If you want to make money online and be taken seriously, you need a good website – and that means quality web hosting.
“I don’t search for businesses on Instagram, I search for them on Google,” says Wendy Coop, Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and owner of Creative Consulting LLC, a company that teaches financial literacy to individuals and organizations. “So I need to see you on Google. Think about it: if a company doesn’t have a website, it’s a bit suspicious. You tend not to trust them.
One of the most important factors in having a successful website is a quality web hosting service. Without web hosting, your website will not actually live on the internet. And while it might be tempting to buy the cheapest web hosting service you can find and move on, some providers have features you want to pay a lot for – like having a virtual private server ( vps hosting), better security, or 24-hour customer support in case your website goes down.
We interviewed experts for advice and recommendations on the best web hosting services when setting up your website. Here’s what they had to say.
Best Web Hosting for Beginners: Siteground
The majority of experts we interviewed recommended Siteground as the best web hosting provider for beginners.
“SiteGround’s service is impeccable,” says Jasmine Powers, founder of Jasmine Powers Multimedia, a creative agency that offers branding, digital production and systems management. “I’ve never had any issues with security.” Powers suggests seeking statistics from a web hosting provider on the availability or uptime percentage of the provider’s servers. The best web hosting providers should give you as close to 100% uptime as possible.
“Are they up 99% of the time, or not? ” She adds. “Some web hosts, like SiteGround in particular, will let you know about their availability on their website. So look at this.
SiteGround also has a simple, easy-to-navigate user interface, bolstering its position as the best web hosting option for beginners, according to Krystle Rowry, web designer and brand strategist for entrepreneurs.
“All the other hosting providers make it harder when you’re trying to browse,” she says. “SiteGround feels really basic, which is great.”
Bluehost is a proven web hosting provider that has the endorsement of WordPress itself and is widely regarded as one of the best web hosting companies out there.
“The only reason people recommend Bluehost more than SiteGround is because Bluehost has a better affiliate deal,” says Coop. “Because so many other bloggers and other online entrepreneurs recommend Bluehost, it makes it seem like Bluehost is the only way to go. It’s not.” The company powers many WordPress websites and offers several tiers of dedicated hosting service.
GoDaddy has been a household name in web hosting for years, and the level of service and security you want is customizable. The company frequently offers first-year discounts and promotions, which might make it the best web hosting service for you if you’re looking for a budget trial.
Watch the prices carefully, says Powers. Some web hosting providers offer deals for the first year only, then increase the price in a way that will cost you more in the long run; If you’re testing the waters with WordPress hosting or other web hosting, this approach would work, but make sure you don’t forget your monthly or yearly subscription.
“GoDaddy’s target market is the know-it-all entrepreneur,” she says. “So they put everything back together.”
Best Web Hosting for High Traffic Websites: WP Engine
If you’re looking for a more advanced hosting provider with a reputation for fast customer service, several of our experts have recommended WP Engine as one of the best web hosting services to consider.
When your website is a blog or publication and you expect many daily visitors, you may need a more robust web hosting solution to ensure your dedicated server can handle the traffic. Premium providers should also be considered if your site has lots of widgets or structure, says Coop.
“Let’s say you’re one of tens of thousands of monthly visitors to your site because you’re a blogger,” she says. “You kind of outgrew the plans of SiteGround or Bluehost. You would like to switch to WP Engine. If you have membership sites set up with different extensions, such as MemberVault, LearnDash, or AccessAlly, you want to increase the speed and upgrade to the premium service. But again, if your site isn’t a blog, or people don’t visit it regularly, then you probably don’t need WP Engine.
Alternate: Digital Ocean
DigitalOcean offers web hosting and other web services in a more a la carte capacity, which may appeal to developers who want to show working project mockups to different clients without getting tangled up in multiple web hosting services. The service is aimed at both consumers and web developers who may be working on web projects with multiple phases.
“For me, my favorite is Digital Ocean,” says David Yarde, brand architect and software engineer with over 17 years of experience. “I can spin a little droplet for a project I’m working on, and it’s pretty inexpensive.”
It’s important to determine whether your web hosting provider will provide your service on a private server or a shared server, notes Yarde. Shared hosting costs less, but since you’re sharing a server with other customers, your web hosting neighbor’s poor online behavior could negatively affect your own website’s performance.
“The most common options people tend to choose are shared hosting providers, which tend to have different [customer] accounts all using the same ‘garden container’,” he warns. “You end up with a problem where if someone doesn’t take care of their site properly, or they do less than pleasant things – spamming and not delivering quality content – that can also affect your entire site.”
Shared hosting may be more than enough for you if you don’t expect a lot of website traffic, but it’s good to know the differences and understand that dedicated server hosting is also an option.
Which type of web hosting is best for beginners?
When it comes to beginner-friendly features, several of our experts said you should consider a web hosting provider that has 24/7 chat functionality for technical support.
“Being able to connect to a chat is huge,” says Rowry. “It’s a game changer. When you’re on those chat calls, sometimes the online support person actually takes care of the thing that you’re having trouble with. It’s great.” A reliable web host will do its job in the background, but if things go wrong, you’ll need quality customer support.
Prioritize fast customer service, preferably a chat box or chat widget, so you can get help right away if something goes wrong or your site is hacked.
Look for a provider that performs continuous backups of your website to protect you from potential disaster, suggests Rowry.
“There are web hosting providers that permanently back up your site for you,” she says. “So you don’t have to think about it. In the event that someone hacks your site or something catastrophic happens, you can contact the web hosting service and ask them to roll back your site to a previous version. It’s actually been a saving grace for me a few times over the years.
How much should I spend on web hosting?
Expect to pay $5-$20/month for hosting services, plus an annual domain purchase of around $10-$20. Keep in mind that web hosting expenses can be separate from the expenses you pay for your actual website builder. If you use a tool like Squarespace or Wix, you can pay a monthly subscription to access additional features; if you use WordPress, you can pay additional fees to download premium plugins.
Most beginners should be able to get up and running for less than $50/month total cost.
Pro Tip: Buy Your Domain Name Separately
Most web hosting providers and website builders give you the option to buy your domain name (or even get a free domain name) right in the app, but almost all of our experts advised against it. this temptation.
“Buy your domain name through a domain name registrar, not through your web hosting company, even though it’s convenient,” says Yarde. “The reason is that if something happens to this provider, you can still have control of your domain.”
Coop agrees. “I don’t recommend it, because it usually costs more to have that domain through the provider,” she says. “And if you don’t like the host, or if you have to move or want to move later, it’s all the more difficult if [your web hosting provider] also owns your domain. I always recommend people buy their domains from a site like NameCheap, where you pay $8 or $9 for the year. They also often organize sales.
Powers also recommends DreamHost for domain purchases because the price is predictable and stable.
“I like DreamHost, because if I buy [a domain] for $7.99/year, chances are it will be $7.99 next year,” she explains. “Whereas GoDaddy, you’ll buy a domain for 99 cents, but the next year it will cost $40.”
A free domain name is tempting for professionals who want to get started quickly; suppose you can change web hosting providers at some point in the future.
Are web hosting costs tax deductible?
The cost of web hosting services, like other software expenses for your business, is classified as an operating expense. Your ability to deduct this expense from your taxes will depend on whether or not you have started a business.
In a limited liability company (LLC), for example, your final profits determine your tax bill at the end of the year. Profit is income minus expenses, so the extra web hosting expenses would reduce your overall profits. The lower your profits, the less taxes you pay as an LLC.
Having the best web hosting is essential if you want to have a presence on the web, and websites are the calling card of your business or your brand. Take the time to research the best web hosting provider today and you’ll be well positioned to make the best first impression possible tomorrow.