Best Web Hosting 2020 : In-depth Guide

Srikar Srinivasula
Mar 22, 2017 · 13 min read

For Folks who just want to dig right in and buy the best web hosting, here is the list of the best web hosting providers 2020, and for the curious on what goes into picking a web hosting and why these are the best, read on post that

Best Webhosting Providers 2020 :

  1. Hostgator (Best Shared Hosting, Starts from $4.99/month)
  2. MediaTemple (Best VPS Hosting, Starts from $19.99/month)
  3. Digital Ocean (Best Unmanaged Cloud, Starts from $5/month)
  4. Amazon Web Services (Best Unmanaged Cloud, Starts from $10/month)
  5. RackSpace (Best Dedicated Cloud, Starts from $99/month)

Now for the curious ones, please read on…

It can be really overwhelming to pick a web hosting provider from the hundreds of options available right after you Google “Best Web Hosting 2020” or anything that your curious mind might has come up with. Literally every website on the front page discounting “ads” has their own list of “Top Web Hosts”, however, what’s disheartening is that no one really explains why they consider them to be the best. But before we dive into the process and technicalities of selecting the best web hosting providers, let me give you my list of top web hosting providers so that you can make a quick decision.

Best Shared Hosting 2020

  1. Hostgator

Hostgator is my pick of the lot when it comes to shared web hosting. I specifically like their cloud hosting solutions, which although are slightly expensive come with better tech. The best thing about Hostgator apart from the obvious i.e, tech & support is the ease of use. It’s simple to set up things here as it has all the tools needed to help first-timers which is why I don’t mind recommending it as a default option to everyone.

Visit Hostgator

2. Siteground

One of my closest friends, who also is an Internet Entrepreneur has only good things to say about Siteground. The support of all has been rated highly by a lot and I feel safe recommending this if somehow Hostgator doesn’t fit the bill or you had a bad experience with them in the past.

Visit Siteground

3. Inmotion Hosting

I have had a pretty decent experience with Inmotion’s shared hosting as well. The beauty of competition is, everyone is trying to go the extra mile to become the favorite. We the consumers are the ultimate winners. All three of the above-listed providers here are good, however, nothing guarantees a 100% niggle free experience, it’s just that we as consumers, can make an informed decision and hope for the best.

Visit Inmotion

Best VPS Hosting 2020

Assuming have a website that needs slightly better resources than shared hosting or has multiple websites to host, a virtual private server makes more sense. The above mentioned shared hosting providers also happen to be the best when it comes to VPS. There is no one best among these and I recommend you pick based on pricing and the features you need.

However, if you are a developer, I recommend you scroll down and pick from one of the unmanaged cloud options like AWS and Digital Ocean as they are cheaper and can be customized to the core for your needs.

Siteground VPS

Inmotion VPS

Hostgator VPS

Best Dedicated Hosting 2020

Now when it comes to dedicated hosting, you would want to go with web hosting providers who taut themselves to focus primarily as dedicated server providers. The ones listed below are known for only their dedicated hosting services (managed of course) and also charge a premium for it. However, if you are picking a dedicated server and do not have the skills or resources to run your own web server, I would say it’s totally worth going with one of these providers.

Rackspace

Media Temple

Liquid Web

Best Cloud Hosting Sites For Developers 2020

This is my favorite section. Ever since I switched to Digital ocean a few years back, I hardly ever think about my web hosting needs or research about any providers. True, I have a server admin who can setup droplets based on the project needs but if I had to buy server resources with managed providers, it would have cost at least 5X more than what I am paying now. So if you know how to setup a linux or windows based server, just forget about everything that has been discussed so far and go with one of these. That is why I have written this section as “for developers”. You can scale as you go or reduce the resources and costs if necessary as well. Can’t get better than that, can it!

  1. DigitalOcean

2. Linode

3. Amazon Web Services

How we picked the best hosting sites ?

Now, if you have picked something from the list above and wondering how & what parameters went into picking them up, read on..

So, no one really tells you what makes up for a great web hosting company, but, they are all labelled as “best in support”, “value for money pricing”, “99.9% uptime” and throw in discounts and signup up bonuses but things get spooky when every web hosting company is offering identical pricing, and claiming the same things.

No seriously, visit any web hosting provider and look at their home page, every one of them is “award winning” for best support, and every web host has 99.99% up time.

But who is awarding them and who is really monitoring those up times? Like really?

So when I decided to write this guide for “best web hosting 2020”, I wanted to make sure, this guide, will be everything a buyer needs to know about web hosting and what makes up for a great web host. Sure, server specs, offers and monthly fees will make their place in it, but this will be more than just that. A guide where I will personally use web hosting services, cite my experience with them and only then, recommend and label them as “best” or good enough.

Now you are allowed to be sceptical, as I cannot use every web hosting service there is, and often bloggers say that they have used these services but who knows, maybe they are just paid to say so?

Now, I have a confession to make, you might not really know but, web hosting is a very lucrative business. Wait, you know that, but then let me tell you anyway. It’s one of the few industries that has seen exponential growth year after year, so much so that it’s completely normal for these companies to target an incremental increase in every quarters’ revenue, because lets face it, the world is just truly getting online now.

There has been a dynamic shift, especially with developing countries’ rise in internet users and their disposable incomes, no wonder half of the top 10 companies are just web based and with so many innovative new startups and tons of personal bloggers coming online every other minute this industry is bound to get bigger and bigger.

Now, about that confession, it’s true that you do get paid to recommend a web hosting provider. Every web hosting company now offers a signup bonus for a new customer sent it’s way, it’s called affiliate marketing, one of the oldest business development tactic known to human being, just a fancy name for online businesses.

But now that I have put it out in the open, I want you to know, that I would recommend web hosting only based on my experience as a webmaster for the last 9 years and since everyone’s paying, why not just recommend the ones that are actually good and not the ones that pay more, hopefully, I won’t regret this part. OK, enough of this rant, lets just get into the real deal.

Lets start with the different categories of web hosts first. I have categorized them into three fundamental types. Shared, VPS and Dedicated. Further I have also covered a bit on unmanaged cloud hosting providers and when & why to pick them.

Now, it's important to really understand what a good web host should offer. A good web host has excellent up-times, great customer service, and cutting edge hardware thats ready for all kinds of situations, be it power outages, disk failures or mass DDOS attacks. So, without further adieu, let's get into this guide to help you find the a great web host. Lets start with..

Types of Web Hosts :

Shared Web Hosting - Shared web hosting is exactly what it sounds like. Your site will exist on a larger server that will be shared with other sites. As a result, your monthly bill will be lower primarily because the cost of server maintenance is effectively shared among the site owners.

  • While this is not always the most functional option, it definitely can save you a lot of money, which is probably why it is the most popular.
  • Despite this, there are caveats. Firstly, since you share real estate on the same machine. If there are usage spikes on one site, it may lead to shortage of resources on others. As a result, your site may load at a slower rate or it may not even load and your potential customers will get an error message.
  • Also, if one of the website owner sharing these resources is doing something shady, and by shady I mean practicing black hat SEO or spamming the web for links or emails in general, it probably will effect every other website on the shared server as you would be sharing the same IP.

Dedicated Server Hosting - Just as the name suggests, you get a dedicated server that hosts your domain only, which is why you have to pay more. You can usually customize the resources like bandwidth, storage and CPU based on your requirement and budget. This is the most recommended form of hosting, especially if you are expecting large amounts of traffic or you have a precious startup that is bound to scale up soon.Think about it this way: with your own dedicated server, you'll have more freedom for growth and have the sense of security as you are not punished for someone else’s mistake.

  • Since this is a type of hosting that will inevitably cost you a lot more money, this is not the best place to start unless you have a precious little startup that needs server resources. However, it's not a bad idea to start with a site hosted on a shared hosting platform and then upgrade to a dedicated server once you feel the need of it.

Virtual Private Server Hosting (VPS) — For anyone that wants to understand virtualization, a virtual private server is typically a collection of computers that run as nodes of a larger interconnected server. To make it simpler, this is something that falls in between a shared and dedicated server combining the goodness of both, as it is cheaper than a dedicated server as you share resources, you yet you can configure resources like RAM, storage, CPU and bandwidth, not to forget you get a free dedicated IP with it.

  • Unlike shared web hosting, there will be much fewer sites working simultaneously on a server, which can be a boon if you fear sharing too much bandwidth.
  • This convenience is a major selling point, but it’s important to understand that VPS hosting isn’t quite as cheap as shared web hosting.
  • With many VPS hosting providers, you’ll have to manage your own specific server node. Fortunately, some of the hosts out there do provide support for any technical problems that might arise. However it’s always safer to go with a fully managed VPS unless you have networking experience.

Unmanaged Cloud : This is a very interesting option and one of my most favourites. Basically you get a dedicated node (VPS) or can configure your own dedicated server. However no one will setup the server for you, from choosing the operating system to installing Cpanel, configuring email, or any other feature that was handed on a platter for you in managed hosting, you will have to do it all by yourself. Sure there are a few tutorials out there and an active support that answers you query but they will only answer your questions. Everything has to be done by yourself. These are great options for experienced users with programming knowledge or startups with inhouse networking teams.

AWS has been a game changer with it’s cutting edge dedicated and VPS cloud services for large enterprises. However they changed the perspective of whole web hosting industry and very soon smaller players targeting programmers and small startups like Digitalocean and Linode came with their value for money offering. Pricing starts from as low as $5 a month for a VPS cloud.

Now that you know the different types of web hosting, let us explain how we picked the best web hosting in each category that we have listed above.

We have analysed every website for the following factors and the ones that performed best in our hands on test has been ranked accordingly. Please note that all the web hosting providers listed in this article are highly recommended by us and we are happy to recommend them it to you. We wouldn’t rank or rate one over the other by a huge margin, it’s just plain intuition that lead us to list one after the other, they are all quite good when it comes to the following factors, that in-turn defines what a good host should offer.

Factors that we considered to select the Best Web Hosting Providers :

  1. Server Uptime

2. Speed

3. Flexibility to Upgrade

4. Security

5. Tech & Billing Support

Server Uptime– This is one of the most important stats to be considered. Simply put, how can you possibly convert customers if your site is down for maintenance or has issues frequently? Even if your site is spectacular CRO and converts thousands of customers a day, if a customer is looking for your site and gets an error message, that’s a missed opportunity nonetheless.

There are several ways to monitor a server’s uptime, however the most fundamental factors are evaluated using

  1. Ping Monitor : Pings your website to confirm if it’s live and running.
  2. HTTP monitor : If you are aware of Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, this is self explanatory. If not, just know that it observes the transfer of data between a networking client and server (your computer and the server).
  3. DNS Server Monitor : The Domain Name System monitor leads to keep an eye on response time, type and availability of Records and search field, value, time and status.
  4. TCP port monitor : The TCP port monitor establishes socket connection using the Connect method of the system and checks the ability of a TCP/IP based services to accept incoming sessions.

We have used the following the following tools to evaluate the above factors

  1. Uptime Robot
  2. Monitor US
  3. Pingdom Tools
  4. Uptime monitor
  • Also, while an uptime of 99 percent or better might seem amazing, believe it or not, this still leaves some fairly significant gaps in the service. The best sites will have a history of very low downtime. While occasional downtime is acceptable, as long as the sites have addressed any issues, they were eligible to be in this guide.

Speed — Speed is another key stat that should always be considered. By now, you probably understand that too much shared bandwidth can really slow your site down. A slower site that takes a while to load is one of the leading causes of frustrated visitors, and frustrated visitors are a lost opportunity. Not to mention, Google considers speed/loading time of a website as one of the most important ranking factor in it’s search results.

  • With this in mind, it’s quite essential that the sites hosted on the “best web hosting” providers need to have “lowest loading times” as well.

Upgradable Path that Allows Room to Grow — The best web hosting providers should allow to upgrade your server resources hassle free. While it’s recommended to switch to a dedicated or a VPS service when your site starts to get a steady flow of visitors, the best services pretty much offer to do it hands off for the client.

  • This means that when your small e-commerce site starts to really take off, your hosting support should jump in and save the day, all you have to do is just “ask” them to upgrade and it should be done.

Credibility and Security — There’s a reason why so many Linux security companies are starting to take off and make the big bucks. System security is a major concern and the last thing you want is to find out that your site has been hacked and your customer’s information has been leaked. This is one of the biggest ways for sites to lose credibility.

  • With this in mind, your web host should have significant security precautions so that data theft isn’t an issue. This way you won’t fall prey to denial of service attacks (DDoS) or site vulnerabilities.

Tech Support and Customer Service — This is always important. Sometimes there are issues, whether these are caused by a technical problem or a billing one, it’s important to have resources to help find a resolution. The best web hosting services out there will have a dedicated team that can quickly help you resolve these issues so that you can get back to your life.

Now that the basic methodology and the factors that weigh into a good web hosting provider have been discussed, I hope you have a better understanding on how to pick the right web hosting and your search for the best web hosting 2020 ends with this guide, you can further read full reviews of each of the suggested web hosting in depth by clicking through from above. For any further clarification or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.

Disclosure: I might receive an affiliate commission from some of the recommendations if you choose to click through and make a purchase, however, the recommendations are based on my experience with these services as every web hosting provider has an affiliate program in place.

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