A Comprehensive Review of Hosting Companies – Which One Is Right For You?

Choosing a host is one of the hardest choicest to make – yet is one that is very little thought of. We plan out the design, the development, user experience and SEO, but when do we ever plan or care about the hosting?

That is, of course, until something goes terribly wrong and your website is down for hours and your emails keep bouncing as spam. That’s when you realize hosting becomes the most important component of your website. Without a reliable host, there is no website.

Unfortunately, it’s near impossible to really figure out what host is the best. If you tweet or google about a host, you’ll get just as many negative reviews as you do positive. Therefor, I’ve gone through several hosts in an attempt to find really find the one with the best uptime, the best email and features – and the best cost.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is one of the most popular choices for hosting and domains. They were one of the first hosting companies I went to and I still buy all of my domains from them. They also have a lot of domain extensions (like .it for Codesnipp.it) that the other companies didn’t offer.

Pros:

  • Domains are super cheap and range around $11.99
  • Hosting is really cheap – the lowest plan is $41.99 per year and offers 10GB of space, 100 email accounts and 10 MySQL DB’s

Cons:

  • No real cPanel access
  • Can take over an hour to set up MySQL DB’s
  • WordPress runs REALLY slow (over 17 seconds per page load on my site) once the DB starts becoming large (with a lot of posts) and no amount of optimization helps
  • Server response is really slow
  • The GoDaddy site itself is terrible, crowded and impossible to find anything out
  • Tech support is worthless and unknowledgeable

Yahoo Hosting

Yahoo Hosting boasts an all-in-one business solution for the web. I haven’t owned Yahoo Hosting myself, but have come across this server several times with clients, enough to know the ins and outs.

Pros:

  • Hosting is $119.40 per year and includes a domain in the price
  • Easy to use and set up for beginners.
  • Includes unlimited disk space, data and email space.
  • 24/7 support
  • Built in rankings and traffic report generator.
  • Really nice, clean interface
  • A lot of tools

Cons:

  • No cPanel
  • Does not allow custom htaccess
  • WordPress is limited on Yahoo Hosting due to them forbidding htacccess, which means no SEO-friendly permalinks, caching or anything else.

Blue Host

I switched to¬†Blue Host after finally giving up on GoDaddy. Blue Host was recommended to me by several people, seemed really affordable and was fast and reliable for for the first few months. Unfortunately, that didn’t last and I had to move after the serious downtime.

Pros:

  • Very affordable hosting at only $83.40 a year for unlimited data, storage and email.
  • Free domain
  • Real cPanel

Cons:

  • After the first couple of months, I had severe downtime every few days
  • Server was faster than GoDaddy, but still slow and at times, very laggy

Dreamhost

Several of my clients used Dreamhost and it was great for awhile. However, as with all really cheap hosting companies, downtime was a killer.

Pros:

  • Hosting is $107.40 per year for unlimited space and data.
  • cPanel access

Cons:

  • A LOT of downtime for several hours, even days

1and1

Thankfully my experience with 1and1 was short. They have to be one of the worst hosting companies I’ve ever dealt with due to their lack of tech support and custom service. Good luck on this one if you decide to go with them.

Hosting starts at $47.88 per year for only 10GB of space and unlimited data.

Pros:

  • ?

Cons:

  • Backend makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time to the 1970’s.
  • Tech support? What tech support? How about send an email and wait a week for a stupid, unhelpful response?

Rackspace

Rackspace is used by CoreCommerce for all of their hosting, which means I come in contact with them every time I do an eCommerce site.

Pros:

  • Very fast and responsive on both the CoreCommerce and WordPress frameworks.
  • A bunch of different hosting packages to fit any need, including those that need scalable hosting.
  • Comes with a lot of advanced configurations

Cons:

  • Fees are pretty expensive….so expensive it was impossible to find their prices for basic hosting.
  • Has had some downtime.
  • Meant for larger companies and seasoned server professionals.

Host Monster

Host Monster is one of the few cheaper hosting companies that seem to run ok. I left them awhile ago to go back to GoDaddy (before I left them from Blue Host), but only because I wanted to have my domains and hosting in one place at the time. I haven’t ran WordPress on Host Monster though, so I don’t how they handle DB speed.

Pros:

  • Hosting is only $71.40 a month for unlimited space, domains and data.
  • 24/7 support

Cons:

  • Website looks like it was made in the 90’s and never updated.
  • A little bit of downtime.

ZeHosting

ZeHosting is my current and all-time favorite hosting companies. They originally came to me as a client and hired me to code their website. I feel in love with their hosting services, especially since I was allowed to try it out for free on Codesnipp.it. I now host all of my sites with them. They have awesome and normally instant customer support and my site’s load time is near¬†instantaneous.

Hosting is $119.40 per year for 25GB of storage, 100GB of bandwidth and 1,000 emails. Extra space can also be purchased for a pretty affordable price. ZeHosting claims their accounts are powered by hundreds of servers, and while I can’t confirm that’s true, I can say I’ve had the most uptime and the fastest site ever on ZeHosting.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Near instant custom service via Twitter, IM or email
  • Tech support usually comes from the owner, Pierre, himself.
  • Very helpful
  • Real cPanel
  • WordPress runs like a cheetah on steriods
  • The most uptime out of all sites.
  • Always offering great coupons for hosting
  • They don’t seem to pack a million users onto one server, so everything remains super fast.
  • They’ve only gone down once since I’ve been with them (almost a year

Cons:

  • I did have to switch to gmail masking of my email, because ZeHosting is a little too proactive with their spam filters and a bunch of incoming emails from clients and colleagues were getting blocked. But this was easy and free to switch over.