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Best Website Host Providers 2021 (Free Options)

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Elliot Kavanagh

Elliot is the owner and admin of elliotkavanagh.com. He's a qualified marketing expert with a Bachelor of Business in Marketing and 7 years of experience in digital marketing. He also loves to eat and play games, somewhat badly.View Author posts

When launching a website it’s important to choose the best website host provider. I’ve put together this guide which narrows down the best ones on the market today.

I’ve personally worked with most of these hosting providers with clients in the past. Therefore, I have first-hand experience of what it’s like to actually have a website with them.

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting is basically the practice of providing space in a host’s server so that their website can be accessed via the world wide web. Every website you’ve ever been to is hosted on a server somewhere in the world. 

You can think of it as renting space on a server. The space is then used to set up your website and people visit your website by typing your address on a browser.

If you’re thinking about setting up a website, one of the first steps is to figure out which company will be providing your hosting. Picking a host can be challenging since there are many providers to choose from. 

Fortunately, we can help narrow down your choices by reading our short web hosting review.

Best Website Host Provider

Bluehost Starts at $2.95 per month

Pros:

  • Reliable, good uptime
  • Affordable first term
  • Generous storage
  • Unmetered bandwidth

Cons:

  • Slow speed
  • Upsells
  • Only US servers
  • Poor backup

Bluehost is a popular website host provider and is recommended by WordPress. Many hosts advertise “100% uptime” but many fail to abide by this promise. This is why I like Bluehost.

It’s not perfect – none of them are, but they are very reliable. In my experience, they are up usually 99% of the time. 

Another thing I like about this provider is the ease of creating a website. This is very important if you’re a beginner and need to put up a site quickly. Since Bluehost is recommended by WordPress, setting up a site using its templates is relatively easy.

Also, the first year is cheap (renewal rates are high though). They also offer tons of storage and best of all, they won’t limit traffic to your website.

What I don’t like about them is that speed could be better. It’s not terrible, it just needs improvement in my opinion.

Also, they are constantly upselling you which can get annoying. Their backup option is also poor and only uses US servers to host your site.

BigScoots  – Starts at $5.59 per month

Pros:

  • Hands-on tech support
  • Decent speed and uptime
  • Easy to use interface

Cons:

  • No marketing support
  • Limited knowledge base resources
  • Limited storage

BigScoots isn’t as well-known as BlueHost, but they have a pretty decent reputation. They offer very decent uptime and page loading speeds. Perhaps my favorite feature is that they offer discounts for longer terms (annual, etc).

They are also a very good choice for newbies as they are a fully managed hosting provider. But if you prefer to solve problems yourself, the interface is easy to use.

The downside to BigScoots is their poor support (tech support is good though). For example, they don’t offer marketing support to those who are having a hard time with SEO. Plus, their knowledge base is pretty limited – along with their storage.

HostGator –  Starts at $2.75 per month

Pros:

  • Lots of storage
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Supports many programming languages.

Cons:

  • Hidden Charges
  • Uptime needs improvement
  • Constant Upsell
  • No backup

HostGator has been around for a long time. I think it was one of the first few that offered web hosting services to the public. Like most providers, they offer other services such as domain registration and a website builder.

My favorite thing about HostGator is that they support many different programming languages such as PHP, Ruby On Rails, Perl, and Python. Like Bluehost, they don’t meter bandwidth so you won’t have problems if your site has many visitors. 

The most annoying thing about this provider is their hidden charges. They can charge as much as $25 for restoring from a backup. Also, their uptime really needs work. You can get punished by Google because of this.

Most of all, Hostgator does not include a backup system. You only have access to 1 unless you pay for an add-on. Speaking of which, they also have constant upsells (like backup) which can end up costing you more money.

Dreamhost – Starts at $2.59 per month

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Very good uptime and speed
  • No upsells

Cons:

  • No 1-click installs
  • No email account in the starter plan
  • US only servers
  • Some advance features missing

Dreamhost is a good choice especially for advanced webmasters, developers, and digital marketers. They host over 1.5 million websites and like Bluehost, they are recommended by WordPress.

They are one of the most affordable providers around and have very decent uptime and speed. All users have unlimited bandwidth and storage with no upsells and upgrades being pushed around. 

One of the things I don’t like about this provider is that they don’t have automated installation for CMS (only WordPress I think).

There are also important features such as staging and built-in caching that is missing. Also, email accounts for their starter plan are paid separately. Lastly, they don’t have servers outside the US.

Cloudways – Starts at $10 per month

Pros: 

  • Very good uptime
  • Superb security
  • Easy backups
  • Hourly hosting options

Cons:

  • Crappy support
  • Not intuitive
  • Too many choices
  • No CDN

Cloudways is one of the few providers that have a good balance between affordability and function. Cloudways is a cloud hosting platform that lets you choose between 5 different data center providers.

Every provider has around 10 plans each which means you can pay monthly, hourly, or choose from at least 100 different options. This flexibility is what makes this provider a good choice.

Cloudways has very good uptime. Your website will stay up 99% of the time. Backups are also easy to do thanks to their dedicated plugin.

Teams can also collaborate on this provider and my favorite feature of all is their dedicated firewalls and 2FA options which provide superb security.

The downside to Cloudways is 15-minute live chat support for basic plans – it takes longer to explain the problem especially if you’re a newbie, the endless hosting choice can also become confusing, the backend isn’t as intuitive as Dreamhost for example and CDN is not included.

Host Papa – Starts at $3.95 per month

Pros:

  • 2 websites for 1 price
  • Free domain
  • Unmetered bandwidth

Cons:

  • No free backups
  • Expensive add-ons during checkout
  • Expensive renewal fee

Unlike Bluehost, HostGator, and Dreamhost, Host Papa is not well known. It caters mainly to small businesses and is a good choice for those who are looking for an affordable package.

One of the reasons why people are attracted to this provider is mainly due to their $3.95 per month for 2 websites. You can also avail of a free domain without any hidden cost. They also offer unmetered bandwidth and responsive live chat support.

The problem with hosting companies that offer affordable first-term hosting is that they need to recoup their money during renewal, and Host Papa is no different.

For instance, if you renew the shared starter plan which originally costs $3.95, you can expect to shell out $9.99 per month if you decide to renew for a year. It goes down to $7.99 per month if you renew for a 36-month term.

Also, servers are located in the USA and Canada only. This means higher latency for visitors who do not come from these 2 countries.

WPEngine – Starts at $25 per month

Pros:

  • Impressive speed
  • Superb uptime, support, and backup
  • 20+ server locations

Cons:

  • $25 per month
  • Only hosts WordPress
  • Visitor limit

WPEngine plans don’t come cheap but you will get high-quality hosting and very good uptime.  What I like about this provider is its impressive loading speed.

This is very important especially if you want to get ahead in terms of SEO. Uptime and support are also very good and so is their backup. They also have over 20 different locations to host your website.

WPEngine is amazing, but it does have some pitfalls. For instance, if you don’t use WordPress as a CRM then you won’t be able to use their services.

Another annoying thing is that they can fine you $1-2 per extra 1000 visitors not included in your tier. You will also need to purchase a professional email address somewhere else. And most of all, it starts at $25 per month!

Siteground – Starts at $6.99 per month

Pros: 

  • Very good uptime
  • High-speed hosting
  • Intuitive
  • Excellent support

Cons:

  • A tad expensive
  • Fees for professional migration
  • Max size for database

Siteground is the ideal hosting provider for startups or small to medium companies or if you need less than 10GB of space. At $6.99 it’s not exactly affordable, but I do recommend it for small ecommerce stores, professional bloggers, and sites that use WordPress CRM.

They have excellent support and assistance, easy-to-use, excellent uptime, and fast page load time. Siteground also features staging, own caching, or free integration with Cloudflare which other providers do not.

Personally speaking, I think their pricing is reasonable considering the features that you’re getting but it’s still not cheap. Also, site migration costs another $30. There is a free WordPress migration plugin that you can use though.

All Siteground plans also come with a maximum size for each database which could be an issue for large websites. 

Hostinger – Starts at $2.19 per month

Pros:

  • Excellent onboarding
  • Competitive pricing
  • Multiple data centers

Cons:

  • Inconsistent performance
  • Limited disk space
  • Crappy support

When you’re starting an online journey, you want to maximize every penny and this is where affordable web hosting comes in. Hostinger is a good choice not only for penny pinchers but also for newbies and WordPress developers.

They have a very fast loading speed, multiple data centers, and one-click WordPress installation that makes onboarding smooth as butter, especially for newbies.

However, sacrificing price does have some drawbacks. Firstly, Hostinger can be a tad unreliable. This can be problematic especially in terms of SEO. Their response time for support is also lacking and their data centers located outside the UK and US produce mediocre results. 

You might experience blips especially if you’re a high-traffic site but overall, Hostinger is not that bad considering the price.

A2 Hosting – Starts at $2.99

Pros:

  • Very good uptime
  • Cool advanced features like staging areas or a server-side caching system
  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • Very fast speed

Cons:

  • On-demand backups paid separately
  • Concurrent HTTP connections
  • Confusing checkout

This provider has been around for a long time and they have many satisfied customers. One of the first things you will see on their website is the “20x Faster Hosting” claim.

In this instance, I think that A2 Hosting delivers. They also offer domain registration at a fair price. However, TLDs like .co.uk, .de, .fr, .es or .au aren’t available. Their shared hosting is one of the most popular and is optimized for WordPress.

A2 Hosting isn’t as pushy as other providers but their checkout process can be confusing. Expect to be bombarded with add-ons like SSL certificates that you don’t really need.

The most annoying thing, however, is their on-demand backup that needs to be paid separately. Oh, and all shared hosting plans are limited to 15 to 50 concurrent HTTP connections to the server. For some websites, this might not be enough. 

Namecheap – Starts at $3.88 per month

Pros:

  • ICANN accreditation
  • Good service and security features
  • Simple domain transfer
  • Competitive pricing

Cons:

  • Crappy customer support – no phone support
  • Some domain extension can be expensive

Namecheap is another old player in the hosting business so they have amassed around 3 million customers to date.

But aside from hosting, they also sell domain names, hence their name. And since this provider excels with domain names, they offer free domain ad migration for the first year.

They also have very good uptime which helps with SEO especially if you’re an eCommerce site. If you don’t believe me, they have very good reviews online.

But no provider is perfect. What irks me the most about this provider is its customer support. They have a very good knowledge base that helps you solve basic problems but their phone support is non-existent. Well, at least there is live chat.

GoDaddy – Starts at $2.99 per month

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Very good speed
  • Offers Windows hosting 
  • Generous storage
  • Unmetered bandwidth 

Cons: 

  • Uptime is below the 99.05% standard
  • No backups
  • No SSL
  • Missing advanced features

This provider has many different options and a ton of plans to choose from. They are also one of the world’s largest domain registrars and you will most probably find any domain extension you want with them. 

Beginners will love their interface as it is easy to use. Loading speed is also very decent and they offer Windows-based hosting.

GoDaddy is a good choice if you’re looking for a provider that is generous with storage and bandwidth.

However, their uptime is below industry standard and they don’t offer backups unless you purchase their paid add-on which is annoying. Handy features for developers like staging areas or Git repositories are also missing. And unlike other hosting providers, they won’t help you migrate your site to theirs. 

Free Web Hosting Options

000webhost

Pros:

  • 99% uptime
  • Decent security
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Minimal graphics in website builder
  • Limitations on CPU usage, bandwidth, and customer support

Free is always good and the same is true with 000webhost. Many people shy away from free hosting because of its limited features. But this provider is actually one of the few decent ones in the market.

Free plan users enjoy 99% uptime, 300GB bandwidth, Cloudflare protection, and 300MB disk space all for the price of $0. Webhost had security problems in the past but they have addressed this issue. This provider is an ideal option for students or people who are exploring the online world.

While 000webhost can create UI-rich sites, their graphics are lacking. And since it is a free service, you can also expect limitations on CPU usage, bandwidth, and customer support.

Luckily, you can always switch to one of their affordable paid plans to get more features and support. 

Freehostia

Pros:

  • Host 5 domains for FREE!
  • Easy to upgrade to paid plans
  • Free SSL certificates

Cons:

  • No cPanel
  • Not so friendly interface
  • No customer support 

If you want professional-looking websites without spending a dollar, then Freehostia is a good choice. Their uptime is very good and they are suitable for many different kinds of websites.

Best of all, it’s easy to upgrade to a paid plan if you need more space or features. If you want to try their paid hosting, Freehostia’s paid hosting plan comes with a free domain. Free backups are also included in their free hosting plan. 

On the other hand, the provider does not support a lot of payment options. They have Google Pay but don’t have Paypal or other big or well-known payment gateways. The traditional cPanel is also absent.

Many users might not find it fun that they have to learn a new interface to enjoy free hosting. And most irritating of all for me is that the free plan does not have customer support.

Freehosting.com

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Most features are free
  • Easy to setup  shopping cart 
  • Free data and storage perks

Cons:

  • Not really free – you need to buy a domain name to get started
  • Poor loading and uptime
  • Limited storage
  • Slow/inaccessible support

Most standard features are free for Freehosting.com. Their interface also makes it easy for everybody to manage an eCommerce store and their shopping cart is easy to set up.

You also get free data and storage perks. This provider is a good option if you’re starting an online store and selling a few products. 

However, registering a domain to get started can cost $12.99 and that’s expensive since many paid hosting can give you more features and a free domain at a lower initial cost. ECommerce sites also need reliable uptime and fast loading to get ahead of the competition and for SEO.

Sadly, Freehosting.com falls short in this category including storage and customer support. 

Google Cloud Web Hosting

Pros:

  • Powerful platform with Windows and Linux support
  • Decent speed and connectivity
  • Impressive selection of AI and data analysis apps

Cons:

  • Hard to integrate with non-Google products
  • More expensive than AWS

Yes, you can get free Google Cloud Web Hosting but within set monthly usage limits. However, this does not mean to say that you need a paid account to enjoy the benefits of amazing features.

In fact, you have access to a powerful platform that supports Windows and Linux. Since it’s Google, you have access to a vast array of global private networks which translates to speed and ease of connectivity.

Most of all, an impressive selection of AI and data analytics app is right beneath your fingertips so you can get ahead of the competition for free. 

But since it is Google, integrating with non-Google products can turn into a headache. This means you will need to be committed to using the whole platform and its arsenal for your website. AWS has a price advantage for general purpose and memory-optimized instances, while Google Cloud is cheaper for computer optimized.

Best Hosting for Blogs

Bluehost

One of the best reasons to host your blog with Bluehost is that they are recommended by WordPress. They also have reliable uptime and fast loading speed which is very important since there are literally millions of blogs out there.

They are also affordable and easy to use which is very important for new bloggers. WordPress is pre-installed so starting is also easy. 

However, Bluehost only offers less storage for their basic plan compared to their competitors.

BigScoots

BigScoots offers a completely managed WordPress hosting, making it advantageous and easy to use for bloggers. Since it is managed, there is no need to think about technical issues because they will take care of this for you. Other perks include free backups, SSL certificates, and 24/7 support.

However, they are more expensive than Bluehost. BigScoots bloggers can expect to shell out $7.95 a month for their WordPress blog. 

WP Engine

WP Engine is a WordPress-specific host and this means that it is well optimized for WordPress users. As a provider, their performance is solid and constant and they have very strong customer support. 

Just like BigScoots, WP Engine is expensive. There are cheaper alternatives for bloggers like Siteground and Hostinger. 

Siteground

Siteground on the other hand is a cheaper alternative for bloggers. At an affordable price, you get: good uptime, stable speed, and free site migration. Their affordable pricing makes them a popular choice for newbie bloggers. 

But cheap does have some drawbacks. Aside from limited storage space, there is also a lack of 1-click WordPress installation. Fortunately, WordPress has an extensive knowledge base on this. 

Hostinger

Hostinger is perhaps the best choice for bloggers on a budget. Despite the cheap price, you get to enjoy a host of features like good uptime and security, 1-click WordPress install, free caching, and free domain. 

But do you know why they’re cheap? Because they don’t have a monthly billing plan. This means you end up paying a higher upfront fee but enjoy savings in the long run. 

Wrap-up 

Choosing the best web hosting service can be hard and confusing, especially if it’s your first time. However, reading reviews and doing research can make the selection a lot less painful. 

When looking for a website always consider the purpose of your website. Knowing why you are making a website in the first place will make it easier for you to look for specific features in each company and help you come up with an informed decision.