Most people that are looking for a web host don’t want to set up a huge corporate site and probably have a limited technical knowledge of the web. This means that they are looking for a web host that offers a simple service at a reasonable price that still has all of the features that are necessary to build the website that they want. If you are setting up a simple e-commerce website, then you will want to have all of the retail scripts that you need included in the price of your web hosting plan, and the use of video content requires more disk space and multimedia support that should come with part of the package that you choose.
There has been a boom in websites in recent years, and the new demand has resulted in an increase in the number of web hosting companies that offer a variety of different services at very affordable prices. The real trouble is that these cheaper deals aren’t always the best value for money options available. Often, web hosts will limit the services that are included in their cheaper packages and charge much higher rates for their fully featured services. These web hosting packages may only be a couple of dollars a month, but when you add in the cost of buying third party software it can be much more expensive. Other web hosts are much more focused on their larger clients and sell shared hosting as a side to their virtual private server (VPS) and dedicated server packages.
All of this can be confusing for people that are looking for a web host for the simple website that they want to run. In order to cut through the confusing details, we have compared the top web hosting companies and chosen the best three deals available for small web users. The comparisons are based on the simplicity of the offer, the number of features that are included and, of course, the monthly cost. By these practical criteria the services provided by HostMonster were a clear leader for people that want a simple web hosting package that provides a good value for their money.
1st Place: HostMonster
Established in 1996 in Provo, Utah, HostMonster is one of the oldest web hosting companies in operation today and is offering an all-inclusive shared web hosting package at a basic price of $3.95 per month. This package has everything that is needed to create and maintain a website for almost any purpose possible. This shared web hosting package allows users to host unlimited domains, and includes all of the disk space and bandwidth that they will need.
HostMonster comes with the popular cPanel website management application that is very user friendly, and allows websites to be installed with only a few clicks of the mouse. This also gives users easy access to all of the other features that are included, like the analytics software, e-mail autoresponders, and other tools that are needed to make a website a success. Augmenting this, HostMonster also provides a free template-based website design tool as well as free online store scripts to make creating a simple e-commerce site quick and easy.
All of the features that you would expect from a web host, like unlimited domains and sub-domains, and e-mail addresses and databases, are included. HostMonster has also added some very practical features like webmail, a bulletin board and social networking applications. All of the secure pages and SSL certificates, as well as the shopping cart programs that are necessary to conduct transactions on the web, are also included as a standard part of their basic web hosting package. Even multimedia streaming support scripts are included, making HostMonster’s service suitable for sites that include a lot of video content or webcasts.
HostMonster uses the best possible hardware to provide a reliable and fast Internet service that is fully backed by its customer service and technical support staff. The focus at HostMonster is on providing the best possible service to all of their users, and because they don’t offer any VPS or dedicated server packages, they have been able to concentrate on providing a quality shared web hosting service at a price that represents excellent value for money. When you add in the savings that come with the free domain name and the $100 of Google credits that come with every account, HostMonster offers a simple web hosting plan that comes value packed with the features that you will want to use the most.
2nd Place: HostGator
For features, HostGator is easily on a par with HostMonster, but the structure of the shared hosting plans available makes their service less user-friendly and more costly, placing them a close second for the average user’s web hosting needs. HostGator has been around since 2002 and has been operating out of Houston, Texas, since 2007. They have developed a solid reputation for being reliable and providing excellent service. Because they offer a variety of corporate web hosting services like reseller packages, VPS hosting and dedicated servers, the shared hosting represents a smaller part of their focus which is reflected in the difference in the web hosting packages that they are offering.
HostGator offers shared web hosting in three packages starting at a very low $3.96 per month for their Hatchling Plan, and going up to $10.36 for their Business Plan. While their most basic plan is cheap, it is restricted to hosting a single domain and doesn’t come with all of the features that are needed to set up even a simple e-commerce site. Even the middle of the road Baby Plan at $6.36 per month requires users to supply their own private SSL certificates, which they will need to operate an e-commerce site and conduct their transactions on their website. This comes at a much more expensive rate than HostMonster’s basic monthly fee.
It is the services that HostGator provides for its larger and corporate users, like its reseller packages that start at $19.95 per month for a 50 GB account, which provides enough space to host dozens of even the most video heavy websites, that provide the best value for money. HostGator’s VPS and dedicated server plans are also graduated into affordable packages, making it easy for users to start with the plan that fulfills their individual needs at the time, with abilities for easy upgrading in the future as their needs grow. For most users, these services will be far more than they need and HostMonster’s simple format will be the better option.
HostGator comes with cPanel, unlike some of the hosts we reviewed, and many of the same features that HostMonster provides for all of its accounts, but falls short on some of the added extras. The excellent service record and reliability of HostGator still place them solidly in second place but the technical differences between the different packages will certainly make them confusing for non-technical customers.
3rd Place: GoDaddy
GoDaddy has become one of the most popular web hosting businesses out there, mainly due to their successful advertising campaigns, but when you examine the web hosting service that they have, you’ll see that they don’t provide the features or the cost effectiveness that can be had from the other two companies. GoDaddy also offers a range of different web hosting plans, from shared hosting to dedicated servers and cloud services, but especially for smaller users they offer very limited services that don’t have the same value for money that you get from an all inclusive, unlimited service like HostMonster.
The shared hosting packages from GoDaddy come in 5-page, 10-page and 999-page plans, and range in price from $5.99 to $14.99 per month, which, considering the limitations of the service, makes them one of the more expensive web hosting services available. GoDaddy also limits disk space and, more importantly, the bandwidth that comes with their shared hosting plans. They also limit the cheapest plan to a single e-mail account. Even for the most basic website these features are probably going to be insufficient, meaning that you will have to upgrade in order to get the features that are provided as a standard part of HostMonster’s single-price, all-inclusive offer.
GoDaddy’s larger web hosting packages, such as the reseller web hosting package, which limits resellers to a set amount of domains that can be hosted, and the dedicated server packages, all fall short of the value for money that is found with similar services offered by HostGator. On top of that, GoDaddy doesn’t use cPanel and only includes their own web design applications with web hosting accounts, requiring users to bring their own third party software to create their websites. This makes installing a WordPress blog or a Joomla site more complicated than it needs to be, and makes GoDaddy an impractical choice for the smaller, non-technical Internet user that just wants to create their own basic retail website or blog. Overall, these deficiencies place the web hosting services from GoDaddy at a distant third when it comes to the value for money, fully featured shared web hosting deal that is available from HostMonster.
After reviewing the best web hosts, we recommend HostMonster