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Best web hosting providers: InMotion,Hostgator,Bluehost and more

by Andre Folk (2020-12-15)

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Welcome to the CNET 2020 directory of web hosting services. In this guide, we'll take a close look at some of the best web hosting providers out there, including DreamHostBluehostHostGatorA2HostingHostinger and more. We're honing in on commercial web hosting companies that offer WordPress, shared hosting, VPS and many other web hosting services, and all of them have a variety of annual and monthly plans.     Below, let's explore each web hosting company in depth to help you choose the best web hosting provider to meet your particular needs.

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Special offer: Save over $100 with a free WordPress hosting upgrade at DreamHost's ongoing offer to provide a free shared website to 501(c)(3) nonprofits is so notable. (Full disclosure: A nonprofit I was affiliated with once took advantage of this offer.)  Beyond that, DreamHost is one of the best web hosting providers for many reasons. First, this web host operates its own control panel, which is convenient and easy to understand. While phone customer support isn't available 24/7, it is responsive to live chat and tickets. The company uses super-fast SSDs for all its storage, has a free SSL certificate (for more secured web browsing) and provides SSH access for those plans that are intended for more technical users. Other things we like about Dreamhost: First, the company's pricing is pretty transparent. There are no hidden gotchas in the rates. Plus, the web hosting company provides a 97-day money back guarantee. There's quite literally zero risk in giving this web hosting service a try. See all Dreamhost plans140x80-bluehost-logo-new1 Bluehost  Shared hosting starting at $2.95/mo.
WordPress hosting starting at $2.95/mo.VPS hosting starting at $18.99/mo.Dedicated hosting starting at $79.99/mo.When you sign up to Bluehost, you'll get a free domain name for the first year, along with a free SSL certificate (allowing you to operate a secure website for your personal use or business). If you're a WordPress user, Bluehost is definitely one of the best web hosting providers to consider. While its managed WordPress hosting is a little more pricey than basic shared hosting, the company has both specific WordPress and WooCommerce hosting plans available (along with management support). This web host also offers a site migration service for an additional fee.  The web hosting provider got bonus points for its policy of performing regular daily backups, even on the lowest-priced shared hosting accounts. Be aware, though, that the promotional price on the low-cost shared hosting does go up after the promotional period. That said, Bluehost offers 24/7 phone support, a 30-day money-back guarantee and SSH access for certain plan options. See all Bluehost plansa2hosting-cnet A2 Hosting 
Shared hosting starting at $2.96/mo. WordPress hosting starting at $2.96/mo.Reseller hosting starting at $9.80/mo. 
VPS hosting starting at $5/mo. 
Dedicated servers starting at $99.59/mo
A2 Hosting does a lot of things right, which is why we consider it to be among the best web hosting providers. This web hosting service offers Linux and Windows-based servers, SSD, caching, CDN and SSL for all plans. While some plans offer uptime monitoring and regular backups, all plans offer malware scanning and automatic patching and updates. The hosting company offers a managed hosting service called HostGuard. Subscribers of this web hosting service have access to a 24/7/365 "Guru Crew" support team that manages network, hardware, software and security. Managed WordPress hosting customers begins at $9.78/mo and for VPS customers at $25/mo. The web hosting provider offers solid plans with a good selection of features. The one area we're concerned about is how it presents its web host offers. Like many hosting providers, its published pricing is a bit misleading. You're not getting hosting for $2.96/mo unless you pay $71 for two years of service. Renewals are generally at a higher rate, although a salesperson we spoke to advised you ask for a "loyalty discount." It shouldn't come as any surprise that, like other web host providers, A2 Hosting's unlimited plans aren't actually unlimited. This web host expects you to use its service like "similarly situated customers." This is like being on a highway. If everyone is going a few miles above the speed limit, you're probably okay, but if you're barreling down the fast lane past everyone else, you're probably going to be asked to slow down. The company offers a solid 30-day money back guarantee it calls an "Anytime" money back guarantee. Yeah...kind of. You can ask for your money back at any time, but after your first 30 days, how much you get back will depend on a painfully complex pro-rating system. But, again, operationally it's quite strong. 24/7/365 customer support is available not only by live chat and email, but by phone. This hosting option offers free site migrations with some dedicated attention paid to making a transfer as smooth as possible. And, if you're willing to go for one of the higher-end plans, the company has put some serious attention into performance and caching. See all A2 Hosting planshostinger-logo-1 Hostinger  Shared hosting starting at $0.99/mo
WordPress hosting starting at $0.99/mo
VPS hosting starting at $3.95/mo
Cloud hosting starting at $9.99/mo
Hostinger, a hosting provider based out of Lithuania, boasts it signs up a new client every five seconds. With 29 million users in 178 countries and subsidiaries in the US, Indonesia and Brazil, the company has been in operation since 2004.  See also: Hostinger in-depth review and hands-on testing Hostinger has a nice selection of plans, all of which can be optimized for WordPress. We particularly liked that even the least expensive plans offered some level of SSH access for those who need it. The company gained points for its offering of SSD performance, dedicated IP, and regular backups for some plans.  What sets the web host company apart is its first-year hosting price of less than a buck a month. The company's least expensive web hosting package is a startlingly low 80 cents a month. This is the least expensive hosting program we've seen, although the cheap host price does go up after that first year. In fact, most of the company's plans increase after its promotional price expires.  Hostinger offers a 30-day money back guarantee with wording we wish more providers would use: "If for any reason you decide not to continue with Hostinger, we will offer a full refund on your purchase, no questions asked." If you have any questions, the company has customer support with live chat lines available 24/7.  Note: On Aug. 25, 2019, Hostinger revealed that up to 14 million users might have been impacted by a security breach. The company reset passwords for all impacted accounts.  See all Hostinger plans hostgatorlogostacked-v01-300x250-1 $2.75/mo. WordPress hosting starting at $19.95/mo. VPS hosting starting at $119/mo. Cloud hosting starting at HostGator is a full-service hosting company, with plans for almost any need. Whether you're starting out and need a very basic shared hosting plan, or need to be able to operate your own machine dedicated solely to your company, HostGator has a service that can help. See also: HostGator in-depth review and hands-on testing We like how