Best free joomla hosting sites
A variety of featured-packed hosting plans. Useful site-building software. Good customer service. Great uptime.
No Windows-based VPS hosting. No one-step WordPress import. Email lacks extra security.
HostGator is a reliable Web hosting service that's simple to use and offers an array of useful plans for consumers and small businesses. It's our top pick for novice webmasters.
Rock-solid uptime in testing. Good customer support. Offers basic and advanced hosting packages. Offers Linux- or -Windows-based servers. Easy-to-use website creation tools. No setup fee.
WebsiteBuilder Plus tier is required to add code to site templates. Competitors offer longer money-back-guarantee periods.
1&1 is an affordable Web host that offers rich website-creation tools, solid support, and impressive uptime. It's our top choice if you need WordPress hosting.
Lots of security features. Extensive domain-management tools. Excellent VPS offering. Unlimited data transfers per month. Cloud storage plans. Generous money-back guarantee.
No site builder. Lacks Windows-based servers. May prove intimidating to the uninitiated.
DreamHost boasts a robust feature set and wallet-friendly prices, but this outstanding Web hosting service is best for those who are experienced in website administration, not newbies.
Rock-solid uptime. Excellent 24/7 customer support. Windows- and Linux-based servers. Email tightly integrated into Microsoft apps. Managed WordPress hosting.
Base-level shared hosting plan lacks a month-to-month payment option. Skimpy email offering. Dedicated hosting lacks email.
GoDaddy is a feature-packed web hosting service that boasts rock-solid uptime, excellent customer service, and flexible website-building tools, but meager email offerings and shared hosting limitations prevent it from achieving top honors.
Wide range of Web hosting options. Excellent uptime in testing. Easy-to-use interface. Weebly site-building software.
Lacks Windows-based servers. No monthly shared hosting plans. Aggressive upselling. Users need to install add-ons to do just about everything.
Boasting excellent uptime and intuitive website-building software, Bluehost makes it easy to create attractive, functional, and stable pages for your business. However, it lacks a few features found in rival hosting services.
Why You Need Web Hosting
Business owners, answer this important question: Does your company have a website? If not, it should. Naturally, online businesses demand websites for marketing and selling products or services, but even brick-and-mortar business need to be discoverable via the web. Word of mouth just doesn't cut it anymore. These days, people discover new businesses via Bing, Google and Yahoo, search engines that make it incredibly simple to find companies' products, operational hours, and prices. If your business doesn't appear in the search results, especially on the first page, it'll be incredibly difficult for potential clients and customers to find you. So, long story short, no website, no money. You do not want that.
The first step is to find a web host, the company that will store your website's files on its servers and deliver them to your readers' and customers' browsers. Web hosting services offer varying amounts of monthly data transfers, storage, email, and other features. Even how you pay (month-to-month payments vs. annual payments) can be radically different, too, so taking the time to plot exactly what your company needs for online success is essential.
You should also familiarize yourself with the many web hosting tiers that are available. In your research, you'll find shared, virtual private server (VPS), dedicated hosting, and WordPress hosting plans. Each tier offers different specs and features that you should take the time to analyze. I'll break them down.
What Is Shared Web Hosting?
Shared hosting is web hosting in which the provider houses multiple sites on a single server. For example, Site A shares the same server with Site B, Site C, Site D, and Site E. The upside is that the multiple sites share the server cost, so shared web hosting is generally very inexpensive. In fact, you can find an option for less than $10 per month.
The downside is that all the sites share a single server's resources, so huge traffic spike on Site A may impact the neighboring sites' performances.
What Is VPS Web Hosting?
VPS hosting is similar to shared hosting in that multiple sites share the same server, but the similarities end there. A dedicated web host houses less sites per server than shared hosting, and each site has its own individual resources.
As a result, Site A's traffic surge won't impact Site B or Site C. As you'd expect, VPS hosting costs more than shared hosting. You'll pay roughly $20 to $60 per month.
What Is Dedicated Web Hosting?
Dedicated hosting. on the other hand, is both powerful and pricey. It's reserved for sites that require an incredible amount of server resources.
Unlike shared or VPS hosting, dedicated hosting makes your website the lone tenant on a server. The means that your website taps the server's full power. That said, many dedicated web hosting services task you with handling backend, technical issues.
What Is WordPress Web Hosting?
WordPress hosting is for people who want to build their sites on the back of the popular WordPress content management system (CMS). Many WordPress hosts automatically handle backend stuff, so you don't have to worry about updating the apps and CMS, and enabling automatic backups.
Extra Web Hosting Info
If you're not sure of the type of hosting your business needs, you might want to start small, with shared Web hosting. You can always graduate to a more robust, feature-rich package of, say, VPS hosting or even dedicated hosting in the future. Unfortunately, some hosts don't offer all hosting types. Consider how much you expect to grow your website, and how soon, before you commit to anything longer than a one-year plan. It's worth spending the time up front to make sure that the host you select with is able to provide the growth you envision for your site, as switching web hosting providers midstream is not a trivial undertaking.
Once you decide you price range, you need to consider how long you'll need web hosting. If it's a short-term project-say, less than a month or two-you can typically receive a refund should you cancel your hosting within 60 days. Some companies offer 30-day money-back guarantees, others offer 90-day money-back guarantees. Once again, it's beneficial to do your homework.
The Web Hosting Features You Need
Many web hosts offer limited features in their starter packages and then expand the offerings (sometimes tremendously) for higher-tier plans. Read the small print to make sure the plan you are selecting offers what you need. If you need a site builder application to design your website, make sure that the low-cost web host you are picking actually comes with a site builder. Many of them require you to pay for the builder as a separate add-on. Website builders usually don't cost a lot of money, but if you can find a web host that includes one for free, that's money in your pocket. And, if it's integrated with your hosting service, you're more likely to have a smooth, supported experience.
You also want a web host with 24/7 customer support-if not by phone, then at least by chat. Forums, knowledge bases, and help tickets are all well and good, but sometimes you just need to communicate with another human to get things ironed out as quickly as possible. That said, not all 24/7 customer support teams are equal. Companies like GoDaddy and Liquid Web boast incredibly knowledgeable and helpful customer support squads-a fact that we confirmed in our in-depth reviews of those web hosting services.
When it comes to server operating systems, Linux is typically the default option. Still, some services offer a choice of Linux or Windows hosting. If you have specific server-side applications that require Windows, such as SQL Server or a custom application written in .NET, then you need to make sure your web host has Windows hosting. But don't let the idea of a Linux host intimidate you. Nowadays, most web hosts offer a graphical interface or a control panel to simplify server administration and website management. Instead of typing at the command line, you'll click easily identifiable icons.
Windows hosting is often more expensive than Linux hosting, especially in the dedicated server area. That's not always the case, but it's something you should be aware of as you shop around.
If you aim to have a web presence, you've got to have email. It's a convenient way for potential customers and clients to send you a message, Word document, or other files. Thankfully, most web hosts include email in the price of their hosting plans. Some web hosts offer unlimited email account creation (which is great for future growth), while others offer a finite amount. You, naturally, should want unlimited email.
That said, not all web hosts offer email. WP Engine, for example, does not. In such instances, you must email accounts from a company other than your web host. GoDaddy, for instance, sells email packages starting at $3.49 per user, per month. That might sound like a hassle, and just one more thing to keep track of, but there are actually some webmasters who feel that separating your email hosting and web hosting services is smart. That way, one provider going offline won't completely bork your business.
Uptime, Uptime, Uptime!
The aforementioned features are valuable to the web hosting experience, but none matches the importance of site uptime. If your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services.
Recently, we've added uptime monitoring to our review process, and the results show that most web hosts do an excellent job of keeping sites up and running. Web hosts with uptime issues are heavily penalized during the review process and are unable to qualify for top ratings.
Ecommerce and Marketing
One thing we learned in reviewing the services listed here (and many more) is that even though the packages are very similar, they are not identical. Some are more security-focused than others, offering anti-spam and anti-malware tools. Others offer a variety of email marketing tools. While most of the hosts we've reviewed have built-in e-commerce, you may want to consider using a more-robust third-party online shopping cart application like Shopify instead.
If you're ready to select a great web hosting service, check out the chart above to see PCMag's top picks in the space. When you're done with that, click the links below to read our in-depth, tested reviews of the biggest and best names in web hosting.
If you're just getting started in the web hosting game, make sure to check out our primer, How to Build a Website .
Featured Web Hosting Service Reviews:
Price at seller HostGator is a reliable Web hosting service that's simple to use and offers an array of useful plans for consumers and small businesses. It's our top pick for novice webmasters. Read the full review
Price at seller 1&1 is an affordable Web host that offers rich website-creation tools, solid support, and impressive uptime. It's our top choice if you need WordPress hosting. Read the full review
Price at seller InMotion is a feature-stacked Web hosting service that offers many attractive features, but a few issues keep it from being the top dog. Read the full review
Price at seller DreamHost boasts a robust feature set and wallet-friendly prices, but this outstanding Web hosting service is best for those who are experienced in website administration, not newbies. Read the full review
Price at seller GoDaddy is a feature-packed web hosting service that boasts rock-solid uptime, excellent customer service, and flexible website-building tools, but meager email offerings and shared hosting limitations prevent it from achieving top honors. Read the full review
Price at seller Boasting excellent uptime and intuitive website-building software, Bluehost makes it easy to create attractive, functional, and stable pages for your business. However, it lacks a few features found in rival hosting services. Read the full review
Price at seller Hostwinds is a feature-packed Web hosting service that has the tools for building highly functional and user-friendly websites, but a few holes in its offering prevent it from claiming the top spot. Read the full review
Price at seller Liquid Web is expensive and lacks shared Web hosting, but it's a flexible, feature-packed online host with outstanding customer service and excellent dedicated and VPS packages. Read the full review
Price at seller Packed with features, A2 is a Web hosting service that's more than worthy of being the foundation for your website. Read the full review
Price at seller After months of uptime problems, Web hosting provider Arvixe has turned things around, once again boasting rock-solid reliability and a wide range of plans for starting a website. The service has regained our endorsement. Read the full review
Price at seller Cloudways is a Web hosting service with both affordable and powerful architecture, but there's no option for domain registration, and quality telephone-based support, and email costs extra. Read the full review
Price at seller If you're looking to build a relatively simple site, iPower is a fine choice, but you should look elsewhere for more complicated ventures. Read the full review
Price at seller Media Temple is a Web hosting service that lets you easily construct Linux-powered pages, but it lacks a few features found in top-notch competitors. Read the full review
Price at seller SiteGround offers excellent customer service and strong security, but it lacks features offered by top-tier rivals. Read the full review
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For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out Web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey mentors, practices Jeet Kune Do, blogs, podcasts, and speaks at the occasional con. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys. More »