Welcome to the CNET 2020 directory of web hosting services. In this directory, we'll look at a few of the best web hosting providers like Bluehost, A2Hosting, Hostinger, DreamHost, HostGator, InMotion Hosting and more. In this evaluation of the best web hosting providers, we're featuring commercial web hosting companies that offer WordPress, VPS, shared hosting and many more web hosting services, along with a variety of annual and monthly plans.     
Bluehost uses cPanel as its site management system. The Utah-based company has done an excellent job adding simple, but useful customizations to the cPanel layout. Sections are very clearly laid out and the process is simple to follow. It strikes a great balance between simplicity for beginners, and having the functions needed for more advanced users.
When done right, blogs set the tone for how potential customers view and interact with your business. Beyond your products and online store, online shoppers are looking for information about your brand. Blog hosting should be fast, simple, and lightweight enough to let you work, but still showcase your brand in a powerful, visually appealing manner.
Website hosting providers usually offer far more than just space on a server, many web hosts provide a full package to allow the website owner all the tools they require for their website. Most shared hosting plans come with a control panel which gives the user a simple to use interface to setup email address, add databases, FTP access to upload their website, backups, statistics, ecommerce shopping carts, and many scripts like WordPress blogging, or Joomla CMS. Many web hosting services also give you a free domain name, free advertising credits and a few other free bonuses so you choose their service.
Managed web hosting brings a white-glove or concierge service to the hosting experience. The term “managed” means the hosting company takes care of the hands-on IT work required to keep the server running optimally. They handle the hardware while you maintain the software and your site databases, files, and media content. This type of web hosting carries the highest price tag, but many find the peace of mind and server administration assistance worthwhile.
To unlock even more features included with our premium plans, you can upgrade your free plan to a premium plan. With a premium plan upgrade, you will keep your existing content made with your free plan, but simply receive more premium plan features. Website.com ad banners will be removed to give your website a more professional image, you will get a free professional website name, and you'll be able to access more tools within the site builder.
Along with figuring out the overall category of your site, you should think about what (if any) exceptions there are to that. A lot of people set up a simple blog, and then realize they also want to sell just a few products. If you’re going to sell something on the website (even just a few things), you’ll need some kind of e-commerce software that will make that happen.
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.
We know you want free hosting, but the flexibility, support, and features included with even bare-bones shared hosting plans are well worth the minor investment. For $3 or less per month, hosts will give you all you need to make a successful website for your small business: a free domain, website builder, SEO tools, advertising credits, eCommerce capabilities, and around-the-clock support for prices that can’t be beat.

When it's time to set up shop, look for a web host that offers the aforementioned dedicated servers, as well as advanced cloud server platforms (such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud), custom server builds should you need it, and 24/7 customer support. Depending on your business' focus, you may need a web host that can handle pageviews or visitors that rank in the high thousands or millions. Many busy hosting plans offer an onboarding specialist that can help you get started, too.
When it comes to server operating systems, Linux is typically the default option. Still, some services offer a choice of Linux or Windows hosting. If you have specific server-side applications that require Windows, such as SQL Server or a custom application written in .NET, then you need to make sure your web host has Windows hosting. But don't let the idea of a Linux host intimidate you. Nowadays, most web hosts offer a graphical interface or a control panel to simplify server administration and website management. Instead of typing at the command line, you'll click easily identifiable icons.
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