What is Web Hosting? | U.S. News

For your web site to be accessible to on-line customers, you should use hosting companies or have self-hosting capabilities. Both strategies require server {hardware} and software program linked to high-speed web. An web consumer (referred to as the shopper) enters a web site handle right into a browser. Then the online host receives the request, locates the recordsdata, and sends knowledge to the shopper.

Businesses and people could not have the infrastructure and technical expertise for storing, sustaining, and housing net servers. Instead, they purchase a hosting plan which is like renting area on a bodily server.

Website storage is a core hosting performance, however most suppliers supply buyer assist and on-line account entry. Unlike self-hosting, the web site proprietor isn’t chargeable for updating, securing, or upgrading server {hardware} and software program. The firms in our scores present hosting companies. Check out our Best Web Hosting Services of 2022 ranking to discover top-rated options.


Web internet hosting is a service that homes web site recordsdata on servers. The servers (owned by the host) change knowledge with purchasers (usually an internet browser), and the shopper shows the requested net web page (or area title) to the consumer (the potential web site customer). Website homeowners buy a internet hosting plan, permitting them to lease area on a bodily server.

The internet hosting companies offered by distributors equivalent to Bluehost, HostGator, and SiteGround supply completely different plans, capacities, and options. Web hosts home and preserve servers in a knowledge heart, so internet hosting plan subscribers don’t have to personal bodily server {hardware} or software program.

Users enter a URL (uniform useful resource locator), additionally known as a website title, into an internet browser (referred to as the shopper). The net browser interprets the URL into an web protocol (IP) handle and sends an HTTP (hypertext switch protocol) request to an internet server. A number owns the online server and rents area to customers.

In response to the HTTP request, the online host server locates the sources and transfers the recordsdata essential to load the requested net web page within the consumer’s net browser. The pace at which this course of happens relies on a number of components, together with the allotted server sources and bodily server location.

A server is a sort of highly effective laptop that is all the time turned on and linked to the web. The host allocates server sources, together with laborious drive cupboard space, random entry reminiscence (RAM), and bandwidth, to a web site in response to the allowances of your internet hosting subscription. Web internet hosting suppliers supply shared and devoted companies, permitting web site homeowners to select from a number of choices.

However, servers can crash once they don’t have sufficient sources, leading to downtime. Many hosting companies present uptime ensures, together with a number of listed in our Best Web Hosting Services of 2022 ranking.

There are quite a few internet hosting sorts that may swimsuit completely different wants and value factors. Shared internet hosting is usually probably the most reasonably priced choice since you’re sharing sources with different websites, whereas devoted internet hosting is usually the most costly, since you’ve your personal personal server and sources.

Dedicated Hosting 

Company/Score Monthly Cost Bandwidth Storage
Bluehost $79.99/Month and Up 5 TB 4 GB
HostGator $89.98/Month and Up 10 TB 8 GB
Ionos $45.00/Month and Up Unmetered 8 GB
DreamHost $149.00/Month and Up 4 Mbps 4 GB
InMovement Hosting $139.99/Month and Up 1 Gbps 16 GB
GoDaddy $129.99/Month and Up N/A 32 GB
A2 Hosting $155.99/Month and Up N/A 16 GB

Dedicated internet hosting affords probably the most management for web site homeowners. It supplies a devoted server with full admin and root entry, permitting customers to put in their most popular working system and safety instruments. Dedicated internet hosting is like renting a single-family house as a substitute of an condo in a shared constructing or sharing area with roommates.

Shared Hosting

Company/Score Monthly Cost Bandwidth Number of Sites
Bluehost $2.95/Month and Up Unmetered 1
HostGator $2.75/Month and Up Unmetered 1
SiteFloor $2.99/Month and Up Unmetered 1
Hostinger $1.99/Month and Up 100 GB 1
A2 Hosting $2.99/Month and Up N/A 1
Ionos $0.50/Month and Up N/A 1
DreamHost $1.99/Month and Up Unmetered 1
GreenGeeks Web Hosting $2.95/Month and Up Unmetered 1
InMovement Hosting $2.49/Month and Up Unmetered 1
GoDaddy $4.99/Month and Up Unmetered 1

Shared internet hosting is when a number of web sites reside on one server and share the server’s sources, together with RAM and a central processing unit (CPU). Think of it as sharing a house with roommates. Some suppliers like Bluehost supply useful resource safety, which ensures your web site efficiency no matter what number of websites share the server. Shared internet hosting is usually the least costly and may be a wonderful choice for small businesses, bloggers, and hobbyists.

Shared internet hosting companies could embrace different beginner-friendly instruments, equivalent to WordPress internet hosting and drag-and-drop web site builders. Although shared internet hosting is reasonably priced, there are trade-offs. Website homeowners can’t management server sources and should expertise efficiency variations throughout utilization surges.

VPS Hosting

Company/Score Monthly Cost Bandwidth RAM
Bluehost $18.99/Month and Up 1 TB 2 GB
HostGator $23.95/Month and Up Unmetered 2 GB
Hostinger $3.49/Month and Up 1 TB 1 GB
A2 Hosting $39.99/Month and Up Unmetered 4 GB
Ionos $2.00/Month and Up Unmetered 512 MB
DreamHost $13.75/Month and Up Unmetered 1 GB
GreenGeeks Web Hosting $39.95/Month and Up Unmetered 2 GB
InMovement Hosting $19.99/Month and Up Unmetered 2 GB
GoDaddy $4.99/Month and Up Unmetered 1 GB

Virtual personal servers (VPS) give web site homeowners a devoted portion of a server, known as a partition. It’s like renting an condo, the place you’ve your personal area (server sources) however share the constructing (server) with others. Websites hosted on a VPS could expertise fewer efficiency points as a result of every partition supplies devoted RAM and processing energy. VPS subscriptions price greater than shared internet hosting, however lower than devoted internet hosting plans.

Like shared internet hosting, VPS works nicely for small companies. For customers desirous to host a big on-line retailer or a web site filled with video and audio recordsdata, VPS sources might not be fairly sufficient and devoted internet hosting could also be preferable. With some technical data, web site homeowners can customise their VPS web site greater than on shared plans. VPS supplies root entry for customized configurations and specialised software program installations.

Cloud Hosting

Company/Score Monthly Cost Bandwidth Storage
SiteFloor $100.00/Month and Up Unmetered 8 GB
Hostinger $9.99/Month and Up Unmetered 200 GB
DreamHost $149.00/Month and Up 4 Mbps 4 GB

Cloud internet hosting makes use of virtualization expertise to pool sources from a number of servers within the cloud as a substitute of a single on-site server. It is higher geared up to deal with site visitors spikes than VPS or shared internet hosting as a result of most suppliers let web site homeowners add RAM or CPU on-demand. Alternatively, an auto-scale choice can robotically improve sources when site visitors spikes.

This flexibility makes cloud internet hosting greatest for rising companies needing extra sources than shared plans however that don’t desire a devoted subscription, which requires extra technical expertise and is costly. However, not all suppliers on our Best Web Hosting Services of 2022 ranking supply cloud internet hosting. Check out SiteGround, Hostinger, or DreamHost for those who’re contemplating cloud internet hosting.

WooCommerce Hosting

Company/Score Monthly Cost Bandwidth Monthly Visitors
Bluehost $15.95/Month and Up Unmetered N/A
SiteFloor $2.99/Month and Up Unmetered ~10,000
Ionos $3.00/Month and Up Unmetered N/A
WP Engine $24.00/Month and Up 50 GB ~25,000
DreamHost $16.95/Month and Up Unmetered ~100,001

WooCommerce internet hosting is a type of shared internet hosting optimized for on-line shops. Since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, internet hosting suppliers providing WooCommerce plans additionally assist WordPress. Some have WooCommerce pre-installed or one-click set up. WooCommerce internet hosting additionally consists of seller-friendly instruments like payment processing and transport choices.

WordPress Hosting

Company/Score Monthly Cost Bandwidth Number of Sites
Bluehost $2.95/Month and Up Unmetered 1
HostGator $5.95/Month and Up Unmetered 1
Hostinger $1.99/Month and Up 100 GB 1
A2 Hosting $11.99/Month and Up Varies 1
Ionos $3.00/Month and Up Varies 1
DreamHost $16.95/Month and Up Unmetered 1
GreenGeeks Web Hosting $2.95/Month and Up Unmetered 1
InMovement Hosting $3.99/Month and Up Unmetered 1
GoDaddy $8.99/Month and Up Varies 1
WP Engine $20.00/Month and Up 50 GB 1

WordPress internet hosting is a sub-category of hosting that gives servers and sources optimized particularly for the content material administration system (CMS) WordPress. Although many shared internet hosting plans assist WordPress set up, devoted WordPress subscriptions could embrace extra options, equivalent to computerized WordPress updates and web site builder instruments. Similar to WooCommerce packages, many WordPress internet hosting suppliers supply technical assist for WordPress customers.

Reseller Hosting 

Company/Score Monthly Cost Bandwidth Disk Space
HostGator $19.95/Month and Up 600 GB 60 GB
A2 Hosting $18.99/Month and Up Varies 60 GB
GreenGeeks Web Hosting $19.95/Month and Up Varies 60 GB

Reseller internet hosting is when an internet host leases bandwidth and laborious drive area to a enterprise, which in flip supplies hosting companies to its purchasers. This answer helps entrepreneurs wanting to begin a reseller firm. It additionally works nicely for net designers and builders who’re focused on increasing their companies with add-on companies like hosting.

Resellers can devise their very own internet hosting plans and costs. Since reseller internet hosting subscriptions embrace white labeling, a reseller’s purchasers will see the enterprise proprietor’s branding, not that of HostGator, A2 Hosting, or GreenGeeks Web Hosting. Although the online host maintains servers, the reseller can handle a number of websites, domains, and sources from a single management panel.

Popular Web Hosting Services

A site title is a web site handle or URL, equivalent to “www.usnews.com.” You can choose your web site’s handle and extensions, like .com, .org, or .internet. The non-profit group, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), oversees the domains system. It additionally permits Domain Name Registrars to promote domains and make adjustments to the registry on a web site proprietor’s behalf.

Many suppliers on our Best Web Hosting Services of 2022 ranking embrace a free area for the primary 12 months. However, you can even purchase a website individually and set it as much as direct site visitors to your web site’s server. Most internet hosting companies present how-to guides for transferring a website title or pointing it to your hosted web site.

RAM, bandwidth, and laborious drive area are key elements of hosting. Different plan subscriptions will present completely different quantities of every useful resource. Higher ranges assist extra site visitors and recordsdata but in addition price extra.

Here’s how RAM, laborious drive storage, and bandwidth differ:

  • RAM: Short-term server reminiscence that enables your web site to run a number of processes concurrently, like responding to HTTP requests.  
  • Hard drive area: The drive is for storage and holds your web site content material, equivalent to pictures and textual content recordsdata.
  • Bandwidth: This refers to how a lot info you possibly can switch to and out of your web site. 

Entry-tier hosting plans could present ample storage, RAM, and bandwidth. But because the variety of web site guests will increase, you could have to improve. Likewise, e-commerce websites use extra processes, as do dynamic net pages.

Choosing a hosting service is difficult as a result of many choices and subscriptions can be found. The net host homes your web site and maintains the servers to make sure uptime. But internet hosting companies additionally embrace technical assist, account administration instruments, and self-help sources.

Think about how you propose to make use of your web site and your technical experience. For instance, WordPress.org reviews that of all new web sites, 66.2% use WordPress, making it a preferred CMS choice. However, if you’d like a web-based retailer with payment processing capabilities, take into account WooCommerce plans (which run on WordPress) or search for options that work together with your purchasing cart software program.

Also, take into consideration your required contract size. For short-term internet hosting, search for suppliers providing month-to-month plans, equivalent to HostGator or DreamHost. Most distributors have one, two, or three-year plans for longer-term wants, which can price lower than month-to-month subscriptions.

In addition, take into account the next instruments and options:

  • Website builder instruments: If you’re constructing a web site from scratch, take a look at builder plans and options providing drag-and-drop performance, web page templates, and picture libraries. 
  • Access: Web internet hosting companies ought to supply a management panel for web site administration and file switch protocol (FTP) to switch recordsdata out of your laptop to the online server.
  • Security: Basic safety measures could embrace spam prevention instruments, firewalls, and a safe sockets layer (SSL) certificates. Advanced options could require higher-tier plans or an add-on.
  • Email: Providers could supply electronic mail domains with some plans or as an add-on service. These put your net title after the @ image.
  • Storage: If your web site consists of dynamic content material or many audio and video recordsdata, you could want increased storage limits. 


  • Less costly than hiring an internet designer

  • Easier to shortly replace or make adjustments later

  • Can put a easy web site collectively shortly


  • Mistakes can hurt the customer expertise

  • Customization requires some technical experience

  • Specialized site-building is time-consuming

With the provision of drag-and-drop web site builder instruments, you possibly can create net pages to your web site even with restricted technical expertise. Many hosting suppliers supply their very own web site builders, or you should utilize the free WordPress device. Web hosts even have self-help tutorials and movies that may stroll you thru how you can add recordsdata, use templates, or add plugins.

A easy web site doesn’t take lengthy to place collectively on-line. But it may be time-consuming to create the content material, arrange the location construction, and select the very best template. A big advantage of doing it your self is that you just change into aware of the instruments and features, making it simpler to replace or alter your web site later. When knowledgeable builds your web site, you could want their companies greater than as soon as if you’d like huge adjustments to your web site.

Going the DIY route additionally means much less cash out of your pocket. Website design and improvement can price 1000’s of {dollars}. Cheaper choices exist for those who undergo a market like Fiverr, however it’s best to vet the freelancer completely. Although DIY web site constructing has its perks, there are disadvantages.

A newbie with restricted expertise could spend hours studying how you can construction their pages, discover web page templates, and produce content material. Then, it takes extra time to implement what you’ve realized. Depending in your availability, web site constructing can take weeks or months. Site builders can cut back the time it takes however supply fewer customization choices. In distinction, in response to DreamHost, skilled customized design companies could take two to 4 months. If you’ve the content material prepared, a freelancer could full the location setup in a few weeks.

Web internet hosting suppliers use varied safety instruments to guard the servers that maintain your web site knowledge. However, options for particular person websites differ amongst suppliers and repair plans. At a minimal, many hosting companies on our Best Web Hosting Services of 2022 ranking embrace an SSL certificates with shared internet hosting packages. A couple of suppliers, together with SiteGround and Hostinger, have a firewall and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assault safety on entry-tier plans.

However, many in style internet hosting companies require upper-tier subscriptions or add-on software program for superior safety. For occasion, GoDaddy affords month-to-month safety subscriptions with firewalls, malware scanning, and DDoS safety. In comparability, Bluehost and HostGator have add-on subscriptions for CodeGuard and SiteLock, which offer malware elimination and web site backups.

Learn More

For extra details about hosting companies, see the next guides:

Web Hosting Services

Other Ratings from 360 Reviews

In addition to our scores of hosting companies, you could be focused on these guides to different merchandise:

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Hospitals, Best Colleges, and Best Cars to information readers by way of a few of life’s most complex selections. Our 360 Reviews staff attracts on this identical unbiased strategy to fee the merchandise that you just use every single day. To construct our scores, we researched greater than 21 Web Hosts and analyzed 17 critiques. Our 360 Reviews staff doesn’t take samples, items, or loans of services or products we evaluation. All pattern merchandise offered for evaluation are donated after evaluation. In addition, we preserve a separate enterprise staff that has no affect over our methodology or suggestions.

U.S. News 360 Reviews takes an unbiased strategy to our suggestions. When you employ our hyperlinks to purchase merchandise, we could earn a fee however that on no account impacts our editorial independence.


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