Web hosting is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page onto the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed in the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers. When Internet users want to view your website, all they need to do is type your website address or domain into their browser. Their computer will then connect to your server and your webpages will be delivered to them through the browser.
Rather than storing data on physical servers, cloud customers are hosted on a connected network of virtual machines. The service is software-independent and perfect for folks who benefit from high availability and on-demand, pay-as-you-go resources. Ranked #1 for cloud-based VPS hosting, InMotion offers performance-enhancing SSDs, free data backups, and managed server options.
A Content Distribution Network (CDN) is a network of servers distributed geographically. The purpose of a CDN is to deliver content on the internet much faster. If a user in Toronto is trying to access your website, the closest server to them will take care of this. But someone coming to your website from Sydney, Australia, will be catered to by a server closest to them. The main host server holds your website content, and all the other servers have a cached version each. 

A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is an independent, virtual partition on a physical server. Think of a server with different "containers" within it. When you sign up for HostPapa VPS hosting, you get one of these containers to manage as you wish⁠—install applications or scripts, and arrange your web files the way you want. It's private, secure, and flexible.

For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew. You can a find Jeffrey online at jeffreylwilson.net, or send him a tweet at @jeffreylwilson
All the features I've detailed to this point are valuable to the web hosting experience, but none matches the critical importance of site uptime. If your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. It doesn't matter how great the features are, or how good it looks; if your site is down, it might as well not exist.

Established back in 1998, HostPapa operates three state-of-the-art data centers. Equipped with multiple GigE fiber connections to the internet backbone, the company built out seismically braced racks and cabinets, fully redundant Liebert HVAC cooling systems, a diesel generator that can run for weeks and a preaction dry pipe fire suppression system.

The company's entry-point pricing is extremely low, and while this will buy you up to three years of very low-cost hosting, do be aware that its post-promotion price will increase substantially, putting its subsequent year pricing more in line with the rest of its competitors. That said, we liked its 24/7 phone customer support, SSD support on some plans and 30-day money-back guarantee.
You'll also want to determine how long you'll need VPS web hosting. If you need hosting for a short time period—say, less than a month or two—you'll typically receive a refund should you cancel your hosting within 60 days. These money-back guarantees vary from web host to web host. For example, Company X may offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, while Company Y may offer a lengthy 90-day money-back guarantee. As always, it's best to shop around for the features that best suit your web hosting needs.

We’re extremely proud to be able to offer the greenest options for web hosting in Canada. Data centres use a lot of electricity, and our state of the art facility was designed to be environmentally and technologically efficient. Protecting the planet matters, and our green data centres allow you to run your website effectively both in terms of technical performance and environmental consumption. We’ve been helping websites succeed online for over 10 years, and we’re ready to yours do the same.
The first thing that caught our eye about Complete Internet Hosting was a great answer to my biggest complaint about hosting providers. Most hosting providers will suck you in with a relatively aggressive starting price, but when it comes time to renew, the renewal price can be two or three times the original price. I've even found one company that renews at more than six times the original price.
As you might expect with a cheap hosting plan, you can only operate one website on the Hatchling plan. And you won’t get a free domain name for a year, either. But we like the super-low pricing and the free transfers for new accounts within the first month after you’ve signed up. A 45-day money-back guarantee means that if you’re not happy with the service, you can cancel it.
Whether I’m geeking out with Ryan, Laura, and the team, or sketching out server diagrams to explain the basics to my grandmother, talking about a career in web hosting is always a creative endeavor, and I love it. Hopefully, this guide has cleared up some of the common confusions of hosting services, and you’re ready to sign up with the web host that best fits your upcoming site needs.
Transferring your website to Web Hosting Canada normally involves two steps: transferring your domain registration, and transferring your website content. Our team can help perform both operations for you, free of charge, usually in under 24 hours. Simply open a support request asking for a site transfer after you’ve activated your hosting account, and include the login details from your current provider.
We’re extremely proud to be able to offer the greenest options for web hosting in Canada. Data centres use a lot of electricity, and our state of the art facility was designed to be environmentally and technologically efficient. Protecting the planet matters, and our green data centres allow you to run your website effectively both in terms of technical performance and environmental consumption. We’ve been helping websites succeed online for over 10 years, and we’re ready to yours do the same.
Disclaimer: Great efforts are made to maintain reliable data on all offers presented. However, this data is provided without warranty. Users should always check the offer provider’s official website for current terms and details. Our site receives compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). Our site does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.
The company doesn't list a virtual private server offering, but it bills its Elastic Sites service as a VPS alternative, offering the ease of use of a simple shared hosting plan and the performance and scalability of a VPS. GlowHost also offers a number of different cloud hosting plans, with special attention to providing enterprise-grade services.
Running a website doesn’t have to be hard work! Our customer service experts & our Papa Squad are here for you at every stage of your website development. Need help registering a domain and configuring your email? We have everything covered! We’ll make sure that your website runs smoothly, loads quickly and is ready to handle the constantly evolving industry of internet marketing. Websites contain more data than ever before, and you need to know your web hosting company can provide you with the power and speed you need to keep your website running smoothly.
In this day and age, you don’t have to be a 5-star designer or experienced developer to have a website. That’s why man invented website builders — the time-saving, headache-free, web-design-for-dummies alternative to complex coding. You can point and click to add elements like photos or videos, type content into a visual editor, click one more button, and watch as it all magically appears live on the Internet. Seriously, these tools are brilliant, and it gets better:
Whether I’m geeking out with Ryan, Laura, and the team, or sketching out server diagrams to explain the basics to my grandmother, talking about a career in web hosting is always a creative endeavor, and I love it. Hopefully, this guide has cleared up some of the common confusions of hosting services, and you’re ready to sign up with the web host that best fits your upcoming site needs.
Many web hosting services offer a low "starting price," but require you to prepay for two or three years of service to get that price. After the promotional period, the renewal price for some web hosting services can be two, three, or even four times the initial promotional pricing. While the initial deal might be incredible, the cost of transferring your site (or paying the added fee) in a couple of years may be something to consider.
All of this infrastructure has been built out to support the a wide range of hosting services. The family-owned company gains points for understanding the importance of transaction security by offering free AutoSSL and Let's Encrypt SSL encryption for its plans. While the company offers sophisticated services for technically strong clients, it also has a Weebly web builder option to get you up and running quickly. 
You get 24/7/365 basic customer support for all the plans. If you need a team of server-admin experts to support you, we offer a fully-managed support plan for an additional charge. We also provide ala carte service offerings to solve specific issues through our hosting premium support. Of course, we also offer a rich library of detailed help articles. You can learn more about the support services in our Statement of Support.
Great article, Paul! Definitely one of the best reads on web hosting that I've seen. I was pleasantly surprised to see Hostinger taking the first spot. In my opinion, they fully deserve all the praise that they get. Your example with the customer support test proves that point perfectly. No hidden tricks, no downtime, no long support waits. I'm really glad I decided to give them a shot a while ago. Cheers.
You'll also want to determine how long you'll need VPS web hosting. If you need hosting for a short time period—say, less than a month or two—you'll typically receive a refund should you cancel your hosting within 60 days. These money-back guarantees vary from web host to web host. For example, Company X may offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, while Company Y may offer a lengthy 90-day money-back guarantee. As always, it's best to shop around for the features that best suit your web hosting needs.
As you might expect with a cheap hosting plan, you can only operate one website on the Hatchling plan. And you won’t get a free domain name for a year, either. But we like the super-low pricing and the free transfers for new accounts within the first month after you’ve signed up. A 45-day money-back guarantee means that if you’re not happy with the service, you can cancel it.
When it comes to server operating systems, Linux is typically the default option. Still, some services offer a choice of Linux or Windows hosting. If you have specific server-side applications that require Windows, such as SQL Server or a custom application written in .NET, then you need to make sure your web host has Windows hosting. But don't let the idea of a Linux host intimidate you. Nowadays, most web hosts offer a graphical interface or a control panel to simplify server administration and website management. Instead of typing at the command line, you'll click easily identifiable icons.
We're often asked whether a virtual private server is faster than shared hosting options. Unfortunately, it's impossible to provide a general answer. There are powerful hosting plans with faster computing resources than that of a VPS. The difference, however, lies in the fact that our VPS services offer guaranteed resources (computing power), whereas shared hosting products are influenced by the number of resources available to other customers and ultimately only represent theoretical values.
In this day and age, you don’t have to be a 5-star designer or experienced developer to have a website. That’s why man invented website builders — the time-saving, headache-free, web-design-for-dummies alternative to complex coding. You can point and click to add elements like photos or videos, type content into a visual editor, click one more button, and watch as it all magically appears live on the Internet. Seriously, these tools are brilliant, and it gets better:
A VPS runs its own copy of an operating system (OS), and customers may have superuser-level access to that operating system instance, so they can install almost any software that runs on that OS. For many purposes they are functionally equivalent to a dedicated physical server, and being software-defined, are able to be much more easily created and configured. They are priced much lower than an equivalent physical server. However, as they share the underlying physical hardware with other VPSes, performance may be lower, depending on the workload of any other executing virtual machines.[1]
You also want a web host with 24/7 customer support—if not by phone, then at least by chat. Forums, knowledge bases, and help tickets are all well and good, but sometimes you just need to communicate with another human to get things ironed out as quickly as possible. That said, not all 24/7 customer support teams are equal. Companies like GoDaddy and Liquid Web boast incredibly knowledgeable and helpful customer support squads—a fact that we confirmed in our in-depth reviews of those web hosting services.
Rounding out the wins, InMotion offers a full 90-day money-back guarantee. On top of that, here's a special money-saving hint. In a chat session confirming pricing and offerings, the operator offered me some special prices and deals that reduced the published price by a few bucks. I was also told that while promotional pricing does go up at the end of the offer period, if you contact customer service, InMotion has a "loyal customer discount" that may bring the price back down.
If you want reasonably priced server space that won't load pages at a snail's pace when a neighboring site gets a huge traffic spike, VPS is a good option for your business. We've reviewed many VPS hosting services and included the best of the bunch in this guide. You should look into a dedicated server if you want to build a website on an even stronger foundation and can afford the bill.
For many customers, possibly the most influential variable in evaluating a hosting service is cost. Cost can drive conversion, but cost can also cause you to make regrettable purchasing decisions. Don’t assume the cheapest option you can find is the best. Low cost can also mean low value, but not with the affordable hosts atop our recommendations list.
When you sign up for SiteGround, you get a proactive chat from a live agent offering to call you, inquiring if you need any help setting everything up. Customer support includes tutorials, live chat, tickets, and phone calls. All are available 24/7 - and when you call on a Saturday night and get connected to an agent in 10 seconds, you know you're getting your money's worth.
People often think that a web host is the main cause of a slow website but, this is often not the case. When picking a provider, it's important for find a hosting provider that is close to your users and has a good amount of RAM and fast CPU power. Beyond that, it's often the way the website is set up that slows it down for users. To ensure that your website speed is optimal for users you need to make sure you pay attention to the following:
Finally, we were quite happy with their money-back guarantee. They offer a full 90-day guarantee (except for domain names you buy) and a pro-rated refund for the rest of your time. So if you want to cancel after 18 months and have six months left in your term, you'll get back the cost of the six remaining months. It's clear, it's understandable, and it's the straightforward way we'd like to see most providers use as a model.
A Content Distribution Network (CDN) is a network of servers distributed geographically. The purpose of a CDN is to deliver content on the internet much faster. If a user in Toronto is trying to access your website, the closest server to them will take care of this. But someone coming to your website from Sydney, Australia, will be catered to by a server closest to them. The main host server holds your website content, and all the other servers have a cached version each.

Ultimately, it is used to decrease hardware costs by condensing a failover cluster to a single machine. Thus decreasing costs dramatically while providing the same services. Server roles and features are generally designed to operate in isolation. For example, Windows Server 2019 requires a certificate authority and a domain controller to exist on independent servers with independent instances of windows server. This is because additional roles and features adds areas of potential failure as well as adding visible security risks (placing a certificate authority on a domain controller poses the potential for root access to the root certificate). This directly motivates demand for virtual private servers in order to retain conflicting server roles and features on a single hosting machine. Also, the advent of virtual machine encrypted networks decreases pass-through risks that might have otherwise discouraged VPS usage as a legitimate hosting server.


We're often asked whether a virtual private server is faster than shared hosting options. Unfortunately, it's impossible to provide a general answer. There are powerful hosting plans with faster computing resources than that of a VPS. The difference, however, lies in the fact that our VPS services offer guaranteed resources (computing power), whereas shared hosting products are influenced by the number of resources available to other customers and ultimately only represent theoretical values.
Do you plan to sell products or services? If so, you'll want to invest in a web hosting service that offers Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). An SSL connection encrypts the financial information that shuttles between users' web browsers and your website, thus safeguarding the transmission of the purchasing information. Some hosting companies include a free SSL certificate when you sign up for a web hosting plan, while others charge close to $100. You can save some money by shopping around for services that offer the cheaper SSL plans.
A virtual private server (VPS) is created through the process of virtualization, by which a virtual replica of a physical server is created. A VPS is like having access to your own personal server with an allocated number of resources and choice of a pre-installed operating system. It is an isolated microsystem based on a shared server. Since a VPS is self contained, you have full control of your server setup and are responsible for all updates and security. You can also choose to opt for our managed service.
Finally, we were quite happy with their money-back guarantee. They offer a full 90-day guarantee (except for domain names you buy) and a pro-rated refund for the rest of your time. So if you want to cancel after 18 months and have six months left in your term, you'll get back the cost of the six remaining months. It's clear, it's understandable, and it's the straightforward way we'd like to see most providers use as a model.
A web hosting account is a secure space on powerful computers (called servers) located in special buildings (datacenters) that provide consistently fast Internet connections, redundant power supply, and physical access security. Today, web hosting has evolved from being considered “just some space on a server” to being a comprehensive platform on which you can build, publish, and market your website, in addition to providing powerful collaboration tools such as email, calendars, and file sharing.

Complete Internet Solutions is not like that. The price they quote is your locked-in price. In addition, they offer a free twelve months on top of your term. So, if you sign up for two years at $3.95 a month, you pay $94.80 for the two years, and then pay nothing for another year. If you choose to renew at the end of those three years, you can repeat that pricing program without a fee increase. This is how it should be done.


Finally, we were quite happy with their money-back guarantee. They offer a full 90-day guarantee (except for domain names you buy) and a pro-rated refund for the rest of your time. So if you want to cancel after 18 months and have six months left in your term, you'll get back the cost of the six remaining months. It's clear, it's understandable, and it's the straightforward way we'd like to see most providers use as a model.

Many web hosting services offer a low "starting price," but require you to prepay for two or three years of service to get that price. After the promotional period, the renewal price for some web hosting services can be two, three, or even four times the initial promotional pricing. While the initial deal might be incredible, the cost of transferring your site (or paying the added fee) in a couple of years may be something to consider.
For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew. You can a find Jeffrey online at jeffreylwilson.net, or send him a tweet at @jeffreylwilson 
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