To date, we’ve tracked over 30 different web hosting companies over a period of 12 to 41-months.
Including many ‘popular’ hosts, such as Bluehost, GoDaddy and HostGator.
Here’s what we did in order to find out the best web hosting provider:
- Signed up with 33+ most popular web hosts.
- Set up a blank (WordPress) website.
- Started to monitor their uptime and speed (still monitoring).
- Published reviews (and still accepting user reviews).
The current ranking formula is based on the following: average uptime and average speed (2017 December to 2018 September) and cost for 6 to 12-month plans.
10 Best Web Hosting Services in 2018
Here’s a list of the 10 best performing web hosting services by uptime, speed and cost (last 10 months):
1. Bluehost: Highest Reliability ($2.75/mo)
One of the most popular web hosts, hosting more than 2,000,000 websites and blogs since 2003. Officially recommended by WordPress.org.
2. HostGator Cloud: Best Cloud Hosting ($2.99/mo)
Founded in 2002, hosting 600,000+ websites. Most reliable web host by an average uptime and load time on our test sites.
3. SiteGround: Best WordPress Host ($3.95/mo)
SiteGround.com is officially recommended by WordPress.org. Founded in 2004, hosts 800,000 websites worldwide. BBB Rating of “A”.
4. Hostinger: Best Cheap Hosting ($1.45/mo)
Hostinger was founded in November 2004, and they’ve become a web hosting powerhouse ever since. They’ve shot up to over 29 million clients in 178 countries.
5. iPage: Best for Small Website ($1.99/mo)
iPage Hosting is an Endurance International Group (EIG) brand, acquired in 2010 from founder Thomas Gorny.
6. A Small Orange: Expensive but Reliable ($5.92/mo)
Load time: 700ms (10th in speed)
Uptime: 99.99% (5th in uptime)
Cost: $5.92/mo (1-3 year plans)
Support: Live Chat (avg. response ~6min)
Originally launched back in 2003 by Tim Dorr, A Small Orange, despite their small status and whimsical name, has been in this business for a while.
7. Dreamhost: Good for Small Sites ($2.59/mo)
Load time: 710ms (11th in speed)
Uptime: 99.95% (18th in uptime)
Cost: $2.59/mo (3-year plan)
Support: Live Chat (avg. response ~6 min)
Founded way back in 1996 by a few undergrad students at Claremont College in California. And it’s well respected, bringing home PCMag’s ‘Best Web Hosting Service’ award for the second year in a row.
8. A2 Hosting: Fastest Shared Hosting ($3.92/mo)
Load time: 376ms (1st in speed)
Uptime: 99.90% (23rd in uptime)
Cost: $3.92/mo (3-year plan)
Support: Live Chat (avg. response ~8min)
Founded in 2002 (USA) and currently hosting 200,000+ websites. Fastest page load time among our WordPress test sites.
9. WestHost: Average Host With Affordable Pricing ($1.99/mo)
WestHost was founded in 1998 by Chris Russell, and they merged with UK2 Group in 2008. WestHost is one of the cheapest web hosts out there.
10. Midphase: Slightly Slow, But Good Uptime ($3.95/mo)
They’ve been around since ’98, have teams in the UK, Ukraine, and India. Since then, they’ve merged with the UK2 Group in ’07.
All 31 Hosting Services We’ve Reviewed…
|RANK||WEB HOST||COST||SUPPORT||UPTIME||LOAD TIME||OUR RATING|
|6||A Small Orange||$5.92/mo||10/10||99.99%||700ms||★★★★|
|13||Web Hosting Buzz||$4.95/mo||10/10||99.96%||521ms||★★★|
About Our Web Hosting Review Process
Unlike other sites, we actually sign up and pay for web hosting.
We break down information about available packages and services, hidden fees, payment methods, and more. When we look at a web host, we start by reading over their terms of agreement to find out if there are any hidden, unfair terms that consumers should know about.
Then, we take a look at what kind of customer support they offer, whether it’s a live chat, phone, ticket, or email. Once we get a test site up and running, we evaluate the user interface of the host’s control panel and the total activation time.
We also monitor our site performance by plugging our domain names into Pingdom to look at speed and uptime.
We look at how fast sites load in certain countries and across certain devices. Our reviews also look at the quality of customer support for each host. We actually contact each host to see how long they take to respond and whether or not they are friendly and helpful.
Based on everything we look over, we assign a total rating for each host that ranges from 0 to 10
If you wish to submit your own web hosting review, click here.
Why Uptime and Load Time Matters
Uptime and load time matter because they affect traffic, which in turn, most likely will affect your overall revenue.
You’ve got to keep an eye on both of these metrics because they indicate your site’s quality of performance. Uptime refers to the total time that your website is up and running without problems. Downtime refers to the time when your website is offline and unavailable to visitors and potential customers.
The time your website isn’t running, you’re losing money.
At the same time, if you have a slow load time, your bounce rate will be off the charts. People don’t want to wait forever for web pages to load. In fact, they won’t wait longer than 3 seconds if they’re using a mobile device to browse. Today, more page views happen on mobile than on desktop.
That’s why you should make sure that your load times are fast and that your uptime is high.
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting consists of multiple websites on the same web server owned by the web host.
This is easily the most popular (and cheapest) method of web hosting. If your site has high traffic, you might not want to go with shared hosting. Sometimes, resources aren’t shared equally when it comes to this hosting method.
Remember how I told you that a server provides resources for storing files? Well, these resources, like hard drive space and RAM, can slow down if a site you’re sharing the server with is receiving tons of visitors or has incorrect coding.
This can lead to your website going down or experiencing super slow load times, therefore only go with shared hosting if your revenue doesn’t depend on your site’s performance (or if you’re not receiving gobs of traffic).
What is Cloud Hosting?
Unlike shared hosting that relies on one server, cloud hosting uses a cluster of servers that work together to store your website’s files and data.
Cloud-based hosting is great because it’s more efficient and secure than other hosting methods. These cloud systems protect your site against attacks better than traditional hosting systems because all the resources of multiple servers are in one virtual network.
Since the servers are virtual, clients only pay for what they need and use. When a physical server connected to the cloud goes offline or malfunctions, the virtual servers won’t be affected.
Think of it as a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan: You’ll never pay for resources you don’t need. And, if you need more to cover a jump in traffic, all you’ve got to do is pay a bit more money for that period of time.
What is WordPress Hosting?
WordPress hosting is for WordPress websites only. It’s fast because every aspect of WordPress servers has been optimized for setting up WordPress.
Your loading speeds will be much faster on WordPress in comparison to some other shared hosting sites. This is also true for your uptime. It’s also more secure because you’ve got a support team of WordPress experts to back you up if your website is attacked. Plus, your server will always be up to date.
WordPress is a bit less customizable than other hosts, though. For example, certain plugins aren’t permitted, and some plugins can’t be altered. Also, if you choose WordPress as your host, then you will also have to use WordPress as your CMS; it won’t allow you to use other CMS providers.
Site Transfers (FREE or Not?)
What if you pick a web host only to discover that you don’t like it? Site transfers allow you to move your website to another host.
Moving to another website consists of transferring the website’s files and databases, configuring your site with the new host, and directing your domain’s DNS to the new host. Once you pick a new site host, they can usually help you out with this process. The cost will depend on the host you’re switching to, but it will probably be anywhere from $150-$400.
For paid transfers, you can usually transfer more than one site. It’s only $149.99 to migrate as many as five websites and 20 email accounts to Bluehost.
The site transfer will usually take a few days.
For a host like HostPapa, it will take 5 to 7 days to complete a site transfer. They recommend modifying DNS entries before starting the transfer so that it takes less time.
They can also update your DNS entries, but this service will add 24 to 72 hours before your site becomes live. With A2 Hosting, it’ll take anywhere from 2 to 4 days.