This article examines our picks for the top 15 cheap and reliable web hosts, and explores typical issues and tradeoffs you’ll encounter with any of the more affordable website hosting services.
For years, conventional web hosting wisdom promoted the ideal that acquiring web-hosting quality meant plunking down big money to achieve a lasting online presence. Web hosting experts maintained that the best web hosting companies were out of the financial league of small businesses, entrepreneurs, and bloggers.
Cheap, reliable web hosting has dramatically altered the Internet landscape. As opposed in the physical world where behemoth corporations rule the roost, smaller businesses can thrive online by hiring a cheap and affordable web hosting company.
The Top 15 Cheap and Reliable Web Hosting Providers
Compiling a list of the top 15 cheap and reliable web-hosting providers may appear to be a subjective exercise, but after perusing several reviews, it becomes clear that 15 providers stand out among a crowded field of web hosting companies. Of all the web hosting review sites, WebHostingGeeks.com provides the most comprehensive analysis of the factors that determine cheap, reliable web hosting.
The Provo, Utah based web host offers discounts as much as one-third off the price of the standard company web host package. Currently priced at $3.95 per month, HostMonster ranks near the top of the web hosting affordability list. The site scores high in the user friendliness and reliability categories, but it has demonstrated a decline in technical support over the past six months.
BlueHost earns kudos for seamlessly integrating the WordPress blogging platform into its web hosting services. Many small business owners sign up with BlueHost to integrate blogs into their content marketing program. BlueHost runs WordPress over multiple servers, which reduces the percentage of lengthy downtimes or slow web page uploads. The web hosting company costs customers $4.95 per month, with few discounts offered throughout the year to entice budget conscious small businesses.
With over 12,000 servers to distribute web-hosting resources, HostGator has become one of the most popular web hosts for small businesses. The web host’s large data storage capacity entices larger businesses that place a premium on affordability. At $3.96 per month, HostGator has garnered numerous web-hosting awards, but it consistently receives below average ratings for providing timely customer support.
As a recent entrant into the web hosting industry, JustHost has quickly established a strong reputation for providing small and medium size businesses with fast and secure ecommerce platforms. The use of hundreds of servers allows JustHost to handle business volume during peak periods. $2.25 per month makes JustHost one of the cheapest web hosting companies on this list. However, many reviewers complain about the complexity involved in running some of JustHost’s software.
GreenGeeks owns the environmentally friendly web hosting industry niche. The company specializes in providing web hosting products and services through an environmentally friendly platform. GreenGeeks offers several web-hosting packages, with the standard package running $3.96 per month. The company has demonstrated inconsistent delivery of the WordPress platform and the handling of customer inquiries.
After making the successful transition to small business web hosting, iPage has emerged as one of the leading web hosting companies. The company bundles over $400 worth of website building tools into its standard monthly package that costs $1.99 per month. iPage does receive complaints for slow web page loading speeds, although the company appears to be alleviating concerns by adding servers to its web-hosting network.
Venerable FatCow has been around since the advent of Internet commerce, back in the late 1990s. Most of the customers FatCow attracted during the initial phase of ecommerce remain with the web hosting company. You can expect friendly and knowledgeable technical support that does not push products and services. Small businesses that want to transfer domains can do so at no charge. FatCow runs several discount programs to help small businesses defray the monthly cost of $4.08.
WebHostingPad offers a wide array of ecommerce tools that allow entrepreneurs to set up a virtual store from home. The key feature of the company’s ecommerce suite involves the design of a security system that protects customer transactions WebHostingPad continually invests in contemporary software and hardware technology to ensure the timely free flow of data packets. Typically priced at $4.95, the WebHostingPad now offers its standard web-hosting package for $1.99 a month.
The highly trained technical support team at WebHostingHub directs customers to web hosting features they need. You can expect simplified explanations to complex web hosting issues, such as disrupted service or difficult to install plug-ins. Small business owners have the option to work with the premium website builder, which costs more than the standard $4.95 monthly fee.
InMotion provides customers with nearly perfect uptime records by developing a comprehensive platform that incorporates hundreds of powerful servers. Reviewers consistently laud the fast web page loading speeds, which entices website visitors to remain on the site longer. The company’s exclusive Speed Zone technology backs up data every 48 hours to ensure data integrity. At $5.99 per month, InMotion represents one of the pricier web-hosting providers.
With 24/7 customer support and a 30-day money back guarantee, NetFirms offers one of the more customer friendly web hosting services. For $4.45 a month, you can expect a free YP.com listing and an easy to understand site builder that creates fast loading web pages. However, NetFirms does receive some thumbs down for limited disk space.
Cheap and reliable may define the web hosting companies on this list, but you also want an easy to use website builder that frees up more time for you to promote your business or hobby. Dotster offers a drag and drop website builder that does not involve learning difficult downloading instructions. Although the company has a nearly spotless customer service record, the $6.75 per month prices may scare off small businesses and entrepreneurs that operate on tight budgets.
IPOWER takes advantage of the rising importance of content marketing by providing you with tools to encourage guest posts on forums and blogs. You can also easily create photo galleries that showcase a product or promote a special event. IPOWER costs $5.95 a month, with the web hosting company offering new customers bundled discounts on website building tools. Slow uptimes seem to be the only downside to enlisting the web hosting services of IPOWER.
The $5.95 monthly web-hosting package offered by EntryHost includes two website builders and a free domain. While unlimited disk space attracts larger businesses, the vast amount of disk space can slow down data packet transfers. The company provides timely technical support via phone and an online chat platform.
eHost receive praise for its tight security tools, including the protection of valuable customer financial information. SSL prevents viruses from infecting the integrity of the stored data. The staunch security features make eHost a popular choice for businesses that want to operate ecommerce stores. At $5.95 a month, eHost ranks low in customer surveys that measure uptimes and data transfer speeds.
More people than ever are looking to find the right web host to match their needs. How to find the best web hosting depends on what you plan to accomplish in cyberspace and hence, the first question you should ask is, do I want a web host for a blog, small business, online commerce store, mid-size business, large enterprise, or for personal use. Once you establish your reason for going online, you can narrow down your cheap and reliable web hosting options by following predetermined criteria.
Types of Cheap and Reliable Web Hosting
You have four primary types of web hosting services available to meet your personal and/or professional needs. Before you sign up with a cheap, reliable web host, you should clearly understand the differences between the four types of web hosting.
From grandma who wants to upload photographs of her grandchildren to the sponsor of a Little League baseball team, free web hosting makes sense for people who simply want to build a non-commercial website for fun. Free hosting environments often include slower connection speeds and service disruptions. Most free web hosts require you to purchase your own domain name.
Shared web hosting makes sense for a large number of website owners who want affordable, yet highly reliable web hosting services. You share the physical server and software applications with other website owners, which defrays the cost of using a shared hosting service. Most shared hosting platforms include powerful servers that allow you access online files quickly and store plenty of data. However, shared hosting services tend to be slower than dedicated and collocated web hosting.
Only you have access to an entire web server when you enlist the services of a dedicated web hosting company. The capability to download resources, without having to share the resources with other website owners means faster performance. However, expect to pay more for dedicated hosting, since only your website accesses server resources and you require a higher level of security.
The main advantage of collocated hosting is you maintain full control over the web server. You purchase your own website server and allow a web host to maintain the server. This type of web hosting works best for webmasters who want to install their own scripts and software applications.
Important Features and Functions of Cheap, Reliable Web Hosting
One of the defining characteristics of cheap, reliable web hosting involves the percentage of time a web host server optimally functions. The last thing you want is a cheap web hosting company that provides poor uptimes. Consider cheap web hosts that ensure at least 99 percent uptimes, although you can find cheap web hosts who have higher than 99.5 percent uptimes. You cannot afford to have a web-hosting server fail whenever you need to upload important personal and professional documents.
Here are some other features and functions that cheap, reliable web hosting services should provide you:
Data transfer, or bandwidth, represents the amount of bytes moved from your website to visitors when they access your web pages. Nothing turns visitors off more than slow download times or frozen web pages. Reputable web hosts that offer cheap and reliable web hosting do not promote the myth of unlimited bandwidth. It costs money to provide the data tunnel for your website and they charge you whenever you exceed an allotted bandwidth. If you do not plan to provide many videos or present images on your website, shoot for the lower range of bandwidth, until you grow site traffic.
Some cheap, reliable web hosting services offer free disk space up to a designated number to entice you to sign up with them. Once again, if you do not plan to utilize many multimedia files, you do not need that much disk space, and thus, you save money by going with a web hosting company that charges little or nothing for limited disk space.
Despite the good intentions of cheap and reliable web hosting, you can expect to experiences problems with some of the features. This means you need instant access to technical support 24/7. You preferably want to speak with a technical support professional, although many cheap web-hosting companies only provide online tech support during off peak usage periods. The key to tech support is fast response times and technical competence.
The best uptimes, widest bandwidth, and quick responding tech support means nothing if your web hosting company’ server becomes compromised and you lose some of your website files. If you plan to establish an ecommerce presence, make sure the cheap and reliable web hosting company under consideration allows you to create a SSL. This server security features is especially important for securely processing credit cards. Establishing an SSL increases the cost of a cheap and reliable web hosting, but it ensures your website remains online to attract visitors.
Search for cheap and reliable web hosting that allows you to make annual payments. You should get a cheaper annual rate than if you set up monthly or quarterly plans. However, for new web hosts, start paying monthly until you are comfortable that the web host provides reliable and timely service.
Once upon a time, it was virtually impossible for website owners to find cheap, reliable web hosting that provided 99.5 percent uptimes, large bandwidths, secure servers, ample disk space, and strong technical support, without busting a website owner’s budget. That has all changed, as the top 15 cheap and reliable web-hosting companies, in some form, nail each of the web hosting shopping criteria. This is what separates the top 15 web hosts with the rest of the pack.
Who Benefits from Cheap, Reliable Web Hosting?
Who benefits from cheap, reliable web hosting? Well, almost any individual and organization benefits from paying more for dependable web hosting services. Yet bloggers, hobbyists, and small businesses particularly benefit from signing up with affordable and dependable web hosting.
Blogging has morphed from a way to let off some steam to a viable way to attract fans and new customers. Many of the top 15 cheap and reliable web-hosting companies integrate a blogging platform, such as WordPress into their services package. Blogging require less bandwidth, disk space, and technical support, since it does not often include uploading images and videos. Bloggers benefit the most from cheap and reliable web hosting.
Non-commercial hobby ventures often find their way onto cheap and reliable web hosting platforms. Although hobbyists do not run commercial enterprises, they still must consider web hosting that offers larger bandwidth than the bandwidths required for bloggers. This is due to hobbyists uploading still and moving images of their favorite pursuits.
The Internet has helped previously unnoticed freelance writers acquire new clients through the creation of fresh, relevant content that ranks high in the three major search engines. Cheap and reliable web hosting allows freelance writers to upload portfolios and blog about their areas of expertise. Freelance photographers also benefit from affordable web hosting, but they require more disk space to store their images.
Small Business Operators
Small business operators that conduct little or no transactions online benefit from affordable and dependable web hosting. Their primary goal is to establish trust with website visitors, which means they run content marketing programs that require small amounts of bandwidth. Choosing the right web host can save small business owners enough money to divert financial resources to other facets of their businesses.