our best web hosting picks of 2014
Business choice awards 2014: web hosting services | pcmag.com
The latest Business Choice Awards looks at the best in Web Hosting, which just about every business is likely to need.
- June 18, 2014 8:00AM EST
- June 18, 2014
Welcome back to the PCMag Business Choice Awards. For more than 25 years, we have been augmenting our hands-on, labs-based product reviews with our Readers' Choice Awards, in which PCMag readers rate the products and services they use the most. The Business Choice Awards extend the Readers' Choice Awards by garnering feedback about the hardware, software, and services that our readers deploy, administer, maintain, and use in a business environment.
Our survey asked respondents to rate their overall satisfaction with the products they use or manage and the likelihood they would recommend them to others. In addition, we inquired about their satisfaction with technical support, and the overall reliability of the solution.
If you select, deploy, or administer the products in our Business Choice Awards, or if you advise or manage people in these roles, then you know how critical it is to choose the right products. The results of the PCMag Business Choice Awards survey are invaluable when doing so.
The second of this year's Business Choice Awards is Website hosting, a service that every business is likely to need to evaluate and purchase. Business Choice Awards get right at the heart of Web hosting – technical support, overall satisfaction, and the likelihood to recommend the solution to a colleague. In order to select a good Web hosting service, you'll need to understand the type of server they offer (shared, dedicated, or virtual), the capacity (RAM, CPU, storage, bandwidth) that is available, and the availability, type, and quality of the technical support you'll get.
Want to participate in future surveys? Click here and sign up for the Readers' Choice survey email list to receive invitations.
Our winner this year, based on overall satisfaction, is DreamHost. DreamHost is home to over 1.3 million blogs, apps, and websites. The Web hosting provider has over 350,000 customers using solutions ranging in price from $8.95 per month for a shared server to $249 per month for a dedicated server.
Web Hosting Providers
This year, the Business Choice Award ratings set DreamHost, Bluehost, HostGator, 1&1, Web.com/Network Solutions, and GoDaddy apart from the also-rans.
Among the six companies that received enough responses to be included, the clear winner, based on overall satisfaction, is DreamHost with a score of 8.6 out of 10. The service maintained this excellence when it came to reliability (8.6), likelihood to recommend (8.8), and Net Promoter Score (52 percent). It's worth noting that only 44 percent of DreamHost customers required technical support, yet its tech support score was a low 6.9. Few customers required technical support, but when they did they weren't very happy with it.
Looking at Overall Satisfaction, DreamHost takes the lead with an 8.6, followed by Bluehost and HostGator with 8.0. 1&1, Web.com/Network Solutions, and GoDaddy bring up the rear with 7.9, 7.9, and 7.5, respectively. GoDaddy customers had the lowest percentage (35 percent) requiring technical support. The best technical support was provided by Bluehost (8.2), which stands far above the rest in responses to the question of "How satisfied are you overall with the technical support from your Web host?"
Reliability, in this case the ability of the system to consistently serve the company website day after day, loosely follows the trend of overall satisfaction. DreamHost and 1&1 lead the way tied at 8.6 followed by GoDaddy at 8.2. After that, scores drop below average to Bluehost (8.0), HostGator (7.8), and Web.com/Network Solutions (7.5).
Turning to the critical question "How likely are you to recommend your Web host to a colleague" we again see a separation between our winner and the rest of the pack. DreamHost (8.8) and Bluehost (8.3) are on top while HostGator (7.6), 1&1 (7.6), and GoDaddy (7.4) trail behind with Web.com/Network Solutions bringing up the rear with a dismal 4.7. This question is used to calculate the Net Promoter Score as well, which further emphasizes that DreamHost and Bluehost customers are happy to recommend them as a solution and that Web.com/Network Solutions customers are very likely to steer colleagues away from their vendor. It seems that if you're happy with your Web host then you are happy, and if you're not, then you are really not, and you're solidly detracting from its reputation.
DreamHost is apparently the dream Web host for most. It got far and away the highest overall satisfaction rating among the Web hosts we received information on, with equally high marks for reliability and the likelihood to be recommended by customers. If your business is looking for a place to establish a Web presence, the place to go is DreamHost.
We email survey invitations to PCMag.com community members, specifically subscribers to our survey mailing list. The surveys are hosted by SurveyMonkey, which also performs our data collection.
Respondents are asked to rate their Web hosting solution. They are asked multiple questions about their overall satisfaction with the solution, as well as experiences with technical support within the past 12 months.
Because the goal of the survey is to understand how the Web hosting solutions compare to one another and not how one respondent's experience compares to another's, we use the average of the Web hosting solution's rating, not the average of every respondent's rating. In all cases, the overall ratings are not based on averages of other scores in the table; they are based on answers to the question, "Overall, how satisfied are you with your Web hosting provider?"
Scores not represented as a percentage are on a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 is the best.
Net Promoter Scores are based on the concept introduced by Fred Reichheld in his 2006 best seller, The Ultimate Question, that no other question can better define the loyalty of a company's customers than "how likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?" This measure of brand loyalty is calculated by taking the percent of respondents who answered 9 or 10 (promoters) and subtracting the percent who answered 0 through 6 (detractors).
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Matthew D. Sarrel, CISSP, is managing director for CMG, a worldwide organization of IT performance and scalability professionals. He is also a technical marketing consultant and technical writer. To read his opinions on games please browse http://games.mattsarrel.com and for more general information on Matt, please see http://www.mattsarrel.com More »