The best web hosting: 2022 ranking
Launching a new website? Whether it is for your personal blog or for a burgeoning eCommerce behemoth, you'll need a reliable hosting service. Have a great website idea, not sure where to get started on the hosting? We've got you covered.
Below we compare the top webhost out there. Learn what you need to get started and then pick the best web hosting solution for you!
Our picks for best web hosting service in 2022
Hostinger: The most versatile web host on the market
This French webhost stands out of the pack with competitive pricing, speed and excellent customer service. Hostinger offers some of the cheapest hosting on the market with fast performance, thanks to data centers located worldwide. It boasts a guaranteed uptime of over 99.99%, making it an extremely reliable provider.
Ionos: The fast and easy option
This German hosting company, formerly known as 1&1, has data centers in 5 different countries and serves more than 8 million customers. Getting your website up and running is easy thanks to an intuitive website builder that requires no code. Ionos offers great educational resources and tools. Customer service is available by telephone and online 24/7.
Hostpapa: The ideal host for small businesses
This Canadian hosting service has been a great choice for Canadians since 2006. It currently hosts nearly 500 000 websites. It is particularly well-suitable for small websites and small to medium-sized businesses. We love its speed, reliability and 99.99% uptime. A business email service and an office suite are also available. Finally, Hostpapa’s quality-price ratio, makes it one of the most attractive on the market, especially for the Business and Business Pro plans.
GoDaddy: A large, popular favourite
This American web host currently manages more than 80 million domain names ranking it as one of the largest and most popular choices. GoDaddy is simple and intuitive to use from signing up through publishing your website. Customer service is top-notch. It reports 99.9% uptime of its servers. It is ideal for beginners.
PlanetHoster: An eco-friendly web host with great customer service
Want to reduce your carbon footprint? This Canadian website host stands out by being eco-friendly. Its infrastructure runs on hydroelectric power and its servers are cooled, so the carbon footprint of a PlanetHoster plan is minimal. Not only that, it is fast and reliable with 99.99% uptime. The cherry on the cake? A free hosting package for blogs and small static websites.
Ex2: Great bang for your buck
This eco-friendly and socially-responsible Canadian host is an inexpensive host ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. Enjoy the included website builder and one-click installation. PlanetHoster is powered by 100% renewable energy. When you purchase a Go Green Plan they donate solar lights to families in Africa.
Infomaniak: A French-speaking, green and secure hosting company
This Swiss webhost is a nice option for large websites that need streaming audio or video and companies that operate many websites. It has earned ISO14007 and ISO50001 certifications and runs environmentally-conscious data centers.
Other well-known web hosting providers:
We believe you can't go wrong with any of the options above. If you're looking for something a little different, here are a few solid choices.
- AWS: Amazon Web Services is the world’s largest web hosting service. More than 30% of the internet runs on Amazon’s servers! With powerful servers worldwide, flexible pay-as-you-go pricing and support for many CMS and platforms, it is a solid choice for everyone from small websites to larger, traffic-heavy ones.
- A2 Hosting: this American host stands out for its great performance, excellent quality/price ratio and many options. We particularly appreciate the quality customer support, fast servers and 99% uptime.
- Blue Host: The American web hosting service is one of the most popular options. It is easy to use, includes an intuitive website builder and has quality customer service. It is a fine option for hosting WordPress sites.
- HostGator: This American webhost has servers worldwide. It offers a wide range of hosting options. The shared plans are particularly compelling and a nice match for those getting started with their website.
- Greengeeks: This eco-conscious web hosting company has Canadian servers in Montreal and Toronto (and more abroad). It has a nice variety of plans with shared and VPS hosting. A nice option for WordPress sites.
- Dreamhost: This American hosting company is a large and popular option at a good price. It's a good option for small WordPress sites but has a wide range of hosting options than can fit larger sites too.
- OVHcloud: Simple, reliable and transparent. This French hosting service is a choice for small and medium-sized sites looking for an attractive price. It offers a wide variety of hosting options and customizable plans. At 99.9% uptime, its servers are among the most reliable on the market. It has servers all over the world.
- Ikoula: This France-based host includes a free domain name with any hosting plan. They have a nice offer with fast speeds and lots of hosting options.
What is a web host?
Web hosting is storage space on an always connected server so that you can publish a website or service. When readers access the text, images, video or databases that make up your website, their browser connects to your service provider’s servers to retrieve them. Hosting services rent storage space on their large servers with fast infrastructure and support staff so that your content is always accessible. It is like you’re renting a storage locker for your website that’s open 24/7. When a reader comes by to see your site there’s someone there to let them in.
Web hosts usually charge a monthly or annual subscription fee to host your website.
Many hosting companies also offer a domain name service, so that you can stake your claim on the perfect name for your website.
How does web hosting work?
Most simply, hosting services run computers (servers) where your website can be installed along with the accompanying infrastructure.
Your website will be assigned a domain name. These are the easy-to-remember URLs we use to visit a website. For example, www.HelloSafe.ca. In your case, it might be www.ThisIsMyAwesomePersonalWebsite.ca or www.TorontosBestSmallBusiness.ca. Domain names replace the complex IP addresses that computers use to find one another. It's like an old phone book, where you would look up a name to find the numerical coordinated to reach them.
When your website visitor types in your URL, the computer looks up the corresponding IP address and navigates to your hosting service’s server.
So, why can't I run my own server?
Technically you can run your own server, but it is complex. Offering a great experience for your readers requires deep knowledge and infrastructure you aren’t likely to have at home. Hosting is something that is best left to the pros. They offer inexpensive plans, fast speeds for your readers and close to 100% uptime.
How to choose the right web host?
Picking a hosting service can seem daunting, but it does not have to be. Here are a few things to keep in mind so that you can get the best web host for you.
- Server uptime: Aim for a provider that promises close to 100% uptime. If their server isn’t online, that means that your readers can’t connect to it.
- Scalability: Your website may be small today, but, hopefully, it’ll grow quickly! Prepare by picking a host that can grow with you. The needs of a small splash page for your retail shop are very different than those of a full-fledged online store.
- Bandwidth: Think of bandwidth as the size of the road coming into your website. It affects how many people can come in and how quickly. A city wouldn’t want a single unpaved, one-lane road as its main route because it’d create traffic jams and slow everyone. Well-trafficked video-heavy sites need lots of bandwidth to ensure a good experience for all their visitors, unlike a small website such a local restaurant's page with a menu, contact information and a few photos.
- Customer service: Are the customer service and the technical support teams available when you need them? If your website is essential to your business, you need a provider whom you trust to quickly resolve problems.
- Server location: The best host offers servers close to where your readers are located. This will ensure faster speeds for them.
- Your CMS: Some hosts simplify website setup by offering a one-click installation for specific content management systems (CMS), like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and more.
- Price: Pricing varies depending on the provider and the services you need. Find a hosting service that offers a plan appropriate to your needs, with the flexibility to scale later. There’s no use paying for a Ferrari if you’ll never get it above 120 kph.
Need some help? You can compare webhosts at the top of this page.
How much does a web host cost?
The cost of hosting your website varies greatly depending on what you need. There are great plans available for small websites for just a few dollars per month. If you need a dedicated server, lots of bandwidth and have hundreds of thousands or millions of monthly readers, you may need to budget thousands of dollars per year, but in those cases, the website is likely to be pulling in serious income. Suffice to say, hosting is very affordable for hobbyists and small businesses.
Below we take a look at what you might pay for different types of servers:
|Hosting Type||Price Range|
|Cloud Web Hosting||$6-100|
|Dedicated Server||$100 - $300|
Here are a few of the main factors that affect pricing:
- The type of server: You can generally pick between shared servers, cloud web hosting, VPS hosting and dedicated servers. Shared servers are the cheapest hosting option with prices climbing from there.
- Storage space and bandwidth: How much content will you have on your site and how much do you need to serve up at once?
- The number of domains: Do you have one site to manage or multiple?
- Professional email: Adding email hosting can mean a little more money, but for a professional, it’s worth it. This means you can get [email protected]
- eCommerce: The security features required to run an eCommerce site well can add cost.
- SSL certificate: An SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer) is all but required for websites these days. It will show your readers an HTTPS before your URL and encrypt your data so that it is safer for your readers.
- Backups: Many providers charge an add-on for automated backups. It’s usually worth it. Losing a website can be catastrophic for a business.
Here are the starting price points for some leading web hosts:
|Hosting Service||Shared Hosting||VPS||Cloud||Dedicated|
|Hostinger||Starting at $1.99 USD||Starting at $3.49 USD||Starting at $9.99 USD||-|
|Ionos||Starting at $1||Starting at $1||Starting at $5||Starting at $40|
|Hostgator||Starting at $2.75 USD||Starting at $23.95 USD||Starting at $4.95 USD||Starting at $89.98 USD|
|GoDaddy||Starting at $5.99||Starting at $6.99||-||Starting at $170.99|
|PlanetHoster||Starting at $7.01||-||Starting at $58.43||Starting at $58.43|
|ex2||Starting at $5.17||Starting at $58.87||NC||Starting at $70.64|
|infomaniak||Starting at 5.75€||-||Starting at 29€||-|
|OVHCloud||Starting at $4.99||Starting at $5||Starting at 9.99€||Starting at $75.08|
|A2 hosting||-||Starting at $49.99 USD||-||Starting at $109.99|
|Bluehost||Starting at $6.34||Starting at $25.60||-||Starting at $102.45|
|Dreamhost||Starting at $2.95 USD||Starting at $13.75 USD||-||Starting at $149.00|
|Greengeeks||Starting at $2.95||Starting at $39.95||-||Starting at $169.00|
|HostUpon||Starting at $7.95||Starting at $49.95||Starting at $39.95||Starting at $175.00|
What types of hosting are available?
If you have never set up a website before, it can be confusing when you see terms like shared web hosting, dedicated web hosting, VPS and cloud hosting batted around on providers’ websites. Not only that, but each comes with different technical specs and pricing. Some providers use unclear names that are more marketing jargon than actually useful.
The good news is that if you’re just getting started a basic shared plan is likely all you need to launch your website. VPS, cloud and dedicated servers are most appropriate for larger sites that are doing eCommerce, serving up lots of video content or already receiving many thousands of monthly visitors. If this is you, your webmaster or a service provider customer support can help you pick the right web hosting package for you.
Here’s an overview of the broad categories you are likely to see offered:
This is the most accessible option. These plans are usually inexpensive and beginner friendly. The servers themselves are managed by the hosting company, so maintenance is easy. You won’t need much technical knowledge to get started. Under shared hosting, your website lives on the same server as other websites. This is a nice starting point for personal websites and many small businesses.
A Virtual Private Server is an intermediary between shared and dedicated hosting. Your server runs multiple virtual dedicated servers (VDS), so it is like you’re on a dedicated server, but others also have similar installations on the same server. This means better reliability and greater configuration options than shared hosting while being less expensive than a dedicated option. This option is more technically complicated than shared plans.
This is often the most expensive choice because a single server runs only your website. Essentially, you rent a whole computer per month. It means complete technical control over the server configuration and the most technical complexity for you as the user. Dedicated servers make sense for high-traffic websites.
In this case, multiple cloud servers are used rather than one physical server. Cloud hosting is a more recent innovation compared to traditional shared, VPS and dedicated servers. The advantages of cloud hosting are easy scalability, great speed and enhanced security. Your valuable data is stored in multiple places rather than on a single server, which could theoretically fail.
Why is it important to choose your website host well?
Your website hosting is important because it is a major factor in the speed and accessibility of your website. You want a service provider that you can count on because your website is essential to your business.
Here are some of the ways that picking the right hosting company can help you:
Speed: How fast your pages load depends to a large extent on your hosting service. Speed means a better experience for your users. It is a critical ranking criterion for Google and other search engines.
Customer Service: Failure to plan is planning to fail. At some point, you may have a technical issue or need to change your configuration. Quick, competent customer service can be the difference between your website getting back online quickly or languishing offline for days. For many businesses, website downtime means significant revenue loss.
Security and Backups: Unfortunately, cyber security is more of a problem than ever before. If you’re handling sensitive customer information or running an eCommerce business take the time to familiarize yourself with your web host's security protocols and policies. The best web hosting companies explain how they keep you safe and offer automatic backups (sometimes as an add-on). They’ll also give the option of installing an SSL certificate. On your end, you want to keep on top of software patches, use robust passwords, avoid unnecessary plugins and regularly back up your website.
Did you know that there’s cyber security insurance these days?
Flexibility: As your website grows you may face a need for more storage space and bandwidth. Does your provider offer a scaleable solution and an easy way to upgrade your plan?
Wondering why speed matters?
Studies consistently show that the slower the website, the more likely users are to bounce off of it (leave quickly without interacting). If it’s more than 3 to 5 seconds, you’ll lose a majority of your users. You’ve probably done this yourself when doing a Google Search.
How to host a website for free?
Search online and you’ll find free web hosts. WordPress and Wix, for example, offer limited free plans. Just remember that running a server costs money, so the company has to recuperate their money somehow. This is usually in the form of ads you have no control over, which may not even match your brand. Additionally, free plans may have missing options, security issues, slow speed and very limited storage and bandwidth. If you go with a free web host make sure that it is a reputable company, preferably with a paid option that you can graduate into when you hit your plans ceiling.
For a beginner’s personal website, a free plan may be enough in some cases. Free hosting won’t cut it for businesses or serious hobbyists though. Compare web hosting providers at the top of this page. You can get a nice solution for just a few dollars per month.
Why does it matter where my hosting service is located?
Where your website host is located is important for two reasons: speed and legal compliance. Here’s why:
- Speed: When your readers click on your website their computer needs to connect to your hosting company's server. The further apart they are, the longer this can take. For a text-forward, light site it may not matter too much. You can run into serious latency issues with video content or video game servers. Just imagine if your visitors are located in Halifax, but your server is in Hong Kong.
- Legal compliance: different countries have different laws regarding privacy, obligations to turn over information to local authorities and even the kind of content that can appear on your website. For this reason, it can be nice to pick a Canada-based webhost who stores your information on Canadian servers. If you don’t, just be aware that your US-based web host might be required to disclose information to American authorities, or you could find yourself in violation of GDRP privacy rules if you’re based on a European server.
What’s the difference? Managed vs unmanaged hosting:
When picking your hosting plan you may be asked to pick between a managed hosting plan and an unmanaged one. The difference is simple.
Under a managed hosting plan, the company will control a bunch of important tasks for you including server updates, backups and security. Unmanaged plans are cheaper and much more customizable, but you’re on your own if you run into technical issues.
- Easy maintenance
- Customer service assistance
- Server updates
- Security checks
- Updates to WordPress or other CMS
- Automated backups
- Customizability. With root access to the server, you can configure it exactly how you need it.
- Fine control over backups.
- Less expensive
- You may need to be on a VPS or dedicated server to have an unmanaged plan.
Just getting started with your first website? Unless you have a compelling technical reason, you should go for a shared and managed hosting plan.