Five Best Web Hosting Companies

Five Best Web Hosting Companies

When you’re ready to take your data into your own hands and run your own blog, own your own photos, and host your own apps, it’s time to find a good web host that can put it all on the web for you, give you the tools, bandwidth, and storage you need, and support you when you need help. Thankfully, there are dozens of great companies looking for your business, and this week we’re going to look at five of the best.

Photo by Ciprian Popescu.

Web hosting is a competitive business, whether that’s for a budget email-based account or for an option with dedicated servers. Hive Five rankings are based on voting on the US Lifehacker site, and for this particular topic more than 100 companies were nominated. Unsurprisingly, all the finalists are US-based.

Many Australians happily use overseas hosting companies, but even so one thing this listing doesn’t reflect is options available in Australia. If you’ve got a favourite Aussie hosting provider, tell us why you’ve found them so good in the comments.



Dreamhost is one of the web’s most popular hosts, offering both standard shared plans starting as low as $US8.95/month and dedicated server plans for customers with larger bandwidth and availability needs. The company has a reputation for added features, including one-click installs for blogging and gallery software that make getting your own site up and running fast and easy. Options on some plans include unlimited email accounts, support for Google apps, unlimited bandwidth and unlimited databases. You can check out all of Dreamhost’s plans here. [imgclear]



Hostgator rolls out the red carpet for its new customers with unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space, lots of easy-to-install site templates, and an uptime guarantee, all starting at $US3.96/month for their most affordable plans. Even its low-end plans feature unlimited email, one-click installs and a $US100 Google Adwords credit. The longer you sign up for, the bigger the discount you get on your monthly hosting bill. You can check out all of Hostgator’s plans here. [imgclear]



Bluehost’s shared hosting plans start at $US4.95/mo, which gets you unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space, unlimited file transfer, unlimited email and a free domain registration. Even its basic plans offer unlimited hosted domains, domain parking, e-commerce features and one-click WordPress installs. You can check out all of Bluehost’s features here. [imgclear]



You can host your web site or photo gallery with Lineode, but unlike other traditional hosting companies that offer shared hosting solutions, Lineode offers Virtual Private Server hosting (VPS) where you spin up a virtual server with the memory, disk space and file transfer that you need for whatever application you’re building or web site you’re hosting. Some customers use their Lineode servers as remote desktop replacements, and others for private, cloud-based application servers. You get full SSH and root access on your servers, guaranteed resources, and your choice of Linux distribution on the servers you purchase. Prices start at $US19.99/month. You can check out all Lineode’s offerings here. [imgclear]

A Small Orange


A Small Orange hosting reminds me of what some of our other contenders were like earlier in their existence — homegrown hosting companies with a serious focus on customer service rather than size and scale. With A Small Orange, you can get a variety of plans with different bandwidth and disk space options that also feature unlimited databases, unlimited email addresses and unlimited subdomains for as low as $US35/year ($US2.91/month). Few of its plans offer the same kind of unlimited disk and bandwidth options you’ll see from the big guys, but there are lots to choose from. You can check out A Small Orange’s plans here. [imgclear]

Honourable mentions this week include Rackspace, which handles both personal and enterprise hosting and platform services and Nearly Free Speech, a contender in our last look at personal web hosts.


    • If you are looking to expand your business on internet by create a website then you must choose a reliable web hosting company because hosting allows your website to open in someone’s browser. Six months ago I created a website for the purpose of online business but I use free web hosting to save money which cost me a lot because free hosting offers limited features but then I move my website to Site Ground a reliable hosting company since then I had no issues with websites.

  • Lifehacker AU should give some Australian options as well. Sure hosting in the States is cheap however can be relatively slow. Maybe a list of 5 closer to home?

    • While I generally agree this should be AU specific…I think you guys are all nuts.

      This is WEB HOSTING. Anyone with any trace of entrepreneurial spirit in their body will have or will be thinking about global ideas. More specifically – US ideas, since that’s where the heart of the tech boom is.

      You will need “local” US hosting for speed and SEO advantages. Sure, you could get an AU host with some US servers, which I have done before (Jumba for instance), but I changed after a while when I realised I could get the same host for a fraction of the price.

      Anyway back on topic…

      I did a lot of research and found Dreamhost and HostGator always seemed to be the ones people recommended. I almost went with Dreamhost simply because it looks so much better and more professional….but all the feedback I read said that HG was the superior alternative. So even though HG looked like a dodgy garage operation, I went with them. They’ve been good so far…no complaints! Although I wish they would just give us a vanilla CPanel installation. I never like it when hosts try to do their own custom stuff.

      • Don’t know about HostGator but I’ve been with Dreamhost for 7 years and have always found them excellent. CPanel, Plesk? I’ve used both and neither are a patch on DreamHost’s management system. It is excellent and easy to understand.

        Having said all that, I have noticed that speed has become an issue over the last 12 months to the point where it can be embarassing. DH quickly responded when I asked them about it and it did improve but it’s still not great I have to say.

      • I’m not sure you run any online sites for an Australian audience, but it’s an #epicfail to server traffic fro the USA to australia customers. The international links are often down, and the links are slow at best.

        Even google, bing and others host in AU for that reason. If you are targeting AU customers, you HAVE to host in AU. To not do so is bad practice.

        Also a lot of AU businesses don’t want their data in US soil, Gov’t departments for instance have this as a requirement.

  • Fail all around. Once again you’re just regurgitating things from the US Lifehacker. What’s the point of running a local site if you keep running ‘articles’ like this?

    If you require .NET hosting (ie IIS), two outstanding local hosts are StudioCoast ( and RackServers ( StudioCoast have exceptional customer service and are a small enough company that you can talk with real people if you have any issues instead of going through a Jumba-style nightmare. RackServers aren’t as good in the customer service department but the value on their higher end plans is hard to beat in Australia and they are extremely reliable.

    For Apache hosting, Jumba is very good value for small businesses and upwards. If you’re just running a blog or a REALLY small business which is just starting up, there are so many completely free hosts it warrants its own article.

    This regurgitated article also completely misses the rapidly growing trend of hosting on cloud-based servers like Heroku and AppHarbour. Both offer great value, and hard to match for scalability-on-demand and feature flexibility.

    For non-programmers that just want to get a point-and-click site up and running, MYOB’s Atlas program turns my stomach a bit but plenty of non-tech savvy small business owners love it and caters specifically to Australian customers.

    • The top of the article makes it very clear that this is US-only hosts and why that is. Thanks for the suggestions; I don’t quite see the point of the hostility.

      • On the page linked to at the end of the article (where they also regurgitated another US article near verbatim), there were plenty of suggestions for local hosting. To say “have any local suggestions” at the end seems like laziness at best, if not a bit of a slap in the face to readers.

        On a positive note, at least this article doesn’t go on about Sugru. 🙂

      • Angus, possibly a huge annoying flashing banner at the top saying ‘US ARTICLE: Read at your own peril.’
        That should make it clear to those who moan about the US articles without reading the disclaimer.

      • The hostility is because regurgitating a US article is both lazy and pretty much irrelevant in the most part to your Australian readers. I hope you don’t get paid for “copy and paste”.
        Hot tip: Go and do an actual article on Australian hosting, like most of your readers seem to have done for you.

          • If you two are not happy with the quality of articles posted to this site… feel free to start your own weblog site and write your own original articles that can be as Australian as you want them to be. I look forward to subscribing to your RSS when you are up and running. Meanwhile the rest of us are happy, and mature enough to realise that repurposing articles originally written with another audience in mind is fine. We get it. We can deal with these things.

            And feel free to ask LH for DOUBLE your money back in subscription access fees you pay to come here and enjoy the hard work and efforts of others. It’s only fair…

          • Talk to yourself, why do you think we are with you. I am not, and I totally agree with them, lazy article, if i wanted to do everything myself,I would not have a life to live. I am asking them to be better in their service.

      • I disagree with you Angus, I read this whole article thinking it was Australia based.. hence the name | Lifehacker Australia in the Title BAR! Fail. I’m not clicking on any lifehacker search results in google ever again. Thanks Ferret,, your comment was more helpful than this whole article.

      • Must pipe in & say that if you look at the fine print on say Bluehost, they won’t even host .au sites so I’m going to amplify the nay-sayers on the laziness of this post for the Australian scene.

  • VentraIP, best service and their pricing isn’t bad if you pay by quarter. We’re limited here in Australia because lets face it, our ISP/network standards are not near what they have in the US where you can rent a physical box for about $50-100 a month compared to about the $400 a month here.

  • Huge clarification: unlimited bandwidth != do whatever you want. They still severely limit the cpu minutes allowed per month per account (so if you use the server cpu too much, you’re in trouble).

  • Why is this US post published on LH AU? Come on, seriously? Where’s the australian hosts like VentraIP. They’re so much better than the ones listed above.

    These hosts are like the “most popular” web hosts, not necessarily the “best”

  • I’m an Australian and I host my site with Dreamhost. It’s pretty quick and $15 a month for a VPS isn’t bad at all. Their support is first rate and their newsletter is always a great read (even though I don’t usually read those sorts of things). As for speed, it’s pretty speedy. I have three clients who host their sites in Australia. One is lightning fast (high end VPS, $100 a month or something), the other two are the same speed as my Dreamhost account, so location doesn’t necessarily make a difference unless you’re uploading or downloading more than a bit of data (which I’m not)

    All of my previous hosts were in the US and I never had a problem with their speed. Even chatting to support via Google Voice was pretty speedy.

  • I have a VPS with Mammoth VPS (an Australian company) and I have to say they are the cheapest I have been able to find anywhere. They have fantastic service, with quick response time to outages and other issues. They email, blog, twitter etc for any outages and then follow up with a detailed description of what went wrong and how they’re going to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again (sacrifices to the technology gods aside).

    I would recommend Mammoth VPS to anyone looking to set up more than just “a website” (although it works for that too!). Click the link below and we both get a credit!

  • Crucial.
    Have both US and AU based service (although they’re not linked = fail). Support is very good and the prices reasonable for Au and cheap for US.

  • I’d have to second the above notion that this reads more like a top-five of POPULAR hosts rather than BEST hosts, although I don’t agree with the anti-US sentiment shared by some of the other members given that’s simply where a lot of the major options are based.

    My top recommendations for hosting include:

    Synthesis WordPress Hosting. This is a specialised host by copyblogger that focuses on providing the best hosting possible for WordPress installations (especially for those also using the Genesis Framework). It’s a little more expensive than some other options, but it’s lightening fast, stable, secure, and the customer service is brilliant. To quickly provide the answer to a question I had when signing up, the Genesis plans INCLUDE the base Genesis framework (but not child themes) for those who do not already own it but would like to use it.

    Media Temple are my top recommendation for general hosting. Again, they’re more expensive than some other options, but they have excellent customer service, and their offerings are again lightening fast, stable, and secure.

    NearlyFreeSpeech are the most cost effective solution I know of for very low-data/traffic sites, and they’re completely open about their pricing and exactly what is included. They are NOT user-friendly for non-experienced web users, and don’t provide certain options available elsewhere, but their pay-for-what-you-use model can’t be beaten for value on sites with very low requirements, and they’re also VERY respectful of your privacy and rights.

    Sorry to disappoint the anti-US crowd, but I believe all of the above are also US-based — I also haven’t found any local hosting companies that match the strengths of these options. A host should be chosen based on your specific needs — and if those needs include actually needing a local host for a very small speed increase (compared to a good international options), or for some other reason so be it — but should not be chosen or rejected just because it is or isn’t local.

  • I have always gone with US hosts because I assumed they were cheaper and most sites I set up don’t need AU speeds as they were never high in traffic. However thanks to the comments I at least know about some good hosts in Australia 😀

  • These really aren’t what I’d consider the best hosting services. Why no mention of Amazon S3? I would consider that to be the best, not to mention the many other better services.

  • MediaTemple is no different than the other ones mentioned. They are all overselling and that alone is just a terrible move that everyone accepts. Think about it like this…

    A dedicated server with 1TB storage and 10TB bandwidth can cost as little as $299 per month from some vendors that provide zero support and zero guarantee of uptime. now at 100GB storage that is a maximum of 10 sites (without overselling). You do the math on that and you soon see that there is no room even for support or wages for staff let lone advertising.

    If you believe that these oversold services are worth 2 cents then you are just as stupid and ingnorant as the rest of the suckers that have websites hosted with them. Only way that they could even come close to covering their costs is overcrowding the servers and then putting in their Terms and Conditions like “Storage is limited to files required to run the website…” or “Back-ups – Customer is responsible for independent backup of data stored on our servers”…

    You are really gambling your business / online venture over $10-$20 per month… think about it… I am sure Google and Facebook would be doing the same if it was a smart move but we all know that they have their own DC’s and do not use any services like the ones mentioned by site owner…

  • I realise this July 2013, and when googling for ” WordPress hosting Australia” this came up 2nd. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to the “hostility” because those comments came from the passionate people who taught me more about hosting than any article or review I’ve read before! Thanks

  • can i suggest stearing clear of ziphosting. i just had to cancel my service with them due to continued lacklustre performance from them (e.g. waiting days for support requests, being told permissions were set on a folder when they weren’t, ziphosting wanting to charge me $300 to restore a MS SQL Server database backup – a 5 minute task!). Oh, and if you think you’ll just try them, don’t expect a refund if it doesn’t work out – i never got one. i was just told “thanks for understanding” – well, no, i don’t understand why i should pay money for poor quality service – LM

  • Shame most in Australia host charge US dollars.. I use because it’s all in Australian dollars. I been with them for three years on a $4 plan with all I need to run my online business service has been A+ support helped me out last week got replay in 5min was shocked about that as it’s first time I have needed help they get my recommendation.

  • Hosting companies should be researched before just jumping in and signing up. If you lived in Russia it would be pointless to have your hosting company in Australia.

    When someone did a local search (in Russia) their search would have to travel from Russia to Australia then back again. This would affect the load times for the website to appear, and everyone knows we all hate having to wait for web pages to load!!!

    I would strongly urge you to look for hosting companies with global data centers…

    Here are some examples I have found: – they have data centers in the USA, UK and AU

    http://blue-hosting.com (Same Again) (data centers in the USA, UK and Australia)

    These 3 examples would be suitable for our Russian friend to host with as they will give your site fast load times and from what I have seen really affordable as well. 24-7-365 Support, and phone numbers for you to call when you are really stuck.

    One more thing I will mention is to get your site mobile optimized… did you know websites that are not optimized miss out on approx 25-33% of local searches in GOOGLE alone, what business can afford that?

    If you do not know how to build a mobile site, do not worry… there are companies out there that can do it all for you for approx $249.00 (beats doing it yourself).

    I hope I have helped you all, and good luck in life 🙂

  • I don’t have an issue with the American hosts but the comment saying ‘I did a lot of research & found DreamHost & Host Gator are the two most people seem to recommend’ is puzzling. It is true that both DreamHost & Host Gator usually make people’s top 10 list, but rarely are either of them at number 1. BlueHost, iPage GoDaddy & JustHost more often come in at the top of the web host list, whereas Host Gator most commonly comes in between around 3-7 & DreamHost from 7 onwards if it makes a list’s top 10 at all. Other web host providers that commonly make the top 10 are Siteground, Host Monster, Web Hosting Hub,, Fat Cow & Host Papa…. I don’t think it’s right to say that “most” people recommend DreamHost & Host Gator, that’s all.

  • I can absolutely vouch for a Small orange. I have used them for over 4 years and find their service and support faultless. Average response time when I lodge a support ticket? 6 to 12 minutes, no matter what time it is in the states. Uptime is great. Absolute antithesis of Crazy Domains, who I have also used for the past four years. Crazy Domains would be the very worst, the absolute worst hosting service I have ever, absolutely ever encountered.

  • I thought this was Australian Web Hosting those top 5 are all OS hosting prividers??
    And besides the Australian Based hosting giants being that Webcentral (which is now a US owned company now) which owns MelbourneIT, and Netregistry who I recommend to keep away from if you want real customer service, that leaves it up to the real Aussie owned and operated companies like Uber, Crucial and Nerdster. These companies are all Australian Owned and operated with Australian Datacenters and will give great customer service because they care about your business. Try these guys.
    I have hosting with all 3 of them and they are all good and care about their customers.

  • Just to bring this back up from the dead and to throw another great Australian host into the mix, I would recommend Digital Pacific -> -> To anybody looking for web hosting. I have hosted with them for over 4 years now and wouldn’t consider looking anywhere else.

    If you rewrite this article LH, make sure they are included too!!

  • I live in Australia, Adelaide and I found that most Australian hosting companies are very expensive. At the moment I host my website with a US company and paying only $2 per month, although the service isn’t the best but at least it’s cheap and it’s good enough.

  • I have found a secret and simple method that works very well:

    Just search in Bing (not in Google or Yahoo!) for “what is the web hosting company with the world’s lowest account cancellation percentage”. You should use this complete search term WITHOUT the quotes and you can copy this long search term here if you want.

    If you follow this advice, a handful real good very best hosting providers (guaranteed) will appear at the top of the search results. These are the only 100% reliable ones.

    These are the providers who are not afraid to be transparent by publishing their web hosting account cancelation percentage. Don’t use Google or Yahoo for this because their search results are much less relevant than Bing. Good luck!

  • I’ve been playing around with Yola, Wix and WordPress to create my own web site prior to hosting it. Yola includes a site builder and hosting located in SanFrancisco.

    For those in Australia using US hosting companies, do you pay just in Aussie dollars or is there added costs (credit card fees), varying costs per month as the US-AU dollar varies etc.?

  • In my experience (over 20 years now) you will get much better service from mid-range providers. I have been hosting content with both large and small providers. The large ones are unresponsive when you have a problem and if they are too small may be unskilled in solving it. I will give a shameless plug for the people who host me currently or both of these companies are giving me awesome support, excellent heads up with any security isues and solutions and are fast and well priced. Previously I was with Hostgator and there is simply no comparison. I left after a 48hr outage in which support wouldn’t even respond to my ticket. Now if I have an issue I jut get on the phone. Good luck in your search!

  • I am looking at launching a website built in WordPress and wanted to know if someone can recommend an Australian based WordPress web host?

  • One of our clients recently migrated to HostGator because their IP on previous host, TPP, kept ending up on email backlists. Shortly after the migration we discovered that the HostGator IP was also blacklisted.

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