- Best Overall: Hostgator, “Hostgator shines in just about every category from performance to price.”
- Best Budget: Hostinger, “Hostinger can get you on the web for just pennies a day.”
- Best Site Builder: Wix.com, “The service aims to make even creating your site from scratch quick and painless.”
- Fastest: A2hosting, “The company does provide numerous features to help ensure its web hosting is one of the fastest.”
- Best for Large Sites: InMotion, “InMotion doesn’t skimp on perks like SSD storage.”
- Most Versatile: Siteground, “Offers over 230 different applications installable with a single click through the Softaculous tool.”
- Best Admin Panel: cPanel, “It’s an open-source, web-based control panel application for Linux servers.”
Best Overall: Hostgator
Hostgator is our top recommendation for the best overall web host. It’s tough to pick out a single web host that’s the best in everything, and we’ve tested a lot of fantastic web hosts that really excel in one or two areas, but Hostgator shines in just about every category from performance to price.
Shared hosting from Hostgator comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage at every level, so you don’t have to shell out for an expensive plan that you might not otherwise need. They also offer great pricing on their yearly plans, with a more expensive option if you need to pay month-to-month.
Hostgator really hits all the right notes, with a great site-builder to get you off the ground if you’re new to web development, subversion-based version control if you’re a more serious developer, and all the resources you need to build a site of any size or purpose.
We’ve got a bunch of other great recommendations if you have a very specific purpose in mind, but Hostgator is our number one recommendation for an all around multi-purpose web host
Best Budget: Hostinger
Hostinger is our top web host recommendation if you’re working on a budget, especially if you’ve got your budget worked out a couple years in advance. If you can afford to pay for a few years up front, you can get into Hostinger’s most affordable shared hosting plan for just $0.80 per month. If that isn’t budget-friendly hosting, we don’t know what would qualify.
Most of our favorite web hosts provide unlimited bandwidth and storage, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs unlimited resources. It’s a give and take, and you have to decide whether you really need to pay for resources that your site may never use.
Hostinger’s most affordable plan provides just 10 GB of storage and 100 GB of bandwidth, which is considered quite modest by today’s standards. You’re also restricted to one website, one e-mail address, and one MySQL database.
These restrictions place hard limitations on the type of site you can build, but Hostinger’s more expensive plans do provide additional resources for prices that are still more affordable than the competition.
Best Site Builder: Wix.com
Wix takes our recommendation for the best site builder because their custom setup is really the best we’ve ever seen. This service is lacking in a lot of areas that prevent it from being a truly great web host, but the Wix site builder is a fantastic way to get up and running fast even if you’ve never built a website in your life.
The Wix Editor lets you place basic text and graphics to embedded media on your pages, complete with advanced effects like video background, all automatically formatted for mobile. You also get access to a ton of extras that can help extend the functionality of your site.
Don’t let the term “website builder” make you think you have to start at square one though. Wix offers over 500 templates for all types of sites, from blogs to portfolios to online stores. This is a lot of templates to choose from, but fortunately, Wix’s Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) can ask you just a few questions, then build you a custom website you can further customize to your tastes.
If you want to get up and running fast, and with as little hassle possible, Wix will let you build your site and get on with the more important stuff like running your business or living your life.
A2 Hosting takes our top pick for raw speed because that’s just what they do. This host has a long track record for providing some of the fastest shared hosting around. Their speedy shared hosting packages come with correspondingly high price tags, but if you want speed, you’re going to have to pay for it.
It’s somewhat difficult to verify A2 Hosting’s claim of being “up to 20x faster” than competitors, but the service definitely felt fast during our tests. A2 also provides numerous features to help ensure its web hosting plans are some of the fastest on the internet.
The first and most important is its Turbo Boost feature, which for an extra monthly fee lets you select “Swift Web Hosting” (up to 5x faster) or “Turbo Web Hosting” (up to 20x faster).
The company achieves this through a combination of providing more resources per user account on their shared servers and several technical tweaks like specialized caching implementations in the web hosting environment.
All of A2 Hosting’s shared tiers also run on SSD drives, which are faster than traditional hard drives. All these small optimizations taken together will definitely help to improve the performance of your site.
Best for Large Sites: InMotion
If you’re planning for a large site, there are two main things you’ll need: storage, and bandwidth. While many sites offer unlimited access to both these resources, InMotion’s Launch Shared Business Hosting offers both at their introductory tier for only $6.89 per month.
There are some other providers that can beat this price, but they do so at the expense of other features. Since this is a business-level service, InMotion doesn’t skimp on perks such as SSD storage, which makes it one of the fastest hosts out there. And it’s important to note that quick response time will keep visitors engaged as they navigate around all the great content you create.
All plans also include a free domain, free SSL certificate, unlimited e-mail (for all the people working on your site), and one-click backups. This makes InMotion one of the best bangs for your buck if you’re aiming to create the next Wikipedia.
Most Versatile: Siteground
Siteground is somewhat unique among these web hosting providers in that it is also known for its reseller services, which is to say hosting for companies then re-package and sell that hosting to their own clients. In order to satisfy the various needs of all those potential reseller clients, Siteground must itself be flexible and versatile.
While Siteground does have a reputation for providing an excellent managed WordPress service, it’s more general Web Hosting service offers over 230 different applications installable with a single click through the Softaculous tool, including CMS options, e-commerce systems, bulletin boards, wikis and more. This allows you to explore WordPress alternatives like Drupal or Joomla if you so desire.
The other features available in the web hosting packages also demonstrate Siteground’s flexibility. For example, all tiers of service include a website builder application, generally considered to be an entry-level function. However, pay just a few dollars a month more, and you’re into what the company affectionately calls “Geeky Features.” These include one-click creation of Git version control repositories or “staging” environments to test your WordPress site before making it public.
Best Admin Panel: cPanel
This category is a bit different, because it’s tough to pick out a single web host as having the best admin panel. We’ve tested some hosts that have great custom panels, like Dreamhost, but we have to give the not to cPanel as the best web hosting admin panel out there.
Since cPanel is an open-source, web-based control panel application for Linux servers that’s specifically geared towards web hosting environments, most of our favorite web hosts provide it as an option.
The individual features provided through cPanel are ultimately determined by the web hosting provider, but the application has support for just about every aspect of web hosting, including domain and site setup, file management, database administration, e-mail configuration, technical tools such as SSH or version control, software and environment configurations, and much more.
Most of our favorite web hosts offer cPanel to their customers, so this recommendation isn’t necessarily for any one web host in particular. But rather, if you tend to rely heavily on the GUI control panel, it’s a recommendation to make sure the hosting provider you select offers cPanel.
Some of our favorite hosts that feature cPanel include Hostgator, A2 Hosting, InMotion, and SiteGround.