Best Shared Hosting: Reviews and Comparisons

How and why you should set up email on your own domain

Finding a list of shared hosting providers is easy. Choosing the right one for you, less so. Certain features are fairly standard among the best hosting companies. But how do big names like Namecheap, GoDaddy, Hostgator, Bluehost, and StableHost stack up against one another? Here, we take di look at the most popular features on the marke, to lend a hand in and help you find your ‘host with the most’.

Stellar Plus
Renewal Price $52.88/yr $131.88/yr $107.41/yr $152.76/yr $107.4/yr
CPU Limit 40% 24% 25% 1 core
I/O Usage 50 Mb/s 1 Mb/s 100 Mb/s 1 Mb/s 5 Mb/s
FTP Users Unlimited 50 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Email Accounts Unlimited 1 free, optional to add more Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Solid State Drive (SSD) Yes No No Yes Yes
MySQL Databases 10 GB 1 GB Limited to disk space 3 GB 3 GB
Automatic Backups Yes With Paid Upgrade Yes Yes Yes
SSL Included 50 free Positive SSL certificates for one year No No Free Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate Free Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate
Free Website Builder Yes No No Yes Yes
Uptime SLA 100% 99.90% 99.90% 99.70% 99.90%

CPU / Resource Usage

With shared hosting, there are always access limits to CPU resources. This barrier is one of the major reasons why it is a more affordable product than a fully dedicated server. Therefore, it’s important to review how much of a restriction is placed on your CPU usage.

Namecheap allows users CPU access of up to 40% with the Stellar Plus option. GoDaddy Deluxe and Hostgator Baby plans both limit your CPU usage to 25%. Stablehost Pro dedicates only one core to each shared hosting account. Bluehost does not publish CPU allocations for each package, but their website does indicate that you may need to buy additional CPU and RAM resources if you exceed the usage limitations of the Plus plan.

I/O Usage

Data transfer speeds between the hard disk and the RAM are known in hosting circles as I/O usage. I/O stands for input and output, but you might see this described as the throughput on some websites. This measurement includes every process related to reading or writing on the server’s hard disk. I/O usage is important because it affects how fast your website can be updated and served.

Bluehost and GoDaddy came in last on this one, with speeds of only 1 Mb/s. Stablehost Pro was faster, at 5 Mb/s. Namecheap came in considerably better with an I/O rate of 50 Mb/s. Overall, the fastest I/O came from Hostgator, however, as we mentioned earlier, CPU usage is a real limitation with their Baby plan.

FTP Users

From time to time, webmasters need to connect directly to the server, and review existing files or upload new ones. If you have a large team with many people who must have access to FTP, putting a limit on the number of users can be a distinct hindrance. Most of the web hosting plans we compared offer an unlimited number of FTP users. GoDaddy, however, restricts you to only 50 users.

Email Accounts

Today, there are many ways to communicate online, from voice chat to hundreds of instant messaging apps. Email remains the most universal way to get in touch, especially for website publishers. Both business and individuals rely on email to stay field requests from page visitors and clients. All of the shared hosting packages we reviewed allow an unlimited number of email accounts, with a notable exception. GoDaddy Deluxe offering grants only one email address unless you subscribe to a higher level of service.

Solid-State Drive

Many people choose shared hosting as opposed to an on-site server because you get affordable access to the best technology. A solid-state drive (SSD) is well known to enhance performance over traditional hard disk drives (HDD). SSDs have no moving mechanical parts and offer faster access time and low latency. Electromechanical drives, such as HDDs and floppy disks, contain spinning disks and movable heads, making them slower and more prone to malfunction.

Of the brands we compared, Namecheap, Bluehost, and Stablehost were the three that have upgraded to SSDs for shared hosting customers. GoDaddy and Hostgator still use the older electromechanical technology.

MySQL Databases

An open-source relational database framework, MySQL is integral to several popular content management systems, including WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. MySQL databases keep and retrieve your blog data as well as other types of posts. Looking squarely at Namecheap vs. GoDaddy, the number of databases allowed are very different. Stellar Plus from Namecheap grants access to 10GB of MySQL storage, and an unlimited number of databases. A Deluxe Plan from GoDaddy only gives you 1GB of database storage for MySQL, a considerable limitation.


In tech circles, there's a saying that goes something like: "There are two types of webmasters--those who do backups and those who already do them." All providers give you the option to manually backup your data at any time. Still, busy people can easily forget to do this before major updates. Even with minor updates, like installing a new plugin or CMS version, completing a manual backup before helps avoid possible trouble. In any of these situations, automatic backups are very helpful.

Namecheap executes an automatic backup of your data twice per week. If you do run into errors after making a change, you can request the most recent backup through customer service, 24 hours a day. GoDaddy charges an extra monthly fee for automatic backups. Hostgator only runs one automatic backup per week, on a random day.

Free SSL Certificates

To keep your data, and your customers’ data, safe, you simply cannot manage a site without an SSL certificate in place. Without a verified SSL, users trying to access your site may get a warning in their browser that proceeding is unsafe. This security features gives users peace of mind and prevents unwanted parties from intercepting private information. Three of the web hosting providers reviewed offer free SSL certificates. GoDaddy and Hostgator do not.

With Bluehost Plus and Stablehost Pro, you receive Let’s Encrypt certificates with your plan. Namecheap Stellar Plus empowers you with up to 50 free Positive SSL certificates for the first year you subscribe to shared hosting.

Website Builder

There aren’t a lot of things you can do with a web hosting package unless you build a website. Sure, there are myriad ways to do this, from hiring a professional developer to doing a WordPress self-installation. If you are interested in an easy and low-cost way to build your new website, you might want to choose a provider that offers a free website builder to all customers.

Once again, Hostgator and GoDaddy come up short in this area, as neither one offers a free website builder with shared hosting. Stablehost Pro and Bluehost Plus both included a cost-free way to build your own website. Namecheap offers an easy and intuitive website builder that includes hundreds of free templates, tools, and features to enrich your website content. You can even build an e-commerce website to sell your products without the costly upgrades some other hosts require.

Uptime SLA

Once your website is launched, it’s essential to keep it running. So with all web hosts, you’ll see some sort of uptime guarantee. Typically, you’ll see a 99.9% uptime SLA, but Namecheap takes it one step further. Namecheap’s Hosting Guarantee assures 100% uptime SLA, the best you can ever expect to see. If on the rare chance that your hosting service falls short, Namecheap will gladly issue credits to your account.

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