you registered a domain name as well during the signup process.

iPage is now offering a “30-Day Money-Back Guarantee” and not an “Anytime Money-Back Guarantee”. But the above terms are still the same. There’s still a $35 cancellation fee and $15 domain fee.

Now you know that the unconditional money-back guarantees are actually conditional, right?

That said, a 30-day money-back guarantee should be enough for you to try a new host. If you’re happy with their service then you can continue with them or else cancel it. For instance, the person who recommended InMotion Hosting to me claimed that they have better hardware and server performance when compared to HostGator.com and when I finally signed up I was convinced.

Because there was a significant page loading time improvement (as I compared the Pingdom test results before and after migration). And the 30-day period (actually InMotion Hosting offers a 90-day money back guarantee) was enough for me to assess their email and live chat support, performance, etc.

6. Cheap Web Hosting Plans

A cheap web hosting plan (say one costs less than $3 per month or $36 per year) is NOT necessarily the worst web hosting plan. For instance, the first web hosting plan that I purchased costed just $10 per year and it was enough for me to host a static HTML website plus to get my first @example.com email address.

That said, I didn’t consider hosting plans that are ultra-cheap on this comparison but I have included as many popular web hosts as I can — from all categories. You need to make sure that you are purchasing the hosting from a “brand” (even if it’s small) and not from an individual or someone who is reselling server space. It’s simply not reliable.

That’s why I have included some of the popular affordable web hosting plans (considering their first billing as well as renewal pricing). For instance, ASmallOrange.com (it’s an EIG brand) have a “tiny” web hosting plan that costs just $35 per year (for renewals as well). And it comes with 500 MB disk space and 5 GB bandwidth which I believe is enough for a personal website or a portfolio website.

So, if I want to start a personal blog that won’t attract hundreds of daily visits for the first 3 years then it’s a better choice for me (knowing that I can’t expect the server performance or features of a shared hosting plan by InMotion Hosting, SiteGround, etc.). However, you should buy only a standard web hosting plan (and never an affordable hosting plan) if your website means a lot to you.

Web Hosting Features: What You Should Know

I’m not a web hosting geek and I do not understand all the stuff related to web hosting. However, I do know — and can explain — the basic things surrounding a web hosting plan. And I believe you should also know about it before purchasing your first (or even second 😉 ) web hosting plan.

Here I will walk you through 15 web hosting terms and features that you will come across while you’re researching a web hosting company (or its hosting plans). It’s applicable for shared web hosting plans only and not for Reseller, VPS, Dedicated, etc. as I imagine its customers know what they are purchasing and what they are getting.

  1. Hosting Platforms — Linux & Windows
  2. Control Panel — cPanel, vDeck, Plesk, etc.
  3. Free Domain Name
  4. Disk Space
  5. Bandwidth
  6. Databases
  7. Subdomains
  8. Parked Domains
  9. Addon Domains
  10. Email Accounts
  11. FTP Accounts
  12. Free Website Migration
  13. 24/7 Technical Support — Live Chat, Email, Phone
  14. One-Click Script Installs — Fantastico, Softaculous, etc.
  15. Dedicated IP Address

Let me now briefly explore one-by-one for you.

1. Hosting Platforms — Linux & Windows

Linux and Windows hosting are the two most popular hosting platforms and both of them are reliable. So, it’s not about the performance. Also, just because you’re running Windows on your PC doesn’t mean that you should go for a Windows hosting. It doesn’t work that way. Instead, it’s all about your requirements and the kind of technologies that you want to use.

Linux is the most popular operating system in the world when it comes to web servers. It support almost all the common and popular programming languages like Perl, PHP, etc. However, if you want to host ASP.NET pages then you will need a Windows hosting. When it comes to cost, Linux hosting plans are cheaper (as Linux is free and open-source) than Windows hosting.

Some web hosting companies offer both Linux as well as Windows hosting plans while others support only one of these platform.

2. Control Panel — cPanel, vDeck, Plesk, etc.

The control panel offered by the web hosting company is the next thing that one should consider while selecting a web hosting plan. cPanel is the most popular (and most loved) control panel for the Linux platform (it’s not supported on Windows).

A cPanel based hosting is recommended as the most popular web hosting companies offer cPanel hosting and that makes website migrations hassle-free. Because migrating a website from a cPanel hosting to another cPanel hosting is very simple and most of the web hosting companies do it for free.

There are more control panels like Plesk, vDeck, etc. and then there are proprietary control panels (owned by the hosting companies) as well.

3. Free Domain Name

Most of the standard as well as premium web hosting plans (sometimes affordable hosting plans as well) offer a free domain name when you opt annual, biennial, or triennial billing. However, I would say you don’t go for it.

It’s better to buy a domain name from a domain registrar like GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com and hosting from a provider of your choice for two reasons. If you buy a domain name from a web hosting company (who is not a domain registrar) then they will charge you premium rates for domain renewals.

Also, when you cancel a web hosting plan they won’t issue a refund for the domain fee. So, it can cost you $15-$35 (depending upon the host). On the other side, if all your domain names are in one account (say with GoDaddy.com) then it’s a lot more easier to manage your domain names and switch hosting companies.

4. Disk Space

Disk Space is similar to the hard drive space available on your computer. The more space you have, the more files you can store. Likewise, if a web hosting plan comes with 1 GB disk space then it means you can store files whose size adds up to 1 GB.

So, you can’t upload 2,000 photos to your server (if each photo is of the size 1 MB). Needless to say, you can’t use your web hosting account as a cloud storage (as a backup service or to store large music/video files).

5. Bandwidth

Bandwidth is also known as Data Transfer and it’s similar to the bandwidth allocated by your Internet provider. Your Internet provider may offer you unlimited bandwidth or they can limit it to say 100 GB per month. When you exceed the allocated bandwidth, you have to stop using the Internet or pay for the additional usage.

Likewise, the amount of traffic (or visitors per month) that your website can handle ultimately depends upon the bandwidth allocated to your web hosting account. The more bandwidth it has, the more traffic load your website can handle.

6. Databases

Database is a collection of information and a database software like MySQL lets you store and retrieve data in an efficient way. When you scan a web hosting plan, you will almost definitely see that it has N number of databases (or it can be unlimited). So, what does that mean?

Basically, it tells you how many databases you are able to create on your account. One of the most popular database software is MySQL. So, if the web hosting plan shows 10 MySQL databases then it means you can create 10 MySQL databases.

The number of databases required depends upon your actual requirements. For instance, content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc. all require a database. However, if it’s a static HTML website then there’s every chance that you don’t use a database at all.

Ideally, you need one database to install one instance of certain application (like WordPress) though it’s possible to install several applications in a single database. So, if you plan to install 10 WordPress instances then ideally you should have 10 databases (unless you know and is comfortable to install it otherwise).

7. Subdomains

Subdomain as you probably know is a URL of a section of your website. For example, mail.google.com is a subdomain of google.com. The number of subdomains that you can create depends upon the web hosting plan. For instance, the starter plan of InMotion Hosting lets you create only 25 subdomains while its pro plan lets you create unlimited subdomains.

8. Parked Domains

Parked Domains lets you point additional domain names to your primary domain. For instance, I can park the domain name minterest.in and point it to minterest.com so that users who visit minterest.in will see it as a .IN website while users who visit minterest.com will see it as a .COM website (when both domain names points to the same IP address or directory on the server).

If the web hosting plan supports unlimited domain parking then it means that you can point as many domain names as you want to the primary website.

9. Addon Domains

Addon Domains lets you host multiple websites in a single web hosting account (provided your web hosting plan supports it). Web hosting companies brand it in different ways. Some hosting providers mention the number of “Addon Domains” that you can add to your hosting plan while others mention it as the number of “Websites” that you can host in your web hosting plan.

It’s a significant feature of a hosting plan and its number depends upon the hosting provider.

10. Email Accounts

Email Accounts need no introduction as it’s one reason why you purchase a domain name plus hosting plan, right? Anyway, the number of email accounts (you@yourdomainname.com) that you can create depends upon the hosting plan.

For instance, BlueHost lets you create only 100 email accounts in its most popular plan while an affordable host like HostMetro.com or Eleven2.com allows unlimited email accounts in all its hosting plans.

11. FTP Accounts

FTP (or File Transfer Protocol) is method that lets you access your files (on your server) using third-party FTP clients like FileZilla (the most popular and my personal favorite), Cyberduck, SmartFTP, etc. So, when you sign up for a web hosting plan, you will get the login details of your default FTP account and then you can create additional FTP accounts from your hosting control panel.

And the number of FTP Accounts that you can create depends upon your web hosting plan (it’s usually unlimited for most cPanel hosts). You will want to create additional FTP accounts when you want to give someone access to your server. Because you can create an FTP account with limited access (like to a specific directory only).

12. Free Website Migration

It’s alway the best to choose a web hosting provider that offers Free Website Migration (especially when you have large websites). All the popular cPanel web hosts offer free website migrations and it means they will migrate your website from your previous web host to their server for free (without any downtime). It’s an essential feature because if you have a large website then it may take several days to complete the migration if you were to do it by yourself.

Also, if your website is powered by a content management system (like WordPress) then there are few things that you should do after moving to a new host (for the website to actually work). When you leave the migration to your hosting company they will take care of it (without additional fees unless your website is extremely large and complex).

13. 24/7 Technical Support — Live Chat, Email, Phone

Technical Support is perhaps the next big aspect — after server performance — that everyone looks in a web host. Almost all major web hosting companies (small, medium, and large) offer technical support via Live Chat, Email, and Phone. And they may offer additional support via forums and social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) as well.

Anyhow, you should make sure that they offer 24/7 technical support via Live Chat and must also make sure that they resolve issues via email in a timely manner. Standard and premium web hosting companies offer Live Chat support 24/7. Meanwhile, the affordable hosts may provide live chat only during the day time (U.S. time zone). You need to make sure that the host provides 24/7 Live Chat support (if you really need it).

14. One-Click Script Installs — Fantastico, Softaculous, etc.

Most shared web hosting plans offer a commercial script library in your web hosting control panel (cPanel, vDeck, Plesk, etc.) that automates the installation of several open-source and commercial web applications like WordPress, Joomla, etc. and shopping carts like CubeCart, Zen Cart, etc. on your website.

If your web hosting plan do not have Fantastico, Softaculous, or another script library then you will have to install it manually every time you need it. And it’s obviously a hassle.

15. Dedicated IP Address

Some web hosting plans (including Shared) offer a Dedicated IP Address with their hosting plan. Dedicated IP Address is a unique address exclusively assigned for your web hosting account and it means you will have a unique identity on the web and that you’re not sharing your server with other users.

And those were the features that you should know. The list could have been a lot more bigger as almost all the web hosting companies add a lot of features with a “FREE” attached to it. For example, Free Domain Privacy, SSD, SSL Certificate, 99.99% Uptime, CDN, Malware Scanning, Security Seal, Website Builder, Templates, Cloud Storage, Marketing Tools, Advertising Credits, Search Engine Submission, Online Store, etc. What you need to know is that they’re just meant to make the hosting plan more attractive.

Web Hosting Deals: What You Need To Know

You probably know (or will know) that almost all web hosting companies are offering discounts (by way of deals, coupons, etc.) for the first billing term. Web hosting is a multi-billion dollar industry and companies are always competing with each other to provide the best deal. However, what you should realize is that the best offer is not necessarily the best offer indeed. Including the best offer given by the so-called best web hosting companies.

Web hosting is a complicated thing for a person who is alien to web development. And that makes it easy for them to trick a customer. I realized this because of HostGator.com back in 2009 or so during one of their “Black Friday” promotions, when a friend of mine pointed it out. They were offering superior hardware to normally priced hosting, and offered degraded hardware to “Black Friday” customers. That said, just because HostGator.com did it doesn’t mean in anyway that all hosting companies are the same. But remember, it was the best web hosting company then and yet it used to do it.

Web Hosting Comparison: Top 50 Web Hosting Companies & Plans — by Type, Price & Features

Here I have compared the over fifty web hosting companies and plans by type, price, and features. I can’t say if they are the bestest web hosting companies (actually no one can’t say that) as I haven’t tried all of them personally.

Anyhow, I have categorized different hosts based on their pricing (that’s why I have included the monthly, annual, biennial, and triennial pricing plans when it’s available) and types (Shared, Reseller, Cloud, VPS, Dedicated, Managed). And I believe that I have organized all of them in the best way possible.

Note: The comparison chart is not ranked and is not sorted based on any rating — it’s just a random order. Also, I haven’t personally tested the performance of all the web hosts listed here as this comparison is not based on technicalities. It’s purely based on features, pricing, user experience and some criterias that I have set personally.

Web Hosting Comparison (Shared Hosting — Affordable)

Affordable Hosting Plans are best suited for small as well as medium websites (with low traffic). If you are a beginner and is kickstarting your first website/blog then it’s a great fit as it doesn’t cost you more than $36-$100 per year. At the same time you can enjoy all the benefits of owning a website like your own server space plus custom email accounts. And can easily host all your websites in one account (provided you purchased a hosting plan that supports as many addon domains as you want).

Top 10 Affordable Shared Hosting Plans (Comparison)

CompaniesPrice ComparisonWeb Hosting Comparison Chart
Hawk Host
(Primary Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$4.99 (monthly)
$47.88 (annually)
$71.76 (biennially)
N/A (triennially)
$47.88/year (renewal)
10 GB Disk Space, Unlimited Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups
Comments :: SSD Storage; No Live Chat Support; Domain Name costs $10.95/year; When you apply a coupon code the discount is applicable for the first term as well as the renewals.
A Small Orange
(Small Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$5 (monthly)
$50 (annually)
$100 (biennially)
$150 (triennially)
$50/year (renewal)
5 GB Disk Space, 50 GB Bandwidth, Unlimited Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 90-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name (1st Year)
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: SSD Storage; There’s also a “Tiny Plan” (with 500 MB disk space and 5 GB bandwidth) to host one website and it costs $35 annually or $75 biennially or $105 triennially.
HostMetro
(Mega Max Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$7.95 (monthly)
$53.40 (annually)
$82.80 (biennially)
$88.20 (triennially)
$53.40/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: Price Lock Guarantee; $14.49 Setup Fees (for monthly plans); Domain Name costs $14.49/year after the first year.
Namecheap
(Value Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
N/A (monthly)
$9.88 (12 months)
N/A (24 months)
N/A (36 months)
$38.88/year (renewal)
20 GB Disk Space, Unlimited Bandwidth, 3 Websites, 50 Emails, Subdomains & Databases, Unlimited Parked Domains
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 14-Day Money Back Guarantee
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: SSD Storage; Domain Name costs $10.69/year; It’s possibly one of the cheapest web hosting plan — provided by a reputed domain registrar (a GoDaddy.com alternative).
MDDHosting
(Basic Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$7.50 (monthly)
$76.50 (annually)
$153 (biennially)
$229.50 (triennially)
$76.50/year (renewal)
5 GB Disk Space, 250 GB Bandwidth, Unlimited Websites, Emails, Subdomains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; No Live Chat Support; Domain Name costs $14.95/year; It’s an affordable web hosting package of a standard web hosting company but surprisingly there’s no live chat support.
MonsterMegs
(Professional)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$6.95 (monthly)
$71.40 (annually)
$142.80 (biennially)
$N/A (triennially)
$71.40/year (renewal)
10 GB Disk Space, 250 GB Bandwidth, Unlimited Websites, Emails, Subdomains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name (1st year)
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal & Bitcoin, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; No Live Chat Support; 2-Hour Support Response Guarantee (not verified but it says you can request a $1 credit if you didn’t get a response within 2 hours).
HostWinds
(Advanced Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$7.50 (monthly)
$66 (annually)
$120 (biennially)
$162 (triennially)
$66/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space & Bandwidth, 4 Websites, Unlimited Emails, Subdomains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 60-Day Money Back Guarantee
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: Free Dedicated IP Address; Domain Name costs $11.99/year; The pricing and 24/7 Live Chat support is attractive but their website looks really dull.
Eleven2
(SSD-100 Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$5.95 (monthly)
$59.40 (annually)
$85.68 (biennially)
$178.20 (triennially)
$59.40/year (renewal)
5 GB Disk Space, 50 GB Bandwidth, 10 Websites, Unlimited Emails, Subdomains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 60-Day Money Back Guarantee
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, Live Chat Support (but not 24/7)
Comments :: SSD Storage; Domain Name costs $15/year; You can choose a hosting location of your choice (U.S., Europe, or Asia) during the signup process.
Arvixe
(PersonalClass Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$7 (monthly)
$60 (annually)
$96 (biennially)
N/A (triennially)
$60/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space & Bandwidth, 6 Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux & Windows, Softaculous, 60-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name For Life
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: Free $100 Google Adwords Credit (U.S. & CA only); Free $100 Bing Ads Credit (U.S. only). The pricing is attractive and they also offer a “Returning Customer Discount” (when you purchase additional hosting accounts).
CrocWeb
(Egg Croc Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$5.95 (monthly)
$59.40 (annually)
$94.80 (biennially)
$106.20 (triennially)
$59.40/year (renewal)
10 GB Disk Space, Unlimited Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 60-Day Money Back Guarantee
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups
Comments :: SSD Storage; No Live Chat Support; Domain Name costs $11.95/year; It’s a Canadian web hosting provider.
One.com
(Starter Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
N/A (monthly)
$3-13.80 (12 months)
N/A (24 months)
N/A (36 months)
$22.68/year (renewal)
15 GB Disk Space, Unlimited Bandwidth, 1 Website, Unlimited Emails & Subdomains, 1 Database
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, 15-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name (1st year)
$13.80 Setup Fees (when 1st year is free), Accepts PayPal, Free Data Backups
Comments :: Free SSL, Free $100 Google AdWords Credit, No Live Chat Support; Domain Name costs $13.80/year after the first year; Not sure whether they’re offering free website migration or not.
WebHostFace
(Face Extra Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$5.45 (monthly)
$65.40 (annually)
$130.80 (biennially)
$196.20 (triennially)
$65.40/year (renewal)
20 GB Disk Space, Unlimited Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name For Life
Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: SSD Storage, SSH Access, $9.95 Setup Fees (for monthly plans); There are also Lifetime Hosting Plans (a limited offer) and that’s the primary reason why I have included WebHostFace.

Permalink: Web Hosting Comparison (Shared Hosting — Affordable)

Web Hosting Comparison (Shared Hosting — Standard)

Standard Hosting Plans are best suited for websites that are getting more than 30,000 visits a month. And it obviously costs more than $100 per year although the first year cost could be much less than $100. And that exactly is the reason why I have included the renewal pricing as well on this comparison chart. Because majority of the users end up buying a web hosting plan based on their first billing only to realize later that the renewal pricing is actually 2x-5x more than the welcome pricing.

Top 10 Standard Shared Hosting Plans (Comparison)

CompaniesPrice ComparisonWeb Hosting Comparison Chart
InMotion Hosting
(Power Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
N/A (monthly)
$83.88 (12 months)
$150.96 (24 months)
N/A (36 months)
$131.88/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space & Bandwidth, 6 Websites, Unlimited Emails, 100 Subdomains, 26 Parked Domains, 50 Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 90-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name (1st year)
Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; Free Advertising Credits (worth up to $250); Domain Name costs $14.99/year after the first year.
GreenGeeks
(One Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$9.95 (monthly)
$95.40 (annually)
$166.80 (biennially)
$178.20 (triennially)
$95.40/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name For Life
Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; $15 Setup Fees (for monthly plans); They’re offering only one shared hosting plan.
StableHost
(Pro Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$8.95 (monthly)
$95.40 (annually)
$166.80 (biennially)
$234 (triennially)
$95.40/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 45-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name For Life
Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups
Comments :: SSD Storage; No Live Chat Support; Domain Name costs $14.95/year; You can choose a hosting location of your choice (Phoenix, Chicago, or Amsterdam) during the signup process.
WebHostingHub
(Spark Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
N/A (monthly)
$83.88 (12 months)
$143.76 (24 months)
$179.64 (36 months)
$107.88/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space & Bandwidth, 2 Websites, Unlimited Emails, 25 Subdomains, 5 Parked Domains, 10 Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 90-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name (1st year)
Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; Free Advertising Credits; WebHostingHub is a sister brand of InMotion Hosting; Domain Name costs $11.99/year after the first year.
WireNine
(Plus Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$15 (monthly)
$168 (annually)
$336 (biennially)
$504 (triennially)
$168/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 60-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name (1st year)
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups
Comments :: SSD Storage; No Live Chat Support; Free $100 Google AdWords Credit; Domain Name costs $12/year after the first year.
WebHostingBuzz
(Buzz Power)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$26.85 (every 3 months)
$95.40 (annually)
$166.80 (biennially)
N/A (triennially)
$95.40/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 45-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name For Life
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: <10 Second Live Chat Response (not verified); <30 Minute Ticket Response (not verified); Accepts Webmoney.
WestHost
(Preferred Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$39 (3 months)
$66 (12 months)
$108 (24 months)
$144 (36 months)
$132/year (renewal)
200 GB Disk Space, 2,500 GB Bandwidth, Unlimited Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name For Life
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: SSH Access; Can send only 100 emails per hour; Unlimited email accounts applicable only for the primary domain name.
TMDHosting
(Unlimited Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$9.85 (monthly)
$82.20 (annually)
$140.40 (biennially)
N/A (triennially)
$82.20/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 60-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name For Life
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups
Comments :: SSD Storage; No Live Chat Support; You can choose a hosting location of your choice (U.S., Amsterdam, or Singapore) during the signup process.
midPhase
(Business Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$11.95 (monthly)
$65.70 (12 months)
$119.40 (24 months)
$161.10 (36 months)
$131.40/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name (1st year)
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: Free Dedicated IP Address; Free SSL; Nightly Account Backups; It’s not known whether they are offering a free domain for life.
Site5
(hostPro + Turbo Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$13.95 (monthly)
$155.40 (annually)
$286.80 (biennially)
N/A (triennially)
$155.40/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 45-Day Money Back Guarantee
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: No SSD; SSH Access; Free Dedicated IP Address; Free Shared SSL Certificate; Domain Name costs $12/year; You can choose from over 50 hosting locations but they charge you $1 per month.
A2 Hosting
(Swift Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$12.99 (monthly)
$64.62 (12 months)
$117.48 (24 months)
N/A (36 months)
$131.88/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; Free $50 Bing Ads Credits; Domain Name costs $14.95/year; You can choose a hosting location of your choice (U.S., Europe, or Asia) during the signup process.
BlueHost
(Plus Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
N/A (monthly)
$95.40 (12 months)
$166.80 (24 months)
$214.20 (36 months)
$155.88/year (renewal)
150 GB Disk Space, Unlimited Bandwidth, 10 Websites, 100 Emails, 50 Subdomains, 20 Parked Domains
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name (1st year)
Accepts PayPal, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: Domain Name costs $15.99/year after the first year; No SSD; Website Migration costs $149.99; Maximum 1,000 database tables; BlueHost is super-popular but it’s not definitely the best as it costs more, provides less.

Permalink: Web Hosting Comparison (Shared Hosting — Standard)

Web Hosting Comparison (Shared Hosting — Premium)

Premium Hosting Plans are best suited for high-traffic websites that are getting more than 100,000 visits a month. It can cost up to $360 per year depending upon the web hosting company and plan. Again, the first year pricing could be 20-50% less than the regular pricing.

Top 10 Premium Shared Hosting Plans (Comparison)

CompaniesPrice ComparisonWeb Hosting Comparison Chart
InMotion Hosting
(Pro Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$19.99 (monthly)
$125.88 (12 months)
N/A (24 months)
N/A (36 months)
$191.88/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 90-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name (1st year)
Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; $40 Setup Fees (for monthly plans); Free Advertising Credits (worth up to $250); Domain Name costs $14.99/year after the first year.
MDDHosting
(Premium — Basic Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$25 (monthly)
$255 (annually)
$510 (biennially)
$765 (triennially)
$255/year (renewal)
5 GB Disk Space, 250 GB Bandwidth, Unlimited Websites, Emails, Subdomains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; No Live Chat Support; Domain Name costs $14.95/year; It lets you use up to two full CPU cores.
SiteGround
(GoGeek Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$14.95 (1 month trial)
$179.40 (12 months)
$358.80 (24 months)
$538.20 (36 months)
$359.40/year (renewal)
30 GB Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name For Life
Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; Free SSL (for one year); $24.95 Setup Fees (for one month trial plan); You can choose a hosting location of your choice (Chicago, London, Amsterdam, or Singapore) during the signup process.
Media Temple
(Pro Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$30 (monthly)
$300 (12 months)
$570 (24 months)
$810 (36 months)
$360/year (renewal)
20 GB Disk Space, 1 TB Bandwidth, 10 Websites, 10 Databases
Grid Control Panel, Linux Platform; One-click App Installs, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Accepts PayPal, Free Data Backups, Live Chat Support (not verified if it’s 24/7 or not)
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; No cPanel; Domain Name costs $15/year; Free 1 Google Apps for Work email (with annual plan); Website Migration costs $150; Media Temple is super-costly and is owned by GoDaddy.
A2 Hosting
(Turbo Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$24.99 (monthly)
$123.42 (12 months)
$223.32 (24 months)
N/A (36 months)
$251.88/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains, Parked Domains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; Free $50 Bing Ads Credits; Domain Name costs $14.95/year; You can choose a hosting location of your choice (U.S., Europe, or Asia) during the signup process.
BlueHost
(Business Pro Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
N/A (monthly)
$227.40 (12 months)
$382.80 (24 months)
$502.20 (36 months)
$311.88/year (renewal)
Unlimited Disk Space, Bandwidth, Websites, Emails, Subdomains & Parked Domains
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name (1st year)
Accepts PayPal, Free Data Backups, 24/7 Live Chat Support
Comments :: SSH Access; Free Dedicated IP Address; Free SSL; Free SiteBackup Pro; Domain Name costs $15.99/year after the first year; No SSD; Website Migration costs $149.99; Maximum 3,000 database tables.
MonsterMegs
(Enterprise 1 Plan)
Linux Platform
cPanel Control Panel
» Sign Up
$34.95 (monthly)
$359.40 (annually)
$718.80 (biennially)
$N/A (triennially)
$359.40/year (renewal)
25 GB Disk Space, 1 TB GB Bandwidth, Unlimited Websites, Emails, Subdomains & Databases
cPanel Control Panel, Linux Platform, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, Free Domain Name (1st year)
No Setup Fees, Accepts PayPal & Bitcoin, Free Website Migration, Free Data Backups
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; Free Dedicated IP Address; Free SSL; No Live Chat Support; 2-Hour Support Response Guarantee (you can request a $1 credit if you didn’t get a response within 2 hours); You can choose a hosting location of your choice (U.S. or Europe) during the signup process; Domain Name costs $15.95/year after the first year.

 

Web Hosting Comparison (Reseller Hosting Plans)

Reseller Hosting Plans are best suited for web designers and developers who manages the websites of their clients or webmasters who own multiple websites. Reseller hosting is costlier than a shared hosting plan and its pricing can start at $10-15 per month though it costs at least $25 per month for a reliable reseller plan. And it can also cost more than a VPS Hosting as it’s all about disk space. However, you still need a VPS hosting (or even Dedicated) if want to host and manage multiple large websites (that’s individually getting thousands of visits per day).

Top 10 Reseller Web Hosting Plans (Comparison)

CompaniesPrice ComparisonWeb Hosting Comparison Chart
Hawk Host
(Bronze Plan)
Linux Platform
» Sign Up
$18.99 (monthly)
$191.88 (annually)
$311.76 (biennially)
N/A (triennially)
$191.88/year (renewal)
15 GB Disk Space, Unlimited Bandwidth, 50 cPanel Accounts
WHM, cPanel, WHMCS, Softaculous or Fantastico, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; Free Website Migration; Free Daily Offsite Backups; Live Chat Support; Overselling Enabled.
InMotion Hosting
(R-1000S Plan)
Linux Platform
» Sign Up
$27.99 (monthly)
$268.68 (12 months)
N/A (24 months)
N/A (36 months)
$335.88/year (renewal)
80 GB Disk Space, 800 GB Bandwidth, Unlimited cPanel Accounts
WHM, cPanel, WHMCS, Softaculous, 90-Day Money Back Guarantee
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; 24/7 Live Chat Support; Free Data Backups; Free Dedicated IP Address; Free eNom Domain Reseller Account; Free Website Migration (up to 30 cPanel account transfers); Free Domain Name (1st year).
GreenGeeks
(Seed Plan)
Linux Platform
» Sign Up
$19.95 (monthly)
$239.40 (annually)
N/A (biennially)
N/A (triennially)
$239.40/year (renewal)
50 GB Disk Space, 500 GB Bandwidth, Unlimited cPanel Accounts
WHM, cPanel, ClientExec, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; 24/7 Live Chat Support; Courtesy Nightly Backups; Free eNom Domain Reseller Account; Free Website Migration.
TMDHosting
(Standard Plan)
Linux Platform
» Sign Up
$24.95 (monthly)
$239.40 (annually)
N/A (biennially)
N/A (triennially)
$239.40/year (renewal)
65 GB Disk Space, 700 GB Bandwidth, Unlimited cPanel Accounts
WHM, cPanel, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; Free Domain Name For Life; Free Website Migration (up to 5 cPanel account transfers); <15 Minute Ticket Response (not verified).
WebHostingBuzz
(Reseller Light Plan)
Linux Platform
» Sign Up
$12.95 (monthly)
$131.40 (annually)
$238.80 (biennially)
N/A (triennially)
$131.40/year (renewal)
50 GB Disk Space, 5 TB Bandwidth, 50 cPanel Accounts
WHM, cPanel, Softaculous, 45-Day Money Back Guarantee
Comments :: SSH Access; 24/7 Live Chat Support; Free Domain Name For Life; Free Website Migration; WHMCS costs $8.50 per month.
A Small Orange
(Small Plan)
Linux Platform
» Sign Up
$15 (monthly)
$150 (annually)
$300 (biennially)
$450 (triennially)
$150/year (renewal)
20 GB Disk Space, 250 GB Bandwidth, 30 cPanel Accounts
WHM, cPanel, 90-Day Money Back Guarantee
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; 24/7 Live Chat Support; Free Domain Name (1st Year).
WebHostFace
(Reseller Standard Plan)
Linux Platform
» Sign Up
$19.95 (monthly)
$191.52 (12 months)
$N/A (24 months)
N/A (36 months)
$239.40/year (renewal)
40 GB Disk Space, 400 GB Bandwidth, Unlimited cPanel Accounts
WHM, cPanel, WHMCS, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Comments :: SSH Access; Daily Backups; 24/7 Live Chat Support; Free Domain Name For Life; You can choose a hosting location of your choice (U.S., Europe, or Asia) during the signup process.
Site5
(Starter Plan)
Linux Platform
» Sign Up
$23.95 (monthly)
$287.40 (annually)
N/A (biennially)
N/A (triennially)
$287.40/year (renewal)
50 GB Disk Space, 500 GB Bandwidth, Unlimited cPanel Accounts
WHM, cPanel, ClientExec or Blesta, Softaculous, 45-Day Money Back Guarantee
Comments :: SSH Access; Free 3 Dedicated IP Addresses; Free Shared SSL Certificate; 24/7 Live Chat Support; Free eNom or OpenSRS Domain Reseller Account; Free Website Migration; Nightly Backups; 6-Hour Support Response Guarantee (you can request a credit if you didn’t get a response within 6 hours).
MDDHosting
(Basic Plan)
Linux Platform
» Sign Up
$34.50 (monthly)
$351.90 (annually)
$703.80 (biennially)
$1,055.70 (triennially)
$351.90/year (renewal)
25 GB Disk Space, 500 GB Bandwidth, 25 cPanel Accounts
WHM, cPanel, WHMCS, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; Free Shared SSL Certificate; Automatic Daily Backups, Free Website Migration; Overselling Enabled.
Eleven2
(R-100 Plan)
Linux Platform
» Sign Up
$19.95 (monthly)
$150.82 (12 months)
$268.13 (24 months)
$351.92 (36 months)
$215.46/year (renewal)
100 GB Disk Space, 1 TB Bandwidth, Unlimited cPanel Accounts
WHM, cPanel, WHMCS or ClientExec, 60-Day Money Back Guarantee
Comments :: Multiple Backups; Domain & SSL Reseller Account; Free Dedicated IP Address; Free Website Migration (up to 20 cPanel account transfers); Live Chat Support; You can choose a hosting location of your choice (U.S., Europe, or Asia) during the signup process.
midPhase
(Basic Plan)
Linux Platform
» Sign Up
$24.95 (monthly)
$269.52 (annually)
N/A (biennially)
N/A (triennially)
$269.52/year (renewal)
50 GB Disk Space, 500 GB Bandwidth, Unlimited cPanel Accounts
WHM, cPanel, WHMCS, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Comments :: SSH Access; Free Dedicated IP Address; Free 10 Dedicated SSL Certificates; 24/7 Live Chat Support; Nightly Backups.
A2 Hosting
(Produce Plan)
Linux Platform
» Sign Up
$29.99 (monthly)
$299.88 (annually)
$575.76 (biennially)
$719.64 (triennially)
$299.88/year (renewal)
60 GB Disk Space, 600 GB Bandwidth, Unlimited cPanel Accounts
WHM, cPanel, Softaculous, 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Comments :: SSD Storage; SSH Access; Free Dedicated IP Address; 24/7 Live Chat Support; Free eNom Domain Reseller Account; Free Website Migration; WHMCS costs $10 per month.

 

Web Hosting Comparison (VPS Hosting Plans)

VPS Hosting Plans are best suited for websites that are getting more than 100,000 visits a month. It can also be a good choice for web designers and developers who want to host and manage multiple high-traffic websites.

Top 10 VPS Hosting Plans (Comparison)

CompaniesPlan & PriceWeb Hosting Comparison Chart
InMotion Hosting
» Sign Up
VPS-1000S Plan
$44.99 (monthly)
60 GB Disk Space (SSD), 2 TB Bandwidth, 4 GB RAM
Comments :: Free 2 Dedicated IP Addresses; Free cPanel & WHM License; Optional Root Access.
GreenGeeks
» Sign Up
1 GB RAM Plan
$39.95 (monthly)
25 GB Disk Space (SSD), 1 TB Bandwidth, 4 CPU Cores, 1 GB RAM
Comments :: Free cPanel & WHM License; Full Root Access.
Hawk Host
» Sign Up
Basic Plan
$18 (monthly)
30 GB Disk Space (SSD), 750 GB Bandwidth, 1 GB RAM
Comments :: Equal Share CPU; Hawk Host Control Panel; Full Root Access; cPanel/WHM costs $10/month.
SiteGround
» Sign Up
Entry Plan
$60 (monthly)
20 GB Disk Space (SSD), 5 TB Bandwidth, 1 CPU Core @ 3 GHz, 2 GB RAM
Comments :: Free Dedicated IP Address; Free cPanel & WHM License; Free CDN.
TMDHosting
» Sign Up
VPS 1 Plan
$35.95 (monthly)
40 GB Disk Space, 2 TB Bandwidth, 2 CPU Cores @ 1.8 GHz, 1 GB RAM + 128 MB Burstable RAM
Comments :: Free cPanel & WHM License; Full Root Access.
WebHostingBuzz
» Sign Up
VPS1 Plan
$14.95 (monthly)
20 GB Disk Space, 250 GB Bandwidth, 1 CPU Core, 1 GB RAM
Comments :: Free Dedicated IP Address; Free cPanel & WHM License; Full Root Access.
StableHost
» Sign Up
VZ 1GB Plan
$9.95 (monthly)
40 GB Disk Space (SSD), 2 TB Bandwidth, 1 CPU Core, 1 GB RAM
Comments :: Free cPanel License; Full Root Access.
WireNine
» Sign Up
2 GB RAM Plan
$60 (monthly)
40 GB Disk Space (SSD), 2 TB Bandwidth, 2 CPU Cores, 2 GB RAM
Comments :: Free cPanel License; Full Root Access.
BlueHost
» Sign Up
Standard Plan
$29.99 (monthly)
30 GB Disk Space (SAN), 1 TB Bandwidth, 2 CPU Cores, 2 GB RAM
Comments :: Free Dedicated IP Address; Free cPanel & WHM License; Full Root Access.
WebHostFace
» Sign Up
Face VPS 1 Plan
$9.95 (monthly)
20 GB Disk Space, 1 TB Bandwidth, 1 CPU Core, 1 GB RAM
Comments :: Free Private SSL; Free Dedicated IP Address; Full Root Access.
MDDHosting
» Sign Up
Basic Plan
$49.50 (monthly)
20 GB Disk Space (SSD), 500 GB Bandwidth, 1 CPU Core @ 2+ GHz, 1 GB RAM + 1 GB Burstable RAM
Comments :: Free 2 Dedicated IP Addresses; Free cPanel & WHM License; Full Root Access.
midPhase
» Sign Up
VPS1GB Plan
$12 (monthly)
25 GB Disk Space (SSD), 3 TB Bandwidth, 4 CPU Cores, 1 GB RAM
Comments :: cPanel costs $10/month.

 

Cloud Hosting Plans

Cloud Hosting Plans are best suited when you actually want to take advantage of its benefits (like scalability and reliability). Otherwise, a VPS plan could be a better choice for you as it’s cheaper than a cloud hosting.

Dedicated Hosting Plans

Dedicated Hosting Plans are best suited for eCommerce or websites that are getting millions of visits a month. And it costs at least $100 per month. Needless to say, you need an in-house system administrator to manage your server or you need to outsource it.

Managed Hosting: Premium Managed VPS & Dedicated Hosting Plans

Premium Managed VPS & Dedicated Hosting Plans are recommended for companies (or even individuals) who don’t have an in-house IT team or the technical knowledge for server management. When you buy a managed server, the technical support team of the hosting company will customize the server to meet your requirements.

Managed WordPress Hosting Plans

Managed WordPress Hosting Plans are best suited for individuals and businesses who need a dedicated server but at the same time they don’t have an in-house technical team to manage it. When you buy a managed WordPress hosting plan, your web hosting provider will take care of all the technical aspects of your website (including server support, security, maintenance, etc.). And it’s easily one of the most expensive web hosting plan.

Managed WordPress Hosting Plan offered by different companies are more or less the same in terms of features. Most of them comes with the following features: daily/weekly backups, scalability, security, automatic upgrades, staging, cdn, etc. (either as standard or as an optional feature depending upon the pricing and package).

However, the final pricing depends entirely upon the type of your website, components with the website, traffic, etc. So, I’m just outlining only the monthly pricing and basic features included in the primary package of some of the most popular WordPress hosting companies. Here you go:

  • Synthesis — Pricing starts at $47/month — 20 GB Disk Space, 2 TB Bandwidth, 10,000 Visits/Day, 1 WordPress Install.
  • Pressidium — Pricing starts at $24.90/month — 10 GB Disk Space (SSD), 30,000 Visits/Month, 3 WordPress Installs, CDN (costs $10/month).
  • WPEngine — Pricing starts at $29/month — 10 GB Disk Space, 25,000 Visits/Month, 1 WordPress Install, CDN (costs $19.99/month).
  • Liquid Web — Pricing starts at $89/month — 100 GB Disk Space (SSD), Unlimited Visitors, 5 WordPress Installs, CDN (optional).
  • Pagely — Pricing starts at $64/month — 10 GB Disk Space, 10 GB Bandwidth, 3 WordPress Installs, Free CDN.
  • Pressable — Pricing starts at $25/month — 15,000 Visits/Month, 5 WordPress Installs, Free CDN.
  • Flywheel — Pricing starts at $15/month — 5 GB Disk Space, 250 GB Bandwidth, 5,000 Visits/Month, 1 WordPress Install, CDN (costs $10/month).
  • WordPress.com VIP — Pricing starts at $5,000/month.

Disclosure: I have used affiliate links on this blog post but it didn’t influence my views in anyway.

And The Perfect Web Hosting Company Is…

Just kidding. There’s no such thing as a perfect web hosting company. And I hope you have already figured it out by now. Anyway, I just wanted to give you my perspective about ‘perfect web hosting company’. I would say, you need to select a web hosting plan based on your actual requirements and budget. If you are unsure about it then the best thing is to get help from your geeky friend or ask on a web hosting forum.

For instance, iPage is one of the cheapest hosting plan out there. You can get a 3-year web hosting plan for under $60 (or even less if there is flash sale). And it’s enough to host a personal website that you do not need after 3 years or if you know how to migrate to another host after the 3 year term.

HostMetro, Eleven 2, and A Small Orange are attractive if you are looking for an affordable cPanel Web Hosting because they do not welcome you with an “80% OFF” sale and then suddenly bill you a premium for renewal. I have mentioned those 3 companies as they’re cPanel hosts and their renewal pricing is at least 50% less than that of iPage. Again, all these hosts are good for niche websites or personal websites or small business websites that’s receiving less than 10,000 visits (or maybe up to 30,000 visits) a month.

If you ask me, I started with a 10 MB shared web hosting plan (yes, 10 MB) back in 2004 and it was enough for me. It costed just $12/year and I stayed with them for a year or two. And then I switched my hosts several times a year for different domains. And it continued until 2007, when I purchased a HostGator reseller hosting (as I owned and managed several websites).

HostGator reseller hosting was good enough for me and I stayed with them until 2014, when they started suspending my account for account overages (without a warning). And then I moved to a shared hosting plan by InMotion Hosting (recommended by a web hosting geek on Twitter). It was good and offered superior performance and support (when compared to HostGator).

However, I was forced to upgrade to a VPS plan, again due to account overage issue. But I was still happy with InMotion Hosting as unlike HostGator.com they NEVER suspended my account. So I upgraded my InMotion shared hosting plan to a VPS plan (and it’s been 6 months or so and counting).

Just in case you don’t know, account overage is something that’s inevitable and it can happen with all hosting companies. It basically means that, we are using more resources than that is allocated. It’s just that the allocation varies according to your hosting plan which ultimately depends upon the pricing.

Closing Thoughts

The first version of this article was a simple price comparison chart of the top web hosting companies and today I just wanted to update it. However, it’s the gazillion ‘biased’ web hosting reviews by different bloggers and websites that inspired me to take the comparison to its next level.

Finally, a quick reminder. You can’t expect the performance of a premium hosting like InMotion Hosting or SiteGround from iPage.com or HostMetro.com. Because then it will be like comparing apples with oranges and that’s exactly what every other bloggers are doing.

Again, I was not recommending InMotion Hosting, or SiteGround, or iPage, or HostMetro, or whatever as it’s impossible to recommend a web host without knowing your exact requirements.

Source: Minterest