In 17 years of developing websites I’ve worked with more than 25 web hosting companies and Bluehost, Dreamhost & Hostgator are the only three I highly recommend. See them here:
Those Lists of Ten “Best Web Hosting Companies” that you can find…
You’ve probably come across pages where about 10 web-hosting companies are listed and ranked. On the face of it, they look helpful. But: no two of these lists are actually ranking the same 10 companies. Even when they do list some of the same companies, they rank them in almost completely different order. The one constant from list to list is that Bluehost always seems to show up and it’s never below 3rd or 4th place. Hostgator also shows up frequently, though their place in the ranking order varies more.
But the other sites that show up are so different from one list to another, so less-known and so unpredictably ranked that the lists are, in my opinion, seriously unhelpful.
So what should you be looking for?
You need a company that provides all the following:
– server speed (so that users will get to see your content as soon as they click to it)
– server uptime (so that your site doesn’t go down)
– and that your web-hosting company is dynamic—always staying ahead with new technology. You don’t want to be hosted on a server that falls behind.
– the features offered—and the features that you don’t find out about until after you sign up can make a real difference.
– and tech support is the other thing; it’s always promised but it isn’t always good.
The three companies I’m recommending to you (Bluehost, Dreamhost and Hostgator) do well on all these counts—though with some differences.
The Bluehost control panel is full-featured and is the best I’ve come across for ease-of-use. There is a “Walk Me Through” tab on the side of the page at all times for help with whatever feature you might be using and processes which might be new to users are organized in simple one-step-at-a-time tasks with big clear buttons.
The file manager is as full-featured as these get and even includes options to be able to compress files for fast and easy download or extract zipped files. These are features not available in most file managers and not available via FTP programs—just one of many reasons working with Bluehost is easier than working with other web hosting companies.
Hostgator also provide decent services for people needing web hosting for a small to medium website in a shared hosting space. They are Bluehost’s main competitor for this market and their services are fairly easy to find your way around.
The other web hosting company I highly recommend is DreamHost. For those who are good programmers, I’d put DreamHost at the #1 spot rather than at #2.
They adopt new technologies before other web-hosting companies do, they upgrade their existing software before other web hosting companies do and they allow you to run processes on their servers in ways that are not allowed in other shared web-hosting environments.
But their control panel doesn’t have anything like the level of hand-holding that Bluehost’s offers and they have no file manager at all.
If you’re a programmer who likes to work on the shell using UNIX commands, then you won’t mind what they don’t have, as you won’t need it—and you’ll appreciate the extras they have. But if you’re not a programmer, then you might have a harder time with Dreamhost.
Bluehost is my #1 pick for most of you. It’s easy to use, their servers are fast and reliable, their tech support is as good as it gets and their prices are more than reasonable.
DreamHost is my pick for programmers who know how to use the shell. Their offerings are more advanced.
HostGator is also a decent choice.
Those links are affiliate links but I could have signed up with any number of companies and I’m sticking to these three because I have had such good experiences with them.
If you want to check out the sites I’ve designed and developed, please visit my portfolio here: http://www.hamiltrowebsitedesign.com/portfolios