This is unfortunate because, these days, owning a website is becoming a crucial part of running a successful business, and more and more folks are establishing a web presence for their personal brand as well. You can use hosting to sell online, store and share your portfolio, or even publish your freelance writing samples and resumé. Yet, even the basics — What is web hosting? — can be lost on the average web user.
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. 

On the plus side, SiteGround offers free automatic daily backups, access to the Cloudflare CDN, high-performance SSDs for all plans, unlimited email accounts and integration of the free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate into sites. The company does limit bandwidth and storage, but even those who claim to offer so-called unlimited bandwidth and storage really have some limits in its terms of service.

If you're not sure of the type of hosting your business needs, you might want to start small, with shared Web hosting. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package of, say, VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting in the future. Unfortunately, some hosts don't offer all hosting types. Consider how much you expect to grow your website, and how soon, before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan. It's worth spending the time up front to make sure that the host you select with is able to provide the growth you envision for your site, as switching web hosting providers midstream is not a trivial undertaking.
If you've ever been worried about the tremendous amount of power large data centers consume, you might want to sign up with Green Geeks. The "green" in the company's name reflects the Green Geeks' commitment to the environment. It purchases three times the energy it actually uses in wind energy credits, essentially putting energy back into the economy. The company does this through a form of renewable energy certificates, which, while a bit complicated, means that it's not just energy neutral, i's actually helping fuel the green energy economy.
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:
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.
Partitioning a single server to appear as multiple servers has been increasingly common on microcomputers since the launch of VMware ESX Server in 2001. The physical server typically runs a hypervisor which is tasked with creating, releasing, and managing the resources of "guest" operating systems, or virtual machines. These guest operating systems are allocated a share of resources of the physical server, typically in a manner in which the guest is not aware of any other physical resources save for those allocated to it by the hypervisor. As a VPS runs its own copy of its operating system, customers have superuser-level access to that operating system instance, and can install almost any software that runs on the OS; however, due to the number of virtualization clients typically running on a single machine, a VPS generally has limited processor time, RAM, and disk space.[2]
VPS hosting is an affordable option when your business requirements outgrow the capacity of shared hosting. It's the next logical step: substantially more capacity and control for just a bit more money. Users on a shared web hosting server share the computing resources for the websites, email, and databases. There is no guarantee of CPU, RAM on shared web hosting. VPS hosting provides dedicated compute resources for your websites, files, email, databases, etc. keeping you in complete control. In addition, you get more control with root level access to perform configurations not possible in shared hosting.
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.
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.
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.
Amazon Web Services Abiquo Enterprise Edition CloudStack Citrix Cloud CtrlS DigitalOcean EMC Atmos Eucalyptus Fujitsu GoGrid Google Cloud Platform GreenButton GreenQloud IBM Cloud iland Joyent Lunacloud Microsoft Azure Mirantis Nimbula Nimbus OpenIO OpenNebula OpenStack Oracle Cloud OrionVM Rackspace Cloud Safe Swiss Cloud SoftLayer Zadara Storage libvirt libguestfs OVirt Virtual Machine Manager Wakame-vdc Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand 

You gain the most web-building functionality if you create a self-hosted site. This typically involves transfering the free WordPress CMS to server or signing up for a web host's optimized WordPress plan. With an optimized plan, the host automatically handles backend stuff, so you don't have to worry about updating the plug-ins and CMS, and enabling automatic backups. In these instances, the WordPress environment typically comes pre-installed on the server.
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.
VPS hosting sits in the intersection of shared hosting and dedicated servers. Unlike shared hosting, VPS is an isolated environment with dedicated resources, which means you have more processing power and your site loads faster. VPS is best suited for applications that have seasonal traffic spikes or RAM-heavy/CPU-intensive applications. If you are developing a new application that has a complex database and you’re not sure how many visits you’ll get, VPS hosting is the affordable option to start with before you upgrade to a dedicated server.
Aptly named the “Best Host to Grow With,” HostGator is one of the most well-known and well-respected web hosts in the industry. Their plans include user-friendly Weebly site builder, no contract commitment, and unlimited storage, emails, and site traffic. Start with shared hosting and grow your business to dedicated-server scale, and the HostGator team will be there to help you grow every step of the way.
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.

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.

CDNs not only help the stability of your website by distributing the traffic among different servers, they can also help to prevent cyber attacks. If a hacker tries to gain access to the cached version of the website from the server closest to them, your original content will remain untouched. HostPapa always aims to provide you with the best website hosting features to ensure your visitors are always pleased with your website.

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.

1. Is it going to be a static HTML site or do you need a website builder or a CMS? If you only need a simple static website, any host will do the job just fine, so you can concentrate on the cheapest pricing. However, if you need a CMS or website builder solution, look at the best providers that include auto-installers or built-in website builders.


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.
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
I was running a small private weather website in AWS and the satellite images got "picked up" by a news website and they regularly use them during major weather evenings. AWS' 12c per GB of outbound network traffic made things expensive and VPSServer makes this a lot more manageable and has excellent data volumes included with the price of the VPS. I also get many more CPUs for the price compared to AWS, so I am a happy customer.
Web hosting services offer varying amounts of monthly data transfers, storage, email, and other features. Even how you pay (month-to-month payments vs. annual payments) can be radically different, too, so taking the time to plot exactly what your company needs for online success is essential. Many of these companies also offer reseller hosting services, which let you go into business for yourself, offering hosting to your own customers without requiring you to spin up your own servers.
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.
That means that, even though there may be multiple virtual machines on the same physical server, you are in an isolated environment with dedicated resources (RAM, Storage) and virtually allocated CPUs that no one else can touch. Plus, with root access, you can make technical changes that would not be allowed on a shared hosting plan. You get the advanced performance, control and flexibility usually reserved for dedicated servers, but at a much lower price.
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.
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.
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.
Most VPS hosts only offer servers running Linux-based operating systems; you'll need to dig a bit to find Windows-based VPS hosting. This is important to note if you're planning on running software that requires a Microsoft-compatible environment. That said, Linux-based VPS hosting will save you a few bucks; Linux servers usually cost $10 to $20 less than Windows servers.
You could think of the sites that share your server as your roommates; there's really not that much separating you from them. Sure, you can close the bedroom door, but they can still cause nightmares for you in the kitchen and the bathroom. In web hosting terms, all the sites share a single server's resources, so huge traffic spike on Site A may impact the neighboring sites' performances. It's even possible that another site could take down the shared server altogether, if it crashed hard enough.
SSL certificates are needed because they encrypt the data exchange between your website and the visitor’s browser, making it impossible for hackers to get access to this data. This is especially important if you store your customers’ credit card information. For a complete website hosting experience, HostPapa provides you with a Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate completely free of charge!
Moving to another website consists of transferring the website’s files and databases, configuring your site with the new host, and directing your domain’s DNS to the new host. Once you pick a new site host, they can usually help you out with this process. The cost will depend on the host you’re switching to, but it can range anywhere from $150-$400.
You could think of the sites that share your server as your roommates; there's really not that much separating you from them. Sure, you can close the bedroom door, but they can still cause nightmares for you in the kitchen and the bathroom. In web hosting terms, all the sites share a single server's resources, so huge traffic spike on Site A may impact the neighboring sites' performances. It's even possible that another site could take down the shared server altogether, if it crashed hard enough.
Once you register your website's domain name, it's time to start picking the specs for your server. Web hosts typically offer multiple VPS plans that have varying amounts of email capability, RAM, storage, CPU power, domain hosting, and monthly data transfers. The plans typically include website builders that let you quickly create a face for your site without much—or even any—coding required. A solid web host should offer at least 4GB of RAM, 100GB of storage, and an ample volume of monthly data transfers. If you expect a significant amount of website growth, then you should look for a web host that has as many unlimited offerings as possible. For example, Hostwinds—the PCMag Editors' Choice for VPS hosting—offers unlimited email, domains, and monthly data transfers. Note, however, that as with all unlimited service offerings, you really need to read the fine print to make sure that what you mean by unlimited and what the hosting service means by it.
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