Our Top Rated Hosts

December 11th, 2009

We’ve done reviews on 10 different web hosts, and there are many other web hosting companies that we looked at but didn’t review because they did not pass some basic criteria. Here are our top 3:

Web Hosting Pad

What makes them special? Price, if you are willing to pay for 3 years up front then you can’t beat their pricing. Their customer service has also been very fast in our tests.


What could they improve? They charge $30/year extra for a static IP address, which is higher than average.

TierraNet

What makes them special? Good customer service and a static, dedicated IP address is standard with every package.

What could they improve? Pricing, at $7.95/month they are the most expensive host reviewed.

StartLogic

What makes them special? Fast customer service and very competitive pricing.

What could they improve? Their cheapest plan only includes 1 database, but that is usually enough, and you cannot get a static IP unless you buy an SSL certificate.



Web Host Price Rankings

December 1st, 2013

Below are hosts rated, from least expensive to most expensive, based on paying either monthly or up to 1 year up front.

Price Rankings Monthly price if 1 year or less
Lunarpages 2.95
Webfusion 2.99
JustHost 3.45
1&1 3.99
PowWeb 4.88
Dot 5 hosting 4.95
IX Web Hosting 4.95
StartLogic4.95
Webhostingpad 4.95
GoDaddy 4.99
FatCow 5.5
HostPapa 6.95
Omnis Network 6.95
Bluehost 7.95
iPower Web Hosting 7.95
myhosting 7.95
Pronet 7.95
Super Green Hosting 7.95
Thinkhost 7.95
TierraNet 7.95
HostGator 8.95
HostRocket 8.99
Network Solutions 9.29

February 16th, 2010

Often, if you are willing to pay for more time up front, sometimes 2, 3, or more years, then you can get an even lower price on hosting. Here are the hosts we’ve reviewed ranked by their lowest available price:
Price Rankings Lowest monthly price
Webhostingpad $1.99
Lunarpages $2.95
Webfusion $2.99
JustHost $3.45
StartLogic $3.95
Super Green Hosting $3.95
Dot 5 hosting $3.95
IX Web Hosting $3.95
1&1 $3.99
myhosting $4.84
PowWeb $4.88
Pronet $4.95
HostGator $4.95
FatCow $4.95
iPower Web Hosting $4.95
GoDaddy $4.99
HostPapa $5.95
Omnis Network $5.95
Bluehost $6.95
Thinkhost $7.95
TierraNet $7.95
HostRocket $8.99
Network Solutions $9.29

Review of Lunarpages

February 8th, 2010

Lunarpages
Customer service: On their cheapest package Lunarpages does not allow phone support. You can qualify for 24/7 support by getting their package that starts at $4.95/month.

Pricing: $2.95/month

Shared SSL: Yes

Dedicated IP address: You can add a dedicated IP address for $4.95/month

Overall, this is an average deal.

Review of Pronet

February 5th, 2010

Like most hosts we review, Pronet offers plenty of resources. Here’s how they match up in other areas:
Customer service: They do offer 24/7 toll-free customer service and our test call was answered in 15 seconds, but they do not offer live chat support.

Pricing: $4.95/month if you pay for 2 years up front, $7.95/month if you pay for 1 year up front

Shared SSL: Yes

Dedicated IP address: You cannot get a dedicated IP on their cheapest plan, so in order to get one your price will go up to at least $11/month.

Overall, this is an average deal.

What sets hosts apart?

February 4th, 2010

For all the ways hosts are similar, there are some big ways that the good ones are separated from the lower quality ones. These are the areas we try to focus on. They are more difficult to see on the surface, but they are the important features.

Quality of customer service: Most offer 24/7 customer service, but that doesn’t help much if they take 20 minutes to answer their phones.

Dedicated IP addresses: This is an important feature for the long term growth of your site so it’s important to have a host that at least offers them as an option.

Quality of bandwidth providers: This is one of the most difficult to judge, but not all bandwidth is created equal, there are some providers who are cheap and less reliable.

Quality of servers: Like bandwidth, this is hard to judge but server quality can impact the reliability and speed of your site.

What do most hosts have in common?

February 3rd, 2010

Hosting is a very competitive industry and when it comes down to it, most hosts are very similar in a lot of ways. That can make shopping around for a host difficult because it’s hard to tell one host from the next. Today we’ll look at what hosts have in common:

Most hosts offer unlimited, or essentially unlimited, resources: If disk space offered is 10GB or “unlimited”, it basically the same thing for most sites.

Most hosts want you to pay for a year up front: There are a few exceptions, but usually you either have to pay up front or you get a big discount for doing so.

Most hosts offer 24/7 customer service: Again there are exceptions, but a good host should have live support available every hour of every day.

Webfusion hosting review

February 2nd, 2010

Unlike many competitors, the cheapest Webfusion package does not included unlimited resources, but since “unlimited” is mostly just a marketing gimmick it would be fair to group them in with the unlimited crowd. With 10GB of disk space, 300GB of traffic, and 1000 email accounts, everything is essentially unlimited for most sites. They also include 10 MySQL databases and free shared SSL. All of this at $2.99/month makes Webfusion a great value.

They do offer 24/7 live customer service, but only by phone and not by live chat. Our test phone call was answered in 1 minute, 30 seconds. Two issues that do drop them in our standings is they do not offer a dedicated IP address and even though they do offer a free Drupal installation, they are only installing version 4.7.8, while they should be installing version 6.

Most recommended website software

February 1st, 2010

If I had to recommend one tool that had the best blend of being easy to use and powerful, my recommendation would be Drupal. Most hosts will install Drupal for you for free, and the software itself is free and open source. There are also hundreds of free modules that you can add that make the software even more powerful

Drupal is a CMS, or Content Management System, so making updates to your site is easy and if you make a change in the future you can easily apply the change to every page of your site without going through the pages one by one.

A few years ago, software as powerful as Drupal would have cost thousands of dollars and for many companies it would have been a good investment, but now it is available for free to individuals and companies, and it is well worth a try.

Host Papa review

January 29th, 2010

HostPapa takes great pride in offering “certified green” web hosting, meaning they buy their energy from certified renewable sources. Several hosts we’ve reviewed do the same.

As far as what they offer, HostPapa is very competitive with other value hosts. With unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and email accounts, and 100 MySQL databases, they offer all the resources you’ll likely need. All this comes at a price point of $6.95/month if you pay for a year, $5.95/month if you pay for 2 years, or $4.95/month if you pay for 3 years.

They do not offer 24/7 live customer service. Their live support hours are limited. Our test phone call was answered in 1 minute but our test chat was not answered.

They also do not offer a free shared SSL certificate, and a dedicated IP will cost an extra $36/year.

Why do so many hosts offer the same basic thing?

January 28th, 2010

As you read through our host reviews, you’ll notice a trend. Pretty much all of them offer more disk space, email accounts, and bandwidth than you’ll ever need. Why is that? Most of it is just a marketing gimmick. They know people won’t use all those resources and they are just playing a numbers game. Shared hosting is all about packing as many customers as you can onto a server to spread the costs and increase revenues through high volume. A certain percentage of customers will sign up and never even put up their site, a large percentage put up a small basic site that never really grows, and only a very small number of customers end up using even a fraction of the resources allotted for them.

Hosting is an ultra-competitive industry. It has a fairly low barrier to entry, and once a host is established the incremental cost of adding one more customer is essentially $0. Adding one customer doesn’t require another server, or a new hard drive, or any extra equipment or costs. Adding another thousand customers might, but adding one is basically free for the host. That means you have hundreds of hosts competing for revenue from a pool of customers that have a pretty decent profit margin.