Last Updated: December 2018

Welcome to Hosting Foundry, as a collective of web agency owners, between us we have accounts with around 35+ web hosts.

We’ve been in the industry for over a decade, building and hosting sites both for clients and our own projects. So you might say we know a thing or two about hosting sites (and creating them).

The main things to look out for when researching web hosts are ease of use, support, and performance or speed. Ease of use is straightforward as most web hosts are pretty good at this, the majority use the standard cPanel + their own custom control panel to easily deploy and manage sites.

Support is a bit more tricky, some have in-house support, others outsource it… while you might think that in-house support would always be better, that’s not the case. Web hosting providers that outsource support can actually have better response times as their support is scalable when entire servers go down… in-house support teams are usually smaller and could struggle in those critical situations.

As for speed, this depends on a LOT of factors… not just the location of their data centres. Most people think they need servers in Australia if their target market is in the country… this is definitely not true. In fact, web hosts like SiteGround and others, who have their data centres in Singapore for example, often outperform Australian hosts due to their superior server setups.

Using our combined experience we each analysed and reviewed the top website hosts for Australia, and then merged our results to give you our final top 5 (and top 9 below the table), saving you both time and money if you had to do the research yourself. Enjoy!

Web Hosting CompanyCost/moRatingFeaturesView Plans
siteground2AUD $4.95 | 67% Discount9.5Very user-friendly, lightning fast, 24/7 support, 30-day money back guarantee.Sign Up Today!
PanthurAUD $59.1Local, scalable, 24/7 support.View Plans
A2HostingUSD $3.928.8Fast servers in Singapore, great with WordPress, awesome for resellers.View Plans
CrucialAUD $19.908.7Local, good speeds, easy to setup.View Plans
digital pacificAUD $4.908.2Local, cheap.View Plans

We’ve also gone a bit more in-depth by reviewing our top 9 in more detail below, sorted by looking at 4 factors: Usability, Performance, Support, & Cost/Value ratio.

Best Web Hosting Reviews – 12/2018

 

1. SiteGround

SiteGround logo

To be perfectly honest, none of the competition comes close to what SiteGround has on offer… Not only are their prices one of the lowest we’ve seen, their services (both in performance and support) are generally better than their more premium competitors. Add to that that they can proudly wear the label “Recommended by WordPress” (few web hosts can say this – it’s quite impressive) & their support is second to none.

And while SiteGround is technically a US web host… They have very fast servers worldwide (Singapore is the one to choose for Australian sites), so speed is really a non-issue. Seriously, just go with SiteGround, they’re the best, period!

Key Features:

  • Free Website Builder
  • cPanel & SSH Access
  • Free Setup & Transfer
  • 24/7 Technical Support
  • SSD Storage
  • Free Daily Backup
  • 30 Days Money Back
  • Unlimited Emails & DBs
  • HTTP/2 Enabled Servers
  • Free Let’s Encrypt SSLs
  • Free Cloudflare CDN

Specifications:

  • Website: www.siteground.com
  • Price: AUD $4.95
  • Disk space: 10 GB
  • Support: Phone, Live Chat, Support Tickets
  • Speed (from Melbourne): <100ms
Grab Their 67% Discount!

 

2. Panthur

Panthur logo

Panthur is an Australian host through and through, owned and operated in Australia. The thing that stands out for us is the massive performance their servers have, the specs are higher than the competition & we can feel the difference, though they do start at a slightly higher price point.

But with 24/7 support (which is lightning fast) & the addition of free SSL, Panthur is a well-deserved second on our list!

Key Features:

  • Money-back guarantee
  • Australian based
  • 24/7 Support
  • Free Domain
  • Free SSL
  • Website builder included

Specifications:

  • Website: panthur.com.au
  • Price: AUD $5
  • Disk space: 10 GB
  • Support: Phone, Support Tickets
  • Speed (from Melbourne): <150ms
Visit Site

 

3. A2 Hosting

A2 hosting logo

A2 Hosting has been on the rise for quite a while now, competing with the biggest hosting companies on the planet, and with good reason!

Aside from top-notch performance, they have a few really impressive features like free SSL & SSDs on every plan, an anytime money back guarantee, unlimited storage on even their most affordable plan, and of course 24/7/365 support to top it off.

And just like SiteGround, they also have servers in Singapore, so it’s perfect for Australian sites. The speed is definitely slower compared to SiteGround though… so you’ll be trading speed for unlimited disk space if you choose A2 Hosting over SiteGround.

Key Features:

  • Anytime Money-back guarantee
  • Great server in Singapore for Aussie sites
  • 24/7/365 Support
  • Free SSD
  • Free SSL
  • Unlimited Data Transfer + Storage

Specifications:

  • Website: www.a2hosting.com
  • Price: USD $3.92
  • Disk space: Unlimited
  • Support: Phone, Live Chat, Tickets
  • Speed (from Melbourne): <250ms
Visit Site

 

4. Crucial

Crucial logo

While they’re more expensive than most on our list, they make for it in reliability, usability, and lack of choice (which is actually a good thing for those overwhelmed by all the hosting options out there).

They’re Australian, very green (eco-friendly), and have all the features a good host should have, like 24x7x365 support, unlimited data transfer, and a very generous 50GB of disk space.

A very solid choice for those wanting to keep it simple.

Key Features:

  • Australian Host!
  • 24/7/365 Support
  • Green Hosting
  • Free CloudFlare plugin

Specifications:

  • Website: www.crucial.com.au
  • Price: AUD $19.90
  • Disk space: 50 GB
  • Support: Phone, Support Tickets
  • Speed (from Melbourne): <100ms
Visit Site

 

5. Digital Pacific

Digital Pacific logo

Digital Pacific is one of the oldest hosting companies, meaning they have experience, and it shows.

They run a very good hosting business, it’s reliable and they’re obviously in for the long haul. Default features include free setup, daily backups, ssh access, decent hardware (though Panthur definitely gets the performance edge), etc.

Key Features:

  • Green hosting
  • Australian based
  • No setup costs
  • Instant activation (so no waiting on manual review to get your account live)

Specifications:

  • Website: digitalpacific.com.au
  • Price: AUD $4.90
  • Disk space: 1 GB
  • Support: Phone, Tickets
  • Speed (from Melbourne): <200ms
Visit Site

 

6. GreenGeeks

GreenGeeks logo

GreenGeeks is known for being one of the greenest web hosting companies around. They put 300% of the consumed energy back into the grid, which is amazing. As a host, they offer the usual packages, from shared hosting to reseller and WordPress hosting. They don’t have server near Australia, but their servers are setup for speed. They use PHP7, which is considerably faster than the previous versions, and use MariaDB + PowerCacher technology to get the most out of their data centres.

We also really like their security setup, which is multi-layered to keep everything running as smoothly as possible, and it shows in their user reviews, which are generally very positive.

As for pricing, it’s quite competitive at USD $3.95/mo, comparable to most other US-based hosts out there… it does help that they offer unlimited disk space as it gives them a slight edge. They also have decent support that’s pretty responsive.

Key Features:

  • Super green hosting
  • Scalable
  • Very secure
  • Great speed optimisation

Specifications:

  • Website: www.greengeeks.com
  • Price: USD $3.95
  • Disk space: Unlimited
  • Support: Phone, Live Chat, Support Tickets
  • Speed (from Melbourne): <250ms
Visit Site

 

7. WPHosting

whosting logo

WPhosting is all about WordPress. From their server setups using SSD’s and MariaDB, to expert WP support and instant WordPress installs the moment you sign up, they know what they’re doing, and they do it well. They’ve been supporting WP hosting for over a decade, and have worked with some major Australian institutions and companies.

They’re not super cheap, but what you get is pure quality! They make sure everything stays super secure and make daily backups so no data will get lost. It’s all about peace of mind with these guys. A great option for WordPress users looking for an alternative to WPEngine.

Key Features:

  • WordPress hosting
  • Australian company
  • Very fast
  • DDOS protection
  • Daily back-ups

Specifications:

  • Website: wphosting.com.au
  • Price: AUD $19
  • Disk space: 5 GB
  • Support: Phone, Live Chat, Support Tickets
  • Speed (from Melbourne): <100ms
Visit Site

 

8. BlueHost

BlueHost logo

Bluehost has had a bit of a rocky road the last few years since they got acquired by EIG, but it looks like they’re back on the right track, with both performance and support improving. That being said, they’re still a massively trusted brand in the hosting industry and are very experienced. They offer all the usual hosting types like shared hosting, cloud hosting, WP hosting, VPS, and dedicated hosting.

They don’t have any servers in or near Australia though, so for optimal loading times, you’ll have to integrate CloudFlare, which shouldn’t be a huge problem as it’s pretty easy to set up.

Key Features:

  • Very experienced
  • Huge brand
  • Great with WordPress
  • Competitive pricing

Specifications:

  • Website: www.bluehost.com
  • Price: USD $3.95
  • Disk space: 50 GB
  • Support: Phone, Live Chat, Tickets
  • Speed (from Melbourne): <200ms
Visit Site

 

9. Cloudways

Cloudways logo

As the name suggests, Cloudways is all about cloud hosting, they use other companies’ servers to deploy apps on and keep everything super scalable. They work with some massive names like Amazon AWS, Vultr, and the Google Cloud Platform. All in all, you have about 60 data centres you can choose from. So yes, they’re not your usual web hosting provider, but you do get a massive bang for your buck.

With Cloudways, scalability and flexibility is their strength. And it really shows in their performance… using some of the best providers around, and some cool extra’s like aggressive caching solutions for both WordPress and Magento, sites on their platform run incredibly fast.

That being said, the setup is slightly more techie than your usual web host… just slightly though, so most people can work it out in no time.

Key Features:

  • Lightning fast
  • A LOT of providers to choose from
  • Great responsive support
  • Super scalable

Specifications:

  • Website: www.cloudways.com
  • Price: $10 (USD)
  • Disk space: 25 GB
  • Support: Phone, Live Chat, Tickets
  • Speed (from Melbourne): <100ms
Visit Site

Web Hosting Explained

Terminology 101: Web Hosting vs Domain Name

Many people tend to get the terms “Web Hosting” and “Domain Name” mixed up quite frequently. What’s the difference? A domain name is the actual web address for your website (For example: http://www.example.com). Whenever the domain name is entered an internet search bar, the communicating computers translate the domain name into an IP Address. This IP Address is then used to access the domain’s files located on the web host’s server. These files are made up of several programming languages depending on the tech used to create the website, from PHP scripts and HTML, to CSS and more advanced stuff like Angular JS. The web host’s server then works to read these files and assemble them into a functional website.

Choosing a decent web host is arguably the most important part of getting a site live. This is because they’re the ones deciding how many resources (CPU/RAM/STORAGE) to allocate to your account. So you might have paid a lot of money for a brand-new epic website, if you choose the wrong host, it could all be for nothing as your website might require more resources than the web host has allocated. You really do get what you pay for (usually).

Types of Australian Web Hosting

Before we can get into the specific features like add-on domains, support, uptime, etc. We need to decide what type of website hosting we need. This largely depends on what kind of website you want to put on the host, and what future plans you have keeping potential resource-heavy features in mind (like forums, e-commerce, directories, etc.). We’ve listed the most common web hosting types below, and we give you examples of what type of website they’re suited for.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting, as the name suggests, is a type of hosting where your website shares space and resources with a bunch of other sites on the same physical server in Australia. This is the hosting category you usually find when you search for cheap web hosting, and cheap it definitely is! By splitting a server into multiple users and selling of parts of that server, Australian web hosting companies can easily cover the costs of running that server, and those savings trickle down to the consumers.

While it does have quite a few disadvantages like limited resources, usually more security risk, no flexibility to install your own custom apps, etc. This cheap web hosting type is the best way to start out, and highly recommended for most small business sites, small blogs, etc. You also don’t have to worry about server maintenance or much techie stuff, it’s all taken care of for you. I think for about 90% of those reading this, shared web hosting is the way to go.

VPS Hosting

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. In essence, VPS hosting looks a lot like a dedicated server within a shared hosting system. It’s a great middle-ground between having a dedicated server and shared web hosting. It basically takes a physical server and uses partitioning to split the server into different isolated parts that can each run its own operating system, giving you the advantages of a (slightly less powerful) dedicated server for a fraction of the cost.

Each virtual server gets its own dedicated CPU, RAM and (hopefully SSD) storage. With full root access, this a great option if you need to run custom apps that are not allowed on cheap website hosting (eg. shared hosting). The other massive advantage is that you’re not affected by the “bad neighbour effect” that you can experience on shared hosting (this is where a single user with a lot of traffic can affect the performance of all the other sites on the same server).

Dedicated Server Hosting

Dedicated hosting is reserved for businesses in need of high-performance servers, usually used for large e-commerce sites, real estate directories, massive forums, etc. They come with quite the price tag but are very very powerful! If you need high performance, maximum uptime (eg. 100%), max reliability & stability, coupled with a dedicated (Australia based) support team… this is the web hosting type you want!

If you’re looking for the best dedicated servers, the best thing to do would be to contact whatever web host you’re interested in directly, as they would be more than happy to help! There’s quite a lot of money involved, so support will be quick to jump on your questions.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is our favourite type of web hosting. It uses a technology where multiple machines act as a single system, and its potential power is only limited by how many machines you can chain together, it’s the edge of tech and super powerful. Shared hosting & dedicated servers both depend on a single machine, meaning that if something goes horrible wrong with that machines, the potential of lost data is quite big. Cloud hosting is different, if one machine fails, another one can just fill its place in the system. And just like a vps or dedicated hosting, cloud hosting gives you guaranteed dedicated server resources.

Though the best thing about cloud hosting is how you can instantly scale up or down as the needs of your website changes, the flexibility is incredible!

Reseller Hosting

This type of hosting is mostly used by web designers, web agencies, or generally people that want to offer their own hosting services to their client-base. Most of the people looking for reseller hosting would be web designers. Instead of them letting their clients sign up for a random web host by themselves, they bulk buy hosting, and then onsell it to their clients, set it up, deploy/migrate the client’s site, and then just bill them on a monthly/yearly basis. it’s pretty standard practice as it gives the website designer more control of the sites in their portfolio.

If done with a bit of planning, you can create fixed hosting packages & grab pretty good profit margins from reselling hosting to your clients. It’s almost hands-off recurring revenue.

Most reseller hosting plans come with WHM, which lets you create those fixed hosting packages + create new accounts with attached cpanels. WHM is very user-friendly, and so is Cpanel. Just make sure you look at all your options as pricing can differ a lot between hosting companies.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting is shared hosting’s more expensive brother, but specialised for WordPress. Aside from server configs that are completely setup for WordPress websites, it’s really all about offering peace of mind for the businesses or bloggers that don’t want to deal with ANY of the technical aspects of running/maintaining a WP site.

It’s an all-in-one service that includes the following: extra WP specific security, regular back-ups, automatic plugin and WP core updates, premium support specialised in WordPress, no downtime, epic performance (because of WP specific server configs), and much more.

It does have a few downsides, with the main one being price, it’s usually a LOT more expensive (*cough* WP Engine *cough*) than your average cheap web host (eg. shared hosting). Other disadvantages are the limits on what plugins you can install on your site, and the lack of control you have.

Managed WP hosting is perfect for businesses/bloggers that have medium to larger sites and don’t have the technical skills in-house to deal with potential issues, or don’t want to deal with the regular maintenance tasks that come with running a bigger WordPress site.

Researching Australian web hosting providers: Look at the following features.

Location

While the location is obviously important (the closer your target market is to where the website is hosted, the faster your site should load for that target market), it’s definitely not as easy as just picking the closest location. For example, if your visitors are from Australia, you might think getting an Aussie based server is the way to go… not necessarily the case as your “close” server might be massively under-powered, giving you worse performance compared to a quality host located in the US. You have to balance the quality of the web host with the location you’re targeting. In the case of an Australian market, a server in Singapore (*cough* SiteGround *couch*) from a quality web host could easily outperform a lot of the more local website hosting companies. This rule obviously applies worldwide, whether you’re searching for the best UK web hosting, best web hosting Singapore, best web hosting Canada, best web hosting for NZ, etc.

Storage

This is pretty straightforward, the more you pay, usually the more storage you get (though this usually works differently for managed hosts where they calculate according to the amount of monthly visitors). You should get enough storage for any small business site or a small blog, no matter who you go with. If you’re planning a massive site (eg. e-commerce, forums, etc.), you might want to consider moving anything non-essential off-site where you can.

Email would be the first thing to move across, go with Gmail and you’ll have a more storage than you can handle. Same with videos, don’t store them on-site but use third-party services like youtube or Vimeo to stream them, massive space-saver. Next one would be sound, music, podcasts… move them to SoundCloud, stream them from there. Most imagery should be fine, though, unless you’re a photographer, in which case you should find another service to store your high-res files.

From experience, 2GB is enough for 90% of all websites. Also, if you care about speed (which you should), look out for web hosts that use SSD’s and not HDD’s, SSD’s are a LOT faster!

Backups

For anyone who has worked on computers long enough will understand the importance of backing up your data. Many people tend to ignore this very critical aspect. Even while running a website, you need to backup your database and files at regular intervals. It’s also good practice to do a back-up whenever you make massive changes to your site’s design or content.

While choosing the web host, you need to assess the intervals at which they backup files + how many backups they keep at any point in time. Also, see what system they use to restore any lost data. Some web hosts may provide the backup and restoration service free of charge, others charge fees for this.

Data transfer

This refers to the data that your website chews through on a monthly basis (both uploads and downloads). This is measured in Mb/Gb.

Data transfer usually depends on the number of hits your website generates and the size of the files that you have uploaded (hence why uploading videos on-site is not a good strategy). Definitely check what the limit is when you’re doing the research.

Up-time of the servers

Most web hosts promise optimal server uptime, up to 99.9% uptime is often guaranteed. This may not always be true; this is why checking reviews and customer testimonials are important. Again, research research research!

Service Support

This is a big one, in my opinion, one of the most important deciding factors of how good a web hosting company is. What type of support do they provide, which methods do they use, how fast are they, how experience is the support staff. The easiest way to find this out is again to start looking for reviews as support is usually the thing most people will complain about. That being said, look for at least live chat and phone support. 24/7 support is a very nice bonus!

Domain Addons

Most web hosting starter plans come with space for a single domain. If you’re planning to host additional domains (excl. sub-domains as these are usually unlimited), make sure to choose a hosting plan that allows for multiple addon domains.

And that’s it, check up on all of the above when doing your research, and you should end up with a reliable web host! Or you can, of course, take the shortcut, trust in us and choose a host from our top 5