The Best Web Hosting for Small Business

The Best Web Hosting for Small Business

We recommend avoiding hosting your small business’s websites on GoDaddy. We think most small businesses will be happy on one of InMotion’s Business shared hosting plans, which include a free domain; unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email; and one-click installation of more than 400 apps. As one of WordPress’s recommended web hosts, it might come as no surprise that managed WordPress is built straight into all of SiteGround’s shared hosting plans — it’s not considered an upgrade, like it is with InMotion. Even though it offers Windows operating system and a wide range of plans across shared, managed WordPress, VPS, cloud, and dedicated servers, too many features (SSL certificates, SSD storage, site backups and restores) are only included in higher-tier plans or as add-ons. Web host specs Every web host is likely to offer way more than what your website needs to run well. Most web hosts provide unmetered bandwidth, but like with storage, you can’t hog so much that the other users on your shared server are getting poor site performance. For example, SiteGround’s middle-tier plan, GrowBig, can host an unlimited number websites, but offers 20GB of storage and can accommodate around 25,000 monthly visitors total. InMotion, SiteGround, DreamHost, and Bluehost are Linux-only. Others, including SiteGround and InMotion, keep their managed WordPress plans on shared servers. Email hosting: Most web hosts provide email hosting as well.

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A high quality web hosting provider needs to have three things:

  1. Fast, secure technology that has what your website needs to run well
  2. Hosting options that give your business room to grow
  3. Fast access to customer support members who know what they’re talking about, and a huge catalog of nuanced self-help content

InMotion and SiteGround, our two top picks, are both excellent options. We think most small businesses will be really happy with what they have to offer.

DreamHost, Bluehost, and HostGator are also very popular and generally well regarded—there are just enough little issues that keep them from being our overwhelming favorites.

We also looked at GoDaddy. We recommend avoiding hosting your small business’s websites on GoDaddy. You can absolutely do better.

Inforgraphic showing the five steps to finding the best web host

Our top picks for small business web hosting

  • Quick Sprout pick
  • This host is all-around excellent and great for beginners

InMotion is an all-around provider with a solid reputation: the Subaru of web hosts. It has a lot of plans to choose from across the traditional range of hosting options — shared, managed WordPress, VPS, and dedicated servers — and it prioritizes fast loading times with SSD storage, PHP 7, custom server caching, and two US-based servers. We also appreciate its rigorous security protocol: servers have custom firewalls and DDoS protection, it includes malware protection, and SSL certificates are free on all plans.

Where InMotion especially stands out is in its customer support, which caters to all levels of users. Its knowledge center is recognized as one of the best in the business, with thousands of help articles, FAQs, forums, training videos, and guides to help even the most entry-level administrator feel in control. You’ll see InMotion support staff respond to specific questions in each article’s comments section, and there’s even a community support subsection, where one-off questions are answered by InMotion super users. The US-based customer service team is available 24/7 across live chat and email and phone, and InMotion offers a whopping 90-day money-back guarantee — one of the longest available.

InMotion customer support staff answers questions in article comments
InMotion staff answers user questions in the comments of their support center’s articles.

We think most small businesses will be happy on one of InMotion’s Business shared hosting plans, which include a free domain; unlimited storage, bandwidth, and email; and one-click installation of more than 400 apps. When you’re ready to upgrade, InMotion has a straightforward approach. As you move up the food chain, you won’t get upsold on additional features or slicker tools. You’ll just get more power — 2X the performance with each upgrade. What other hosts consider add-ons, InMotion offers even on its lowest-tier plans, including automatic backups and one free restore every four months, plus three free website/database migrations. The only extra perk the highest-tier shared hosting plan offers is an uptime guarantee: for every month InMotion’s server performance dips below an average 99.999% uptime, you’re eligible for a free month of hosting.

With promotional pricing, InMotion’s shared hosting plans can start as low as $4–5/month and managed WordPress hosting starts at $5–6/month. After that, pricing bumps up to around $8–9/month.

  • Quick Sprout pick
  • An outstanding reputation and robust functionality

If InMotion is Subaru, SiteGround is Tesla: cutting-edge, powerful, and enormously well-respected. Its accolades are impossible to ignore: it’s one of WordPress’s three recommended web hosts and is the go-to for Reddit users, plus it has twice as many five-star reviews than any other provider on WhoIsHostingThis.

SiteGround is widely considered to a technology leader, especially when it comes to shared hosting — it’s often among the first hosts to provide access to developing tech to its customers. At this point, SSD drives, custom caching, CDN technology, NGINX, and PHP 7 are included to maximize speed on all levels of plans. SiteGround’s commitment to security is also no joke, with CHROOT account isolation, custom AI to counter brute-force attacks, and an in-house DevOps team to code proactive patches.

InMotion’s customer support is tough to beat, but SiteGround gives it a real run for its money. Customer support is available 24/7 across all channels — phone, chat, and email — and its knowledge base is rich and well-organized. SiteGround is probably the most transparent web host around regarding uptime: it has a 99.9% annual uptime guarantee (or you get a month of hosting free) and posts both its annual average and the previous month’s uptime right on its site.

SiteGround displays its monthly uptime stats on its website
SiteGround’s annual uptime compared to last month’s.

As one of WordPress’s recommended web hosts, it might come as no surprise that managed WordPress is built straight into all of SiteGround’s shared hosting plans — it’s not considered an upgrade, like it is with InMotion. If you’re a WordPress user, this is undeniably a perk: core updates are automatic, all plans are WP-CLI enabled for easier management, and security is tailored to counter WordPress-specific vulnerabilities. This isn’t to say that you can’t get those things on a standard shared hosting plan with InMotion — they’re just going to take more manual labor.

With SiteGround, upgrading your shared hosting plan gets you access to more: more power, yes, but also more tools and functionality. SiteGround is particularly well-known for its highest-tier shared hosting plan, GoGeek. On GoGeek, premium site caching will increase your site’s speed, you can make site-wide backups on demand (plus free restores), and you have access to pre-installed Git and WordPress staging. Pretty cool stuff, although potentially more than your small business needs.

SiteGround is designed to meet the needs of customers who are straddling the line of small business. It leaps from shared hosting straight to an $80/month cloud hosting solution or a $279/month dedicated server, skipping over the more traditional VPS stepping stone. And while SiteGround’s promo pricing is extremely reasonable, starting at $4/month, it triples at the end of your first contract. Yowch.

3 other web hosts for small businesses to consider

Another WordPress recommended web host, DreamHost also integrates managed WordPress hosting into is core shared hosting packages (as well as its super-speedy, cloud-based WordPress hosting plan called DreamPress). DreamHost stands out for having a completely customized back end instead of the universal cPanel most other Linux-based hosts use. Think of it like Apple versus Android: DreamHost customers love it, but it’s not a compatible solution should you ever switch hosts.

Dreamhost control panel menu next to InMotion's cPanel menu

DreamHost’s sleek custom control panel menu (left) compared to InMotion’s cPanel (right).

Dreamhost is a sleek web host with a traditional upgrade path: shared hosting to managed WordPress hosting to VPS to cloud hosting or a dedicated server. Customer service is a little less traditional: email support is available 24/7, but live chat is only on during business hours, and you actually have to pay about $10 to get technical support over the phone. That said, the free trial period is the longest in the business — 97 days. Shared hosting plans start at $3/month, and since Dreamhost doesn’t do promo pricing, it won’t jump after your first contract is up.

The third and final WordPress-recommended host, Bluehost is a hugely popular option that builds in managed WordPress hosting to all its shared hosting plans. Its knowledge base is kind of a disaster — we recommend going straight to the search bar; browsing is pretty much pointless — and even though customer support is available 24/7 across phone, live chat, and email, it’s been under fire in recent years. Poor customer support is one of the biggest reasons Bluehost has only one star on Trustpilot, and less than half of customers rate it five-stars on WhoIsHostingThis.

Bluehost's knowledge base homepage

Bluehost’s knowledge base is frustrating to browse or get answers fast.

Shared hosting with Bluehost starts at $4/month for your initial contract. Bluehost is a standout for offering five(!)-year contracts, which could lock you into some really low prices.