Which hosting provider is good

Welcome to the CNET 2020 directory of web hosting services. In this directory, we'll look at a few of the best web hosting providers like Bluehost, A2Hosting, Hostinger, DreamHost, HostGator, InMotion Hosting and more. In this evaluation of the best web hosting providers, we're featuring commercial web hosting companies that offer WordPress, VPS, shared hosting and many more web hosting services, along with a variety of annual and monthly plans.     

Let's look at each of the web hosting companies below in a little more depth to help you find the best web hosting provider to meet your needs.

Read more: The best website builders for 2020

Special offer: Save up to 60% on hosting and more with Bluehost!


DreamHost

  • Shared hosting starting at  $2.59/mo. 
  • WordPress hosting starting at  $2.59/mo. 
  • VPS hosting starting at $10/mo. 
  • Dedicated servers starting at $149/mo. 
  • Cloud hosting starting at $4.50/mo. 

Web hosting is, no doubt, as much a cutthroat business as any other. But that's why the fact that DreamHost's ongoing offer to provide a free shared website to 501(c)(3) nonprofits is so notable. (Full disclosure: A nonprofit I was affiliated with once took advantage of this offer.) 

Beyond that, DreamHost is a top website hosting company for many reasons. It operate its own control panel, which is convenient and easy to understand. While phone customer support isn't available 24/7, it is responsive to live chat and tickets. The company uses super-fast SSDs for all its storage, has a free SSL certificate (for more secured web browsing) and provides SSH access for those plans that are intended for more technical users.

Other things we like about Dreamhost: First, the company's pricing is pretty transparent. There are no hidden gotchas in the rates. Plus, DreamHost provides a 97-day money back guarantee. There's quite literally zero risk in giving them a try.


Bluehost

When you sign up to Bluehost, you'll get a free domain name for the first year, along with a free SSL certificate (allowing you to operate a secure website for your personal use or business).

If you're a WordPress user, Bluehost is definitely a web hosting provider to consider. While its managed WordPress hosting is a little more pricey than basic shared hosting, the company has both specific WordPress and WooCommerce hosting plans available (along with management support). It also offers a site migration service for an additional fee. 

The web hosting provider got bonus points for its policy of performing regular daily backups, even on the lowest-priced shared hosting accounts. Be aware, though, that the promotional price on the low-cost shared hosting does go up after the promotional period. That said, Bluehost offers 24/7 phone support, a 30-day money-back guarantee and SSH access for certain plan options.


A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting does a lot of things right. It offers Linux and Windows-based servers, SSD, caching, CDN and SSL for all plans. While some plans offer uptime monitoring and regular backups, all plans offer malware scanning and automatic patching and updates.

The hosting provider offers a managed hosting service called HostGuard. Subscribers of this service have access to a 24/7/365 "Guru Crew" support team that manages network, hardware, software and security. Managed hosting for WordPress customers begins at $9.78/mo and for VPS customers at $25/mo.

The web hosting provider offers solid plans with a good selection of features. The one area we're concerned about is how it presents its offers. Like many hosting providers, its published pricing is a bit misleading. You're not getting hosting for $2.96/mo unless you pay $71 for two years of service. Renewals are generally at a higher rate, although a salesperson we spoke to advised you ask for a "loyalty discount."

It shouldn't come as any surprise that, like other web host providers, A2 Hosting's unlimited plans aren't actually unlimited. It expect you to use its service like "similarly situated customers." This is like being on a highway. If everyone is going a few miles above the speed limit, you're probably okay, but if you're barreling down the fast lane past everyone else, you're probably going to be asked to slow down.

The company offers a solid 30-day money back guarantee it calls an "Anytime" money back guarantee. Yeah...kind of. You can ask for your money back at any time, but after your first 30 days, how much you get back will depend on a painfully complex pro-rating system.

But, again, operationally it's quite strong. 24/7/365 customer support is available not only by live chat and email, but by phone. It offers free site migrations with some dedicated attention paid to making a transfer as smooth as possible. And, if you're willing to go for one of the higher-end plans, the company has put some serious attention into performance and caching.


Hostinger