The variety of applications that we have for the Internet has created the demand for a range of Internet services that supply more than just a place to publish a simple website. We now use the web to store data like photos and important documents, to keep our databases, and for cloud services like Virtual Desktop and Software as a Service (SaaS). Some web hosts do offer very cheap packages, but these may not be suitable to all applications. When choosing the right web host for your Internet needs, it is a good idea to consider whether the web host service that you go with will be able to supply everything that you will require as your needs grow in the future.
With that in mind, we have examined the top web hosting companies to determine which ones offer the best comprehensive web hosting services at the best value. The reliability and technical support for the service, the standard features, and, of course the cost, have all been weighed to determine which web hosting companies are offering the best service.
HostGator was founded in Boca Raton, Florida, in 2002 and moved to its current location in Houston, Texas, in 2007. In that time, it has grown to host over 8 million domains. Managing over 12,000 servers, HostGator has also developed a reputation for providing excellent service, which has seen it become one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States. All of this means that HostGator is able to offer the widest variety of web hosting packages available.
HostGator offers a range of web hosting options to suit every level of Internet usage, from a single domain plan that is sufficient for a hobby blogger to dedicated server packages, and everything in between. Shared hosting is available in three different packages, beginning with the Hatchling Plan, which allows a single domain with enough features to create a blog or a simple website for $3.96 per month. The Business Plan offers everything that is needed to set up an e-commerce site including SSL pages and a toll-free phone number for $10.36 per month.
There are also reseller packages from HostGator, starting at $24.95 per month for 50 GB up to $99.95 for 200 GB. These packages all come complete with everything needed to host websites for clients, including unlimited access to the cPanel website management system, website building software and a free billing system.
For people with more complex Internet usage than can be handled using shared hosting, HostGator offers both virtual private server (VPS) and dedicated server packages. VPS services come in an easily upgradable range of plans that start at $19.95 for 10 GB, and go up to $209.95 for 231 GB. There are nine options available, so HostGator is likely to have a plan that fits both your needs and your budget. For users that need greater security, HostGator has four dedicated server packages from $139 per month for 500 GB of disk space, going up to $299 per month for 1 TB of disk space and 8GB DDR3 RAM.
All HostGator web hosting accounts use the popular cPanel website management system, which allows users to access all of the features that come with their HostGator account. Installing scripts to create a website is a simple process, and with over fifty web design programs to choose from, it is possible to build any type of website that you want to. Other useful features like e-mail autoresponders and shopping cart scripts, as well as accessing all of your website’s statistics, can be done via the one application.
Just the variety of differently priced packages means that HostGator probably has a web hosting plan that will suit the precise needs of most people. When their award-winning service and all of the included features are considered, HostGator easily has the most user friendly web hosting package available at a price that is highly competitive.
BlueHost doesn’t offer as large a range of web hosting packages as HostGator, but their all-inclusive, standard shared web hosting plan comes with all of the features needed to create a website, from a mommy blog up to a complex e-commerce website. Each account can have unlimited domains with as much disk space as they can use, and the bandwidth to cater to even the heaviest traffic. In addition, BlueHost supplies new accounts with a free domain name for the first year and backs this all up with excellent service and technical support. For a standard monthly rate of $3.95, BlueHost offers great value that makes it a clear second for quality of service.
BlueHost’s reseller plans are offered in three different packages starting from $19.95 per month for 100 GB up to $99.95 for 500 GB, at a transfer speed of 35 Mbps. Reseller accounts come with unlimited domains allowed, no restrictions on the use of cPanel or the number of MySQL databases, and include a free billing system and account management software. In this area of web hosting, BlueHost is priced slightly better than HostGator and comes with almost all of the same features, making this a viable option for many people.
BlueHost also includes support for multimedia streaming, allowing users to easily host their own webcasts and to post video and audio content. As multimedia content becomes more important to Internet marketing strategies, this may be a feature worth considering for medium and small sized businesses. Apart from these features, BlueHost and HostGator offer very similar features as a standard inclusion in all of their packages, and so it really comes down to the question of the amount of space that you need on the web.
BlueHost offers a great service that is suitable for small to medium sized Internet users, but doesn’t offer any VPS or dedicated server plans like the ones offered at HostGator. Even so, the state of the art technology that is used by BlueHost, as well as the excellent service available from their in-house technical support staff, makes their web hosting services worth considering. Unfortunately, they may not be able to accommodate your needs if you start needing a more secure web hosting service.
GoDaddy has been around since 1998, and in that time has grown into one of the largest web hosting services in the world with servers in the U.S., India, Singapore and the Netherlands. They are offering two levels of shared web hosting, their website builder, and a more standard web hosting plan. There is a range of dedicated server packages as well as a new cloud service that allows users to vary their usage, and only pay for what they have used.
The basic shared hosting on GoDaddy allows users to build either a 5 or 10-page website starting at $4.99 per month, up to a 999 page website for $9.99. The disk space and the bandwidth are also limited, which really limits their usefulness to smaller users and hobby bloggers. GoDaddy supplies their own web design software and includes a limited range of e-commerce scripts, meaning that it will probably be necessary to purchase third-party software to get all of the commercial functionality that you want. Because GoDaddy doesn’t use cPanel, installing scripts is more complicated and this could pose problems for less experienced users.
GoDaddy does have a very cheap range of server packages starting at $23.99 per month for the most basic package that includes 40 GB of disk space and 1 GB of RAM, up to $119.99 per month for 240 GB of storage and 8 GB of memory. These accounts are smaller than the packages offered by HostGator and the transfer speeds are generally slower too. All of this means that GoDaddy’s dedicated server packages offer less value for money than HostGator and very little more than BlueHost’s standard shared package. It might be more cost effective for many users to take advantage of GoDaddy’s cloud server plan, which allows users to pay for their Internet use at a flat hourly rate. This means that the less you use, the cheaper the service gets.
GoDaddy doesn’t offer any reseller packages, which means that it probably won’t suit web designers, marketers or other businesses that repackage web hosting for their own clients. It is still possible to resell web hosting on GoDaddy using their dedicated server, but it does require users to have their own management software.
For the most basic users with little or no experience, GoDaddy offers a straightforward web hosting service that will make it easy to post a blog or a family website. If you need a more complex Internet service, then GoDaddy is probably not the right web host for you. Because GoDaddy doesn’t use a simple and familiar content management system like cPanel for its website design, and because the unlimited web hosting plans are just a bit more expensive than either BlueHost or HostGator, they are a distant third to HostGator’s wide variety and flexibility of service.