Best Web Hosting In 2018 Reviews & Comparison

WHY TRUST US?

Let me introduce our team. When it comes to hosting Lucas knows his stuff. He’s hosted and managed over 700 websites through Australia and the US. He’s seen hosting providers come and go.
Spencer is our data guy. A engineer by profession he came to our team roughly three years ago with a keen eye for numbers as a PPC manager for 3 years.
Nathan helped monitor the results of our tests and help us create lovely visual outputs (which we’ll share here) to show you the data behind why we either recommend or don’t recommend each host.

OUR UNIQUE DATA COLLECTION

For the last ten years we’ve been using an internal system for tracking our clients websites. With a portfolio of 975 (as of 10/4/2018) sites we track everything in an internal dashboard.

We used the history in our internal site tracker to export the data and run multiple cross comparative analyses.

HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE

In order to simplify things and avoid overwhelming you with the hundreds of choices out there we have arranged our recommended hosts in numerical order.

The first review is our most recommended. As you get past the top 3 we don’t necessary recommend those hosts based on our tests. 


BEST BEST HOSTING AUSTRALIA REVIEW 2018

1. SITEGROUND ($3.95/MONTH)

BEST OVERALL HOSTING FOR PRICE/SPEED/UPTIME & UNBEATABLE SUPPORT




Load time: 475Ms
Uptime: 99.95%
Cost: $3.99/mo
SupportLive Chat

Visit Siteground


siteground


By far our favorite. Nearly all our personal websites and new client sites use Siteground. Coming it at a slightly higher price point than the other two guys, however, the quality is incomparable. Read why we rated Siteground #1st in our reviews

UNBEATABLE SUPPORT

24/7 Support that can answer all manner of technical questions. Siteground Support has won awards for their highly trained staff. You won’t find anything like it.

REAT SPEED AND UPTIME

Siteground has some of the fastest speeds with data centers located throughout the world.

ONE CLICK INSTALLS AND FREE SSL

You can literally install your new WordPress site in one click. They also offer free SSL which is an absolute must for anyone taking money on their sites.This will save you $150-200 a year compared to other hosts.

BEST CHOICE FOR BEGINNERS

If you’re new to blogging or setting up your own site, siteground is definitely the top choice for newbies. It’s easy to use with an easy to navigate interface.

2. HOSTGATOR CLOUD HOSTING – RUNNER UP (ONLY $2.99/MONTHLY)


HostGator
Load time: 657Ms
Uptime: 99.4%
Cost: $2.99/mo
SupportLive Chat

Visit HostGator


hostgator


Includes: Free Email, Daily Backups, Free SSL (very valuable), Site Transfer, Free Website BuilderHostgator has been a trusted hosting solution for a long time. Thousands of businesses and bloggers trust hostgator to provide web hosting for all levels of business. Read why we rated HostGator #2nd in our reviews

GREAT SUPPORT

Hostgator combines quality uptime with great service. It’s also priced at a very reasonable price point and offers flexible plans as your business/traffic grows.

COMPETITIVE RATES

Host Gator offers some really discounted rates for new websites and also some flexible plans for all different needs.

3. A2 HOSTING – GREAT SPEED AND LOADING TIMES ($3.92/MONTH)


HostGator
Load time: 601Ms
Uptime: 99.1%
Cost: $3.92/mo
SupportLive Chat

Visit A2 HOSTING


a2 hosting


A2 is another quality host that prides itself on good support and reliability. We’ve used A2 for a lot of our hosting packages for both our Australian clients as well as our American/Canadian clients. Works well from all Australian cities. Read why we rated A2 Hosting #3rd in our reviews

THE OTHER GUYS – SUBJECTS FAILED FOR SPEED, UPTIME OR SUPPORT



The remaining reviews are all the other guys we’ve been tracking for the last few months. While these are in no way bad, they don’t break into the top three. Remember our criteria we had for our tests, the below sites failed at least one of the top criteria in some way.

Here they are in order or most recommended to least.

4. BLUEHOST – WWW.BLUEHOST.COM


  • Average Uptime: 99.74%
    Average Load Time:  Average time of 1.765Ms (tested from Australian cities)


  • image of bluehost icon

If you have been lucky enough to ever make your way over to the Bluehost then you’ll know that thanks to their sophisticated Facebook retargeting you will now forever be haunted by Bluehost ads.  Most of these ads brag how Bluehost is the best hosting solution online.

While it’s a good choice, it’s definitely not the best.

The truth is Bluehost used to be one of the premier web hosts but over the years they have continually lagged in their performance.  Their page speed has continuously decreased and from our data we can see trends of increase page load times and slower performance across all of our Bluehost-based sites.

If you’re a blogger and looking for a personal site I wouldn’t recommend Bluehost, they attempt to squeeze every penny out of you. If you’re a business, definitely don’t choose Bluehost. I’d stick with our top pick and use Siteground.

5. ARVIXE – WWW.ARVIXE.COM


  • Average Uptime: 99.71%
    Average Load Time: 2.654Ms

  • image of Arvixe icon

So Arvixe is a decent host other than the fact that their servers are extremely slow, especially for the Aussie market.Their uptime is actually fairly low when compared to some of the other guys as well.

Service is average. Some of their agents aren’t as technically qualified and answer questions based on scripts, so you feel like you’re not actually speaking with a real human.

The biggest thing with Arvixe is the slow page loads which can affect user experience and your SEO as well.

WHO ARE THESE HOSTING COMPANIES GOOD FOR?

Unless you’re a business that gets over 500,000 views a month any of the hosting companies explained below are a great choice.

Remember that all hosting companies allow you to scale up as your traffic or service demands increase.

HOW WE DECIDE

UPTIME/RELIABILITY

high quality image of a webserver downloading it's info

Think of this as basically how often your website goes down. For a big business this can be disastrous. You’ll lose customers and definitely lose trust in your brand.

Quality hosts almost never go down and when they do it’s planned. Most of the time you’ll get a notice indicating that there will be a planned maintenance fix or some other technical issue. Quality hosts plan around this contingency and only go down when your asleep.

Some of the sites we tested had over 1800 instances of downtime. 🙁

SITE SPEED

SITE SPEED icon

We all want a fast website that doesn’t lag. The modern customer is spoiled and anything longer than 5 seconds is way too long. With mobile accelerated pages that is even more important.

Our way back metrics over the last ten years allowed us to compare average load times across all major Australian cities including Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide.

We compared those results to average US speeds to monitor load times. Our top recorded load times were 226ms and the absolute worst was well over 2850ms (roughly 11.5X slower).

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

funny customer support meme

Customer support is a big factor. Some have great service where your questions get answered in a couple of seconds while others will leave you waiting all day. We’ve worked with some providers who don’t even provide live chat and instead use an outdated ticket system.

Let’s face it. You want a hosting provider that is there for you 24/ 7. 🙂

I can definitively say that our top three recommended hosting companies are the best when it comes to hosting support. Our top pick has actually won awards for their insanely good customer service.

We didn’t need to test customer service because we’ve been using them for a while.

HERE ARE SOME QUALITIES OF GREAT HOSTING SUPPORT
  • Live chat with a native speaker
  • No silly ticket system that takes days to get an answer from.
  • Ability of service agent to be able to fix technical issues.
  • Friendly and professional service
  • Response time

THE MOST IMPORTANT SENTENCE IN FINDING QUALITY WEB HOSTING

Ready for it?   “Avoid cheap web host.” I can’t stress this enough because over the last few years we have dealt with hundreds of businesses that want to either migrate their existing hosting to another provider, add new features or troubleshoot technical issues.

It’s important to realize that the web hosting industry is full of scams and people trying to make huge sums from newbies (we’re talking millions of dollars). These hosts use extremely low quality servers that are both vulnerable to security breaches and absolutely don’t give a crap about their customers.

If you’re wondering who? Let’s name some names:

  • Godaddy is standing by ready to charge you 5X regular prices.
  • Network Solutions. I literally can’t find enough bad things to say about this company.

The point is if you pay for cheap hosting you’re going to have a heck of a time transitioning to another provider and in the process of using a cheaper provider you’ll end up paying 3-4X for upcharges and addons.

I realize for new business owners or bloggers saving a few dollars at the beginning is vital but don’t cheap out on your web host.

Issues with cheap providers in order of important:

  1. Serious Security Breaches (13 Million Stolen Passwords from a Major Discount Host)
  2. Huge upcharges on everything. $70-80 for SSL, $20-30 Privacy Protection, $20-30 Domain Registration =Extra 150-200/year :(:(
  3. Bad IP Neighborhoods Makes Your Website Difficult to Rank Top 1-5 (Check your IP neighborhood)

AUSTRALIAN HOSTS = BAD
SINGAPORE HOSTING = GOOD

Yes a bit of blasphemy for all you die hard Aussies. Australian hosting sucks. It has always sucked. Don’t believe me, here’s some data.

image showing Australia Internet speedYes, number 46. Down three spots from Thailand. 🙁

The reason for this terrible score which really hasn’t improved over the last few years is two fold.

  • The Distance – I don’t need explain this one to you. Anyone who has taken an airplane anywhere knows that we are pretty far away from the rest of the world.
  • Australian Companies Lack of Innovation – I’ve been working in the industry for a while now and have personally met some of the biggest ISP or hosting company CEOs. They refuse to innovate and feel quite comfortable controlling a large percentage of Australian hosting and demanding exorbitant ratesHowever, there is a solution……

BEHOLD THE INDIGO SUBMARINE INTERNET CABLE.

image of the indigo underwater cableThis wire was an initiative set forth by SubPartners, Telstra, Indosat Ooredoo and Singtel to connect Australia with Singapore. The wire is actually two sets of fiberoptics with an outstanding capacity for 20 terabits a second.While you might think this has nothing to do with hosting, it does. Faster speeds allow visitors from both inside and outside of Australia access information much more efficiently.

That is why my top recommended host utilizes a huge brand new datacenter based in Singapore…. ×


WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF HOSTING?

When you first start reading about the different options available for hosting it can be a little overwhelming. There seem to be endless choices with each hosting service promising that theirs is the “best” for your needs. Price points make it all the more unclear.

Some providers aim to give you the cheapest price humanely available at what seem like absurdly cheap prices of $1-2 dollars a month. Other ones even offer hosting for free. Despite those newbies often pick overly powerful hosting packages that they don’t need.

The simple rule of thumb that we stick to is – get a simple hosting solution and then grow into the higher end packages. 

For example providers like SiteGround offer very flexible plans that allow sites to scale up in hosting as their traffic increases.


TYPES OF HOSTING – WHICH IS THE TOP PICK?


The majority of hosting plans can be categorized into five main types: Shared, VPS, Cloud, Dedicated, and Reseller. Let’s look at each of them.

SHARED HOSTING

When it comes to the cheapest plans for new sites shared hosting is it.  Think of it as renting an apartment in a large crowded complex. The better quality the shared host the more room you have in your apartment however you never have your own property per say.

Cheaper shared hosts are cramming lots of people not only into the same building but even the same room.

Image of Shared Hosting

The apartment would be the IP address of your website.  The idea behind shared hosting is that most websites don’t get much traffic so there is no reason that they should be assigned significant server resources. Instead they can share those resources with a large pool of other sites.

For more small businesses and bloggers shared hosting is the cheapest web hosting option available. When using shared hosting make sure you a pick a datacenter located closer to your potential web visitors.

VPS

Once you have surpassed the capabilities offered by shared hosting a lot of people will opt for a virtual private server or VPS. These networks offer you expanded power without having to pay for a dedicated server. You can expect greater power from a VPS as fewer people are visiting your server.

VPS Hosting and ImagesAnother plus of using a VPS is you have full control of the server. It’s basically like having your own house. No need to share it with anyone else.

CLOUD

Cloud hosting has become quite popular lately with services like Cloudflare being used throughout the US. It works like a VPS however there is no dedicated physical address, instead the server is distributed over many hundreds of computers. This results in faster loading time and is a very scalable solution.

CDN hosting imageOne of the best parts of using Cloud based hosting is the second you want to up your speed all it takes is a quick request to the hosting company.  You can also up your CPU usage and disk space easily.

If uptime and the ability to scale very rapidly is a concern for your business than you should seriously consider cloud based hosting. All of our reviews offer cloud based solutions as well.

With cloud hosting you are able to access multiple servers which allow you to use different data centers and also keep your information private and secure.

DEDICATED

The top of the line option is dedicated hosting. This means basically you have an entire server running for yourself that is committed to your website’s performance.

Image of Dedicated Service HostingThese are great if you are completing multiple financial transactions on your website or are worried about upside at all. They also offer the highest level of security.

RESELLER BASED HOSTING

Think of reseller hosting like white label web hosting. Basically person A would maintain the server while person B would sell hosting as if they were the hosting provider themselves. Reseller hosting allows you do use any of the above mentioned forms of hosting: dedicated, VPS, cloud and shared.

Resellers often buy access to mainframes or high capacity servers in bulk and then allocate different parts of that to different websites. Hosting of this nature also requires much greater technical knowledge of cPanel and other hosting aspects.

chart showing all the different aspects of web hosting


DIFFERENT HOSTING CMS

A CMS or content management system allows a user to add new content or modify old content on their website. It’s basically the interface that he/she uses. Different CMSs work with different hosting plans and some are more suited for different purposes.

WORDPRESS HOSTING

76% of websites online use WordPress and it’s by far the most popular CMS online. Launched in 2003 it has grown into the best choice for most bloggers or small businesses. WordPress allows for a wide range of custom features and tools. Read our detailed article on the best wordpress hosts in Australia.

image showing the benefits of wordpress hostingIt installs quickly and has great security. Support is also much easier to find when using WordPress. If you haven’t setup a website before I would highly suggest using WordPress. It will take some time to get used to but it’s the bread and butter of the online world.

PHP HOSTING

PHP is an old school language that utilizes server-side scripting code/language. The term PHP originally referenced the term “Personal Home Page”. Whenever you use WordPress, Joomla or Drupal it’s basically utilizing PHP script to make commands and additions. The WordPress CMS gives user a a friendly UX and a lot of versatility. If you have very specific functions and applications you want installed on your site I’ suggest getting a PHP developer.

JAVA BASED WEBSITES

Java is primarily used for web applications. Any website that has fancy graphics and visuals is utilizing javascript in some way. Over the years it has lost popularity for bloggers and small businesses. Yet for big E-com sites like Ebay or Amazon it’s all javascript. If you’re looking for super high end features than javascript is what you’ll need.

JOOMLA

Joomla is another CMS like WordPress. It’s probably the second most popular CMS platform. It’s definitely not as easy to use as WordPress. Personally I don’t like using Joomla and recommend all our clients to use WordPress as I find it more SEO-friendly.

WINDOWS OR LINUX BASED HOSTS

Remember before when we talked about dedicated servers? 

Each server requires an OS (operating system).  This means that your hosting is easier linux-based or windows based.  Let’s look at the differences.

WINDOWS

Windows is the Microsoft flagship. Choosing a windows-based host lets you run Window’s databases/applications and more complex programming scripts like ASP.Net. Windows offers more flexibility than just standard scripts, you can also use PHP or even MySQL without any issue. In most instances, a Windows-based host costs a tad more than a Linux host. Windows system crashes are also slightly more common.

LINUX HOSTS

Most servers in the world run on Linux. It’s the industry standard and with good reason. Linux servers are reliable and can handle nearly all modern programming scripts and languages. Most applications can also run on Linux without issue. Linux systems are sometimes referred to as LAMP meaning Linux, Apache, My SQL and PHP (all programming scripts for web hosting).

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH UNLIMITED HOSTING?

You’ll hear a lot of hosting providers mention something about unlimited plans. Either in the form of bandwidth, storage or email.  However, it’s important to read the fine print!

Basically all it means in a simplified explanation is that they haven’t set specific limits for your resources.  If you dig into the TOS (Terms of Service) you can usually find out what they really mean.  The unlimited offer is set within reasonable circumstances. The average shared hosting service won’t be receiving 500k visits a month or sending out 10k emails a day.

The unlimited offer is usually more of a foot-in-the-door technique than anything. So don’t be overly enticed from the unlimited offer, what is more important is upload speed. A server may give you unlimited bandwidth but at what speed?

That’s it for our review. If you guys have any questions, just leave a comment below and I’d be happy to answer anything that comes up.

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