Hosting Company Comparison Chart: How to Decide Where to Host Your Website

You can create a website for free using many website-building tools, including Wix, Weebly, and WordPress. These tools allow you to create websites for free. But you have to pay to host them. And that’s a whole other ball game that comes with different costs, pros, and cons. 

What Is Website Hosting?

Not sure what hosting means? Think of “hosting” as finding an apartment building where your website will live on the internet. The “building owner” provides many apartments, each of which is a digital space for you to store all of the files (aka furniture) related to your website. Then you can visit those files anytime you want to update them. Just like if you found your child in a college dorm. You might pay for it and want to visit them to bring them food, eat with them, or make sure they’re cleaning the toilet. But you’re still paying the dorm owner or landlord.  

what is website hosting

Drawbacks of Free Website Hosting

Free plans with Wix, Weebly, Shopify, and WordPress exist. For a while, that may work for you. But at some point, as your business grows, you may not want the free option. Your website’s URL (the part that starts with WWW) will contain references to the companies that host your free site. They get free advertising whenever someone looks at your website and sees their company name within the URL. The URL will look something like or It’s the same thing with free plans on Squarespace or Shopify. 

Such websites can be OK for some things, like school projects or hobbies. If you’re not trying to look professional, and you don’t care a lot about website traffic, why pay money? But if you want to look more professional, you’ll need a customized domain and that means you need to have your website “live” somewhere. You’re basically paying rent. 

You can create a website for free on Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, Weebly, and Shopify for free. Once you like it, you can upgrade to a customized domain. At that point, they’ll also ask you to pay to host your website.

What to Look For in a Website Hosting Company

Before we get into the pros and cons of each website hosting company, let’s go through the main things that should matter to you. 

Security Features

The first thing you should look for in a hosting company is security management. Researchers have found that 30,000 websites are hacked every day. That’s why you should not overlook the importance of security features when deciding on a hosting company. A good hosting company will provide free Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, which protect your websites against hackers. SSL certificates use encrypted technology to make sure hackers can’t crack into databases that store private information.


The speed of your website is how long it takes for everything on a page to be visible. This includes text, images, videos, and more. Google recently reported that 53% of site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Any website hosting company you look into will advertise the speed your website will load if you choose their services. You can make sure the hosting company is living up to its promise by checking the speed of websites that use its services. Go to Pingdom and enter a URL. For the best results, try the same sites on different days and at different times throughout those days. If the loading times don’t measure up to what they promise, look somewhere else. 

website hosting company comparison

Tools for Marketing and E-Commerce

Many hosting companies offer free e-commerce tools and marketing features, such as a way to send out email newsletters. These add-ons are used to entice you into choosing their services. For example, WordPress offers thousands of plugins to improve your marketing and e-commerce capabilities.

Comparing Hosting Companies

Now that you know what you should look for in a hosting company, it’s time to look at some of the top names in the industry. With this comparison, you’ll be able to decide which one is right for you.


If you are already operating your website through WordPress, Bluehost is a great option. They were one of the first hosting companies and continue to be a leader in the industry today.

For a low price, you can get a domain name, SSL (security certificates), constant support, and fast speeds. The company comes highly recommended from the millions of websites that use WordPress as a website builder and content management system.

Prices start at $2.45 per month and you can get the highest levels of security and speed for just over $5 per month.

Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify

You may be wondering why we’ve listed 3 companies here. Well, the truth is if you’re in a rush, and you build a website on one of these platforms, they will host it for you. That means you can customize your domain and do a lot of other things on the same platform. However, it will cost you more than hosting a site through other options. But for some businesses, that just want to get off the ground and run, the extra cost may be worth it.

But we encourage you to reach out to us or research other hosting options. Because once you get the hang of updating websites, you may find that building and maintaining a site in one place is good, but you should host it elsewhere. At SEO Design Chicago, we are happy to explain the options to you. 

website hosting


GoDaddy was another trailblazer in the world of website building and hosting and they’ve kept current. Their monthly costs to host a website range from $2.99 per month to $12.99 per month depending on if you opt into auto-renews. 

What we like is that they backup websites for you, because anything could happen and you don’t want all of your website content to go missing. They also offer online classes and extensive tutorials in all things related to successful websites. 


If you are a startup, IONOS may be your best bet. Let’s be honest. Startups don’t have a lot of money to spare. It’s for this reason that IONOS offers plans that start at $1 per month. However, pricing goes up to $10 per month after the first year. 


Hostgator is a Forbes-endorsed hosting company. For $2.75 per month, with a 3-year commitment, you’ll get unlimited bandwidth, which is not something all hosting companies offer. If you have a WordPress site, you only need to click on one button to get this installed. 

They also offer other perks, like a free year of custom domain registration, matching your Google Ads budget up to $500 per month, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

website hosting company


Forbes calls InMotion the most reliable web hosting company. You may think, “Aren’t they all reliable?” But think about how you’ve used the internet the past year. Were there a few times you went to a website and it simply didn’t work? Even Google has had this problem with Gmail.

InMotion boasts, “A reputation for being a very fast and high-quality web hosting service.” They also offer a 90-day trial period, which is more than all other web hosting companies.

SEO Design Chicago Can Help You Find a Website Hosting Company

If you aren’t sure of what to look for in a hosting company, reach out to SEO Design Chicago. We know all of the major players and can explain their fees, pros, and cons to give you a clear picture of what your best options are. 

Too often, we meet with companies who think building a website is all they need to do. But hosting, ensuring security, optimizing your site for speed, and making sure your site is search engine friendly is actually the really hard stuff. We do it all for you, so you don’t have to worry about it.


  • What is website hosting?
  • Why does security on a website matter?
  • What are the drawbacks of free hosting?
  • Why does speed matter on a website?
  • What are some of the top website hosting companies?

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