Welcome to Hosting Foundry, as a collective of web agency owners, between us we have accounts with around 35+ web hosts. So you might say we know a thing or two about hosting sites (and creating them). We’ve compiled our own top 5 of the best Australian web hosting companies, sorted by looking at 4 factors: Usability, Performance, Support, & Cost/Value ratio. Enjoy!
To be perfectly honest, none of the competition come 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!
- Free Domain Name
- 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
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!
- Money-back guarantee
- Australian based
- 24/7 Support
- Free Domain
- Free SSL
- Website builder included
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.
- Green hosting
- Australian based
- No setup costs
- 30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
- Instant activation (so no waiting on manual review to get your account live)
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, 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 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 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!
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.
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 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!
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.
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!
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!
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