The Terrific web hosting providers for 2018

Find best 2018 web hosting providers using price comparisons and reviews from our expert hosting editor. You can also find hosting for different needs like e-commerce, enterprise, specific content management systems and more.

Black Friday offer from Bluehost starts at 12:01 am

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Dreamhost – 5/5

  • Shared hosting starting at  $2.59 /mo.
  • WordPress hosting starting at  $2.59 /mo.
  • VPS hosting starting at $15 /mo
  • Dedicated servers starting at $149 /mo.
  • Cloud hosting starting at $4.50 /mo.

Dreamhost holds a special place in my heart. The company, in addition to its commercial services, offers a free shared website to nonprofits. They provided a free website to a nonprofit I was affiliated with, which at the time, was a huge help for the cause. That offering is still available to 501(c)(3) nonprofits to this day.

Beyond that, Dreamhost is a 5-of-5 hosting company for many reasons. They operate their own control panel, which is convenient and easy to understand. While phone support isn’t available 24-7, they are responsive to chat and tickets. The company uses superfast SSDs for all their storage, has a free SSL certificate (for more secured web browsing), and provides SSH access for those plans that are intended for more technical users.

There are two other factors that led to the nearly perfect score earned by Dreamhost. First, the company’s pricing is pretty transparent. There are no hidden gotchas in the rates. Plus — and this is the best we’ve seen across all our hosting providers — Dreamhost provides a 97-day money back guarantee. There’s quite literally zero risk in giving them a try.


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Hostgator – 4.5/5

  • Shared hosting starting at $2.75 /mo.
  • WordPress hosting starting at $5.95 /mo.
  • Reseller hosting starting at $19.95 /mo.
  • VPS hosting starting at $19.95 /mo.
  • Dedicated servers starting at $119 /mo.
  • Cloud hosting starting at $4.95 /mo.

HostGator is a full-service hosting company, with plans for almost any need. Whether you’re starting out and need a very basic shared site, or need to be able to operate your own machine dedicated solely to your company, HostGator has a service that can help.

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We like how HostGator not only allows more sophisticated site builders to customize their dedicated or virtual server, but also to choose Linux or Windows hosting. While HostGator doesn’t support SSDs on all plans, many of its servers can be equipped with the faster drives.

HostGator gained points for uptime monitoring and regular backups, along with free cPanel or Plesk. We liked that SSH is available for the more technically inclined site operators and that dedicated IP addresses could be purchased. We did take points off because it’s sometimes difficult to tell what the price is once promotional plans run their course. That said, with a generous 45-day money back guarantee, there’s a solution for almost everyone at HostGator.


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InMotion Hosting – 5/5

  • Shared hosting starting at $3.99 /mo.
  • WordPress hosting starting at $4.99 /mo.
  • Reseller hosting starting at $13.99 /mo.
  • VPS hosting starting at $19.99 /mo.
  • Dedicated servers starting at $99.99 /mo.

InMotion is our top-rated 5-out-of-5 listee. We particularly like that the company offers free backups and SSH access, even on their lower-end plans. WordPress support with integrated WP-CLI is also available.

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Here are some of the reasons the company gets a full 5 rating. They offer an all-SSD infrastructure. They have 24-7 telephone support in addition to the ticket/email/chat support options. They offer a basic site migration, in that they’ll unpack a site saved from another cPanel instance. They offer free SSL and free malware detection.

Rounding out the wins, InMotion offers a full 90-day money-back guarantee. On top of that, here’s a special money-saving hint. In a chat session confirming pricing and offerings, the operator offered me some special prices and deals that reduced the published price by a few bucks. I was also told that while promotional pricing does go up at the end of the offer period, if you contact customer service, InMotion has a “loyal customer discount” that may bring the price back down.


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Bluehost – 4/5

  • Free SSD and Free SSL
  • Free Domain Name
  • 24/7 Support
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

If you’re a WordPress user, Bluehost is definitely a provider to consider. While its managed WordPress hosting is a little more pricey than basic shared hosting, the company has both specific WordPress and WooCommerce hosting plans available (along with management support). It also offers a site migration service for an additional fee.

The company got bonus points for its policy of performing regular daily backups, even on the lowest-priced shared hosting accounts. It lost points because its promotional price on the low-cost shared hosting does go up after the promotional period. That said, Bluehost also gained points for offering 24-7 phone support and SSH access for certain plans.


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1&1 IONOS – 4.5/5

  • Shared hosting starting at $1.00/mo
  • WordPress hosting starting at $1.00/mo
  • VPS hosting starting at $5.00/mo
  • Dedicated server starting at $70.00/mo
  • Bare Metal Server at $70.00/mo
  • Cloud hosting starting at $10.00/mo

1&1 IONOS provides a wide range of hosting services, along with a full e-commerce stack, domain name registration, Office 365 solutions, and online marketing programs.

The company also offers higher-end Windows and Linux servers, available with Plesk and cPanel respectively. We were very intrigued to see that the company offers low-end Atom-based dedicated servers as well as the more traditional Xeon-based machines. One great resource for those doing some basic experimentation, or site development, is that they have a free, three-month trial for one of their lightly-equipped Atom servers.

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The company does loose some points for its hefty price increase after the first year for most plans, although we do commend 1&1 for making that price increase clear, visible, and easy to understand on their site.

At the very bottom of their home page is a link called “show fineprints.” Clicking it expands out a list of details on the restrictions and renewal pricing for many of their promotions. We liked that this level of detail was easily available to consumers.

Good phone, email, and chat tech support, along with SSD-based hosting for faster performance, and a free SSL certificate round out the offerings, and earn 1&1 Hosting it’s well-deserved 4.6 out of five.


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SiteGround – 4.5/5

  • Shared hosting starting at $3.95/mo
  • WordPress hosting starting at $3.95/mo
  • Reseller server starting at $3.50/mo
  • Cloud hosting starting at $80.00/mo

SiteGround sits in the middle ground between a consumer web hosting provider and those who cater to enterprise solutions. If you’ve got a small business with more complex web needs than a typical small business, SiteGround is an ideal solution.

Although offerings start as low as $3.95 per month, we particularly like the company’s GoGeek plan, which is chock full of useful features, including access to a staging server and one-click Git repo creation.

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There’s a lot to like about SiteGround, but the company did lose some points due to its policy of more than doubling your hosting costs after the first year. The company calls it a first-year discount, but that’s in very tiny, light gray print.

On the plus side, SiteGround offers free automatic daily backups, access to the Cloudflare CDN, high-performance SSDs for all plans, unlimited email accounts, and integration of the free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate into sites. The company does limit bandwidth and storage, but even those who claim to offer so-called unlimited bandwidth and storage really have some limits in their terms of service.

Sadly, there is a bit of a “gotcha” to the free automatic backup service. If you’re paying $3.95 a month (for the first year of hosting, then $9.95 a month), you don’t get restores for free. Each restore, no matter how small or large, will cost you $19.95. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, the company has to pay salaries to tech support reps who can handle panicking customers. On the other hand, it seems kind of mean-spirited to hit someone when they’re down with an added fee. That said, getting your data back – at any price – is priceless.

SiteGround is very proactive about protecting their customers’ security. They have a dedicated security team that writes necessary patches and web firewall rules that help mitigate zero-day vulnerabilities. They also use an AI-based system to monitor and apply fixes to all their servers dynamically.

Finally, the company offers an entire tier of custom enterprise services. So, if you do GrowBig (as their mid-tier plan is named), you’ll be able to stay with the company no matter how big you get.


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Web Hosting Hub – 4.5/5

  • Shared hosting starting at $4.99 /mo.
  • WordPress hosting starting at $4.99 /mo.

Web Hosting Hub has an entry-level starting price, but some surprisingly valuable benefits for such a low-price entrant.

In particular, Web Hosting Hub uses BoldGrid as a site builder. BoldGrid is actually an add-on to WordPress, so there’s no lock-in. This overcomes the major problem of most site builders: you’re locked into that host and that tool, often requiring you to completely rebuild your site if you want to expand. By using a WordPress-based solution, all of the rather considerable power of WordPress is available for future expansion.

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We liked how Web Hosting Hub describes its new customer process. They tell new customers, “We walk you through setting up your account in a personal on-boarding call.” The company has a few other wins as well. They offer an all-SSD infrastructure, automatic vulnerability patches and a custom firewall, SSH access for certain plans, free site migration and an excellent 90-day money-back guarantee.


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LunarPages – 4.5/5

  • Shared hosting starting at $3.95/mo.
  • Reseller hosting starting at $19.95/mo.
  • Cloud hosting starting at $44.95/mo.
  • Dedicated servers starting at $99/mo.

Established back in 1998, LunarPages operates three state-of-the-art data centers. Equipped with multiple GigE fiber connections to the internet backbone, the company built out seismically-braced racks and cabinets, fully-redundant Liebert HVAC cooling systems, a diesel generator that can run for weeks, and a pre-action dry pipe fire suppression system.

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All of this infrastructure has been built out to support the a wide range of hosting services. The family-owned company gains points for understanding the importance of transaction security by offering free AutoSSL and Let’s Encrypt SSL encryption for its plans. While the company offers sophisticated services for technically strong clients, it also has a Weebly web builder option to get you up and running quickly.

Some plans offer SSD performance, and while there’s no uptime monitoring provided, the company also gained a nod for its offering of both Linux and Windows plans.

For the technically-inclined, SSH access is available for a $2/mo upcharge, as is a dedicated IP address. The company allows for backup through its various dashboards and permits customers to build scripts to automate the backup process. While the company doesn’t automatically perform malware scans, you can request one if desired.


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Web Hosting Pad – 4/5

  • Shared hosting starting at $1.99 /mo.
  • WordPress hosting starting at $2.99 /mo.
  • VPS hosting starting at $29.95 /mo.

Web Hosting Pad has a strong international presence. The company has servers in US, Hong Kong, Mainland China and Korea, and you can specify which server and location you want when you sign up.

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In terms of what many vendors call unlimited service, Web Hosting Pad’s terms of service indicate that their definition of unlimited is what they call “incremental.” Basically, as you need more capability, they want to discuss that with you, both to help you get the most out of their services, and to make sure you’re using their systems without abusing them.

The company’s entry-point pricing is extremely low, and while this will buy you up to three years of very low-cost hosting, do be aware that its post-promotion price will increase substantially, putting its subsequent year pricing more in line with the rest of its competitors. That said, we liked its 24-7 phone support, SSD support on some plans, and 30-day money-back guarantee.


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BigCommerce

  • Standard plan starting at $29.95 /mo.
  • Plus plan starting at $79.95 /mo.
  • Pro plan starting at $249.95 /mo.

BigCommerce is a bit different from our other hosting plans in that it’s a SaaS (software-as-a-service) provider instead of an IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) provider. In other words, rather than renting space on a virtual machine where you setup and configure your own site, BigCommerce provides you with an app you login to that creates and online store.

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So instead of worrying about servers and hosting applications, SSH and cPanel, you’re going to be paying more attention to the business applications you can integrate with, the selling channels you use, and the products and inventory you spotlight.

The key benefit is that, out of the box, you are able to host securely, drive traffic, convert visitors, accept payments, and ship and fulfill orders. There’s even an API so that if you do scale and need special integrations unique to your business, you can make it happen.

Service price varies a lot. There are really two factors: how much you pay per transaction and the features offered. All plans charge $0.30 per transaction plus a percentage.

At the lowest end, you’ll be paying 2.9 percent of the amount you charge. Bumping up to the Plus plan gets you a lowered 2.5 percent of the transaction fee and adds Google customer reviews, the ability for customers to filter their product searches, and custom SSL (a security certificate you may have already purchased).

The Pro plan is costly, but you get a lot. First, you share considerably less of each transaction’s cost, down to 2.2 percent. Then, on top of the Plus plan features, you get even more customized filtering, price lists, unlimited API calls, can have sales up to $400K per month, and get premium account services.

If your hosting needs lean towards setting up an online store first and foremost, give BigCommerce a look.

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