Websites are like real estate. Every business needs a good website.
A web hosting service is like a property manager—they make sure your website doesn’t crash so you can stay online.
Too many small business owners try to cut corners by trying to use free website hosting services like tumblr.com, blogger.com, or wordpress.com. This is a big mistake, because using a free web hosting service is a lot like renting real estate instead of owning it—there are tons of limitations with free web hosting, and those limitations will dramatically limit your income and profits from your website.
Why is Website Hosting Important?
Web hosting services generally have pretty good customer service because the internet is kind of popular now, so there’s a huge demand for web hosting services. Every business owner, author, freelancer and artist in America knows that having their own website today is pretty much mandatory if you want to be successful.
All the good hosting companies know this, and they know most of their customers don’t know how to build their own websites, so the hosting companies hire lots of technical support staff to help folks like me who aren’t very tech savvy get their website up and running even if you have zero experience.
8 Best Web Hosting Services
These sites provide the best web hosting services in my experience:
Bluehost is huge. They’re one of the biggest web hosting companies out there, so they kind of know what they’re doing. Bluehost was the first web hosting company I ever used, and I was able to take my online business from 0 to over $100,000 in revenue with all my sites hosted at Bluehost. I’ve personally used Bluehost for most websites I make, and I recommend it to friends all the time.
Cost: You can get hosting at Bluehost starting at $2.95, and they have a special web hosting service offer that allows you to lock in that low price for life (so no inflation, which is pretty sweet).
As an extra bonus on top, you get a FREE domain name when you join Bluehost (which would normally cost around $12 per year from GoDaddy or a similar domain name provider).
If you’re ready to get your website up and running, sign up for Bluehost here.
#2. Crucial Hosting
Crucial Hosting is a super high performance hosting company with great low budget plan options. Their plans are easily scalable, so if you think your website might grow into a huge high traffic money earner, this is the right place to get started. Use Promo Code “SAVE50” to save 50% off your first month of hosting!
Cost: Plans start at $10/month
This web hosting company has great service and reliability, but that’s just the beginning of what they do. They run their computers and servers on solar and wind power, totally renewable energy.
Also, the Green Geeks have an across the board approach to environmental quality. In terms of what they can help you with, they offer: Unlimited Space, Transfer of Existing Sites, E-mail + Free Domain, and a Marketing Package to new members.
Cost: Plans start at $3.96/month with a 30-day Money Back Guarantee. They don’t have hidden fees or extra charges like some other hosting providers. And, the company is 300% powered by renewable energy which is good for the planet.
HostGator offers 24/7/365 Support – that’s like, all the time.
So, if your website goes down at 3am, you can call up Joe at HostGator and get answers. Or, if you sometimes work on your website in the wee hours of the night like me, you can call up their tech support team to help you create a 301 redirect or access your cPanel account.
Cost: With a 45-day Money Back Guarantee and plans starting as low as $3.95/mo., Host Gator offers a pretty sweet deal. They will even give you $200 in free web ads to get traffic from Google and Yahoo as a nice extra “thank you” for signing up. Also, they have over 4,500 website templates to choose from, making it easy to get started with your site (although I recommend just building your own website for free with WordPress).
Feeling some late night tech chats? Then check out HostGator here.
5. Media Temple
Media Temple is a premium web hosting company, so if you’re on a tight budget, try a different hosting plan. They have several different high-end service plans, including what’s called Managed VPS Hosting starting at $55/mo. With this hosting plan, their tech team manages a Virtual Private Server (VPS) for you, so that means they will install all the necessary updates and security fixes for your site automatically as they are released.
They also give you at least 30GB of storage and 2000GB (2TB) of bandwidth so you can build and serve high traffic websites. If you already have a website that’s getting a TON of traffic and your current web hosting provider can’t handle it for you (or, more likely, they’re just asking for way too much money to do it), then I definitely recommend calling up MediaTemple to hear about how they can help you scale up your high traffic website without downtime. If you want to see what high end business hosting plans look like, then take a look at Media Temple’s offerings for Managed VPS Hosting.
Media Temple also offers dedicated WordPress Hosting for your site. With this option, they make automated daily backups for your WordPress site, and you get access to their dedicated WordPress support staff for any questions you have. Having their high-end tech support team on call is kind of like having a part-time tech person on your team.
Cost: Media Temple’s dedicated hosting plans for WordPress sites start at $20/mo, and they are certainly worth taking a look at.
I’m going to talk a little bit more about how important dedicated WordPress hosting can be in the following section.
WordPress Web Hosting Services
If you only use WordPress for your website and want a REALLY fast web hosting service…
These web hosting companies specialize in only hosting WordPress websites, so if you’re using GoDaddy Site Builder or Joomla or something like that to build your site then you can’t use them.
BUT if you do use WordPress or plan to use WordPress (You definitely should — here’s why), you’ll get a ton of benefits from using a specialized WordPress hosting company: faster website load times and customer support that is far more knowledgeable and helpful. They make the learning curve so much smoother!
6. WPX Hosting
WPX Hosting is what we use here at TCKPublishing.com. They specialize in only hosting WordPress websites, so if you’re using GoDaddy Site Builder or Joomla or something like that to build your site then you can’t use WPX Hosting.
We used BlueHost before but found that it was just too slow, and we had several issues where our site would go down, sometimes for more than 24 hours. Having my websites taken offline for a few hours wasn’t a big deal when I was just a lone blogger without much traffic or visitors, but now that I’m running a company, it’s a HUGE deal.
Having one of my websites go down, even just for an hour or two, costs more than what I pay for WPX Hosting for a whole year.
Cost: Business plans start at $20/month
7. WP Engine
WP Engine (WP stands for WordPress) offers a free 60 Day Money-Back Guarantee, so there’s no harm in trying out their services. That’s pretty sweet because there’s no risk to try it out, call their customer support 100 times (sorry Greg), and make sure they actually do what they promise.
They offer an excellent, highly reliable hosting service specialized for WordPress sites. If you already have a site in WordPress and you want to upgrade your experience, they even have a free migration tool so switching over your site is really, really easy.
Cost: “Startup” plans start at $31/month.
A Really Cheap Web Hosting Service…
8. iPage – Budget Website Hosting
iPage is one of the first web hosting services, they have been empowering folks to have their own websites since 1998! And they offer the most affordable hosting plan we have seen at just $1.99/mo.
Being around for so long, having such a good intro price, and serving so many people, iPage has sometimes run into problems with complaints about their service quality as they have grown, so keep that in mind. But they do offer a free domain name, unlimited space, bonus web advertising when you sign up, and lots of other perks.
Is iPage the best in terms of service and website speed? Nope. But their hosting plans are as cheap as you can get, and it’ll do the job if you just need basic web hosting at a bargain price.
If you’re on a tight budget but you need a new website now, check out iPage’s hosting service for $1.99 per month.
Issues With Web Hosting Companies
There are a few common issues with web hosting services that you may want to look out for:
Different website hosting services will give you dramatically different loading speeds for your site.
Shared hosting is when your website is hosted on the same server as many other websites. All of the basic free and cheap web hosting services use shared hosting.
The downside of shared hosting is that other websites hosted on your server could impact the uptime of your website. If a site on your server gets a huge spike in traffic, it could end up crashing your website, for example.
Shared hosting is recommended for most beginners on a tight budget because it is definitely the most inexpensive option for hosting your site.
VPS hosting is like shared hosting but a little more private.
In other words, there will be far less other websites hosted on your server, thus mitigating the risk of other websites on your server causing your site to crash.
VPS hosting costs more than shared hosting, usually between $20 to $60 per month.
VPS hosting is recommended for small businesses with a larger budget and a strong need to avoid having your website crash from traffic spikes.
Dedicated Server Hosting
Dedicated server hosting is when you have your the entire server reserved just for your website.
Having a dedicated server is recommended for large companies with massive amounts of website traffic.
Managing a dedicated server includes a ton of work, and you would likely need to hire a contractor or employee to manage your web server for you to handle software updates, technical issues, and the backend maintenance of your server.
Premium Web Hosting Upsells
Most web hosting companies will try to sell you more services that you probably don’t need, from website design and building services to domain name packages and more.
Unless you know what you’re doing, I highly recommend you don’t buy any upsells from your web hosting provider.
Most web hosting providers specialize in hosting, and so the other services they sell are essentially just add-ons created to boost company profits. But the quality of those additional services is often very low.
What to Do After You Get Web Hosting
After you get web hosting, you’ll need to:
- Buy a domain name for your website
- Build your website (I recommend you build a website with WordPress because it’s incredibly powerful, flexible, and easy to use)
- Set up your email marketing campaigns
- Drive traffic to your website
- Figure out how to make money from your website
Anything we missed? Post your comments below and let us know what your biggest challenge is with getting your website.