Web and Cloud Hosting Services

by Lori FairbanksLast Modified: January 5, 2018

Intro
Best Picks
Reviews
State of the Industry
Pricing
Negotiation Tips
How to Choose a Web Hosting Service
Small Business Web Hosting
What Is Free Web Hosting?
Hosting Types
What We Tested, What We Found
Our Verdict & Recommendations
Map
Services

The Best Web and Cloud Hosting Services For 2018

For businesses owners, few decisions are as complex and challenging as selecting a web hosting service. That's because there are hundreds of companies to choose from, each offering multiple service types and plans. Shared web hosting, VPS hosting, domain hosting, cloud hosting … which one should you choose?  

If your business is small or new, a shared web hosting plan is the best place to start. However, if you've outgrown your current host, your website is complex, or you want advanced customization options, VPS or cloud hosting may be a better fit. If you have multiple websites, you may prefer a domain host. Or, if you simply need a service that makes it easy to share large files, an FTP hosting company may meet your needs.  

We want to help you choose the web hosting service that will be the best fit for your specific business. InMotion Hosting, 1&1 Hosting, Bluehost, Arvixe and Hightail are our top picks. You can read more about them below and why we recommend them, along with advice about the features you should look for and tips for getting a good deal.

Best Picks

Best Overall
UK Web Host
Domain Host
VPS Web Host
Cloud Host
FTP Host
InMotion Hosting Launch

Best Web Hosting Service

InMotion Hosting Launch

InMotion Hosting is the best web hosting service for small businesses because it offers great package features, responsive customer service and competitive pricing.

It has three shared business hosting packages: Launch, Power and Pro. All plans include one free domain registration or transfer and allow you to set up an unlimited number of email accounts. InMotion Hosting is one of the few companies that provide multiple security features with all of its plans, including a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, a secure shell (SSH), a solid-state drive (SSD), a spam-filtering program and free data backups.

1and1 Hosting

Best UK Web Hosting Service

1and1 Hosting

1&1 Hosting is an affordable U.K. web hosting service that provides numerous features, security options and support tools. It has three plans: Basic, Plus and Pro. All plans include one free domain registration for the first year when you sign a 12-month contract and support 10,000 subdomains.

All plans also include a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which assures your clients that your website is secure; a secure shell (SSH) protocol that allows you to access other computers through your website, useful for customer service inquiries; and a solid-state drive (SSD), which delivers faster load times and superior uptime for your website. The company backs up your website daily and restores it for free; most services charge for one of these services, if not both.

Arvixe PersonalClass

Best Domain Hosting Service

Arvixe PersonalClass

Arvixe is the best domain hosting service. It provides a great deal on domain registration, promising one free domain name for as long as you use Arvixe as your web host. Its basic plans also support more domains than most of its competitors, with the Personal Class plan for Linux supporting up to six domains (most plans support one or two).

Four shared web hosting plans are available from this company's Personal Class tier, with two for Linux users and two for Windows users. The company is one of the few that distinguishes between Linux and Windows hosting. The Windows plans support fewer domains than the Linux plans, with the Personal Class plan supporting just one and the Personal Class Pro plan supporting five.

InMotion Hosting VPS-1000S

Best VPS Web Hosting Service

InMotion Hosting VPS-1000S

InMotion Hosting's virtual private server (VPS) hosting services are the best choice for small businesses requiring faster processing and dedicated resources from their web host. Its VPS plans are cloud-based, with solid-state drive (SSD) servers and unlocked CPU cores, meaning you're not limited to a specific number of cores.

Three VPS hosting plans are available: VPS-1000HA-S, VPS-2000HA-S and VPS-3000HA-S. The basic plan includes 4GB of RAM, 75GB of storage, a 4TB bandwidth and three IP addresses. All plans allow you to create as many domains, subdomains, email accounts and MySQL databases as you wish with your VPS account. You're limited only by the disk space and bandwidth of your hosting package, and you can monitor your resource use through the dashboard.

Bluehost Standard

Best Cloud Hosting Service

Bluehost Standard

Bluehost is a reliable web hosting service that offers affordable cloud hosting plans for small businesses and individuals. It has three plans: Starter, Performance and Business Pro, and has contract terms of 12, 24 and 36 months. All plans include one free domain registration and unmetered bandwidth. There's also no limit on the number of subdomains or MySQL databases you can add to your website.

The Starter plan supports one website and 100 email accounts, includes 100GB of storage space, 2GB of RAM, 500MB local caching, and comes with antispam software. Both advanced plans support an unlimited number of websites and email accounts, and have unmetered storage space and unlimited local caching. Additionally, the Performance plan has 4GB of RAM and one dedicated IP address, and the Business Pro plan has 6GB of RAM, two dedicated IPs, an SSL certificate, and site backup and restore services.

Hightail

Best FTP Hosting Service

Hightail

Hightail is our pick for the best FTP hosting service. It provides unlimited storage and bandwidth, so you can share and receive files without worrying whether you're transferring or storing too many files. Hightail offers three plans for its file-sharing service, and the only limitation it has is file size, which is 250MB for its free Lite plan, 25GB for its Pro plan and 100GB for its Enterprise plan.

In addition to supporting larger files, the paid plans include tracking controls that show you who has viewed, downloaded, edited and shared your files. You're notified when a shared file has been received and downloaded, and you can protect your work with access codes. Three collaboration plans are available for businesses needing advanced features.

Reviews

Below are all of our reviews for web hosting and related categories. Our coverage includes reviews of the best cloud hosting, domain hosting services, web hosting UK and FTP hosting services. See all of our reviews below.

State of the Industry

Consumers expect every business they encounter to have a website. Luckily, it's easier than ever for businesses of all sizes to create them, as many web hosting services provide drag-and-drop website builders. You don't need coding skills or technical know-how to quickly and easily create attractive, functional websites based on prebuilt templates and themes.  

Additionally, many web hosting companies seek to serve as one-stop shops and bundle ancillary services into their plans, providing domain registration, email services, security features and the ability to install applications such as blogs, shopping carts and CMS platforms with a few clicks. Some companies also provide SEO and social media tools or services; others offer prewritten, industry-specific content and images.  

Server-based web hosting continues to dominate the small business market, and shared hosting remains the most cost-effective option for small businesses. However, like many other business services, web hosting is moving to the cloud, and the best web hosting companies offer cloud hosting alongside their shared, VPS and dedicated hosting services. Some advantages of cloud hosting include enhanced reliability, security and capacity for high traffic. However, cloud hosting is more expensive than shared hosting services.  

Unlimited is a popular buzzword that many shared hosting services use to describe their bandwidth and storage limitations; however, there actually are limits. Your bandwidth and storage aren't constrained unless you exceed what the company deems regular use, as defined in its terms of service. However, these limits are usually more clearly defined for higher-end web hosting services, such as cloud, VPS and dedicated hosting.

Pricing

Web hosting services charge a monthly fee for hosting your website and an annual fee to register your domain. Each company offers a variety of plans, and pricing varies greatly, depending on the type of web hosting service you choose. Plan length can also affect price. Although some companies offer month-to-month service, most offer better pricing if you sign a contract.

Nearly every company advertises promotional pricing, which can be steeply discounted. Although it can be tricky to find the company's regular rates, take the time to do so, since that's the rate you'll pay after the promotion ends.

  • Shared web hosting: This is the most affordable option, and it's well suited for businesses with small, basic websites or blogs. Costs usually start at less than $10 per month.
  • Cloud hosting: For basic sites with limited memory and CPU requirements, cloud hosting starting costs are higher than shared web hosting, but less than VPS hosting. However, starting costs for managed cloud hosting can be higher than dedicated hosting.
  • VPS hosting: Starting at $20 per month, this is a good option for businesses wanting more control and customization options, without the expense of a dedicated server.
  • Dedicated hosting: Ideal for larger businesses with high-traffic websites, this is one of the most expensive options. Costs start at $100 per month.
  • Domain name registration: Most companies offer free registration for one domain name for the first year. After the first year, it usually costs $10 to $15 per year for a .com name.

Which features cost extra? As you compare services, you want to know what features you need, and whether they're included with the plan or if they cost extra, so you can add them into your calculations. For example, if you need a second domain and security services, are they included? Will you need to upgrade to a higher plan or will you need to pay extra annual or monthly fees? Some options that may cost extra include:

  • SSL certificates
  • Security monitoring
  • Email services
  • Backup services

How much does it cost if you exceed your storage or bandwidth? As you evaluate costs, you want to find out if your plan will be automatically upgraded or if you'll be charged incrementally for exceeding your limits so there won't be any surprises on your bill.

Negotiation Tips

After you've narrowed down your choices to your top two or three picks, carefully examine each company's pricing and terms to make sure you're getting the best value. Consider the following factors:

  • Is the advertised price a promotional rate? If it is, you need to examine the promotion's terms and find out the length of the term and the plan's regular rates so you know how much the plan is going to cost when the term renews. You also want to find out what happens if you upgrade or downgrade your account before the end of the promotional term. For instance, will you receive that plan's promotional pricing for the remainder of the term or will you pay regular rates? Domain registration is frequently included at no cost for the first year you're with the company, but how much does it cost each year to renew?
  • How long are the terms? Most web hosting companies have terms of 12, 24 or 36 months, though some also offer month-to-month service. You can get better pricing if you sign up for a longer term (especially if you can do so under the promotional rate), but you should make sure you like the service and it meets your needs before committing to a multiyear contract. Most companies offer a free trial period; take advantage of it to thoroughly vet the service to ensure the plan fits your needs and customer support is responsive before signing a contract.
  • What happens at the end of the term? You want to find out if the contract automatically renews at the regular or discounted rate when your term expires. You should also learn what the cancellation procedure entails. For example, will you be charged any fees for closing your account at the end of the term or for migrating your data to a new hosting company? Are there early cancellation fees if you exit your contract before the term expires?

How to Choose a Web Hosting Service

If you own any online real estate beyond a simple blog, you know that it comes with a price. Thankfully, though, that price is minimal.

Many people mistakenly think that owning their own websites only has to do with owning the names themselves; however, a large part of having a site is hosting the data and information contained on your site.

Top Ten Reviews has reviewed web hosting services going on 12 years. We've evaluated 45 services, hundreds of plans and spent 300 hours testing and evaluating providers. This year was no exception: We pored over services, analyzed the best plans, created our own websites, and evaluated and ranked these services to help individuals and small business owners find the very best web hosting service that won't bust the budget.

Whether you're just launching a website or migrating your site from one hosting service to another, in this article, we outline exactly what you need to know – the fine print; the typical structure of web hosting services; the plans, fees, and terms that web hosting providers don't readily disclose; and the features you need to look for in a web hosting service.

If you've never had a website before and will be launching one, before you sign up for a domain name, consider your options. We recommend that before you ever plan your unique site name, you analyze the focus of your online business and how much storage you'll need.

If your existing (or future) website has images, blog posts and video content, you need a service that provides unlimited disk space. Further, if you anticipate a lot of traffic to your site, you should also seek a package with unlimited bandwidth.

Small Business Web Hosting: Picking the Right Web Host for Your Business

Each company offers promotions to get you to sign on with it, but below are the features that are important to consider in the long run.

What Does Unlimited Really Mean?
Web hosting companies throw around the term "unlimited" as if it's their slogan. However, unlimited does not mean infinite. Instead, the term technically means, "not exceeding regular use," which every site spells out in the fine print.

While some companies claim that 99.5 percent of their customers will never have a throttling problem, if you store large amounts of media on your site, you still may get a warning from the hosting provider to reduce usage or you will be temporarily shut off. And because it's a shared server, you are at risk of taking other customers' allotted unlimited space. If you exceed bandwidth or disk space multiple times, you'll be required to upgrade your plan.

Plan Details
Every host provides different allotments for domains, subdomains and parked domains, despite calling that allotment "unlimited." There are services, like DreamHost, that don't have expandable shared hosting plans but don't truly need to provide the option because they offer unlimited data and space in their basic plans. Each of these plans come with the option to create email accounts with your URL, although the number you are allowed varies.

Downtime Responsiveness
Technical problems can happen at any time. Each company on our list claims to have 99 percent uptime. In the event of a failure, meaning your site is inaccessible, a service can usually get it back up in no more than 20 minutes.

But that time could mean lost income or traffic, and there's not much you can do on your end, especially when you're running off a server in a remote location. Responsive tech support, therefore, is critical.

Compatibility
Investing in a reliable web host is a big decision, because it impacts how your site runs for the next year or two, or however many years you remain with the web host. If you have a concern with a host, there is no reason to stick with it just because you have a bundle.

We looked for services that not only made it easy to migrate information but also to export site content. Those that did received higher scores. One service that makes domain registration and content migration easy is InMotion Hosting.

All of the web hosts on our list offer limited money-back guarantees. Further, a handful of companies allow you to cancel at any time without penalties.

Security
Security is always lighter when using a shared server, but that doesn't mean your site should be left vulnerable. The best hosts use shared secure sockets layer (SSL) security protocol and secure shell (SSH), like 1&1 Hosting. Should your site go down, many of the web hosts on our list back up and restore your site without charging you an additional fee. Some also protect your email accounts from spammers for free, while others offer advanced anti-spam protection at a cost.

If you plan to sell products or services online, there are several shared web hosts that offer eCommerce solutions, such as shopping cart systems and the ability to accept credit cards. Nearly every web host we tested offers promotional advertising credits to jump-start your marketing efforts.

What Is Free Web Hosting?

When you first start searching for a web hosting service, you'll find a lot of free services, such as Weebly, Wix and Jimdo. Free web hosts are a good option for personal users that envision a simple website and don't need extensive web design tools or bandwidth. The two main tradeoffs, however, are that, one, these services place ads on your sites as a way to earn revenue, and, two, they usually only provide a subdomain.

Small business owners will want to focus on paid web hosting services. You get your own unique domain, which offers more credibility than subdomains, plus many services offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth as well as security features to protect customers from malware or hackers.

Free Domain Name Registration: Is It Really Free?

The top web hosting plans typically include free domain name registration but for one year. A domain often requires an annual payment, usually between $10 to $15, but Arvixe includes free domain registration for as long as you use its service. If you are only looking to purchase a domain name, each of the services on our list can help you secure and register a name.

When signing up for a web hosting service, keep in mind you're probably only seeing the promotional rate (and this number varies further, because it depends on the storage and bandwidth your site requires). Look past the introductory price to get the real scoop on what you'll realistically pay once the promotional rate ends.

During our years of evaluating web hosting providers, we've noticed that several offer an alluring, affordable plan, only to triple the monthly price and charge nearly $20 for domain registration when renewal comes around. Our comparison displays the regular monthly rates for both one-year personal and business plans after the promotional price has expired. We've included this price so you know exactly what you can expect to spend after the first year.

Hosting Types

Web hosting is a very competitive field. The features, options, pricing plans, etc., can be overwhelming. Most web hosting providers offer three pricing tiers, with features that vary between each plan.

DreamHost, GreenGeeks and FatCow, however, buck this structure by offering one plan, respectively. The features and bandwidth of these plans are similar to those of higher-tiered business plans offered by other web hosts, so the cost may be higher than plans from other providers. While these companies only offer one shared hosting plan, they all offer virtual private server and dedicated server hosting plans for businesses requiring more bandwidth.

Shared Hosting
For our review, we focused on shared hosting (where multiple websites reside on one web server), because it typically provides the least-expensive plan. If you see a low price advertised on a web hosting service's site, it's most likely referring to the lowest-grade shared plan.

But low cost does not equate to low value. If you are a small business owner who only needs a site to boost your business's online status and you plan for a moderate amount of visitors, shared plans are probably your best option.

Every client on a shared server shares hosting space. Most companies can initially promise reliability because they're planning on your site generating an average amount of traffic. But if you exceed the allotted bandwidth regularly on a shared plan, the provider will require you to upgrade to a higher plan. You can find more specific usage restrictions in each web host's Terms of Service document.

VPS Hosting
VPS, or a virtual private server, is a step above shared web hosting and packs in a bit more power on the CPU side. Companies that generate a decent amount of traffic should consider these plans.

Server space is still shared; however, you have more opportunity to customize your space management, plus businesses benefit from added security features compared to shared hosting. These plans typically offer more features as well.

Dedicated Hosting
Rather than renting server space as you do in shared or VPS hosting, dedicated means that one server is allotted for one purpose or site. The benefit of this type of hosting is that your site won't crash due to external websites spiking suddenly.

A dedicated server is the most independent way to go but not for personal bloggers or small business owners. The downside of this enterprise-level web hosting option is its steep price. That, and you'll either need expertise or access to an expert in setting up and managing a dedicated server, because any maintenance needed on the server is done by you, the owner.

Cloud Hosting
Another option is cloud hosting, which is where your information and bandwidth is spread across multiple servers to improve redundancy. Like a dedicated server, cloud hosting is expensive, and you're responsible for any maintenance and repairs.

 

 

Web Hosting: What We Tested, What We Found

For our review of web hosting services, we purchased month-to-month hosting subscriptions. These plans renew automatically each year (or until you cancel), and, in most instances, they come with free domain name registration for one year.

We evaluated the basic shared hosting package offered by each provider. The numbers indicated on our side-by-side comparison for disk space and bandwidth are all based on the service's introductory plans.

Plan Offerings
Shared hosting should be flexible. As your business grows, your web hosting service should accommodate your growth. We measured the flexibility of each service by assessing the number of plans each service offered and then checking to see how easy it is to upgrade plans even if you're in the midst of an existing contract.

Three is the standard number of hosting plans offered under a company's shared hosting umbrella, which gives you three different options to grow if you're unsure about initially investing in a higher-priced plan.

Still, some web hosts only offer one shared server plan. Providers with a single plan often do not provide enough bandwidth, storage and domain capability for the value. Upgrading from one of these single shared plans is going to be costly, because it requires paying significantly more for a VPS or dedicated server.

Control Panel Usability
With each service, we built a landing page for a business using images and content. A number of reviewers at Top Ten Reviews tested each cPanel and downloaded apps, like WordPress, to test compatibility. While there are similarities between each service's cPanel, the best web hosts provide several features, simplifying the creation process. We arrived at the usability score by testing the hosting interface and scoring the cPanel and proprietary website builder.

We first tested usability based on our experience creating an account. If a service used a one-step process, which entails easy account verification through email and approval of the domain and host package simultaneously, we gave it points for immediate usability. Half of the products we purchased didn't let us create an account without a copy of an identification card and a credit card statement. If a service is difficult to sign up for, most people will move on to the next hosting service.

Once we accessed our accounts, we tested the dashboard of each service. The standard interface is called the cPanel, while some services, like iPage, use their own control panel, which allows for more customization. We evaluated which tools are available in the basic shared hosting plans, taking into account features like simple email creation, a disk-usage meter and access to create cron jobs. Many services in our lineup have the option to back up a site manually or utilize a one-click install section.

The majority of the hosts on our lineup use a standard cPanel and for good reason – it is the industry standard. While the dashboard isn't much to look at, it provides useful tools to create a site, manage the hosting and market it to the online world.

Customer Support Quality
Customer support is an important factor when searching for the best hosting service. As a site owner, you rely on each service to have solid uptime. When a server inevitably fails temporarily, services should have a support team available 24/7 by both phone and live chat.

We called each web hosting service multiple times at all hours of the day and night, testing the quality of the support given. We reached a percentage score by ranking five criteria. A representative needed to possess sufficient product knowledge without sending us links to the FAQs page. In support calls, we deducted points when the service tried to upsell us rather than resolve the problem. Personability, in both chat and phone support situations, was another factor in our scoring.

We also tested live chat during busy business hours and after normal business hours, evaluating how quickly we were connected with a representative as well as the response time between each question. The service with the fastest response time is GreenGeeks.

The average wait time overall was just over 10 minutes. The longest we waited to reach a representative was 45 minutes. Testing the support staff of each service was essential to the process, because it is one of those characteristics that distinguishes the best web hosting services from average and mediocre ones. Often, a company boasted about its live chat support, but, in our experience, the team was consistently offline or unavailable. Other times, the staff could only help with sales and upgrades but not technical support.

Our Verdict & Recommendations

In our evaluation of the basic plans each web hosting service offered, we were surprised at the level of control and site-creation capabilities that were available for a low monthly cost.

InMotion Hosting provides superior features, like free data backups and restorations, as well as access to over 400 applications in its starter plan, something that business owners should consider when weighing value. Also, its support staff was prompt and helpful. InMotion earned the highest support quality score on our lineup – 95 percent. The combination of service, features and performance pushed InMotion Hosting to the top of our list as the best web host for both beginner and advanced users.

DreamHost not only offers the longest money back guarantee, but it also offers a superior web hosting package than any of the other services we reviewed. The web host includes unlimited storage, bandwidth, domains, subdomains and email accounts. Arvixe, our Bronze Award winner, provides small but important perks, like giving you a free domain for the life of your contract with the company. Each of these companies provides great ongoing customer support, intuitive interfaces and extra security features.

GreenGeeks' plan is among the more expensive web hosting plans we reviewed, but it offers some of the best features and performance. With a feature-filled control panel and high usability, it outranks most of the other web hosting services. In fact, its unlimited shared hosting package compares to the advanced business plans offered by competing web host providers. Additionally, it comes with every security tool you need to protect your site and customers.

Map

HostPapa
1623 Military Road
Niagra Falls, NY
HostPapa
GoDaddy - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
14455 N Hayden Rd,
Scottsdale, AZ
GoDaddy - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
Webhostingpad
318 Half Day Rd
Buffalo Grove, IL
Webhostingpad
InMotion Hosting VPS-1000S
6100 Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA
InMotion Hosting VPS-1000S
Bluehost Standard
10 Corporate Drive
Burlington, MA
Bluehost Standard
HostGator Snappy 500
5005 Mitchelldale
Houston, TX
HostGator Snappy 500
Arvixe VPS Class
2500 Ridgepoint Drive
Austin, TX
Arvixe VPS Class
InMotion Hosting Launch
6100 Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA
InMotion Hosting Launch
SendThisFile
2250 N Rock Road
Wichita, KS
SendThisFile
ShareFile
5001 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy
Dallas, TX
ShareFile
Hightail
1919 S Bascom Ave
Campbell, CA
Hightail
SugarSync - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
6922 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA
SugarSync - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
OpenDrive - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
228 Hamilton Avenue
Palo Alto, CA
OpenDrive - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
Dropbox - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
185 Berry Street
San Francisco, CA
Dropbox - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
Egnyte - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
1350 W. Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA
Egnyte - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
Box - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
900 Jefferson Ave
Redwood City, CA
Box - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
JustCloud
16-18 Barnes Wallis Road
Segensworth,
JustCloud
Arvixe PersonalClass
2500 Ridgepoint Drive
Austin, TX
Arvixe PersonalClass
FatCow
70 Blanchard Road
Burlington, MA
FatCow
iPage
10 Corporate Drive
Burlington, MA
iPage
Midphase
164 north Spring Creek Parkway
Providence, UT
Midphase
GreenGeeks
5739 Kanan Road
Agoura Hills, CA
GreenGeeks
HostGator Hatchling
5005 Mitchelldale
Houston, TX
HostGator Hatchling
DreamHost - Web and Cloud Hosting Services
135 S State College Blvd
Brea, CA
DreamHost - Web and Cloud Hosting Services

Services

List of 30Web and Cloud Hosting Services

Login to Business.com

Login with Your Account
Forgot Password?
New to Business.com? Join for Free

Join Business.com

Sign Up with Your Social Account
Create an Account
Sign In

Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use, Community Guidelines, and Privacy Policy.

Reset Your Password

Enter your email address and we'll send you an email with a link to reset your password.

Cancel
close