Best Web Hosting Review – Which Is Best?
If you run a business or are thinking of starting one, you will need a website.
This makes web hosting a necessity, and it is no longer a non-compulsory frill like before. Our world is now always connected, and this dictates that businesses have an online presence.
In fact, even the small local startups like barber shops or mom & pop stores will need to be accessed over the internet. At the very least, they will need a page showing their location and working hours.
In this age and era, word of mouth can only go so far.
People find new businesses on the internet via Google and other social media platforms. If you have a website, you stand a chance of people knowing about you and your business. Every person that finds your website is a potential customer or traffic that can be utilized.
Simply put, a website helps you reach more people, which in return means more business!
Obviously, web hosting is not just about business startups.
You can also host a personal site or a blog.
This guide explains the basics and types of web hosting, summarizes the features of a good host, and outlines the best web hosting services in the market today.
What is web hosting?
In order for your website to be accessible in the WWW (World Wide Web), you will need someplace to host it.
A web hosting service provider provides this place or space. Web hosting is a service that enables business owners and individuals to put their websites on the web. A web host or a web hosting service provider is any company that offers the necessary mechanics and facilities needed for a website to go live over the internet.
When you subscribe to a hosting service, you are basically getting space to store your site’s data files.
Users can access the files via a browser such that your website is up and active on the internet.
Web hosting service is offered by several companies that have suitable technology to host your website adequately.
A web host is accountable for the security, server maintenance, and running the appropriate software so that data can be readily accessed.
All websites on the internet use web hosting providers to host their sites. Even the giant streaming sites like Netflix (hosted on Amazon) and online banks like PayPal (hosted on Google Cloud hosting) outsource to other companies for their web hosting needs.
There are only a few sites like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon that are fully independent as they are able to host their services on their own platforms.
They do this because they have enough technical and monetary resources to handle this huge task. Else all other companies and individuals (like us) use web hosting service providers to host their sites.
How Web Hosting Works
Web hosting involves storing your website files on a unique computer known as the server.
The server makes your website’s files to be freely available on the web so anyone can see your site. Internet users can access your website when they key in your website address or domain name on their browser.
A connection will be established between their computer and your server, and the web pages are delivered via the browser.
Your web host is responsible for the server running 24/7 to ensure that your files are always accessible.
The server is equipped with the necessary hardware and software (webserver) needed for your website to run smoothly.
How much space you buy or rent on a web server is determined by the size of your website.
If you are just getting started, the chances are that you only need a small share of the server. However, as your site grows and your traffic increases, web hosting providers have various plans to cater for different sizes of websites.
The server can be accessed through a special interface called the Control panel (CPanel).
It makes it easier for you to access and upload files. And although some providers have customized interfaces for their service, Cpanel is the most common.
What You Need To Host Your Website
To host your website, there are two vital things that you will need; a web hosting service and a domain name.
Like we already established, a web hosting service will avail servers where you can host your website files. A web host caters to the technical bit and offers website owners with user-friendly tools to help them run their websites without hassles.
Now that leaves us with how users are going to access your hosted website.
This is where the domain name makes a mark.
What is a domain name and how to get one for your site?
The domain name is a unique address for your website with which internet users can reach your web pages.
A good example is facebook.com and google.com.
Generally, a domain name is a user-friendly way of connecting the visitors’ browsers to the web server where your site is hosted.
Most web hosts will require you to have a domain name for them to host your site.
However, if you don’t own one, they can help you purchase one. Some web hosting service providers will even give you a free domain, at least for the first year.
A user can also buy a domain from one of the domain registrars.
These are institutions licensed to sell domain name registrations. A good example is Domain.com and Namecheap.
Types of web hosting
Most web hosting providers offer different types of hosting services to cater to the needs of various customers.
A good web host will serve all types of websites, whether it is a simple blog site or a huge online business website.
A simple website will run efficiently only with a few resources.
This is contrary to a bigger and more popular site that requires more resources for all its operations to run smoothly.
It is always advisable to start small and eventually upgrade to a more advanced plan when your website grows and gets higher traffic.
Here are the most common types of web hosting services:
Shared hosting service is the most common solution to several web hosting needs.
It is best suitable for small and simple websites such as blogs or small businesses. For this kind of hosting, several users are sharing one server; hence the term “Shared.” Resources such as memory capacity, processing power, storage, and others are distributed among all the websites hosted on a shared server.
The only limitation for this hosting is that if websites hosted on the same server as yours take up more resources, your website might slow down.
Web hosts typically provide more than one plan for each type of hosting to cater for the growth of your websites. However, a plan with more resources will obviously cost more.
WordPress hosting is a type of shared hosting service that is designed only to support WordPress websites.
The server is configured to assume the role of a designated caregiver of your WordPress website. The result of the highly optimized configuration is that your site will run faster and with minimal problems.
On a managed WordPress hosting platform, the web host is responsible for the backups, updates, and caching of your site.
This gives you access to more time and resources to build your website, generate content, and basically grow your business.
WordPress hosting usually comes with other WordPress-related features such as meticulous themes, drag and drop website builders, and specific developer software.
When you are using a VPS hosting, commonly known as Virtual Private Server hosting, you are still using a shared server with other websites. However, for this type of hosting, your provider allocates you an entirely separate portion on the shared server.
You get a set of flexible resources that can handle huge traffic on your website.
Your dedicated private server can be managed from your web host control panel. With VPS hosting, you get a taste of both shared and dedicated hosting. Therefore, you can enjoy affordable hosting solutions and still have access to reserved server resources and server space.
VPS hosting is most suitable for middle-sized ventures with fast-growing websites and traffic.
Cloud hosting is, at present, the most dependable hosting solution in the industry.
When you subscribe to a cloud hosting service, your provider offers you a number of servers. The files and resources of your websites are replicated on every server you are allocated.
The set-up is such that if one of your cloud servers is experiencing a problem or is committed, the traffic will be rerouted to another of your servers.
The outcome is that your website has almost no downtime all year round. This type of hosting is most suitable if you own a huge and very popular website.
When you go for dedicated hosting, a web host provides you with a whole physical server exclusively for your website.
This type of hosting grunts you remarkable flexibility over how you want to use the space and manage your site.
You can configure the dedicated server however you want to, install whichever operating system you choose, and run whatever software you want.
Basically, you can set-up the whole hosting environment to suit the needs of your business or website.
Purchasing a dedicated hosting service is just as incredible as hosting your site on a server you own. However, this one will come with technical support offered by your web hosting provider.
Dedicated hosting is most appropriate for large online businesses that have huge traffic daily.
Features to look for in a web hosting provider
Times when you only had to consider data transfer and storage space to choose the best web hosting service are gone.
Today, you have to conduct a complete research on the service providers and the extras available when deciding on the right web host for your business.
The process can be challenging, yet it is very important that the provider you pick and the package you subscribe to, be right for your business now and even as you grow.
In any case, your website’s performance, consistency, and security depend on the web host you go for.
All the same, it is vital to note that different web hosts are best suited to host various types of websites.
However, there are some vital factors that you must consider before choosing a web hosting service provider. Here are some:
Server Reliability and uptime scores
This is perhaps the most important factor when choosing a hosting provider.
It is crucial that a provider have powerful servers and stable connection to support the availability of your website over the internet always.
When a web host has poor servers and unsteady network connection, your website will likely go offline often. This denies you maximum viewership from your clients and can negatively affect your business.
Furthermore, frequent downtimes affect search engine rankings like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
It is important that you choose a web hosting provider with a decent uptime score. Decent web hosts have an average uptime score of 99.5% and above.
Server speed determines your website response time. A fast loading site enhances the user experience and ensures that your customers are happy.
If your clients are happy, you can always expect them to be back and perhaps even recommend your site to other people.
Therefore, a fast-loading website means more users, more clients, and even more business and profits. Always go for a web host with reputable server speeds.
How effective and responsive is a company’s support staff?
Support is a critical subject, and we advise that you choose a provider with 24/7 live support.
From experience, companies with a phone, live chat, and a social media presence offer faster assistance as opposed to ticket and email systems. It is an awful feeling to be stuck in queues when your website is mysteriously offline.
Web hosts with an in-house support department offer better assistance than those with an outsourced support service. This is because they have a better understanding of the company’s operations.
Web hosting security is a vital factor for any website.
When you are running a personal blog or a far-reaching international business, security will always carry some weight. Some web hosts will offer security features (SSL) for free and others at an added cost.
Either way, to ensure that your website is accessible always, choose a trusted and secure web hosting solution.
Although some users will not care about the outlook, a decent, smooth, and user-friendly backend is recommended.
This is especially if you are going to set up the website yourself. Users that are going to hire a developer or let the customer support do the setting up will only care if the technical options are working correctly.
When you are building a website, it is recommended that you start small.
However, after a few months or years of growing your business, your website will need more resources to accommodate the growing traffic and operations.
Therefore, before subscribing to a web hosting provider, consider the various plans that they offer and even whether they allow you to host multiple websites on one hosting account.
Availability of site backups
When you are running a website, it is not an out of this world thing that, at one point, it will crash and not accessible by users. There are several things that a website can crash, including cyber-attacks or server failures.
If your web provider does regular site backups, you don’t have to worry about a thing. It is, therefore, an important feature to have on your web hosting service.
When you run your business online, you stand to receive more feedback and even more subscribers if you have an email associated with your website.
Most hosting providers offer email hosting, while others don’t. Some will provide it for free, and others charge extra.
Consider whether email hosting is a feature you would like included in the service of your choice.
Renewal and sign up costs
Web hosting providers will tend to offer attractive and unbelievably discounted prices during sign up to attract clients.
However, the renewal prices are usually double and triple the initial cost.
To avoid surprises at the end of the discounted period, be careful to check the renewal prices of your packages before purchasing.
Currently, all web hosting companies have a refund policy, or they offer users a trial period.
We advise users to take advantage of this period and experiment with a service before making the purchasing decision.
This is a risk-free window to test whether a web host is good for your website.
Note that you must cancel your account before the last day of the trial period, else you will be charged for the same.
The best web hosting providers in Australia
Over the last few years, the web hosting industry has seen a lot of transformation.
Long gone are the days when you had to set up your own FTP server and add every HTML page of your site one at a time.
Setting up a website and hosting is now a super easy affair and only takes a few moments of your time.
You may wonder why our list of the “best web hosting” does not include any local Australian companies.
This is because the larger companies have better servers, offer quick and effective support, and ultimately because their plans are affordable.
The non-Aussie companies have bigger and better infrastructure that significantly reduces the cost of service to their customers.
Here are the best web hosting in Australia:
Uptime score: 99.99%
Average speed: 673ms
Customer support: 24/7 support by phone, chat, and ticket
Services: Shared, Managed WordPress, Managed WooCommerce, Reseller, Enterprise, and Cloud hosting
Cheapest plan: $4.95/month for 12 months (Renews at $14.95/month)
Money back: 30-days money-back guarantee
SiteGround is a web hosting company based in Bulgaria but also has a data center in Sydney, Australia. It was founded in 2004 and is popular for providing users with multiple hosting solutions. They include shared hosting, WordPress hosting, cloud hosting, and others. At present, SiteGround has hosted well over 2 million domains and is among the only three hosting companies endorsed by WordPress.org.
This web hosting provider has a near-perfect uptime score. With an average score of 99.99%, SiteGround is among the top players in the industry today. This translates to a maximum of fewer than 3 hours of downtime all year round.
Server speed is among the top factors to consider when choosing a web host for your website. Speed is fun and we all love it. Fortunately, slow speeds will not be an issue when you are using SiteGround as your web host. Although an average of 673ms response time isn’t the best in the industry, it is still good enough.
The company is known for its exceptional customer support. They have provided a knowledge base where users can find quick solutions to common problems. Again, they also offer live support via live chat, phone, and ticket. The support team is also very responsive, with an average response time of below a minute.
SiteGround’s backend is super easy to use. The platform is laid on a visual interface that is customizable to suit user needs. For example, you can opt to hide or show some sections. Everything looks decent and up to date.
For their shared hosting, SiteGround has 3 plans. They include StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek. All plans have free SSL, free CDN, SSH access, emails, Website builders, and daily backups. For better understanding, I will explain the plans below.
StartUp: This is the cheapest plan and retails at $4.95/month for 12 months. The plan renews at $14.95/month. It is best suited for beginners with only a single site of up to 10k visits monthly. The plan also has the following features: 10GB storage space, unmetered bandwidth, 24/7 support, and more.
GrowBig: This plan goes for $7.45/month and renews at $24.95/month. The plan can support unlimited domains, has 20GB storage space, dynamic caching, and is best for sites of up to 25k visits monthly.
GoGeek: This is the most superior of them all. It includes features from the other plans plus 30GB storage space, gets access to all top tier resources, and has priority support. The plan goes for $14.95/month and renews at $39.95/month. It can support sites of up to 100k visits monthly.
SiteGround also offers new users a 30-days money-back guarantee in all plans.
- 99.99% uptime score
- Effective and responsive customer support
- Decent load time of 673ms
- Free security features (SSL and CDN)
- Unmetered bandwidth
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- The Cheapest plan (StartUp) is limited
- Renewal rates are higher
- Does not give free domains
Uptime score: 99.95%
Average speed: 350ms
Customer support: 24/7 chat support in multiple languages
Services: Shared, WordPress, VPS, and Cloud hosting
Cheapest plan: $0.99/month for 48 months (Renews at $2.15/month)
Money back: 30-days money-back guarantee
Hostinger started as 00webhost.com in 2007 but later rebranded in 2011. The company is best known for providing users with cheap hosting solutions. As of 2017, they revealed to have a huge client list of over 29 million users.
If uptime is your most vital feature in a web host, Hostinger does not disappoint in that regard. And although the score will occasionally drop, they have maintained an average of 99.95% uptime. They also have a 99.90% uptime guarantee. Generally, this web host does a good job of ensuring your website is always accessible over the internet.
As for speed, Hostinger is arguably the fastest cheap web hosting there is. With an average load time of 350ms, your website will be pretty fast. It is incredible that although they don’t have servers in Australia, they can still deliver such speeds. The closest data centre is in Singapore.
This company offers 24/7 live support in multiple languages. The support team is super friendly and will respond in an average of less than a minute. Furthermore, they have a knowledge base, tutorials, and a blog with articles to offer help solving common problems when running a website.
The backend of this web hot is customized with large buttons, and features like logins tracking, billing info, and domain management can be accessed from the dashboard.
The web host is generous and offers users free user-friendly website builders and a domain. But, additional domains will cost you some extra bucks.
The shared hosting service of Hostinger is offered in 3 plans: Single, Premium, and Business.
Single: this plan goes for $0.99/month for 48 months and renews at $2.15/month. It can only support a single website and has a limited bandwidth of 100GB, free SSL, 1 email, weekly backups, and limited server resources.
Premium: the plan cost $2.89/month and renews at $3.49/month. For this, you get unlimited websites, unlimited storage and bandwidth, emails, free SSL and domain, WordPress acceleration (LSCWP), 2X resources, and weekly backups.
Business: this the best Hostinger shared plan and retails at $3.99/month but renews at $7.95/month. The plan includes everything in the Premium plan plus daily backups and 4X the resources.
With Hostinger, you will enjoy a 30-days money-back guarantee.
- Above-average uptime scores of 99.95%
- Fast server loading speeds (350ms)
- Responsive customer support in multiple languages
- Cheap hosting solutions
- Free website builder
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- The cheap plan is limited
- Must log in to access live support
Uptime score: 99.9%
Average speed: 317ms
Customer support: 24/7 chat via chat, phone, and email
Services: Shared, VPS, dedicated, and reseller hosting
Cheapest plan: $2.99/month for 12 months (Renews at $8.99/month)
Money back: anytime money-back guarantee
A2 Hosting was established in 2001 in the United States. It is popular for its fast server loading speeds, which place the web host among the best in the industry. Although the company started small, they have grown big with data centres in North America, Europe, and Asia. Australia is not among the list, but Singapore is not that far away. The company has currently hosted over 5ook websites.
The web hosting company has an average uptime score of 99.93%. It is not the best, but it not the worst in the industry either. They also have a 99.90% uptime guarantee, which is equivalent to less than 9 hours of downtime each year. However, if uptime is of utmost priority to your site, we recommend looking at other options on our list.
A2 Hosting is debatably the fastest web hosting in the industry, with an average response time of 317ms. The company greatly makes up for its frequent downtimes with fast speeds. If speed is your priority feature, A2 Hosting will give you the best service.
The company has a Guru crew responsible for giving technical support to users and helping them solve problems with their websites. They also have knowledge with informative articles for quick assistance.
The service comes with an easy to use interface even for newbies. It is also compatible with several content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla, OpenCart, and others.
Security is another feature that this company has not taken lightly. Often speed and security don’t go together. This is because extra security calls for extra scanning, firewalls, and encryption. A2 Hosting has managed to achieve fast loading speeds without going easy on the security aspect. All of their servers are secured with “HackScan.”
This web host has 4 plans for their shared hosting service: StartUp, Drive, Turbo Boost, and Turbo Max.
StartUp: this plan goes for $2.99/month for 1 year and renews at $8.99/month. It is only enough to host one website and includes 100GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, free SSL and CDN, unlimited emails, and free website builder.
Drive: the drive plan is sold at $4.99/month and renews at $11.99/month. The plan can support unlimited websites, has unlimited storage and bandwidth, free SSL and CDN, unlimited emails, 2X server resources, and free backups.
Turbo Boost: This plan goes for $9.99/month and renews at $19.99/month. It features everything in the Drive plan plus 20X faster speeds, and A2 Accelerator.
Turbo Max: this is most superior of all. It costs $14.99/month and renews at $24.99/month. The plan has all features in the Turbo Boost and has access to 5X the resources.
All plans include free site migrations and a generous anytime money-back guarantee.
- Fast server loading speeds (317ms)
- Decent uptime score (99.93%)
- Free site migration
- HackScan security
- Anytime money-back guarantee
- Limited cheap plan
- High renewal rates
Uptime score: 99.98%
Average speed: 648ms
Customer support: ticket and email support
Services: Shared, WordPress, VPS, Cloud, and dedicated hosting
Cheapest plan: $2.59/month for 36 months (Renews at $2.59/month)
Money back: 97-days money-back guarantee
DreamHost was launched in 1996, which makes it one of the oldest web hosting services. The company currently hosts over 1.5 million sites, apps, and blogs from all over the world. This hosting service is most popular with developers, designers, and digital influencers.
The web host has an average uptime score of 99.98%, which is nowhere near bad. And even better, the service has a 99.90% uptime guarantee. This means that a user is entitled to as for a refund every month the uptime score goes below that figure.
The average response time of this hosting service is 648ms. There are only a few times that the speed will go above the 700ms mark. And although we have faster-hosting services on our list, this speed is still among the top in the industry.
This company has a limited customer support system. On their website, they have stated to be offering 24/7 live support. However, in reality, the support team is only available from Monday-Friday 8 – 4 pm PT. This limits Australian users as the time does not match the business hours in this region.
The DreamHost service comes with a customized admin panel that is easy to use. Beginners are also served with WordPress pre-installed websites for easy set-ups. And if that isn’t enough, they have website builders that are user-friendly and relatively straightforward.
The shared hosting service has 2 pricing levels. They include Starter and Unlimited.
Shared Starter: This plan goes for $2.59/month and renews at $4.95/month. The plan is only sufficient for one website and includes 50GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, free SSL, free domain, and WP website builder. The plan does an email account; however, each email added cost an extra $1.67/month.
Shared Unlimited: This plan costs $4.95/month and renews at $10.95/month. For this, you get unlimited websites, unlimited storage and bandwidth, free domain, free SSL, and unlimited emails.
DreamHost hosting service also includes a generous 97-days money-back guarantee.
- Good uptime scores (99.98%)
- Above-average response time speed (648ms)
- 97-day money-back guarantee
- Classy backend interface
- Limited customer service
- Emails cost extra in the cheapest plan
- Monthly plans have a set-up fee
Choosing the right web hosting service for your website is not easy.
In our guide, we have tried to break down the process into sections that you can easily follow and study at your convenience.
When deciding on which web host to go with, have in mind your exact needs and the features that you aspire.
Quality of the service is vital, so be careful not to base your decision on price alone. Hopefully, this guide will help shed some light on what to avoid and what to assent when finding a web hosting provider for your site.