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The December 2013 Cheap Web Hosting Report
Below are the top affordable web hosts selected for December 2013 in the following categories: Shared Hosting, Ecommerce Hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting. While many hosting providers offer several of these types of hosting, the fact that a company offers great hosting in one category does not mean that it is automatically as great with other categories of hosting. Don't be surprised to see a provider listed in one category but not in another. Our Cheap Web Hosting Report (CWHR) Ratings are derived from customer reviews, uptime reports, and our evaluation of features offered versus prices -- including limitations on feature use that may be hidden away in the host's Terms of Service and/or Acceptable Use Policy. Our ratings are re-evaluated monthly, with a major re-evaluation of customer ratings every three months.
Recommended Shared Hosting Providers for December 2013
The following hosting providers are our recommended shared hosting providers for December 2013. All of the following hosting plans include a web control panel, a cgi-bin directory, php, perl, and at least one mysql database. Hosts with Windows hosting plans include some version of ASP and at least one Access or MSSQL database (but may not include a mysql database). Many offer a number of additional features. Be sure to carefully check the provider's web site to ensure that they have the exact features you need than that you can live with their Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policies. While we try to ensure that their are no obvious "gotchas" only you know your exact needs.
|Web Host||Price*||Setup**||Bandwidth||Disk Space||Domains||
#1 - Dreamhost
Discount Code¹: CWHRDISCOUNT
Dreamhost Special Features: unlimited shell/ftp/email accounts, php4/php5, cgi/fastcgi, unlimited mysql databases, ruby-on-rails, zend optimizer, Frontpage available, subversion, mysql 5, host unlimited domains and sub-domains, custom DNS, 1 free domain name. Excellent customer support (with public customer forum). Many affordable add ons (e.g. Unique IP, etc.) are available. Accounts can also be upgraded to a special type of managed private virtual server that can be configured on the fly.
Special Award: Few Content Restrictions -- In an effort to avoid arguments and complaints, most web hosting companies (especially those that offer Shared Hosting) are fairly restrictive on questionable content -- to the point that some will terminate a site for displaying a picture of a classical (but bare breasted) statue from ancient Greece. Dreamhost not only has an excellent, cheap web hosting package but is far more liberal than most web hosts on acceptable site content. Basically, if your content is legal in the US, Dreamhost will probably have no problems hosting it.
Special Note: This site hosted with Dreamhost for years (read why) and only moved to Linode because other sites we run need more CPU than Dreamhost shared hosting could provide.
|#2 - iPage||1y: $8.95
|iPage Special Features: php/cgi/unlimited mysql databases, host unlimited domains and sub-domains, free domain name, Drag and Drop Site Builder, Carbonite Online PC Backup. iPage has frequent short term specials.|
|#3 - Fatcow||1y: $3.67
|Fatcow Special Features: php/cgi/unlimited mysql databases, host unlimited domains and sub-domains. Fatcow is more upfront about their "unlimited" diskspace and bandwidth policies than many web hosts. Prices listed are for new accounts, renewals are higher (currently 8.95/month for 1 year renewal, 7.95/month for two year renewal) making the $3.15/month introductory 2 year price a great deal.|
|#4 - myhosting||1y: $9.95
|myhosting Special Features:Access to two servers, one on Linux and one on Windows Server 2008. Use one or both. 20 Microsoft Exchange accounts. ASP.net 4.0/php4/cgi/5 mysql databases/5 PostgreSQL databases/1 MS SQL databases, .NET Framework 3.5, free Dedicated IP address. Most web hosts offer either windows servers or Linux servers and make you choose one or the other. myhosting's business plan offers both windows and linux servers on one account, you can put your web sites on whichever server best fits your needs on a domain-by-domain basis. It's a bit higher priced than we usually cover if you pay by the month, but it is a great deal if you need to host multiple domains, some on a Linux server and some on a Windows server.|
|#5 - JustHost||1m:8.95
|JustHost Special Features: php/cgi/unlimited mysql databases, Frontpage support, host unlimited domains and sub-domains, free domain name, RVSiteBuilder, unlimited ftp accounts. ruby on rails support, 1 click installs for popular scripts, custom php.in file.|
|#6 - Easy CGI||1m: $9.95
|Free||3500 GB||350 GB||1||9.1|
|Easy CGI Special Features: Easy CGI is the only Web Host specializing in Windows servers to ever make our top general hosting list. Easy CGI provides hosting on Windows Server 2003 servers or on Windows Server 2008 servers -- your choice. ASP.net 2.0/php4/cgi/50 mysql databases, unlimited Ms Access databases, .NET Framework 3.0, Persits AspUpload/AspEmail/AspJpeg, ServerObjects AspHTTP, Frontpage available. Uptime guarantee. Public customer forum.|
Shared Hosting Honorable Mentions: There are a huge number of Shared Hosting Providers to select from. While the providers listed above are the ones we currently recommend, the following providers also have good CWHR Ratings. If all the above providers are unsuitable for your specific Shared Hosting needs, you might want to consider the following Shared Hosting providers:
Recommended Ecommerce Hosting Providers for December 2013
A lot of web hosts toss the term "Ecommerce Hosting" around. Technically, just about any hosting plan can handle an online store if you are willing to find, install, and manage the needed software. However, if your main business is selling products (and not running web sites), you will probably be better off with a provider who specializes in online stores. With such a true Ecommerce Hosting Provider you can simply create your site from templates, upload your product descriptions, and open your online store doors. See our "What is Ecommerce Hosting?" article for a better description of what we mean by "Ecommerce Hosting".
Each host has a huge number of ecommerce-related features, unfortunately there is no standard terminology for many of them, so you will need to check each providers web site for a complete list of features and what they actually mean. We only highlight a few features below: features which appear to differentiate one provider from another. We recommend the following providers to easily host your online store.
|Web Host||Price*||Setup**||Bandwidth||Disk Space||Number of Products||Accounts|
#1 - BigCommerce
(Two Week Free Trial!)
BigCommerce Feature Highlights: You have complete creative control for the look of your site -- select a template and run with it to design your site from the ground up in HTML and CSS. You can sell on Facebook and eBay. Automated email marketing to shoppers who abandon their carts. Easy export to price comparison sites.
Comments: BigCommerce probably has the most features of any Ecommerce Hosting provider. Check the complete feature list on their website. Higher priced plans provide more features and allow listing of many more products.
#2 - Volusion
(14 Day Free Trial!)
||Free||3 GB||1 GB||500||2|
Volusion Feature Highlights: Provides your customers with a fast one page checkout system -- less chance for customers to abandon the process. Customers have wish lists and can post product reviews. You can sell on Facebook and easily post announcements to Facebook and Twitter. No transaction fees. Support center is in Texas, not in India.
|#3 - Yahoo Ecommerce||1m: $39.95
|Yahoo Ecommerce Feature Highlights: Select a template or design the look of your store from scratch. Design your checkout process -- all on one page or across multiple pages.
Comments: While the feature set is somewhat smaller, everything the average online store will need is there -- although not necessarily included in the basic plan. Higher priced plans provide more features and lower transaction fees. Unlike many Ecommerce Hosting providers, Yahoo does not limit the number of products lower priced plans can sell.
Recommended VPS Hosting Providers for December 2013
A Virtual Private Server is the next step up from Shared Hosting. A VPS gives you complete control of a server, but the server is running as a "virtual machine" on a hardware server. This gives more control of your site without the very high costs of a Dedicated Server (where you are the only account on the a hardware server. VPS Hosting is more complex and fewer accounts can be put on a single hardware server, so it is more expensive than Shared Hosting -- and the price varies with the amout of server resources you need to use. See our "What is VPS Hosting?" article for more information on what VPS Hosting is and its advantages and disadvantages.
It is hard to compare VPS Hosting because the feature set (and how it is described) can vary quite a bit. There are also a number of different software solutions for setting up virtual servers on a hardware server. Which virtual server solution a provider chooses will determine how their VPS service is described. All plans will include a set amount of disk space and bandwidth. Most will include a fixed amount of server RAM as well, but some are "burstable" where you can use a bit more RAM for a short period of time if it is available (that is, other virtual servers on the hardware server are not using it). The fixed amount of RAM the plan offers is what you need to look at when evaluating the plan as that is the only amount you are guaranteed constant access to.
Some plans listed a fixed amont of CPU power (e.g 1.2 ghz) the plan allows you access to (again often with a "burstable" option). Other plans do not list CPU power as their virtual server software (usually "Xen") allows you access to a set number of CPU cores in the machine -- accounts can access as much CPU power as they need, however, the provider's virtual server software will step in to divide the hardware CPU power equally between the virtual servers needing it if more CPU power than is actually available on the hardware server is needed. Both systems allocate the hardware CPU power fairly, but the second does not provide fancy numbers that the provider's marketing department can use to differentiate VPS plans. The webmaster of this site strongly perfers "Xen" style VPS providers, but that is a personal preference. If the VPS provider is good, which virtual server software is used will not matter to most users.
|Web Host||Price*||Setup**||Bandwidth||Disk Space||CPU||RAM|
|#1 - Linode||1m: $19.95||Free||200 GB||20 GB||XEN||512 MB|
Features: The Linode 512 account provides full root access; ability to deploy multiple Linux distributions and reimage at any time; dedicated IP address, premium network providers; dedicated resources (no more than 40 accounts on a machine dedicated to Linode 512s); guaranteed RAM (512 megs in this case); XEN virtual server (100% of four CPUs if available, minimum 20% of one CPU); out of band Ajax and ssh based console shell; bandwidth pooling between Linodes under an account support for IP failover, private back-end networks, linode cloning; managed DNS; linode API. There are no set up fees and you can pay month-to-month (10% discount for annual payment) and cancel any time with a pro-rated refund. There is a 7 day money back guarantee. Choose from 6 data centers: 4 in the US, 1 in the UK, and 1 in Asia. Linode provides unmanaged Virtual Private Servers, however they have excellent online information on server setup and management, a forum full of helpful staff and users, and an online chat system where Linode tech support people (and power users) hang out. Linode has some of the best tech support in the hosting business, but you set have to setup and manage your server. More powerful VPS systems available for equally reasonable prices. Backup service and load balancers are also available at reasonable prices.
Comments: This site (and a number of additional sites) runs on a Linode VPS. If you need a VPS and are comfortable with setting up a server from the OS up and managing the result, Linode is the way to go. If you don't want to start with "bare metal", however, check out the providers below as they provide managed VPS options.
|#2 - myhosting||1m: $19.95
|Free||300 GB||20 GB||Virtuozzo||512 MB|
myhosting Feature Highlights:myhosting provides a managed Linux (CentOS or Debian) VPS. The server comes with the OS and basic server software installed and myhosting maintains that basic software with security patches as needed. For additional fees, you can have cpanel, Fantasico, and other commercial sever management software installed on the server which will make it as easy to use as the average shared hosting account. The plan described allows up to 10 domains on the server, additional domains increase the cost (as the virtual server software the provider has selected has a licence fee structure based on the number of domains allowed on the virtual server). The plan is the basic plan, you can customize it as needed (which will increase the price, of course). The rates listed are promotional rates for your initial term, renewal rates are higher -- talk to myhosting sales before you sign up to find out the details. You can choose between two data centers, one in the US, the other in Canada.
|#3 - Dreamhost||1m: $15.00
|Dreamhost Feature Highlights: Dreamhost takes a unique approach to providing virtual private servers: you get a fully managed server running Debian with all the features of their shared hosting plans but with root access and guaranteed resources. That is, a Dreamhost VPS is effectively an "addon" to their excellent shared hosting. While this fully managed solution is somewhat more limiting than many VPS offerings, it provides an environment that is very familiar to most people who have used Shared Hosting. The amount of CPU available varies with the amount of RAM you pay for, the more RAM, the larger slice of CPU power you have available.
Comments: If you want the advantages of a VPS but the features of Shared Hosting, a Dreamhost VPS provides the best of both worlds. Note, however, that you have less control over your virtual server with a Dreamhost VPS, so if you need to control everything, this is not the VPS solution you want.
Recommended Dedicated Hosting Providers for December 2013
A Dedicated Server puts the entire power of a hardware server at your command. Naturally, this is fairly expensive -- especially if you need powerful server-class hardware. However, if you have a very popular web site or the server-side software you need to run requires one heck of a lot of resources, Dedicated Hosting may be your only real option. Very large, active sites might even require multiple Dedicated Servers. In extreme cases -- like Google search -- it can take thousands of servers to support a single site.
Like a VPS, Dedicated Hosting gives you complete control of a server, but you have the full power of the hardware server as you do not share it with any other account. The price of Dedicated Hosting depends on the features of your server -- the more CPU power, RAM, and disk space the server has, the more it will cost. You are basically leasing a powerful computer and buying some bandwidth to go with it. Most Dedicated hosting is unmanaged, the providers gives you a server connected to the Internet with the operating system of your choice installed. You need to maintain the OS and install and maintain all the server software you need. Some providers offer managed hosting ranging from only doing basic setup and patch maintenance to running your server for you. Naturally, managed hosting increases the costs and the more management done, the higher this cost is.Fortunately, by the time you need Dedicated Hosting, you will probably have enough experience with your web site to know exactly what you need -- and what you don't need.
Given the huge number of hardware configurations possible, directly comparing Dedicated Hosting can be hard. The prices and features listed for our Dedicated Hosting providers are for the least expensive server offered. All of this providers offer far more powerful systems for more money.
|Web Host||Price*||Setup**||Bandwidth||Disk Space||CPU||RAM|
|#1 - Singlehop||1m: $99.95||Free||10 TB||250 GB||Intel ATOM 330 1MB L2 Cache 1.6Ghz Dual-Core||2 GB|
|Singlehop Feature Highlights: This is the "low end" server from Singlehop. You have your choice of free Linux-based operating system or can pay more for Windows Server or other commercial operating systems. Choice is the byword with Single hop, you can add more memory, more disk space, more bandwidth, a control panel, managed server services, backup services, and many other options to this server. Or you can select a server with a more powerful processor and customize it in a similar manner.
Comments: Singlehop provides some of the best features -- including excellent tech support -- in the decidated hosting business.
|#2 - Codero||1m: $95.00
|$25.00||12 TB||250 GB||Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86 GHz E6300||2 GB|
Codero Feature Highlights: This is a "low end" server from Codero. You have your choice of several Linux-based operating systems or can pay more for Windows Server. There are a large number of other optional features you can add: more memory, more disk space, more bandwidth, a control panel, managed server services, backup services, etc. Codero's optional managed services are particularly good.
|#3 - Serverpronto||1m: $49.95
|5 TB||120 GB||AMD Athlon II X2||2 GB|
|Serverpronto Feature Highlights: Serverpronto specializes in affordable (but mainly lower end) servers. They have four packages under $100 a month, for example. While some configuration hardware options are available, there are not nearly as many options available as with our other recommended Dedicated Hosting Providers. Managed service options are extremely limited.
Comments:Serverpronto is where you go when you need a dedicated server, but need to pinch pennies. Serverpronto can be a good choice if you understand what you are getting into. However, you many be able to do better powerwise for the money with a good VPS (like Linode).
We check this information at least once every two weeks. Web hosting companies, however, can change their pricing and plans at any time. If there are any changes or errors with the information in the Cheap Web Host Report above, please let us know at: cwhreditor "at" gridspace.net. Note that most of the web hosts listed in this report have affilate programs. If you sign up for web hosting through our links cheapwebhostingreport.com may receive payment from the web host.
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¹ Discount Codes provide a discounted price and/or additional features. These codes function when listed but may expire at any time. Please
inform us of any that have expired and we will remove them ASAP.
* The prices we list are the monthly price based on the shortest prepayment period offered (1m = one month, 3m = three months, 6m = six months) and for annual pre-payment (1y = annual rate)
** The setup fees we list are for the shortest prepayment period offered and for the annual pre-payment plan.
*** Be sure to carefully read the Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy of any host offering unlimited disk storage or unlimited bandwidth. Unlimited seldom really means "no limits" as one would expect it to mean.