Although it's possible to spend thousands of dollars a year on Web hosting alone, this page is focused on finding the most reliable, fast, yet inexpensive Web hosting solution.
Choosing a good host is a rather difficult endeavor since you can get excellent or lousy service for the same price. It's much better to get it right the first time, than to move from one host to another spending time and money.
There are plenty of companies that offer inexpensive Web hosting services. You can even find hosts which offer a long list of features for as low as $1-$2 per month. But be wary - they usually offer not much disk space (20-50 MB), only 1-year contracts, and, since hard disk space is cheap these days, they make money by placing thousands of sites on one physical computer.
I tried such an extremely inexpensive Web hosting provider offering 50MB of disk space, unlimited bandwidth and 99.99%(!) uptime guarantee for $2/month.
It was a real headache. Almost every day, during peak hours, the site was inaccessible or very slow at best. Also, three times the site was down for two or three days and I had to restore it from my copy. These downtimes were long enough for Google to drop almost all pages out of its index.
My personal recommendations how to choose the most reliable service from the bulk of inexpensive Web hosting providers...
1) Even if your site needs only 1 MB of disk space and 1 GB of transfer like the vast majority of sites, choose a host that offers much more - several hundred MB of storage space and not less than 5-10 GB of bandwidth. It ensures that they don't host too many sites on one physical server and their network isn't overloaded.
2) Choose a host that offers a money back guarantee. Those that do are more confident about high quality of their hosting. Use a Web service that monitors your site. For example, the free version of Hyperspin checks your server and site every 60 minutes and emails you alerts if something goes wrong.
3) An important feature to look for is whether they do a backup of customer's files every day (the grand majority of inexpensive Web hosting providers do not). In case of a hard drive failure (this happens frequently on many hosting services) they can quickly restore your data from the backup copy.
4) Customer support is very important. To test it before opening an account, email them with a few sample questions to check the speed and quality of their responses. Although this doesn't guarantee that they will respond at the same speed if you do become a customer, this approach is rather accurate.
Here are a few inexpensive Web hosting providers (under $10 per month) that have been in business quite a while, are established, reliable and most often mentioned on the Web...
Of course, all of them offer FTP access, autoresponders, email forwarding, CGI, SSI, FrontPage, PHP, real audio/video http streaming, site statistics and the like.
One.com is one of the leading hosting providers in Europe.
1&1 offers a wide variety of inexpensive Unix and Windows hosting plans with ASP.
StartLogic provides a lot of disk space and bandwidth as well.
Interserver offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth, free site builder, unlimited add-on domains and sub-domains. It also offers inexpensive ($6.00/month) VPS hosting.
Lunarpages provides unlimited disk space and bandwidth, free domain and unlimited subdomains. Every new and renewed annual or two year hosting plan also includes 20 popular webmaster and Web design programs from CoffeeCup.
IXWebHosting provides unlimited disk space and bandwidth, Site Studio website builder, and dedicated IP addresses.
HostGator offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth, free site builder, and Ruby on Rails support.
BlueHost offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth, free domain, unlimited add-on domains (additional domain pointers which can point to subdirectories of the main site), and support for modern Web technologies including Ruby On Rails.
HostMonster provides unlimited add-on and parked domains, free domain, Ruby on Rails, and website builder.
iPage is another promising inexpensive Web hosting provider offering free domain, unlimited add-on domains, and a free template-based site builder.
Web Hosting Pad also offers unlimited add-on and parked domains, free domain, unlimited databases, Ruby on Rails, and website builder.
EasyCGI is a good choice for those who need reliable Windows 2008/2003 hosting with all common scripting and database platforms: ASP, ASP.NET, Perl, PHP, MS Access and MySQL.
Inexpensive Web hosting of multiple domains
Many webmasters own a lot of domains and need multiple separate hosting accounts (one for each site). Here's a list of companies which offer inexpensive Web hosting of multiple domains...
For more details, see Building: Web Hosting: Multiple Domain Hosting.
The first 6 months of hosting are free.
15% off any hosting package with the code "AFFHOST15".
By transferring your existing site to StartLogic, you'll receive 1 year of hosting for $2.95/month.
- Web Hosting Pad
15% off any hosting package with the code "15off".
Dr Andy Williams (one of the best known SEO experts) has recently surveyed the readers of his popular EzSEO Newsletter. He asked them to enter scores for the hosts that they had actually used in the last 2 years on the scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (perfect).
Top 4 Web hosts:
#1 - HostMonster (Score 8.9)
#2 - Lunarpages (Score 8.1)
#3 - HostGator (Score 8.0)
#4 - BlueHost (Score 8.0)
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