The best web hosting services: comparing 5 companies

You have an interesting project, a good idea for a website, and want to go online with it right now. Not so fast! First, you have to decide on a web hosting service. With the market constantly growing, it’s easy to quickly lose your overview. There are clear differences in price and performance. Choose the provider that best suits your wishes and requirements. Our web host comparison helps you to make the right decision.

Comparison of five of the best hosting services

In 2018, 1&1 IONOS won the Hosting & Service Provider Award in the web-hosting category. We will also introduce you to four other web-hosting services and see how they fare against the award winner (retrieved april, 2019).

  1&1 IONOS GoDaddy Bluehost HostGator Wix
Cost (per month) ca. $4–14 $2.99–24.99 $3.95–23.99 $2.75 (as part of 36-month contract), otherwise $10.95 Free (very basic), otherwise around $5–$28
Webspace (storage) 100 GB–500 GB 100 GB–unlimited 50 GB–unlimited Unmetered 500 MB–20GB
No. of included domains 1 1 1–unlimited 1–unlimited 1 (none in basic Connect Domain package)
SSL ✔ (only in Ultimate and Maximum packages)
PHP 7.3 7.2 7.3 5 and 7 ✘ (only supports HTML code)
WordPress
Website builder

Web hosting with a personal consultant

Fast and scalable, starting from only $4/month!

Free domain
Wildcard SSL
24/7 support

1&1 IONOS

In Germany 1&1 IONOS is not only known for being a DSL and cell phone access provider: the company has 20 years of experience and is one of the best web hosting services on the market. For example, the HTTP/2 transmission protocol has become a standard for web servers from 1&1 IONOS. This guarantees fast transmission of your data. Via a so-called Content Delivery Network (CDN), your static content is delivered from one of the 62 data centers distributed worldwide that is closest to the website visitor’s location. The web space supports PHP 7.3 and up to 768 MB RAM for PHP scripts.

1&1 IONOS provides security on different levels: A Wildcard SSL Certificate guarantees an encrypted transmission your visitors’ sensitive data. DDoS Protection, on the other hand, protects your website. If cyber criminals attempt to paralyze your website with a targeted attack, 1&1 IONOS detects the attack and initiates countermeasures at an early stage. Finally, geo-redundancy ensures physical security: all data is mirrored in a second data center that is completely separated from the first. If one site fails, your website remains online. Both data centers meet the highest security standards.

1&1 IONOS even has several convenient solutions for beginners: With 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite you can quickly and easily create your own website, your server is already equipped with a pre-installed content management system in the WordPress hosting package and 1&1 IONOSalso provides webshop software for online sellers. Domains can also be booked individually, although most packages already include one for 12 months.

1&1 IONOS offers three different packages, each of which delivers different performance: With a starter package for $4 per month, you receive 10 GB web space and can host a website on it. In the Expert package for $14 per month, you receive 500 GB of web space and can host up to 50 websites.

Summary

1&1 IONOS has the right package both for beginners as well as for professional web designers. Decades of experience are reflected in the level of performance and security.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is an American domain registrar and web hosting company.

GoDaddy uses the industry standard cPanel for its server backend and has customized it for simplicity. It makes the backend a lot easier to use than it originally was, but the disadvantage is that the user has to fork out an extra dollar per month for it. You can integrate GoDaddy’s hosting packages with so many other products (e.g. domain hosting and e-mail hosting), which is definitely a big plus. There’s easy 1-click setup, generous storage and bandwidth, as well as award-winning security so you don’t have to worry about any suspicious activity taking place or DDoS attacks.

GoDaddy offers four packages: Economy, Deluxe, Ultimate, and Maximum. Economy is perfect for those just starting out with one website. It usually costs around $7.99 per month, but can be as low as $2.99 if there’s a “sale” happening. You receive 100 GB storage and unmetered bandwidth (GoDaddy doesn’t limit the amount of bandwidth as long as your website complies with the company’s hosting agreement). Deluxe costs $10.99 per month ($4.99 on sale), Ultimate costs $16.99 per month ($5.99 on sale), and Maximum costs $24.99 ($12.99 on sale), supporting multiple complex sites with high-resolution photos and videos.

The company regularly has offers on its products, making them the cheapest on the market, but when you add together all the other products and apps you want, you will end up paying as much as you would with the other web hosting services. For example, you can add a website backup for $2.99, which means your website will be automatically backed up daily as well as receiving malware scanning to keep it extra safe.

Summary

GoDaddy is a consumer and business friendly option, but lacks in a few areas such as the stingy e-mail storage available in the cheapest plan. It is more suited to those who want to quickly set up a website since the tools it offers are basic.

Bluehost

Bluehost was founded in 2003 and has its headquarters in Utah. The popular hosting service already powers over two million websites worldwide.

What makes it one of the best web hosting services is that it offers five main types of hosting: shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, WordPress hosting, and cloud sites. Shared hosting is the best choice if you’re looking for something basic and not too expensive. Dedicated hosting is the most expensive option and is more suited to large businesses that require full control of their resources.

When it comes to shared hosting, the plans are Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro and the prices range from $7.99 (or $3.95 when Bluehost currently has a “sale”) to $23.99 (or $13.95 during a sale) per month. All plans include:

  • At least one domain (even unlimited domains for anything above the Basic package)
  • Backups (daily, weekly, and monthly)
  • Resource protection (the technology can identify websites with bad intentions and isolate them)
  • Scalability (the possibility to choose more powerful options when your website outgrows the previous option)
  • SSL certificates (provides a secure connection between the website and visitors, keeps personal data, and enables safe transactions).

You also have the option of upgrading your plan with advanced features in the form of add-ons. These include “SiteLock”, “CodeGuard”, and “Spam Protection” as well as many others. There’s the “Build It For Me” feature where Bluehost’s professional services take the reins and create your website for you, so you can concentrate on other business activities.

Just like GoDaddy, Bluehost uses cPanel for its server backend, making it easy to configure and control your website.

Summary

Bluehost has so many options so there is something for everyone, whether you want a basic package for your own personal website, or your large company wants a powerful hosting package that can fulfill a lot of requirements.

HostGator

HostGator is a Texas-based provider, founded in late 2002. The company offers three web-hosting packages: Hatchling Plan, Baby Plan, and Business Plan. The price of each plan depends on how long you purchase it for. For example, the Hatchling Plan can cost as little as $2.75 per month, but you have to buy it for 36 months. If you prefer to buy it month per month so you can easily cancel the plan, it’s $10.95 per month. A 45-day money-back guarantee is a good incentive for those considering HostGator: if you aren’t satisfied in the first 45 days, you’ll get a full refund of the contract amount.

The one-click installation makes the setup super easy and each package comes with at least one domain, unmetered bandwidth, and a free SSL certificate that provides security for your domains and subdomains. The Business Plan even comes with a dedicated IP and SEO tools included as well as an upgrade to Positive SSL security, which is backed by $10,000 warranty.

The website builder provides a convenient way of creating your website to your exact requirement with its drag-and-drop building experience. There’s a wide selection of themes and ready-made sections to help save you time and effort. The latest cPanel control panel is easy to get the hang of as well as being flexible.

HostGator runs on Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, meaning that it’s compatible with thousands of existing applications. You can create any type of website such a blogs, forums, CMS, e-commerce stores, and lots more. Customers will be happy to hear there’s a 99.9% uptime guarantee and around the clock support if anything should go wrong. The 500+ video tutorials and 680+ help articles that HostGator provides in its Online Support Portal should also come in handy.

Summary

HostGator is a little difference from the other web hosting services in that it offers the 45-day money-back guarantee, which is great for those not sure whether to take the plunge. It offers so much in its packages, and whatever it doesn’t offer, can easily be added. The service runs on several operating systems and therefore is extremely compatible.

Wix

Wix is an Israeli company, founded in 2006, which already powers over 119 million websites. Wix’s web hosting service is free for as long as you want, but if you require professional features such as your own domain name or priority support, then it’s best to opt for one of the premium plans. The web hosting company has four premium packages available: Connect Domain, Combo, Unlimited, and VIP. Prices range from around $5 to $28 and with the cheapest option, you have to accept that Wix brand ads will be displayed on your site. The bandwidths that come with each package range from 1 GB to unlimited, and the storage from 500 MB to 20 GB. In all packages but the cheapest, you also receive a free domain for the year.

With Wix’s packages, you’re able to enjoy free web hosting, premium support, and a customized favicon, which is a unique icon for your browser tab that you can use to brand your website. Google Analytics is included so you can track, analyze, and optimize your website’s traffic. “Connect a Custom Domain” enables you to replace your free Wix URL with your desired domain that you purchased from Wix, or one that you already own.

Wix’s website builder offers hundreds of different templates, so you can design your website exactly to your liking, whether it’s for blogging, business, e-commerce, etc. There’s also no need to worry about security since your website content is stored on secure servers located around the world. Users can enjoy 99.9% uptime, meaning the website is always up and running.

Just like with HostGator mentioned above in our web host comparison, there’s a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied after 14 days, which isn’t as impressive as HostGator’s 45 days.

Summary

Wix gives you a lot of flexibility especially when it comes to designing your website. Wix offers a free plan, which is adequate for building a basic website, but if you want more features and your own domain, then choose from one of the premium packages. There’s a money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied after 14 days.

What should you pay attention to when comparing web hosting services?

If you compare hosting providers with each other, the first thing you probably look at is the price. It is very important to take a close look at the price structure (for the companies presented in this web host comparison as well as for others). Although the monthly costs look too good to be true, you usually only get them this cheap if you pay the complete annual fee at once. If you decide to pay monthly, the costs are usually higher. Pay attention also to sales that the web hosting companies put on and how long these last.

You should also consider the security of your website: SSL Certificates, now based on TLS technology, are standard on the web. Browsers like Google Chrome label websites without encryption and certificates as unsafe. Many web-hosting providers have at least one free SSL certificate included in their packages. You can usually purchase additional certificates if you need to. Always take a look at other services when it comes to security. Services such as DDoS protection and geo-redundancy are particularly important for companies in e-business: if your website goes down, this can lead to losses in sales.

The amount of storage space required depends entirely on the project you want to put online. For example, if it’s simply a “business card” that you want to use to introduce yourself or your company, you don't need a lot of storage space. Also blogs that don’t use large amounts of media files can be stored on small partitions. However, as soon as you plan larger projects with large files and large databases, you should ensure you have sufficient storage space in advance.

Finally, the question also arises as to how much the web hosting service supports you in your work. Especially for beginners, simple solutions for creating websites are your best bet. Modular systems or supported WordPress hosting can be extremely helpful. The amount of support is equally important for beginners and professionals: when can you reach a member of the support team should a problem occur? And which channel is the best to contact them on? In addition, many providers can help your website gain more popularity online by automatically optimizing it for search engines.

Web hosting with a personal consultant

Fast and scalable, starting from only $4/month!

Free domain
Wildcard SSL
24/7 support
Summary

In order to find the best web hosting service for you, you first need to understand the needs of your project. So when comparing web hosting services, look at which provider has the right portfolio for you.