Best Web Hosting Services of 2017
I signed up and tested all of the best web hosting services so you don’t have to. It’s as simple as that.
I created Top 10 Website Hosting because of poor reliability and support of previous hosting companies. I decided to test (using real data) to see if their promises of guaranteed up time and 24/7 support were true. This is an on going case study and what might be the best web hosting company today may change next month…
Best for: Overall (#1 choice of 2017)
Server Response Time: 448ms
Uptime: 99.87% (past 30 days)
Cost: £8.35/Month £1.50/Month (SPECIAL INTRO PRICE)
Customer Support: Phone support remains among the best in the industry. Live chat response can be anywhere from 5 – 10 minutes, whilst phone support is always no more than 1 minute. 4/5 issues resolved within 5 – 7 minutes.
Short Review: At £1.50 per month, iPage offers one of the cheapest web hosting packages around. A great starter host if you’re building a website for the first time. I was impressed with the overall performance and up-times during the past 12 months. iPage has been around for some time now and has a superb reputation for both pricing and general performance and for the price of a cappuccino who can argue?Read Review
Best for: Support
Server Response Time: 477ms
Uptime: 100% (past 30 days)
Cost: £2.75/Month (StartUp Plan)
Customer Support: Siteground’s customer service has always been highly praised among professional website owners, and in 2017, they continue their run of award-winning service with remarkably quick responses and fast, effective service. 5/5 of our test calls resulted in problems being fixed in under five minutes, with both phone and live chat support resulting in response times of under a minute. In terms of customer service SiteGround are hands down the best host for overall response times.
Short Review: Siteground more than hold their own in terms of reliability, and are a solid example of a company where you really do get what you pay for. The higher cost is offset by great customer service, making them a good option for those who need that added level of professionalism for their online business. There is a reason why they have rapidly grown to one of the largest and highly regarded hosting companies in today’s market. They are also one of the few companies that have 3 datacenters on 3 continents making it perfect for SEO and GEO targeting.
Best for: WordPress Sites
Server Response Time: 503ms
Uptime: 99.94% (past 30 days)
Customer Support: As with some other companies on our list, mixed results came when testing Bluehost’s customer service teams. Phone chat tends to be the quickest option, with responses between 1 – 2 minutes, whilst live chat typically saw us waiting for around 5 – 10 minutes, and in one extreme example, as much as 30% for a proper response. 3/5 problems were resolved within five minutes, and 2/5 in under ten.
Short Review: Bluehost has often been hailed as the undisputed kings of WordPress hosting, thanks in no small part to their reputation as the only official WordPress host out there. They offer a number of dedicated packages, plus knowledgeable support make them good for WordPress, but unremarkable load speeds and up time mean they couldn’t be ranked higher than the middle of the table.Read Review
Best for: Blogging
Server Response Time: 512ms
Uptime: 99.91% (past 30 days)
Customer Support: Typically among the slower companies when it comes to response times, live chat ranges anywhere from 5 – 15 minutes on average, increasing to 20 – 30 minutes on particularly bad days. Phone chat fares a little better, with responses ranging from 5 – 10 minutes. 4/5 issues were thankfully resolved within five minutes.
Short Review: Veterans of the shared hosting market, Hostgator’s better-than-average uptime and load speeds make them a solid option for both newcomers and well-established site owners alike. Unfortunately, the sub-par customer service response and higher, long-term price tag means they remain in the bottom half of the table. It’s not the worst company out there, but it’s certainly not the best hosting company we’ve tested.Read Review
Best for: Unlimited Hosting
Server Response Time: 660ms
Uptime: 99.0% (past 30 days)
Customer Support: Like much that FatCow do, their customer service is average at best. Typical live chat and phone support response times range between 5 – 10 minutes, with most issues resolved between 5 – minutes also.
Short Review: FatCow is certainly not the worst company I’ve ever had to deal with, but nor do they really offer anything that makes you truly excited about them. A good amalgamation of the best bits of other hosting companies, there’s nothing at FatCow that you won’t find with other providers.Read Review
How Did I Decide Which Hosting Companies to Review?
Right across the globe, there are literally hundreds of web hosting services who are all competing to get websites like yours and mine onto their servers.
As you can imagine, it would take me an insane amount of time to cover them all. That said, as a professional working online, I have used more than my fair share of web hosts on my journey to find the one solution that was right for me. I was on a budget so I purely looked at cheap web hosting companies during my search but it always amazes me that you can get hold of a hosting plan for just £1.50. Pretty good hey?
When I decided that I was going to share my thoughts and experiences with small business owners like you, I knew that I needed a way to determine which sites to include and which ones to leave out.
I also looked closely at what features were included with each hosting company’s entry level package, and whittled these down to the ten companies which are featured above along with in-depth independent web hosting reviews and up time statistics.
It’s worth noting here that this isn’t a static table. Along with the ten web hosts you see, I continue to monitor and test around 10 – 20 more, and regularly update this website so that it features only the ten companies who are performing the best on any given week.
Is Price an Important Factor When Considering a Hosting Provider?
The short answer, is ‘yes and no.’
Yes, you want the absolute best value for your money. Let’s be honest, that’s just good old fashioned common sense. As a business owner, the last thing you need is to be paying out more than you need to for solid, reliable web hosting.
Yet here’s the thing, those introductory prices don’t last forever. In fact, you often hear stories of customers being billed for hundreds of pounds due to poor billing procedures (I can name a few companies that do this).
There will come a time during the life of your website that the special ‘first term’ rate runs out, and you’re faced with paying the company’s standard monthly or yearly rate. Don’t worry, with all but a few exceptions, this is fairly standard practice across the hosting industry.
What it does mean,however, is that the initial price of your hosting plan shouldn’t be the only factor you consider when choosing a site. Assuming you’re going to be running for at least a few years, it pays to consider the true long-term cost so that you can better plan out an ongoing budget.
Nor does the price alone offer any clear indication as to the quality of a web host. Trust me on this one, I’ve seen cheap web hosting companies offer absolutely rock bottom rates, only to discover that this is exactly what they were; cheap, unreliable, and barely fit for purpose.
In other words, you really do get what you pay for with web hosting. Whilst you no doubt want to keep an eye on the purse strings, factors like up-time and server response times are far more important when it comes to choosing the right package for your new site. Shared hosting is perfect for most requirements from basic wordpress sites to demanding ecommerce sites. Obviously there are limits but in 99% of cases, its a perfect fit.
Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule, and I’ll discuss these in detail in the hosting reviews featured on this site.
What to look for in a Web Hosting Company:
1. Customer Support
Easily one of the most important factors to consider. I’ve had terrible experiences of long waiting times and poor customer responses. Let’s be honest, having support that you have to wait for can really have a bad impact on your business and it’s a frustrating experience trying to get something fixed. Most of the best web hosting companies I’ve dealt with have had amazing service (especially SiteGround).
2. Web hosting Response Times
Having a fast and responsive server has a huge influence on the customer experience and Google have now mentioned this as a ranking factor (which makes total sense). Basically the faster your site performs the more conversions you are likely to have. Even a slight delay can have a huge impact. Anything below 400 ms is good enough. Optimising your site is something else to consider too, which you can do via various plugins such as W3 Cache and WP Optimize.
Having a reliable host is nearly as important is also critical. If your hosting company has poor up time then your losing business. You can use services to inform you (such as Pingdom) to inform you when your site goes down. Most hosting companies promise amazing up times of 99% etc, but the harsh reality is that it’s often far below this.
What Kind of Web Hosting Do You Need?
When you’re looking at web hosting for the first time there are many different types and options that you could go for. These range from cheap hosting providers who your sharing a server with thousands of other sites to dedicated options that cost hundreds per month. In many respects they all do the same job, but performance and up-time can vary a lot. I’ll explain each type so that you can get a better understanding of which is best suited for you.
- Shared – This is by far the most popular type of hosting. It’s cheap and offers great performance in most cases. Your sharing a server with other sites which is why it’s often cheaper than dedicated options. You also get all the functionality and features of the more expensive dedicated servers. Most providers sell this as “unlimited web hosting” but this is obviously never the complete trust!
- VPS – This is another option for customers on a budget. However it still cost’s over x10 times the amount of shared hosting so it’s not as popular but for traffic heavy sites then it’s ideal. Your sharing a server, with less customers and you get similar performance as dedicated options.
- Dedicated – This is perfect for demanding websites that need plenty of resources to be able to run. It’s an expensive option but if your site generates large traffic or consumes a lot of resources then it’s essential. You’ll also need to ensure it’s managed unless you have previous server administration experience.
- Cloud – In recent years this has become a popular option for many business owners and it’s quite similar to VPS in some respects. Instead of it being hosted on a physical partition it’s actually hosted on a virtual partition of the server. This means you can easily scale up your business without adding additional hardware.
- Reseller – As the name suggests this is made for web hosting re-sellers and hosting companies. This means that all the daily management of the servers etc is done by the provider. It’s popular because you can get better rates and scale as you grow your business by purchasing server resources in bulk. This type of hosting only applies if you wish to start your own hosting company as it’s for advanced users only.
What does it all mean?
Before we delve deeper into who the best hosting providers are for specific areas, we figured you’d probably want a few questions answered, which is understandable given the terminology that’s flying around when talking about the best web hosts. There’s a lot to consider, and many companies to choose from, but getting the basics down to a tee is the best place to start. Remember, if you take note of our guides and shop smartly, you’ll always get the best deal around, you won’t be tied into contracts, and you can upgrade your web hosting plan as you or your business grows.
Answering your potential questions helps us help you; if you know the basics, you’ll likely want to know more, and we can continue to provide you with the top 10 website hosting companies and review them on a regular basis for you.
How do web hosts actually host a website?
In order for you or I to view a website on the internet, the design, development, data, and all elements that make up a website must be stored on a computer connected to the internet. Web hosting companies rent or own these servers and charge you (their customers) a fee to store your website on there.
How much storage space do I really need?
This is quite a generic question as it’s really dependant on the type of website you’re running, however, most websites would not exceed 1GB worth of storage space. Storage space starts to get tighter with the more images, videos, and pages your website has on it. There are lots of useful tools you can use to reduce the size of your website by targeting the space hoggers, such as, images, like TinyJPG. TinyJPG allows you to upload as many as 20 images at a time and compresses the size of the image without reducing quality; it will assess your image and optimise it, bringing the file size down whilst maintaining content and quality. Although it may not seem like a big deal, the more images you have on your website, the slower the page will take to load your images, the more users may abandon your website as they don’t have the time or patience to wait more than 3 seconds to view your website.
Will I receive a domain name with my web hosting?
Not all web hosting providers have the ability to offer a domain name, others will charge you for one, whereas most will include a free domain name when you sign up for web hosting with them. Fear not, though, if a domain name is not included in your web hosting, then you’ll have an option to purchase one with the chosen hosting company.
How can I change from one web hosting provider to another?
It might seem like a daunting task, but switching your website from one web host to another is relatively simple; there are many guides on the internet that will take you through this process step by step.
Some web hosting companies will even offer free migration so they’ll do the work for you.
- Select and purchase your new web hosting plan
- Download a copy of your existing website and upload it to your new web hosts’ server (usually through a FTP)
- Ensure that all the files you’ve copied over are showing on your new web hosts’ server
- Switch your name servers (your domain name) to point at your new web hosting provider
- Within 24 hours you should see your website live on your new web hosts’ server
- Remember to cancel your old web hosting so you don’t get charged
How do I choose the right web hosting provider?
Choosing a web hosting provider can be a large task of its own; who’s the cheapest, who will provide the best service, who will guarantee my websites’ uptime – all of these questions are completely valid, so that’s why we’ve created this website for you.
We take a look at the top 10 web hosts and review them for you – we’ve undertaken many tests and signed up to all of them to ensure your choice is informed and well-researched. We know that many of you will want to opt for a cheap web host to begin with, and that’s absolutely fine!
Best Domain Hosting Companies
Domain hosting is certainly important, as it is the service that provides your domain name (www.top10-websitehosting.co.uk) so that it appears online for users to access. There’s no reason to pay extortionate amounts for a domain name, however, so looking for the best domain hosting provider is key to ensuring costs are kept down.
From only £0.99 for a .com domain name or £1.00 for a .co.uk domain name, GoDaddy is the number one domain registrar and extremely popular. Their control panel is easy to manage, so assigning nameplates is not a chore, and their prices are extremely affordable.
Best Small Business Web Hosting
It’s not just large businesses or eCommerce that require web hosting, in fact, small businesses will likely spend more time choosing the best web host for them as it’s an important investment. Small businesses are going to require web hosting that offers an easy to maintain website, marketing and SEO tools, and a guaranteed uptime to ensure customers can always access your website.
Web Hosting for Growing Businesses
For businesses that have the potential to grow, HostGator offers some great features to get your business started, including, an easy to use drag and drop website builder, one-click installs, unmetered bandwidth, and the option to upgrade to other cheap web hosting plans when your website starts to grow. There’s no contract, so if you don’t enjoy the experience, you’re not tied in – saving you every penny possible. HostGator are veterans of the shared hosting market and won’t be beaten on loading speeds.
Web Hosting for Top Notch Customer Support
SiteGround are our number one choice for customer support, it goes without saying. Whenever we’ve contacted them, they’ve always responded effectively and efficiently without any fuss; no wonder they’ve won awards! When you’re starting out a business, there’s a chance you may not be 100% to grips with everything, including your web hosting, so you’ll want the best customer support there is to offer. If you’ve got burning questions, or something goes wrong, you’ll want to be reassured that there is someone there to help you, to make you feel like a customer not a number, and to go the extra mile. SiteGround is a solid choice for small business web hosting.
Best Cloud Web Hosting
If you’ve got a lot of traffic on your website, it might be wise to consider a cloud hosting option. Essentially, you can manage peak loads without encountering any bandwidth issues. If any of the cloud servers fail, there will always be another server available that kicks in, ensuring your website won’t go down and the data won’t be lost.
Starting at only £6.95 per month, BlueHost offer cloud web hosting with decent storage, RAM, and bandwidth to get you started on your cloud hosting journey. If you’re ready to move on to bigger things, BlueHost offer an unmetered package for £8.95 per month, so you can upgrade at an affordable cost.
Best Web Hosts that include a Website Builder
Building a website is no longer a minefield; you don’t need a degree or qualification in web design or development, nor do you require the technical knowledge. Website builders are becoming ever increasingly popular, handing the control over to the user to design and create their perfect website, with a few drag and drop functionalities. Simply upload photos, edit text, or choose templates that already have it set out for you; it really is that easy.
Some web hosts now include the use of website builders as part of their package. 1&1 not only offers dedicated web hosting and excellent customer support, they offer 1&1 My Website which contains all of the tools you need to build your own website from only £0.99 per month. They present you with an easy to use website builder, over 20 million images to use, and some really professional templates.
Best Cheap Web Hosting Companies
Cheap web hosting can be a grey area; often the cheapest is not the best, instead you want to look at affordable web hosting that offers a great price, with great value for money. All of our web hosting reviews provide an in-depth view of each of our chosen web hosts, including their pricing plans, features and performance metrics.
Free website hosting and cheap hosting from non-reputable companies is best avoided; spending an extra few pence even can sway the choice from a bad service, unreliable uptime, and poor features, to quality hosting at its best with a reputable web host like SiteGround.
Best Email Hosting
Having an email address associated with your website’s domain can pack a powerful punch. If you’re running a business, small or large, your customers will want to be able to contact you via email – I think we can all agree that a relocatable email address is much more effective and professional. Having an email address is a great start, however, you’ll also need to consider how many emails you’ll likely receive in order to assess required storage space. Ensuring you have a reliable spam filter and virus protection are also top of the list when making your choice.
It may not seem like it, but choosing a web host who offers unlimited email accounts and the features we’ve mentioned above are a key aspect when choosing your web host. Personal or professional use, our vote goes to eHost who offer unlimited emails, unlimited disk space, a free domain name, and sufficient cloud storage to set you up with your website.
Best WordPress Web Hosting
One of the most popular blogging platforms on the market is, of course, WordPress. Not only is it easy to create free blogs with, you can also create beautiful websites too. When looking at web hosts who provide hosting for WordPress websites, you’ll want to keep your eye out for 1-click installs. 1-click installs do what they say on the tin; with a simple click of a button, WordPress will be installed onto your web hosts control panel where you can easily access your WordPress website or blog.
Although they may not be your first thought when it comes to web hosting, GreenGeeks offer a fantastic WordPress hosting package at a very reasonable price of £2.95 per month. Their package offers unlimited domains, free WordPress migration so you can easily transfer from another host to GreenGeeks, 99.9% uptime guarantee, and 24/7 monitoring with daily backups and expert support if needed. It’s refreshing to see a smaller hosting company offering these features for WordPress hosting; often you’ll find hosting sites charging much more for WordPress which doesn’t hold any logic!
Can I Leave My Own Web Hosting Review?
Of course! In fact we welcome unbiased website hosting reviews and feel that this is a great way to add to the community and it obviously helps other users make a better informed decision. Include as much detail as possible such as feedback on the customer service and features.
Best Website Hosting Review Summary 2017
This is a summary of the best web hosting services of 2017. The list includes the price, up time and server response times.
- iPage: £1.50/Month, 99.87% uptime, 448ms Response Time
- SiteGround: £2.75/Month, 100% uptime, 477ms Response Time
- BlueHost: £3/Month, 99.91% uptime, 503ms Response Time
- HostGator: £3/Month, 99.98% uptime, 512ms Response Time
- FatCow: £3/Month, 99% uptime, 660ms Response Time