Best Ethical Web HostsOur top picks for great quality web hosting.
Your web host is the foundation of your website. We maintain this list in the hope that as many people as possible use the advice we provide in finding the perfect home for their website. Not all hosts are created equal, and many popular hosting companies are notorious for overcrowding servers and providing mediocre service. Plastering the internet and television with attention-grabbing ads isn’t the mark of a quality web host, it just indicates a large advertising budget. If you’ve read between the lines and suspect that your website may be hosted by such a company, this list of best ethical web hosts is for you! Read this list, ask us questions if you want, and find a host that deserves your business.
We compile this list based on regular research on many web hosts: we scour forums, read reviews, run independent tests, and talk with web hosts big and small. We gauge the ethics of each hosting company we research, evaluate and work with based on a range of factors: where the energy for their servers comes from, how they treat their staff, their reputation for stellar customer service, and a bunch of other factors. Basically, if the web hosts we recommend were people, they’d be the sort of folks you’d want to buy a pint. The idea behind this list is that we do a whole load of research so that you don’t have to. If we do work with you in the future, your high quality host makes our life a whole lot easier. If you’re not our client and just passing by, hopefully this guide helps you and you recommend us to your friends.
Remember, everyone’s needs are different. This guide is meant for the 90% of cases we see. If you have special requirements, don’t fully understand your options, or just want some personalized advice, use Host Scout.
The list is organised into alphabetical order, not order of preference. Reviewed daily and always up to date. Last modified: 01 March 2017
Types of Web Hosting
Shared Web Hosting
If you’re new to web hosting or already have a small website, go no further. It’s almost a certainty – you need a shared plan, nothing more. Shared plans are the entry point for hosting your own website. You share a fully managed environment with other small site owners, all under the watchful eyes of a web host’s server admins. It’s inexpensive and easy to do. If you can use a computer (or Google!), you can handle most basic web hosting tasks. Any of the web hosts we recommend here are a good place to start. A couple of things to remember: You get what you pay for. There’s no such thing as “unlimited”. If you want some help deciding, just ask!
Semi-dedicated hosting is a great idea. If your business is outgrowing a shared environment and you’re not ready or do not want to go to VPS, semi-dedicated may be the answer for you. Basically you get the same fully managed shared environment you’re used to, but with a greatly reduced number of users per server. Many providers also allocate fixed resources such as CPU to your account. This gives you the benefit of increased server performance and less risk of being on a slow server due to a resource hog taking all of a shared server’s performance. Think of it as a shared account on steroids or a VPS with no server/software management to worry about.
Need a dedicated server? Great! First off, use Host Scout if you are even the least bit unsure. You’re potentially dropping a lot of money on this, so free help to make sure you’re backing the right horse is a no-brainer. If you want to dive right in, below are the hosts we would (and do) trust our livelihoods to. A quick note on the dedicated server world…it’s big money. Therefore the market is packed with “sexy” solutions** from über cool** companies promising the world with their amazing new technologies, then charging the world for said promise. Stick to the basics, look for companies who’ve been around a while with proven track records. There are still a bunch to choose from, but for straightforward “I need a dedicated server” cases, we recommend nothing but Liquid Web and WiredTree. They’re no nonsense hosts who both dominate on customer support and infrastructure. They have the best products and back them accordingly. We work with a few other providers for more complex requirements, but if you just need a dedicated server for your huge website, webshop, mail server, etc…go to Liquid Web or WiredTree and build your server.
Our Picks for Best Ethical Web Hosts
Dediserve are known for unmanaged Infrastructure As A Service. They have 11 and counting locations for their no expense spared all-SSD packages. Dediserve is known for fantastic support, being staunchly non DMCA, non Patriot Act and non PRISM. Their platform’s redundant “cloud” architecture is also energy efficient by design as all users are “in the same boat” when it comes to hardware allocation. Pick Dediserve if you need redundant cloud architecture, lots of locations, a company that respects privacy and you know what you are doing! Even their basic package is overkill for most websites. Dediserve is for people with large sites, hosted apps, etc.
We like: Their plans are on a sliding scale, start low and add resources as you grow.
MDDHosting is our favourite little-big host! Michael and his team apparently never sleep. We have emailed them at all hours of the day and never waited more than a few minutes for a reply. Servers are in disaster-safe Denver CO. The network and uptime are both excellent as is their CloudFlare integration. Looking for a small, personable host? Look no further than MDD. MDD is the Toyota Corolla of web hosting. Super reliable and deservedly well respected. Our own hosting with them hasn’t had a second of downtime in over 13 months at time of writing! MDDHosting’s plans are the benchmark for shared and semi-dedicated hosting. Servers are very lightly populated and blazing fast. Plans seem a touch expensive at first, but knowing how few accounts there are per server coupled with MDD’s great reliability and top notch, never-sleep support makes the price almost a bargain.
We like: Basic (monthly @ $7.50/mo). Shared and premium (semi-dedicated) hosting is MDD’s bread and butter.
SiteGround are our big-box host of choice. They have all the resources and benefits of a big company, yet are down to earth enough that their staff are regularly seen on their web hosting forum lending a hand. Their plans offer loads of “bang for buck” and they have 3 worldwide locations to pick from. They’re on our “ethical” list as they seem to treat their staff and clients really well! Like dealing with the big guys? This is your host. Plans start from under $4, but watch out for addons!
We like: Their basic shared plan. It’s a great combination of price, quality, support and features for those just starting out with websites. Their semi-dedicated plan is also pretty good. Like a big-box MDDHosting.