It’s easy to find countless web hosting services that suit your website’s technical needs and your budget, but finding one that provides a reliable service and prompt technical support requires a little bit of digging beyond the few options that usually surface for most search phrases.
Being the “best” is such an overused cliche in this industry and pretty much every web hosting company claims to provide the best services, even the worst of them! And to make things even more confusing, all companies basically have both positive and negative reviews with often contradicting feedback from their customers.
Yep, even the most reliable web hosts out there have some negative reviews from customers who’ve had a negative experience for whatever subjective or objective reasons. Don’t bother searching for the perfect web host because there is none! Technical issues are bound to happen with any provider and you will always find some users complaining about something.
But what sets a good provider apart from a bad one is that when technical problems occur, and they will very likely occur with your website at some point, there will be a knowledgeable and qualified technical support team to deal with them and get things sorted out in a timely manner in order to avoid prolonged downtime.
Here are three of the best choices to look into if you are looking for a reliable web hosting provider you can trust with your website (or whatever you want to use the service for). All of these companies use cPanel (the most popular and feature-rich control panel for hosting services) and they also provide a free SSL certificate for each hosted domain (this is a must-have for security/SEO purposes). These all accept payment via PayPal so you don’t have to provide your credit card details to them.
#1. Scala Hosting
Scala Hosting is a great choice for WordPress websites that require high performance, reliability and scalability. Their servers run SSD drives and you get plenty of resources at a very reasonable price.
The main two services this company offers are shared hosting and cloud VPS hosting. Shared plans are ideal for beginners or those who have a small-medium website. VPS plans are a little more advanced and more pricey, but they come with additional resources and features. VPS packages are more suitable for larger websites that require certain dedicated server resources, which can be easily scaled up as needed.
All of their shared packages come with cPanel, but for VPS packages you get to choose between cPanel and SPanel. The latter is their own custom-made control panel that is very similar to cPanel but is offered for free as no licensing is required.
Scala Hosting Pros
- Excellent 24/7 technical support via chat and email.
- Fast and secure servers.
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
- Affordable cPanel shared hosting plans.
- Optional SPanel for VPS plans (big savings).
- Different server locations in the USA and Europe.
- Free domain name (first year only).
- Lots of resources with each package.
Scala Hosting Cons
- No monthly billing for shared plans (only 1-, 2- and 3-year billing cycles).
- No technical support via phone (only pre-sale inquiries).
#2. Ultra Web Hosting
Although this company may not be as popular as some of the other top players in the industry, they are one of the oldest providers of decent web hosting services having started back in 2002. Their website has that traditional old-school feel to it (in a good way).
Ultra offers different hosting plans that include shared, VPS and dedicated servers. The shared packages are a good starting point for a new website and each comes with lots of features. They also have a WordPress optimized plan that utilizes extra resources a WordPress website would need for better performance and speed.
Ultra’s support team is quick to respond and fix issues, however, their live chat is not always available so you may only be able to reach support via the ticket system/email in case any technical issues arise. The reason they don’t have 24/7 live chat support is because they provide real technical support not outsourced to copy-paste agents like most other companies do.
Ultra Web Hosting Pros
- Very affordable shared hosting packages.
- Supports free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates.
- Free (first year) domain name with annual subscriptions.
- Unlimited email accounts.
- Well maintained, SSD powered servers located in Seattle and Houston data centers.
- Online website builder (Weebly).
Ultra Web Hosting Cons
- Domain registration is only offered for free with yearly-billed plans and for the first year only, after which it will renew at $23.95 per year for a .com.
- Domain Whois privacy (ID protection) costs an extra $10 per year.
- Shared plans are allocated limited server resources that may not be sufficient for a large/active WordPress site, in which case you may want to consider their VPS or dedicated solutions.
#3. A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting has a wide selection of web hosting services that range from affordable entry-level shared plans to more advanced VPS and dedicated server plans. All of their shared hosting options come with speedy SSD powered servers. Higher-end packages offer increased speed as a result of more resource allocations.
They also sell managed WordPress hosting, however, unlike the shared plans, managed WordPress does not come with cPanel but rather with the Plesk control panel. The managed WP option makes it quicker and easier to update, backup and manage different aspects of a WordPress website, but the trade-off is that it comes at a higher price. You can go with a cheaper shared plan, in which case you’ll have to spend more time performing regular WP maintenance tasks manually (not a big deal).
A2 Hosting Pros
- Solid and fast-performing servers with SSD storage.
- Extra server resources (RAM, CPU, etc.) and increased performance with “Turbo” packages, which also include unlimited disk space, bandwidth and databases.
- Free SSL certificate (issued by Sectigo).
- Different data center locations to choose from: USA (East/West Coast), Europe and Asia.
- Expert support team that handles issues promptly.
A2 Hosting Cons
- No free domain registration is offered with shared hosting.
- Discounted prices only apply for the first month or year (depending on the billing cycle).
For Beginners: Website Builder vs. WordPress
Many web hosts offer a free website builder with numerous template choices, which may be an attractive feature for beginners who have no previous experience in building websites. While it may seem like a convenient option, most experienced webmasters would never use any such website builders.
The main disadvantage with website builders is that they are usually custom-made or customized to the specific services and environment of each host. This may make it extremely difficult or even impossible to move your functional website to another host in the future.
On the other hand, if you choose to build your website using WordPress, you will be able to quickly move it to another hosting provider at any time should your website’s needs outgrow what your current host provides or in case you find a better deal somewhere else.
WordPress installation and management are mostly automated and require no coding (unless you want to customize certain things). You can find many free themes (templates) and plugins for WordPress that can do almost anything you’d want in your website. There are so many reasons to opt for WordPress instead of any website builder out there, so think twice before you choose the latter.