For many customers, possibly the most influential variable in evaluating a hosting service is cost. Cost can drive conversion, but cost can also cause you to make regrettable purchasing decisions. Don’t assume the cheapest option you can find is the best. Low cost can also mean low value, but not with the affordable hosts atop our recommendations list.
Web hosting is a service which allows websites to be published to the internet and hosted so they are accessible on the around the world on the World Wide Web for everybody to find. Web hosting companies buy or lease many servers in a data center which are connected to the internet, and sell partitioned space on the server, typically called Shared web hosting. This allows website owners to pay a small monthly fee for the hosting space as the cost is spread across many other websites hosted on the same server.
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Serving more than 15 million members, Bravenet provides a full-service hosting option for people looking for the complete package. In addition to a drag-and-drop site builder and unlimited storage, the Canadian company is one of the only free web hosters with an email marketing platform. Customers can also enjoy community-building features such as message boards, mailing lists, blogs, contact forms, polls, and other tools.
You also want a web host with 24/7 customer support—if not by phone, then at least by chat. Forums, knowledge bases, and help tickets are all well and good, but sometimes you just need to communicate with another human to get things ironed out as quickly as possible. That said, not all 24/7 customer support teams are equal. Companies like GoDaddy and Liquid Web boast incredibly knowledgeable and helpful customer support squads—a fact that we confirmed in our in-depth reviews of those web hosting services.
Finally, we were quite happy with their money-back guarantee. They offer a full 90-day guarantee (except for domain names you buy) and a pro-rated refund for the rest of your time. So if you want to cancel after 18 months and have six months left in your term, you'll get back the cost of the six remaining months. It's clear, it's understandable, and it's the straightforward way we'd like to see most providers use as a model.
A customer needs to evaluate the requirements of the application to choose what kind of hosting to use. Such considerations include database server software, scripting software, and operating system. Most hosting providers provide Linux-based web hosting which offers a wide range of different software. A typical configuration for a Linux server is the LAMP platform: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl/Python. The web hosting client may want to have other services, such as email for their business domain, databases or multimedia services. A customer may also choose Windows as the hosting platform. The customer still can choose from Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby, but the customer may also use ASP.NET or ASP Classic. Web hosting packages often include a web content management system, so the end-user does not have to worry about the more technical aspects.
The company also offers higher-end Windows and Linux servers, available with Plesk and cPanel respectively. We were very intrigued to see that the company offers low-end Atom-based dedicated servers as well as the more traditional Xeon-based machines. One great resource for those doing some basic experimentation, or site development, is that it has a free, three-month trial for one of its lightly equipped Atom servers.
If you cancel within 30 days and your plan includes a free domain, Bluehost will deduct a non-refundable domain fee of $15.99 from your refund. This not only covers our costs, but ensures that you won't lose your domain name. You may transfer it to another registrar or simply point it elsewhere at your convenience. Please note newly registered domains cannot be transferred to another registrar during the first 60 days of the registration period. You retain ownership of your domain until the end of its registration period unless you renew it.
SiteGround developed several in-house innovations that put them ahead in this market, including a unique technology to actively monitor their servers, preventing downtime in real time, and custom software for live chat and support ticketing. These examples of going the extra mile for the user have resulted in 99.996% uptime annually and exceptional customer support around the clock. Read our review for more on why SiteGround is a stellar choice for small business hosting.