If you are just starting out your adventure of having your own website, then you need to learn a few things about web hosting in order to choose the best option. Choosing a web host can be a time-consuming and tough decision because there are so many options available and there are so many web hosts you can choose from. It is a very competitive market and if you don’t know what to look for, you might end up with a web host which can’t really give you all the things that you need to make your website stand out for its reliability, speed and design.
So, for all beginners out there, I will try to ease this entire process a little bit in this article. First, I will talk about shared hosting plans because that is usually the best choice for people that are just starting out. After that, I will cover some of the most important factors you need to consider when you choose your web hosting provider. And in the end, just to make things as easy as possible for you, I will talk about my favorite web hosts for beginners.
Before I jump into explaining how to choose a hosting provider as a beginner, I will give you the list of the web hosting companies that I recommend for beginners:
Beginner Friendly Hosting: What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting means that you share the server and its resources with other clients and their websites. Shared hosting is the type of hosting that is the most popular and that is especially commonly used by beginners. The reasons for this are multiple, but the biggest advantage that shared hosting plans have compared to other hosting plans, like dedicated hosting or VPS hosting, is the price. Shared hosting is the cheapest form of hosting and that is very important for beginners since they don’t know what they can exactly expect when it comes to the amount of traffic their website will generate.
Next to this benefit, there are some other advantages that shared hosting offers to their users. For example, shared hosting is great for beginners because it is extremely simple and allows you to learn as you go. You also get a lot of one-click installers that can help you build your website in the fastest and simplest way possible.
Another advantage that shared hosting has is the ease of use, particularly the maintenance. This is usually done by your web host, which leaves you free to worry about other and probably more important parts of your business.
Of course, shared hosting plans come with certain drawbacks as well. The first and the most obvious one comes from the fact that you have to share resources with other websites. That means that you can sometimes experience problems, or even downtime, if the server has too much traffic and can’t handle it. Your website might also load a bit slower in some situations.
Another flaw of shared hosting plans is customization because you don’t get as many customization options as you get with other, more expensive hosting plans. You might even experience some security issues, since you don’t know who you are sharing the server with, which means that one of your neighbors might actually pose a threat to your website.
How to Choose Web Hosting for Beginners?
As I have already mentioned, you will have to consider some things before you make your decision and go with one web host. There are many factors that could influence your choice and I will cover some of the most basic ones that all beginners need to be aware of.
Yes, there are different shared hosting plans that offer various amounts of server space for your website. If you are a beginner, that usually means that you won’t need terabytes of space or even a lot less than that, so you need to carefully consider and calculate what is enough for your needs, so you don’t overpay your plans to get the space you won’t even use.
Reliability is an extremely important factor when it comes to web hosting since that term basically covers two most important things for web hosting – speed and uptime. First, you need to make sure that the web hosting provider you are considering is fast, so your website doesn’t load too slowly. Secondly, you need to check the uptime of the web host you want to use because your website might experience downtime otherwise. Both of these things can lead to you losing your audience and clients, leading to you losing money, so do your research and make sure that this doesn’t happen.
Data Transfer Limitations
This is another important thing to consider and to know how big of a limit you need when thinking about the data you plan on publishing on your website. However, you can always upgrade your transfer limits, so you shouldn’t overpay for it in the beginning. Go with a more conservative estimate instead.
Since you are just a beginner, you need to make sure that your web host has a great customer support. Considering your status as a rookie, you will probably have to use the customer support more than a few times and you need to receive the best possible advice and help so you can overcome any issues you might face.
Plans & Price
Last, but not the least, is the price. The cost of shared hosting plans shouldn’t be the main concern, but it should be considered nonetheless, especially if you have a tight budget. You only need to make sure to find the right balance between the lowest possible price and the resources you need. Look for the best possible option that covers all your requirements but is not overpriced at the same time.
Now that you know what things you need to take into account when you choose the best web hosting provider for your needs, we can take some time to discuss the best options out there, at least in my own experience and opinion.
This web hosting provider has been around since 1998 and in that time, they have managed to become one of the most reliable and respectable web hosting companies in the world, with millions of clients and websites.
Shared Hosting Plans
Even though iPage is a great web hosting provider, they don’t really excel when it comes to shared hosting plans because they only offer one plan and that plan is only available for Linux clients. However, if you don’t care about server operation system and Linux is just fine for you, and you want to get shared hosting, the Essential Plan from iPage has it all. Their shared hosting plan is great for beginners and you can get it for as low as $1.99 / month with the current promotional offer. The normal price for this plan is $7.99 per month, and you need to sing a contract for at least one year.
This hosting plan gets you unlimited storage space and has no data transfer limit. It also comes with an unlimited number of email addresses and MySQL databases. You also get one free domain for the whole year and the ability to use countless themes and templates to design your website just the way you want.
This web host is one of the best when it comes to uptime and for the time that I have been testing them, which was two months, I have only experienced downtime couple of times and it was for as little as 3-5 minutes each time, so it is safe to say that iPage is a reliable web host for beginners.
iPage has some amazing security features and can help you stay safe at all times. One of those features is SiteLock which provides protection from safety breaches. That is done by scanning your website and server regularly in order to find any potential malware issues and threats. In addition to this, you also receive a firewall that prevents any safety leaks and just in case that something does go wrong, iPage does daily backups of all your data so you can pick up where you left off in some unfortunate event.
BlueHost has been in the business for more than 20 years, a company that owns many hosting companies. This guarantees quality and reliability and BlueHost fits the profile perfectly.
Shared Hosting Plans
Contrary as the previous entry on our list, BlueHost offers multiple shared hosting plans. These hosting plans pricing starts at just $3.95 per month. All hosting plan include a free domain name, unmetered bandwidth, some plans include unlimited website space, multiple email accounts, option to host more than one website on same account, basically everything a beginner would need to get started online.
BlueHost is great for beginners, because it comes with numerous features and options that are easy to use. The offer 1-click WordPress installation, so if you are going to build your website using WordPress, there is no hassle setting up your website. Their cPanel hosting control panel is very intuitive, easy to use, and beginner-friendly. So even if you never used a hosting service before, is easy to get used to it. BlueHost also offers 30-day money back guarantee, so there is no risk on your side.
Judging by my own experience with BlueHost, their customer support is pretty solid. The first time I have called them I did wait a bit longer than I would have liked; somewhere around ten minutes, but the second time I got connected within two minutes. On both occasions their employees were pleasant and helpful and very, very professional. They were able to answer all my questions and help me with my issues, so they get a strong grade from me. You can contact their customer support via email, telephone or live chat. They also have a knowledgebase available for anyone that wants to investigate on their own.
There are many security features that help your website stay safe with BlueHost. They provide SSL security for personal data and constant network monitoring. Although BlueHost does not offer any guarantee on uptime, our test resulted in over 99.9% uptime over 30 day period, which is very good for a shared hosting plan. This is a great web hosting provider for beginners and a very smart choice, because you can upgrade your shared plans any time, if you might need more server resources or higher security.
HostGator is another reliable and trustworthy hosting company that can help any beginner get started with their own website. They are one of the cheapest options on the web hosting market, but that is only one of their many advantages.
Shared Hosting Plans
HostGator offers multiple shared hosting plans as well a wide range of options for upgrade. Their cheapest hosting plans starts at $3.95 / month ans allows hosting a single domain, includes unmetered bandwidth and one-click installation of various scripts such as WordPress, Joomla and other open source software.
Each shared plan includes a free HostGator website builder with over 100 mobile-friendly templates. They also provide free assistance for website transfer, domain transfer as well database and script transfer. On top of that, you will get $100 Google Adwrods offer and $100 Bing Ads Credit.
They use the latest version of cPanel as web hosting control panel, which is easy to use even by beginners.
HostGator offers a guarantee for their claimed 99.9% uptime as well 45-day money back guarantee. Another great thing about HostGator is weekly backups that are performed on all their servers. They do all the maintenance themselves, so you don’t have to worry about that.
They also provide a great number of site creation tools, which are easy to use and allow you to customize your website to the tiniest detail without the need of writing any code.
Customer support is one of the biggest reasons to choose HostGator. They have gained a respectable reputation for their customer support, which is available to you on the phone or online chat, as well as email, all working 24/7. They also have many tutorials, in video and written form, and an enormous knowledgebase which helps they users learn how to use their web hosting account
WebHostingHub is in business since 2001. They are not the most popular web host, however, they are growing rapidly thanks to their cheap hosting and multiple shared plans that cover all things any beginner or small business might need.
Shared Hosting Plans
As I have already mentioned, this web hosting provider has 3 hosting plans. The first one is priced at $4.99 per month and comes with a free domain, unlimited hosting and allows hosting two websites. Each plan includes free SSL, free SSD storage (which is great for boosting website speed, up to 20x faster than regular HDD storage), 1-click installer for WordPress or some other CMS. Automatic backup is available for each plan for an extra $1 / month.
Free advertising credits range from $75 to $250, depending on the plan you choose.
If you decide to use WordPress for building your website, you can install a free page builder tool called BoldGrid to your WordPress site. BoldGrid is a well developed page builder which will help you customize your website in the smallest detail.
Customer satisfaction and technical support has been always a priority at WebHostingHub. They guarantee to answer your call in less than 2 minutes and they fully deliver on that promise, as I have been proven on several occasions. They are available via email, live chat or phone and whatever you choose; you will be greeted in a friendly and professional manner.
WebHostingHub also has countless detailed tutorials for beginners and newbies in their Help Center, getting them the much-needed help for creating and running a website or blog.
Uptime and Performance
WebHostingHub guarantees 99.9% uptime and in little less than two months that I tested them, they have never been down. Not only that, they also offer 90-day money back guarantee. The downside is that this hosting company only offers shared hosting plans, which is not great news for all those that need to scale up their hosting plans. For a beginner, though, it is a great place to start.
JustHost is a renowned company that offers web hosting services since 2008. They are one of the most recognizable web hosting providers in the world thanks to their affordable prices and numerous extra features that allow you to enrich your website.
Shared Hosting Plans
There are three different Linux-based shared hosting plans available at JustHost. The first one, the Starter plan, comes with a price of $5.99 per month and provides you with 100 emails, unlimited data transfers, 100 GB of storage space and a free domain for one year. With all this, you also get basic website backup. The second plan is called Plus and costs $9.99/month. This plan offers everything the Starter does with an unlimited number of emails, domains and unlimited storage space. The last plan from JustHost is the Business Pro plan, which is priced at $19.99 per month and comes with a one-year contract. This plan has the same features as the Plus plan and ads free domain registration forever, as well as free SSL certificate.
This web host has numerous security features that can help protect your website from various threats. There is a basic backup plan for all plans, while the Business Pro plan also provides backup for individual folders and files. There is also an option to buy SSL certificates that will allow you to perform secure transactions. Another thing you can purchase is SiteLock that provides malware scanning and then removal of any potential threats.
JustHost has one of the most reliable customer support services you can find in the web hosting world. They are friendly, professional and knowledgeable. I have called their customer support three times and never waited more than three minutes (actually, only once they left me waiting for a little more than two minutes). In addition to their 24/7 telephone line, you can also contact them using their live Web chat.
There are many things you need to carefully think about when you are starting out with your own website and look for web hosting for beginners. I hope that my article has helped you understand some of the most important factors and features you should look for in a web hosting provider and that my list of best web hosts for beginners has, at least to some extent, helped you invest less time and effort into finding the perfect web host for your needs.
Updated: February 7, 2019