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WEB HOSTING COMPARISON featured image

Best Web Hosting Comparison (In Plain English)

Table of Contents

Last Updated on January 17, 2021 by Kelly Thoreson

HostMonthly
Cost
UptimePage SpeedFree SSLFree Domain
HostGator$2.7599.99%190 msβœ”οΈβœ”οΈ
A2 Hosting$3.9299.93%317 ms βœ”οΈ ❌
BlueHost $2.95 99.98% 405 ms βœ”οΈ βœ”οΈ
SiteGround$3.9599.99%673 msβœ”οΈ ❌

Picking the right web host for your new blog is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

Knowing this, I bet you have been looking for a web hosting comparison written in plain English, right?

Look no further! You’ve found it!

The web hosting comparison below is easy to understand, updated frequently and includes FAQs so you can rest assured you’re picking the right web host!

Web Hosting Comparison βœ… WINNER

I know you’re a busy person so I’m going to give you what you came for first thing. The winner of the web hosting comparison:

βœ… HostGator is the #1 web hosting service based on a combination of cost, uptime, bandwidth, page speed, and freebies! (click here to sign up for HostGator)

HostMonthly
Cost
UptimePage SpeedFree SSLFree Domain
HostGator$2.7599.99%190 msβœ”οΈβœ”οΈ
A2 Hosting$3.9299.93%317 ms βœ”οΈ ❌
BlueHost $2.95 99.98% 405 ms βœ”οΈ βœ”οΈ
SiteGround$3.9599.99%673 msβœ”οΈ ❌

Between the low monthly costs, high uptime, page speed, free SSL and free domain, HostGator blows the competition away!

Ready to start a blog with HostGator? Use this tutorial to walk you through exactly how to start your blog today in 3 easy steps (with screenshots & videos so it’s super easy!).

Click here to skip the FAQs and go straight to the detailed web hosting comparison below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Web Hosting

If a website were a traditional brick and mortar business, the web host would be the land the building is on.

Web hosting companies have banks of giant computers called servers that they use to store your website’s information.

This is great news because not only are servers an expensive equipment investment, but they’re also quite large.

For even more clarification, check out this 3-minute video that breaks down just what web hosting is:

If you are a small-medium sized business or starting a blog, you will be just fine with shared web hosting.

This means that the server your website is stored on also stores other websites and thus, the cost is much lower than a virtual server or dedicated server.

If your business is larger, you may want to look into dedicated web hosting.

This means that the server your website is stored on is used for nothing else. This generally means more security and speed, but also much greater costs.

There is mid-point between shared and dedicated hosting, and it is called Virtual Private Server hosting, aka VPS.

VPS hosting still means you share your server with other websites, but you’re sharing them with fewer sites than a shared server. It is more expensive than shared hosting but less expensive than dedicated hosting.

If we think of a web host as the land that a traditional business is on, the domain would be the physical address of that business.

Sure, you could tell your customers how to find you by giving them GPS coordinates, or you could just give them your address.

Similarly, all websites have an IP address (which would be the GPS coordinates in our analogy). IP addresses look like this:

2611:1c2:4142:2130:259c:5c8f:fc10:39e8

Yikes!

Since humans are not computers and can’t remember a string of 32 numbers, we assign them easy to remember web addresses called URLs.

For example, the URL of this blog is Blogfiti.com.

According to Google, 53% of mobile users will leave your site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.

That same Google study also concludes that over half of all web traffic comes from mobile.

It is also no secret that Google openly acknowledges that site speed can boost you up or drag you down in its search rankings.

The take away here is that site speed should be one of your top priorities when picking out a web host.

Not necessarily, but it’s recommended.

As far as business expenses go, web hosting is pretty cheap and free web hosting will cause you more trouble than it’s worth.

See the next two FAQs about free web hosting and how much web hosting costs to make your best educated decision. πŸ™‚

If you are creating your website for anything other than a hobby, do not use free hosting.

If you’re creating a blog that you want to look nice, be user-friendly, and eventually make money off of – do not use free web hosting. Same goes for small businesses.

Free web hosts are free for a reason.

They have extremely low limits on important features like server speed, bandwidth, and storage.

Also – their uptimes are pretty terrible.

If all of that sounds a-ok to you, you can find free hosting here:

000WebHost.com

AwardSpace.com

InfinityFree.net

Sites.Google.com

The short answer is that you should expect to spend $3 – $25/month on basic, shared web hosting.

The long answer is: how much you actually end up spending depends on many variables.

Your monthly/yearly web hosting costs will vary by web hosting service, add-on options, and how many months you pay for when you sign up.

There will also be the initial costs. Expect to spend at least $35 up to approximately $99 upfront, depending on the duration you chose (most web hosting services offer monthly, 12-month, 24-month, or 36-month options).

While it is important to take other factors into account, I understand that money can be an important part of starting a website and as such you may be looking for the cheapest host out there.

Fortunatley our winner, HostGator, not only has outstanding hosting but is also one of the most affordable options on the web.

Other budget-friendly web hosts include:

BlueHost

HostWinds

Yes, you can switch web hosting companies later if you need to.

It is important, however, that you sign up for your new host before you cancel your current hosting service or give them notice of your intent to cancel.

Without going into too much detail, if you want to make money with and scale your blog/website into a sustainable business – I highly suggest “self-hosted” WordPress wherein yes, you will need to pay for a web hosting service.

This means that you will register a domain, pay for hosting, and then install WordPress on your website.

If you need a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this, use this tutorial to walk you through exactly how to start your blog today in 3 easy steps (with screenshots & videos so it’s super easy!).

If you are signing up with WordPress.com – no, you do not need hosting (it is included in the package). Again, this comes with many limitations that will eventually stymie the growth of your business.

I know you’re getting tired of hearing this, but it depends on the hosting company and hosting package you chose.

Whether or not email is included and in which plans are covered below in the detailed web hosting comparison.

Yes, you can buy a domain name without hosting.

In many cases, it’s cheaper to purchase them together, but you can absolutely buy your domain name separate from your hosting.

If you want more information on how to set up hosting for a domain name you have already purchased, read How to Host Your Domain with HostGator, a step-by-step tutorial with screenshots that will walk you through the whole process!

Web Hosting Glossary of Terms (In Plain English)

The web hosting comparison below isn’t going to do you much good if you don’t understand the jargon!

Let’s cover the criteria used in evaluating each web host and then dive into the comparison.

Bandwidth

Answer

When people navigate to your website, click on things and browse, it takes resources from your host’s server to make that happen.

The bandwidth is the number of resources you are allowed to use. Unmetered bandwidth means you are allowed to use as much as you need.

24/7 Customer Support

Answer

Yes, you will probably have at least one moment where you need to contact your web host at 2 am. Hopefully, there’s no alcohol involved πŸ˜‚.

Blogging being the anytime-anywhere career that it is, you need a host that will be at your beck and call no matter what time it is that you accidentally press delete instead of enter.

Free Domain

Answer

Some web hosts will offer to waive the domain name registration fee in exchange for signing up for hosting services.

When a web host offers this discount, it is usually advertised as a free domain.

Free Email

Answer

Some web hosts make you pay to have email with your domain in it.

Example: [email protected] instead of [email protected]

As a business, having your email associated with your actual website is always preferable so this is a huge plus!

Free Site Transfers

Answer

Site transfers are also known as content transfers or content migrations.

You will likely know if you need this.

This option is for bloggers who started their blog on a site like WordPress.com (which is not self-hosted) and need to transfer all their sweet sweet blogging goodies over to their new self-hosted WordPress.org blog.

Or, if you were originally self-hosting on a different host and you’re moving to a new one, you will need a site transfer.

Some web hosts offer this service for free, which is great because we all know moving can be a pain in the ass, amiright?

One-Click WordPress Install

Answer

The one-click WordPress install featured means that your web host comes with an auto-installer that makes installing WordPress crazy easy … like … click and done easy!

Page Speed

Answer

Page speed is how fast the content on any given website’s page loads and it is very important for traffic.

Google factors page speed into your SEO (search engine optimization) score.

This means that if your site is slow, down in the search results you go. And as Neil Patel says, “Where do people go to die? The second page of Google.”

Additionally, website load time statistics show that the longer someone waits for a page to load, the more likely they are to hit that back button and find a new site to read.

It should be noted that I use HostGator and my site is pretty stinking fast:

IMG
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SSL Certificate

Answer

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and an SSL certificate lets your website’s users know that there is an added layer of security on your site to keep hackers away from sensitive information.

Consider an SSL certificate a necessity for your website.

Uptime

Answer

Uptime is the percentage of time a host’s servers are functional and thus, people are able to access your website.

Uptime is represented in percentage values and you should always pick a host with an uptime of 99% or more.

Web Hosting Comparison

HostGator Details ( βœ… Winner)

βœ”οΈ = Good ❌ = Bad (or not as good as the winner)

24/7 Customer Service: βœ”οΈ Yes

Bandwidth: βœ”οΈ Unmetered

Cost: βœ”οΈ $2.75/mo and up

Free Domain: βœ”οΈ Yes

Free Email: βœ”οΈ Yes

Free Site Transfers: βœ”οΈ Yes

Free SSL Certificate: βœ”οΈ Yes

One-Click WordPress Install: βœ”οΈ Yes

Page Speed: βœ”οΈ 190 ms

Uptime: βœ”οΈ 99.99%

HostGator Cost Options:

web hosting comparison hostgator costs
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βœ… Visit HostGator

A2 Hosting Details

βœ”οΈ = Good ❌ = Bad (or not as good as the winner)

24/7 Customer Service: βœ”οΈ Yes

Bandwidth: βœ”οΈ Unmetered

Cost: ❌ $3.92/mo and up

Free Domain: ❌ No

Free Email: βœ”οΈ Yes

Free Site Transfers: βœ”οΈ Yes

Free SSL Certificate: βœ”οΈ Yes

One-Click WordPress Install: βœ”οΈ Yes

Page Speed: ❌ 317 ms

Uptime: ❌ 99.93%

A2 Hosting Cost Options:

web hosting comparison A costs
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Cool feature alert! A2 Hosting has the option of auto-installing WordPress (and many other Content Management Systems) at the time of purchasing your domain and hosting.

web hosting comparison A auto installer
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This is a pretty cool feature because it will save you a step later by not having to install WordPress!

Visit A2 Hosting

BlueHost Details

βœ”οΈ = Good ❌ = Bad (or not as good as the winner)

24/7 Customer Service: βœ”οΈ Yes

Bandwidth: βœ”οΈ Unmetered

Cost: ❌ $2.95/mo and up

Free Domain: βœ”οΈ Yes

Free Email: βœ”οΈ Yes

Free Site Transfers: βœ”οΈ Yes

Free SSL Certificate: βœ”οΈ Yes

One-Click WordPress Install: βœ”οΈ Yes

Page Speed: ❌ 405ms

Uptime: ❌ 99.98%

BlueHost Cost Options:

web hosting comparison bluehost costs
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Visit BlueHost

SiteGround Details

βœ”οΈ = Good ❌ = Bad (or not as good as the winner)

24/7 Customer Service: βœ”οΈ Yes

Bandwidth: βœ”οΈ Unmetered

Cost: ❌ $3.95/mo and up

Free Domain: ❌ No

Free Email: βœ”οΈ Yes

Free Site Transfers: βœ”οΈ ❌ Yes and no. Siteground offers free site transfers for the “GrowBig” and “GoGeek” plans only, not the basic, “StartUp” plan.

Free SSL Certificate: βœ”οΈ Yes

One-Click WordPress Install: βœ”οΈ Yes

Page Speed: ❌ 673ms

Uptime: βœ”οΈ 99.99%

SiteGround Cost Options:

  • Save

Visit SiteGround

Conclusion

Picking a web host can be confusing and for a lot of bloggers, it can stop you in your tracks before even getting started!

Now that you understand all the techy jargon, you can pull the trigger, register that website, and get your blog started!

Related reading: How to Register & Host Your Domain With Host Gator

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