Choosing web hosting for the first time can be overwhelming. There are so many options! Based on my own personal experience as a developer for 15+ years, here are some of my favorite choices that I’ve used with my clients.
Shared Hosting (Beginners and all-purpose)
Pros: Shared hosting is relatively cheap and easy to get set up. Shared hosting is the best for most web sites. Bluehost and Hostgator are two good places to start.
Cons: Do you anticipate a massive load of traffic? Do you plan to build a complex app (aka. more than a website?) If so, shared hosting may not be enough power for you after you scale. It’s called “shared” hosting because with these options you will literally be sharing the same server with other people.
- BlueHost – $3.49/month shared hosting [1st CHOICE]
- HostGator – $7.99/month shared hosting (use coupon code onemonthhtml and your first month is free)
If you’re making a web app where you expect millions of unique viewers every month? Then you might want something more scalable: and that’s why you’d need something like dedicated or cloud-based hosting.
Dedicated Hosting (Small Business)
Dedicated is more robust option because it will scale with the size of your business. Here are my two favorite options:
- Rackspace – It’s expensive. But think of it as the Rolls Royce of hosting. $100-$400 a month. [1st CHOICE]
- MediaTemple – $50+/month
Cloud-Based Hosting (Advanced)
Cloud-based hosting is available for when you (or your developer) needs a lot of server customization.
- Heroku – Resizable capacity in the cloud. Best used with Ruby. [1st CHOICE]
- Amazon EC2 – This is a wonderful option for sites that have the potential to scale quickly. The downside is that setup and maintenance are much more intense than the shared hosting plans.
- Other notable cloud-based hosting products: Digital Ocean, and Linode.
While domains aren’t technically hosting, you will likely want a domain at the same time that you setup your first hosting account. Here are a few of my favorite domain registrars.
- NameCheap – Cheap and reliable. I use NameCheap for most of my new domains.
- GoDaddy – Buy domains. That’s what you do here. (I wouldn’t recommend their hosting.)
- Domainr – Great tool for brainstorming possible domain names
- Gandi.net – For for country code TLDs such as .cc, .it, .es