Best Shared Hosting Provider 2020
Our award for the best Shared Hosting platform of 2020 goes to InMotion Hosting. Since 2004, InMotion Hosting has provided fast, secure web hosting on top of the industry’s best support team. It is also one of three hosts to be officially recommended by WordPress.org.
Technically, their fleet of servers is sound, as all shared hosting accounts run on SSD drives with NGINX, HTTP/2, and the latest PHP version to boost website performance. They offer a free CDN, SSL certificates, and daily backups are included. They also allow the user to select a data center from either coast of the United States, leading to faster response times.
On top of all of this, InMotion Hosting offers a QuickStarter option for businesses who want to get their website up and online quickly, without all the hassle of developing a website. They will create a business website for you in 2 days for only $99, customized with the information you provide.
Inmotion Shared Hosting Highlights
- Free website transfer by InMotion experts (on higher plans)
- Free in-house WordPress migration tool
- SSD drives on all plans for faster performance
- Servers on 3 continents to choose from
- Free CDN that adds 150+ server locations
- In-house caching - the SuperCacher for ultra-fast speed (on higher plans)
- Expert 24/7 support on phone, chat, and tickets with no wait time
- AI server monitoring system
- Proactive security updates and patches
- Free Let's Encrypt SSL Certificate
- Free daily auto backups
- 1-click Backup Restore (on higher plans)
- Application auto-updates
- Developer features - WP_CLI, Stagig, Git, SSH (on higher plans)
Best Shared Hosting Nominees - August 2020
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is the term used in reference to the web hosting product when numerous websites reside within a single powerful server in the datacenter. Shared hosting account shares server’s space, bandwidth, CPU & RAM with another 2000-2500 residents. In general, it can be considered as the most economical hosting option, as the total server maintenance cost is appropriately amortized over multiple customers.
Nonetheless, there are not many security worries as every customer’s data, as well as, files are protected in such a manner that they remain invisible to the others that have been hosted within the shared server by virtualization software. Every customer has full access to the subscribed hosting account and is allocated set system resources enough to run a small website. While at the same time it is the responsibility of a shared hosting provider to carry out server maintenance, inclusive of both hardware and software.
You can find a variety of different shared hosting packages available from hundreds of providers. Most of them will have pretty much the same operating system that their servers run on (Linux) and some additional features that you might need or not, like a free domain, free backup, free Ad credits, etc. Typically, you’ll find that the higher the price, the more features, and perks you’ll get in return. Keep this in mind as you begin your search.
Top 5 Shared Hosting Providers
There are literally hundreds of shared hosting providers out there, all offering great features at affordable rates. Below are the most recommended shared hosting companies. We have compiled this table to give you all the basic stats at a glance. This is where you should start your research.
Who is Shared Hosting For?
Not everyone will have the budget or technical capabilities to build, configure, and operate a standalone web server for their website. There are thousands of bloggers and small businesses that want to set up their own website without any hassle or trouble on their end. Running a server is also expensive, and by using a shared hosting service provider, businesses and individuals can save themselves money and hassle while enjoying the benefits of having their own website.
Shared hosting plans offer convenience, and you don’t need to worry about much besides building the website and maintaining it. All of the technical work is handled by the shared hosting service. If you want, you could handle application installations and file permissions on your end, but most often the customer won’t have access to technical operations on the server-side.
In general, shared hosting services are meant to be inexpensive and easy for all customers to use regardless of their experience level. The expenses of running the server are split amongst hundreds or thousands of customers and are profitable for the shared hosting service provider.
If you wanted to manage your files or install applications, your shared hosting service provider should offer a control panel that allows the customer to make small tweaks to their server.
Types of Shared Hosting
There are two major shared hosting types based on the operating system installed – Linux/Unix or Windows (ASP.NET). Linux shared hosting by far the most popular out there and is best suitable for most content management systems like Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento. Generally speaking, there must a hard requirement from the developers to get Windows-based shared hosting, otherwise, Linux is the way to go.
Windows or ASP.NET shared hosting
Windows shared hosting, which is in other cases termed as the Windows server hosting is just a web server, which runs Windows Operating System, which has been shared by numerous websites with diverse owners, making it turn out as an affordable option for the individuals interested in securing website hosting services. Windows shared hosting is particularly used for the websites that require specific Windows applications such as Microsoft Access (MS Access), Visual Basic Development, Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL), ASP.NET, C#, ASP Classic, and Remote Desktop. Besides, the Windows Dedicated Servers are in the position of supporting Windows-specific applications. Nonetheless, for certain applications, it may turn out as mandatory to purchase a license, prior to installing the software within the Windows dedicated server. If you need Windows-based shared hosting, please continue here. Plesk control panel is the best and the most commonly used Windows hosting, so make sure that it is included in your next hosting plan.
Linux/Unix shared hosting
Linux shared hosting can in simple words be described as the hosting type that makes use of an operating system that is termed as Linux within the server. Typically, Linux happens to be a Unix-like operating system, which is offered as not only a free but also open source choice. Linux is actually considered as the most popular operating system as compared to Windows. Its popularity can be attributed to the fact that it has most of the features that web designers need. In that perspective, Linux is the better option unless one has a website that requires certain Windows applications. The most popular control panel is cPanel, it enables easy to learn interface to manage all aspects of your shared hosting account, like domains, websites, email, databases, FTP, SSL, and allows you to install applications like WordPress with a single click.
Pros of Shared Hosting
When you shop around for shared hosting service providers, some will offer unique features. Even so, there are a few benefits that most will offer:
You’ll find that most shared hosting providers will offer plans for as little as $3 per month and as expensive as $20 per month on average. If you pay for a full year upfront, you can often take advantage of a significant discount as well.
You might also be able to receive free domain registration when you sign up which can also save you money.
No Technical Experience Required
If you wanted to host your own website and set up a server in your basement, you’d find that you need extensive technical knowledge and experience. With a shared hosting provider, all of the technical work is taken care of for you, and even if you’ve never built a website before, you can get it to work for you.
Also, if you choose to use a popular website builder, your shared hosting provider will most likely install it for you, giving you a full plug-and-play experience.
It's Easily Managed
Management tools like Plesk and cPanel are incredibly simple for beginning users to use and you don’t even need to know any PHP commands to use them while installing WordPress, MediaWiki, or ZenCart. All you need to do is click a few buttons on the dashboard and you are set.
No Server Maintenance Required
With a shared hosting provider, they handle all of the maintenance of the server. Many people wrongly assume that once you get a server up and running, that’s where the hard work ends. In fact, maintaining a server can be just as much of a hassle. You need to worry about hardware failures, installing updates, and more. Luckily, when you choose a shared hosting provider, they take care of all of this for you.
Cons of Shared Hosting
While there are many benefits to choosing a shared hosting provider, there are some potential drawbacks to consider before making the final decision. These typically affect bloggers and businesses once their website starts to grow.
Because you will be sharing this server with other customers from anywhere in the world, you won’t have your choice of any security features to employ on the server since it could potentially affect the other sites hosted. Even so, a reputable shared hosting provider should have solid security already, but keep this in mind as you move forward.
Limited Support Software
While you will typically have the option to install a number of applications using cPanel or Plesk, you can’t install every single application available. If the application you want or need to run isn’t supported, you’ll be out of luck.
Potential Performance Issues
There will most likely be thousands of other websites stored on your server, and there is always the potential that this number of websites on the same server could bog down performance.
For example, if you intend to run an application that heavily relies on a database, you might notice that your website will slow down from time to time. Also, websites hosted on shared servers have been known to freeze if the server is overloaded. This shouldn't be a problem for small businesses or bloggers, but if speed and reliability are crucial to your website, you'll want to consider upgrading to higher-performing packages.
What to Look for in a Shared Hosting Service?
As you begin your search for the top shared hosting provider, these are the aspects that you need to consider to ensure you pick the best one for your needs:
1. Look at their customer support. If an issue arises, can you call them at any time, 24/7, or do they require a service ticket?
2. Look at the uptime in the Service Level Agreement (SLA). If it is anything less than 99%, look elsewhere.
3. Are upgrades simple? As your website grows, you’ll need to scale up to meet the bandwidth demands. In this case, you want to know that your shared hosting provider will make this process easy.
4. Will the shared hosting provider support additional demands? While most reputable providers will allow you to host multiple websites under the same account, not everyone will. Double-check on this if you plan to launch more websites in the future.
5. Is the control panel easy to use? If you don’t have any technical experience, you’ll want to ensure that you know how to make adjustments on your end. If they offer cPanel or Plesk, you shouldn't have trouble making it work.
6. Does the provider support popular web apps? If you ever want to add additional functionality to your website, you’ll want to know that you can easily install these apps on your website.
Also, look for any additional perks. We’ve found that many shared hosting providers will offer their customers exclusive deals like free SSL etc. Also, you might find that your chosen shared hosting provider will give you advertising credits for common platforms like Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Pay Attention to These Things
When you’re selecting the shared hosting provider to host your website, the most important thing to consider is how the provider deals with overages. While most providers will offer unlimited bandwidth and storage, others might not. If your website gets incredibly busy and starts going over the CPU cycle limit, the provider might pull the plug, and suspend your account for the remainder of the month.
It’s your responsibility to know the limits of your plan, and you should also monitor your site to ensure that you don’t break these limits. Some shared hosting providers will alert you when you're close to reaching the limit, and if you go over, they'll charge a fee to offset the costs. Others might also give you the option to immediately upgrade your plan, so your site remains up without interruption.
You should also look at the renewal costs of the shared hosting provider. Many will offer super low subscription fees for the first few months or year, but once the trial period is over, the rates will go up. These are typically still relatively affordable, but it’s still something to consider.
Finally, you should check to make sure it supports the applications that you plan to use on your website. It’s better to know beforehand what you can and can’t run on your website before you sign up to avoid any surprises.
How to Find the Best Shared Hosting for Your Website?
Shared web hosting is one of the simplest and most convenient ways to get your website online. The problem is, there are so many options available that finding the best one to trust with your website is a challenge.
Putting into consideration that there is a wide range of shared hosting providers, in order to be in the position of picking the best option, there are various vital aspects, which have to be put into consideration. The aforementioned aspects are simply transparent checkpoints, which can assist one to personally evaluate a web host prior to signing up. Some of the 10 most important aspects are as explained below:
1. Technical Requirement
It is advisable to go for the shared hosting plan, which satisfactorily meets your technical requirements. It should be known that shared web hosting is considered as ideal for the websites that have not more than 800 daily page views. Therefore, in the event your website daily traffic exceeds the aforementioned limit, then with due diligence seek another web hosting plan other than the entry-level shared hosting plan. Besides, some shared web hosting providers offer unlimited packages. However, the ‘unlimited’ offer is simply a marketing trick as it is only suitable for websites that have less than a few hundred daily views and the web hosts will always send notifications to customers to upgrade to a higher level hosting plan, the moment their website volume is grown.
2. Hard Drive Type
Out of the various types of hard drives, always go for the hosting plan that involves the use of SSD (Solid State Drives). The SSD drives are the ones considered as the best suitable for the shared server environment. This is because SSD gives much better I/O (Input/ Output) as compared to the standard physical spinning hard drives. Do not be scared away by the fact that providers that have SSD drives may be more costly as the SSD drives are quite expensive thus, they will have to transfer the costs to the customers.
3. Domain Name
You can opt for the hosting plan that offers a free domain for the first year, although almost all hosting companies make it hard for users to transfer their domain in the future. The ideal long-term model happens to be setting up the domain management company like Godaddy, then point the DNS to the chosen hosting company. The user can always change the hosting firms easily by just transferring their hosting account backup (available within cPanel) and having it restored at another hosting provider while pointing the domain DNS to the newly identified hosting provider. With such an approach, users can jump promotional terms between hosting providers and simply point their DNS on the domain to another provider. Keep in mind that $2/month shared hosting is just the promotional to get you onboard. Once the promo period expires you will get started to get billed $8/month, but more about this later in this article.
4. Control Panel
Some web hosts offer their clients full access to their control panel, whereas others do not. The ideal provider is the one that allows access to the control panel. Additionally, such a provider has a control panel that allows a non-technical client to manage his or her account. Failure to have access to the control panel implies that one will have to consult the provider’s technical staff, even for the minute account management tasks. Many providers have custom control panels, but the best and the easiest to use with lots of tutorials out there is cPanel.
5. 1-Click Installs
Providers that offer one-click installations are considered as the best to go for. This is because the one-click installations facilitate open-source CMS (Content Management Systems), like Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, as well as many other web applications with a click of the button. The most popular 1-click installers are Fantastico (about 200 web apps) & Softaculus (about 400+ one-click install applications).
6. Website Builder
For those who don’t like Wordpress, that does require additional learning, many hosting providers offer “drag & drop” website builders. This basically enables the interface to set up a simple few pages website. Most of the website builders at hosting companies are poorly executed. Drag & Drop mechanism is extremely complicated and only Squarespace & Wix have mastered this, but their pricing model is by far different from standard shared hosting account and in general you will be paying 5x as much compared to the fully functional shared hosting plan with your own email and domain name.
7. Multiple Websites
It is possible to have multiple websites & domains hosted within the same shared hosting account. Many offer “unlimited websites and domains”. Again, “unlimited” is the marketing term and if one of your websites starts getting substantial traffic, you will be kindly asked to upgrade to VPS or Dedicated server by your hosting provider.
8. Promotional Offer
In general, all hosting companies advertise low monthly cost for the new hosting customers. Back at the beginning of this century shared hosting cost was around $10/month, then the big companies came in with promotions and naturally drove the new hosting account promo down to $2/month. All of the competition had to adapt over the years, making it impossible to start a new hosting company today without an initial multi-million dollar investment. Hosting providers do not make any money during the promotional term simply because their hard costs are higher. By the way, the highest cost of the shared hosting account occurs in the first 90 days during billing confirmation, onboarding and support call when real people are helping customers to succeed. The hosting customer starts making money to the company only after the promo period expires and you start to get billed $8.99/month once a year. You can review the provider’s Terms of Services when you sign up for the exact renewal cost.
You can cheat the system, and jump hosting providers (like we explained in "Section 3" after the promo period expires, but definitely not an advisable practice otherwise you would start seeing more and more negative reviews here as the hosting providers would start cutting costs to stay in the business, thus negatively impacting the quality of their services.
9. Customer Service & Support
The ideal web hosting firms are the ones that have effective support teams, which can easily be reached and resolve the raised customers’ grievances within the shortest time possible. Avoid the providers that offer email support only as they will most likely take unnecessarily long to resolve the raised issues, which may contribute to the website experiencing significant downtimes. Generally, US-based support teams provide the highest quality of the service, but there are many moving parts as we all suspect, and native English is by far what makes the best support. Customers reviews do reflect the true picture of the providers' support team. But keep in mind 9/10 customers will leave a negative review about their poor experience and only 1/10 customer will complement the hosting provider via review when the service is found satisfactory.
10. Hidden Costs
Well, $2/m hosting is no different from $4/m hosting with automatic backups included. Don’t try to get the cheapest shared hosting plan, check their reviews, concentrate on the quality. Cheaper plans simply have less functionality included and you will end up upgrading later down the road. Don’t forget to review the provider’s terms of services prior to purchasing. And if you want to save yourself tons of time, pick top-ranked shared provider here, as we’ve done all the hard work for you.
If you’re a small business or individual that wants a hassle-free, affordable way to get a website up and running, choosing a shared hosting provider could be the best route to go. There are tons of providers available, all offering great features and affordable rates.
Before you make your final selection, just make sure that they support the applications you want to use; are transparent with their rates and support, and offer a price that you can afford each month. Once all of those checkboxes are crossed off, the only thing left to do is build your website!
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