The 30-Second Review

The best web hosting company provides the tools to launch your website and the support to help it grow. We rounded up 49 web hosts known for their reliability and evaluated them based on user resources and customer service. Then we signed up for the top eleven to figure out which company offered the most useful features for new website owners, regardless of whether you're a tech pro or an absolute beginner.

Our Top Pick

FastComet consistently ranked or tied for first place in almost every test we threw at it. Its website is easy to navigate, it has extensive user resources that cater to all skill levels, and it boasts 99.99 percent uptime, which means you’ll rarely have to worry about your website going down.

Runner-Up

GlowHost is almost identical to FastComet, but its user resources are less comprehensive and better suited to experienced web developers. Still, it stood out thanks to its extremely knowledgable and friendly customer service reps.

  • December 22, 2017 - To keep our review current, we’ve re-evaluated our top picks, assessing 49 highly regarded web hosts to find the companies that offer the most robust resources and customer support. We’re confident that our two new top picks — FastComet and GlowHost — are the best options on the market.

The Best Web Hosting Service

Having the best website in the world means little if it's always down and your readers can’t access it. Enter the best web hosting service, which will manage the mechanical aspects of connecting your site to the rest of the world. If your website is a house, your web host owns the land the house sits on, making sure that you have utilities and road access. Our two top picks are both excellent web hosts, whether this is the first website you’re building, or the fiftieth.

FastComet immediately impressed with its beautifully designed website, giving us all the information we needed about packages and service tiers within a few mouse clicks. Beyond its excellent presentation, FastComet offers a host of tools that let you optimize its services. Its knowledge base is comprehensive yet approachable, with both written and video guides aimed at every skill level. FastComet also clocks in at 99.99 percent uptime — the highest rating attainable through a third party verification system. It’s highly unlikely that your readers will ever see an error page when they visit your website.

FastComet impressed us with showmanship, but GlowHost took our hearts with its customer service. Whether via email or over the phone, we were consistently shown patience, respect, and friendliness. GlowHost has a slightly lower uptime score than FastComet, clocking in at 99.98 percent, and the tools that it offers also aren’t quite as beginner-friendly. Most notably, GlowHost’s included website builder is less robust than FastComet’s: If you’re a beginner looking for lots of customizable templates, you’ll be happier with FastComet.

Our Picks for the Best Web Hosting Service

Our Top Pick

FastComet99.99% uptime, an in-depth knowledge base, and prompt email responses.

FastComet excelled at presentation. When we browsed their site as prospective customers, they consistently impressed us with timely, useful information, and when we signed up and logged into our account, we found our dashboard and toolkits similarly well-laid-out. The company boasts a clean interface, and it's easy to find the information you want with just one or two button clicks.

We loved FastComet’s in-depth knowledge base, which includes both written guides and video tutorials. They cater equally well to people first setting up their website and to those with more advanced technical skill sets who are trying to troubleshoot specific issues.

FastComet-1-for-Web-Hosting

FastComet’s dashboard (left) is clean, with a left sidebar and grid icons to help navigate. Its cPanel (right) is equally well-designed.

For beginners, FastComet offers two website builder tools to help you get up and running. The first is a simple “Site Publisher” which offers nine templates. You choose the template you like, fill out the information it requests, and you instantly have a one-page website displaying basic information. They also offer a more involved website-building tool that includes 300 templates to choose from, plus drag-and-drop design. If you don’t know anything about HTML or CSS, this tool makes it easy to build a professional website without hiring a web developer.

Glowhost-FastComet-comparison-for-Web-Hosting

Site Publisher (available with several web hosts, including FastComet, GlowHost, and TMDHosting) is a quick, simple solution to getting a website online. FastComet’s website builder helps you customize and personalize templates to create a website without needing a lot of technical knowledge.

FastComet’s customer service was good, but uneven. They were one of only six companies who responded to our email inquiry, responding to all of our questions within an hour, and we had a pleasant time with their live chat. But when we called, although their phone rep representative was friendly and eager to be helpful, she constantly misheard our questions and took forever to work her way through a response. At one point, seemingly unprompted, she began listing off different types of domain names (there are many). We ended up cutting the call short and turning to the site’s email support, live chat, and knowledge base instead, which are all superb. If phone-based customer service is your top priority, we’d suggest GlowHost, below.

In terms of specifications, FastComet has a slight edge over GlowHost: WebHostingStuff calculates FastComet’s uptime at 99.99% (GlowHost still pulls in a still-admirable 99.98%). As a final, slight caveat, we'd suggest signing a standard year-long contract with FastComet, as their 1-month plan includes a $19.95 setup fee.

Runner-Up

GlowHost99.98% uptime, plus the most helpful customer service reps we encountered.

GlowHost had the best customer service of any web hosting company we tested, endearing itself by responding to our emailed list of questions with detailed and thoughtful answers less than an hour after we sent it. As we sent more questions their way, by email and phone call, GlowHost continued to impress with friendly and courteous conversation (although we’re pretty sure their live chat relies on a bot).

GlowHost’s website design is clunky, with a strict “late 90s” vibe. But we found the site as easy to navigate as FastComet — we had no trouble navigating their knowledge base or interacting on their forum — though FastComet is undoubtedly easier on the eyes.

Glowhost-for-Web-Hosting

GlowHost’s no-frills landing page makes it easy to find the exact link you’re looking for, even if it looks a bit plain.

If you want a website builder, you’ll be better off with FastComet (or a dedicated website builder). GlowHost only includes a “Site Publisher” tool. It’s enough to get a single information page, or a temporary status page up and running, but it won’t be much help if you want a fancier layout (read: multiple pages, buttons, or pictures).

Spec-wise, GlowHost and FastComet are pretty neck-and-neck. But in exchange for almost twice as much downtime as FastComet (about 105 minutes over a year as opposed to 52 minutes), GlowHost does provide a few additional server locations in Australia and the US. Theoretically, this means GlowHost is more flexible in how quickly it can serve websites up to customers across the globe, but this benefit is primarily for its higher service tiers: If you’re signing up for shared hosting, our rep told us that you’ll most likely be assigned a server based in Salt Lake City or Phoenix.

We did like that GlowHost has no setup fee, even for month-long contracts. For year-long subscriptions, GlowHost also offers a generous money-back guarantee period — almost three months, versus FastComet’s 30 days. This gives you more time to figure out if they’re the right partner for you.

Others to Consider

TMDHosting

GlowHost still offers the best one month contract rate.Both GlowHost and TMDHosting charge $8.95 for a one month contract, but TMDHosting charges an additional $9.95 setup fee if you only sign up for one month.

TMDHosting is the cheapest of our four finalists. Compared to FastComet, GlowHost, and InMotion, its service plans are less expensive at almost every tier. The cost savings aren’t huge — at most, $36 per year — but if you don’t feel you need the specific features offered by our top picks, there’s no reason to avoid TMD. The company was one of only six web hosts to actually answer our email. Their response was short and professional, and while we had to rephrase our questions a few times on the phone and in live chat to get the answer we were looking for, we eventually got what we needed. Of note for beginners: while the company provides a basic Site Publisher tool, if you’re looking for a more robust website builder, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

InMotion Hosting

Prior to our 2017 update, InMotion was one of our top picks, and it passed all of our criteria for an excellent web host this time around, too, beating out scores of other contenders. But of our four finalists, it ranks a solid fourth place. It’s the only one of our top picks to not send us an email response. And while we received all of the answers we needed from friendly phone and live chat reps, they didn’t go out of their way to help: If we had a question, they answered. If there was a natural follow-up question, they left it up to us to ask. They’re also the most expensive, and the only one that doesn’t offer any type of website building tool.

Did You Know?

You should probably start with shared hosting.

Shared hosting is the most basic form of web hosting. Your website will be located on the same server as other sites, and will share the common resources of that one server. Your site will be allocated a certain amount of the collective bandwidth, and it may be impacted by other sites on that same server since the server’s abilities will be affected if any one of its websites — yours or someone else’s — experiences unusually high traffic. If someone else’s site has excessive usage, your site may slow. If your site has a spike, it may be shut off by your host and you might be charged for exceeding your allotted bandwidth. Sharing a server usually means sharing an IP address, too.

Shared hosting is best for websites with low to moderate traffic — small businesses and new websites will benefit from the low cost and relative simplicity of using a common server. While shared hosting doesn’t have all the capabilities an experienced webmaster may require, it’s perfect if you’re just getting started.

VPS hosting is one step up. It uses a single server, but makes virtual copies of it — even though lots websites live on the same server (just like with shared hosting) each one gets its own personal copy. You get your own IP address, root access to your individual space, increased security, and stabilized site performance. VPS hosts are still designed to handle low-to-moderate traffic levels, but if you don’t want your site’s performance to be impacted by anyone else, it’s worth it.

With dedicated hosting, you’re renting a server that’s completely yours. You’ll get the highest speeds, at the highest costs, and you’ll be on the hook for server management. If you’re not sure whether you need a dedicated server, you probably don’t. You only need it if you have routinely high traffic, or want more control over your server.

Cloud hosting is relatively new, and it has the potential to be the best option for everyone because, in theory, your website will never go offline. It’s not tied to anyone particular server, so if one fails, your site will bop over to one a different cloud. And you pay for only the server space you use: you’ll pay less when you have slower traffic and more when you have a traffic spike. The downside is that it’s new enough technology that security is a concern. No one is quite sure how safe information in a cloud can be.

We recommend getting upsold.

All of our top picks include most add-ons and upsells for free, like daily backups and basic levels of SSL encryption. But we recommend everyone also pay the $10 a year for private domain registration. It’ll keep your personal information out of the internet’s required registration database, WHOIS. Instead of listing your phone and address, your server will list a proxy, so you won’t have to contend with spam calls to your real phone number. (One tester from our original review on web hosting, published in 2016, has just recently stopped receiving daily telemarketing calls — well over year later.)

A dedicated IP address isn’t necessary for domain owners who are just starting out, but it’s worth considering. There’s nothing inherently wrong with sharing an IP address (the number that locates your website within a network) but it can lead to consequences beyond your control. For example, if one of the websites on your shared server sends spam emails or engages in other illicit behavior, that website’s IP address may be blocked from other sites or services. The firewall used to block the IP won’t be able to distinguish between the offending site and yours: someone else starts sending spam emails and you’re temporarily blacklisted from sending emails, too. If you aren’t the offending party this will likely be temporary, but still no fun.

The free basic-level SSL is likely enough.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption is the “s” in “https://” that gives your website its nice green browser padlock. It’s an absolute necessity for websites that deal with any sort of sensitive information, whether it’s credit card numbers or usernames and passwords. But it’s important beyond that, too: Google considers security as a factor for ranking, which means opting for SSL encryption doesn’t just ensure your visitors’ browsing actions can’t be seen by a nefarious third-party, it might also increase your site’s position in search results.

"We’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web."

Domain validation (DV) is the most affordable and most common option, and it’s free with all of our top picks. This level certificate indicates that the domain is valid and the applicant controls that domain. It’s easy to obtain and doesn’t require any paperwork. On a site with DV, you’ll see a green padlock in the browser bar. For most sites, this is plenty. (We use DV on Reviews.com.)

You’ll only need to step up your SSL level if you need to connect your website to a physical company or business, or if there could be confusion about your web address. Your options are organization validation (OV), which costs $80+ and validates the site owner’s legal existence and physical address, or extended validation (EV), which verifies this same information but through third-party, not self-reported, sources. You’ll spend $100+ a year for an EV certificate and the browser padlock will also display your company name. Many banks have this level of validation on their websites, but both Google and Amazon use OV. We can tell by clicking for more information on the certificate and seeing it lists the organization’s name; with a DV certificate there’d be no organization information listed, only the SSL-certificate issuer.

The Best Web Hosting Service: Summed Up

Web Hosting Service
Best...
FastComet
Overall
GlowHost
Runner-Up

More Web Host Reviews

We've been researching the top web hosts for quite some time and we've compiled a list of previous reviews covering several different categories and use cases below. In the coming weeks, we'll also be updating these reviews with our latest findings, so stay tuned.