If you want to have a website, you must purchase two things: a web host and a domain name. Choosing the company you buy your hosting from is no small potatoes. Costs, features and reliability vary wildly. If you leave it to me I will use one of the companies below. If you’re not sure, I’m happy to discuss.
A Quick Definition of Web Host and Domain
Your web host is the computer where your website lives and the domain name is the url. The web host is the physical address of the actual server, while the domain is the NameOfYourSite.com.
These are totally different products, but many companies try to lump everything together so they can sell you more stuff.
Web Hosts Pay Referral Fees
You often can’t trust web hosting advice on the web because web hosts pay referral fees to websites that recommend them (AKA affiliates). Many people post ads to the most popular web hosts so they can get a referral fee when someone clicks on their link.There’s nothing wrong with getting a referral fee, but it does give someone a reason to make a recommendation even when they haven’t done the proper research.
I am an affiliate for the companies I link to on this page, but my stake in this is bigger than a referral fee. For one thing, if I endorse a crummy web host, that reflects on me. More importantly, if I have to contact their support on your behalf, I want to be dealing with someone who knows what they are talking about! Honestly the top names in web hosting provide an awful experience at a terrible price. If I can help my clients to support a better company while also saving them a buck, that means so much more to me than an affiliate fee. But I would appreciate if you choose any of the companies below that you get there by clicking on the link on this page and/or using futureisfiction as a code at check out, so the sale gets linked back to me.
I can set this up for you, but if you want to do it yourself, these are the companies I recommend.
Web Hosts I Recommend
Currently I recommend either Stablehost or GreenGeeks. I have also had a fantastic experience with WPEngine, but I’m not endorsing them because they cost ten times as much (starting at $35/month) as the perfectly cromulent web hosts below.
A few years ago, Diane Presler had me research web hosts for her educational project Learn HTML with Song. I ended up with five solid hosts. One was bought out, one went under. Of the other three remaining, Stablehost was the most affordable, so that’s the one I use when I to set up a new host for a client.
(If you’re wondering about the other recommended hosts that came out of the research, they were GeekStorage and Liquid Web. I’m not endorsing them only because I have more experience with the companies below, but they are probably also fine choices [Liquid Web is costly]).
Stablehost doesn’t have chat support, so you will have to wait for an email reply. But those replies are always thoroughly competent and knowledgeable. I’ve worked with them for years and never had one complaint. This is the company I have used for most of my clients.
As an affiliate for Stablehost, if you use the code futureisfiction at checkout, I get a referral bonus and you’ll get a 50% discount on your first purchase.
Click the banner below if you want to purchase hosting with Stablehost.
While working with Kristen Caven I’ve gotten to know the GreenGeeks web host and I liked it so much I signed up to become an affiliate. Their customer support is fast and effective. No discount on sign up, but they’re affordable. They offer staging and even give you one free domain. And they offset all their carbon emissions!
I still like Stablehost but I would be thrilled if you choose GreenGeeks.
Where to Purchase Your Domain
Most web hosting companies will also sell you domains. If you want to purchase your domain from one of the web hosts above, that can simplify matters (currently purchasing from GreenGeeks includes a free domain).
I use NameSilo because they have a good reputation, they’re priced competitively, and they let you keep your address private for free—your actual address, not your url. (You must list a physical address to have a website. Many companies will list their own address, instead of yours, for a fee.)