Best Cloud Hosting Services of 2021 – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

Best Cloud Hosting Services of 2021: Forbes Advisor’s Top 5 Picks

We researched 54 hosting services and analyzed factors such as reliability, pricing, customer support, storage and ease of use. These are the top 5 providers we recommend.


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DreamHost

DreamHost

DreamHost

Why We Picked It

DreamHost is one of the only services to provide both cloud computing (DreamComputer) and cloud object storage (DreamObjects).

They also offer a zero-risk, 97-day money back guarantee, along with a 100% uptime guarantee.

The server can be used on a range of operating systems, including Linux, BSD, and MS Windows. Users have full root access, can scale their apps both vertically and horizontally and all code is open source, allowing the cloud to grow as needed.

Pricing structure is unique and based on usage on an hourly basis, so you only pay for what you use. Rates start at $4.50 per month for 512 MB of RAM Server, and max out at $48 per month for 8 GB of RAM Server.

Who Should Use It: Website owners looking for high-quality, lightning-fast uptime along with plenty of extra features.

Pros & Cons

  • Easy set-up
  • Free SSL certificate
  • 100% uptime guarantee
  • No free trial available
  • No 24-hour customer support

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HostGator

HostGator

HostGator

Why We Picked It

HostGator is a great choice for sites hosting blogs, with simple one-click WordPress installation and free server monitoring. It offers a 45-day money-back guarantee for basic hosting services, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

HostGator is a user-friendly, one-stop shop for your hosting needs. It conveniently provides everything in one place, including hosting, domains, email, website builder and storage.

Users get automated failover for hardware issues, unlimited storage and an intuitive dashboard that tracks the site’s performance and metrics.

There are three pricing options: Hatchling at $4.95 per month, Baby at $6.57 per month and Business at $9.95 per month. Users should note that all of these are introductory offers, and pricing will increase when it is time to renew.

Who Should Use It: Beginners who want a fast, responsive host, while also staying on budget.

Pros & Cons

  • 24-hour customer support
  • Free domain
  • SEO tools
  • Cheapest option limits users to one website
  • Initial rates are introductory and prices will increase over time

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A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting

Why We Picked It

A2 Hosting isn’t as widely known as some of its competitors on our list, but it’s a solid contender for cloud hosting services. They offer a hassle-free money-back guarantee not typically seen, as well as a 99.9% uptime commitment.

A2 is an independently-owned service that offers both managed and unmanaged hosting. Users can also choose to add on “turbo boost,” which features up to 20 times faster page loads, according to the company.

A2 users get root access for control and customization, as well as the choice of operating systems and command-line management.

Unmanaged VPS hosting starts at $4.99 per month for 1 GB, and goes up incrementally until 8 GB, which runs $35.99 per month. These rates are good for three years and will then increase upon renewal. A2 is also one one of our top picks for best overall web hosting systems.

Who Should Use It: Users in search of excellent customer service, overall cloud hosting and enhanced security features.

Pros & Cons

  • 24 hour customer support
  • Choice of operating systems
  • Enhanced security
  • Extra cost for more cPanels
  • Must provide 15 days notice to avoid automatic renewal

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SiteGround

SiteGround

SiteGround

Why We Picked It

SiteGround offers scalable cloud hosting for websites and businesses of all sizes. Cloud hosting plans offer a 14-day money-back guarantee and a refund if they fail to meet a 99.9% uptime rate.

SiteGround plans offer easy onboarding, fully managed service, a powerful hosting stack and an ultra-fast platform. Users can build a customized cloud based on needed CPU, memory and SSD space.

SiteGround hosting starts at $100 per month for 8 GB and offers three higher plans ranging from $200 – $400 per month.

Who Should Use It: Anyone ready to move up from a shared server and wants a host that can handle all the IT components.

Pros & Cons

  • One free site migration
  • Ability to create custom hosting packages
  • Ideal for both beginners and pros
  • Plans can be very expensive when compared to the competition

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HostWinds

HostWinds

HostWinds

Why We Picked It

HostWinds is a newer service, offering free migration, the Weebly website builder and solid support. It’s a budget-friendly option that boasts customer excellence and a 99.9999% uptime guarantee.

HostWinds plans include full management, custom templates, SSH key management and instant scalability.

Users are offered firewall protection, object storage and root access, although not as many extras as other plans include.

HostWinds boasts you can “pay the way you prefer” for its cloud hosting services. These plans start at $4.99 per month for 30 GB and offer 10 total options, going all the way up to 750 GB.

Who Should Use It: Users who need a reliable, no-frills, budget-friendly option

Pros & Cons

  • Hourly pricing works for all users
  • Budget-friendly
  • Wide variety of plans
  • No extra features like domain and a free SSL certificate are included

Methodology

In order to choose the best cloud hosting options for this ranking, Forbes Advisor compared each service based on important factors that include ease of use, value for the money, popularity and features. We ranked each hosting service based on a 5-star rating system, with the highest score being 5 stars.

Here’s what we looked at in order to compile the rankings in each category.

Ease of Use: We looked for cloud hosting services that are easy to use and navigate. We also compared programs based on the amount of set-up required, giving preference to platforms that require minimal set-up and offer integrations.

Cost: Cloud hosting services can be costly, no question. Our goal was to provide the top hosts that reflect a range of prices. Paying more means additional features, which you may or may not need. We encourage users to compare plans and decide how many extras are in their budget.

Uptime: We have only shared services with excellent uptime rates, as this is one of the main reasons to move to a cloud hosting provider.

Support: We looked at services and compared them based on their customer support options, including whether clients have access to live customer support and if it is 24/7 or not.

Other Features: We compared cloud hosting services based on their functions, giving preference to ones that offer features we feel should be standard. These include a free SSL certificate, SSD storage and unlimited bandwidth.


Cloud Hosting Explained

When you first launch a website, you will more than likely start with a shared host. This type of hosting means that a single server has multiple users, and each user gets a certain amount of bandwidth.

For those just starting out or who have a small website, this is generally the default choice, as it is the easiest and most cost-effective solution.

The downside of shared hosting is that it’s, well, shared. There is only so much room on a server, which means you may experience slower performance depending on what the other hosted sites are doing. There is also an increased security risk, since one hacker would be able to access multiple sites.

Eventually you will probably start to feel the constraints of shared hosting, which will prevent high-traffic sites from optimal performance.

Cloud hosting takes care of these problems, because users are supported by several different servers. Switching to a cloud host means that sites with heavy traffic will always perform with consistent reliability.

Since you are no longer confined to one server, there is no limit to how much users can scale and expand.

Cloud hosting allows websites and apps with heavy traffic to avoid downtime, errors or slow page loading. If one server goes offline, another one will instantly pick up your site and keep it running seamlessly.

Cloud hosting also offers increased security, since your files will also be spread out over a variety of servers, and not stored in only one location.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What types of cloud hosting are available?

There are three main types: IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service). IaaS provides a pay-as-you-go, on-demand infrastructure. PaaS allows organizations to rent the needed infrastructure, saving on costs. SaaS permits users to lease applications and host software on their own servers.

How is the cloud backed up?

A backup organization copies cloud data and stores it in another system, allowing for quick access in recovery cases.

When is it time to upgrade to a cloud host?

You should upgrade when it is imperative that your website or app runs reliably, no matter when or where it is being accessed. If you are looking for fast performance, scalability, and better security, it’s probably time to make the switch.

While most sites will start out with a traditional shared host, making the switch to cloud hosting allows users to truly scale their sites and take them to the next level.



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