One thing we learned in reviewing the services listed here (and many more) is that even though the packages are very similar, they are not identical. Some are more security-focused than others, offering anti-spam and anti-malware tools. Others offer a variety of email marketing tools. While most of the hosts we've reviewed have built-in e-commerce, you may want to consider using a more-robust third-party online shopping cart application like Shopify instead.
By creating a website, you are creating an online presence. This allows you to connect with people that you might not otherwise be able to reach. Whether you’re making a basic website with contact information for your small business or medical practice, creating a landing page for your freelance work, a multi-page experience for your wedding photography business or you just want a place to blog about your thoughts on food, having a website will give you a dynamic advantage.
Data protection is another key email security concern. Inboxes often contain GBs of business-critical and personal data, so not just hackers but also legitimate marketing companies can make big money off mining email data—and this sometimes includes the very company that is providing the email service to you. Fortunately, most companies, including your hosting provider, are pretty good about keeping out of private data, but it's important to be aware of when these policies have failed. Security breaches are commonplace and it's important to know how your data is being managed. To protect yourself, be sure to inquire about data safety capabilities on the provider's side, especially around encryption and malware scanning. But be sure to implement additional measures on your side, as well, including encryption for those using local email clients as well as deploying personal virtual private networks (VPNs) to folks accessing their email from multiple locations.
It shouldn't come as any surprise that, like other web host providers, A2 Hosting's unlimited plans aren't actually unlimited. It expect you to use its service like "similarly situated customers." This is like being on a highway. If everyone is going a few miles above the speed limit, you're probably okay, but if you're barreling down the fast lane past everyone else, you're probably going to be asked to slow down.
You can also host your website on WordPress.com, but that's different from the kind of hosting mentioned above. WordPress.com uses the same code from WordPress.org, but it hides the server code and handles the hosting for you. In that sense, it resembles entries in our online site builder roundup. It's a simpler but less flexible and customizable way to approach WordPress hosting. It's definitely easier, but if you want to tinker and adjust and optimize every aspect of your site, it might not be for you.
Getting your website off the ground requires a great web hosting service. In our evaluation of web hosting providers, we looked at key features that make for a positive web hosting experience and compared the leading providers in the industry. The factors we considered included uptime, website builders, and eCommerce integration. Read on to learn more about the features you should look at when determining which provider and plan is best for you.
Post initial setup, a primary concern will be the log-on issue. If your organization is fine with a separate log-on for your email provider, then this step will be quick. However, that's not typically what businesses want or users expect. In general, users expect to sign onto their desktops and have their email and file sharing sign-ons happen as part of that one-step process. Not surprisingly, this is called Single Sign-On (SSO) and it's enabled in one of three ways: through the use of a back-end directory service like Microsoft Active Directory (AD); an identity management service, like Okta (one of our Editors' Choice winners in that category); or several compatible web services that include SSO along with other apps and email services, like Google G Suite Business and Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium (two of the top providers reviewed here). Which method you choose depends on how your business is configured today and your long-term cloud services strategy. It's definitely a conversation you'll need to have either with your in-house IT staff or your outside IT consultant.
Established back in 1998, HostPapa operates three state-of-the-art data centers. Equipped with multiple GigE fiber connections to the internet backbone, the company built out seismically braced racks and cabinets, fully redundant Liebert HVAC cooling systems, a diesel generator that can run for weeks and a preaction dry pipe fire suppression system.
The web hosting provider offers solid plans with a good selection of features. The one area we're concerned about is how it presents its offers. Like many hosting providers, its published pricing is a bit misleading. You're not getting hosting for $2.96/mo unless you pay $71 for two years of service. Renewals are generally at a higher rate, although a salesperson we spoke to advised you ask for a "loyalty discount."
Ultimately, it boils down to a balance between cost, features, and risk. It's always tempting to simply jump on the lowest-cost solution, but the fact that email is ubiquitous keeps this from being the smart play. It's nearly impossible to escape using it, which means your users, your customers, and the guts of your business have all come to depend on it in different ways. You need to discover those ways, evaluate them, and then choose a service that either meets or improves on them. This takes time, discussion with your IT staff, and some investigation; these are steps you don't want to skip. Otherwise, you'll pay for it later.
Along with specialized uses for email, you should investigate how your users are emailing on a daily basis. Email has come a long way in 40 years and the way people use it has significantly evolved. That's important because it will impact the tools and features you need to look for in your hosted email provider's client software. Sure, Microsoft Outlook is still the most popular on-site email client, but a fast-increasing number of today's email users are opting for other email clients, such as Thunderbird, or all-web clients, such as Google's hugely popular Gmail. These clients can be very sophisticated and, depending on what your users are doing with email, they can have a big impact on your day-to-day business process.
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.
What about the time you clicked on that PayPal link that wasn't really a PayPal link? "Phishing" is a term applied to either websites or emails that pretend to be something they're not in hopes of getting a user to click on something they should have ignored. This tactis is done in hopes of then getting users to provide confidential information they would have otherwise kept to themselves, typically like passwords, financial information, or other personal data. While there are security measure that fight this, the mechanics behind phishing are, unfortunately, also consistently becoming more sophisticated. Even some dedicated antivirus and business-class hosted endpoint protection suites are having trouble keeping up.
Investing in a virtual private server, or VPS hosting, can be a nice middle ground between shared and dedicated server hosting. As is the case with shared hosting, a VPS host hosts multiple sites per server, but fewer sites are on each server. This raises the cost, but it’s still less expensive than most managed web hosting services or renting your own dedicated server.