The 13 Best Small Business Web Hosting Providers of 2018


Choosing a web hosting service for your small business isn’t as difficult as you’d imagine (or fear). Business.org has narrowed the field to find the best hosting plans.

  • Cheapest Option

    Bluehost

    4.5 out of 5 overall
    Low-priced plans
    Superior security and speed
    Compare PlansLearn More
  • Easiest to Use

    WP Engine

    4.5 out of 5 overall
    Simple interface
    Excellent speed and security
    Compare PlansLearn More
  • Best Shared Hosting Option

    Hostgator

    4 out of 5 overall
    Budget-friendly shared plans
    Windows servers
    Compare PlansLearn More
  • Best Cloud Hosting Option

    DreamHost

    4 out of 5 overall
    Windows- and Linux-based cloud plans
    97-day guarantee
    Compare PlansLearn More
  • Best WordPress Hosting

    TMDHosting

    4 out of 5 overall
    Excellent, inexpensive WordPress plans
    Fast, solid uptime
    Compare PlansLearn More

You already know your business should have a website—but just using that Facebook page is so easy, isn’t it? At least it used to be; Mark Zuckerberg’s ecosystem is becoming less user-friendly and more indefensible in terms of security and privacy by the day. You need to move out of Mark’s house and get your own place.

Like finding a home, searching for a website hosting service presents almost too many choices. There are hundreds of web hosting companies in the market, all vying to get your business online and in front of customers who aren’t looking for you in the Yellow Pages (ask your parents; they can explain).

Regardless of size, all web hosting companies provide the same utility: servers that store and stream the files (graphics, text, audio, video, etc.) that make up the content of your website. Keep in mind, web hosting services are for pro-level sites that need to handle plenty of content and traffic—which is most types of business sites. Some small, micro-budgeted enterprises could get by with simple, third-party website builders like Squarespace or Wix, or even Tumblr or Blogspot. But a real business needs real hosting muscle behind its site.

The best web hosting services for small businesses

BrandMonthly plan pricingHostingStorageServersLearn more
Bluehost$2.95–$119.99Shared, Dedicated, VPS240GB–1TBLinuxView Plans
WP Engine$35–$290Shared, Dedicated10GB–1TBLinuxView Plans
HostGator$2.78–$124.50Shared, Dedicated, VPS240GB–1TBLinux, WindowsView Plans
DreamHost$7.95–$169Shared, Dedicated, VPS240GB–1TBLinuxView Plans
TMDHosting$2.95–$149.97Shared, Dedicated, VPS200GB–2TBLinux, WindowsView Plans

Data effective 03/10/18. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Types of Web Hosting

They may all do the same thing, but they don’t all do it the same way. Depending on your current usage and future traffic expectations, there are critical differences in the types of web hosting and servers that companies provide—distinctions that will affect your site’s capacity, as well as price rates.

Shared web hosting

What’s shared web hosting? It’s right there in the name: you share server space with other clients of the hosting company. You’re also sharing costs, which makes shared hosting an inexpensive option. It’s a good starter choice for sites not expecting large amounts of traffic, but there are downsides. If another site sharing the server attracts heavy usage (or worse, gets hacked), it’ll affect your site’s performance and could potentially take down your website until usage normalizes. Or if your site generates the increased traffic, you could be charged extra.

Dedicated web hosting

While shared hosting is cheaper, and limited in disc space and bandwidth, dedicated web hosting assigns a server to your business exclusively—and it’s usually more expensive. However, the trade-off would be worth it if your site generates significant traffic or you expect it to in the future. With dedicated hosting, you may also have to take care of your own maintenance, unless you upgrade to managed hosting (another added expense).

Like finding a home, searching for a website hosting service presents almost too many choices.

Managed hosting

Managed and dedicated web host companies do almost entirely the same thing. The only difference is that with managed hosting, the company you work with will handle the maintenance of your site. If you don’t want to hire a technical developer to manage the maintenance of your website, paying extra for managed hosting may be worth the additional cost.

VPS web hosting

Somewhere between shared and dedicated hosting in price and performance is virtual private server (VPS) hosting. VPS hosting simulates a dedicated server within a partitioned shared server, with its own operating system, storage, RAM, and data transfers for more stable and insulated site efficiency.While VPS is still a form of shared web hosting, it’s more expensive—but still typically costs half as much as dedicated hosting.

Cloud web hosting

Cloud web hosting is another version of VPS hosting—or the same thing, depending on which provider you ask. With cloud hosting, instead of relying on a single server, your site is supported across a network of servers acting as a system. With the heavy lifting spread over a cloud network of servers, reliable uptime is increased (as is regional load-time speed) and more safeguards against site cyberattacks are in place.

Bluehost: Best inexpensive hosting

Strengths
  • Low-priced plans
  • Stable uptime
  • Superior security and speed
Weaknesses
  • No monthly plans
  • No Windows servers
  • Data transfer caps

Provo, Utah, company Bluehost has a basic shared web hosting plan that can get your site up and running for a mere $2.95 per month—you can’t even get a drive-thru combo meal for that price. Their larger plans aren’t all that expensive either, topping out at $119.99 a month. Commitment-phobes take note, however: Bluehost’s attractively cheap plans require annual contracts with no month-to-month options.

bluehost logo

There are plenty of reasons to go steady with Bluehost, though. The shared plans offer most everything a small-staffed business would need from a website, with reasonable storage, data transfers, and email accommodations. Bluehost’s dedicated web hosting plans up the ante with 16GB of RAM, 1TB of hard drive space, and 15TB of data transfer bandwidth, while their VPS and cloud hosting plans offer close to the same for less money.

Bluehost gets pricier if you choose to go with one of their WordPress hosting plans, which range from a basic $19.99 a month up to $49.99—not too steep if you’ve grown accustomed to WordPress’s simplicity, security, and speed, but still a bit of a price bump. Bluehost also offers a free version of the super-easy, if somewhat plain-Jane, website builder Weebly, in addition to a decent array of e-commerce tools.

If you want to get your small business online quickly and cheaply, there’s much to like about Bluehost. Their uptime and security stats are striking, on par with companies charging almost twice the monthly price, and you won’t need a techie to run your site (though there are enough features to keep a webmaster on their toes).

WP Engine: Easiest to use

Strengths
  • Simple interface
  • Managed hosting
  • Excellent speed and security
Weaknesses
  • Expensive plans
  • No domain registration
  • No email hosting

The “WP” stands for WordPress, and WP Engine is one of the many hosting services focused exclusively on the popular CMS platform (30% of internet sites run on WordPress, after all). Based in Austin, Texas, WP Engine is also a managed hosting service, meaning that, unlike standard shared or dedicated setups, the company takes care of all your site’s technical needs (hardware, security, site backups, plug-in updates, etc.).

wp engine logo

Ease of setup is the hallmark of WordPress sites, and creating content and making it live with no hitches is facilitated seamlessly through WP Engine. For site-building novices, WP Engine’s interface is reassuringly simple and clean and offers plenty of WordPress e-commerce plug-ins to try out. Its security and uptime are also impressive, as are its 24/7 customer support and 60-day money-back guarantee. WP Engine has an answer for almost every website-newbie trepidation.

And when we say “almost,” we mean that WP Engine is missing a couple of biggies—specifically, domain registration and email hosting, which you’ll have to hook up yourself through a third party. A not-so-minor inconvenience, especially since other WordPress-specific hosting services include these in their plans. Also, WP Engine isn’t cheap, as even their most basic plan starts at $35 a month, and the visitor and data caps are a bit more oppressive than you’d expect from such a pricey service.

Still, for an internet beginner more concerned with running their small business than being a full-time webmaster, WP Engine is a highly attractive web host option.

HostGator: Best shared hosting

Strengths
  • Budget-friendly shared plans
  • 24/7 support by phone
  • Windows servers
Weaknesses
  • Pricey dedicated plans
  • Clumsy interface
  • Only 45-day money-back guarantee

Another common thread you’ll notice in these reviews is Windows servers—as in, four of our top five web hosting companies either utilize them in a limited capacity or not at all. Don’t despair, Clippy: Texas’s HostGator has more Windows than a ’67 VW Bus. Surprisingly, despite growing demand, near-parity between Windows and Linux is as rare among web hosting companies as, well, a ’67 VW Bus.

host gator logo

Near-parity, in that HostGator’s VPS and cloud plans are Linux-only—but the shared and dedicated options have Windows capability, and those are the plans that stand out. The dedicated plans offer a lot (like unmetered bandwidth and up to 30GB of RAM), and you’ll pay for it (between $119 and $149 a month). HostGator’s shared plans are more attractive for a small shop just getting started. The Hatchling plan, the Baby plan, and the off-theme Business plan all come at under six bucks a month. Odd bonus: the Business plan includes your own toll-free phone number.

HostGator also offers a decent array of website-building tools, including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and others, as well as its own in-house CMS (though, judging by HostGator.com’s passé layout, you might not want to use it). HostGator’s 24/7 customer service includes phone support along with email tickets and online chat, in addition to an online support portal with hundreds of video tutorials and help articles.

While most of HostGator’s plans are either high-priced or low-powered, their shared plans look mighty good for a small business in its early stages, as well as net newbies looking to graduate from their Facebook page.

DreamHost: Best cloud hosting

Strengths
  • Windows- and Linux-based cloud plans
  • Several unlimited options
  • 97-day money-back guarantee
Weaknesses
  • No Windows-based dedicated or VPS plans
  • No phone support
  • Limited reseller plans

“Unlimited” is a welcome term to see in web hosting plans, and DreamHost has nearly unlimited “unlimiteds”: monthly data transfers, email, domains, and disk storage space are all uncapped, and DreamHost will even throw in your first domain (.com, .net, .org, or .info) at no charge. The California-based company also offers a generous, if oddly numbered, 97-day money-back guarantee. (Why not 90, or 100? DreamHost was founded in 1997, so maybe that’s it.)

Apart from those aspects, DreamHost’s shared, dedicated, and VPS plans (which serve over 400,000 customers and host over 1.5 million websites) are mostly similar to those of other web hosting companies. When it comes to cloud hosting, however, the sky’s the limit. DreamHost’s cloud plans begin at $4.50 per month (which gives you 512MB of RAM, 100GB of storage, and unlimited data transfers) and scale up to a still-low $48 per month (8GB of RAM, 100GB of storage, and unlimited data transfers). That’s a lot of internet power for little money.

DreamHost’s cloud hosting also offers something that their other plans don’t: Windows-based servers, an increasingly important alternative to Linux. (Like Apple vs. PC and iPhone vs. Android, the Windows vs. Linux debate rages on—but having the choice is still important.) No matter the hosting type, all of DreamHost’s plans include a clean, easily navigated dashboard interface and their feature-packed Remixer website builder. For $16.95 a month, DreamHost also offers WordPress hosting (or as they call it, DreamPress); unlike other WP hosting plans, this one allows you to install any plug-in you like.

Some might see DreamHost’s no-phones customer service as a downside, but plenty of customers—and tech-award outlets—are perfectly satisfied with the company’s 24/7 email tickets and online chat support. Overall, the independently owned DreamHost could do well by any small business, especially internet power users (or hopeful future power users).

TMDHosting: Best WordPress hosting

Strengths
  • Excellent, inexpensive WordPress plans
  • Wide variety of non-WP plans
  • Fast, solid uptime
Weaknesses
  • No phone customer service
  • No email hosting
  • Limited Windows server options

If you’ve noticed one recurring element here so far, it’s probably WordPress hosting. WordPress is popular due to its simple, intuitive interface and extensive plug-in capabilities, not to mention its familiarity—most people’s first blogging and CMS experiences likely happened on the WP platform, and who likes change? When starting a business, you’ll be inclined to go with the tools you know, and almost everybody knows WordPress.

TMDHosting offers every type of web hosting—shared, dedicated, VPS, and cloud—but the Orlando, Florida, company really excels at WordPress hosting. Their WP plans come in three flavors: Starter ($2.95 per month), Business ($5.95), and Enterprise ($12.95), all of which come with unlimited bandwidth, one free domain, and a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you already have an existing WordPress site, TMDHosting will transfer it and your database for free without any downtime on your end.

TMD Hosting’s shared plans offer identical pricing and features as its WP plans while the dedicated plans are more expensive (between $79.95 and $149.97 a month). But the dedicated plans are also fully managed and have “military-grade” security. The VPS plans are a bit cheaper ($19.97 to $64.97 per month), as are the cloud plans ($5.95 to $10.95 per month). If you’re in the market to get other businesses online, TMDHosting’s reseller plans are worth a look at $19.95 to $49.95 a month.

Like other web hosting companies on this list, TMDHosting is short on Windows server options, and staff would rather talk to you online instead of on the phone when it comes to customer support. But the positives (reasonably priced plans, solid uptime, and WordPress expertise) far outweigh the negatives.

8 more web hosting companies researched by Business.org

BrandMonthly plan pricingHostingStorageServersBest alternative forLearn more
Liquid Web Hosting$29.50–$159Dedicated, VPSUp to 12TBLinux, WindowsDedicated hostingView Plans
Hostwinds Web Hosting$3.74–$67.50Shared, Dedicated, VPSUnlimitedLinux, WindowsHigh-traffic power usersView Plans
InMotion Hosting$2.95–$99.99Shared, Dedicated, VPS8GB–3TBLinuxReliable uptimeView Plans
GoDaddy$1–$79.99Dedicated, VPS8GB-2TBLinuxEasy, all-in-one hostingView Plans
SiteGround Hosting$3.95–$229Shared, Dedicated10GB–2TBLinuxWebsite beginnersView Plans
Yahoo Small Business Hosting$4.49–$6.79Shared100GB–500GBUnixUltra-basic e-commerceView Plans
iPage Hosting$8.99–$149Shared120GB–1TBLinux, WindowsUnlimited bandwidthView Plans
1&1 Web Hosting$0.99–$34.99Shared, Dedicated, VPS128GB–6TBLinux, WindowsWordPress hostingView Plans

The takeaway

Any one of our top five web hosting providers could get your business online quickly and professionally—the only real variants are pricing and extras. Don’t overlook what you think should be obvious inclusions with service, like domain registration, email hosting, and—especially if you plan to sell goods and services online—e-commerce and SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption protocols.

Do you have any experiences with the web hosting companies above, good or bad? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimers
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

  • http://twitter.com/talkingwthtammy TalkingWthTammy

    “You need to move out of Mark’s house and get your own place.” Excellent advice Bill Frost!
    Dare To Be An Independent Thinker and Change the World one article at a time.

  • Eliza Klein

    Thanks for sharing! I run 2 online clothing sites and I used wphosted.net for my 1 site and bluehost for my other site. Both of them give a good service!

    • Business.org

      Thanks for the feedback Eliza! If you had to choose one platform, which would you choose and why? We love getting input from our readers. 🙂 -Micah

      • kelly

        I”d choose miva merchant/ 24/7 support, most bundled options into their shopping cart. Security is TIGHT! and they absolutely know ecommerce. I have 12 websites. I started with two on Miva Merchant, and explored other options with other hosting and also commerce platforms. I’m bringing my two busiest online stores back to Miva Merchant. They a really are that good. Plus they can push and pull data out to etsy, ebay and amazon. What’s not to like about that?

  • https://disqus.com/home/settings/profile Jannat1234

    Today i learn to know about web hosting from this post.This is a great article.Through this information i know the full description.Thanks for sharing this information.
    https://www.pnserver.com

  • kelly

    You didn’t mention Miva Merchant. I use them and they are better than all the ones you mentioned plus their commerce package is stellar!

  • Steve

    GetLark has a very good offer for business. You will find here a very good support, high performance, very simple UI. Choosing PROFESSIONAL or PROFESSIONAL PLUS package you will get a free .com domain. https://getlark.com

  • Schlüssel-Art Schlüsselnotdien

    I had the experince working with Bluehost on my website – schlussel-art.at
    And I have to say that I hadn’t any problems at all