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.
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.
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.
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.
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.