Best Web Hosting Providers 2019

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Best Web Hosting Providers

If you create or plan to create any website, you will need a domain name and hosting (disk space and other server resources) for this purpose.

In this article, I review the best web hosting providers in the world.

 

Best Web Hosting Providers In The World

 

For those who are looking for a good hosting provider I recommend foreign companies with high reputation and international prestige in the first place.

You can also choose one of your domestic hosting providers, but this is your choice.

In this article, I will focus on discussing 3 best web hosting companies in the world.

 

1. SiteGround

 

SiteGround - homepage

It is a company that I have used the services from June 2016 (ie since the creation of my first website) until August 2018 and I am currently using it. From August 2018 to February 2019, I used Cloudways hosting. For several days I tested hosting at Kinsta, but this option turned out to be the worst of my choices.

At the beginning I will present a statistical average page load time on shared hosting from various hosting providers.

SiteGround - loading speed

Below you will find information about performance of individual servers.

SiteGround - performance

In terms of security, SiteGround is also one of the world leaders.

SiteGround - security

Technical support in SiteGround versus competition.

SiteGround - phone support

SiteGround - chat support

SiteGround - ticket support

SiteGround - issues - support

Very popular (especially for websites with small or medium traffic) shared hosting is offered by SiteGround in three different price packages and hardware configurations.

SiteGround - shared hosting pricing

Certainly, the most expensive version (GoGeek) offers the most powerful hardware specification. I had used this option since I created my first website in June 2016.

SiteGround-GoGeek-2018

In addition to the most powerful hardware configuration among shared hosting packages, the GoGeek package provides access to a very valuable Staging function. This function allows you to create a copy of the page on which you can test various changes and carry out experiments without fear of unintentional destabilization of the publicly available site.

GoGeek package also increases the possibilities of using website backups.

However, as it comes to staging itself – instead of using the function available in the hosting company you can use the free WordPress plugin.

At the beginning you can, of course, choose the cheapest package (StartUp). Remember, however, that in addition to the weakest hardware configuration, you have the option of storing only one site on this type of account! Over time, however, you can upgrade from the StartUp package to GrowBig or GoGeek. 🙂

SiteGround - shared hosting - comparison

StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek packages are sufficient for traffic of 10,000, 25,000 and 100,000 visits per month, respectively. Above the latter, you should opt for cloud hosting or dedicated hosting. Although they are associated with higher server fees, with such a large amount of traffic revenue from the website should allow you to incur higher fees.

Once you choose the right package for you, you have the option of choosing location of the server on which your files will be stored. Although there are just 4 locations on this map,

SiteGround - locations 2018

there are actually 6 locations: Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Singapore, Iowa, and Oregon.

You can see it while trying to relocate your server,

SiteGround - server relocation 2019

as well as while you are trying to migrate to cloud hosting.

SiteGround - cloud hosting locations 2019

When I was using SiteGround hosting, uptime on both my blogs was 100% according to Uptime Robot statistics.

SiteGround - alivebetter.pl - uptime

SiteGround - alivebetter.com - uptime

WordPress recommends SiteGround as one of the best hosting companies.

SiteGround technical support works very fast, professionally and reliably. 3 small technical issues that have happened to me in over two years have been resolved in about 15 minutes.

Below are screenshots from my three tickets:

SiteGround ticket 01

SiteGround ticket 02

SiteGround ticket 03

It is also worth reading this article published on SiteGround blog. Artificial intelligence preventing attacks on the site is the most modern solution, unprecedented so far in any other hosting company.

In addition, it is worth paying attention to the comments under the article. Some of them you can read below:

SiteGround - comments

SiteGround - comments

SiteGround - comments

As you can see, SiteGround probably offers the best shared hosting among the existing companies on the market.

 

SiteGround – The Second Approach (Full of Disappointments)

 

After 6 months of using different servers in Cloudways (from August 2018 to February 2019) and after a few days spent in Kinsta I decided once again check how the shared hosting works in SiteGround.

During the first two years of using the services of this company, I did not have any major issues. The main problem then became too high price when renewing hosting.

This time, however, I got a lot of disappointments…

The first one is the look of my blog after transferring it from another hosting company to SiteGround using a plugin dedicated for this purpose – SiteGround Migrator.

Obviously, the plugin is very easy to use and partly fulfills its task. However, after completing migration, my site looked like this

SiteGround - migration issues

and these

SiteGround - migration issues 01 - mobile

SiteGround - migration issues 02 - mobile

The plugin which flawlessly migrated my blogs to SiteGround server is BlogVault. By the way, I have to admit that for me it is the best plugin for both automatic creation of external backups, as well as for moving websites between different hosting providers.

The migration process was not easy due to the fact that SiteGround does not create separate directories for separate sites. One of the websites is stored in the main folder, the others are located in subdirectories of the main site. This is what it looked like in 2016 and it looks the same in 2019. For comparison, neither Kinsta nor Cloudways uses this type of solutions.

After the migration process, errors started to appear – the first error was 404, then 500.

SiteGround - error 500

After fixing them, it turned out that the loading speed is noticeably weaker compared to the two other hosting providers discussed here. In total, there is nothing surprising in this fact – after all, it is only shared hosting.

The next disadvantage is the need to pay for the server in advance for the whole year. On the plus side is the fact that after such a break you can buy a web hosting at a promotional price as a completely new customer.

The next issue is availability of components in particular pricing plans.

The average plan (GrowBig) in theory should be enough for traffic up to 25,000 visits per month, so it should be over 800 people a day. However, I have observed a server load of about 50% with a number of visits of about 150 people per day!

SiteGround - cPanel - resources usage - GrowBig

At the end of this part of the article, I have to mention a few more problems that I encountered with this company in just a few days.

SiteGround allows you to connect to the server via FTP and (apparently) via SFTP. I have failed to establish this second type of connection in any way. The connection via FTP required quite a lot of effort, because no program was able to accept my 25-character password. It turned out that each program accepted a shorter password, which I defined after some period of time.

For comparison, Kinsta and Cloudways provide a seamless connection through (newer and more secure) SFTP protocol.

The last shocking and interesting information – my new debit card has been blocked by the bank just after attaching it to SiteGround’s panel, which also amazed me a lot.

 

SiteGround – Pros & Cons

 

Pros:

unlimited number of websites;

unlimited data transfer;

Staging – the function of creating a copy of the site, so you can easily make changes without the risk of spoiling anything on a publicly available site;

4 server locations: Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Singapore;

all data is stored on SSD drives;

Cloudflare CDN – over 160 data centers around the world; files from the main server are copied to data centers, so that the website loads efficiently and quickly regardless of the location of visitor; additionally Cloudflare provides protection against XSS and DDoS attacks; SiteGround offers an additional discount on the paid Cloudflare service plan – the price is 11.95 EUR + tax instead of standard 20 USD monthly;

SuperCacher – this is a caching feature, which makes the site loading faster (however, for speeding WordPress sites I recommend a paid but amazing plugin called WP Rocket);

daily backups;

protection against viruses and hackers;

SSL certificates (free and paid);

dedicated IP address;

private DNS address;

privacy protection of the domain owner;

uptime at 99.99% (I showed you before that I even got 100%);

professional 24/7/365 technical support;

early access to the latest PHP version;

a modern, based on artificial intelligence, an incredibly effective system to prevent intrusions on the websites of clients with hosting in SiteGround;

this is one of the three hosting companies recommended by WordPress;

30-day money back guarantee;

server management through the cPanel – some people consider this feature to be completely unnecessary, however, many people can not imagine managing the server without it;

it is probably the best shared hosting service that you can purchase;

in case of migration to cloud hosting, it is possible to adapt the configuration to your own needs (both at the first order and at a later time – the so-called autoscaling of resources).

Cons:

– a higher price compared to their competition;

– not the best results in page load tests;

– issues with moving the site to and from SiteGround;

– difficulties with FTP/SFTP connection;

– file structure forcing the placement of additional sites in the subdirectories of the first website added;

– payment in advance for the whole year;

– high server load with fairly low traffic.

 

2. Cloudways

 

Cloudways - homepage

It is a company founded in 2012. Recently, it has gained quite a lot of popularity.

As you can see on the screenshot above, this is a cloud server provider. There is no possibility to use shared hosting or dedicated servers. Some people might think that this is an issue. I think that this is an advantage.

I have been using this company’s services since August 2018 till February 2019. Despite the initial concerns related to the very low price of hosting (cloud hosting at Cloudways can be purchased cheaper than shared hosting at SiteGround or other similar providers), I think that it was a very good decision. 🙂

The first important information about the Cloudways company is the fact that the company uses servers from five different providers! These are: DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, Amazon and Google.

Cloudways - hosting providers

You can create any number of servers, but there is a condition here. If you create several servers in one day, your account will be automatically blocked, which will force you to contact technical support or to give up the platform.

For me, the first week of using the platform (in my case it was tests of various configurations) was very hard. All I had to do was create several servers, test them and delete them, and it meant that my account became blocked. The technical support employee unlocked the account, but their software rules were blocking it again.

Eventually, another technical support employee turned off those automatic locks on my profile and since then I have not experienced any issues with Cloudways! 🙂

 

How Cloudways Payments Work

 

Payments in Cloudways are calculated on an hourly basis. This fee is fortunately automatically converted into the amount due per month, which you may have noticed on the previous screenshot.

The platform has a function that displays current expenses and a forecast of expenses for the current month.

Cloudways payments - real time billing

The amount due is drawn from the virtual wallet, which can be credited with the use of a PayPal account or a credit/debit card.

 

Moving the Site from Another Hosting Company to Cloudways and Transferring Between Different Servers in Cloudways

 

Migrating the site from another hosting provider to Cloudways is very simple. All you need to do is sign up with Cloudways and create a server (it’s better a bit too weak than too strong – later you can transfer your website to a more efficient server very quickly), and then install the Cloudways WordPress Migrator plugin in your dashboard. The next steps are described in Cloudways support section.

The migration of both my blogs (in August 2018) from SiteGround to Cloudways went without any issues.

All available servers can be scaled by increasing the disk space or switching to a more powerful configuration.

Cloudways - server scaling

In addition, you can also copy the entire contents of the server or any site of your choice to another server (of any configuration) located anywhere you want.

 

Cloudways – Pros & Cons

 

Pros:

cooperation with 5 hosting providers: DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS (Amazon Web Services), GCP (Google Cloud Platform);

– all data is stored on SSDs;

– staging;

– integrated CDN (works quite well, although I recommend other solutions offering a much better value for money);

– the ability to create an unlimited number of servers and websites;

– free SSL certificates;

– backups created with the frequency selected by the user;

very low server fees;

smooth operation of SFTP connections;

separate directories for separate sites (applications) instead of subfolders known from SiteGround;

pay as you go payments;

the ability to transfer or clone the site to any other server (same or different provider);

a huge selection of server locations;

the ability to change the server for more expensive or cheaper one;

easy to use interface allows manage servers easily despite the lack of cPanel;

the possibility of a smooth and easy migrating the site from another hosting company using the Cloudways WordPress Migrator plugin;

no forward contracts, the possibility of cancellation at any time;

it is by far the best hosting in terms of price to quality relation.

Cons:

– not the latest version of PHP (this is nothing to worry about – Cloudflare, BlogVault and a few other plugins will definitely increase the level of website security);

– technical support less professional compared to Kinsta and SiteGround.

 

3. Kinsta

 

Kinsta

Kinsta is also one of the best hosting companies in the world. For many people, it is the absolute no. 1!

The company was founded in December 2013.

Kinsta is a premium class provider using Google Cloud servers, which largely explains the issue of fairly high prices compared to other hosting providers.

Kinsta - pricing

Another advantage of Kinsta is the lack of limitation when it comes to the number of available CPU cores and the amount of RAM. Autoscaling allocates resources dynamically depending on the demand triggered by a smaller or larger website traffic.

Kinsta - CPU RAM

Where is the catch then? After all, a 96-core processor and more than 100 GB of RAM for literally 30 or 60 dollars a month seems unbelievable…

The fact is, there are no limitations to RAM and CPU compared to other suppliers. There are other limitations in case of this company…

As you can see on the penultimate screenshot showing the price list of services, the number of supported sites is quite limited in the cheapest plans. Additionally, disk space is quite small, number of monthly visitors is also limited and there is an optional limitation of monthly data transfer to e.g. 50 GB or 200 GB (free CDN).

 

How To Deal With Those Limits?

 

In order to increase the number of available sites on the server and increase the disk space you should choose more expensive pricing plan. There is no other solution.

As far as data transfer is concerned – the fee is only USD 0.1 for each extra gigabyte transferred. However, it is possible to connect any CDN you choose instead of using the service integrated with the hosting.

As a CDN, I recommend the very well-known and efficient Cloudflare network. For a small fee or even for free, in addition to the CDN, you will get additional security in this way. Cloudflare Pro plan provides protection against DDoS attacks, XSS, SQL injection, etc.

Integration of Cloudflare service with Kinsta hosting has been described in the article on the optimization of WordPress.

Alternatively, you can also use the BunnyCDN network. In speed tests, it looks quite similar to KeyCDN, which is used by default by Kinsta. However, it is much cheaper. Price range in BunnyCDN is from 0.01 to 0.06 USD per 1 GB.

BunnyCDN pricing

When it comes to limiting the number of visitors – the additional fee is 1 USD for every 1000 consecutive visits to the site. However, with such a large amount of traffic, the number of readers, shares and transactions will be so high that the additional fee should no longer be a problem.

 

AliveBetter Blog At Kinsta

 

In late February and early March 2019, after several weeks of consideration, I finally decided to move both of my blogs to Kinsta.

What has influenced this decision?

First of all performance, and more specifically – the results of the LoadStorm test and other similar tests.

As it turns out, Kinsta is the only hosting provider which wins awards in virtually all price categories (except <$25, because this category simply does not qualify)!

WordPress performance benchmarks 25-50

WordPress performance benchmarks 51-100

WordPress performance benchmarks 101-200

WordPress performance benchmarks 201-500

WordPress performance benchmarks 500+

If you want to know the details of the tests, you will find them here.

Additional factors that decided about migrating my blogs include a high level of security, professional technical support and reputation associated with the use of premium hosting.

Now I can boast that my blogs are stored on Google servers next to the companies such as: Buffer, Ricoh, Ubisoft, TripAdvisor, AdEspresso.

Kinsta Google Cloud Platform customers

 

Migrating A Site To Kinsta And Comparing With Other Hosting Providers

 

The methods of transferring websites to Kinsta are described in Kinsta knowledge base.

The method that worked without any problems in my case is the use of the Duplicator Pro plugin. This plugin can be additionally useful for backing up the site and automatically upload them to remote storage.

One of the disadvantages of Kinsta hosting is the fact of blocking some WordPress plugins.

What happens if someone used a forbidden plugin before migrating to Kinsta? The plugin will be recognized as disallowed and, unfortunately, it will not work.

alivebetter.pl - dashboard - Kinsta

The plugin blocking mechanism supposedly has its justification. Usually, the reason for blocking is to avoid slowing down your website or to avoid the threat that a given plug might cause. However, if you really want to use your favorite plugins while using the hosting at Kinsta, then this article will provide you with the information on how to unlock Kinsta blocked plugins.

When it comes to positive sides, there are two more big advantages of hosting at Kinsta. The first one is the fast availability of the latest possible version of PHP.

Both SiteGround and Kinsta offer access to PHP 7.3 since the end of 2018. However, Cloudways definitely lags behind in this respect – on February 21, 2019 the latest available PHP version on the Google server is still 7.2.

Cloudways - Google Cloud Platform - PHP 7.2

The second very big advantage is the great attention to the security of customer sites.

Kinsta has built-in mechanisms to protect against viruses and hackers. If a site hosted with Kinsta is attacked by hackers or if any malicious code gets into it, Kinsta will repair potential damages without additional cost from the customer!

 

Kinsta – Pros & Cons

 

Pros:

– all available servers belong to Google;

autoscaling which doest not require additional charges;

– simple and user-friendly interface;

– separate websites are stored in separate directories (there are no websites in subfolders);

– daily automatic backups;

– possibility of changing the server for more expensive or cheaper;

– very fast availability of the latest possible version of PHP;

short-term contracts and the possibility of resigning from services at any time (but if you decide to stay with Kinsta for longer, you can pay for the year in advance – the price is 10 times the monthly fee, so you get 2 months free compared to monthly payments);

built-in mechanisms protecting against hackers and malware;

guarantee of free repair of potential damages caused by viruses or hackers;

guarantee that the server will withstand any load – in case of more traffic the server will be working all the time, at most an additional fee will be charged (however, more traffic translates into more shares, more brand recognition and more transactions, so it is worth paying);

this is by far the best web hosting in terms of performance and results in page load tests;

– technical support as professional as in SiteGround.

Cons:

– not the lowest price to start and the risk of incurring additional charges;

– blocking some plugins on WordPress (you can quite easily deal with it);

– quite small amount of disk space.

 

Pantheon and Pressable – Short Comparison

 

Pantheon and Pressable are two hosting companies that, like Kinsta, quite often appear at the forefront of performance tests.

Everyone can see that speed is their common advantage. Are there any drawbacks?

Pantheon costs quite a lot and has a fairly limited monthly number of visitors.

Pantheon - pricing

Additionally, they charge very high fees for exceeding the given values. Each subsequent 1000 visitors are another 2.50 USD added to the bill!

Looking from this perspective, hosting with Kinsta (where the fee for each excess of 1,000 visitors is only $1) is really a very good choice.

Pressable, in turn, has a limit of monthly pageviews in each hosting plan. Interestingly, there are no additional fees for exceeding the given values. In one month, you can exceed them, in the next one you need to choose the appropriate package for a given traffic.

Pressable - extra charges

Internet users browse on average 2-3 pages during one visit to any website. For this reason, the number of given pageviews should be divided by 2 or by 3 to get the approximate maximum number of visits for a given package.

 

Examples Of Other Well-Known Hosting Companies

 

Examples of other fairly well-known hosting companies are: 1&1, A2 Hosting, BluehostDreamHost, HostGator, InMotion Hosting, Web Hosting Hub, WP Engine.

It is difficult to guarantee the satisfaction of a potential customer looking at the fact that a lot of people move their websites from these companies to three providers, which I recommend in this article.

 

Summary

 

At the end, you can read a short summary of this article.

If you are interested in the best web hosting you can get for the lowest possible price, that’s definitely Cloudways.

If you are interested in the best web hosting in terms of performance, security, updates, technical support, clear interface etc., it will definitely be Kinsta.

In the past I also recommended SiteGround. Now for me this company is at most in the third place. If you want, you can use their services. The only question is, why should you pay 10 USD or 30 USD per month for shared hosting, since you can purchase very good cloud hosting with Cloudways for just 10 USD per month. In turn, the price of cloud servers in SiteGround starts from EUR 64 per month, which translates into approximately USD 80. A similar server in Cloudways can easily be purchased for half of this price.

In my opinion, regardless of whether you create a website from scratch as a complete novice or transfer it from another hosting company, the choice is quite simple – if you want to have the best web hosting for the lowest possible price, choose Cloudways. However, if the server fees are not such important for you and you want to use premium hosting services, choose Kinsta.

Best Web Hosting Providers 2019
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