Article updated on February 22, 2024 at 7:00 AM PST

Best Web Hosting Services for 2024

We compared popular web hosting services, like A2 Hosting, HostGator and many others, to help you find the best service to fit your needs now and in the future.

Our Experts

Written by 
Zachary McAuliffe
Alison DeNisco Rayome
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
Expertise Web hosting, operating systems, applications and software Credentials
  • Apple software beta tester, "Helps make our computers and phones work!" - Zach's grandparents
David Gewirtz
Alison DeNisco Rayome Managing Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
Expertise Home Tips, including cooking, cleaning and appliances hacks Credentials
  • National Silver Azbee Award for Impact/Investigative Journalism; National Gold Azbee Award for Online Single Topic Coverage by a Team; National Bronze Azbee Award for Web Feature Series
Why You Can Trust CNET
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Sq. Feet of Lab Space

Factors to consider

Hosting types

Security features

Uptime

Customer service

Price

Our Picks

See at Ionos
Image of Ionos
Great security features
Ionos
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See at GreenGeeks
GreenGeeks Web Hosting logo
Climate-conscious web hosting
GreenGeeks
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See at A2 Hosting
A2 web hosting
Customer service-focused
A2 Hosting
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See at InMotion Hosting
Inmotion Web Hosting logo
Good for first-time website owners
InMotion Hosting
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See at HostGator
HostGator Web Hosting logo
Good for data-heavy sites
HostGator
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See at AccuWeb Hosting
Accu Web Hosting logo
Worldwide data centers
AccuWeb Hosting
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See at Dreamhost
Dreamhost Logo
Lengthy money-back guarantee
DreamHost
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See at Namecheap
Namecheap Web Hosting logo
Low-priced plans
NameCheap
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See at Hostinger
cnet-hostinger.png
Helpful video modules
Hostinger
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See at Siteground
SiteGround Logo
Many security features
SiteGround
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See at GoDaddy
godaddy logo
Free e-commerce plugin with WordPress plans
GoDaddy
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See at HostPapa
hostpapa logo
Present in more than 50 countries
HostPapa
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See at Hostwinds
Hostwinds logo
Most VPS plans
Hostwinds
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See at Bluehost
bluehost
Officially recommended by WordPress
Bluehost
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See at Glowhost
logo-tagline1-2100x1200.png
Elastic site plans similar to VPS plans
Glowhost
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See at Mochahost
cnet-mochahost.png
No price increase upon renewal for some plans
Mochahost
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See at WebHostingPad
cnet-webhosting.png
Power plan mini good for first-timers
WebHostingPad
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If you're thinking about building a website, you'll want to know what the best web hosting service provider is to house your site. A web hosting service allows you to publish your site and keep it secure. It is what will keep your site's data and files and the company owns the server or servers your site runs on.

Comparing web hosting services and plans can be confusing, and that can make choosing the right hosting service for you more difficult. Pricing can be especially puzzling, due to introductory rates and monthly versus annual pricing. We looked over the data for 22 popular web hosting services to make things a little easier on you. You can read more about our criteria for the best web hosting services, including how we assess security and customer support, and you can check out important web hosting terms to know.

Web host comparison


Best for...Monthly shared plan pricingSecurity featuresUptime guaranteeCustomer support
Ionos Security features$5Great99.9%Great
GreenGeeks Clean-energy web hosting$2.95Good99.9%Good
A2 Hosting Customer service$2.99Great99.9%Great
InMotion Hosting First-time website owners$2.29Great99.99%Great
HostGator Data-heavy sites$3.75Good99.9%Great
AccuWeb Hosting Global customers$3.49Good99.99%Good

Best web hosting services of 2024

See at Ionos

Great security features

Ionos

Pros:

  • Extensive security features, including backups
  • Unlimited traffic, so no need to scale up plans to handle additional traffic
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee

Cons:

  • Website builder costs extra
  • Plan prices increase, sometimes by huge margins, over time

Hosting plans

Ionos offers shared, VPS, dedicated and managed and unmanaged WordPress hosting. The company also differentiates between hosting plans meant for smaller and larger organizations to help customers better understand what plan is best for them.

Security features

Ionos offers security features that go beyond what other web hosting services offer. All plans include SSL certificates, malware scans and DDoS protections. Some plans also help repair damage malware might cause on your website. Backups at least once every 24 hours are also standard with each plan, and each backup is held for 7 days. A full set of a customer's data is also stored in two separate data centers as a security measure. That way customers always have access to their data, even if one data center is brought down by a cyberattack.

Uptime

Ionos has a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which is a higher guarantee than most other web hosting services. Battery-operated power supplies and backup generators help maintain power to Ionos data centers so your site and services stay online even if its data center loses power.

Customer support

Support is available at any time, either by phone or chat. A directory also provides customer support numbers for customers in 14 different countries. Ionos also offers a personal consultant who will be your main point of contact if you need help with your site. A personal consultant and phone numbers for different support centers around the world give Ionos customers more ways to get help compared to some other hosting providers.

Other features

Ionos offers a status page to alert customers when services go down or are being repaired. The page also logs the times when services go down and are brought back up, and it lets customers know of any scheduled maintenance. 

Pricing

Ionos' prices start lower than most other web hosting services for similar services. Prices rise after a certain amount of time. That means Ionos is a good entry point for web hosting, but it may not be the best long-term home for your website if cost is your primary concern.

  • Shared hosting starts at $5 a month and increases to $6 per month after a year.
  • VPS hosting starts at $2 a month.
  • Dedicated server hosting starts at $32 a month.
  • WordPress hosting starts at $4.50 a month for 12 months and rises to $6 a month afterward.
See at GreenGeeks

Climate-conscious web hosting

GreenGeeks

Our take

GreenGeeks' promise to offset its energy needs makes this service a clear choice for climate-conscious customers. Some plans also offer unlimited storage and bandwidth. Prices are a little high compared to other plans.

Hosting plans

GreenGeeks offers shared, VPS, dedicated, WordPress and reseller hosting plans. Each plan offers tiered options that let you scale up as your site's needs grow. Some plans are managed but at a higher cost. Each plan also includes a website builder so you don't have to build your site from scratch.

Security features

Each plan includes a slew of security features like SSL certificates, DDoS protection, daily backups, malware cleanups and more to help protect your site. 

Uptime

Like most web hosting services, GreenGeeks offers a 99.9% uptime.

Customer support

GreenGeeks says it checks its servers every 10 seconds for any issues, while other services might check every 30 seconds, every minute or longer. This means if your site runs into any issues, GreenGeeks might already be working on resolving them before you contact them. For more direct customer support, GreenGeeks offers 24/7 chat support. You can also email GreenGeeks support, and the company says you can expect a resolution in about 15 to 20 minutes. GreenGeeks phone support is active every day, but only from 9 a.m. to midnight ET. 

Other features

For every hosting account, GreenGeeks plants a tree, and GreenGeeks also creates three times the amount of energy used through renewable energy sources. Data centers contribute about 0.3% of global carbon emissions, according to the International Energy Agency, so GreenGeeks' environmental commitment makes it a web hosting option that gives back.

Pricing

GreenGeeks' pricing is average compared to other web hosting services. Most of the lowest prices from GreenGeeks require a three-year contract paid in full upfront. Other contracts are available at an increased price per month, but must also be paid in full upfront.

See at A2 Hosting

Customer service-focused

A2 Hosting

Our take

A2 Hosting offers great customer service options, as well as many different types of multi-tiered hosting plans. Plans offer a lot of features at no extra cost. The biggest downside is that some of the cheapest plans require a three-year contract.

Hosting plans

A2 Hosting offers shared, VPS, dedicated, WordPress, reseller and cloud hosting, including tiered options within each plan. Shared hosting, for example, offers plans labeled Startup, Drive, Turbo Boost and Turbo Max. These additional plans give customers more options to choose from to better fit their needs and allow customers to scale their operations as needed.

Security features

Each plan comes with security features like an SSL certificate, dual firewalls, virus scanner and brute force defense. Each plan comes with a Patchman enhanced security tool, which regularly costs about $25 a month, as well as DDoS protections that can detect DDoS attacks as soon as they happen to help keep your site safe. A2 Hosting also boasts about the physical security of its servers. To access them, someone needs to have two separate key cards to enter the parking lot and the server center. 

Uptime

A2 Hosting has a 99.9% uptime commitment. An uptime of 99.9% means your site shouldn't be down for more than nine hours a year, which is the industry standard.

Customer support

The real distinction for A2 Hosting is its commitment to customer support. A2's support is available by chat, email or phone 24/7. If you want to figure something out without talking to anyone, A2 Hosting has a large Knowledge Base filled with information to help you develop and grow your site.

Other features

If you are looking to switch web hosting service providers, A2 Hosting offers free site migration. According to the IT service provider Appwork IT Solutions, the average cost of a site migration is between $300 to $400, making this a generous offer.

Pricing

A2 Hosting pricing is about average at first glance, but some of the lowest prices also come with a three-year contract, so to get the lowest price you are locked into this service for a long time. Some of the service's tiered plan options might not offer enough to justify the price increase, as well. The Turbo Boost and Turbo Max shared hosting, for example, are $7 and $15 per month, respectively. The plans appear to have two differences: Boost has 2GB of physical memory compared to the Max's 4GB. In addition, Max offers "5X More Resources" by using nonvolatile memory express drives, which are faster than solid-state drives. Nonvolatile memory express drives don't seem much faster than SSDs on paper, but if you're trying to sell something in real-time online every second — or millisecond — counts.

See at InMotion Hosting

Good for first-time website owners

InMotion Hosting

Our take

InMotion Hosting has one of the longest money-back guarantee time frames, so even if you aren't totally satisfied with its service you can still get some cash back after a month or two. InMotion Hosting only has Amsterdam and US-based servers, so it's not the best choice for anyone with an international audience.

Hosting plans

InMotion Hosting offers shared, VPS, dedicated, WordPress and reseller hosting with different tiered options for each type of hosting. InMotion Hosting also offers managed hosting services. These services can be purchased for one hour for $90, or you can purchase these services for three months, six months or a year with prices starting at $48 a month.

Security features

Each plan comes with free SSL certificates, DDoS protections, and hack and malware protections. Automatic daily backups are also available, but these are an additional $2.50 a month.

Uptime

InMotion Hosting offers 99.99% uptime, meaning customers should expect less than an hour of downtime per year, compared to nine hours for companies that only offer 99.9% uptime.

Customer support

InMotion Hosting's customer support offers more ways for customers to contact them than many other services. Customers can contact a customer support representative by phone, chat, or email 24/7, they can file support tickets or Skype with a representative. InMotion Hosting also offers customers access to a database of instructional posts, as well as a community forum customers can look through for the answer to a question if they can't find it anywhere else.

Other features

Most web hosting services offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, but InMotion Hosting plans for 6-month or longer billing plans come with a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Pricing

As with other web hosting services, the listed price is only applicable before the renewal cost. These can be confusing when comparing prices since some plans appear to cost the same despite one provider offering more perks. For example, the shared hosting Launch plan costs $5 a month with a three-year contract and the shared hosting Power plan costs the same for the same contract length but has more features -- seems like a no-brainer to go with the Power plan, right? After the contract ends, the Launch plan renews at $12 a month and the Power plan renews at $16 a month, leaving subscribers paying more for the Power plan.

  • Shared hosting starts at $2.29 a month.
  • VPS hosting starts at $15 a month for 6-month plans but can be tried for free for monthly plans.
  • Dedicated hosting starts at $70 a month.
  • WordPress hosting starts at $3 a month.
  • Reseller hosting starts at $14 a month for one month before reverting to the regular price of $36 a month.
  • Managed hosting services start at $48 a month.
See at HostGator

Good for data-heavy sites

HostGator

Our take

HostGator makes it easy to start and maintain a website with a database of tutorials and walkthroughs. Make sure you read the fine print when it comes to backups; it left us with questions.

Hosting plans

HostGator offers shared, VPS, dedicated, WordPress, eCommerce and reseller hosting plans with tiered options. Each plan comes with unmetered bandwidth and disk space so you can load as much data on your site as you want. That makes it a great option for anyone with lots of video, images or animated page elements. 

Security features

HostGator offers free SSL certificates, DDoS protections and courtesy site backups. After the backups are taken, HostGator scans the files and makes sure they are free of malicious code, and if any is located the files are quarantined. HostGator writes that anyone with "critical business information or important data are STRONGLY encouraged to seek a third-party backup service…" (emphasis theirs). Undermining your own backup system is an odd choice.

Uptime

HostGator has an industry-standard 99.9% uptime guarantee.

Customer support

Customers can reach HostGator customer support representatives by chat, email or phone 24/7. A database also offers customers video tutorials, articles and guides. Not all services offer video tutorials, which could help solve an issue when it feels like talking to customer support over the phone or online isn't helping.

Other features

HostGator offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you sign up for a shared, cloud or WordPress hosting plan with a contract length of at least one year, you receive one free domain name registration for your first year, saving you at least $15.

Price

In addition to renewal prices jumping after a plan's contract ends, add-ons can also significantly increase the price. Restoring backups, for example, costs an additional $25. While HostGator offers automated backups, you still have to pay extra to access those backups, which makes it feel like backups are really an additional cost. This is certainly unusual.

See at AccuWeb Hosting

Worldwide data centers

AccuWeb Hosting

Our take

AccuWeb Hosting has data centers around the world to better serve international customers. It offers both Linux and Windows servers for web hosting needs, and has updated phone support to 24 hours, Monday to Saturday.

Hosting plans

AccuWeb Hosting offers shared, VPS, dedicated, WordPress, app, reseller and cloud hosting options. Customers can also choose which of AccuWeb Hosting's global data centers will host their data. This means if you anticipate that most of your traffic will come from outside the US, you can choose to have your data in a different data center so your site loads quicker for non-US visitors. 

Security features

AccuWeb Hosting offers free SSL certificates with each plan, free antivirus tools and free daily backups, which are an upgrade over the more standard weekly backups. AccuWeb also writes that it performs regular audits of its servers to help mitigate hardware or performance issues.

Uptime

AccuWeb Hosting guarantees 99.9% uptime, and its cloud hosting plans offer 100% hardware uptime. Just because the hardware is up 100% of the time, doesn't mean your site is reachable all the time. If a server is up and running but the network is down, sure the hardware is fine, but your site still won't be accessible.

Customer support

Customers can chat and file tickets with customer service 24/7, but phone services are limited. Right now, phone service is available from Monday to Saturday, but there's no phone service on Sunday.

Other features

While other services limit the number of domains an account can have and usually only allow one domain with basic shared plans, AccuWeb Hosting gives you unlimited domains no matter what plan you sign up for. Other services also limit the number of email accounts basic shared plans can host, usually between one and 10, but basic shared plans with AccuWeb Hosting offer 150 business email accounts, so instead of sending an email from your personal account, you can send an email from your business account and give your message more credibility.

Pricing

Some AccuWeb Hosting plans, like shared plans, are a little higher than other services, while midlevel plans, like VPS plans, are cheaper than other services. If you choose a shared plan but plan to scale up to a VPS plan, the price averages out.

More web hosting services we like

These services don't offer one of the three hosting options, include sufficient security features, have an uptime guarantee or have some limited customer service options. The following services aren't as robust as our top picks, but they're still reasonable offerings.

Show more
See at Dreamhost

Lengthy money-back guarantee

DreamHost

Dreamhost offers a 97-day money-back guarantee, which is the longest time frame for a web hosting service on this list. This guarantee is applicable only for shared plans. If you're new to web hosting, this window could give you enough time to make an informed decision about whether to stay with Dreamhost's shared plan. Dreamhost offers shared, VPS, dedicated, cloud and WordPress hosting plans. Dreamhost has a 100% uptime guarantee, and plans come with security features like SSL certificates and malware remover. Chat and email support are available 24/7. Phone support is available via callback, but one phone callback request costs an additional $10. You can also purchase three callback requests a month for an additional $15. Dreamhost offers a step-by-step online user guide on how to handle technical issues. The least expensive plan includes one month of hosting. Afterward, the price renews to the standard rate, which is about quadruple the starting price.

Dreamhost plans start at $2.59 a month.

See at Namecheap

Low-priced plans

NameCheap

NameCheap offers some of the cheapest pricing plans. Month-to-month plans in particular are less expensive compared with monthly plans from other services. Some other services might offer monthly shared hosting plans for $20, but all NameCheap monthly shared hosting plans cost less than $10. NameCheap also offers VPS, dedicated, WordPress and reseller hosting plans. NameCheap has a 99.9% uptime guarantee for VPS and reseller plans, as well as a 100% uptime guarantee for most shared, VPS and dedicated plans. Each Namecheap plan comes with a free virus scanner, two-factor authentication and DDoS protection to help secure your data and your visitors' data. SSL certificates are free for one year. After that year, you can buy SSL certificates through NameCheap. Prices start at $6 a year with a five-year contract. NameCheap offers 24/7 email and chat support but no phone support. The pricing for some plans can be confusing. For example, the cheapest dedicated hosting plan comes with a one-month contract for $41.88, and then the price reverts to the standard rate of $53.88. Over a one-year period, this plan will cost $634.56. This appears to be a good deal, but the same plan with a one-year contract costs $646.56, a difference of about $12.

NameCheap plans start at $1.98 a month.

See at Hostinger

Helpful video modules

Hostinger

Hostinger offers a competitive price point. Shared and WordPress plans start at $3 a month, VPS plans start at $8 a month, and cloud hosting plans start at $9 a month. There are also video modules on YouTube to show you how to do things like build your WordPress site, or how to change your domain name. Plans include SSL certificates, and all servers have advanced security modules to protect your data. All plans offer weekly backups, while higher-tier plans offer daily backups. Hostinger has a 99.9% uptime guarantee, but customer support is limited. Live chat is available 24/7, as is email, but Hostinger doesn't offer phone support. 

Hostinger plans start at $3 a month.

See at Siteground

Many security features

SiteGround

SiteGround is a good option if you're new to web hosting. It claims an average uptime of 99.99% uptime, customer support is available 24/7 over phone, chat or ticket, and plans include security features like SSL certificates, spam protection and a web access firewall to help protect your site. The company also has a 100% renewable energy match. Siteground offers shared, cloud, WordPress and reseller hosting options, so while these are good options to have, as your site grows and gains more traffic you might want to consider a service that offers VPS or dedicated hosting options. 

SiteGround plans start at $3 a month.

See at GoDaddy

Free e-commerce plugin with WordPress plans

GoDaddy

GoDaddy Web Hosting offers unmetered storage and bandwidth with its plans, so you can upload as many images and videos onto your site as you want. GoDaddy offers shared, VPS, dedicated and WordPress hosting plans, a 99.9% uptime guarantee and 24/7 customer support by phone or chat. GoDaddy is also the only web hosting service on this list you can text for customer support, but some security features are inconsistent. For example, SSL certificates are included with all shared hosting plans, but with the lower-tiered shared plan, you have to purchase an SSL certificate after one year -- no matter how long your contract length is. SSL certificates are also a paid option in lower-tiered VPS and dedicated hosting plans, but they're included in the higher-tiered options. If this is your first site, or the first VPS or dedicated hosting plan, you might want to start with a lower-tiered hosting option. The inconsistent security features might push you to get a more expensive plan.

GoDaddy Web Hosting plans start at $7 a month.

See at HostPapa

Present in more than 50 countries

HostPapa

HostPapa has global data centers, so you can choose the best data center to reach your visitors the quickest. Hosting options include shared, VPS, managed and unmanaged WordPress hosting, reseller hosting and PapaCare, which is similar to managed shared hosting. HostPapa has free SSL certificates, DDoS protection and other security features included in each plan, a 99.9% uptime guarantee and 24/7 phone, chat and email support. The lack of a dedicated hosting option means that if your site grows too large, you'll have to migrate to another service. In addition, if you choose HostPapa, make sure to look over what you're buying when you're checking out. As I went through the checkout, some features, like automated backups and a security tool, were automatically added for an additional charge. When comparing plans, these additional features are mentioned and marked as included in higher-tier plans, but not in all plans.

HostPapa plans start at $2.95 per month.

See at Hostwinds

Most VPS plans

Hostwinds

Hostwinds offers unlimited storage and bandwidth, as well as unlimited free business email accounts with each plan. It offers shared, managed and unmanaged VPS, dedicated, reseller and cloud hosting plans, as well as a business-centered shared hosting plan it calls business hosting. Hostwinds has a 99.9999% uptime guarantee, which is above average, and it offers 24/7 chat support. Hostwinds plans also come with free SSL certificates and free nightly backups. In comparison with other services, Hostwinds isn't as forthcoming with information on other features or plan differences. Usually, services show detailed charts that lay out what features come with plans. Hostwinds' shared chart, for example, lists only bandwidth, disk space and how many domains come with each plan. Since bandwidth and disk space are unlimited, the only noticeable differences with each plan are the number of domains offered, the price and the name of each plan. 

Hostwinds plans start at $5.24 a month.

See at Bluehost

Officially recommended by WordPress

Bluehost

Bluehost specializes in WordPress hosting and offers additional resources. It offers shared, VPS, dedicated hosting, managed and unmanaged WordPress hosting, as well as an option called Online Store that includes additional e-commerce tools with each plan. All plans include free SSL certificates, two-factor authentication and anti-spam protections. Bluehost customers can call or chat with a customer support representative 24/7. Bluehost doesn't offer an uptime guarantee but instead says it resolves issues within 15 minutes of them being reported. It doesn't say how many issues you should expect on average. If your site is down for about 15 minutes a week, your site could be down for about 13 hours a year, which is higher than standard. 

Bluehost plans start at $2 per month

See at Glowhost

Elastic site plans similar to VPS plans

Glowhost

GlowHost offers a 91-day money-back guarantee, which is one of the highest guarantees of services on this list. Glowhost offers shared, cloud VPS, dedicated, semi-dedicated, reseller and what Glowhost calls elastic site hosting, which it compares to a managed VPS plan. Security features include free SSL certificates and McAfee Secure, which starts at $30 a year, and customer support is available by phone or chat 24/7. Uptime is harder to discern. Some dedicated hosting plans guarantee 100% uptime, but a Glowhost administrator has said other uptimes could be 99.7% or higher, which means your site could be down for at least a day over the course of one year. 

Glowhost plans start at $4.95 per month.

See at Mochahost

No price increase upon renewal for some plans

Mochahost

Mochahost offers shared, VPS, dedicated cloud, WordPress and reseller plans, a 99% uptime guarantee and 24/7 live chat support. Phone support and ticket creation are also important. Free SSL certificates are included in each plan as well, but other security features, like spam and malware filters, come at an additional cost or with more expensive plans. 

Mochahost plans start at just over $3 per month.

See at WebHostingPad

Power plan mini good for first-timers

WebHostingPad

WebHostingPad offers shared, managed and unmanaged VPS, WordPress and a mini-hosting plan for smaller sites. Each plan includes free SSL certificates and SiteLock Lite, and WebHostingPad has a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Chat support is available 24/7, but phone support is only available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST. WebHostingPad also offers competitive prices, starting at $2 a month, but they're only available with four-year and five-year contracts. There is a mini plan that has a fixed price point of $3 a month, but it's offered with a three-year contract, otherwise, the price is $3.50 a month for one year or $3.25 a month for two years. Domains are an additional $17 at checkout, or you can use the code FREEDOMAIN at checkout for a free domain.

WebHostingPad plans start at $2 a month.

Other web hosts to consider

Most of these services specialize in one type of hosting, like shared or WordPress, which means they're not the best if you plan to grow your site. They also tend to be missing some security features and customer support options. They could be right for you and your needs if you have specific or smaller-scale hosting needs.

Liquid Web: No shared hosting. Security features include an integrated firewall and standard DDoS protections. Offers 100% uptime and 24/7 chat or phone support plus you can create tickets. Prices start at $16 a month and they only offer 2-year contracts.

Web Hosting Hub: Offers shared and WordPress hosting. Has free SSL certificates but other security features cost extra. Offers 99.9% uptime and has 24/7 chat and phone support as well as ticket submission. Prices start at $6 a month.

WP Engine: Offers WordPress hosting. Security features like free SSL certificates and daily backups. Only custom-managed WordPress plans have an uptime guarantee, and the company offers 24/7 chat support, phone support is offered at higher plan levels. Prices start at $20 a month.

Kinsta: Offers WordPress, web app, managed database and static site hosting. Security features like free SSL certificates and automatic backups. Has a 99.9% uptime and 24/7 chat support. Prices start at $30 a month for WordPress hosting.

Pantheon: Offers WordPress hosting. Security features include DDoS protection and automated backups. Offers 99.9% uptime and customer support is available 24/7 via chat, phone or even Slack. They do have a free option

Woman at desk with computer

Finding the right web-hosting service can help you launch a blog or a website for your small business. 

Richard Peterson/CNET
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How to choose a web hosting service

Hosting types

Look for at least shared, VPS (virtual private server) and dedicated hosting options. You might start with basic shared hosting, but as your site grows you might have to scale up to VPS or dedicated hosting, both of which cost more but also offer more features, like more storage and security options. Other hosting types like WordPress and Reseller are good options too, but not necessary. 

Security features

It's important to secure your site so you don't compromise the personal information of your site's visitors or yourself. Make sure your web hosting provider includes security features like SSL certificates, secure file transfer protocols and backups. The more security features offered, the better.

Uptime

The industry standard site uptime is 99.9%, which means your site might not be reachable for about eight hours a year. The higher your uptime (the more nines you see) the more time your site will likely be reachable.

Customer service

You could run into an issue with your site at any time, so choosing a web hosting service that can give you 24/7 customer service is vital. Email support is good, chat support is better and phone support is best. Addressing any issues or outages as quickly as possible ensures your site is reachable and your visitors have a good experience. 

Price

Web hosting pricing can be confusing. For example, a service might list its lowest shared hosting price as $5 a month. That price is a promotional rate and comes attached to a one-year contract. At the end of the contract, the price reverts to its regular price of $10 a month, double what you were paying. With that in mind, shared hosting can cost anywhere between $2.20-$23 a month, VPS can cost between $2-$110 a month and dedicated hosting can cost between $47-$540 a month on average. 

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How we chose the best web hosting services

Choosing the right web hosting service for you can be an intimidating task. That's why we've carefully combed through the details and filtered out which web hosting services offer the best combination of features. 

Security

Some services will advertise their security services, but won't go into detail on their homepage about what those entail. We looked into whether a service provided users with security items like SSL certificates, DDoS protections, antivirus tools, malware protections and backups. The best web hosting services will offer at least three of these security features.

Customer Service

We also looked into by what means and when customer support was available. If a service was available 24/7 by phone, chat and email, it received top marks. Anything less and that reflected negatively, sometimes knocking services out of contention for our top tier. 

Uptime

Uptime was also taken into account when choosing the best web hosting service providers. The industry standard uptime is 99.999%, which means your site remains up and available, on average, for most of the year. With a 99.999% uptime, your site might go down for less than six minutes a year. If a service has anything less than a 99.9% uptime (8.77 hours down per year) -- or didn't provide an uptime -- it was automatically disqualified from being considered for the top tier.

Hosting options

We also ensured that our best services offered the three basic types of web hosting; shared virtual private server (VPS) and dedicated hosting. These types of web hosting provide more features as they scale up from shared to dedicated. That way, as your site grows and traffic increases, you can easily scale your site within your service, eliminating the need to migrate to another service -- potentially saving you anywhere between $300 and $400. 

Pricing

Speaking of cost, some hosting services can be expensive. According to WebsiteBuilderExpert, shared hosting usually costs between $2.20 and $23 a month, VPS hosting usually costs between $2 and $110 a month and dedicated hosting usually costs between $47 and $540 a month. We checked the prices of our best web hosting services to make sure they fell within these ranges. The cost of some plans -- like all of IONOS's basic plans -- starts below these estimations, which we viewed positively.

Web hosting terms to know

CMS

Content management systems can help create and maintain your website. A CMS is a lot like the tools used to create posts or upload pictures to your social media profile, for example. A CMS does the same thing but for your site. You don't need a CMS, but without one, you'll have to code your site from the ground up. In addition to WordPress, a few other CMS tools are Joomla and WooCommerce.

FTP

A file transfer protocol is a method for transferring large files -- like videos and other data-heavy files -- from one location, like a server or computer, to another. Think of FTP as a type of delivery service. Imagine you order a television from a company and have it delivered to your home. The delivery truck that drops off the television at your home is the FTP. If you've ever used software like FileZilla, you've used an FTP. While FTP is generally vulnerable to malicious actors intercepting your data, secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) and FTP over SSL/TSL (FTPS) offer safer ways to transfer your files and data with security measures, like firewalls and data encryption. If given the option, always choose SFTP or FTPS rather than FTP when choosing a web hosting service.

E-commerce

Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is buying and selling items online. If you've bought anything online like a new shirt, food or digital music, you've participated in e-commerce. Web hosting services will usually mention e-commerce in plan descriptions to signal it includes tools to help get your online shop up and running. If you plan on opening an online store or selling items online, you should look for plans that include e-commerce tools and resources.

CDNs

Content delivery networks, or content distribution networks, are groups of data centers and servers that help deliver content to people on the internet based on a visitor's physical location. Imagine you are hosting a site out of Dallas: 

Without a CDN, if people from the Netherlands try to access your site, your visitors might have to wait a while for the content of your site to be delivered to them because of the distance. If your web hosting service uses a CDN and has a data center in the Netherlands, your visitors from the Netherlands will access a version of your site stored in the much closer data center. This version of your site has some cached files stored in it to boost webpage load times and reduce bandwidth usage. This is good for you since some web hosting services limit bandwidth usage, and faster load times mean happier visitors. 

According to a study by Digital.com, half of shoppers expect a site to load in three seconds or less, and almost a quarter of shoppers said slow load times are their main source of dissatisfaction when shopping online.

IP address

An internet protocol address is a unique address represented by a string of numbers separated by periods that helps identify a device online or connected to a localized network, according to Kaspersky. What that means is, an IP address makes it possible for your device to communicate with the internet.

Pricing for web hosting

Pricing for web hosting is a bit tricky to follow. Listed prices are generally introductory rates attached to contracts that usually last a year or more and renew at the regular (i.e. higher) rate at the contract's end. Make sure to take regular rates into account when trying to figure out a long-term hosting provider. You can also see our recommendations for how web hosting providers should advertise their prices.

Pricing is listed as a monthly expense, but more often than not this monthly expense is attached to a contract length that you have to pay upfront. Let's say a web hosting provider advertises its shared hosting plans at $5 a month. To get that price, you have to sign a one-year contract, and you have to pay for the whole contract today. That means you should expect to pay at least $60 when you sign up, not $5. 

Prices for different web hosting plans vary, too. According to WebsiteBuilderExpert, shared hosting usually costs between $2.95 and $49.99 a month, VPS hosting usually costs between $2 and $110 a month and dedicated hosting usually costs between $45 and $630 a month.

These prices are also for just web hosting. Add-ons can increase the price you pay exponentially. Two add-ons, like automated site backups and additional security measures, combined could add $60 a year to your bill. Depending on what add-ons you select, these additional items could cost double or triple what you pay for web hosting.

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Web hosting FAQs

You can check out CNET's web hosting FAQ or tips to help secure your site for more information, too.

What is web hosting?

Server room with blue lights

Data centers are filled with servers that can house hundreds of websites.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

What are the basic types of hosting?

What are some other types of hosting?

What's uptime and why is it important?

What are the differences between unmanaged and managed hosting?

What security features should I look for in a hosting service?

Error 404

DDoS attacks can make your site unreachable for an extended amount of time.

James Martin/CNET

What are website builders? Do I need one of those?

What is site migration? Can I do that myself?

Should I use a Linux or Windows server?

For more on web hosting, check out the best website builders, the best VPN services and the best identity theft protection services.