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Are you trying to decide which web hosting to go with, Bluehost or Namecheap?
Which one is more suitable for you?
In this blog post, I am going to give you all the information you need to decide which web hosting platform is better for you and your business.
What Is Web Hosting (& Why You Need It)
So, what is web hosting?
Web hosting allows your website to be seen on the internet.
Why do you need a web hosting provider?
Can you do host your website yourself?
Actually you can host your website yourself on your computer, BUT it’s not easy and not cheap.
At the very least, you will need to know all the technical knowledge to set everything up by yourself.
With a web hosting provider, it’s much cheaper, faster and easier.
So, what exactly does a web hosting company provide you with?
It gives you space on a web server to store all the files (i.e. HTML documents, images, etc) of your website.
What is a web server?
Web servers are just special computers.
When a website visitor goes to your website on a mobile phone, your visitor’s phone will connect to the web server, and the web server then delivers your website content to them through the web browser.
There are actually a few different types of web hosting based on what kind of web server you want:
- Shared Hosting: your and other website owners shared one server (Cheapest)
- Dedicated Hosting: you have the entire web server to yourself (Most expensive & Fastest Website Speed)
- VPS Hosting: it’s somewhere in between shared hosting and dedicated hosting and there are much fewer people sharing one single server compared with shared hosting
There is also WordPress hosting?
WordPress is a content management system.
Around 25% of the websites are run on WordPress, including some big news websites such as BBC America and The New Yorker.
WordPress hosting is specifically for people who are going to build websites on WordPress.
Actually, you can also go with other types of hosting and still install WordPress on your website.
The only difference is that WordPress Hosting does it for you automatically while Shared Hosting offers a one-click install for WordPress.
So, it is only a good idea to go with WordPress Hosting if you are very sure that you are only going to run your website on WordPress.
What To Look For In Web Hosting
So, what should you look for when you are choosing your web hosting platform?
(1) Web Hosting Features
#1 Storage Capabilities
When you build a website, you will put content (i.e. articles, pictures, audio, or video) on your website.
So, you will need storage space for all these files.
Depending on how much content you are going to put on your website, you will have an idea of how much storage space you need.
Generally, if you are just starting out and you are not uploading a lot of large-sized photos, audio files or video files to your website, you won’t need a lot of storage space (i.e. 5GB should be good enough).
But, if you are going to build a large website(i.e. a lot of pages, photos and videos), you should always go for web hosting that offers unlimited storage.
Having said that, the so-called “unlimited storage” is not really unlimited in the sense that there are still limits on certain things.
For example, all web hosts place a limit on the number of files you can have under the directory of your domain.
In the case of Bluehost, it’s 200,000 files. (most web hosting providers have similar limits)
This is actually a very generous limit and you are very unlikely to exceed it.
Some web hosting providers place a limit on your bandwidth while others offer you unlimited bandwidth.
So, what is bandwidth?
The bandwidth your web host talks about in their web hosting plans refers to the amount of data you can transfer to your website visitors.
Okay, what data is flowing between your website visitors and your website?
When your website visitors go to your website, they will read your blog posts, see the images, and watch the videos on your website.
These are all data flows.
When your web hosting provider tells you unmetered bandwidth, they are essentially saying that there is no restriction on the number of website visitors you can have.
In other words, you can have as much traffic to your website as you can.
If you are just starting out, you won’t have a lot of traffic at first.
So, it doesn’t really matter much if you are offered unmetered bandwidth or not.
#3 SSL Certificate
What is SSL Certificate?
SSL certificates are small data files that act as a digital padlock and ensure secure connections from a web server to a browser.
This is essential for every single website, especially when there is going to be a transmission of sensitive information such as credit card details or personal details on your website.
So, how do you tell if a website has SSL Certificate installed?
When you type in a website URL in the browser, you should check if there is a “padlock” symbol just beside the website domain name.
Another way to know is to see if the prefix of your website domain name is http or https.
If the website has SSL Certificate installed, the prefix will be https.
HTTPS is basically HTTP with encryption.
Generally, most web hosting providers will either offer SSL for free or allow you to purchase it.
When you run a website, you will need an email address that is under your domain name for business communication purposes.
So, you will need to check if your web hosting provider offers email account management?
And how many email accounts are you allowed to create?
Lastly, does your web host allow you to access and manage your mailbox by setting up an email client on your desktop or mobile device?
This is because it’s much more convenient to access your emails via an email client such as Outlook and you also don’t have to worry about the storage space issue for your email accounts.
(2) Website Uptime Guarantee
Does it offer a website uptime guarantee?
When you run a website, the best scenario is that your website is up and running 100% of the time without any downtime.
If your website is down, you might be losing leads and potential customers.
Also, your website visitors will have a negative experience with your website.
So, it’s important to go with a web hosting that offers you a website uptime guarantee.
Generally, good web hosts offer 99.9% uptime guarantee.
(3) Website Speed
Have you ever visited a website that is loading so slowly that you just close the browser window and exit?
My guess is yes.
In fact, research has shown that many internet users will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
So, if your website speed is slower than average, you will likely lose visitors and also potential customers.
Apart from that, your Google ranking will also be affected because website speed is one of the ranking factors.
So, what actually affects your website speed?
Below is a list of factors:
- Bad web hosting
- Coding of your website is not efficient and clean
- Too many widgets and plugins installed on your website
Your choice of web hosting will determine how fast your website will load.
So, how do you tell if your web hosting is good in terms of website speed?
- Server response time
- Use SSD Drive to store your website files (e.g. both Bluehost & Namecheap use SSD)
For server response time, the type of server your web hosting provider uses matters.
If it’s a high-performance server, it will definitely respond faster to data requests than a standard server.
Also, the number of users sharing the same server affects the server response time too.
For example, if you choose Dedicated Hosting, your website speed will be no doubt super fast because you have the server all for yourself, but the cost will be significantly higher.
With Shared Hosting, your website speed will be not as fast, but your cost will be much cheaper.
Shared Hosting is ideal for people who are just starting out and you won’t have a lot of content on your website and also not a lot of traffic to your website.
On the other hand, Dedicated Hosting is ideal for companies that have large web traffic and also a lot of website content.
(4) Customer Service
How is its customer service?
When you choose a web hosting platform, you want to know that you can get access to their customer support team at any time.
This is especially very important if you don’t have any technical knowledge and rely heavily on their help to solve your website related issues.
This factor plays an important part in my buying decision because I am not a tech-savvy person.
Are their customer reviews mostly positive?
Before you purchase something (especially a software that you are likely going to use for a long time), it’s a MUST to check out what their customers say about the web hosting service.
Also, you should always check the LATEST reviews in case its quality of service has deteriorated.
Bear in mind that reviews won’t be 100% positive for any company.
So, as long as the majority of the reviews on third-party independent review sites such as TrustPilot is good, then it’s safe to say that you can consider using this web hosting provider.
Lastly, how much is their web hosting?
Does it offer a competitive price compared with other web hosting companies?
Also, does it offer any kind of free trial or money-back guarantee?
It always gives you peace of mind when you buy products and services with a money-back guarantee.
Because it means you can test drive it without any risks.
Bluehost Web Hosting
Bluehost has been around for decades.
It was founded in 2003 by Matt Heaton and Danny Ashworth in Provo, Utah.
Till today, it has powered more than 2 million websites all over the world.
It’s also officially recommended by WordPress.org.
In terms of web hosting services, it offers a wide range of web hosting solutions:
- Shared Hosting
- WordPress Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
Now, let’s look at all the features that Bluehost web hosting offers.
Apart from the cheapest web hosting plan, Bluehost offers unlimited SSD storage (i.e. SSD a type of mass storage device similar to a hard disk drive (HDD), and SSD is faster and more reliable than HDD) and unmetered bandwidth on all other paid plans.
Also, Bluehost offers free SSL Certificates for all its web hosting plans, so you don’t have to pay extra to make sure your website connection is secure.
With Bluehost, it offers 5 free email addresses for its cheapest plan.
You will get more free email addresses if you go with its more expensive plans.
Does Bluehost offer uptime guarantee?
Bluehost does not offer an uptime guarantee, but it performed pretty well in the uptime test.
Below is the uptime tests done by Down.Com on all the popular web hosting providers.
You can see that Bluehost maintains an uptime that is close to 100% together with HostGator, GoDaddy & Namecheap.
Based on my personal experience with Bluehost, my website is seldom down and I am pretty satisfied with it.
Next, how fast is Bluehost?
Bluehost only has one data center located in US, but its speed test results for both US and other countries are pretty impressive.
Below are the speed test results on Bluehost:
Google recommends 200ms for server response time, and Bluehost performed much better in all countries except Bangalore.
Now, what about Bluehost’s customer service?
Bluehost has a huge customer support team with over 750 customer service agents who are there for you 24/7.
So, you can be sure that it is easy and quick to get help from Bluehost customer service agents.
Now, how much does Bluehost hosting cost?
Bluehost offers several hosting plans with the cheapest being the Shared Hosting’s basic plan.
The Shared Hosting basic plan is priced at 5.95/month for 1 year( or 3.95/month for 3 years) with a FREE domain and allows you to host only 1 website with 50GB storage and unlimited bandwidth.
There are other more expensive plans under Shared Hosting which basically allow you to host more websites and unlimited storage.
Also, if you have the budget and want more control and privacy and guaranteed server resources, you can go with VPS Hosting or even Dedicated Hosting at $149.9/month (or $79.9/month for 3 years).
But if you are just starting out with a tight budget, then Bluehost’s shared hosting basic plan is quite good enough for you.
In fact, I used Bluehost web hosting to set up my own website when I was just starting out.
I had been using Bluehost ever since to host my website without any issues.
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Namecheap Web Hosting
Namecheap is another reputable web hosting company based in Phoenix, Arizona, US that has been in business since 2001.
Namecheap is an ICANN-accredited domain name registrar, which provides both domain name registration and web hosting.
Till now, it has had 11 million registered users and 10 million domains.
Just like Bluehost, Namecheap also offers a wide range of web hosting choices from shared hosting to dedicated hosting.
For all its hosting plans, it offers the following:
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Free website builder
- Domain name and privacy protection
- Free automatic SSL installation
- Free Supersonic CDN
Also, Namecheap offers an uptime guarantee of 99.9%.
Now, how fast is Namecheap?
Below are the speed test results on Namecheap:
In terms of server response time, both Bluehost and Namecheap are most or less the same.
So, how much is Namecheap hosting?
Namecheap’s cheapest Shared Hosting plan starts from 2.88/month ( or $1.44/month if billed yearly for 1st year, subsequently, it will be 2.88/month).
This cheapest plan offers 20GB with 3 websites while all other plans offer unlimited storage.
If you are just starting out, the most basic plan should suffice because you can always upgrade your plan later on.
For Namecheap, the SSL certificate is sold separately at $4.88/year.
So, you must factor in this cost into your total cost because it’s a MUST to get SSL certificate.
Lastly, how is Namecheap’s customer service?
Namecheap offers live chat support 24/7.
If you have no time to chat, you can always send them an email and expect a quick reply from them.
Try out Namecheap & Get 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Bluehost Vs Namecheap
So, which one is better more for you, Bluehost or Namecheap?
In terms of web hosting features, Bluehost and Namecheap both offer hosting options with unlimited storage, unmetered bandwidth, SSL certificate, and email management.
When it comes to uptime guarantee, Namecheap offers a monthly uptime guarantee while Bluehost does not have an uptime guarantee.
Having said that, Bluehost’s uptime test results are even slightly better than Namecheap.
Based on my personal experience with Bluehost, it does quite well in this aspect.
Now, how about speed?
When you start a website, website speed is key because it can cost you both website traffic and money.
When it comes to website speed, both Bluehost and Namecheap perform fairly well based on the testing results.
Remember that your website speed not only depends on your web hosting, but it also depends on your website design.
So, when you design your website, make sure to choose website designs that are light and fast.
In terms of pricing, Bluehost does not have a monthly plan, but it offers very competitive pricing on its yearly plans.
Its 3-year hosting plan is the most value for money at $3.95/ month which comes with a free domain name, free SSL certificate, 50 GB storage, and unmetered bandwidth.
On the other hand, Namecheap’s most basic Shared Hosting plan is priced at much cheaper at $1.44/month for the first year and $2.88/month for subsequent years.
It comes with a free domain name, 20GB and unmetered bandwidth.
However, the free domain name you can get from Namecheap is only domain name that end with .fun, .host, .online, .site, .press, .store, .space, .pw, .tech, .website.
So, if you are planning to get other domain names such as .com or .net domain names, you will have to pay the full price which most likely costs at least $12/year.
For the SLL certificate, you also have to buy separately from Namecheap.
When you factor in all the extra costs, Bluehost’s $3.95/month still gives you better value because you get more than double the storage space compared with Namecheap.
Lastly, when it comes to add-ons, Bluehost has quite a number of different add-ons with fancy names.
However, the only add-ons that are worth your money are the domain privacy & protection and CodeGuard (i.e. backing up your website).
Other add-ons such as SiteLock are not really worth getting because they are way too vague in what exactly you are getting and you are better off with third party providers who are specializing in this area.
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