Some Reliable Web Hosts
For someone looking out for some good hosts to host their first website, we present here a list. This is not going to be a "Top 10 list" that you famously find on review sites where somehow the cheapest priced web host will always be number 1 (or well, close to that :)). More on that later down this page. This is just going to be a piece of honest opinions on what we feel are some of the really great web hosting services out there that won't give you a headache once you sign up with them. Only great customer service. So that you can concentrate on creating or growing your website instead of banging your head for terrible hosting experiences.
In short, our list of excellent web hosts is as follows. It is in no particular order, its just a list.
1. Hostgator (Get 25% OFF using coupon code PROMO25OFF. Or get your first month for 1 cent using MONTH1FREE)
2. Arvixe (Get 20% OFF using the coupon code TAKEAWAY20 or get the first month of hosting for 1 cent using coupon code 1CENTOFFER )
3. MDD Hosting
If you don't understand any of the terms below, refer to Understanding Web Hosting Features.
In general, each of the above has all of the following:
Free Site Builder: So everyone can create their websites with these web hosts, irrespective of whether you have knowledge of software like Dreamweaver/Frontpage or coding stuff using HTML and CSS. These things certainly help, but if you are not one of the coding gurus in your neighbourhood, you can still just use the online site builder to build professional looking websites. Of course, if you have the knowledge, then there is nothing really stopping you from creating great websites too.
Uptime of 99.9%: Your site is always going to be up (almost). So this is yet another thing that you need not bother about.
Fantastico: This enables you to install popular software for blogging, forums etc with just a few clicks. However, do understand that a web hosting plan that doesn't provide you with MySQL databases can't support blogs or forums or such similar frameworks because each of these uses a database.
Now, our opinions, tips and recommendations so that you can narrow down your list on whom to choose.
1. If you are an absolute beginner and you aren't generally comfortable with computers (you need step by step guidance for most things) or if you are fairly good, as in, you use your computer for browsing, listening to songs and have a general feel of the computer environment but still aren't very familiar with computer software beyond what you have used, then you might have a good reason to go with Hostgator because they have got a ton of video tutorials for a lot of common situations that will arise during your journey of creating, hosting and maintaining a website (like how to transfer your nameservers to your web host, how to upload your files using Dreamweaver etc). Hostgator also has a very high number of customers compared to the rest, so it will be easier to get responses from other beginners on their forums. Of course, they have their technical and customer support which is highly responsive.
2. Disk space and Bandwidth.
A word about what unlimited means in web hosting plans: Unlimited disk space doesn't mean you can use tera bytes (1000 GB = 1 TB) of their disk space and still get away with it. It usually means that you can use a lot of space and there are no set limits. But if your disk usage spree starts bothering other customers who are sharing a server with you, then you will be penalised. Similarly you can't use all the bandwidth that you want. Yes, you can as long as you don't cause problems to other customers who will share your server. In a real world, if you start using a lot of bandwidth, others will start complaining that their websites have become slow. Obviously if such a situation arrives, then you will be penalised (or asked to cut down on your usage). Both of these scenarios are ensured by the terms and conditions of ALL unlimited space/bandwidth providers, not just Hostgator/Arvixe. These two, however do stand apart from a whole lot of other web hosts because they don't exploit the fact that it is a shared server and cram a million people on to each server. They only keep a relatively low number of users per server so your web hosting experience remains good. Some times people wish to go with web hosts who provide set limits so that they have a definite idea that they can always use a particular amount of space and bandwidth and not bother about some other user on their server who starts using a lot of resources making their websites slow. So this is the thing to learn here: All these five are good. But if you feel inclined towards the unlimited or the non-unlimited camps, then here:
- Hostgator and Arvixe allow unlimited disk space and bandwidth on their plans. Hostgator's lowest plan (Hatchling) costs $6.95/month if you pay for an year in advance. Arvixe's lowest plan (Personal) costs $5/month if you pay for an year in advance.
- MDD Hosting offers 10 GB diskspace and 120 GB bandwidth on their lowest plan (Basic), which costs $6.38/month if you pay for an year in advance.
- DownTown Host offers 10 GB diskspace and 200 GB bandwidth on their lowest plan (Bronze), which costs $7.95/month if you pay for an year in advance.
- Inmotion Hosting offers 100 GB diskspace and 1000 GB bandwidth on their lowest plan (Value Starter), which costs $3.00/month if you pay for a 2 years in advance (they don't have pay for a single year option and we don't recommend you go with the Value Starter because it doesn't have MySQL databases support). However they offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth on their lowest business class plan (which of course can be used by individuals too) for $6.95/month if you pay for an year in advance.
3. Small business site / Ecommerce site: For a business site, you might need features like daily backups. Excluding Hostgator (on the lowest plan), others on the list provide this. With Hostgator, you can manually take a backup if you feel your site changes often. Ecommerce sites would require SSL (preferably private) in order to carry out paypal/credit card transactions and other shopping cart modules. Our preferences here are Inmotion, Arvixe, MDDHosting and Downtown Host (in that order). Actually unless you feel Inmotion doesn't provide something you want, we'd stick with Inmotion as the number 1 choice without hesitation: they concentrate primarily on business websites, provide prompt customer support and have got plan prices that are difficult to beat (for the quality web hosting they offer) and 90 days money back guarantee(!).
4. Blog / Forum / Photo Gallery websites: These software (Wordpress, phpBB, zen Gallery) require one MySQL database per blog/forum/gallery. It helps if you have what is called Fantastico which helps in installing these software on your web hosting server with just a few clicks. All the hosts listed are good for these. Just make sure you have MySQL databases in your plan (one example of a plan which doesn't have it is Inmotion Value Starter - the most basic plan they have.)
5. Technical stuff: If you are a techie who is looking at stuff like SSH and cron jobs, we'd recommend you look at MDD Hosting, Arvixe and DownTown Host first. They seem to be more popular with technically oriented people.
6. Price If price is your most important consideration (which would probably be the case if you are the average user trying to build one or more good personal website(s)), then we find that cost wise, Arvixe and Inmotion score the best.
7. Money Back: If you are not satisfied within this period then you ask for a refund. Inmotion gives 90 days on its business plans (30 days on personal plans), Arvixe offers 60 days, Hostgator offers 45 days and the rest: MDDHosting and DownTown Host offer 30 days. After this period you won't get your money back. That is why we recommend you to start paying monthly for a few months first and once you know you like the service, you can pay for up to an year (never more unless you know what you are doing - you don't know what happens in 2 years time).
8: Shared/Private Servlet/Tomcat/JSP support Arvixe provides this for extra cost. It is specified in their plans. Others might too. You can check with them.
That should give you a fair idea of whom to consider out of the various web hosts. It is advisable to visit each host and have a look at their detailed plans and prices. You can also contact their live chat support to see how their service is (and clear any doubts regarding thier hosting plans, if you have any).
A final word before leaving. The 'Top 10 lists' that we talked about in the beginning. Well, some of those "review" or "top list" websites are run by web hosting companies themselves and obviously they list themselves on the first spot and their sister companies close behind. Sometimes the top spots on those lists are sold out so the highest bidder gets the spot. And obviously those would be companies with a huge marketing budget. Sometimes the rankings are based on the highest affiliate payouts or the lowest plan price (because naturally we'll tend to get attracted to low prices if we are told we get the best service along side!). Real web hosting quality and customer satisfaction hardly has a role to play in most of those lists. Another thing to remember is, there are a HUGE number of web hosting companies out there and there is no way some one could call some company as the top or best hosting company. It is similar to calling some car the best car in the world. Every one of us has different needs and based on that we will have different 'best' cars for us. So the maximum one can do (in our opinion) is point out some really good ones. The list we have above is ,well, obviously, not complete. There might be a whole lot of other companies out there that are great. We found these after weeks/months of looking around and we list them here.
Another point: We provide honest opinions. That doesn't mean that if you sign up with any of the above, you will never have any complaints. No company (if we can take the liberty to say that), can keep ALL the customers happy ALL the time. Unforeseen circumstances can occur and in the web hosting industry, such situations are more often caused by users who abuse their plan resources or due to users who screw up a few things in their coding/configuring etc than due to the company staff's shortcomings. However, it is a willingness to make sure that every customer has a good experience and the technical competence to solve problems that separate the great companies from the mediocre ones. We truly believe the above ones have both of those. And that's why we are recommending them.