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The 6 best web hosts for website building, WordPress hosting and more in 2023

Whether you’re starting your own website or looking for a better deal on hosting, we’ve picked out the best web hosts to get you moving

Do you want to start your own blog or website? You’re going to need the best web host to give you the web space, connectivity, software and services that will help you build, launch and run your site.

Choosing one is more complex than you might think, though. There are hundreds of web hosts to choose from, offering several different types of hosting. Some are perfect for personal users or aimed at small businesses, while others are designed to support larger companies. You really need to know what you’re getting into before signing up. 

Best web hosts: At a glance

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know before you pick a web host, and then reveal the best web hosts you can buy based on our detailed in-house tests. Our mini-reviews will help you find out more about each web host, but if you’d like the full story, we’ve also provided links to our full-length, in-depth reviews of each service. Or, if you’re strapped for time, simply check out the at-a-glance list of our favourite web hosts above.

How to choose the best web host for you

What kinds of web hosts are there?

Web hosting services come in four basic flavours – and you’ll often find that a host will offer a range of them at different price points. Which one you need will depend on what you’re trying to do.

Shared web hosting is the cheapest option. The company provides services for multiple customers running several websites on each of its physical servers, with each sharing CPU, RAM, storage and network resources. This sounds like a bad idea that will restrict performance – and that’s true if you’re running a massive online store or a large website such as Expert Reviews. But most personal and small-business sites don’t get anywhere near that level of traffic, in which case it’s unlikely you’ll ever find yourself constrained. That and the low costs mean shared web hosting is the right choice for most users.

Cloud web hosting is for more ambitious users or those who need to step up from their existing shared web hosting plan. Here, your website sits on a virtual cluster of servers. These still share resources, but the cluster can grow to use more if a particular website demands them, and this can happen automatically or on demand. You generally pay more, but you get better and more consistent performance, which means your website can handle a higher level of traffic without slowing down. With some providers there’s some overlap between shared and cloud services, so compare what you’re getting in terms of features and resources to make sure a bargain cloud host is really giving you more than you’d get from a basic shared package.

Dedicated servers and virtual private servers are more expensive options designed for larger websites and businesses. These give you higher, usually guaranteed performance and availability (which means your website is up and open for business, rather than down). Both services are usually more expensive and overkill for ordinary users, but ambitious startups might find the investment now pays off later when their site gets really busy.

There are other factors to consider. These start with a choice of Linux-based hosting, where you manage and upload your website using an online interface such as cPanel or Plesk, and Windows-based hosting where you can use a more familiar Windows interface. In practice, this doesn’t actually make setup or management that much easier as cPanel and Plesk are relatively easy to use, meaning it’s arguably not worth the extra unless you’re keen to stick to Microsoft technologies.

What kind of website do you want to run?

This is the next thing you need to ask yourself. Certain expert web professionals still prefer to hand-craft their site using Photoshop and web design tools, but these days the momentum is more behind WordPress, other content management systems like Drupal or Joomla, or a new breed of website builders, which give you the tools to make your website on top of the functions to host and manage it.

READ NEXT: How to use WordPress

Many hosts now offer dedicated services designed and optimised specifically for running WordPress. However, even if you don’t opt for one of these, most also allow you to install a complete, working WordPress stack with just a few clicks when setting up the service or through your control panel. The website builders make things even easier, taking you step by step through choosing a theme (the look and feel of your site), selecting a domain name (web address) and publishing your home page and other content.

What else should you look for?

Price is obviously the biggie. You can find web hosting services for as little as 99p/mth, although the lowest prices usually involve paying upfront for a year or even longer. Watch out for introductory pricing, too, as many providers hope to get you in with a low price that increases automatically once the first year is up. They figure that the hassle of migrating your website will put you off moving somewhere cheaper – though it’s usually not that much of a struggle.

Otherwise, the big differentiators will be the number of websites you can host, the amount of bandwidth they can use, both for you and for your visitors, and the number of databases you can run. The last point might seem bizarre – you want a website, not a database – but WordPress and other content-management systems need a database to store all your content, so this defines how many WordPress sites your package will allow you to run without using prefixes to keep them separate within the same database.

There are some extras. Many hosts throw in free registration of a domain name for a year, giving you a web address to start off with and saving you the bother of pointing this at your website manually. Again, check what the cost will be after the first year, as that’s what you’ll be paying afterwards. Some will throw in SSL encryption and/or certification, which you’ll need to make your website secure for accepting payments. Finally, almost every host will allow you to run your own email services, often with hundreds of mailboxes. Frankly, this is hardly ever worth the effort, especially with Office 365, and Gmail around, and only really useful if you’re running a business website and want a range of mailboxes for customer communications.

READ NEXT: The best VPNs

The best web hosts in 2023

1. GoDaddy: The best all-round web host

Price: Shared hosting plans from £2.46/mth (£7.41 after first year); VPS hosting from £82.43/mth | Check prices at GoDaddy

GoDaddy is one of the biggest US-based web hosts and it’s not hard to work out why. It makes picking a plan and setting it up easy, particularly if you register a domain at the same time, and its hosting packages are comprehensive and good value. You can have a simple website up and running with unmetered bandwidth and 25B of storage for as little as £2/mth. What’s more, GoDaddy throws in a year of Office 365 email, gratis.

The package includes one-click installation of WordPress and other popular CMS systems, plus a free domain for the first year, and you can easily add performance, capacity or a daily backup for additional cost. GoDaddy also scores high for local support, 24/7 chat and its excellent online guides and FAQs. If you’d rather have a dedicated WordPress or website builder package, GoDaddy can do that too. Throw in good to excellent performance and you have a solid, well-respected host.

Read our full GoDaddy Deluxe review for details

Key specs – Hosting services available: Shared hosting, WordPress, VPS; Free domain registration: Yes; Specs for entry-level product: One website, 25GB storage, unmetered bandwidth; Email: One year of Office 365

Check prices at GoDaddy

2. Hostinger: The best value web host

Price: Shared hosting from £1.49/mth (48 month plan); Cloud hosting from £8.99/mth (48 month plan) | Check prices at Hostinger

By any standards, Hostinger is a cheap web host, not just with shared hosting, which starts at £1.49 plus VAT per month, but with Cloud hosting too, kicking off at only £8.99 per month excluding VAT. The catch, as with so many providers, is that to get these cut-price offers you have to splash out for two to four years upfront – not a big deal with the cheapest shared hosting plan, but a big commitment if you want cloud hosting.

Hostinger’s hosting platform is optimised for speed, and the shared hosting packages use its own hPanel control panel, which works much like cPanel but with some UI improvements and enhancements here and there. It’s certainly speedy and responsive, and customers are generally impressed by the level of support, with helpful FAQs and tutorials, a well-structured knowledgebase and 24/7 live chat support. Whether you’re looking to build something simple using the integrated website builder or get into WordPress for a more complex site, Hostinger is a solid, wallet-friendly choice.

Read our full Hostinger Premium review for details

Key specs – Hosting services available: Shared hosting, cloud hosting, WordPress, VPS hosting; Free domain registration: Yes with Premium plans;Specs for entry-level product: One website, 50GB SSD storage, 100GB bandwidth; Email: Yes

Check prices at Hostinger

3. Ionos by 1&1: The best web host for small business

Price: Shared hosting from £0.82/mth for 12 months (then £10/mth); VPS hosting from £1.65/mth | Check prices at Ionos

1&1 is one of the longest-established European web hosts, but it rebranded following a merger to focus less on cheap and cheerful shared hosting packages, and more on the business user. The company still has its share of cut-price options, with packages starting from less than one pound per month for a single website, though this rises to £10 per month after the first year. However, 1&1 Ionos also sells more premium VPS packages from a cut price £1.65 plus additional services like Wix-style website building, WordPress hosting and hosted Office 365.

Read our full Ionos by 1&1 Premium Hosting review for details

Key specs – Hosting services available: Shared hosting, VPS, WordPress, eCommerce, dedicated hosting, website builder; Free domain registration: Yes; Specs for entry-level product: One website, 100GB storage, unlimited bandwidth; Email: 25 accounts

Check prices at Ionos

4. TSOHost: The best value UK web host

Price: Shared hosting and cloud hosting from £4.99/mth, £47.88/yr. VPS Hosting from £54.99/mth, £527.88/yr | Check prices at TSOHost

TSOHost has some of the lowest prices around despite its plans not showing too many compromises beyond limited storage at the lowest levels. Even the cheapest shared hosting packages come with unlimited bandwidth. It’s easy to set up your account and relatively easy to configure and upload your website, with a choice of cPanel or TSOHost’s own Cloud Dashboard. You might find the odd challenge in configuring name servers or FTP settings, but while TSOHost’s online guides and FAQs aren’t as clear or comprehensive as GoDaddy’s, they do a decent job of taking you through the basic processes.

More experienced website builders shouldn’t have many issues, and performance is great for UK visitors and good for visitors from the US, although our test site saw more disappointing figures for visitors elsewhere in the world. Service is good, with many happy customers, and we like the way TSOHost invoices you for payments rather than rolling them over from one month to the next. It’s also easy to cancel, which is usually a sign that the host has confidence in its services. If so, it’s not misplaced: TSOHost is a great value option.

Key specs – Hosting services available: Shared hosting, cloud hosting, WordPress, website builder; Free domain registration: Yes; Specs for entry-level product: One website, 100GB SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth; Email: 25 mailboxes

Check prices at TSOHost

5. Wix: The best website builder

Price: £4/mth with ads; shared hosting without ads from £7.50/mth | Check prices at Wix

The best-known of the new website builders makes setting up a site an incredibly easy task. You’re encouraged to try it before you sign up, by picking a template and adding text and images before you’ve even passed over your payment details. In fact, you don’t need to pay if you can live with Wix ads and branding and just want a simple site, although you’ll need to pay £7.50 a month or more to get rid of the ads and use a custom domain name.

The best reason to use Wix is that its tools are very good. While you’re restricted by the template layouts, the built-in customisation, text and image-editing features are strong enough to make the slightly generic designs look more personal, and produce professional-looking results. They’re a cut above what you get from its arch-rival, Weebly, and while pages take longer to load than from some of the more traditional UK Web hosts, that’s partly down to the fact that you’re tempted to use larger images and more lavish animated effects. A web design app or CMS can get you a slicker, more individual site, but Wix is the best option for getting an online presence quickly.

Read our full Wix review for details

Key specs – Hosting services available: Website builder; Free domain registration: One year with £7.50 plan and up; Specs for entry-level product: One website, 500MB storage, 1GB bandwidth; Email: None

Check prices at Wix

6. BlueHost: The best web host for WordPress

Price: Shared hosting from £2.44/mth (12 month plan) £4.09/mth (36 month plan); VPS hosting from £24.78/mth (1 month plan) £16.52/mth (36 month plan) | Check prices at BlueHost

BlueHost is one of the most affordable WordPress hosts and one of the few recommended by WordPress itself – but there is a catch. Its cheapest plans involve signing on for three years upfront, with the price climbing once you move down to the shortest 12-month plan (although the year-long plan is heavily discounted at time of writing). What’s more, prices rise once those three years are up. On the plus side, one domain registration is free for the first year, and ~£150 isn’t too much to pay for three years of hosting while your website finds its feet. BlueHost also gives you scope to grow, with Plus and Choice Plus plans that give you unmetered storage and unlimited websites, though still just the one domain (and 30 days of Office 365 email isn’t spoiling anyone). If you need more, moving to its WP Pro plans will give you more performance optimisations and a range of marketing, SEO and social media tools.

Where BlueHost scores is in good performance, with short server response times, and in the ease with which you can register a domain, set up your WordPress site and start working with templates and adding content. WordPress Updates are rolled out automatically, and BlueHost has strong FAQs and tutorials – including video tutorials – plus 24/7 live chat support. It can be a bit pushy, trying to sell you add-ons from its WordPress marketplace, but if you can ignore that you’ll find BlueHost a brilliant WordPress host with useful features and specialist expertise.

Key specs – Hosting services available: Shared hosting, VPS, WordPress, dedicated hosting; Free domain registration: Yes; Specs for entry-level product: One website, 50GB storage, unlimited bandwidth; Email: Yes with WordPress Plus and WordPress Plus Choice accounts

Check prices at BlueHost

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