Enjoy your free 7 day trial of our premium ratings.
Does the package come with pre-built website themes for you to use?
Does the host offer personalized email with your @domainname.com extension?
Does the host give you access to the DNS records?
Does the package come with free scripts for blogging, forums, etc?
Does the hosting company offer 1-click scrip installs to make it easy to install software on ther server.
Does the host come with Shopping Cart and other eCommerce software?
Does the host support Microsoft Frontpage extensions?
Rank#1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
FatCow WebHostingPad iPage JustHost DreamHost HostGator BlueHost HostPapa 1&1 GoDaddy
FatCow WebHostingPad iPage JustHost DreamHost HostGator BlueHost HostPapa 1&1 GoDaddy
Our Reviews
Smart Ranking
95
95
94
93
93
92
89
88
86
86
Features
43
of 45
42
of 45
42
of 45
41
of 45
43
of 45
39
of 45
41
of 45
38
of 45
41
of 45
37
of 45
Customer Ratings
4.81
215 RATINGS [+]
4.58
321 RATINGS [+]
4.62
263 RATINGS [+]
4.48
117 RATINGS [+]
4.86
218 RATINGS [+]
4.51
251 RATINGS [+]
4.31
192 RATINGS [+]
4.53
172 RATINGS [+]
3.85
282 RATINGS [+]
3.92
137 RATINGS [+]
 
5
4.5
4
3.5
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
.5
4.97
4.93
4.96
4.86
4.95
4.91
4.92
4.93
4.94
4.91
4.95
4.81
4.93
4.89
4.43
4.76
4.16
4.94
4.91
4.96
4.89
4.53
4.74
4.21
4.11
4.85
4.81
4.68
4.62
4.69
4.79
4.36
4.56
3.16
4.91
4.06
3.73
4.88
4.92
4.19
 
Main Features
Unlimited Space
Does the host offer unlimited space?
Unlimited Bandwidth
Does the web hosting company offer unlimited bandwidth?
Unlimited Domains
Does the hosting company allow you to host multiple domains on a single account?
Unlimited Databases
Does the host let you have unlimited databases?
Unlimited Email
Does the host provide you with unlimited email addresses?
No Setup Fees
This means that there are no setup fees in addition to regular hosting charges.
Host Type
Most hosts offer Linux hosting, but some also offer Windows hosting(a must, if you plan to use ASP or .Net).
Linux Linux Linux Linux Linux Linux Linux Linux Linux/Win Linux/Win
General Features
Free Domain
Does the hosting package come with a free domain name?
Free WHOIS Privacy
Does the host provide WHOIS privacy to hide your information on the whois registry(public information with your name, address, email and phone number).
Dedicated IP Address
Does the host offer a dedicated ip address?
Control Panel
Does the host offer a user friendly control panel?
Site Reporting
Does the host provide you with their own server side site analytics. This is important, since server side analytics will always be more accurate than javascript based solutions(like Google Analytics)
Easy Website Builder
Does the hosting company provide you with a point and click website builder?
Free Website Themes
Personalized Email
Custom DNS
Access & Security
SSL Secure Server
Does the host provide you with SSL certificates on their servers?
Secure FTP
Does the host protect your FTP sessions?
Shell Access(SSH)
Does the host offer shell access?
Scripts & Languages
Free Scripts
1-Click Script Installs
Backup Software
Does the host backup your website on regular basis?
Wordpress Software
Does the host come with Wordpress software?
Drupal Software
Does the host offer drupal software?
Joomla Software
Does the host offer Joomla software?
CMS Software
Does the host offer content management systems?
Forum Software
Does the hosting company offer message board and discussion forum software?
Email Software
Does the host offer their own email service(using your domain names)?
Shopping Cart
FrontPage Support
Flash Support
Does the host support flash programs?
SVN Support
Is there SVN support?
Python Support
Does the hosting company support the Python language?
Ruby on Rails Support
Does the hosting company support Ruby and Ruby on Rails languages?
PHP Support
Does the hosting company support PHP?
Perl Support
Does the hosting company support Perl?
CGI Support
Does the hosting company support CGI?
Marketing
Directory Listing
Does the hosting package include paid directory submissions?
Advertising Credit
Does the hosting company provide you with advertising credits on Google Adwords, Microsoft AdCenter(Bing/Yahoo), Facebook and other platforms.
Free Toll Free Number
Does the hosting package include a free toll free number?
Help & Support
Scalability
Does the hosting company offer scalabable solutions?
Knowledge Base
This means that there is a do it yourself knowledge base that covers most of the common questions.
24/7 Support
Does the company have staff on call 24/7?
U.S. Based Support
Is the support U.S. based?
SLA Uptime Guarantee
Does the company stand by their reliability with an SLA policy? SLA = you get partial refund if your site goes down
Money Back Guarantee
Does the hosting company offer a money back guarantee?
 

Best of Web Hosting

Our Purpose

The purpose of this section is to help you pick the right hosting plan for you. A business website has sligtly different needs than a a personal one, so this section is here to tell you which hosting plan is right for you...and why.

Blogs, Personal/Family/Hobby Websites

Personal websites don't need much. Pretty much any plan on any webhost will be able to handle your needs. So the only thing to worry about is getting the most value for your money. And if you want value, WebHostingPad has the best deal out there. For $1.99/mo you can't go wrong with it...and for that price you get all the features you'll ever need.

webhostingpad Web Hosting Pad
95
$1.99/MO
4.58
321 RATINGS [+]
42
of 45
Read Review ›
Small/Medium Businesses

Small businesses(contractors, salons, lawyers, accountants) don't need much when it comes to web hosting. If your site is just a hundred or so pages(about us, our services, projects, specials, careers, contact us), an email newsletter forum, a blog, and a location finder...then you don't need a powerful webhost. Hosting companies will try to sell you a complicated solution costing you thousands of dollars per month, but the plain truth is that you don't need all that. If you are a small business...then chances are your website will be seeing less than 10,000 visitors a month...and a shared host is more than capable of taking care of that. You also don't need a lot of the more advanced features(like a dedicated ip address), that you'd need with an ecommerce store. So once again, it comes down to cost. And WebHostingPad is the better bargain here. But let's be honest here...if you are a small business, it doesn't make one bit of difference for you as long as the cost isn't astronomical...so a small business it's definitely worth paying a bit more to go with FatCow...since they also give you a free Toll Free Number...which is useful in making your business look more established to consumers.

fatcow FatCow
95
$3.15/mo
4.81
215 RATINGS [+]
43
of 45
Read Review ›
Tech Startups/Web Apps

As a startup, you need a lot more technical flexibility than your regular business website. If you get Techcrunched or get written up in a popular blog, you might get hit with lots of traffic in a very short time. Because of that, you need to be able to scale quickly. Which is why for startups we recommend Dreamhost. The good thing about them, is that you can enable VPS at any moment. It's just one click away...and they'll move all your users, domains and databases to the new server. And best of all, it's one of the few VPS providers that give you unlimited bandwidth and unlimited space(usually VPS is limited at 20gb storage and 10x transfer). The Dreamhost VPS is also pretty cheap. Plans start at $15/mo for VPS and you can scale up to 4000MB of RAM at any moment...so when the big break comes, you won't get overwhelmed by incoming traffic...which is well worth the extra bucks.

dreamhost Dreamhost
93
$8.99/MO
4.86
218 RATINGS [+]
43
of 45
Read Review ›
Online Stores

Choosing an online webstore host is a little bit more complicated than regular hosting. You need to focus on features. There are actually two good choices here...each offering it's own strengths. We'll leave it up to you to pick which features are more important to you. FatCow uses ShopSite, while HostPapa uses ZenCart. ShopSite is the better platform for SEO(uses static pages) and integrates with quickbooks. But ZenCart is open source, so there a lot of small add ons that you can use to replicate that functionality. If you are new, you'll want to pick the solution that is more powerful out of the box...but there is nothing stopping you from buying the shopping cart software of your choice and installing it yourself. FatCow also offers a free toll free number. This is very useful, since it gives your site the very needed legitimacy...which is important on the web(will improve your conversions). But once again, there is nothing stopping you from getting the toll free number on your own. Another good feature is having a dedicated ip address...HostPapa offers that, FatCow doesn't. Language support goes to FatCow, since HostPapa doesn't support Python or Ruby on Rails...but for an estore this isn't important since the software tends to be written in PHP. Finally, since you'll be running a business, you'll want one that offers the most credits for online advertising to help jump start your new business. FatCow offers $100 Google Adwords credit, $25 Bing/Yahoo credit and a $50 Facebook credit. HostPapa offers all that and adds $75 Amazon Ads credit, $25 Miva credit and $20 Bidvertiser credit. HostPapa also offers $120 worth of automatic SEO tools. Overall FatCow is a great out of the box option, while HostPapa offers a few more perks. You won't go wrong by picking either option...although we recommend FatCow for those who aren't tech savvy...and HostPapa for those of you who don't mind putting in a little bit of effort to set things up.

fatcow FatCow
95
$3.15/mo
4.81
215 RATINGS [+]
43
of 45
Read Review ›
hostpapa HostPapa
88
$3.95/mo
4.53
172 RATINGS [+]
38
of 45
Read Review ›
Affiliate Marketers

As an affiliate marketer you need a slightly different solution. You'll be making a lot of different websites, and you want to make sure that they don't all lead back to you. For that you'll need WHOIS privacy protection to hide your info. Since privacy protection tends to run $4-10/yr...it really starts to add up since as an affiliate markter you'll have a lot of small websites. Which is why if you are an affiliate marketer you should opt in to pay a bit more for Dreamhost. They offer privacy protection for free on all domains you ever register through them, so it'll save a nice chunk once you have multiple domains in your account. Please note, that this makes financial sense only if you plan to build more than 20 websites. So only go with Dreamhost if you plan to be serious about affiliate marketing.

dreamhost Dreamhost
93
$8.99/MO
4.86
218 RATINGS [+]
43
of 45
Read Review ›

Buying Web Hosting

Introduction
Buying web hosting can be a pretty big decision...but it doesn't have to be. Please note, that this guide is designed with a "newbie" in mind...but if you are a more serious developer you might want to give this a read as well.
Hosting Options
You have countless options when choosing your web host. There are four basic types...shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated servers and cloud services.

  • Shared Hosting($2-$10/mo) - this is the main hosting type for most websites. It's the "good enough" hosting option. Instead of paying for a whole server all on your own, you get to share it with other users. Since most sites don't need that many resources, it means that everyone gets to coexist without paying an arm and a leg.

    Overall, a shared host will be able to handle anything you can throw at it. A multiple personal blogs, a few dozen business websites, a few forums, a gaming clan website...pretty much anything you can think of. But it does struggle with the more resource intensive websites. This includes sites that require huge databases(i.e. a forum with 100,000 users), video sites with thousands of concurrent watchers(but you can just embed youtube code instead) or sites that get hammered a lot in a short time.

    A word of warning, if you are just starting out, even if your site might fall into this category, it's worth your money to stick with shared hosting. There are plenty of examples of people launching websites expecting thousands of users, which then languish with less than 10,000 people a month. And it's not like a shared host can't handle the workload. Remember, that even if your website takes off, everyone else on your server will have just a few hundred visitors a month. So essentially you'll get to use 90% of the server's resources all by yourself. And since shared servers tend to be a beefier(compared to the entry level dedicated servers), a shared host will have no problem handling even 200,000 visitors per month. So make your host grow with you, don't rent a three bedroom apartment, when you only need a studio. When it's time to upgrade, you can move everything over in a day. And you'll save a ton of money in the process.
  • VPS - Virtual Private Server - ($15-$160/mo) - a Virtual Private Server is essentially a Dedicated Server on a smaller scale. Unlike shared hosting, where everyone uses the same resources...VPS is basically a shared server with dedicated resources. And by resources, we mean RAM. Prices go up/down depending on how much ram you want dedicated to your account. a 512MB account might cost you $20/mo, while a a gig will run you $30/mo. Overall this is a good option for those who need dedicated resources for a specific application. Another advantage of a VPS account, is that unlike shared hosts that charge a few bucks for a dedicated ip, you get one free with most VPS providers. Scaling on the higher level is also available...where you can grow your "instance" to a size of a regular dedicated server. Obviously it costs more compared to going with a dedicated server outright...but it's a good option to have. Overall, for a new website, a VPS tends to be a case of overkill. It's much better to launch on a shared host, then once you actually have analytics data to look at...then you can think of upgrading to the right option for you(VPS or Dedicated).
  • Dedicated Servers($150-$2,000/mo) - this is the big cahuna option and is reserved for heavily trafficed established websites. If you are just launching a new site, you shouldn't even be thinking of these since this will be a major case of overkill...that's like buying a Ferrari to drive up and down your driveway. Dedicated servers just mean that instead of sharing the server with others on shared hosting, you get all of it to yourself. Dedicated servers further break down into managed and unmanaged. These servers can also be extensively customized. Depending on the system you go with, you can have from a few gigs of ram, up to 512GB of RAM. Obviously the extras cost...so that extra ram will run you an extra $3,000/mo. You can choose the # of hard drives, the type(SAS/SATA/SSD) and the type of RAID(redundant storage) you want(for backup purposes in case of harddrive failure). Bandwidth also varies from host to cost, most offer 100MB/s, while some offer as little as 10-20. You can also upgrade to a Gigabit option for around $100/mo. Overall, a light dedicated server can be a good option instead of VPS...but the more high end systems tend to be unnecessary unless you are an established business with the traffic statistics that show that you actually do need something that powerful.
  • Cloud Hosting - this is very similar to VPS...only instead of having your stuff on one server, it's spread out all over the place in the cloud. There is a real danger with Cloud Hosting though...if you get a huge traffic spike...it can cost you a LOT of money. With other options, a huge spike would just mean that your server will run slower. With Cloud Hosting, it means that everything will keep working, while you rack up a huge bill. It's not unheard of to have someone pay $40/mo for Cloud Hosting, and then have a traffic spike that racks up a $4,000 bill in a single day. So if you don't have the cash to handle something like this...cloud hosting is probably not for you. To be fair, stuff like that doesn't happen all that often...but it is a risk to keep in mind.
Features Explained
There are a lot of different features when it comes to web hosting. But what do all of them mean?

  • Unlimited Space - Does the host offer unlimited space? Please note, that this always comes with a *, that states that this is at the host's discretion. This is done to protect them from abuse. But you'll have a hard time hitting the cut off point since most hosts won't bat an eye even at 100GB worth of usage.
  • Unlimited Bandwidth - Does the host offer unlimited bandwidth? Once again, this always comes with a *, that states that this is at the host's discretion. And once again, this is done to protect them from abuse. You'll also have a hard time hitting the cut off point. There are a few exceptions to this...sharing big files with a lot of people. But as long as you keep that under 1TB/day(1000 GB) you'll be fine with most hosts. As you can imagine, it's right next to impossible to actually hit that limit without actively trying.
  • Unlimited Domains - This one is important. Not every host offers this...and there is no reason not to do that. The support is built into all control panels. So the only reason that they do this, is to try and squeeze every penny out of the customer. The reason this is important, is because chances are you'll own multiple domains. If you are a business, you'll probably own companyname.com, companyname.org, companyname.net and multiple others. If you are an affiliate marketer, you'll probably build dozens if not hundreds of websites. So it's kinda important to know that you'll always be able to keep everything under one account.
  • Unlimited Databases - Also very important to have. Most hosts offer this, but there are a few that try to limit this number(usually they do this in order to get you to upgrade to the more expensive plan). Chances are that most of your sites won't even use databases. Those that do, will usually require less than 5. But just to be safe it's best to get a host that gives you unlimited databases from the get go.
  • Unlimited Email - This means that the host allows you to setup unlimited email addresses in the control panel. This isn't very important, since you can always set up as many email addresses as you want through Google.
  • No Setup Fees - This is important since it separates the scammers from legit companies. Very often you'll see a company offering "cheap" services, while in their small print, they state that you'll have to pay up front for "setup fees". Please note, that this is different from a host's premium service to transfer over all your stuff for you...but even then, a lot of hosts offer that service for free.
  • Free Domain - this isn't very important since this is just $8-10, but when you are paying $3-4 a month for hosting, it's a pretty good value add when it's thrown into the equation.
  • Free Scripts - this is very important...especially if you are a newbie. Most good hosts will give you a whole bunch of free scripts to work with. Most common are Wordpress(for blogging), MediaWiki(wikipedia clone), PHPBB(forum software), CMS scripts(Joomla etc), and others. It's important to find a host that offers these, since it means you don't have to do much to get these scripts running on your server space.
  • Free WHOIS Privacy - This one is pretty rare, but it's a huge value add. Private registration can cost as much as $10/yr...so getting it for free(especially if it's free for all domains) is a huge bonus. Private registration essentially replaces your public domain registraion info(name, address, phone #) with custom info that keeps your real info private and forwards you the info without revealing your own. The value here depends on how much you value your privacy. If it's a personal site this can be important, if it's for a business, it can be optional(unless, you are running it out of your house...then you should really think about getting private registration).
  • Dedicated IP Address - this isn't important for private sites, but can be important for businesses. A dedicated IP means that you can get a private SSL certificate, that if the actual domain is down, you can get access to your site, and if someone else on the server decides to spam the web(either by abusing Google or spamming emails), your own site won't be affected. The latter part isn't a huge risk, especially if you are using a U.S. based host company.
  • Custom DNS - this allows you to easily change your domain's DNS settings. Since this is really a function of the domain registrar...this isn't all that important...but still a good thing to have.
  • Personalized Email - this basically means that the web host will setup a personal email address on your custom domain. i.e. you@companyname.com or support@yourstore.com
  • SSL Secure Server - this is important. It means that the server is protected with a SSL certificate. Not necessary if you are doing something like a personal blog, but crucial if you are thinking of setting up an estore or plan to accept credit cards.
  • Secure FTP - makes sure that all FTP connections are secured. Most hosts will have this.
  • Shell Access(SSH) - SSH allows you to access the server from a secure location. You can transfer files(much more securely), configure your account, setup cron jobs, create backups, and much more. Overall this feature is reserved for advanced users. If you are a newbie, you can go right on without bothering to learn SSH(you'll need to learn Linux/Unix commands to use this).
  • Control Panel - Control Panels are important, they make it easy for you to manage your website, track statistics etc. Most companies use either CPanel or VDeck.
  • Site Reporting - This isn't as important as it used to be, since you can now just get Google Analytics. But it's good to have this backup version...especially if you are part of the crowd that doesn't want to give Google access to your stats to avoid getting penalized in search rankings. Another benefit, is that this reporting is server based, so it's more accurate than javascript based versions.
  • Easy Website Builder - This is crucial if you are a newbie. Essentially it's a point and click solution for building a website. Just think of this as advanced Microsoft Word for websites. You can bold what you want, you can change fonts, insert photos etc...it's a complete solution that lets anyone build a website without learning HTML or CSS.
  • Free Website Templates - This is for those of you with a bit more knowledge. A template is basically a complete website, with placer text/images. All you have to do is change the text to your own, and if you wish use new images...and voila, you have a brand new website. Usually web hosting services that offer these, have hundreds, if not thousands of templates to pick from...so no matter what line of business your website is going to be in, you'll be able to find a nice looking template to use.
  • 1-Click Script Installs - This is basically the simplified version of script installation. Instead of having to think about what to name this or that, which folder to move stuff to, you just click a single install button and everything gets installed for you.
  • Backup Software - This is very important. It's a rule that hard drives fail. You want a host, that offers you the ability to backup your data, so if a harddrive fails, you don't have any downtime. The smaller hosts tend to take their chances here, because offering backup means that they lose half the available space...which costs them money.
  • Wordpress Software - this is the most popular blogging software...but it can be so much more. You can customize it to be a completely standalone website. There is also a huge community, with tons of themes available for any kind of website.
  • Drupal Software - This means that the software comes with the hosting plan. Drupal is an open source CMS that can be used to build anything from a personal blog to enterprise level apps. There are a ton of modules that you can use to customize your site.
  • Joomla Software - Similar to Drupal this is an open source CMS that can be used to build a website.
  • CMS Software - CMS software stands for content management software, it allows you to build interactive websites without needing to learn databases and the like.
  • Forum Software - Discussion boards are a popular genre of websites...which is why any web host that offers scripts, throws in free forum software. Usually it's PHPBB...which is a powerful open source option for discussion board software.
  • Email Software - Think of it, as your very own private Gmail(private login option) with your domain name extension.
  • Shopping Cart - if you plan to sell on the internet, you'll need a shopping cart. Luckily most web hosts offer some version of shopping cart software. The software basically setups your very own online store. Just pick your name, add inventory and start selling.
  • FrontPage Support - Frontpage is Microsoft software for building sites. Think of it as the easy website builder...that's on your PC. A checkmark here, basically means that all your frontpage exntensions are supported.
  • Flash Support - means that the host supports flash videos/games without requiring root access.
  • SVN Support - supports Apache Subversion version and revision control software
  • Python Support - supports Python programming language
  • Ruby on Rails Support - supports Ruby on Rails programming language
  • PHP Support - supports PHP programming language
  • Perl Support - supports Perl programming language
  • CGI Support - supports CGI
  • Directory Listing - the hosting company will submit your info to a major paid directory.
  • Advertising Credit - as part of your package, you'll get a few hundred dollars of advertising credit with Google AdWords, Bing Ad Center and other advertising companies.
  • Free Toll Free Number - get your own 1-800 # as part of the package
  • Scalability - means the hosting company provides scaleable solutions
  • Knowledge Base - do it yourself support
  • 24/7 Support - someone can be reached by phone 24/7
  • U.S. Based Support - this is very important. When you need hosting support, you want to make sure you can actually understand the other person, otherwise it's just confusing.
  • SLA Up Time Guarantee - means that the company guarantees your site's uptime. Usually 99.99% up time...which means if the site is down for more than a few minutes a month, you start accruing a refund. Since this is applied automatically to all users, the company has a major incentive to keep your site up 100% of the time.
  • Money Back Guarantee - means that the company will give a full refund within a certain time period.