The 3 Best Web Hosting Companies for Your Money
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There was a time when web hosting was expensive, bandwidth was scarce, and every hosting account offered just enough disk space and features for one small website. Anything beyond that was enormously expensive. Those days are long gone, and web hosting is affordable and plentiful.
While the abundance of cheap web hosting alone should make it easier to find a host, it actually makes it more overwhelming. Hundreds of web hosting companies offer high bandwidth, large amounts of disk space, and low-price plans. Therefore, when searching for the best deal and most reliable service, you need to consider other factors.
To help you wade through the murky waters of the web hosting market, we have developed this side-by-side comparison of three of the top hosts:
We have cut through the gimmicks like unlimited bandwidth, all-in-one domain packages, and other special offers to reveal the features and service options that really matter.
Before we get to the head-to-head comparison of each web host, there are a few things you should consider before you start your evaluation.
Does Size Matter?
For some people, bigger is automatically better, and popularity is often confused with quality. The web host with the biggest advertising budget and attractive women in their commercials might be alluring, but the quality of its features and customer service might be severely lacking.
On the other hand, some hosting shoppers look to the small businesses that can provide a personal touch. For these customers, the best way to get customer service is to know the people who are giving it, something large companies do not usually offer.
Do larger companies offer better security and lower prices? Do smaller companies provide better customer support and less congestion? Which is more important, or do you need both?
In reality, the best web hosting provider may sit somewhere in between the two extremes, and it might be possible to have the best of both worlds: a large company without sacrificing customer service or a small one without sacrificing security, features, and affordability. Hostgator and MyHosting are both large web hosting companies, while MDDHosting is smaller. You should keep that in mind as you evaluate each.
3 Best Web Hosts Comparison
Before comparing the features of the three best web hosts, here is a brief overview of each.
Founded in 2007, MDDHosting is the newest hosting provider on our list of recommend web hosts. The company is based in Indiana, but its servers are remotely located at a data center in Denver, Colorado. Of the three web hosting companies, MDDHosting is the only one to use LiteSpeed web server technology which is purportedly 9 times faster than Apache HTTP Server, can increase PHP performance by up to 50%, and may be 3 times faster than Apache web server when using SSL.
Hostgator is an award-winning, world-renown hosting provider located in Houston, Texas. Established in 2002, it currently servers over 225,000 customers in more than 200 countries. Hostgator is a Green Hosting Provider and an excellent choice if you are looking for an eco-friendly solution. Among its awards are “fastest growing private company”, “best web host”, and several Editor’s Choice awards. Hostgator is BBB (Better Business Bureau) A+ accredited.
MyHosting is the veteran of the bunch, established in 1997. Its offices and servers are located in Canada, and it servers over 50,000 customers in 170 countries. MyHosting has pulled in several of its own awards, including being one of the fastest growing web hosting providers. It promises 100% website uptime and a 30-day money back guarantee. MyHosting is also a BBB A+ accredited hosting provider.
Shared Hosting Providers Basic Comparison
|Available Plans & Prices*
*cost per month with yearly payment
|Data Transfer (Bandwidth)||240GB/720GB/1200GB||Unlimited||Unlimited|
Baby and Business: Unlimited
|Unlimited + 1 free domain name|
|Databases||MySQL||MySQL||MySQL, PostgreSQL and MSSQL|
|Control Panel||cPanel||cPanel||myhosting.com control panel
(in partnership with Parallels®)
|E-Commerce||E-Commerce Compatible||Cube Cart
|Backups||Automatic Daily Backups||Instant||Available from Control Panel|
|Platform||CloudLinux||Linux||Linux on Basic.
Linux or Windows 2008 on Premium and Professional.
|Support||24/7 ticket system||24/7 phone, live chat, and ticket system||24/7 phone and ticket system|
So How Did Our Providers All Perform?
All of the providers guarantee close to 100% uptime, and all offer a good range of packages. Because of their size, Hostgator and MyHosting are able to offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth, but other than that, the playing field seems to be rather equal.
The Basic Package Showdown
Many people only need the basic essentials for web hosting. Therefore, a lot of the comparison information web hosts list may not be important. The following is a simplified table that only highlights those crucial features found in the basic plans.
|Name of Plan||Basic||Hatchling||Personal|
|Monthly Price||Monthly: $7.50/month
1 year: $6.38/month
2 years: $6.38/month
3 years: $6.38/month
1 year: $5.56/month
2 years: $4.76/month
3 years: $3.96/month
1 year: $4.95/month
2 years: $4.75/month
3 years: $4.45/month
|Disk Space||10GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||Data Transfer Allowance||240GB||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Domains||Unlimited||1 (unlimited with higher plans)||Unlimited|
|Free Domain Name||No||No||Yes||Sub Domains||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Email Accounts||Unlimited||Unlimited||10||FTP Accounts||50||Unlimited||1|
|Shared (Private allowed with Baby plan, free with Business plan)||Shared
|Dedicated IP||$2/month||No ($2 per month on Baby, free with Business Plan.)||$1.95/month (Free with higher plans)|
Basic Package Overview
As you can see, the basic packages are not that different. Do not let the “unlimited” bandwidth and disk space fool you. Even the lowest amount offered by MDDHosting is more than enough for a small to average website.
Hostgator has a significantly cheaper price when you pay three years in advance, while MDDHosting claims the LiteSpeed technology they utilize will improve website speed and performance. For some customers, having fast servers is more important than anything else. MDDHosting is clearly the smallest of the three, and it really boils down to preference, if you believe the benefits of the personalized touch you get from a small company make it more appealing. Their customers clearly love that aspect, as they have raving fans.
As you begin evaluating your hosting options, you will notice that most hosts, big and small, offer similar standard features: bandwidth, disk space, domains, databases, web-based control panels, etc. To find one that truly stands apart from the others, you should look at special features unique to that host. Some features you might consider investigating are:
1. PHP Memory Limit
Even if you have never heard of PHP memory limit, it will probably affect you at some point, if you have a website long enough. Most free and open source content management systems and many commercial ones use the PHP programming language to generate dynamic web pages. PHP has a setting in its configuration file that determines how much memory a single script is allowed to use. Some shared web hosts keep this setting low, at around 8 MB, while others are more generous, offering as much as 64 MB. Some will also let you change the setting to suit your needs.
|PHP Memory Limit:||Default: 128MB
|Maximum: 64MB||No maximum|
2. Automatically Installed Scripts
When it comes to hosting automation, the web host you choose will almost certainly provide a web-based control panel. This will allow you to add domains, users, databases, email accounts, and other tasks all from within your web browser. Since all hosts provide those features, you should look for added control panel features like automatically installed scripts.
When you want to install a content management system or blogging software, such as Wordpress, or a shopping cart like Magento, this control panel feature will do it with a few clicks. Good systems will also provide easy updates as well. You can literally have a working website in seconds. Therefore, it is important that you find out which hosts offer the scripts you want to install and how well their systems install and manage them.
138 scripts and applications
Over 50 scripts and applications
|WordPress MU||b2evolution||Gallery 2|
|Zen Cart||OS Commerce||phpBB|
Scalability is a term we usually reserve for dedicated servers, but it applies to virtual hosting and shared hosting as well. You need to make sure that the web host you choose gives you room to grow. Your website may be small now, but a year from now, it may need more domains, more space, more memory, an upgrade to a VPS (virtual private server), or even an upgrade to a dedicated server. You should choose a host that has fast servers anyway, but there should also be options to increase speed, power, and overall performance when necessary.
This does not mean that you should invest in something beyond your means, but at least make sure that your host provides you with the affordable opportunity to do so in the future.
Each of the 3 compared hosts have more than one shared hosting package and offer virtual private servers so upgrading when your traffic volume requires it will not be a problem (MDDHosting and HostGator also offer dedicated servers).
4. Advanced Features
Some of you may need advanced technical features, such as SSH access. Find out what each web host’s policy is for the features you need. Some, for example, require you to have a valid driver’s license on file in order to get SSH access on a shared hosting account. This is a security measure. Others may not give you the option to get SSH access at all. Whether you need a particular firewall port opened or a special script installed that requires the system administrator to configure something, you need to make sure you will be able to do what you must to make your websites successful.
|SSH Access:||available upon request||can be self-enabled||available upon request|
Final Decision and Personal Choice
It would be easy for us to tell you which company we think is the best web host, but the decision is ultimately yours. Do you prefer the personal touch of a small company? Are fast servers a top priority? Do you like the sound of unlimited bandwidth? Do you need a host that offers advanced features like SSH access or flexible PHP memory limits?
Do you prefer:
As you explore each host, you should make your own personal table with the features and price points that matter the most to you. The choice is yours!
*ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: If anyone reading this wonders what hosting provider and service we at WebmasterFormat use - our site is hosted on a Virtual Machine in the cloud at eApps.com. If you are looking for a cloud hosting solution, we can highly recommend their services.