When it comes to choosing online services, information is key. In this article, we’ll provide you with a thorough breakdown of what’s out there to help you make an informed decision. We’ll take a look at the major hosting providers, as well as some alternatives. Then we’ll compare and review their plans in order to get a general overview of the web hosting industry as it stands now. To get a sense of how big these companies are, we decided to evaluate them on total domains hosted. Therefore we tended to exclude registrar services and domain parking in this evaluation – although we did also take these things into account.
In general there are a few big box hosting companies which tend to dominate the market. Think names like GoDaddy, HostGator, BlueHost and the likes. These companies tend to offer very similar plans, pricing and features. On the surface it may seem like these players have a monopoly on the market, but that’s simply not the case. However, we do tend to think that the major hosting companies “set the bar” in terms of how much shared hosting packages cost and what’s included. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of variation in the market in terms of pricing, features, and value.
Major web host providers
To better understand the hosting business-sphere we’ll first have to talk about the big corporations which own the hosting companies and general IT/internet infrastructure. Endurance International group, GoDaddy, 1&1 Ionos, Web Group Inc, and their subsidiaries, are the companies we’ll be talking about in this article. Generally these companies have been around since the “early” days, or they have grown through strategic acquisitions of competition. There are thousands of different hosting companies to choose from. In-fact, “other hosts” make up a significant portion of the marketshare. Nevertheless, a large portion of websites will be hosted by one of the four aforementioned companies.
Top World Hosts
Top European Hosts
Top US Hosts
GoDaddy has been around for a long time by internet standards. Starting off as a domain registrar service in 1997, they have since branched out into web hosting, along with a slew of other businesses. They are the biggest web host provider, offering services to over 20 million users. Capturing a whopping 46% of the US hosting market and nearly a quarter of the world’s hosting services, GoDaddy is a serious force to be reckoned with. Most of their popularity likely sprang from the fact that in the early days of the internet if you wanted to buy a domain name, GoDaddy would have been your first port of call.
GoDaddy and HostEurope
HostEurope used to be a parent corporation to several major webhosting companies including:
- Host Europe
Back in 2017 HostEurope and its subsidiaries were bought out by GoDaddy. This has allowed GoDaddy to solidify it’s foothold on European hosting, as well as diminish its overall competition in the hosting market. We’ll look at plans and pricing a bit later on. Take note that WebFusion, a GoDaddy subsidiary, controls a significant portion of the European market. Their main competitor is 1&1 Ionos, who have FastHosts under their belt.
Endurance International Group
This company is one of the largest hosting providers in the world, with over 30 distinct hosting companies under their corporate umbrella. They specialize in web hosting, but own lots of internet and other IT-related businesses including domain registration and SEO services. Here is a small and incomplete list of some of the bigger companies under the Endurance International Group corporate umbrella:
- Domain.com Hosting
They own dozens of other hosting companies, but the biggest by far are BlueHost and HostGator. BlueHost commands about 2.3% of the U.S. hosting market, and about 1.4% of the global market. HostGator boasts about 4% of the US market and 1.6% of the global market. Combined together, that’s about 3% of the global market and a little over 6% of the U.S. market. Combined with all their other smaller hosting companies, Endurance Global controls a significant amount of the global and U.S. web-hosting market, but is still much smaller than GoDaddy.
There is some criticism of EIG floating around on the likes of reddit and other web forums. With bloggers and web-masters saying you should avoid them because they over charge for the hosting packages you get, and their servers are over-crowded which has a negative impact on website performance. A user from reddit says
“They have a long and consistent history of buying up mostly reasonably-well-regarded hosting brands, giving it about a year, then migrating all of that brand’s users to their terrible central platform, firing all that brand’s support staff and replacing them with their central support team (which are too few in number and have no access/ability/willingness to be particularly helpful).”
There is some truth in this, but is perhaps a bit simplistic and overly critical of the reality of the situation. Many users are happy with the services they get from an EIG owned hosts. EIG offers some very economically sensible hosting options, which may fit the bill for a lot of people and their needs. Think of them as the “Wal-Mart” of hosting: lots of hosting options, with good prices, but not exactly a “premium” option
United Internet and 1&1 Ionos
United Internet is a German corporation that owns several major hosting companies, webmail providers, and broadband service providers. The two major companies under their belt are 1&1 Ionos and FastHosts.
1&1 Ionos was founded more than 30 years ago and now serves more than 8 million customers, making it one of the world’s largest hosting providers. Being a German company, they tend to be more popular among Europeans, but nevertheless they’re still widely used by people in North America. They command about 2.1% of the global hosting market and 3.5% of the U.S. market.
FastHosts was originally a small web hosting company born in the UK. Eventually it grew, and became a sizable web hosting company. In 2006 FastHosts was bought out by United Internet, but still remains one of the top UK and European web hosting companies.
Web.com Group Inc
This is another mega corporation which is mostly focused on domain registration, web hosting, and other web services, such as web development and advertising services. Through acquisitions Web.com came to acquire and own register.com and Network Solutions . This is a similar business model to how Endurance International Group has grown; focusing on buying up competition and companies that fit within their niche. They have even taken over large parts of the Latin-American hosting market with their acquisition of Donweb.com in 2017. Both Register.com and Network Solutions provide hosting as well as other web development services. It is reported that Network Solutions serve about 2.3% of the global hosting where as register serves about 1.2%. In the US these figures are 3.8% and 2.0% respectively.
There’s not a great deal of English-language information out there about Hichina. Nevertheless, they provide hosting to about 1% of the world’s hosting population. Their services are generally targeted at the Chinese market.
Major Providers for N. America
In this section we’ll break it down a bit more and talk about the biggest and most popular hosts in North America. Some of the names you’ve already been introduced to, but there are many more which we’ll cover in this section. GoDaddy is by far the most popular hosting company in N. America, followed by HostGator, 1 &1 Ionos, BlueHost, DreamHost, and NameCheap.
More than just domain registration services. Lots of hosting options at fair market prices. GoDaddy claims the title of the most popular host in the USA and one of the biggest in the world.
The second most popular host in N. America, and we can understand why. They offer great plans and pricing with an easy to use and understand control panel.
Boasting 10 data centers in 5 countries, with over 90,000 severs, and over 8 million customers, 1&1 Ionos is a massive hosting company just by the numbers. Just like all the major hosts they offer Shared Hosting, WordPress Hosting, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting at very reasonable prices with no sneaky renewal fees.
The second most popular host in the USA, they offer very competitively priced plans, and a wide variety of packages to choose from. BlueHost is a very recognized host, boasting huge brand name recognition.
DreamHost offers high quality hosting packages at very decent rates, offering great value for money. They may not be the biggest host, but are quite popular in N. America.
A direct competitor to GoDaddy, offering domain registration and web-hosting. NameCheap has made ripples in the market by being able to offer extremely affordable hosting that doesn’t compromise on quality. Founded in 2000 they offer hosting to over 11 million users. Their pricing structure might be made possible by the fact that they are an independently owned and operated company.
Top European Web Hosts
Some of these hosts may not be as familiar sounding, but still serve millions of people around the world, with a majority of their clientele being in Europe. We’ve already mentioned 1&1 Ionos as being a major global, European, and N. American web hosting provider; nevertheless OVH, and Hetzner are popular alternatives in Europe.
OVH is a hosting company based in France and claims the title of “largest hosting provider in Europe”. They also claim to be one of the largest hosting providers in the world based on the number of actual servers they operate.
Hetzner is a German company that is mostly popular in Europe. They don’t have much of a presence in North America, but remain popular in Europe in part because of their cheap plans that deliver value for money.
Catering mostly to the UK and European crowd, Fasthosts offer very reasonably-priced hosting. FastHosts has been trying to break into the U.S. market by offering reseller hosting. As of a few years ago they boast about half a million customers.
Owned by Endurance International group, JustHost is their popular European web host provider. Think of JustHost as the European equivalent of BlueHost. Although most popular in Europe, they still have clients all over the world.
Heart Internet is a popular UK based web host.
Considering that nearly 60% of the global market is made up of “other hosts” it’s worth taking a look at the alternatives. In the U.S. only 33% of hosts fall under the “other” category as GoDaddy has such a large percentage of the marketshare.
SiteGround is a popular host offering hosting to over 2 million domains worldwide. The company is actually based in Bulgaria, but nevertheless seems to be popular among English speaking people. They offer premium web hosting, with top notch customer service and support, for a “fair” price.
A smaller UK-based web hosting company that promises to plant trees for each website they host. They provide a great product at a good price without any hidden renewal fees. Offering exemplary support and an eco-friendly outlook, it’s hard to go wrong with EcoWebHosting.
With data centers located around the world, fair price packages, and awesome features, you’d be hard pressed not to like whats on offer by ChemiCloud hosting. Furthermore, they are independently owned and operated, meaning you won’t find any corporate-style pricing and offers.
A2 Web Hosting
Boasting the fastest speeds, with their turbo servers A2 offers awesome hosting packages at reasonable market prices. Coupled with good support, good uptime, and speed, A2 hosting is a great choice for those looking for an all-round awesome hosting package.
Privately owned, independent hosting provider offering cloud hosting at a decent price. Generally, customers are happy with the products and the services provided by FastComet.
With over 29 million users across the globe Hostinger probably deserves a spot higher up on our list here. We tend to look at total domains hosted as a metric here, rather than looking at parked domains and registrar services mixed together. For that reason we’ve given them a spot in our honorable mentions.
If you’re looking to stay private and host adult content, gambling, or other similar types of websites you might want to check out Flaunt7. Flaunt7 provides offshore hosting services, with a focus on your privacy needs.
Plans, Pricing and Value Comparison
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s look at what each major web hosting corporation offers in terms of price, value, and features. We’ll review the plans and pricing for GoDaddy, Endurance International Group (and it’s subsidiaries), United Internet/ 1&1 Ionos, and Web.com (and it’s subsidiaries).
In general, what you’ll find is that the major hosting companies under the same corporate umbrella will offer pretty much the same thing for about the same price. On the other hand, the lesser known and more “niche” offshoot companies tend to offer different pricing and deals. This is probably to be expected, as “big box” brand hosting don’t really want to suck competition away from each other, but rather provide “fair pricing” within the market.
GoDaddy and Subsidiaries
GoDaddy offer 3 tiers of hosting:
- VPS Hosting
Within each subset there are a few different caveats. Shared can be under a “WordPress” type hosting plan, and VPS can be under a “Business” type plan, meaning that essentially the VPS is managed for you.
GoDaddy Shared Hosting
The promotional offer deals are in the bold print, but if you notice below them, renewal fees are much higher. Ranging from $5.99-$19.99/month for the promotional offer and $8.99-$24.99/month when it’s time to renew your plan. They do offer a “free” domain for one year, but it won’t be a high level one. Surprisingly, the two lower-tier plans don’t include any SSL certificate options, and their “Ultimate” plan only includes one. If you’re hosting several sites and require more than 1 SSL certificate you’ll either have to pay for it yourself or dish-out the cash for the “Maximum” plan at $20/month.
Overall the packages are OK. GoDaddy tries to leverage the fact that they have a huge repository of domains by offering you one upon sign-up. The “Ultimate” plan for $12.99/month and $16.99 ranks about average against the competition. If the domain freebie is enough to entice you over, then you should go with GoDaddy, otherwise you have plenty of other options to choose from.
GoDaddy ‘WordPress’ Hosting
What exactly is the difference between Shared Hosting and WordPress hosting? Well, not much really. If you were to go with the WordPress hosting package you’ll get some extras like:
- 99.99% uptime promise and money back garuntee
- Automatic WordPress core updates
- CDN (although cloudflare offers a free option, so anyone can get this)
- Migration tool
Overall the pricing is about the same as the shared hosting plan, but with seemingly less to offer. Sure you get WordPress Core updates, but any WordPress user knows you can just click a button and it’ll update. The daily malware scan and unlimited malware removal and hack repair is an awesome feature, which in our opinion adds a lot of value. Nevertheless, e-mail for only 1 year, and only 1 website? We see these as deal breakers for GoDaddy WP hosting.
GoDaddy Business, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting
If your hosting needs are beyond that of a shared hosting plan, you can opt for a VPS option, Business Hosting, or a dedicated server. Business Hosting is basically a VPS option with an easy to manage cPanel; meaning it will look like most common hosting panels, with 1-click installs, but with the added ability to handle higher traffic loads, and allowed root access. GoDaddy offers both unmanaged(self-managed) and fully-managed VPS options. If you need even more power and control you can opt for dedicated hosting; which is basically having a whole server machine to yourself.
Business and VPS Hosting
As mentioned above, Business Hosting is essentially the power of a VPS type plan with an easy to use and manage control panel. Sounds pretty good actually if you’re after something with more power than a shared hosting plan. With prices starting at $19.99/month($30/month come renewal time), the plan offers pretty good value for money. Nevertheless, we don’t like that after a year you’ll have to start paying for Office 365 e-mail when there are plenty of free ways to manage your e-mail.
If you have the know-how and want the power and flexibility of VPS hosting, GoDaddy offers exceedingly cheap plans for being able to manage your own server, with plans starting at just $5/month, with no renewal fees! They also offer higher RAM packages, which on the basic plan offers 2GB of RAM for $10/month and 8GB of RAM on the 2 vCPU plan for $30/month. These plans might be ideal for systems administrators or developers who are well versed with servers and know how to run and maintain them.
If you don’t have the know how, but still want the power and flexibility of a VPS server, you can opt for the fully-managed VPS option. This plan offers 24/7 support, as well as an easy-to-manage cPanel for users who aren’t as tech-savy. Although asking GoDaddy to manage and maintain your server will come at a higher price-tag, starting at around $100/month with no renewal fees.
GoDaddy seems to favor higher-level hosting, offering a bit more value for customers who opt in for VPS, or Business Hosting packages. Perhaps one appeal of GoDaddy is that they have such a wide range of hosting packages to choose from. Nevertheless, we don’t really like their shared or WordPress hosting packages; but we can thoroughly recommend the business hosting and VPS hosting options.
If you’re in need of the most robust hosting possible, GoDaddy has an option for you. Mainly aimed at big businesses, agencies, and professional developers. Dedicated hosting is like renting your own personal hosting computer in one of GoDaddy’s data centers.
This is the SSD hard-drive plan. For $10 less on the basic plan you can opt for the HHD drives, but…why would anyone do that? There are no renewal fees and you get top of the line hardware.
Wrap-Up on GoDaddy
GoDaddy gained a strong foothold decades ago as being the go-to place for buying domains, and still retains that title in many ways. GoDaddy offers mid-market price shared hosting packages, with decent value for money. They will even throw in a free domain (for one year), so if that’s a selling point for you, GoDaddy might be a good choice. Nevertheless, we feel that the higher tier packages such as: Business Hosting, and VPS hosting are much better value for money. For that reason, business that require more robust hosting options may find that GoDaddy offers some pretty good deals for your needs. People looking to host just one website, or websites with lower traffic should find better value for money with hosts like NameCheap or DreamHost.
Endurance International Group’s Subsidiaries Plans and Pricing(EIG)
Here we’ll do a cross comparison between the main hosts under the EIG hosting umbrella, and see how their plans vary. Endurance International doesn’t actually have it’s own brand of hosting, rather it owns and manages several companies that provide hosting. They own over 30 companies, which is beyond the scope of this article, so we’ll just look at their biggest and most popular hosts. These include:
- BlueHost (check out our full review here)
- HostGator (check out our full review here)
- Domain Hosting
BlueHost and HostGator
Since BlueHost and HostGator are the two biggest on the list we’ll do them together and see how they differ. BlueHost, based out of Utah, claims to host over 2 million domains and offer a wide variety of hosting packages. HostGator, on the other hand, is a bit more widespread, boasting more websites and a larger global presence. They’ve achieved this by launching operations in India, with a data center located in Nashik Maharashtra. They have also launched websites catering towards customers in China, Russia, Brazil, India, Turkey, Mexico, UK, and Australia.
Just like GoDaddy and most other hosting providers these days, both BlueHost and HostGator offer Shared Hosting, WordPress Hosting, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting packages.
Shared Hosting Plans
Their Basic plans are essentially the same, at about the same price point and offering a similar amount of features. It’s a “one trick pony” offering a single domain with an SSL certificate for just under $3.00 per month. The price after renewal is also about the same, coming to just under $8.00 per month.
The higher tier plans are almost identical as well, with the notable exceptions of the promotional price and a few other unique selling points. HostGator’s Business Plan seems to take the cake at just under $6.00 for roughly the same plan. Both offer site backup, although it’s not listed on their pricing brochure. BlueHost does offer better performance and “spam experts,” but we’re not sure it justifies paying twice as much for.
|Plan||HostGator||BlueHost||HostGator Renewal||BlueHost Renewal|
BlueHost and HostGator WordPress Hosting
WordPress hosting is basically just regular shared hosting that has been optimized for the use of WordPress. Boasting better security and speed, WordPress hosting might appeal to those who are looking for those features. Both HostGator and BlueHost offer WordPress hosting, but BlueHost has recently (as of Oct 2020) added “WP Pro Hosting” packages, as well as WP eCommerce hosting. Let’s take a look.
HostGator WP Hosting
BlueHost WP Hosting, WP PRO, and eCommerce
Our Opinion (on standard WP hosting Bluehost vs. Hostgator)
Since these plans are new and somewhat niche, there is a bigger variation in what you get compared to shared hosting. We’re going to have to recommend BlueHost on this one, simply because of the better price and similar features. On the plus plan you get unlimited websites, a free domain for 1 year and automatic WordPress core updates; whereas on HostGator for the same price all those features are limited to 1 domain.
BlueHost WP Pro and eCommerce
The Pro plans are for ONLY 1 WP website offering;
- unlimited web storage
- a staging environment
- unlimited traffic
- malware scan/removal
- multi-layered caching for increased speed
- Auto-scalability for traffic surges
- Advanced analytics and social media controls
- Daily Backups
One interesting feature of these BlueHost WP plans is the included video compression. If your site is video or content-heavy this could prove extremely useful. The plans also boast extra features like “Marketing Center”, and BlueHost SEO tools- a place where you can monitor your traffic and social media from one dashboard.
Manage your SEO, Social Media and Email traffic channels all in one dashboard. Monitor the performance of your website and marketing efforts from the same dashboard.
Monitor your website traffic performance on a daily, weekly, or yearly basis. Already use Google Analytics? You can easily integrate your existing Google Analytics account into the Marketing Center to view your traffic channelsBlueHost
We do like the marketing and SEO tools, as they are intuitive, easy to use, and overall and awesome feature. But once again, many of these features can be set up manually with a few plug-ins and elbow grease, making them mostly appeal to users who are unfamiliar with what’s actually available in terms of plug-ins and freemium applications.
Starting at $9.95/month for the “Build” (basic) plan and $30/month after renewal, you’ll have to consider if the extra features are worth it over the regular shared hosting. Many of the extra bells and whistles can be set up for free on a shared hosting account with plug-ins, and free software, although if you’re looking for a hassle free way to get awesome SEO tools, want to host a lot of videos on your website, then the PRO plans might be well worth it for you.
If you run an online store, you’ve probably heard of WooCommerce. BlueHosts offers a special WordPress hosting for eCommerce sites. This includes extras like WooCommerce auto install, a free domain, and unlimited online stores. Some store owners might be intrigued by these plans, but we don’t really see the point of them. Instead, we recommend just opting for the WP hosting or the regular shared hosting and installing WooCommerce yourself, since it’s really quick and easy to do. There are some awesome integrations included such as; shipping, payment, and accounting integrations. We always welcome stuff like this, but as stated before if you want to save money, most of these features can be found with free plugins and freemium services.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2020– since writing this article, BlueHost has modified the plans and prices, which are displayed below offering “STANDARD(on the left) and PREMIUM(on the right). As you might have noticed, the price have also gone up significantly. The advantage of these plans is that you can avoid plugin bloat, and that you can manage all your integrations from one convenient dashboard provided by BlueHost.
Some key features of the plans are:
- UPS, USPS, and FedEX shipping integrations: for shipping quotes and reliable delivery of products.
- PayPal Pro: direct payment processing with credit cards on your site
- Xero: integrated accounting functions
- Sensei: platform for launching online courses with integrated payment gateways
- Product CVS Import
- Amazon Pay and Stripe
BlueHost and HostGator VPS Hosting
Like almost all hosts these days, VPS hosting is on offer. You’ll want this if you need more resources, speed, and want more control and customization options over your server and its configuration.
Something to watch out here for is that the basic plan renews at $80/month, so make sure you buy the 36 month pay-period if you’re happy to pay the renewal prices.
The features are pretty much the same, offering things like; cPanel, root access, a free domain (not included with HostGator), and the price points are basically identical. BUT the renewal fees on BlueHost are so much more reasonable, renewing at $30/month for the basic VPS plan. For this reason BlueHost seems to win out over HostGator for VPS hosting.
Both BlueHost and HostGator offer similar VPS options, and the promotional prices are basically identical. Nevertheless, the renewal rates on HostGator are much higher and for that reason we recommend BlueHost VPS over HostGator.
HostGator and BlueHost Dedicated Hosting
The story here is pretty much identical to VPS hosting. The promotional prices are pretty much the same, but the price after renewal for HostGator are significantly more. HostGator does offer more RAM on all of their packages, which may attract customers who need really high performance hardware. Nevertheless, HostGators ValueSaver basic package renews at $189/month versus $120/month on BlueHost.
Wrap Up on BlueHost vs. Host Gator
Overall, BlueHost and HostGator are very similar. HostGator as of recently has more of a global presence, and is a bigger host overall, hosting more domains and offering services in more countries and languages than BlueHost. Their shared hosting packages are fairly similar, with HostGator offering better pricing. Nevertheless, if you want to go for a WP Hosting Plan BlueHost offers more varied plans at a lower price point. The deals on their VPS and dedicated hosting are at a similar price-point, with similar features, but BlueHost seems to win by offering lower renewal fees.
iPage and Domain.com Hosting
EIG has a lot of hosts, so we’ll cover two more in-depth and do a group evaluation of the rest. iPage offers insanely affordable hosting, where as Domain.com is a domain registrar service offering similar pricing plans to the big-box type companies.
Offering shared hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS, and dedicated options at very reasonable rates, iPage might attract users who are looking for budget options that don’t sacrifice on features or value. Hosting over 1 million domains, iPage is a bit on the smaller side compared with the likes of HostGator or others, but it’s still a viable option.
iPage Shared Hosting
iPage offers a promotional pricing period of $1.99/month, and then $7.99/month after renewal. That means you can get 3-years of web-hosting for just under $72 in total ! Even after the renewal period at $8/month you’ll only be spending $96 per year!
Take note that the 1 and 2 year periods offer slightly different pricing, but it’s still a good deal by any measure.
Features/ What’s Included:
- Free domain for 1 year
- Unlimited domains
- Free SSL certificate
- “Unlimited” bandwidth (your bandwidth will be scaled according to traffic demands)
- If your website moves beyond shared hosting needs, you can upgrade to a VPS option
- Unlimited Disk Space
- Loads of 1-click installs such as:
- iPage website builder(6 pages)
- Blogs (PixelPost, b2evolution, WordPress, etc)
- Photo galleries (Gallery2, ZenPhoto, etc)
- Forums (Gbook, phpBB, SMF, etc)
- Access to Online Store Features:
- PayPal integration
- Easy 1-click installer
- AgoraCart shopping cart
- OpenCart shopping cart
- OSCommerce shopping cart
- PrestaShop shopping cart
- Zen Cart shopping cart
- TomatoCart shopping cart
- 24/7 phone and chat support
At just under $100 for 3 years of hosting, with great features, and 24/7 support, you can’t get much better than this. But there are a few things to be aware of:
Extras Cost More:
If you want things like Malware scan and site backup, you’ll have to pay more. It’ll set you back $1.99/month for the basic Malware package, and $1.14-$2.09 for site back up, depending on the number of sites you’re running.
Most hosting companies these days offer cPanel access, for easy management of the back-end of your website. Unfortunately, iPage does not offer cPanel. This could be a problem in the future if you decide to migrate your site away from iPage, as many hosts will offer free migration of sites that use cPanel, but might charge you for sites that don’t.
If your site has a lot of traffic, large files and is generally resource intensive, you may want to consider a VPS plan. iPage may just shut down your site for violation of their user agreement and ‘fair-usage’ policy.
Many customers are not happy with their service at iPage. Complaints include frequent operational issues and having to chat with the support team. Some also talk about dubious renewal practices, poor customer support, and web-applications failing to install properly. On the other hand, many other customers are very satisfied and can’t see how others aren’t happy.
The low price, and “unlimited” plans may be very enticing for some people. If you need a very basic website (for say a portfolio, a resume or something else simple), iPage may be the perfect solution for you. We do urge that small business owners and online entrepreneurs look elsewhere. We say this because of the high amount of mixed reviews, issues with glitches and software installs; which in our opinion is unacceptable. Pay a little bit extra for more reliable, stable, and powerful hosting. It will save you a headache in the long run.
We chose to cover this host because they have a unique selling point of “WordPress Live”, offering assistance with design, website fixes, social media strategy, page optimization and much more(BlueHost does offer something similar to this as well). Domain.com hosts over 1.2 million domains around the world, making them one of the larger hosting services under the EIG cooperate umbrella.
Shared Hosting Plans and Pricing
The deluxe package offers “unlimited” websites, and storage, for a highly reasonable $81 dollars per year (or $243 over three years). The great thing about domain.com is that their renewal fees are also extremely fair.
Hosting Renewal Fees for Domain.com
- Basic Plan
- 1 year – $59.88 ($4.99/mo)
- 2 years – $119.76
- 3 years – $179.64
- Deluxe Plan
- 1 year – $107.40 ($8.95/mo)
- 2 years – $190.80
- 3 years – $250.20
- Ultra Plan
- 1 year – $165.00 ($13.75/mo)
- 2 years – $330.00
- 3 years – $495.00
That’s only a few dollars increase over the promotional pricing. The deluxe plan for 3 years of hosting at $250(renewal rate) is very reasonable.
WP Hosting and WP Live
Most companies theses days offer WordPress hosting; a hosting package that is optimized to run a WordPress site. Domain.com offers features like: pre-installed plugins, and customized control panel.
Just like their shared hosting plan, renewal fees are only a few dollars more per month than the promo pricing;
- WP Starter
- 36-month term: $7.49 a month (billed $269.64 for 3 years)
- 24-month term: $8.49 a month (billed $203.76 for 2 years)
- 12-month term: $9.49 a month (billed $113.88 for 12 months)
- Monthly term: $10.49 a month (billed monthly)
- WP Essential
- 36-month term: $10.49 a month (billed $377.64 for 3 years)
- 24-month term: $11.49 a month (billed $275.76 for 2 years)
- 12-month term: $12.49 a month (billed $149.88 for 12 months)
- Monthly term: $12.49 a month (billed monthly)
This is not actually a hosting plan, but a service you can add on to your hosting if you need additional help with anything. It allows you to tap into professional help from your host at a reasonable monthly fee. I spoke with the customer support at Domain.com and they told me you can have chat or phone assistance walk you through a wide variety of issues.
Now for those of you who are new to WordPress, or are getting a site started, this kind of service may be really useful. Especially since you can just buy 1 or 2 months’ worth and get the assistance you need. Although those who are a bit more savvy with WordPress and web-development won’t see many benefits from this, it’s always nice to know that you can get as much detailed support as you need on a pay-per-use type basis. BlueHost offers the same exact packages and prices, therefore we suspect that the team dealing with these consultation and support are one and the same.
The plan features are good, the pricing is quite good, and our experience with the customer service support has been good as well. We like that the renewal fees are extremely reasonable, offering good value for money. Nevertheless, cPanel is only available on the VPS hosting plans(which aren’t even listed on a menu on their website), which is something we don’t exactly like, but it’s not the end of the world. Overall, if you’re looking for a place to buy a domain and host in one convenient location, you should consider domain.com
Others Under EIG
There are over 30 different hosting companies under the EIG umbrella. We’ve already covered the largest and most popular ones. Now we’ll get to a few of the smaller and more niche hosts.
To break it down simply; domain.com, Netrifms, and Dotster are exactly the same. They offer totally identical packages and prices(although NetFirms is slightly more expensive). We suspect that in reality the same data center is being used between these 3 companies, as well as support staff. Beyond that Fatcow, Dotster, PowWeb, and BigRock offer some unique selling points of their own and may entice you over with some awesome plans they have on offer.
Offers similar packages and pricing as HostGator and BlueHost. Their plans are actually slightly more expensive than BlueHost, but offer things like “spam experts”.
If you’re looking to find a host that uses energy responsibly, you might want to consider FatCow. FatCow claims to be powered by 100% wind energy. However, if you’re planing to start or move a serious business, we do not recommend using FatCow as they don’t offer things like cPanel, and many users complain of slow speeds, and long waits for customer support.
Dotster is ostensibly the same as domain.com. Both offering domain registration and hosting packages. The websites look almost exactly the same, and their hosting packages are the in essence the same.
PowWeb offers affordable plans, with a lot of features. Things like Daily backups, unlimited domains, 1-click installs, and most of the other features that is common to find in a hosting package these days. Their prices are reasonable at $140 for 3 year of hosting, and $466 for 3 years after renewal.
1 year will cost you $50 for promotional and $180 after renewal.
There really is no great reason to choose PowWeb in our opinion. The prices are pretty good, but their website looks like it’s at least 15 years old. Plus their renewal fees are quite high, which makes me wonder why anyone would consider them over BlueHost, HotGator, or the likes.
Netfirms is identical to domain.com, and Dotster in terms of what they offer, except their pricing is $1 more for each respective package.
Big Rock Stands out among these hosts, offering packages not typically seen elsewhere, with good value for money. What really stands out for them is their cloud hosting and VPS offerings. One unique thing about BigRock hosting is that you can buy a hosting package for up to $10 years, IF you are only using it for one website. That would only cost you $418 dollars at $3.49/month to host 1 website for 10 years! This makes it a great option for a portfolio, resume, or personal type website. Some people may be able to get away with using it for their landing page, or for other purposes as well.
Note that the prices listed in bold on the top are for the longest term possible(10 years). Starter and Advanced offer up to 10 years, while business only offers up to 3 years, otherwise you’ll have to pay a bit more if you opt for a shorter term. You can see the 1 year prices on the drop-down menu at the bottom of the column.
BigRock really shines in the cloud hosting and VPS departments, offering great plans at really affordable prices. Although things like automatic back-up and malware scan cost extra.
Just to give you an idea of how good a deal this is, some companies are charging up to $80-$240 a month for similar plans.
Once again BigRock really delivers great value for money on their VPS plans. Offering extremely fair priced packages with awesome features. The downside is that these listed prices are not exactly how much you’ll wind up paying. You get to select your operating system with choices from CentOS7 or 8, Debian 9 or 10, and Ubuntu, but you’ll have to pay an extra $15/month for the cPanel installation, which brings the plan from $432 for years to $972. Furthermore, the people at BigRock offer semi-managed support. Offering things like:
- Boot, Login, Investigating Network/Hardware related issues
- Initial module installation and basic firewall setup
- Assistance with basic server optimization, patching & hardening
- Reverse DNS Setup
Overall BigRock hosting has some unique selling points. Offering 10 year contracts on a single site, at a very reasonable price, and awesome cloud hosting packages that almost can’t be beat in terms of price and features.
1&1 Ionos, and FastHosts are the two main companies we’ll discuss here
Boasting 10 data centers in 5 countries, with over 90,000 severs, and over 8 million customers, 1&1 Ionos is a massive hosting company just by the numbers. Just like all the major hosts they offer Shared Hosting, WordPress Hosting, VPS, and Dedicated Hosting. They pride themselves on offering transparent pricing without any sneaky renewal fees.
Overall the shared hosting plans are good, offering good value for money and one of the cheapest promotional period around. Keep in mind these prices are for the Linux Shared Hosting, they also offer Windows-based shared hosting as well for just a few dollars more.
For the PRO plan you’ll pay $6 for six months and thereafter $10/month, making one year of hosting come to $96 dollars. After that you’ll pay $120/per year, which is very reasonable. Although you don’t get unlimited domains or storage, what you do get should be more than ample for most peoples needs. Something to note is that many companies claim “unlimited” but in reality it never is. Perhaps it’s better and more fair/transparent to actually know your package details upfront in some ways, rather than believing your package is unlimited and running into problems further down the line. Each plan offers its own performance tier as well, they can all be upgraded to the highest-tier performance level at anytime if needed.
- Performance Level 1
- At level 1 you have a 512 MB PHP memory limit and up to 2.5 GB RAM, so your site can handle around 100 visitors per minute. You can upgrade to performance level at any time up to level 5.
- Performance Level 2
- At level 2 you have a 640 MB PHP memory limit and up to 6 GB RAM, so your site can handle around 200 visitors per minute. You can upgrade to performance level at any time up to level 5.
- Performance Level 3
- At level 3 you have a 640 MB PHP memory limit and up to 9 GB RAM, so your site can handle around 300 visitors per minute. You can upgrade your performance level at any time up to level 5.
- Performance Level 5
- This package comes with high performance 768 MB PHP memory and up to 19 GB RAM to run a large number of parallel processes.
No SSD hard-drives on regular shared hosting.
Some countries are restricted from hosting on their servers. If you’re in China, or some European countries you won’t be able to use their services. So double check before you sign up.
They won’t transfer any of your websites for free. Many hosts will transfer at least one of your websites over for free, this is not the case with Ionos.
These packages do offer the SSD storage, which is great. The Unlimited plan at $18/month may seem a bit expensive but, we think the price is more than fair, delivering great value for money. At $18/month you get site scan and malware protection, access to a CDN network, and daily back-ups, plus the highest level performance. We think that on the whole for $18/month the unlimited package delivers great value for money.
Ionos has great offerings on VPS packages. You can choose your data center location, with 99.99% up-time, and VMware Virtualization for better security, you’re sure to be happy. Moreover, you can try it out for $1/month and cancel anytime.
The packages are around industry average in terms of pricing; not the cheapest nor most expensive. Although, their VPS M plan is hard to beat at $5/month. Do consider that the plans are not managed(support is included in all the packages), and will require you know how to operate a VPS-type server. You can choose from Linux operating system (CentOS, Ubuntu) or Windows server. You’ll also get all the standard goodies like: SSL certificates, unlimited emails, DDoS protection, and 24/7 customer support.
The VPS offerings from Ionos are overall awesome. In addition to this, they offer a support package. So even if you’re not the most tech-savvy person you should be able to take advantage of that and get it all set up and operational.
Register.com and Network Solution are the two main hosts under this cooperate umbrella, and in essence the same company. Their plans and pricing are nearly identical, with some small differences. The main difference between the two is that registar.com is a place where you can buy a domain in addition to your hosting. The key thing about these companies is that they offer a slew of web based services for your website and online presence. They offer things like: web-development, email, marketing, security, SEO and much more. If you don’t want to hire a bunch of third-party developers, marketers, or other IT people you should seriously consider using NetWork Solutions or Register.com (if you also need to buy a domain).
Plans and Pricing
They are offering Shared Cloud Hosting as well as WordPress Hosting
Register.com Shared Cloud Hosting
Network Solutions Shared Cloud Hosting
You’ll be limited to maximum 10 domains, and paying near the higher end of the spectrum in terms of hosting fees. The real bummer is that you’re basically forced to take the highest tier plan, as none of the lower tier plans include a SSL certificate. Furthermore, there is no promotional period, what you see is what you pay. For the Premium plan you’ll come in just under $260 for one years worth of hosting, and slightly over $260 if you do use register.com instead. CloudHosting tends to be more expensive than shared hosting, and at these prices it’s quite fair.
As you can see the plans in terms of features are basically identical, there is a small variation in price.
If you’re the type of person who wants a one-stop-shop for all your IT, hosting, and general online business needs, than places like register.com and NetWork Solutions should be seriously considered. They will build your website, host it, market it, provide SEO services, and much more.
However, keep in mind that these services cost money. If you have the money and want to get your business launched quickly, but don’t have a team of IT professionals ready, then what’s on offer here might be the perfect solution. They don’t offer higher tier hosting packages such as VPS or dedicated hosting, but if your website does come to that level of traffic, it’s likely they’ll be willing to work out a deal with you.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, and if you’ve made it this far, congratulations! It can be a daunting task to sort through all the different plans and offers, but hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of what’s avalible, whose offering it, and where to look. The overall market for web-hosting is a mixed bag, yet there can be a lot of homogeneity among the plans, pricing, and features.
This might be because – as we’ve seen – roughly half of the market is dominated by big cooperations and companies, while the other half is mostly independently owned and operated companies. GoDaddy, United Internet, Web.com Inc, and EIG are the mega cooperations, while SiteGround, DreamHost, NameCheap, and A2 are just some of the independently owned and operated companies. Whichever works best for your site is, of course, up to you.