Best PHP Hosting: Comparison & Reviews
Author: Matthew Rogers
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Last Updated: April 2021
As a web agency with a LOT of hosting accounts (we have countless side-projects and like to experiment), we’ve got a pretty good idea of what defines a great web host. These are our best PHP hosting providers, true quality web hosting without breaking the bank.
|Web Hosting Company||Overall Rating||Price/mo.||Features||Website|
|9.3/10||$3.95 (Temporary 67% Discount)||10 GB||Powerful, Fast, epic support, + 30-day money-back guarantee! = Win!||Grab Your Discount|
|8.7/10||$2.78||Unlimited||Cheap + Unlimited Disk Space!||Visit Site|
|8.5/10||$3.92 (down from $7.99)||Unlimited||Unlimited Disk Space!||Visit Site|
|8.3/10||$4.19 (40% discount)||Unlimited||Experienced, reliable, slightly more expensive.||Visit Site|
|8/10||$7.95||Unlimited||Great performance & support||Visit Site|
Best PHP Hosting 2021 Reviews
Disk space: 10 GB
We think the best PHP hosting provider is SiteGround. SiteGround is a global leader when it comes to hosting websites. It offers Cloud hosting, Dedicated hosting, WordPress hosting, and Shared hosting (its most popular service). So, if you’re searching for the best hosting provider for your site, we suggest looking into SiteGround and comparing its features with other hosting providers out there.
SiteGround gives you three options for their Shared hosting plans – Startup (their basic plan), GrowBig (their middle-ground plan), and GoGeek (their most feature-filled plan). We suggest going for their GrowBig plan (especially if you have plans of upgrading anyway) as it comes with the most practical features. While the StartUp plan also gives you a lot of leeways to expand your business, you’re limited to just one website. But don’t worry – should you choose to go for their most basic plan, you can always upgrade anyway.
Aside from SiteGround’s flexible plans, we also like their customer support. They have 24/7 support via live chat, email, and telephone – you know there are always people there to help you (any time of the day).
You really shouldn’t be afraid to check SiteGround out as they have a 30-day money back guarantee just in case you decide to cancel your plan. 30 days is enough to get the feel of their services – so, you really have nothing to lose.
- Flexible hosting plans
- Affordable prices
- Free SSL certificate
Disk Space: Unlimited
If you’re looking for a suitable shared hosting plan for your needs, you check out HostGator’s plans. Their Hatchling plan only allows for one website but it comes with unlimited storage and unmetered bandwidth. If you think that’s too limiting for you, then go for their Baby plan (it’s actually their most popular plan). The Baby plan allows you to have unlimited websites – so that’s a big plus. However, we strongly suggest getting their Business plan if you already have a running business ( and it’s also the best plan for e-commerce).
Are you planning on transferring your website to HostGator? If you are, know that they’re offering free migration assistance but it’s only for one website. If you have a lot of sites, you’ll need to pay for their services (for the other ones).
If you’re still in doubt as to whether HostGator is for you, you can take advantage of their 45-day refund policy. This gives you the option to cancel your plan as long as it’s within the said grace period.
One of the reasons why HostGator is popular to its users is that it’s very easy to use. So, whether you’re a beginner or a professional web designer, you’ll surely appreciate its user-friendly cPanel.
- Easy to use
- Good customer service (24/7 telephone, live chat, email)
- Reliable uptime
- You’re not allowed to choose the location of your data servers
- Free migration is only applicable to one website
- Some people find their knowledgebase difficult to navigate around
3. A2 Hosting
Disk space: Unlimited
When comparing web hosting Companies, be sure to check out A2 Hosting as well. It’s one of the best ones out there and it could well be the right hosting provider for you.
Unlike other web hosts, A2 Hosting offers its users unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth even on its cheapest plan. So, if all you need is a basic website, their Lite plan can probably suit you fine (its only real limitation is that it only comes with one website).
Now, if you want to have more than one website, their mid-range plan actually offers unlimited websites. If you’re after speed, however, then we’d suggest checking out their Turbo plan. It’s their ultimate shared hosting plan and it comes with all the features found in their cheaper-priced plans plus so much more.
Aside from having three options to choose from in their plans, you also have a lot of options on the mode of payment. You can pay monthly, 12 months, 24 months, or 36 months upfront. If you’re after discounts, try going for 36 months as it has the biggest savings.
If you’re concerned about A2’s customer support, they actually have a lot. You can contact them through phone and live chat. They also have a ticketing system via email.
- Free SSL certificate
- Free site migration
- Lots of security features
- Some people complain of poor customer service
- It can be pretty difficult to cancel a plan (you’re strictly required to submit the cancellation request 15 days before the renewal date)
- There are hidden fees that you need to be wary about during signup
4. InMotion Hosting
Disk space: Unlimited
InMotion Hosting is one of the decent providers of hosting plans today. They’re actually one of the few hosting Companies that give their customers unlimited storage space and unlimited bandwidth even on their cheapest plan.
InMotion’s Launch plan is their basic and cheapest plan and you’re allowed to host two websites on it. Their middle-range plan called Power is more powerful and you can have more than two websites when you choose this plan (up to six websites). If you’re particular about the number of websites allowed and are after unlimited websites, they also have a plan for that called Pro (it’s also their fastest).
Here are some other things to expect from InMotion Hosting:
- Money back guarantee – Their shared hosting plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee. Their Business, VPS, and Reseller hosting plans actually come with a 90-day refund policy.
- Google apps wizard – If you’re planning on using Google apps, their built-in wizard will make the task so much easier and faster.
- Guaranteed uptime of 99.95% – This is a decent uptime rate.
- Security system – InMotion Hosting employs Threat Defense System (TDS) which is a very impressive security feature.
- Customer support – They have an extensive number of helpful articles in their knowledge base. However, if you need to talk to someone, you can also do so via phone, email, and live chat.
- Reliable uptime
- Integration with popular apps
- Free site transfer
- There are reports of speed slips from consumers
- You won’t get unlimited websites even if you upgrade to their middle-range plan
- You’ll need to pay for 24 months upfront if you want to maximize your savings.
Disk space: Unlimited
It’s a good idea to consider DreamHost when searching for a good hosting provider. This is a reputable Company for providing Shared hosting, VPS hosting, Cloud hosting, Dedicated hosting, and WordPress hosting.
When it comes to their Shared hosting, you’re only given 2 choices – you can either choose their Starter plan (basic) or go for their Unlimited plan (full-featured). We recommend looking closely at the two plans but know that their main difference is in the number of websites allowed per plan. You see, their Starter plan has a limit of one website while their Unlimited plan allows for an unlimited number of sites.
What we like about DreamHost’s plans is that they both come with free domain, unlimited bandwidth, and free SSL – those are all important features, you know. And not all hosting providers offer those (especially on their cheapest plans).
Another impressive feature of DreamHost is that they’re offering their customers a very generous refund policy – 97 days. As far as we know, they’re the only hosting Company that has a 97-day money back guarantee.
Is customer support important to you? It should, as you will surely need some help along the way. Well, you have lots of ways to contact DreamHost’s support team (via phone and email) and they also have A LOT of helpful articles in their database.
- Good speed
- Reliable uptime
- Generous refund policy
- You only get a free domain when you pay annually for the first year of service
- Sign up process can take very long
- Their Dashboard is not user-friendly
PHP hosting: How To Find The Best One!
It can be quite difficult to choose a good PHP host if you’re not really sure what to look for. Well, we’re here to tell you about all the important features that you should be checking out before making the final decision. In the end, it would require you to compare the features we talk about below among all the hosting providers you’re considering.
Your PHP host’s server location is important for speed. Therefore, your top priority would be to find a hosting Company with servers located in your vicinity. For example, if you live in Australia, try to find a web hosting provider in Australia, and if you live in Canada, look for a Canadian web host. If not, they should at least have an integrated CDN service in their features.
CDN stands for Content Distribution Network – and that’s exactly what it does – distribute cached versions of your content to their networks so as to reach the end-users quickly.
There are tons of CDNs out there and your chosen PHP hosting provider can use any of them. One very popular CDN today is called CloudFlare – and it’s commonly found packaged in hosting plans. So, keep an eye out for this service when reviewing the features on the PHP hosting Companies that you’re considering.
Hosting companies that can deliver 99.9% uptimes are the best. You can easily compare different web host’s uptime in actual figures by searching on Google.
We don’t recommend getting hosting services that don’t promise (and deliver) uptimes at this rate as it could prove to be problematic. Too many downtimes can affect your business especially if it’s an e-commerce site.
A secure site is beneficial to all – to you and your site visitors. With an SSL certificate (SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer), you can be sure that data transfers between your host’s servers and site visitors are encrypted. Hackers won’t be able to steal information if they’re encrypted, you know.
You’ve probably seen sites with SSL certificates – but are simply not aware of it. If you see an “s” at the beginning of a website’s URL (example: https://), it means that the site is SSL certificate compliant. If a website only has http on its URL, it means that it doesn’t have an SSL certificate and not that secure.
These days, security has become a major issue on the internet – and that’s why more and more people are only trusting sites that carry that “s” in their addresses. In fact, Google itself is encouraging sites to have SSL certificates and is considering this as a ranking signal in SEO.
In light of the above statements, we recommend choosing a PHP hosting provider that offers SSL certificates as part of their hosting plans. Basic SSL certificates also come included with packages that have the Let’s Encrypt service.
Should it turn out that the hosting plan you end up doesn’t carry a free SSL certificate, just make sure that you get one (yes, it’s that important). You can purchase it from any hosting Company by paying for the added feature (it costs around $10/ year).
In general, your site speed is already taken care of if you follow our advice on server locations and/ or CDNs. However, you have nothing to lose (and everything to gain) if your chosen hosting Company offers you more.
More CPU resources is always a good thing. Custom scripts that are specifically for PHP will also add to your site speed. They’re all good and should be considered as bonuses when you end up getting them as extra features.
If you’re building an e-commerce business or a membership site, disk space is very VERY important. We’d recommend around 20 to 30 GB disk space in these situations and even unlimited (if your website is huge).
For other types of businesses, however (including blogs), we can say that super large disk spaces are really not that necessary. If you can’t afford to get plans with unlimited storage spaces, know that 1GB is usually enough for typical businesses and blogs. We only encourage you to use a separate email in this case so as not to put a heavy load on your limited disk space.
Therefore, don’t just immediately buy a plan just because of its unlimited storage space feature. Remember, there are lots of other features to consider to end up with the best PHP web host for your site.
Bandwidth and Data Transfer
Bandwidth and data transfer on your PHP hosting provider is very important especially if you’re offering on-site downloads of really large files (e.g. images, videos, and PDFs just to name a few). In this case, we advise getting a plan with unlimited bandwidth and data transfer as such actions can really take its toll on data.
Because of its great importance (especially in times of trouble), we can only suggest going for hosting providers that provide 24/7 customer support. Moreover, prioritize getting live chat and phone support options.
PHP: The Details
In the old days, web developers created bland, static websites and content because they did not have access to the scripting language that we have now. Because there was absolutely no way to create a dynamic website, web pages contained raw HTML content, leaving developers with very little to work with. It wasn’t until 1995, when Rasmus Lerdorf, a programmer, decided to develop a scripting language to monitor his online resume and relate personal information. He named this scripting language, PHP or Personal Home Page. This became the first glimpse of PHP and all its wonders.
What is PHP?
PHP is a programming language essential to creating dynamic web pages and content. It originally stood for “Personal Home Page” whereas today this acronym stands for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor”. The reasoning for the name change is because the original purpose of this scripting language was for Lerfords personal use. Eventually, PHP evolved into something greater than Lerford probably ever imagined, making it one of the most popular, commonly used, programming language in the world.
PHP sparked a change in the world of web developers, allowing them to create dynamic websites with amazing, animated content. It brought along an easy to use framework, with the necessary tools to develop lively, more interesting sites. Before PHP driven websites, hard coded HTML was used, making websites very bland. PHP fixed this problem utilizing a non-static script.
A great example of how PHP works in regards to HTML is the login format websites such as Facebook use. In order for users to log into their Facebook page, they must input their login information such as a username and password in two little boxes. The boxes where users input their login information serve as forms. What PHP then does is take the information in the form and takes necessary action.
What are some features of PHP?
There is not enough room to list all of the features and benefits that PHP offers. Since its foundation, there have been many versions of this language, and programmers still strive to enhance and improve this scripted language. Because of this PHP can about anything whether it be collecting form data, generating dynamic page content, or sending and receiving cookies. This scripting language can be used in web development or embedded into HTML. It can also be used in combination with various web template systems, web content management systems and web frameworks.
PHP is primarily available on Linux hosting plans, but is also compatible with other major operating systems including Windows, Mac OS X, RISC OS, and others. Due to its versatility and extremely strong support for a wide range of databases, it is easy to find the best PHP hosting available to suit your needs.
Why use PHP?
PHP exceeds expectations because of it’s easy to use software, consisting of amazing features, and secure technologies. Any level of expertise can use PHP, making it simple to create or add dynamic content to a web page. It is reliable, has an amazing support team of programmers behind it, and comes at no cost. PHP is the ideal programming language to use, being very popular among developers and programmers.
Developers have so much to gain from this lightweight resource, making web pages easy and efficient, all while being able to add content from a database to provide fun on all kinds of hosting accounts. This programming language is consistent and well-designed, making the creation process of interactive content smooth and simple. Aside from the endless features PHP offers, it can interact with many different database languages. PHP continues to bring new, cool features to the table. Beginning a new project in PHP is a great start to writing great code, providing good performance, ultimately developing a great PHP setup/website.
Many popular websites like Facebook, Etsy, or WordPress use PHP because it is well tested and fully functional. PHP is supported by nearly all web hosting from the cheapest to the most expensive. It is developed with an easy framework making it hard to make errors. Aside from websites, you can also use PHP to develop pdf’s, certain forms of flash, and more.
Recommended Host for PHP
Selecting the best PHP hosting to develop your needs is easy because PHP is compatible with most web hosts. Not only does it set a good foundation, great for all levels of expertise, but it brings websites to life (as opposed to hard-coded HTML websites). Web developers have found that the best PHP hosting is SiteGround. This web host provider stands out from its competition by offering all around great features at a very low cost.
PHP Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
What is a dynamic web application?
Before PHP, web pages relied heavily on HTML, bringing forward the creation of static, non-changing websites. PHP builds interactive, fun web pages, ridding content from the dull and boring sides they would have been otherwise.
A dynamic web application provides aesthetically pleasing, enjoyable content and features to viewers. Facebook, for example, is the leading social media networking site among users, consisting of PHP’s programming language. Part of what makes Facebook so popular is its dynamic web application content.
Is PHP popular?
Yes. PHP has been around since 1995, opening new doors for web developers while introducing the first glimpse of scripted language and its features. Today, it is used by many developers because of how easy it is to learn and is projected to stick around for many years to come (think WordPress for example). PHP exceeds user expectations, consisting of a large range of amazing features that make it simple to create or add dynamic content to a web page. It is reliable, has an amazing support team of programmers behind it, and comes at no cost. PHP is the ideal programming language to use, being very popular among developers and programmers.
Who should learn PHP?
Developers, programmers, or anyone who is interesting in creating interactive websites and content, should learn PHP. It is easy to learn, great for all levels of expertise, and projected to remain in the market for many years to come.
How do I display static HTLM within a PHP script?
Opposed to other programming languages, PHP is designed to work alongside HTML. In a PHP script, you can work between the two, providing easy resources to creating interesting web applications, compared to other scripting languages.
Why wasn’t PHP 6 ever released?
PHP 6 was never released because the project faltered to meet its ultimate goal. Since it was never met, the progress made within this version was pushed back into a smaller form release of PHP 5. To avoid any confusion, the next generation was named PHP 7.
Is PHP secure?
PHP has the potential to provide safe, and secure web applications. Inexperienced developers need to take the time to fully understand this language or else they may encounter security gaps into their websites or applications if they are not careful. With the help of published tutorials, courses, and training, users will gain an understanding of PHP quickly and efficient. Along with this, when newer versions of PHP are released, users of encouraged to update their websites to ensure even more secure web pages or applications.
Can I still use previous PHP versions?
Yes, previous versions of PHP are still available. In the case of version 4, it is no longer supported officially, and recommended to transition older websites to the newer version 5 or above.
What’s new in PHP 7?
PHP 7 is the latest development bringing even faster speed than the previous version as well as a better method to improve error handling, limited Unicode support, and other features. Users are encouraged to transition to PHP 7 to enjoy the new and improved features that it brings.
How to get PHP?
Installation instructions slightly differ depending if PHP is being installed on a Unix, Mac OS X, or Windows system. PHP installation and configuration can usually be found in the website control panel application provided by your host without any additional cost to your hosting fees; confirmation of this is recommended with the host when choosing a plan.
The History of PHP
We all know PHP as one of the many primary languages that we use for web development and general purpose programming. It is one of the coding languages that gives you the ability to embed code within HTML or HTML 5 markup, for the ease of writing different functions, programs, and tasks.
How and When PHP was Created
Let’s explore some of the history of PHP and how it came to be. The earliest development of the PHP language began with Rasmus Lerdorf in 1995. Lerdorf had already written a handful of Common Gateway Interface programs in C, which up until that point, he had just used them to maintain the personal homepage of his website. He eventually decided to extend them to be able to work and interface with web forms, and also connected with databases. He intended up referring to this new implement that he had as Personal Home Page/Forms Interpreter or PHP/FI.
PHP began being incredibly useful for developing simple and dynamic web applications, that could be used in a variety of different scenarios. Lerdorf then set out to improve the code and accelerate the process of bug reporting, so he announced the launch of PHP/FI as Personal Home Page Tools Version 1.0 in a Usenet discussion group. He shared that in June of 1995. What is incredible is that in 2013, PHP still had the same core abilities that it was designed with in 1995.
What is even more interesting is that Lerdorf didn’t mean for PHP to become this massive, new programming language. He just put something that he was using out there into the universe in order to test and improve it. From there, he just kept taking the next logical steps to improve the processes and functionality of PHP. Before he knew it, a development team had formed around him, and a modest man who said he had no idea how to make a coding language was working on creating his own.
Lerdorf and the development team launched PHP/FI 2, two short years later in November of 1997. What sets PHP apart from many coding languages is that it was not originally designed to be a coding language. It was a tool that kind of develop organically through the sharing of something useful, which could easily work with and be embedded into HTML.
Unfortunately, because it was developed organically in a figure-it-out-as-you-go manner, there were a lot of incongruencies and inconsistencies in naming functions and the ordering of those functions’ parameters.
Changes in PHP Over the Years
1) Versions 3 and 4
In 1997, Andy Gutmans and Zeev Suraski partnered with Zerdorf rewrote the parser, in order to develop the base of what would be known as PHP 3. After doing some work with PHP, they decided to launch PHP 3 in 1998. The two of them also started to rewrite and redesign PHP’s core, out of which Zend Engine was created in 1999.
It was shortly later in 2000 that the newly renovated PHP version and Zend Engine would be fused to create PHP 4, which was powered by Zend Engine 1.0. The team was able to work on this version of PHP from 2000 to 2008 when they reached version 4.4.9 before they decided to halt development with that version, and stopped releasing any security updates for it as well.
2) Version 5
During the time that PHP 4 was still undergoing updates and new developments, PHP 5 was released in 2004, and was then powered by Zend Engine II. This version of PHP came with several valuable updates that included improved support for programming that was specific to object orientation. It also came with the PHP data objects extension, known as PDO, and other performance modifications that helped enhance the function of the language. 2008 is when many PHP developers started promoting the transition and migration from PHP 4 to PHP 5.
3) Version 6
PHP was formerly the target of a lot of expert flack and criticism because of they lacked native Unicode support at the core language level. As a result, in 2005 an initiative was lead by Andrei Zmievski to bring native Unicode support throughout the PHP language. He set out to do this by first embedding the ICU library, and then represented text strings as UTF-16, on an internal level.
Unfortunately, there was a lack of developers on the team that understood how to make these modifications and resulted in the development of the still non-Unicode updated PHP 6.
4) Version 7
Then, we finally arrive at the most current language of PHP that we use today (which most hosting companies are now supporting – check our best PHP hosting page for more info). Version 7 was the result of efforts of Dmitry Stogov, Nikita Popov, and Xinchen Hui who set out to refactor Zend Engine so that is could use considerably more compact data structures with improvements to cache locality. Doing so, they were also able to keep almost total language compatibility.