For email, security starts with spam, otherwise known as unsolicited email. This is often the bane of not only those who live in their email inboxes,but also of the IT administrators who manage email services. The good news is that spam filters are getting better every day and email providers tend to deploy the very latest and greatest for their customers. The bad news is that these filters still aren't perfect, which means they can catch a lot of "good" email but often vary significantly in effectiveness. Today's spam filters are based largely on machine learning (ML) as the primary method of determining what's bound for the trash bin. Given that ML gets more effective over time, it is no surprise that the services that have been around the longest tend to have better spam detection.
Many web hosting services offer a low "starting price," but require you to prepay for two or three years of service to get that price. After the promotional period, the renewal price for some web hosting services can be two, three, or even four times the initial promotional pricing. While the initial deal might be incredible, the cost of transferring your site (or paying the added fee) in a couple of years may be something to consider.
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.      

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.

Business – from $5.95/month. Best for fast-growing businesses. Unlock features including SSL certificates, a dedicated IP address, and VoIP phone service. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It protects data moving through your site (like customers’ bank details). Providers often charge over $100 for SSL certificates, so HostGator’s offer makes it great value for money compared to rivals like Arvixe. Your site’s URL will have a green padlock to show it’s secure.
cPanel hosting: Some web hosts offer the popular web hosting control panel cPanel as part of their hosting packages, pre-installing the software for you. The control panel allows VPS and dedicated server users to more easily manage their servers, databases, and hosting settings. Shared hosting customers enjoy the intuitive interface from which they can install apps, like WordPress or PrestaShop, and manage their domains, email, and files. 

Website builders and WordPress let you create an online presence with little to no coding knowledge required. If this is what you need for setting up your site, make sure your web host provides integration for the site builder you want to use. Easy installations for WordPress or pre-installed website builders with ready-made templates are ideal for those who want to drag and drop elements of their site into place — where what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG).
Once you decide you price range, you need to consider how long you'll need web hosting. If it's a short-term project—say, less than a month or two—you can typically receive a refund should you cancel your hosting within 60 days. Some companies offer 30-day money-back guarantees, others offer 90-day money-back guarantees. Once again, it's beneficial to do your homework.
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.
Uptime is the percentage of time that a server is operational. When you’re running a website, you want users to be able to access it at all times. When a server experiences downtime, your site would be unavailable, but ideally, this happens rarely. An industry-wide goal for how much uptime a server should have is “the five nines” – an uptime of 99.999%, meaning the system is highly reliable. However, 99.9% uptime is pretty standard and should more than suffice for the majority of hosting users.
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.
Email isn't going away any time soon. Despite a rise in adoption of collaboration-based communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, 86 percent of professionals prefer to use email for business purposes. How companies host, store, and distribute their email—that's the area that has undergone a massive transformation. Businesses are veering away from costly onsite email servers running products such as Microsoft Small Business Server and looking instead to the cloud with hosted email solutions. Businesses of all sizes have realized the wisdom of going with a scalable and secure hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution with guaranteed uptime that breaks down pricing into flexible, per-user charges.
The 30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee applies to new orders for Web Hosting and to existing customers who upgrade to Web Hosting from Domain only or standalone Business Mail accounts. Subject to the following limitations, you will receive a refund from of your Web Hosting fee (other than the domain registration charge), including any setup fees actually assessed, if you are not completely satisfied. Included in your Web Hosting fee may be a required yearly domain registration charge. Domain registration is arranged on your behalf with a third party following placement of your order and cannot be canceled by that third party (your domain can, however, be transferred to a new provider after 60 days). The associated domain registration charge is nonrefundable - even if you transfer to a new provider after 60 days. If the total Web Hosting fee paid by you is less than the non-refundable domain registration charge paid on your behalf, you will not be eligible for a refund under the 30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee. The Satisfaction Guarantee period starts on the date your initial order is placed. Claims for a refund of Web Hosting fees must be made within 30 calendar days of your initial order. All refund requests must be made by calling 1-866-781-9246 and must be specifically requested at time of cancellation. Refunds will be made only to the name, address, and credit card account on file. Refund does not apply to any add-on services, such as additional bandwidth, additional email addresses, or Private Domain Registration. See the Terms of Service for additional terms and conditions, available by clicking the link at the bottom of every page on our website.
Shopping carts are a necessity for businesses offering their products for sale on their site. Joomla, Magento, and other online store platforms can be found in many web hosting plans as integrated features. Some also offer additional eCommerce tools like ZenCart or PayPal. Review your options for eCommerce integrations so you can choose the one that makes the most sense for your store.

SiteGround has the best support and good performance but all that comes with a price (high renewal cost). The cheapest plan starts at $3.95/mo (with the 12-month commitment) and renews at $11.95/mo. You can host 1 website and the plan includes 10GB SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, and free SSL. Your purchase is backed by the 30-day money-back guarantee.

Just because a web hosting company looks good in their feature list doesn’t mean they are. Read the reviews in our review section and see which companies are difficult to deal with and which ones are helpful. You will almost certainly run into problems at some point, so pay attention to reviews that recount experiences people have had with customer service.
The first thing that caught our eye about Complete Internet Hosting was a great answer to my biggest complaint about hosting providers. Most hosting providers will suck you in with a relatively aggressive starting price, but when it comes time to renew, the renewal price can be two or three times the original price. I've even found one company that renews at more than six times the original price.
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.

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.
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