Whether you have plenty of experience in designing websites or are just starting out in building your first one, at some point you will need to choose a web hosting service: a service that stores your site and makes it available on the internet for all to see.

If you have a website designed already and need to get it online, you can do so using a web hosting service. (If you haven't made your site yet, check out our pick of the best website builders here).

What type of web hosting do I need?

Some providers will offer different types of web hosting. The terminology used can also sometimes be presumptuous of knowledge, so we’ll demystify it for you here.

Free, shared or dedicated hosting?

For the vast majority of cases, shared hosting is the way to go. Completely free hosting is unattractive as connections can be slow and the provider is not obligated to have it online at all times. They may also put their own adverts on your pages. Avoid!

Shared hosting simply means you and other websites owners will share a server. Most public web hosting services offer shared hosting packages because it keeps costs down. Unless you’re looking to run a huge business website, this type of hosting will be fine. The only drawback - and it's an unlikely scenario - is if another site that's hosted on your shared server receives a lot of unexpected visitors, your site's performance could be negatively impacted. 

Shared hosting prices tend to range from a couple of pounds or dollars per month up to around £15 / $15.

Dedicated hosting is only for websites that will be handling some seriously high traffic. Fingers crossed that’s you one day, but it may not be for now. It involves renting the physical server itself and having exclusive use of it. It’ll still be housed at a data centre, but it’s all yours. Therefore, it’s a lot more expensive.

There's a step in between: VPS. Most hosting providers offer it, and essentially it's shared hosting but you get a fixed amount of server resources so that site performance won't be affected by other sites running on the same server. It can be worth spending an extra £10 / $10 per month on a VPS package.

Domain names

A domain name is the website’s address. Ours is www.techadvisor.co.uk. You’ll need one, but it won’t cost much (pennies or a couple of pounds per year if you get it as part of the hosting package).

If you use a free web hosting service you must use their domain name, for example techadvisor.freehosting.com rather than simply techadvisor.co.uk. Another reason to avoid free hosting.

Email

Many packages come with email addresses, and you’ll want this to add a level of professionalism to your business. Sure, you can get free email from Gmail or Outlook, but it’s much better to have email addresses that match your domain name, such as [email protected]

What else should I know about web hosting?

  1. Don’t skimp on cost. If your website is for a small business, then it’s a usually a false economy to opt for the cheapest package you can find. You want a reliable host so visitors can access your site all the time, and pages should load quickly.
  2. Like broadband, web hosting is usually offered at a big discount for the first year or 18 months. Be sure you check out such offers and work out the total cost over a few years.
  3. Check out a potential hosting provider’s credentials. Hopefully you’re doing that right now by reading this article: the hosts we’ve included below are all what we consider reputable companies that offer good customer support and are well established.
  4. Customer service can be key. If you’re not experienced and may need help getting your site online, or with other aspects of hosting such as email and databases, be sure to pick a provider that you can phone or offers 24/7 live chat.
  5. We’ve mentioned it already, but it’s crucial your website doesn’t go offline because there’s a problem with the provider’s server. Look for uptime guarantees and high bandwidth (and unmetered bandwith too). If your site becomes popular, you want it to still perform well with lots of people viewing it at the same time.

The best web hosting services of 2019

1. 1&1 IONOS

1&1 IONOS
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

  • SSL certificate
  • Email accounts included
  • Free domain name
  • DDoS protection
  • RailGun CDN
  • Backups included

1&1 - as it used to be known - is now IONOS, but you don't really need to be concerned about that. The range of products on offer is broad, so whether you need plain web hosting or a fully fledged online website builder, it's all here.

The website building option that comes within the 1&1 IONOS account area might be pretty basic but it offers a fun experience and lets you produce presentable pages too.

Read our full 1&1 IONOS review

2. GoDaddy

GoDaddy Web Hosting
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  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Free domain name
  • Office 365 Business email
  • 24/7 support

GoDaddy is a good choice for small businesses. It's one of the best-known web hosting providers and has millions upon millions of domain names on its register. It offers various packages depending upon whether you need pure hosting, you want to create a website or to host a WordPress Site. There's a 99.9% uptime guarantee, 24/7 support and unlimited bandwidth and storage - unless you opt for the Economy plan.

Read our full GoDaddy Web Hosting review

3. HostGator

HostGator Web Hosting
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  • Unlimited storage & bandwidth
  • 24/7 support
  • SSL certificate
  • cPanel management
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee

HostGator offers all the types of web hosting you'd expect, but what you wouldn't expect is such good value from even the entry-level packages.

If you want to create a site, the website builder plans are also good value, as is the WordPress hosting.

Read our full HostGator Web Hosting review

4. InMotion

InMotion Hosting
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  • WordPress hosting
  • SSL certificate
  • Malware / hacking protection
  • Free domain
  • Unlimited storage & bandwidth

InMotion can help you get a WordPress site together in no time and benefits from providing lots of helpful support along the way.

Read our full InMotion Hosting review

5. Weebly

Weebly
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  • Free plan available
  • Excellent site builder tool
  • Online shop available
  • Edit your site from your phone

Weebly is aimed at the novice who wants a service that will handle absolutely everything, from the actual hosting of the site as well as all the tools required to build it.

And Weebly is well regarded as one of the easiest to use out there, and is even used by some other web hosting providers.

Like Wix, you can use it completely free, but you’ll have to stump up for at least the Pro package if you want your own domain name and pages that aren’t littered with Square adverts. So it isn’t the cheapest out there, but it does hold your hand the entire way and lets you build a great-looking site.

Read our full Weebly review

6. SiteGround

SiteGround
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  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • SSL certificate
  • 24/7 support
  • Daily backups
  • CloudFlare CDN

SiteGround is very WordPress-centric, but that's a good thing if you're happy to use that platform for your website. There are just three main plans to pick from, which keeps things simple.

You don't get a domain name with any of them, but that's a minor cost overall. Just bear in mind that the introductory prices to jump up once it expires. But you get the cheaper price for up to three years, depending upon how long you're willing to be tied into one hosting provider.

A nice feature is that WooCommerce is offered as a free plugin, and it's available even in the base StartUp package. As one of WordPress.org's recommended hosting providers, this is a very good choice for WordPress sites.

Read our full SiteGround review

7. Hostinger

Hostinger
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  • Affordable web hosting
  • 1-click WordPress installer
  • 24/7 support
  • SSL certificate

You won't find many hosting providers offering plans which cost less than £1 / $1 per month, and there are catches to this deal: it's for a maximum of four years, has limited bandwidth and doesn't include a domain name or other extras such as an SSL certificate.

However, the Premium and Business plans offer similarly good-value long-term deals which give you more and are less restrictive.

Read our full Hostinger review

8. Fasthosts

Fasthosts Web Hosting
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

  • UK data centres
  • 24/7 support
  • Easy-to-use control panel
  • SSL certificate included
  • SSD storage

Fasthosts is a UK provider with web hosting packages - including WordPress - as well as dedicates plans for those who want to use the service to host and create their website.

It's all very easy to use, so is ideal for beginners and it's also a reliable and speedy service.

Read our full Fasthosts Web Hosting review

9. Bluehost

Bluehost
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  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • SSL certificate
  • Built for WordPress
  • Domain name included
  • WooCommerce-powered online shop available

Bluehost offers an express-lane style WordPress experience for anyone who needs a dynamic web presence using ready-to-go templates and themes.

There are cheaper options if you want plain hosting, but we love the simple way that Bluehost lets you dip into the full power of the WordPress content management system and it’s pretty easy to use too.

Read our full Bluehost review

10. Wix

Wix
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

  • Easy-to-use website builder
  • Free plan offered
  • 9% uptime
  • Online store available with business plans

In some ways, you can’t really call Wix a web hosting provider, nor compare it directly with many of the others here. It’s aimed at beginners and makes it a breeze to create a basic site which can then be put online, meaning Wix is indeed a web host.

It isn’t the best value if you have more demanding needs – unlimited bandwidth is only offered if you opt for one of the more expensive plans, and it’s even more expensive if you want priority tech support.

Read our full Wix review