Web hosting has become a highly competitive industry, with millions of new websites being created every year. This has led to a lot of new web hosting companies starting up in recent years that are offering bargain prices. In most cases, these cheap deals look good on the surface but rarely provide the reliability of service that can be had from some of the more established web hosting services available.

Even choosing between these more experienced web hosts can be difficult because of the different sorts of packages that they are offering. On top of that, deciding on which web host has the most reliable, user friendly service with all of the features that users need for the price that they want to pay is a time consuming, confusing task. To make the important details easier to see, we have looked at the top web hosting services available and chosen the three best for comparison.

There is more to a good web hosting package than just a low price, and the most cost effective service is one that works well and can be easily adapted to your individual needs. The comparison of these services has been based on the history of reliability of the service, how user friendly the website management systems are, and whether the packages offer real value for your money.

#1 BlueHost

The web hosting packages offered by BlueHost are easily the best being offered by any of these three companies. As the longest established of the three companies, BlueHost has a good service record, the best hardware available and a very user friendly content management system. With web hosting packages for both shared and reseller web hosting, BlueHost has a service that suits every level of internet use.

Unlike many of their competitors, BlueHost only offers one all inclusive shared web hosting package, with many features that are extras from other web hosts as a standard part of their deal. The first thing that makes BlueHost’s standard package stand out is that they allow users to have an unlimited number of domains, which is a perk that the other web hosts don’t include in their cheapest packages. BlueHost also gives new users a free domain name for the first year as well as unlimited e-mail addresses. BlueHost also allows users to have unlimited sub-domains and to park as many domains as they like. Unlimited disk space and bandwidth are also included as a standard part of BlueHost’s web hosting package.

BlueHost uses the popular cPanel website management system that makes it simple to create databases, set up e-mail accounts, check statistics and all of the other administrative tasks that are involved with running a website. It also allows users to install any of over 50 web design scripts onto their domain with just a few mouse clicks. There is also the option of using the free web design software that comes with every BlueHost web hosting package.

For businesses, it is important that their web hosting service includes the secure pages and shopping cart software that they will need to do business online. SSL certificates are usually an added extra with most web hosts, but at BlueHost they are included as a standard part of their basic package. Another useful feature that isn’t being offered by their competition is the multimedia support that is a part of BlueHost’s standard package.

BlueHost was established in 1996 and has since established a reputation for reliability that is backed up by excellent technical service and support provided by its in house customer service staff. Site backups are included as a courtesy and their network is backed up with an auxiliary power supply to ensure that your website won’t go offline. Blue Host fully stands behind its web hosting service and offers a 100% anytime money back guarantee. There is also $100 in Google credits included with every new web hosting account, and websites hosted by BlueHost are automatically submitted to the search engines for free.

It is because BlueHost includes all of the features as a standard part of their package that their competition are charging extra for, that it represents the best value for money web hosting package that is available. With deals from as low as $3.95 per month, BlueHost’s deals are considerably cheaper and more reliable than their competitors, making it the clear leader in the web hosting business today.

#2 HostGator

The web hosting service provided by HostGator runs a close second to BlueHost in several areas. HostGator offers a choice of three shared hosting packages, from their most basic hatchling plan, a slightly more expensive baby plan, to their top of the line business plan, ranging in price from $3.96 per month up to $10.36 per month for the fully featured package. HostGator also has Virtual Private Server (VPS) packages and dedicated servers for users that need more space or greater security. There is also a range of reseller packages available. All of this means that HostGator will certainly have a pricing package and a level of service that suits the needs of everyone.

While all of HostGator’s shared hosting plans have unlimited disk space and bandwidth, if you want more than one domain or want to use any of the advanced features it will be necessary to upgrade to a more expensive plan. When the cost of a domain is added to the price of HostGator’s basic package, it makes their service look much less cost effective.

HostGator is a very user friendly service and, like BlueHost, it uses cPanel to manage web hosting accounts. There is also an easy to use web site building tool that allows websites to be built using a wide variety of templates. HostGator’s version of cPanel also comes with an impressive set of SEO and analytical tools, so you can track the progress that you are making with your website. Inclusion in all of the major search engines is also included as a standard part of HostGator’s web hosting packages.

HostGator is known as a reliable web host that provides excellent, award winning service and technical support. They guarantee to maintain a 99.9% uptime for your website and include free backups as part of their service. HostGator also offers a 45 day money back guarantee to give new users a chance to make sure that they are satisfied with the service that they are getting. Additionally, HostGator is a green web hosting service and have invested in wind farms to offset their servers’ emissions.

Overall, HostGator offers an excellent web hosting service that is reliable and user friendly, but which is let down by the lack of features in its cheaper web hosting packages. As a service for hobby bloggers or other very small users where price is the deciding factor, HostGator may be the best option.

#3 Go Daddy

Go Daddy was established in 1997 and is managing more than 53 million domains on its servers, which are located in a variety of locations around the world. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Go Daddy has servers in Iowa, California, Colorado, Washington, D.C., and India, and employs over 3,000 people with 500 in-house technical staff.

Go Daddy has a three tiered shared hosting service, with their basic package starting at $4.24 per month and larger packages going up in price to $8.49 per month for their ultimate service. There are also a variety of reseller packages that start from $5.09 per month for 100 addresses and going up to $12.74 per month for 1000 domains. Go Daddy VPS services are also competitively priced with a choice of five packages. There is also a Cloud Hosting service that allows for flexible use of the web and which starts at less than 10 cents per hour.

On the technical side of the question, Go Daddy offers users less direct control over their website development and uses template based web design software as well as allowing installation of scripts like WordPress via its own control panel. This means that many of the features that you would expect to find in your web hosting management panel are not there, and instead Go Daddy offers the use of many of its design functions for a fee.

When the cost of buying many of the basic internet services that are commonly added to a website is considered, on top of the monthly fee for web hosting, Go Daddy isn’t offering a particularly cost effective solution for small users. The VPS and especially the cloud hosting services are much better than the competition, and overall the service and support is good enough to make Go Daddy well worth considering when you are starting a website.

Of these three web hosts, Go Daddy is offering the least user friendly service and the cheaper plans are restricted to a single e-mail address and only 150 GB of bandwidth. Go Daddy also restricts its basic users to a five page website with only 1 GB of disk space, which makes their service impractical for many websites. All of these factors place Go Daddy a distant third behind its two older competitors, however it is still ahead of other services we reviewed like Host Monster and Fat Cow hosting.

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