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.
The best web hosting service right now is Bluehost. Based in Utah, Bluehost is the preferred partner for WordPress, the world's favourite website builder. This service does a great job of balancing price and features for less experienced businesses, while offering lots of options for more advanced users. Its shared hosting packages start with a very reasonable 'basic' plan, targeted at home users.
Excellent performance, great features, and helpful tech support propel InMotion Hosting to second place in our roundup of the best web hosting services 2020. InMotion has been around since 2001, and is one of the world's largest independent web hosting companies. It offers several shared hosting plans, with prices starting at a very attractive monthly cost.
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.
If you're on a budget and looking for the best free web hosting service, we'd recommend Weebly. The free option comes with free SSL security and 500MB storage, plus SEO and lead capture and contact forms. As you'd expect, there are limitations that come with choosing a free option: you'll have a Weebly-branded URL and ads on your site. If you want to remove these, you'll need to bump up to a paid plan. Users can also benefit from Weebly’s range of stylish website templates.
Shared hosting is web hosting in which the provider houses multiple sites on a single server. For example, Site A shares the same server with Site B, Site C, Site D, and Site E. The upside is that the multiple sites share the server cost, so shared web hosting is generally very inexpensive. In fact, you can find an option for less than $10 per month.
HostGator gained points for uptime monitoring and regular backups, along with free cPanel or Plesk. We liked that SSH is available for the more technically inclined site operators and that dedicated IP addresses could be purchased. We did take points off because it's sometimes difficult to tell what the price is once promotional plans run their course. That said, with a generous 45-day money back guarantee, there's a hosting solution for almost everyone at HostGator.
Alexandra Leslie’s interest in website administration was sparked in her teens, priming her for a fast-paced career in managing, building, and contributing to online brands, including HostingAdvice, Forbes, and the blogs of prominent hosting providers. She brings to the table firsthand experience in reviewing web hosts, perfecting website design, optimizing content, and walking site owners through the steps that add up to a successful online presence. Today, she combines her extensive writing experience with technical understanding to unpack some of the most complex topics that daunt novice website owners, as well as the subjects that excite veteran technologists within the HostingAdvice readership.
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We use this analogy on our web hosting page. Shared hosting is like an apartment building – lots of residents in the same building, sharing the same resources, but also very affordable. Dedicated servers are like having your state-of-the-art house, where you’ll pay a lot more, but you also don’t have to share the space or utilities with anyone. VPS is in the middle, like a townhouse, where you have a few residents in the same building, but you each have dedicated resources and are in full control of your home. It costs less than a dedicated server, but still gives you much of the same benefits.
Telling someone what I do for a living is always an interesting experience. Either we’re totally in sync, both lost in conversation about WordPress woes or some time-saving program update, or it’s me talking with crickets in response. There’s just something about web hosting. It’s hit-or-miss whether someone is up to speed on the nuances of all that this industry has to offer.