Find Best Website Hosting (2018)

Article by Jerry Low . .
Updated: Nov 28, 2018

 

To evaluate a web hosting service, my team and I use an 80-point rating checklist and look into six main aspects of its service: host performance, features, after sales support, user-friendliness, company reputation & customer care policy, and price.

Based on our findings, the following are the 10 top rated hosting services in 2018.

Note that this is NOT a ranking table / list – these “best” web hosts are built for different types of users and websites – what’s great for me might not be best for you. As a consumer, you’ll need to read my reviews and pick one that best fits your needs and budget.

Click the links in the table to read my summary reviews and test results.

Compare Top Hosting Services for Various Websites

Web Host Services Average Uptime Average Speed (TTFB) Best for…
InMotion Hosting Shared, VPS, Dedi. Hosting 99.99% ~ 350 ms All purposes
A2 Hosting Shared, VPS, Dedi. Hosting 99.95% ~ 530 ms All purposes
Interserver Shared, VPS, Dedi. Hosting 99.98% ~ 300 ms All purposes
SiteGround Shared, VPS, Dedi. Hosting 99.99% ~ 700 ms Businesses, pro-bloggers
Kinsta Managed WP Host 100% ~ 110 ms Large WordPress sites
Hostinger Shared, VPS, Dedi. Hosting Bloggers, budget finders
WP Web Host Managed WP Host 100% ~ 600 ms Mid-size WordPress sites
Hostgator Cloud Cloud Hosting 99.95% ~ 450 ms Businesses, bloggers
WP Engine Managed WP Host 100% ~ 220 ms Large WordPress sites
WebHostFace Shared, VPS, Dedi. Hosting 99.95% ~ 850 ms Bloggers, budget finders

 

 

FTC Disclosure: WHSR receives referral fees from hosting companies listed on this website. Our opinions are based on real experience and actual hosting service data. Please read our review policy to understand how we rate a web host.

 


 

InMotion Hosting

L.A.-based hosting company established in 2001. Also own and manage Web Hosting Hub.

  • Launch: $3.99/mo
  • Power: $5.99/mo
  • Pro: $13.99/mo
  • Key features: Free domain, unlimited storage, email hosting, Auto-SSL, drag-and-drop site builder, 90-day money back guarantee.

InMotion Hosting

Pros

  • Solid performance.
  • 24×7 live chat and telephone support.
  • Free site migration for new customers.
  • 50% discount (exclusive) when you order via our promo link.

Cons

  • Hosting prices increase after the first term.
  • No instant account activation – phone verification.

Full InMotion Hosting review here

InMotion Hosting was founded by Sunil Saxena and Todd Robinson in 2001. The company currently holds three offices in Los Angeles, CA, Virginia Beach, VA and Denver CO, with data centers in both Los Angeles, CA, and Ashburn, VA.

They also own and manage Web Hosting Hub and currently employs over 300 employees in their company.

Summary review

InMotion Hosting is a web host that I can personally vouch for.

These guys have been in the hosting game for over 15 years and have the business track record to prove it.

A few things that make InMotion Hosting stand out is their stable servers (which always gets >99.98% uptime) and their excellent customer support. If you have any troubles or inquiries, their customer support is always quick to respond.

They offer three shared hosting plans that are great for small-to-medium size websites; as well as VPS and dedicated hosting for larger sites.

Fun fact: I personally pay InMotion Hosting hundreds of dollars every year to host this site you are reading.

Suitable for

All purposes – bloggers, businesses, non-profit organizations, and developers.

Reference

InMotion Uptime
InMotion Hosting uptime (Aug 2018): 100%

InMotion Uptime
InMotion Hosting uptime (Jun 2018): 100%

 

 


 

A2 Hosting

Headquartered at Ann Arbor, Michigan; established in 2001.

  • Lite: $3.92/mo
  • Swift: $4.90/mo
  • Turbo: $9.31/mo
  • Key features: Built-in CMS cacher, free SSL, anytime money back guarantee.

A2 Hosting

Pros

  • Solid performance.
  • Well-optimized for best server performance.
  • Anytime money back guarantee.
  • Choice of server locations in four locations.

Cons

  • Turbo plan does not support Ruby or Python applications.
  • Live chat support isn’t always available.

Read full A2 Hosting review

Led by CEO Bryan Muthig, A2 Hosting was established back in 2001 in Ann Arbor, Michigan and was known as Iniquinet back then.

Since then, the Independently owned web hosting provider changed their name and went on to host thousands of prominent sites through their shared, reseller, VPS, and dedicated plans.

Summary review

A2 Hosting has been around a long time, and they’ve managed to stay around this long by focusing on what they do best: being the fastest web host.

With a built-in caching tool called the A2 Optimized Tool, sites that are hosted on A2 Hosting loads much faster than most web hosts. Plus, you don’t have any technical knowledge or do any host configuration to enable it. With features and technology such as SSD storage, Railgun Optimizer, and pre-configured caching to its shared hosting customers, they continue to raise the standard for shared hosting speed.

If speed is important to you (and it should be), then A2 Hosting is definitely worth checking out.

Suitable for: All purposes – bloggers, businesses, non-profit organizations, and developers.

Reference

A2 Hosting uptime
A2Hosting uptime (Sept 2018): 100%.

A2 Hosting uptime
A2Hosting uptime (Feb 2018): 99.98%.

 

 


 

InterServer

Secaucus, N.J.-based hosting company, founded by Michael Lavrik and John Quaglieri in 1999.

  • Shared hosting: $5/mo
  • VPS plans: Start at $6/mo
  • Dedicated plans: Start at $70/mo
  • Key features: Unlimited storage, signup price locked for life, 100% in-house support, flexible VPS hosting plans.

Pros

  • Solid performance.
  • Price lock guarantee for shared and VPS hosting.
  • Free site migration for first-time users.
  • 100% in-house customer supports.

Cons

  • Slightly outdated website interface.
  • VPS hosting flexible but not for newbies-friendly.

Read InterServer review

Michael Lavrik and John Quaglieri founded InterServer back in 1999 when they were both high-school students. Their vision for the company was to provide data services at affordable prices while still maintaining a level of service and support.

The web hosting provider currently owns two data centers that are located in Secaucus, NJ and Los Angeles, CA; and offers a wide range of hosting services such as shared hosting, cloud hosting, and dedicated servers, among others.

Summary review

While not necessarily a mainstream name in the hosting industry, InterServer manages to grab our attention once we got to know the company better.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they offer a solid hosting service at a great bargain and the flexibility to upgrade your plan to VPS and dedicated hosting once your site starts to grow.

What’s truly unique about InterServer is their promise to provide an affordable hosting plan to its customers. Their shared plan is the only one in this list that offers a locked price once you sign up, which currently stands at $5/month (forever).

Suitable for: Experience webmasters, geeks, developers.

Reference

Interserver uptime record
Interserver uptime (Feb 2018): 100%.

 

 


 

SiteGround

Founded in 2004 by a group of university friends. Offices in Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.

  • Startup: $3.95/mo
  • GrowBig: $5.95/mo
  • GoGeek: $11.95/mo
  • Key features: Built-in CMS caching, email hosting, HTTP/2 Enabled, Let’s Encrypt Wildcard SSL.

SiteGround

Pros

  • Solid performance.
  • Built-in Let’s Encrypt Standard & Wildcard SSL.
  • Free site migration for new customers.
  • Choice of server locations in three continents.
  • HTTP/s, built-in cacher, NGINX.

Cons

  • Hosting prices increase after the first term.
  • No live chat support for technical and billing issue.

Full SiteGround review here

SiteGround was founded in 2004 by a group of university friends in Sofia, Bulgaria. Today, the company is headed by Tenko Nikolov, Reneta Tsankova, and Nikolay Todorov.

The company has since grown to employ over 400 people with offices located in Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. They currently own 4 major data centers located in the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and in Singapore.

Summary review

Another solid hosting company, SiteGround is one of the few companies that strives for providing reliable hosting service with innovative features.

One such feature is the Super Cacher, which is a built-in caching tool that can make websites load faster. Another feature is the ability to install Let’s Encrypt SSL with just a few clicks, making it extremely convenient for users to secure their website.

While their pricing for renewals might be considered a little steep, it’s definitely worth it for the quality of hosting you get in return. I think SiteGround is suitable for business owners and professional bloggers who want a worry-free hosting solution.

Suitable for: Small-to-medium size businesses and professional bloggers.

Reference

Siteground uptime
SiteGround uptime (Aug 2018): 100%

 

 

 


 

Kinsta

L.A.-based managed WordPress hosting, established in 2013. .

  • Starter: $25/mo
  • Pro: $50/mo
  • Business: $83/mo
  • Key features: Free SSL certificate, auto daily backup, white-labeled cache plugin, multi-user environment, multisite support.

Kinsta

Pros

  • Solid performance.
  • Choice of 15 server locations across the globe.
  • Free host migration for first-time users.
  • Good reputation – raving fans and positive reviews everywhere.
  • Comprehensive support knowledgebase.
  • Developer-friendly staging area with auto daily backups.

Cons

  • Expensive for users with multiple low traffic sites.
  • Does not support email hosting.

Read full Kinsta review here

Mark Gavalda, CEO and founder of Kinsta, established the company back in 2013 in Los Angeles, CA. While still relatively new, they have since grown rapidly with offices located in both London and Budapest.

Comprising of veteran WordPress developers, Kinsta is focused on providing a premium managed WordPress hosting services for all types of users, be it big companies or small-to-medium businesses.

Summary review

One of the top names in managed WordPress hosting, Kinsta has gained tremendous success and recognition ever since the company began their journey in 2013.

What really sets Kinsta apart from other similar players in the managed WordPress hosting market is their ability to provide a super fast, super innovative, and slick user control panel. That, along with their innovative server technology (NGINX, PHP7, HHVM) and solid server performance makes them a great choice for both businesses and individuals.

They have since gone on to host a number of global-recognized brands such as Ricoh, Ubisoft, General Electric, and ASOS.

Suitable for: WordPress developers, agencies, large WordPress sites, and businesses.

Reference

Kinsta uptime record
Kinsta uptime (Apr 2018): 99.98%

 

 


 

Hostinger

Established 2004, budget hosting company running on 8 data centers. Also own and manage 000WebHost.

  • Single Shared: $0.80/mo
  • Premium Shared: $3.49/mo
  • Business Shared: $7.95/mo
  • Key Features: Free domain, newbies-friendly site builder, cheap .xyz domain, cheapest shared hosting plan.

Hostinger

Pros

  • Solid performance.
  • Curl, Cron Jobs, MariaDB and InnoDB, SSH Access for Budget Plans.
  • Free site migration for new customers.
  • Choice of server locations in eight locations.
  • HTTP/s, built-in cacher, NGINX server.

Cons

  • Hosting prices increase after the first term.
  • Limited database for Single Shared Plan.
  • Partial support in one-click installation for Single Shared Plan.

In-depth Hostinger review here

Currently headed by CEO Arnas Stuopelis, Hostinger was first established in 2004 as a bootstrapped “Hosting media” company in Kaunas, Lithuania. A few years later, they also launched 000Webhost, a free web hosting services with no advertising.

Summary review

Despite being a budget hosting company, Hostinger has 8 data centers located across the globe with Singapore being their latest addition. They are also localized in 39 countries and is a fully ICANN certified registrar.

Since their inception, Hostinger has grown into a well-known hosting company that boasts 29 million users with an average of 20,000 new user signups daily worldwide in 2017.

The key to their success? Offering a ton of premium hosting features at a competitively low price (one of the cheapest in the market, see table) for its users.

Hostinger is worth a check if you want as many hosting features as possible without needing to blow out your budget.

Suitable for: Small businesses, non-profit organizations, bloggers and individuals with tight budget.

Reference

Hostinger uptime
Hostinger uptime (Jul 2018): 99.98%.

 

 


 

WP Web Host

Established in 2007, wholly owned by Southeast Asia hosting company Exabytes.

  • WP Blogger: $5/mo
  • WP Lite: $9/mo
  • WP Plus: $29/mo
  • WP Geek: $79/mo
  • Key features: Free .blog domain, HTTP/s & NGINX proxy, free SSL certificate, 100+ free WP themes, Jetpack Personal / Professional included.

WP Web Host

Pros

  • Solid performance.
  • Top class managed WP hosting at affordable prices.
  • Managed WordPress host with email hosting.
  • Newbies-friendly user interface.
  • HTTP/s, built-in cacher, NGINX server.

Cons

  • Mixed results in Jason’s server speed test.
  • Expensive renewal price (40% price jump).
  • No 24×7 live chat or phone support.

Full review on WP Web Host

Wholly owned by Southeast Asia hosting company Exabytes, WPWebHost began their journey in 2007 and aims to provide users with the essential communication tools and information technology solutions for WordPress websites.

They currently own two data centers located in Denver, Co, and in Singapore to provide fast loading speed in both the U.S. and the Asia Pacific.

Summary review

WPWebHost is one of the leading web hosting companies in Southeast Asia and while they’ve been in business since 2007, they continue to provide affordable and competitive pricing for their managed WordPress hosting.

The super affordable pricing makes WPWebHost a worthy consideration for newbies who want a cheap managed WordPress hosting but have a smaller budget.

However, their mixed server response speed and lacklustre customer service are major drawbacks that you might want to consider before signing up.

Suitable for: Mid-sized WordPress sites, small businesses, and beginners.

Reference

WPWH uptime
WP Web Host Uptime (Sep 2018): 100%.

 

 


 

Hostgator Cloud

Founded in 2002 by Brent Oxley. Currently owned by Endurance International Group (EIG).

  • Hatchling Cloud: $4.95/mo
  • Baby Cloud: $6.57/mo
  • Business Cloud: $9.95/mo
  • Key features: Scale up to 6 cores CPU & 6 GB server memory, Varnish caching solution, unlimited storage, free SSL certificate

Hostgator

Pros

  • Solid performance.
  • Fast server response speed – TTFB < 50ms for U.S. users.
  • Free site migration for new customers.

Cons

  • Expensive renewal price.
  • Occasionally long wait time for live chat support.
  • Overpriced website builders.

Full Hostgator Cloud review here

HostGator was founded by Brent Oxley in his dorm room at Florida Atlantic University in 2002. A leading provider of shared, reseller, VPS, and dedicated web hosting, HostGator is currently headquartered in Austin, Texas.

After their acquisition by the Endurance International Group – the company that also owns BlueHost, HostMonster, iPage, JustHost, and a number of other well-known hosting brands; HostGator began establishing an international presence by offering localized services.

Summary review

As part of the Endurance International Group (EIG), HostGator recently rebranded their company as a budget cloud hosting provider.

We tested their recently-released cloud hosting plan in 2017 and found that it’s reliable, reasonably priced, and relatively simple to set up, even for beginners.

On the whole, we think HostGator will be a great fit for bloggers who want an easy-to-manage cloud hosting.

Suitable for: Small businesses and bloggers.

Reference

Hostgator uptime
Hostgator uptime (Aug 2018): 100%

 

 


 

WP Engine

Headquartered at Austin, Texas; established in 2010.

  • Startup: $28/mo
  • Growth: $92/mo
  • Scale: $232/mo
  • Key features: Free CDN and SSL, 3 environments per site, 60-day free trial, Genesis Framework, 35+ StudioPress themes,

WP Engine

Pros

  • Solid performance.
  • 3 environments per site – Dev, Stage, and Production.
  • Free Genesis Framework and StudioPress themes
  • Automated SSL installation and renew.
  • Global CDN included in all plans.

Cons

  • Costly for users with multiple low traffic WordPress sites.
  • Does not support email hosting.
  • Some crucial features (e.g. GeoTarget, Multisite) are not included and expensive to add.
  • Ticket and phone support not available for Startup Plan.

Full WP Engine review

Headed by CEO Heather Brunner, WP Engine was first established and founded by CTO Jason Cohen back in 2010.

While the company is currently headquartered in Austin, Texas, they also have offices in San Antonio, Texas, Limerick, Ireland, London, England, San Francisco, California, and Brisbane, Australia.

Summary review

WP Engine got its start with funding from a number of investors, including Silver Lake Partners and Automattic (the developer behind WordPress.com and Akismet). With such notable backing, it’s no surprise that WP Engine went on to become one of the most popular managed WordPress hosting providers, as echoed by many bloggers and WordPress experts (just Google up the user reviews).

They’ve recently announced their new (slightly pricier) plans on February 28th 2018 – StartUp, Growth, and Scale, which replaces their original Personal, Professional, and Business plans with features, functions, and server performances that caters more towards the needs of bloggers and WordPress users.

The company also acquired StudioPress (the company that builds Genesis Framework) in June 2018 – WP Engine users now get all premium StudioPress themes for free.

Suitable for: WordPress developers, agencies, large WordPress sites, businesses.

Reference

WP Engine
WP Engine uptime (Feb 2018): 100%.

 

 


 

WebHostFace

  • Face Standard: $0.69/mo
  • Face Extra: $1.09/mo
  • Face Ultima: $1.99/mo
  • Key features: Let’s Encrypt SSL, daily site backup, extremely cheap signup price (90% discount), Weebly site builder.

Pros

  • Solid performance.
  • Built-in Let’s Encrypt Standard & Wildcard SSL.
  • Free site migration for new customers.
  • Choice of server locations in three continents.
  • HTTP/s, built-in cacher, NGINX server.

Cons

  • Hosting prices increase after the first term.
  • No live chat support for technical and billing issue.

Read my full WebHostFace review here

Established in 2013 and located in Delaware, U.S. WebHostFace is currently led by CEO Valentin Sharlanov, whose vision for the company is to be a hosting provider and with a “face” that users can recognize.

Despite being relatively new, WebHostFace has already built data centers on key points around the world – Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific, to provide users optimal speed and experience for their website.

Summary review

A hidden gem of the hosting industry, WebHostFace is a surprisingly capable hosting provider that has yet to be discovered by the mainstream masses.

With pricing as low as $59 for three years (exclusive offers for WHSR users), WebHostFace is one of the best budget web hosts that received a rating of above 4-stars from us at WHSR due to its combination of quality server performance and affordable costs.

Also, WebHostFace is the only WordPress hosting that provide one-to-one WordPress development training.

Suitable for: Bloggers, budget finders, students.

Reference

WebHostFace
WebHostFace uptime (May 2018): 99.98%

 

 


 

Before you signup…

So you are ready to make the move and order your web host? Wait. Here are the things you need to know before you signup. I cannot end this article without telling you the following points:

1- How we review and rank a web host?

To evaluate a web host, we use an 80-point rating checklist and look into six main aspects of its service: host performance, features, after sales support, user-friendliness, company reputation & customer care policy, and price.

How we obtain host server data

Usually, a review process begins with one of us from Team WHSR setting up a test site, normally built in WordPress or Ghost, with the web host in review. The web host is then tested with several third-party tools such as Uptime Robot, Bitcatcha, and WebpageTest.

The writing process begins as soon as we have sufficient server data (usually one month after the test site is set up) to formulate a clear review.

Questions we ask

Screenshot of WHSR 80-point web host assessment form.
Our 80-point web host assessment form.

When writing the review, we ask ourselves questions that consumers should/want to know such as:

  • What is the average 30 days server uptime?
  • How quick/slow is the server loading?
  • Is the user control panel comprehensive and easy to use?
  • What are the limitations written in the company’s ToS?
  • Is the support staff friendly and knowledgeable?
  • Is the host a value for money in the *long-term*?

It’s a slow and manual process – but I believe this is necessary to give an accurate picture of the quality of the hosting company.

We rarely use a user’s input to influence our rating unless their identity and account ownership are proven. This is to avoid getting stuck in the marketing war between hosting companies.

Of course, you should always take the time to understand your needs before making a purchase and hopefully, our reviews will further help you with that.

2- Understand your hosting needs

If you don’t know what your needs are, then no amount of “best of hosting” list or reviews you read will help you make a decision.

In fact, think of our hosting guide and reviews as like a map. They are only useful if you know where you are going.

Questions to ask yourself

So – if you are unclear with your hosting needs, you might want to ask yourself these key questions:

  • What is the core objective of your website: to grow a business, to share information, or to build a community?
  • Does your website need special software, i.e. PHP 7.02, Tom Cat, Python, Java, Windows etc?
  • Is your site using a custom application program?
  • What is your web traffic growth forecast (for the next 12 – 24 months)?
  • How much are you willing to spend on web hosting?
  • Where are your primary targeted audience located at?
  • Do you need a dedicated server, or VPS hosting is enough?

If you are just getting started… 

For newbies, the no-brainer rule is to always start small with a trustworthy shared hosting plan.

A shared web host is cheap, easy to maintain, and powerful enough for most fresh sites or blogs. It also lets you focus on building your site without having to worry about other server-end tasks like database maintenance and server firewall configuration.

Remember, you always have the option to scale up and upgrade to VPS or dedicated hosting at a later stage when your site grows bigger.

For advanced bloggers or business owners 

Your site/blog usability is crucial. This means a stable and fast-loading server is absolutely crucial. Track your site uptime and measure server response rate.

Monitor your blog memory usage and know your limit – once your blog hits 80% of the allocated memory (this is the usual bottleneck you’ll first bump into with shared hosting), then it is time to consider upgrading to VPS hosting.

3- Type of web hosting plans

Today, there are different types of hosting servers available for individual users and businesses:

Types of web hosting services and their pros & cons.
Types of different web hosting services.

Shared hosting

Shared hosting is often the best choice for beginners, bloggers, and personal website owners since it’s the cheapest form of web hosting, costing around $5 – $10 per month.

With shared hosting plans, you’ll be sharing your server resources with other users, which means you pay less for the hosting since the cost of it is shared among other users.

Who should go with shared hosting?

Generally, if you’re getting less than 5,000 visitors per month, then it’s better to go for shared hosting. When your website grows bigger and you’re getting more visitors, you might want to move to a more powerful server.

VPS hosting

A Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting  is similar to shared hosting in that it shares one physical server. The difference is that you have your own server resources that’s separate from other users.

With VPS hosting, it’s basically a step up from shared hosting in terms of power and speed but is still cheaper than getting your own dedicated server. Depending on the CPU and memory (RAM) that you get, VPS hosting can cost anywhere between $50 to $200 per month.

Cloud hosting

Cloud hosting combines hundreds of individual servers together to function as one giant server. The idea with cloud-based web hosting is that you can easily scale up and upgrade your server needs when necessary.

For example, if you’re suddenly faced with an unusually large amount of web traffic, you don’t have to worry about being shut down since the hosting company can easily accommodate the surge of traffic by adding more server resources.

The pricing for cloud hosting tends to vary as they normally use a form of a pay-for-what-you-use pricing structure.

Dedicated hosting

Dedicated server hosting is when you have an entire physical server that’s dedicated to your website. Not only do you have full control of your server resources, but you also don’t have to worry about other websites taking up your resources and slowing your website down.

For websites that are larger and have a bigger presence, a dedicated server is generally recommended in order to handle the high amount of traffic. The cost of a dedicated server is significantly higher than shared hosting and you can expect to pay from $100 and above per month.

4- The reality of unlimited hosting

You might have come across the term “Unlimited Hosting” on some of the popular web hosting providers. Unlimited hosting is a buzzword that’s been used on many shared hosting providers to describe their ability to deliver unlimited storage and bandwidth.

Unfortunately, most unlimited hosting solutions are much more limited than you think.

Unlimited Hosting vs All-you-Can-Eat buffet

Here’s the thing, an “Unlimited Hosting” plan is only “unlimited” when you’re using less than the server resources available to you.

Now, contrary to popular belief, bandwidth and storage space are not the ones that tend to be limited by companies. Instead, it’s the CPU and memory that are imposed with limits.

For example, a website with 5,000 visitors per day might not be able to handle the traffic if there’s a limit to the memory and CPU power, despite having enough server bandwidth.

It’s not uncommon for companies to include limitations on concurrent database connection or the number of CPU cycles that an account can use, on their ToS.

It’s basically similar to an all-you-can-eat buffet, in that, the hosting provider does give you access to “unlimited” resources but you’re only going to use a reasonable amount.

While there are limits to “unlimited” plans, it is still quite high. Reading the fine print on a company’s Terms of Service (ToS) will give you a clearer definition of the limits they impose for unlimited hosting services.

 


 

Further Reading

That’s all for this article. If you are still unsatisfied, read: