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The best web hosting services: Expert tested

Want to build a website? We tested the top web hosting services that offer fast speeds, solid customer service, and good value for money.
Hostinger | Best web hosting service overall
Best web hosting service overall
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DreamHost | Best web hosting service for professionals
Dreamhost review | Best web hosting service
Best web hosting service for professionals
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Ionos | Best budget web hosting service
Best budget web hosting service
View now View at Ionos
GreenGeeks | Best web hosting service for the environmentally-conscious
Greengeeks review | Best web hosting service
Best web hosting service for the environmentally-conscious
View now View at GreenGeeks
GoDaddy | Best web hosting service for GoDaddy domain customers
GoDaddy review | Best web hosting service
Best web hosting service for GoDaddy domain customers
View now View at GoDaddy
Wix | Best web hosting service for simple e-commerce
Wix review | Best web hosting service
Best web hosting service for simple e-commerce
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If you want to build a website, there are dozens of web hosting providers you can turn to. Choosing the right web hosting service for you can be challenging, but you no longer need to be a programmer or pay someone to build advanced features such as e-commerce or forum management to launch a website.

Today, many web providers offer these functions, as well as a content management system (CMS) and other features like SEO assistance and security checks, in standard subscription packages -- and for an affordable price. 

Below, you will find our top recommendations for web hosting services, ranging from providers that give you a quick and easy way to build your website all the way up to companies that provide full data center infrastructure capabilities as a service.

Also: The best VPNs

What is the best web hosting service right now?

ZDNET has conducted extensive research and hands-on testing with many of the top web hosting services. Our pick for the best web hosting service overall is Hostinger. Hostinger offers inexpensive plans starting at only $2.99/month, which is suitable for most website owners. Its premium plan has everything you need: a website builder, WordPress integration, templates, emails, SEO, marketing help, and more. 

Read on for the rest of our picks for the best web hosting services in 2024.

Best web hosting services of 2024

Screenshot by Charlie Osborne/ZDNET
Pros & Cons
  • Inexpensive
  • One-click WordPress install
  • AI tools
  • Enhanced security limited to more expensive plans
  • Prices jump on renewal
More Details

Hostinger's premium plan ($2.99/month, three months free) is excellent value for the money if you want to operate multiple websites for personal or business reasons under one account.

The premium plan supports up to 100 websites. It offers users 100GB storage, up to 100 email addresses and forwarders, free SSL website security, and unlimited bandwidth, and a free domain name. 

While there's no dedicated IP address, this won't bother most website owners. Furthermore, you'll be given basic e-commerce capabilities and one-click WordPress installation and migration. The same WordPress installation can be used to support multiple WordPress websites. 

Review: Hostinger review: Good support, killer entry-level price web hosting

If you need a theme, Hostinger also provides a drag-and-drop website builder and 150 templates. The plan includes Google Analytics integration, SEO tools, and standard DDoS protection. 

Overall, we consider Hostinger's premium plan an excellent option for most website owners and small businesses. Business options begin at $2.99/month with three months added, for free.

A downside, however, is that you can only access more advanced features -- such as daily backups and increased performance -- with more expensive subscriptions. In addition, while many customers applaud Hostinger's customer service, there are reports of bounceback and slow loads by some clients operating multiple websites.

There is a limited, free plan available, with 300MB storage but no free domain or email.

Hostinger features: cPanel: Yes | SSL: Some plans | SSH: Yes | Backups: Yes | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Support: 24/7, live chat support

Pros & Cons
  • Over three-month money-back guarantee
  • Many hosting options
  • Email an additional cost
More Details

DreamHost's easy-to-use interface, efficiency, and customer support stand out to business owners and new webmasters alike. The hosting provider offers WordPress hosting, shared hosting, virtual private servers, dedicated servers, cloud hosting, and more. 

We particularly like that DreamHost offers G Suite integration, with domain integration and Google Cloud support. The company also provides a great set of resources and guides that can help customers grow their businesses, all in a cost-effective way. A free SSL certificate is available on all plans. 

Review: DreamHost review: I'm a satisfied 15-year customer

Nick Farnborough, the co-founder of Clavis Social, told ZDNET that he has "tried almost every host out there over the years and ultimately found DreamHost to be the best overall package, taking into account cost, performance, and ease of use." 

Customers online, too, have applauded the customer support and value for money of this web host, although some also note that reaching customer support teams can be challenging. Prices begin at $2.95 per month for a basic, shared plan, with email available for an additional monthly fee.

DreamHost featurescPanel: No, proprietary panel | SSL: Free | SSH: Yes | Backups: Yes | Money-back guarantee: 97 days | Support: 24/7 chat, ticket, and call-back

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET
Pros & Cons
  • Scalable
  • Affordable plans
  • Paid plans can become expensive following promotion time periods
More Details

Ionos is one of our top picks for affordable, long-term web hosting. The web hosting provider offers reliable, stable uptime with daily backups included on all plans. Free wildcard SSL certificates, email, a free domain, and 24/7 support are also included. 

Customers report great customer service, uptime, easy setup, and web hosting transitions. 

Basic plans supporting one website and with 10 databases, alongside 10GB storage space, are typically $6/month, but with the agreement of a three-year plan, will cost you $4/month. A free domain name for one year is included. 

The top deal at the moment is for Ionos Plus, a website hosting package suitable for larger, scalable projects and WordPress. On a three-year plan, you will only pay $6/month and you can operate unlimited websites with unlimited databases and storage. You will also receive a wildcard SSL certificate.

Ionos features: cPanel: Yes | SSL: Yes, wildcard | SSH: Yes | Backups: Daily | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Support: 24/7

Pros & Cons
  • Reasonably priced
  • Eco-friendly
  • Long MBG
  • On-demand backups limited to premium plans
More Details

GreenGeeks is a great web hosting option if you want to sign up for a sustainable, eco-conscious service.

GreenGeeks has developed its marketing around the concept of being environmentally friendly, with three times the power your hosting demands replaced with wind power credits and tree planting. 

It's not just the environmental factor, however -- GreenGeeks prides itself on a speedy, reliable service. Although the company's own website could use some modernization and an overhaul, the important part is the hosting, which includes standard hosting, WordPress installs, commerce, VPS, and dedicated tiers. 

You can expect to pay $2.95/month for basic plans, with options to upscale and grow over time. The basic web hosting plan only covers one website with 50GB storage, but once you move up a level, you can expect support for unlimited websites, managed WordPress installs, unlimited space, a free SSL certificate, and more. 

Customers applaud GreenGeeks' customer service, although there are reports of "hidden" fees related to specific products.

GreenGeeks features: cPanel: Yes | SSL: Free | SSH: Yes | Backups: Varies by plan | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Support: Depends on plan

Pros & Cons
  • Free, unlimited SSL for all websites on the Deluxe plan and up
  • Tutorials online to help guide your website-creating process
  • Large payment down to start hosting
More Details

GoDaddy has offered as wide an array of services as possible for individuals and small businesses needing an internet presence. It's widely known, and many customers enjoy the service.

GoDaddy is a great option if you prefer to stick with a well-known brand. It's also recently introduced AI-based services to help you find the right domain name and to assist you with branding. 

Pricing begins at $5.99/month for one website. Specific plans may qualify you for a free domain name and SSL certificate. Regarding security, automatic WordPress updates are applied, and malware scanning services are available. Each plan comes with a one-click WordPress installation, a cPanel, and daily backups. 

Review: GoDaddy: A no muss, no fuss website-building service

Customer service is reasonable, and, although not 24/7, if you need a technical lead to get something accomplished, you can usually find someone with a clue (after jumping through a few hoops, of course). However, the refund policy is restrictive and I would say the host's website is cluttered, making it difficult to find exactly what service you need -- and for what price.

ZDNET author David Gewirtz has decades of experience with GoDaddy, and he has come to respect how this web host provides the key services most customers want. They're definitely not the best at anything, but they do a good job with almost everything. 

"GoDaddy, in my opinion, is the best web host," Gerrid Smith, director of E-commerce of Joy Organics, told ZDNET. "They promise a minimum of 99.9% availability. To prevent malicious activities and repel DDoS attacks, their security team works around the clock."

GoDaddy features: cPanel: Some plans | SSL: Some plans | SSH: Some plans | Backups: Some plans | Money-back guarantee: 30 days for annual plans, 48 hours for monthly plans | Support: 24/7/365 US-based ticket and phone

Wix review | Best web hosting service
Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET
Pros & Cons
  • Lots of templates to choose from for beginner web designers
  • Simple interface
  • Website apps available with Wix support
  • Monthly plans are expensive
  • Can't switch templates, must start from scratch
More Details

If you've ever watched a YouTube video, you've seen a Wix ad. They are everywhere. With six million premium subscribers, they've got some momentum -- and are certainly capable of grabbing attention.

When selecting a website builder, why would you go with Wix over WordPress? The answer is simplicity. WordPress offers tremendous depth and customization options with plugins and widgets, but Wix quickly gets you up and running with an attractive site. 

There is nothing like the thousands of plugins and themes offered by WordPress in the Wix world, but if you want a well-designed site and you need an e-commerce solution, this is a great option. 

I selected this provider when I assisted someone in setting up a small online business, and the learning curve was easy, with no payment or downtime issues. However, for someone used to CMS backends, the more restrictive website builder can be somewhat frustrating.

Free versions, however, do contain Wix banners. You can start there, and if you like the system, convert to a paid plan and link up your chosen domain name. Plans begin at $17/month with a free domain name thrown in.

Wix features: cPanel: No | SSL: Free | SSH: No | Backups: Site history | Money-back guarantee: 14 days | Support: 24/7 English call-back

What is the best web hosting service overall?

Hostinger is ZDNET's top choice because it offers excellent features at outstanding price points, with a large selection of tools to make the process easy, even for beginner webmasters. Hostinger offers plans starting at only $2.99/month suitable for most website owners. Its premium plan has everything you need: a website builder, WordPress integration, templates, emails, SEO, marketing help, and more. However, our other top picks are also worthy competitors.

Web hosting serviceStarting price per monthFree SSLMoney-back guarantee deadline
HostingerFree/$2.99+Yes30 days
DreamHost$2.95Yes97 days
Ionos$4+Yes30 days
GreenGeeks$2.95+Yes30 days
GoDaddyFree, $5.99+Specific plans30 days
WixFree, paid plans starting at $17/monthYes14 days

Which web hosting service is right for you?

To help make the process of selecting your new web hosting provider simpler, here is a guide to making your decision less of a hassle, based on what is most important to you. 

Choose this web hosting service...If you want...
HostingerA one-size-fits-all hosting provider that will accommodate multiple businesses, side gigs, and personal websites, for less. It is a great way to quickly streamline the website build and management process.
DreamHostShared web hosting packages and a wide array of features and services. Web designers or developers can take advantage of an over 3-month money-back guarantee period.
IonosAn affordable, long-term hosting provider. Ionos has extremely positive user reviews overall, with many applauding easy transitions and strong customer support.
GreenGeeksA web host that is eco-conscious. GreenGeeks provides easy-to-understand hosting packages and will plant a tree with each sign-up.
GoDaddyA web hosting platform that tightly integrates with GoDaddy's impressive array of additional services. They do a good job with almost everything, including pricing and customer service.
WixA website with a simple setup, with a focus on e-commerce. Wix gets you up and running with an attractive site quickly.

Factors to consider when choosing a web hosting service

When selecting your new web hosting provider in 2024, there are some crucial factors you should consider:

  • Reliability: We always recommend you choose a web hosting provider with a long history of stable, reliable service. After all, your website could end up being the central hub of your business for promotion and customer communication, so constant downtime can harm your reputation.
  • Affordability: Your budget must be based on the purpose of your web hosting package. Whether you want a single, small slice of hosting real estate for a personal blog or you want to run a large e-commerce store, it will change how much you should expect to pay. Set a budget you can easily afford and find the right provider to match you.
  • Scalability: You need to consider the most important functions or uses of your website. If you expect to grow your business over time and you expect heavy traffic, you will need to be able to scale the hosting's capabilities over time. Choose a provider with upgrade options. 
  • Customer support: We find that customer support can be extremely important when you sign up for a web hosting service. Whether you are a beginner or want to run a plethora of websites, you should choose a provider with customer support options.

How did we choose these web hosting services?

When we compiled this list, we began with web hosts ZDNET authors are personally familiar with. ZDNET does extensive testing on and research into web hosting providers, taking into consideration user reviews, competitor analysis, personal usage and experiences, and more.

Some of us have been running production websites for decades, with sites that have served millions of pages. Others have used web hosts for personal blogs, writing projects, and to help individuals launch small businesses. 

We chose these providers because we believe they offer some of the best services in the market. These are the main factors we considered:

  • Features offered: Deciding on the best web hosting provider for you requires you to consider what features are a priority. We've included options for CMS implementation, e-commerce, design services, SEO services, cybersecurity functions, and more. 
  • Price: Naturally, the price point is a very important factor when we choose our web hosting provider recommendations. We have included options suitable for varying budgets, all the way from personal blogs to small businesses and large enterprise setups that will need to scale.
  • Stability: We have included only reputable web hosting providers that provide stable services with minimal downtime. After all, there's no point in having a speedy, responsive website if downtime is a constant problem.
  • Customer experiences: If you are going to sign up for a long-term web hosting service, you need to know how the company treats and supports its customers. We have examined customer reviews and feedback.

Which web host is best for beginners?

Wix and Squarespace are the two web hosts we would recommend for beginners. With an abundance of creative templates between the two platforms, users can gain experience in web development with an attractive site. If you have experience with CMS platforms, you could look at WordPress.com.

Can you get web hosting for free?

Yes. There are many sites that allow for free hosting, but to do so, you will have a generic, branded domain. For example, if you were to have a free WordPress website, your domain would be [yourwebsitename].wordpress.com. 

Be careful, though. Many of the free offers end after a period of time and then you're stuck on a service that will likely charge you a considerable additional fee to keep using it. Or, the website host may allow you to have a free website on the condition that you allow adverts to be displayed.

Who is the largest web hosting company?

GoDaddy is one of the most popular web hosting service providers. Then, of course, there are the hosting plans from Amazon and Google, which are larger (in terms of revenue) than some countries.

What are the best WordPress hosting services?

We might as well get WordPress out of the way since if we're talking web hosts, we're going to talk WordPress. About 63% of websites with content management systems use the open-source WordPress CMS

The WordPress ecosystem is huge, and finding the right WordPress host is a challenge on its own. Beyond WordPress.com, the service offered by the creators of the CMS, there are a large number of managed hosting providers and an even larger number of hosting providers that specialize in providing a WordPress-optimized server for your website. Nearly every hosting provider will allow a WordPress install, considering its popularity.

What are the best Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers?

Our recommendations include IaaS providers you probably know intimately, such as Amazon. They are highly credible vendors who've been providing infrastructure for years.

If you're just starting, you might not want to go all-in with an IaaS provider, although they offer the most flexibility. Some, like Amazon and Digital Ocean, allow you to point-and-click configure virtual WordPress machines or almost any other open-source content management system you may want. It might be overkill for SMBs, though.

What are the best point-and-click website builders?

A website builder is a type of software that lets you craft your business website, generally without programming knowledge or experience. Many allow you to choose from templates and then modify those templates to suit your look and layout.

Nearly all web hosting providers include some kind of website-building software. But for most hosting plans, it's often an afterthought. By contrast, the website builders listed in this section are provided by web hosting services that have made point-and-click website building tools with excellent customer support and solid up-time a core priority in their offering. 

You do sacrifice some control when choosing a website builder solution, but if you've never done any web development and you want a beautiful, usable website quickly, these services are for you. One warning: There are a lot of lock-ins here. You won't be able to transfer the look of your site (and sometimes the content) to another hosting provider easily. So keep that in mind when you choose a website builder. 

What is the difference between a web host and a web server?

A web host is a service provider, such as Wix or GoDaddy, that provides the space, storage, and resources required to keep a website online, typically under a rental agreement. A web server is a computer system that stores files and shares them to become accessible to the web.

Are there alternative web hosting services to consider?

There are countless web hosting providers out there, and not all of them can make the list of our top recommendations, despite offering excellent service. Below, you will find other hosts to consider that may be more suitable for your requirements:

View at WordPressView at AWSView at GoogleView at LiquidWebView at DigitalOceanView at SquarespaceView at Inmotion HostingView at RackspaceView at PagelyView at MicrosoftView at Weebly

Meet the experts

ZDNET sourced external industry experts for this article. Here is more information about them:

  • Nick Farnborough: A digital marketing expert with over seven years of experience, and the co-founder of Clavis Social digital marketing agency.
  • Gerrid Smith: An SEO expert with over 18 years of experience, and the director of E-commerce of Joy Organics.

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