If you want to run a successful website, partnering with the right hosting provider is important. Like, dealbreaker kind-of important.
Problem is, most people aren’t quite sure what they should be looking for. Many get suckered into going for the cheapest host they find – a mistake that will cost you big bucks in the long run.
So, what sets the ‘best’ hosting providers apart? And how on earth can you tell which hosts are best suited to a US-based website?
Worry not, today, we’ve done the work and narrowed down hundreds of hosts to our top 5 for those of us with audiences in the America.
Ready? Let’s do this!
The first thing to know is that your geographic context affects what you need from a host.
Here are four questions YOU should be asking yourself.
Can Your Host Deliver Great Speed To Your Audience?
You could say that we at Bitcatcha are obsessed with speed.
And believe us, you should be too! Americans have exceptionally high expectations that websites need to meet. YOUR website needs to meet.
This is especially the case where Americans are laying down their hard-earned dollars. The experts have proven that, even if Americans love your brand, just a few negative experiences is all it takes to make 59% of them head elsewhere.
What’s a ‘bad experience’ in website terms? Well, pages that take too long to load, incomplete image loading, or a site that lags or crashes during peak times.
According to thinkwithgoogle, you want your site to load in under 1 second. The probability of people leaving your site goes up 32% once your load speeds creep towards 1-3 seconds.
On the flip side, people engage more with a site when they’re able to move freely and focus on your content, not the waiting time. Faster load speeds means happy users, more page views, more leads, more people sharing your content… you get our jist.
That’s why we always argue that SPEED is the number one factor to delivers a great user experience. We want lightning-quick page loading times.
And you know what helps drive quick loading speeds? Your host server speed. Think of it as your car engine, revving you forward.
Now, host speed depends on a few different factors that we’ll explain shortly. But a good starting point is to ask: how close are your host’s datacenters to the US? Because the closer the datacenters to an audience, the faster your website is likely to load for them.
So ask yourself: does your host have datacenters in the US? Or nearby, i.e. Canada?
If you can meet your audience’s need for speed, you’ll have a competitive edge. After all, there are millions of websites hosted in the US, so standing out matters.
Will Your Host Help You Grow As US e-Commerce Booms?
Want some good news? The US is one of the leading e-commerce marketplaces in the world.
Online shopping here has been on an upward trend for a long while, but Statistica predicts that 2021 will see an estimated 230.5 million shoppers in just the US alone. Phwoar!
Sure, these are uncertain times with COVID-19 (though at the time of writing, online shopping is spiking). Regardless, e-commerce still looks set to grow and any site with a US customer base should be ready to take advantage of this.
Because it’s not just about finding the right host for your needs now. It’s about also finding a partner that helps you to future-proof yourself.
The best hosts…
- Let you easily upgrade your plan tier once you outgrow it.
- Can handle unexpected spikes in traffic without crashing your site.
- Allow you to easily install different 3rd party applications on your site, AND easily keep them up-to-date. Whether it’s e-commerce platforms like Magneto/Prestashop/WordPress, forums and more.
Can Your Host Protect You & Your Audience’s Data?
In this country where the litigation rate is high and customers expect businesses to be accountable – an expensive lawsuit is the last thing you want.
But unlike Canada with PIPEDA, or Europe’s GDPR, the US doesn’t have one single law that regulates online privacy.
Instead, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main regulatory body. It helps to keep an eye on deceptive commercial practices and takes action against anyone found to breach customer privacy. All US states have their own separate privacy legislation and we’d definitely recommend that you check out the laws that govern your state, as they do differ. Here’s a pretty good resource.
What this means is that it’s important to find a host that ensures the security of your website against data breaches or cyberattacks.
You only need to read the news to see where you DON’T want to end up.
Take the Equifax data leak from 2017, where the personal information of 147 million people was compromised. The resulting settlement? $425 million.
Or the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica 2018 data scandal. When 70.6 million Americans had their Facebook profile data taken without consent and used for political advertising purposes of US senators.
The FTC fined Facebook $5 billion for that!
Thanks to scandals like this, the American public is now a lot more savvy about data privacy. Today, they’re more aware of their rights, and wary about who they hand their data to online.
Have we made our point? We can’t stress enough how important it is that you take the security of your site seriously, especially, if you plan to make money from your site.
So, that means choosing a host provider that takes your data security seriously too.
Because not all hosts are created equal in this aspect, that’s for sure.
How Sincerely Can Your Host Deliver On Their Promises?
Lastly, we just wanted to touch on a little something more abstract, but we feel it’s important.
In this era of fierce capitalism and serious competition, one challenge that many Americans face is finding a host that they feel they can trust.
With over 330,000 web hosting providers all clamoring to stand out, you really do need to be smart about picking favourites.
Many hosts offer ‘unlimited’ offerings or seemingly ridiculous low pricing. So it can be hard to sift through what ‘sounds too-good-to-be-true’, and what actually is a bit scammy.
So, we want to make sure we pay attention today to anything a host says that sounds ‘too much’. So whether it’s renewal pricing jumps or ‘unlimited’ claims – rest assured we’ll be looking at the fine print.
We also made sure to set up one or more test sites or ALL the hosts we list today. We reckon the best way to understand a host is from the inside, so we’ll be writing from our own honest experience.
How we define the best hosts for US users
So, how does all the above translate into a host’s features? What do these important touch points ACTUALLY look like in a host? Let’s have a quick zoom through what matters.
Like we’ve mentioned, don’t expect audiences to hang around waiting for your website to load. Every millisecond counts. And helping to drive this speed is your host server.
A host’s speed depends on a few factors like datacenter location and the type of drives they use. You’ll be able to translate this into quicker load times with the help of add-ons like CDN or caching tools.
We’ll be testing the speed of each host with our own Bitcatcha server speed checker that lets you specifically measure server speed.
We’ll also be able to get an idea of your server performance from different places around the world, thanks to 10 virtual nodes.
You can head here for more details on the tool, and to learn more about the differences between load speeds and server speeds.
Did you know that a hacking attack takes place every 39 seconds in the US? A good host should offer strong security features against ransomware, malware, phishing, and other nasties out there.
A solid line of defence usually looks like SSL certificates, firewalls and some sort of proactive monitoring system in place. Back-up taking features are also very handy to keep your data safe.
On top of that, look for an uptime guarantee of at least 99%. Downtime can mean frustrated visitors and lost opportunities.
A good host should offer around-the-clock support from an expert team. This could be through live chat, phone, a ticketing system, or all of the above.
You may find it easier to use a host provider with a U.S. based customer service. That’ll ensure that they match your timezone, plus they may have a better understanding of the nuances of working with your industry and audience.
Since every site wants to grow, your host better not hold you back! The general rule of thumb is to start with an average host plan and upgrade along the way.
Usually, this starts with shared hosting which is cheaper as it shares resources with other sites on a server. As your traffic grows, you might turn to VPS dedicated servers, or cloud hosting.
Ask yourself, can this host easily upgrade my plan to allow for more storage and bandwidth?
If the answer is no, you might end up having to switch host later in the future. Much better if your host can simply scale their solutions as you grow.
5. Value for money
End of the day, the right host should have all the functions that you need, at a price you’re willing to pay. Take a close look at what inclusions you’re getting. What’s thrown into the package? Email registration? Domain registration? Free site migration?
It’s also great when hosts have a money-back trial so you can test if they’re a good fit, risk-free
Ranked: The 5 Best Web Hosting for US Websites
Now that we’ve outlined all the things you should be taking into consideration – let’s get into the meaty stuff!
Here are the five best hosts for US websites that made our cut:
All pricing listed are based on 12-month contract introductory price.
- 20GB SSD Storage
- 25,000 visits/mo
- 24/7 Tech Support
- Premium Backup
"Now proudly running on Google Cloud, SiteGround offers the whole hosting package & outstanding speeds."
Spoiler alert – we’re kicking things off with our all-round favourite!
SiteGround has consistently outshone the competition with its steady commitment to speed and performance.
Formed in 2004, SiteGround operates datacenters in the US, Netherlands, UK, and Singapore.
Its offerings are SO solid that we actually host Bitcatcha.com with them, plus an additional 3 test sites! We’re big fans but we’re not the only ones.
This test site was hosted from SiteGround’s Chicago datacenter on a GrowBig plan
Testing our US-hosted site reveals some impressive results. If you take the average of our US and Canada nodes, you’ll get an average of 43 ms – wowza! This makes it easily one of the fastest hosts on our list.
What we love most about SiteGround?
So yes, they wow us with speed.
BUT. Not only are they the fastest host on this list, we want to talk about a business move they made recently in February 2020 that REALLY impressed us:
They moved from their existing datacenters to host on Google Cloud’s ultra-fast network.
Meaning? This massively benefited ALL SiteGround’s existing hosting plans in two main areas:
Google maintains one of the fastest and most powerful state-of-the-art networks. All SiteGround users now all benefit from these high speeds!
User data is now even better protected. The centers are highly secure, with all communication to the Google cloud infrastructure protected by cutting-edge tech. Plus, Google’s SSD persistent storage helps protect website data from hardware failure.
This shift to Google has surely increased their overheads. However, SiteGround’s kept their hosting fees the same (at the time of writing)
We think this speaks volumes about SiteGround as a company. Instead of only focusing on profit, they’re seeking constant improvement and are willing to absorb some costs in order to provide genuinely excellent hosting for their customers. Talk about integrity!
If we were impressed before, we’re even more so now.
Other things we like about SiteGround
Although, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised? SiteGround has always gone above and beyond other hosts, even in the little details. Like how their AI suite checks your server status every 0.5 seconds – more often than the industry standard. No wonder our site has registered 100% uptime since 2018.
It all goes to show that SiteGround is the real deal. They’ve always had our best interests at heart, and we can trust them to continue doing so in the future.
Possible cons for SiteGround
They don’t include free domain registration, so you’d need to pay extra for it. Though we think that’s no biggie.
Also, just be aware they have renewal jumps. Their GrowBig plan starts at $5.95/mo, but it jumps up to $19.95/mo when you renew it 12 months later. They are upfront about it in their pricing section.
Learn more about SiteGround!
- Free Domain
- Free SSL
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- 24/7 Tech Support
"Hostinger offers you fantastic value for cheaps, with no sneaky renewal jumps. Great for beginners and those on a budget."
Hailing from Lithuania, Hostinger has 6 datacenters across the US, Asia and Europe.
How’s Hostinger fare in terms of speed?
Well, we have 3 test sites hosted on Hostinger in the US, EU and Singapore. And the test results make us pretty happy!
This test site was hosted from Hostinger’s South Carolina datacenter on Premium Shared plan
If we take the average of the US & Canada response times, Hostinger scores 45ms. And from the east coast, a VERY respectable 28ms.
It’s not as speedy as SiteGround but it’s still very zippy. Combine this sort of server speed with the right optimizations and you can hope for very quick load times.
What we love most about Hostinger?
But our favourite thing about Hostinger? How CRAZY affordable it is!
Their introductory price of $0.99/mo (for a 2 year commitment) is hard to beat, and even throws in a free domain. It requires a commitment of 48 months, but their 12-month price of $2.99 is also amazing.
You might suspect that these sorts of low prices might come with sneaky jumps in renewal pricing. But no, there are no big renewal leaps at all! Just look at their Premium Shared Hosting plan – it starts at $2.89/mo and hops up to $3.49/mo. Less than a dollar’s increase.
Other things we like about Hostinger
We can confirm that Hostinger certainly isn’t ‘cheap and nasty’. They take uptime very seriously with their 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Possible cons for Hostinger
Sure, daily backups and CDN are missing (though CloudFlare is easy enough to sign up for and you’ll get SSL thrown in). There’s no phone support either, only a ticket system.
Also, we think it’s only right to mention their big data breach last August that affected 14 million customers. Hostinger maintains that no financial data was compromised and that they’ve made big improvements since to prevent anything like that repeating. We’d recommend you have a read for yourself, either way.
Learn more about Hostinger!
- Unlimited SSD
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- A2 Site Accelerator
- Free Site Migration
- Anytime Money Back
"Packed with unlimited features and freebies, A2 is a well-priced host that delivers speed, but could improve support."
A2’s been in the game since 2003 and offers a huge range of hosting options across servers in Europe, Asia and the USA.
So, we’ve actually got three more test sites hosted on A2. Here are the speed test results back from our Michigan one.
This test site was hosted from A2’s Michigan datacenter on Turbo plan
This particular plan runs on their Turbo web hosting servers. As can be seen, A2 scored itself a very decent 86ms average server speed for the US & Canada regions.
It’s not the fastest on our list, but, in the wider scheme of things, still extremely fast. And you’ll notice our east coast node registered 10ms, not bad at all! Those on the west coast can opt for their Arizona datacenter.
What we love most about A2 Hosting?
But what makes A2 stand out the most?
The amount of features jammed into an affordable plan! Anything above their ‘Swift’ plan will give you an impressive list of ‘unlimiteds’.
That’s unlimited email addresses, websites, total databases, storage and transfers! Just take a look at the long lists of features thrown under each plan!
All this, at a reasonable price, makes A2 a fantastic feature-rich solution for any small-medium business. With all these ‘unlimiteds’, users have a decent amount of room to move around.
Other things we like about A2 Hosting
On top of a 30-day refund, A2 also offers a prorated refund for your unused service after this. That gives you some extra time to see if their ‘unlimiteds’ are a good fit for you.
Possible cons for A2 Hosting
Of course, any host that claims “Unlimited” does not literally mean unlimited. After all, you’re still sharing resources with other sites on the server. If your resource-use starts to affect the performance of the other sites, A2 may place temporary restrictions on your resource use.
Also, we have noticed their support can be slow. In the past, we’ve waited between 5 – 40 minutes to connect to their live chat. Dealbreaker? You tell us.
Learn more about A2 Hosting!
- Google Cloud
- Daily Backup
- WP Expert Support
- Hack Fix Guar.
- 20,000 visits/mo
"Thanks to premium cloud architecture, Kinsta offers impressive uptime, scalability, speed and support."
Next on the list is Kinsta – a managed WordPress host around since 2013.
And of its 18 datacenters, you have a whopping SIX spread across the whole of the US to host! That’s more than any other host on this list.
We’ve hosted a test site from Kinsta’s London’s datacenter for a while, so we’re familiar with its interface and support.
However, when we started writing this article, we couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to set up another test site from their Iowa datacenter.
This test site was hosted from Kinsta’s Iowa datacenter on Pro plan
When you count up the average of the US & Canada, you get a very impressive 33ms! That actually makes it the fastest host on this list.
What we love most about Kinsta?
Kinsta’s biggest strength? It’s powered by Google Cloud’s Premium Tier. Users tap into the highest levels of performance, speed and security.
This flexible architecture puts Kinsta’s no-downtime technology in a league of its own. Why?
- Uptime guaranteed!
There’s no fear of big traffic surges crashing your site. If you get a traffic spike, your website’s container simply scales to as many CPUs as needed, voila, your site stays up! Compare this to shared or VPS hosting, where a sudden traffic spike can bring down your site. Explains their SLA-backed 99.9% uptime guarantee.
- It’s super scalable!
If you need more bandwidth, you can seamlessly upgrade your plan without complicated migrations. You simply pay the next tier up.
We think all this makes Kinsta a fantastic option for larger or fast-growing WordPress-based sites.
Other things we like about Kinsta
Kinsta weds its awesome architecture with a very awesome customer service team, who will help you make the most of it. They’re composed entirely of veteran WordPress devs and Linux engineers, and the difference shows. Their tech support is outstanding, and they’ve always solved our queries in speedy fashion.
Possible cons for Kinsta
So yes, we love Kinsta. However, we’ve had to knock it to 4th place on our list because of its price. Starting from $30 a month, it’s considerably more expensive than most competitors. And bear in mind, it’s a price that excludes email registration, domain registration, or phone support.
Also, be aware that Kinsta is only able to support WordPress sites. If you’re hoping to host other applications like Magneto, PrestaShop or the like, then Kinsta’s probably not the host for you.
Learn more about Kinsta!
- 300% Green
- Unlimited SSD
- Let’s Encrypt SSL
- cPanel & Softaculous
- 24/7 Tech Support
"GreenGeeks is feature-rich and feel-good, offering competitive speeds and 300x energy efficient hosting."
Coming in fifth on our list is the Cali-born machine that is GreenGeeks.
They’re an independently-owned company with 5 datacenters worldwide, including two in Phoenix and Chicago.
We already had a test site from Canada, but this article gave us an excuse to set up another in the US.
This test site was hosted from GreenGeeks’s US datacenter on Ecosite Pro plan
GreenGeek’s numbers were also very impressive! The average server speed between the US and Canada was 34ms, pretty blazing fast indeed.
What we love most about GreenGeeks?
But what do we love best about these guys?
Well, they go above and beyond to uphold green practices – far more than any of the other hosts on this list.
Here’s a not so fun fact: datacenters today generate the same percentage of the world’s carbon emissions as the airline industry. Yikes.
This fact was what apparently set GreekGeeks’ founder, Trey Gardner, on a mission to try and establish THE most eco-friendly web host in the world.
And they seem to be on track. Today, GreenGeeks hosting is 300x energy efficient!
Hosting with them means you will not be simply carbon-neutral, but “carbon-reducing”. That’s because they put THREE times the energy that they consume back into the grid via the purchase of wind energy credits. Pretty cool, no?
All their efforts have scored them plenty of environmental awards. They’re even an official Green Power Partner with the US Environmental Protection Agency.
So if sustainability is something that you’re passionate (or just curious) about, GreenGeeks might be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Other things we like about GreenGeeks?
Whilst we’re blown away by their environmentalism, it’s nice to see that GreenGeeks don’t rely on it to sell themselves. Users also enjoy impressive speeds and unlimited space, bandwidth, domains, emails and databases even on their lowest shared plan.
Possible cons for GreenGeeks
Their lowest introductory price of $2.95 (Lite plan) does require a 3 year commitment, which is a little long. If you prefer a shorter 12 month commitment, It hops up to $4.95.
And if you do activate their 30 day back guarantee, you won’t get back any setup fees, domain registration or transfer costs.
Learn more about GreenGeeks!
Verdict: Which is the best hosting for you in the US?
End of the day, which is the very best host for you?
We always say that a host should always be a technology partner, not just a platform. Opt for the wrong partnership and you may struggle to meet your audience’s expectations, keep your site safe and secure, or meet any of the goals you started out with.
Whilst we think all the hosts we covered today are very strong, we also suggest you have a think about your individual priorities. Speed? Value? Sustainability?
Overall, here’s a final summary of our favourite 3 hosts for most US-based sites:
#1 SiteGround US
Committed and continually improving its offerings, SiteGround offers the whole hosting package. You’ll benefit from the quick server speeds and increased security of their servers now running on Google Cloud. In all, a great option for anyone seeking solid, reliable hosting – no matter your size.
#2 Hostinger US
Offering fantastic value for cheaps and with no sneaky renewal jumps to catch you out. We think it’s a fantastic option for beginners and those on a strict budget.
#3 A2 Hosting US
Packed with tonnes of unlimited features & freebies, A2 is a well-priced host that delivers speed, but could improve support. A great option for owners of small/medium websites who seek a host cramming as many features as possible under a fair price tag.