Ranking the best web hosting companies of 2016

[Last updated: September 5th, 2016]

After our research team looked at over 70 web hosts, we’ve ranked our top 12. SiteGround gets the nod this year for their newbie-friendliness and supreme customer support.

Best overall: SiteGround

Overview: Siteground has established themselves as a premium hosting platform that doesn’t break the bank. You’ll be able to find anything you need from affordable shared hosting to powerful dedicated and cloud options.

Summary: While it’s difficult to have a “one size fits all option” the most solid option we can recommend is SiteGround. The speed is there, uptime is 99%, and for a starter website it has all the space you’ll need in one of their plans. While the company prides itself on high quality, it isn’t perfect. Their “startup” plan only allows for 10,000 unique visitors/mo which is a bit over 300/day (not very much). If you’re a developer or already run a high-traffic site (over 4k visits/day), you’ll need to upgrade to a higher package. Customer service is golden. And you can start fresh with a new site (and get a free domain), or move your existing files over with a free transfer ($30 value).

Pricing and options is as follows:

StartUp: $3.95/mo for shared hosting.
GrowBig: $7.95/mo for shared hosting.
GoGeek: $14.95/mo for shared hosting.

Read our full SiteGround review here.

Best for WordPress: WP Engine

Overview: If you have a site on WordPress and need it to function at peak performance, there isn’t a better choice than WP Engine. It’s the only platform they host and everyone who works their is both a WP fan and expert.

Summary: WP Engine is a step above your typical shared hosting joint. However, it may not be the best choice for anyone wanting a VPS or dedicated server option even if you are using the wordpress CMS. That said, the vast majority of WP users would benefit from the service offered by this host. The most basic plan (called “personal”) will be everything you need to handle just shy of 1,000 visits a day. If you need more bandwidth, there are priced plans that cover up to 400,000 hits per month (far more than most of the websites online). If your site is cranking half a mil or more, there are options, but you’ll have to contact WP Engine directly. As far as features, they’ll make your WP site very happy. From airtight security all the way to an incredible scalable cloud service, everything is perfectly geared for WP users. Support is also incredible. Everyone who gets a paycheck is a WordPress expert.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Personal: $29/mo for WP hosting.
Professional: $99/mo for WP hosting.
Business:  $249/mo for WP hosting.

Read our full WP Engine review here.

Best for Premium: Media Temple

Overview: Media Temple is a cut above the rest of the shared hosts on the market. If you don’t want to play around in the low-end, but want your site hosted with a higher-quality platform; this company will blow you away.

Summary: There are a large range of uses with this host. Whether you are a full-service web development agency or just a blogger that wants great hosting, it would be hard to find someone better than Media Temple. We’ll start with regular websites (blogs, businesses, etc.). The “Grid” plan offered starts at $20/mo, but you can’t lump it in with all the other shared plans. Your files are literally kept on hundreds of cloud servers giving them not only great uptime, but incredible speed. You aren’t going to find that anywhere for less. If you have more traffic, the plan can be scaled instantly, instead of crashing. For larger developers, your projects can be created on one of the most coveted platforms; the AWS Clous. Media Temple is an auhtorized dealer. World-class ecurity and phenomenal service come standard. The price is higher, but that’s because it’s worth paying.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Grid Hosting: $20/mo for shared hosting.
WordPress Plan: $20/mo for WP hosting.
Developer VPS Level 1: $30.00/mo for VPS hosting.

Read our full Media Temple review here.

Best for Premium: Servint

Overview: Servint is into the personal touch. Every plan is custom-crafted for your situation. Basic site owners will want to sit this one out, but anyone who has a complex development agency as well as webmasters who have high-traffic should pay attention.

Summary: This host is not for those who want to get a site up quickly on the internet. There are tons of value, cheap, and shared hosts for that. This company is focused on sites that need resources at the ready in an intuitive and fully-scalable environment. Their plans are catered to those who have custom-developed sites or agencies who are working on multiple projects at a time. The basic plan is a VPS server in an easy-to-manage virtual environment. It’s perfect for higher traffic sites that have large files, but aren’t quite ready to upgrade to full-on dedicated. If dedicated power is what you want, it’s there. The showstopper is Jelastic PaaS. Developers will love the pay for what you use pricing that virtually upgrades and downgrades itself so your resources aren’t wasted.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Shared VPS: $27/mo for VPS hosting.
Cloud VPS: $69/mo for VPS hosting.
Dedicated: $239/mo for dedicated hosting.

Read our full Servint review here.

Best for Premium: Liquid Web

Overview: Liquid Web doesn’t mess around with offering sub par shared plans. Every offer they have has the same level of features. The pricing is based off of the resources you need to keep and deliver your files to visitors. It’s a no-nonsense, high-end hosting experience.

Summary: If you’re not a developer or expert programmer, some of the other top-quality hosts may not interest you. That doesn’t mean you don’t want a premium experience. Running your busy business site with a fully-managed and straightforward company doesn’t get much better than Liquid Web. Big time companies love their style (like Chevy and Motorola to name a couple). First off, their pricing is based on what you need, not features. Every customer gets the same level of service. Whether that be a guaranteed 20 second or less response time on support calls (crazy, right?), or physical and digital security that is iron clad. Dedicated, cloud, VPS, and WordPress solutions are available. There are some add-on features that will cost you extra (like a load balancer to help with traffic spikes), but the “basic” service is enough for even larger business sites with tons of regular traffic.

Pricing and options is as follows:

VPS: $50/mo for VPS hosting
Cloud Dedicated: $50/mo for cloud hosting
Managed Dedicated: $199/mo for managed-dedicated hosting

Read our full Liquid Web review here.

Best for Premium: Rackspace

Overview: There are premium hosts and then there’s RackSpace. The largest managed cloud provider on the planet and the creators of the OpenStack cloud (alongside NASA) for an other-worldy experience. This company is an engineers dream, but it comes with a custom price tag that isn’t for low-budget seekers.

Summary: Backspace doesn’t play around with their virtual environments. Trusted by some of the biggest Fortune 500’s (e.g. UnderArmor called them a “best-in-class company”) they speak to the needs of enterprise clients and agency-level developers. For programing teams, the environment you work in can either help or hinder the process of developing an application. The OpenStack Cloud is a unique public environment currently being used by thousands of engineers to rush through iterations faster than most other digital playgrounds available. The thing was literally co-developed by Backspace and NASA to have a near-perfect place to develop the programs that take people into space. If your website needs an expert’s touch and end up needing support, the staff of this particular host is rocking over 1,000 different certifications. Certs like Microsoft, RedHat, AWS, and Cisco. There is someone there at all times who probably knows more than you, even if you are a pro (not a bad thing). Prices are steeper than other services and require talking to a rep, but there aren’t any other services specifically-geared for the higher-level clientele.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Managed: Contact Rackspace for managed hosting
Intensive: Contact Rackspace for managed hosting
Fanatical: Contact Rackspace for managed hosting

Read our full RackSpace review here.

Best for Premium: Digital Ocean

Overview: One of the strongest choices for large scale developers and agencies looking to have more control over their environments. Not for your bloggers or small business sites, but near-perfect for web-based apps and intricate/multi-site developers and SaaS product creators.

Summary: If you’ve got 55 seconds, you can have a fully-scalable SSD cloud based development environment ready to rock. Need another? Just take another minute. You can literally create thousands of these environments (called “droplets”). This flexibility should give you an idea who Digital Ocean is targeting. Development teams (especially product managers) will love the functionality that was custom-created for you. The scalability is impressive (up to 16TB), and the dashboard gets really interesting. You can invite and create teams in different droplets. They’ll have to have two-factor identification (pretty much needed in today’s malicious internet landscape). Each team member will only see and have access to what you want, making it easy to determine roles across multiple projects. Everything inside this host is made to be easier for programmers and developers working with several environments at one time.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Cloud LV1: $5/mo for cloud hosting
Cloud LV3: $20/mo for cloud hosting
Cloud LV5: $80/mofor cloud hosting

Read our full Digital Ocean review here.

Best cheap hosting: iPage

Overview: Anyone looking to start their first business website should look at iPage. The host also has easy-to-use web design tools for beginners.

Summary: Let’s say you’re a brick and mortar business that doesn’t want all the bells and whistles (or hassles) that come with a website. You’ll want something inexpensive, easy to use, with a ton of easy features. That describes iPage. This host has one of the least expensive start up costs (as low as $1.99/mo) as well as one of the cheapest WordPress-specific plans available online. It’s these reasons that iPage isn’t only one of our favorite small business hosts, but also one of the least expensive to get started with, too. Looking for more nerdy and robust? iPage probably not for you.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Essential: $3.25/mo for shared hosting.
WordPress Starter: $3.75/mo for WP hosting.
Basic VPS: $19.99/mo for VPS hosting.

Read our full iPage review here.

Number 9: Bluehost

Overview: Trustworthy. Solid track record. Probably the most popular web hosting company in the world.

Summary: With their painfully-simple WordPress installation and cult-like affiliate base, Bluehost continues to lead the hosting space. They’re based in the U.S. and have their entire support staff based there, too. They offer cloud, VPS, and dedicated hosting plans to go along with their specialties, shared and WordPress plans. These guys are known for affordable and truly unlimited resources on shared plans as well as being one of the earliest adopters of WordPress. With a trustworthy track-record, Bluehost is a safe option for people who want reliable hosting.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Basic: $3.49/mo for shared hosting.
Plus: $5.95/mo for shared hosting.
WordPress Blogger: $28.53/mo for WP hosting.

Read our full Bluehost review here.

Number 10: Hostgator

Overview: Whether you want one site or dozens, there is a plan with unlimited disk space and bandwidth that can accommodate. Think: Bluehost, with slightly less support.

Summary: Hostgator is the favorite for webmasters who have a large portfolio of domains. Starting at the “baby” plan, customers can enjoy having unlimited domains attached to one shared account. While other hosts offer this type of service, there are a couple of key differences: Hostgator allows your sites to share an SSL. This certificate builds trust with Google (and with consumers, as well). If you only have one site, need VPS or dedicated hosting, they’ve got you covered, too.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Hatchling: $5.56/mo for shared hosting.
Baby: $7.96/mo for shared hosting.
Business: $11.96/mo for shared hosting.

Read our full HostGator review here.

Number 11: FatCow

Overview: Fatcow is a great hosting platform with a conscience. 100% of the energy to keep your website online is provided by the wind. The premier environmental choice.

Summary: So many hosting companies lose you with complicated lingo and pages of complex options. Fat Cow’s site is easy to navigate with only one shared hosting plan and simplified VPS and dedicated plans. If you care about your carbon footprint, you’ll be happy to know that it won’t be increased by hosting your website. All energy used by FatCow is produced by the wind (through REC’s). Solid customer service, too.

Pricing and options is as follows:

FatCow: $4.08/mo for shared hosting.
Basic VPS: $19.99/mo for VPS hosting.
Business VPS: $47.99/mo for VPS hosting.

Read our full Fat Cow review here.

Number 12: InMotion

Overview: If you’re still unsure about what applications or CMS to use, InMotion has over 300 options with a 1-click installer. You’ll also find some of the friendliest (and helpful) service in the business.

Summary: If you like to experiment with your options, InMotion is your best bet. Virtually any content management system (CMS), application, and other available option can be found through this host. If you mess something up, they’ve got the support to back you up. They claim to have fixed just about everything that can go wrong on a website. Constantly monitored and controlled servers (where your files are kept) means less downtime and faster resolutions to problems that effect your site’s speed and performance. InMotion makes the list for being a playground for amateur and expert site builders alike.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Launch SSD: $4.89/mo for shared hosting.
Business Launch: $4.89/mo for shared hosting.
Power SSD: $6.29/mo for shared hosting.

Read our full InMotion review here.

Number 13: DreamHost

Overview: Plenty of hosting options plus a killer cancellation policy make DreamHost a conservative web hosting pick.

Summary: One of the longest cancellation policies in the business (97 days!) means that you’ll have plenty of time to see if they are the host for you. The company offers this crazy-long period out of confidence that you’ll be satisfied with them. The drawback may be the price tag, but DreamHost made it to the list for anyone wanting superior hosting and willing to pay a slightly higher price to get it.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Web: $5.95/mo for shared hosting.
VPS: $15.00/mo for VPS hosting.
DreamPress: $19.95/mo for VPS hosting.

Read our full DreamHost review here.

Number 14: A2 Hosting

Overview: While A2 may not be the best option for beginners, developers will feel right at home. More programming languages supported than any other host and flexible plans create a great environment to do something truly special.

Summary: Many hosting companies cater to those who don’t know how to program and develop website from scratch. With so many simplified hosts out there, developers sometimes have trouble finding an affordable option to use their skills. A2 was created by developers to build a paradise for coders. With over 30 different languages and programming options (as well as all versions), this host has got what you need to create a powerful site or web based app. A recent site upgrade seems to be pushing for simple and easy to use options for less experienced webmasters, too. The jury is still out on whether a beginner will enjoy this host, but things look promising. If you’re a developer who needs scalable power that doesn’t cost a fortune, A2 is your answer.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Lite: $3.92/mo for shared hosting.
Swift: $4.90/mo for shared hosting.
Turbo: $9.31/mo for shared hosting.

Read our full A2 Hosting review here.

Number 15: Arvixe

Overview: While Arvixe isn’t as popular as it used to be in the early days of the internet, it’s still a solid choice with a ton of options. This host offers just about every type of plan you could need from shared to dedicated.

Summary: Arvixe has been around the block. To some, this fact means they may no longer be one of the top choices to for hosting. To others, they’re an established brand. Gimmick-free. Having so many options can be daunting with other hosts, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Arvixe. There are a ton of features and plans available, but the site does a decent job of laying out everything in an easy-to-read and manageable way. Arvixe is 15 years strong. They must be doing something right.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Personal Class: $3.27/mo for shared hosting.
Personal Class ASP: $5.00/mo for shared hosting.
Personal Class Pro: $7.00/mo for shared hosting.

Read our full Arvixe review here.

Number 16: A Small Orange

Overview: With such a large number of options, many beginners get overwhelmed. A Small Orange keeps their pricing and plans simple, making them a favorite among inexperienced beginners.

Summary: Having a website slow (or even stop) is a problem that happens too often. The primary cause is something usually referred to as a “soft cap”. Meaning that, even though your plans says unlimited resources, you have an unwritten ceiling. While some do it better than others, there is a limit to “unlimited”. A Small Orange calculates their plans differently. You’ll know how much disk space and bandwidth you have with every plan. If you keep track and manage resources properly, your site will have less trouble due to traffic spikes and other issues. Other plans (cloud, VPS, dedicated) are available, but this host doesn’t seem geared toward developing professionals and experts. If you want a no non-sense plan with a respected host, A Small Orange will deliver.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Tiny: $2.92/mo for shared hosting.
Small: $5.00/mo for shared hosting.
Medium: $10.00/mo for shared hosting.

Read our full A Small Orange review here.

Number 17: Web Hosting Hub

Overview: Web Hosting Hub specializes and focuses on providing excellent hosting to small businesses around the world.

Summary: So many hosting companies try to be all things to everyone. This company has focused on their strength, which is helping small to medium sized business owners get their brand online. The entire platform is built with businesses in mind with the speed of solid state drives (SSD’s), a powerful and simple website builder for beginners, and plans that specifically catered for small companies. While you can host just about any kind of site with Web Hosting Hub, you may find a better option for things like personal sites and informational sites.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Hosting Plan: $3.99/mo for shared hosting.
Spark: $6.99/mo for shared hosting.
Nitro: $8.99/mo for shared hosting.

Read our full Web Hosting Hub review here.

Number 18: GoDaddy

Overview: GoDaddy is a huge domain reseller, but still offers solid hosting options. Having the registrar and hosting under one roof might be worth their sub-par user-experience and customer service.

Summary: Primarily, this company is a domain registrar and more people are buying their name from them than hosting on their platform. If you already have a website they can transfer it, but you may be better off with one of our other top choices. However, if you don’t have your domain, GoDaddy makes it enticing to host with them by keeping everything together.

Pricing and options is as follows:

Starter WordPress: $2.99/mo for shared hosting.
WordPress Economy: $3.49/mo for shared hosting.
WordPress Deluxe: $4.49/mo for shared hosting.

Read our full GoDaddy review here.