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02-10-2011, 02:10 AM
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Are you looking for a high quality web host for your website? Then you're in the right place!

If you're confused about who to use, or don't understand why you see the same company names over and over again on some sites, then I'm glad you found this site. I'd like to take a few minutes to clear up your confusion, and help you find your way to a quality company that really does care for its customers. (And yes, this post is updated monthly! It's never old information!)

Our top hosts list is after the preface, which you REALLY should read...

Preface / About Web Hosting Suggestions

If you go to Google, and type in something like "best web hosts" or "top 10 web hosts," you'll likely end up with a list of affiliate splogs (spam blogs/sites). Those are sites that claim to rank hosts, but if you're knowledgeable in the field of web hosting, you know it's all fake. These splogger sites simply list the companies that pay the best commissions, and the top site is always the one with the highest payout. Many splogs go so far as to post fake glowing reviews. They don't really care about you, or the quality/integrity of their advice. Sploggers have no ethics. All they want are the affiliate dollars!

I find those sites vulgar and unethical. Affiliate-driven lists are a cancer on the Internet, and to communication in general. In fact, that's why the FTC has been more involved in blogging since 2009, to combat this nuisance.

Unfortunately, many of these top-paying hosts have
  • Terrible customer support,
  • Horrible uptime -- i.e. hours/days of downtime, long periods of slow access,
  • And crappy servers that have been overstuffed with too many clients on a single box, to cut costs. (aka "overselling" or "oversellers")
Some hosts are owned by mega-hosts, too -- soul sucking billion-dollar corporations that mow over the whole industry, often firing the North American staff and outsourcing to India to further cut costs. Endurance International Group (EIG), for example, owns at least 55 hosts -- and many of these are listed on those "top host" lists because of their insane payouts (Bluehost, HostGator, iPower, Powweb, iPage, EasyCGI, Fatcow, JustHost, etc). Godaddy, Dreamhost and 1&1 are other examples of large well-known hosts that have a terrible reputation for quality of service and tech support.

Unlike the fake sites, our rankings are based on server/network performance, tech support quality/knowledge/speed, and competitive pricing. These are the top hosting providers ranked by digitalFAQ.com in 2013. This list is maintained weekly, and always up to date. Our list of overall best hosts, in preference order...

Best Web Hosts / Overall Hosts

These hosts have full upgrade paths, from shared to VPS/dedicated, and are highly suggested for most website owners. You can start with shared, and upgrade plans as needed, as your site grows in popularity and traffic, without needing to change hosts. This list also serves as our rankings for the best shared web hosts.

HostCost *SharedSemi *ResellerVPS (Managed)DediOSPanelsSave
..1. EuroVPS€5+cloudVMware cloudLinux, WindowscPanel, PleskEU
..2. StableHost$4+KVMLinuxcPanelUS-West
..3. Site5$6+unlimitedXenLinuxcPanelUS, EU, Asia, S.Am
..4. Arvixe$4+unlimitedHyper-VLinuxcPanelUS
..5. WebhostingBuzz$6+KVMLinuxcPanelUS, UK
..6. Veerotech$7+cloudcloudKVM cloudLinuxcPanelUS-East, UK
..7. Glowhost$7+XenLinuxcPanelUS-West, UK
..8. Namecheap$4+XenLinuxcPanelUS
..9. Geek Storage$7+KVMLinuxcPanelUS
10. eUKHost4+Xen, Hyper-V cloudLinux, WindowscPanel, PleskUK
11. MDD Hosting$6+OpenVZ/vLinuxcPanelUS-West
12. Hawk Host$4+OpenVZ/uLinuxcPanelUS, Asia

Best Unlimited Hosts

Although hosts promising unlimited disk space are generally not suggested, there are a few hosts that are honest. These companies will not cut corners, throttle your connection, or heartlessly enforce hidden limits only found in their ToS/AUP. It's a great choice for shared hosting, where you need lots of space — like photos or podcasts — for low-traffic sites.

HostCost *LocationSupportOSPanels 
1. Site5$9+USA (several), Canada, UK, EU, AustraliaWorldwide in-houseLinuxcPanel 
3. SiteGround$4+Chicago, Amsterdam, SingaporeWorldwide in-houseLinuxcPanel 
4. Namecheap$10+Atlanta, Phoenix, UKWorldwide in-houseLinuxcPanel 
5. InMotion$6+LAUSA in-houseLinuxcPanel 
6. GlowHost$7+AtlantaUSA in-houseLinuxcPanel 
7. FrogHost$3+DallasUSA in-houseLinuxcPanel 
8. WireNine$6+Miami, ChicagoWorldwide in-houseLinuxcPanel 

Best VPS Hosts

When it comes to VPS rankings, there's two things that matter most: the quality of the hardware/uptime, and the quality/speed of support. You want responsive systems and techs when using a VPS. The better the hardware and support, the better the host ranks here! We've tested or used dozens of VPS hosts, and these are the best of the best.

HostCost *VirtualizationLocationManagedOSPanels 
1. EuroVPS€10+Xen, VMwareAmsterdamOptionalWindows, LinuxcPanel, Plesk 
2. LiquidWeb$50+Xen, KVMPhoenix, MichiganWindows, LinuxcPanel, Plesk 
3. Media Temple$30+Virtuozzo (VE)Virginia, CaliforniaSemiLinuxcPanel, Plesk 
4. KnownHost$25+VirtuozzoDallas, LA, NJLinuxcPanel 
5. Namecheap$13+Xen, OpenVZAtlantaLinuxcPanel 
6. Futurehosting$16+VirtuozzoLA, Chicago, Miami, UK, AustraliaOptionalWindows, LinuxcPanel, Plesk 
7. Site5$25+XenUSA (several), Canada, UK, EU, Aus.OptionalLinuxcPanel, Plesk 
8. WiredTree$45+VirtuozzoChicagoLinuxcPanel 
9. Evolucix$6+OpenVZDallasLinuxcPanel 
10. BuyVM$2+OpenVZ, KVMLas Vegas, NYWindows, LinuxN/A 

Best Reseller Hosts

Reseller hosting is one of the most difficult categories to rank. In our opinion, these are all extremely excellent hosts. So regardless of who you select here, you can't go wrong. We based it on two main criteria: price ("bang for your buck") and network quality (hardware/uptime). Features like "white label" DNS and the billing panel were taken into consideration.

HostCost *LocationBilling PanelOversellingOSPanels 
1. Veerotech$27+Dallas, North Carolina, ChicagoClientExec, WHMCS includedEnabledLinux cloudcPanel 
2. Site5$24+USA, Canada, UK, Australia, EuropeClientExec, Blesta includedEnabledLinuxcPanel 
3. StableHost$10+Arizona, AmsterdamNot includedEnabledLinuxcPanel 
4. MDD Hosting$22+DenverWHMCS includedEnabledLinuxcPanel 
5. Stream101$15+NYWHMCS availableEnabledLinuxcPanel 
6. HostDime$30+OrlandoWHMCS includedEnabledLinuxcPanel 
7. Geek Storage$9+ChicagoClientExec includedEnabledLinuxcPanel 
8. Crocweb$7+CanadaClientExec includedEnabledLinuxcPanel 


* Cost: The price reflects a one-year payment. Monthly plans may be priced higher; longer terms may be priced lower.
* Cloud: This term is only used when the host has true failover high-availability clustered server infrastructure in use.
* Semi-Dedicated: This high-resource shared hosting is also known as Enterprise, Business, or simply "premium" shared hosting.

What Makes These Excellent Hosts ?

Understand that being "excellent" (or "best") takes more than a person claiming to "not have problems". More often, people simply fail to notice any, even when present and chronic. There is science, facts, and truths that make a host "excellent" -- it's not just random opinion. These hosts have proven themselves to be reliable both in terms of tech support quality, and server uptime. If you want to use some of the best hosts in the industry then consider one of these hosts. In addition to our experience with these companies, being listed on this page requires that certain strict criteria be met:

Professional skills.
  • A good host has hired knowledgeable professional techs to answer your support tickets.
  • A bad host tends to hire teenagers and inexperienced students, or simply has no actual techs.
Wisdom only possible by age and education.
  • A good host is run by educated, experienced and mature adults.
  • A bad host, or "kiddie host", is often run by minors (children, teenagers) from their bedroom, or even colleges kids from their dorm room.
  • A bad host can also be run by amateurs looking to get rich quick on the ol' interwebs, a.k.a. somebody that is "playing host".
Ownership and investment.
  • A good host tends to own their own racks and servers, costing them thousands or millions of dollars. For them, failing is not an option.
  • A bad host is usually just reselling, leasing or renting the hardware of another actual hosting provider. They face no risk by abandoning you.
Earned reputation.
  • A good host often receives detailed, well-written and lengthy praise -- both online and in print reviews.
  • A bad host tends to have mixed reviews. Positive comments are often brief, poorly written, and may even look to be fake/shill comments.
Successful longevity.
  • A good host has been around for 5+ years, and is a true test of running a successful hosting business. This business isn't kind to the ignorant.
  • A bad host usually fails within 1-2 years, if they even make it that long.
Knowing their limits.
  • A good host manages their resources (bandwidth, RAM, storage space), and creates plans that balance intelligent limits with actual costs.
  • A bad host promises ridiculous limits -- or no limits at all! Unlimited! Yeehaw!
  • Excluding a few well-managed hosts, unlimited hosting plans are impossible, made with promises that cannot be kept.
  • A good host has easy-to-understand policies, rules and agreements.
  • A bad host tries to hide "gotchas" in their often-buried documents, which are written in butchered "legalese" English, and hide limits such as SQL connections, inodes, email I/O, and file usage that turn so-called "unlimited" accounts into highly limited near-worthless web accounts. Many times, these documents are buried on their site, and thrown in the face of customers as the basis by which to charge them fees or outright deny service or tech support.
Upgrade Paths. (Overall Hosts only.)
  • A good host has upgrade options, as your site develops. You can start with a low-cost shared account, and move to something more powerful as needed.
  • A good host also has the skills to manage and administrate a diverse portfolio of hosting services. This is very important!
  • A bad host offers upgrade options, but tends to be incompetent at non-primary services. For them, it's a "me too" offering. For example, the large infamous shared hosts are probably some of the worst VPS and dedicated server providers around.
And unfortunately, probably 90% or more of the industry is comprised of bad hosts. -- You have to be careful who you use!

Why Trust Our Rankings/Reviews vs. Others Online ?

The Digital FAQ was established more than a decade ago with the purpose of helping consumers (and professionals) understand the complexities of digital media. This site exists because we're tired of seeing consumers misled, mistreated, or outright lied to by large companies with deep pockets. The web hosting industry is especially bad -- the majority of hosts are either (A) high-paying lousy megahosts, or (B) wanna-be kiddie hosts. Quality hosts are sadly a minority that is easily overlooked by consumers, because they've not wasted their money on expensive ads and from paying high bounties for name recognition.

So again, the hosts listed here are NOT in any way influenced by advertising/referral dollars, unlike other sites!

In fact, either:
  • We've had personal direct experience with these hosts (example: EuroVPS customer for 8+ years, Stablehost for 4+ years, etc), or
  • We've had indirect interactions via clients/peers (example: working on a client site, from their server or hosting plan).
This is what separates our list from the BS lists you find online. We genuinely want to support good companies, and we genuinely want consumers and businesses to use the best possible hosts. We're tired of reading online complaints detailing how amateurs or uncaring mega-corps have ruined the livelihoods of hard working business owners, or even ruined the fun of running a personal hobby site. This nonsense is easily avoided. (We've been victims of rotten hosts, too! It's not a pleasant experience.)

The Bottom Line ...

There's nothing worse than having a bad web host when you rely on the Internet for income or entertainment. It's often the difference between success and failure of your endeavor. There's absolutely no reason that you need to use shoddy hosts. You can find hosts that choose to spend their money on customer service, educated/skilled techs, and quality hardware -- as opposed to those who drop money on Super Bowl commercials, national magazine ads, and buying out their competitors.

Thanks for reading. I hope this information has helped you. ... Now go get a quality host!

Disclaimer: If one of our suggested hosts has an affiliate program, great, we join it, and the funds are used to support the costs of maintaining this site. If not, oh well, good is good, and they still get our suggestion. A few splog owners have contacted us, crying that we're hypocrites by having some links that earn small affiliate payments ($20 average), yet deriding their spammy sites for doing the same. Sorry, but it's NOT the same -- it's not even close. Our list is based on quality of hosts, not their payouts. If this list was based on payouts alone, it would recommend high-paying ($100+) lousy operations like HostGator, Bluehost, IXWebHosting, 1&1, etc. Notice that our #1 suggestion, EuroVPS, had no affiliate program for years; now it pays a puny $5.

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- Need a good web host? Ask me for help! Get the shared, VPS, semi-dedicated, cloud, or reseller you need.
Someday, 12:01 PM
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The updates and discussion posts have been moved here: Web Hosting Reviews list - discussion thread, updates

Reply there, if needed.
Or better yet, started a new conversation in the main web hosting forum.
We'll be glad to give customized advice, and help you select the best hosting for your situation.

Trivia: This was done to reduce load time for this page. It is a forum, after all! The conversations have been quite lengthy. Even with 2x caching, and a dedicated server, forums can really eat into resources when they get a lot of traffic and the pages are long. (Hint to all you forum owners: Get a good VPS host at minimum!) It was also the target of spam, and we don't want anybody to accidentally go to spammer hosts.

Last major update to this page: March 2014.
Last minor update: October 2014.

As always, we work to keep this updated at least once per week!

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