Best Web Hosting 2021

Updated July 15th, 2021 Alana Jen

best web hosting 2021

Synopsis

After narrowing down the many web hosts available in 2021 to the four web hosts with the best value, reputation, and ease of use for beginners, I purchased a plan from each one to find out which host offers the best web hosting in 2021.

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To determine which of the four web hosts is the best for hosting Branding, Publishing, Support, and Lead-Gen type websites, we'll be comparing:

Among the many options available for web hosting, these four are the most affordable, reliable, and accommodating of users with beginner experience levels.


Pricing

Best Web Hosting 2021 HostGator

Hostgator

Hostgator's Hatchling plan is the best bet for basic needs. A yearly subscription’s checkout cost is just over $50 USD which is about $4 per month. It includes:

  • Hosting for one website
  • free domain
  • Standard SSL Certificate
Best Web Hosting 2021 Bluehost

Bluehost

Bluehost’s best package for our website types is their Basic Plan. The yearly subscription checkout cost is around $72 USD and averages out to about $6 per month.

Update 07/18/2021:
Currently, you can get Bluehost at $4.95/mo on a 12 month term ($59.40 checkout) or at $2.95/mo for a 36 month term ($106.20 checkout).

It includes:

  • Hosting for one website
  • free domain
  • Standard SSL Certificate
  • free CDN
Best Web Hosts 2021 Dreamhost

DreamHost

DreamHost’s best package is their Shared Starter Plan. At around $5 per month, the checkout cost is only $4.95. The best part about DreamHost's packages is that there’s no contract. But the tradeoff is that there is no domain included. It includes:

  • Hosting for one website
  • Standard SSL Certificate
Best web hosts 2021 Ionos wins

Ionos

Ionos does have a great starter plan but their Business Plan is really hard to pass up. I couldn’t. For a $12 checkout, I got a year’s worth of hosting for an unlimited number of websites, a free domain, a wildcard SSL Certificate, and a professional email. That’s quite a bit of value for a buck a month. It includes:

  • Hosting for unlimited websites
  • free domain
  • Wildcard SSL Certificate
  • Professional Email
best web hosts breakdown

Of course, all of these packages are introductory rates for new customers, so be aware that all of them can—and most likely will—increase your rate as soon as your subscription is up.

But that’s the best part about a DIY HTML website, it’s stand-alone and you can easily hop from one host to the next with minimal effort.

Reliability

In general, a good host will rarely have server problems resulting in a downed hosted site, and to assure their customers of this, it’s standard practice for hosts to offer anywhere from 99 to 99.9% uptime guarantee.

HostGator and Ionos both offer an uptime guarantee of 99.9%. This means that if your server goes down for longer than 0.1% of a given timeframe, there’s a way to get compensated for that downed time.

Bluehost does not offer its customers any guarantees at all. In fact, they give themselves plenty of wiggle room with this disclaimer.

best uptime guarantee comes from dreamhost

The host who takes the cake on uptime guarantees is DreamHost with a 100% uptime guarantee. This means if your website ever goes down at all because of a server-related problem, you are guaranteed some form of compensation.

And here are their ratings on TrustPilot: HostGator, Bluehost, Dreamhost, and Ionos.

Server Speeds

To test server speeds, I used the same website that’s available for free download here and uploaded it to all four hosts. I then ran Bit-Catcha on all four servers to compare server times and then ran Google’s Page Insights to double-check page load times. Here are the results:

best web hosts server times

If most of your traffic is coming from central and the western US, Ionos beats out HostGator and DreamHost, granted it’s marginal, but it’s also almost twice as fast as DreamHost.

If your traffic hails from the eastern US, Dreamhost is exceptionally fast. It’s mind-blowing in fact. DreamHost also beats out the other 3 hosts by a large margin for Canadian traffic as well.

But, If you’re not sure where your traffic is going to come from but your audience is somewhere in the US, Ionos is the fastest.

However, if you’re targeting the US and Canada, either HostGator or Bluehost are the hosts that offer the most consistent speeds no matter where your visitors are coming from.

User Experience

Hostgator

I’m in here quite often so this is very familiar to me, but it could be a little daunting for a beginner simply because there’s so much here. 

hostgator cPanel

However, they do have an extensive library of well-written tutorials which should help a lot. So, overall I’d give them 3 stars for ease of use for beginners. A beginner could easily get lost, but there is enough guidepost to help them find their way.

Bluehost

Similar to HostGator, BlueHost uses cPanel.

Unless you’re setting up a WordPress site, their user interface is not intuitive at all. To upload your own site, the option is hidden under Advanced, and it could be easy for anyone to get lost in the My Sites section since the title would dictate that all of your sites should be located there.

But they're not. That’s only for WordPress sites. If you want to upload your own site, then we need to find File Manager under the Advanced section.

That’ll get you in to cPanel.

bluehost cPanel

Once there, it’s just a matter of identifying the correct folder to upload your files.

DreamHost

DreamHost’s dashboard looks similar in layout to Bluehost's, but there are enough tweaks in all the right places to make the user experience better than Bluehost's.

dreamhost dashboard

Taking a look at the left-hand menu, Domains makes for the best first place to look to figure out where you might upload your website.

Once you click on it, the dropdown assures you that you actually are in the right place.

From there, it’s fairly intuitive. You click websites and then over to the right, My Files is easily identified by a nice folder icon.

Ionos

After signing in, the hardest choice you have to make is choosing the correct card.

But Hosting is a fairly obvious choice.

The next page offers many choices, but Webspace does make the most sense.

Once there, you’re good to upload your site.

ionos customer portal

One thing I wanted to mention about Ionos that’s different from the other three hosts, is that Ionos does not allow you to queue multiple files at once for upload. You have to add each file, one at a time.

But it’s not that big of a deal unless you have a lot of files for your website; in which case, uploading could get pretty tedious.

Just something to keep in mind, but in most cases, it shouldn't be a problem.

My Recommendation

So which is my top pick?

Well, I’ve actually been using Hostgator for a couple of years and they're hosting a few of my websites.

I’ve found them to be reliable, easy to use, consistent, and I’ve never needed to contact their support.

So you can’t go wrong with HostGator and I think they’re a solid choice.

Dreamhost is great if you're not sure if you want to maintain a website or if you just want to try it out for a month, since there’s no contract.

And if my traffic was primarily from the East coast of the US or Canada, I'd seriously consider them.

But my top pick has got to be Ionos.

best web host for 2021 is Ionos

So far, I’ve purchased three domains from them and I'm using them to host a client’s website and there hasn’t been any issues.

Plus their value is hard to beat. That $12 introductory rate for a whole year of unlimited websites, a wildcard SSL, and a free domain is pretty juicy.

Plus their server speeds are great for the US.

So for whatever it's worth, Ionos from the German Service Provider 1&1 gets my top pick for the Best Web Hosts for 2021.

If you're wondering what type of website to upload to your new host Ionos (wink), check out The Best Website Types for Entreprenuers here.

And if you've been wanting to start a blog but haven't had the time (but you have a YouTube channel), you should definitely checkout how to turn your YouTube videos into blog posts. It's super easy and you already have everything you need.

 

Until next time...

Thanks so much for reading 🙋🏽

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