The duel between Linux and Windows may have an obvious victor on the home computer front, but the battle for server use paints a very different picture: since the beginning, Linux has defeated Windows, as usage figures show. But many users remain unconvinced by statistics and rightfully ask the question: what are the actual differences between the two platforms?
There are plenty of great web hosting services to choose from to get your project online. But with the market constantly growing, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of providers. Priceand performance are some of the key differentiators, but there are other features you should look out for. To make comparing them easier, we’ve created an overview of the best hosting provider for your needs.
Overview: A Comparison of the Best Hosting Providers
Here is an overview of the most important features our hosts have to offer. Read the detailed reviews below to get a better picture.
|IONOS||123 Reg||Bluehost||tsoHost||Heart Internet||Names.co.uk||SiteGround|
|Cost (per month)||£1 for first 12 months; £5-£10 thereafter||£1-£15 in the first year||£2.43 which increases to £6.57 for shared hosting; between £24.65 and £96.64 for VPS and dedicated hosting||Between £4 and £15 per month||Between £4 and £15 per month||Between £4.49 and £12.99 per month||Between £8.95 and £24.95 per month|
|Web space (storage)||100 GB–500 GB||10 GB–unlimited||50 GB–unmetered||100GB -unmetered||10 GB–unlimited||50GB- unlimited||10-30GB for shared|
|Hosted domains||1-3||1-3||1||1||1||1-5||1 to unlimited|
|SSL included?||✔||✘||✔||✘ Not all plans||✘||✘||✔|
|Subdomains||10k||10-100||25–unlimited||25-unlimited||None to unlimited||?||?|
IONOS offers two main types of hosting: shared and dedicated. All packages start from £1 a month for the first 12 months. With costs at a minimum, anyone can start up a business. After the first year, the price increases according to the plan you selected (£5 per month for Business, £7 per month for Pro, and £10 per month for Expert.)
IONOS also integrates some impressive security features, especially when compared to other providers. Although most providers include basic website scanning for malware and spam provided by SiteLock, advanced security options are only available as add-ons when choosing budget-friendly hosts such as Heart Internet. These providers appear cheaper at first, but if you have to fork out extra for essential security options, you’ll likely end up paying more.
If you’re managing more than one website or multiple domains, be sure to include a Wildcard SSL Certificate which guarantees an encrypted transmission of your visitors’ sensitive data. To protect your website against DDoS attacks, make sure your hosting package includes DDoS protection.
IONOS provides a 99.99% uptime guarantee, which promises that your website is accessible almost all of the time. The performance level of a website can be easily monitored and upgraded for even faster website speed. IONOS uses a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to deliver your static website content from one of its 62 data centres worldwide closest to a website visitor’s location. This reduces page loading times dramatically.
IONOS is one of few providers to include domain privacy for free. Cost-efficient providers such as tsoHost or even more expensive web hosts such as SiteGround require you to add-on WHOIS protection, increasing overall package costs and raising the question whether privacy is a core concern for other providers.
If you’re looking for award-winning customer service, IONOS is the web hosting provider of choice. It offers reliable and helpful support via live chat or on the phone (0033 number which is the same charge as 01 or 02 numbers and free on most phone contracts). If you have questions about products or need some additional tips and tricks to get your website up and running, IONOS even connects you to a personal consultant via phone, email or chat.
For customers looking to publish or share digital content or products online, IONOS provides several options to purchase managed CMS or e-Commerce hosting package. Bloggers, for example, can benefit from managed WordPress hosting for just £1 per month (for the first six months and £6 per month thereafter). The package includes one managed WordPress website, a free domain, 25GB of storage and 10 email accounts.
Launching an online shop? Check out Magento hosting by IONOS for just £1 per month for the first six months. The package includes three domains, 500 email accounts and 500GB of storage.
Web hosting with a personal consultant!
The host with the most: fast and scalable, including a free domain and email address, trust web hosting from IONOS!
IONOS offers plenty of hosting options for businesses, enterprises and budding entrepreneurs. Its impressive security and privacy features mean you can rest assured knowing that knowledgeable professionals are managing your site. Its options are cost-effective for those on a budget, but the company doesn’t cut costs where it matters. That means you won’t have to pay for features that should already be included.
123Reg has four web hosting packages, ranging from £1 a month to £15 a month in the first year. All packages include one or more domains and web space ranges from 10GB to unlimited GB. Customers also get between 10-100 subdomains and one mailbox across all plans. In general, 123 Reg hosting offers are solid, although other providers such as tsoHost pack more features into less expensive plans, and IONOS includes 25 email accounts and 10,000 subdomains as part of even its cheapest package. So, it’s not a bad start, but there’s room for improvement.
As with other providers, customers opting for 123 Reg’s cheaper plans can choose to purchase SSL certification separately. The add-on will increase the overall cost of your website which may be a little irritating if you’ve already budgeted for the set package price. The company does provide WHOIS domain privacy protection, but, again, for an extra fee.
Much like IONOS, 123 Reg does offer dedicated WordPress hosting, but at a slightly higher cost of £7.99 per month.
To answer customer queries, 123 Reg offer phone support, email support tickets and a live chat tool. But before you contact their customer support, check out the knowledge base that includes various helpful articles.
Next up in our web hosting comparison is Bluehost which offers three types of hosting: shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting. Prices range from £2.43 for shared hosting in the first 12 months to £65.76 for dedicated hosting. All packages include at least one domain, backups (daily, weekly, and monthly), resource protection, scalability and SSL certificates. If you’ve never built a website before, you can make use of the “Build It For Me” feature and let Bluehost experts create your website for you. WordPress hosting plans with Bluehost start at £2.99 per month.
It is good to see another provider including SSL certificates with every hosting package, which lets browsers know your website is safe. You also have the option to upgrade your plan with advanced features in the form of add-ons. These include SiteLock, CodeGuard, and Spam Protection, among others. However, compared to IONOS, features such as SiteLock are not included with the more expensive packages.
Bluehost is fairly transparent in that it acknowledges that downtime might happen however, the company doesn’t seem to provide an uptime guarantee which compensates customers for downtime.
Unfortunately, when it comes to privacy, Bluehost leaves a lot to be desired. Because the company is an EIG brand, your information will be shared internally between EIG brands, meaning that third parties will become aware that you, for example, just purchased WordPress hosting. This is also the case for their third-party add-ons such as Google AdWords. Digital privacy is becoming ever more important. It’s disappointing to find that Bluehost has yet to improve its user privacy policies.
There’s a reason why Bluehost is a popular choice for web hosting. The company has lots of good packages and offers, and they’re one of the few providers alongside IONOS that offer SSL certificates in all their packages. Although this demonstrates a commitment to site security, their privacy policies need updating to suit the times.
tsoHost offers various web hosting packages (Economy, Deluxe, Ultimate, and Maximum) to suit basic to more advanced user needs. Prices range from £4 to £15 a month. The Economy package allows you to host one site, but as soon as you opt for anything from Deluxe and above, this jumps to unlimited site hosting. This is a general trend in the company’s pricing scheme and the Deluxe + packages include a lot of storage and features.
WordPress, Magenta, and Joomla hosting are all available. For specialist hosting, customers can choose from the same range of packages (Economy, Deluxe, Ultimate, and Maximum) to suit their needs.
Unfortunately, there has been a change in the security features tsoHost includes. Previously, all plans included SSL certificates for free but this has been changed and only the two top tier plans now come with SSL certificates. Customers can purchase SSL certificates as add-ons for the other two packages. Right now, tsoHost advertises the SSL certificates at 50% off for the other two plans. However, that’s still more expensive than just having it included in the base price. You can opt for additional WHOIS privacy protection during checkout at an additional charge.
Uptime is guaranteed with tsoHost. The company provides a 99.99% uptime guarantee as stated in its service level agreement. The conditions for a claim, however, are a little vague. For customer support, the company provides both live chat and phone support from 7am until midnight. Although support tickets are available 24/7, they may not be answered out of hours.
tsoHost provides a wide range of packages, all of which boast solid features. Being able to choose from a range of sizes makes it a good option for customers with more specific needs. Pricing is competitive and the company has been established for over 15 years. Although security features and support could be improved, overall, tsoHost is a good option for lots of different hosting needs.
With Heart Internet, you can choose from three plans: Starter (£3.99), Home Pro (£10.99) and Business Pro (£14.99). As pricing increases, so do the features included in each package, but all three include at least one website, a mailbox with a minimum of 1 GB of space, and at least 10GB of web space. Home and Pro plans come with unlimited bandwidth. WordPress hosting starts at £10.99 per month. The cheapest option doesn’t offer any subdomains, however, and lacks MySQL Databases, which is included in the other two plans. It is also worth noting that the Starter Plan has a £9.99 set-up fee, which isn’t the case for the other plans. This is an unusual fee, which none of the other providers charge.
When it comes to add-ons, Heart Internet charges some hefty fees. Besides the Starter package set-up fee, SSL certificates cost an extra £50 - £250 depending on the type of certificate you want. That’s a steep price for a feature which is included for free with other providers such as Bluehost and IONOS. Customers can also add-on a security package. Whilst we think it’s great that Heart Internet provides lots of security options, it’s a shame that customers must pay extra for security protection. On the other hand, this level of customization is great if you’re after more specific security features.
When it comes to uptime, no promises are made for shared hosting plans, but a 99.9% uptime guarantee is in place for VPS and dedicated hosting. Heart Internet is also clear on its policy and offers to credit an account with one day’s worth of hosting for every 30 minutes of downtime, up to 30 days’ worth.
The support at Heart Internet is UK-based and operates 24 hours a day throughout the year. If you have a technical support query, you’ll have to use the online service, but you can call them for free for other questions.
Heart Internet is a good option if you need customizable packages. The website is user-friendly and the comparison tables mean you know what you’re getting for the money you’re paying. There are lots of add-ons, which is great in a sense, but also means that you may end up paying more than what you were planning to.
Names.co.uk provides a choice of either Windows or Linux-based servers on three different types of hosting plans: Starter (£4.49), Professional (£9.99), and Premium (£12.99). The dedicated WordPress hosting package currently costs £5.39 (usually £8.99). All plans come with unlimited bandwidth, and web space starts at 50GB. The hosted domains vary from one to unlimited, depending on the package you pick. Email accounts are a little restricted. Even Professional plans only include 10 email accounts, which might be a bit limiting for an established business.
Security options seem good at first glance. There are plenty of features included across all plans, including daily backups and 24/7 network monitoring. Yet again, you’ll have to purchase a SSL certificate if you want to add one to your website. Although the lack of included SSL certificates is a bit of a let-down, security across names.co.uk hosted sites seems to be fine.
Names.co.uk has a 99.99% uptime guarantee for all its plans. However, the terms and conditions are a little difficult to read. It’s not very clear whether monetary compensation is offered in case of downtime. Support is provided seven days a week, but for online support you’ll need an account with names.co.uk. Aside from that, you can call a 0345 number, which is not free. We think that charging extra for supporting your customers doesn’t make the best impression.
Names.co.uk prides itself on being UK-based, but charges extra for phone-based customer service. It also has some vague terms and conditions when it comes to downtime. Features across its hosting plans are well-balanced and even the simplest package includes security features where you need them – other than the essential SSL certificates, of course.
SiteGround offers five types of hosting: shared, reseller, enterprise and dedicated. Compared to most other providers, SiteGround’s main focus is on shared hosting, of which there are three tiers: StartUp (£2.95 then £8.95), GrowBig (£4.95 then £14.95) and GoGeek (£8.95 then £24.95).
Security by SiteGround is top-notch. All its packages include daily backups, free SSL certificates and a web application firewall. Customers can also add a malware scanning tool for an additional fee.
If uptime falls below 99.9%, SiteGround offers one month of free hosting. What’s great about SiteGround’s uptime guarantee is that if your website falls to 98% uptime, you get another month for free: every additional percent equals another month of free hosting.
SiteGround’s customer support is comprehensive and includes phone, ticketing and live chat support. Customers can also check forums and articles for answers to their questions. Support is split between existing and new clients. When it comes to WHOIS privacy, SiteGround does offer domain protection, but that is not free. You’ll need to pay an extra £1 per month, which seems a small price to pay but other international providers such as IONOS provide it free of charge.
SiteGround is a popular international hosting provider, with lots of great features and a generous uptime policy. It’s a little pricier than the rest of the competition. Certain features such as WHOIS protection are not currently included in the monthly price, but SiteGround makes for a secure option to host your website.
What to look out for in the best web hosting providers?
When comparing the best hosting providers, price is usually a top factor. But it’s very important to take a closer look at the pricing structure of the provider of your choice. Some may look like a great deal, but are missing essential features that, once added, quickly rack up the bill.
You should also consider the security of your website: SSL certificates are standard on the web. Browsers like Google Chrome label websites without encryption and certificates as unsafe. Services such as DDoS protection are particularly important for eCommerce companies.
If all you need is a “business card” to introduce yourself or your company, you won’t need a lot of storage space. In that case, the same is true for subdomains: you’ll need a few, but it’s unlikely you’ll use more than 10,000, for example. Good customer support and user privacy are key to a good relationship with your provider – they shouldn’t charge you if you need assistance!
IONOS offers a great starter kit to get your website up and running from just £1 per month.
Look out for a provider that combines competitive pricing with lots of features. SSL certificates are essential for internet security, and data protection has been a hot topic for a long time. The best providers will provide all of these features, and let you pick how much web space you need.
Web hosting with a personal consultant!
The host with the most: fast and scalable, including a free domain and email address, trust web hosting from IONOS!