Best Web Hosting Australia 2021

April 24, 2021


Best Web Hosting Explained!

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of choosing which type of best Australian web hosting works for you, let’s answer one of the most common questions we get regarding hosting terminology. What exactly is the difference between domain hosting, web hosting, and domain registration?

Domain Name Registration

Let’s start with domain registration. This refers to the buying or registering of a domain name (yourcompany.com.au), which can be done through a registrar. Most web hosts offer this service, meaning you can buy your domain name and host your site with the same provider, which is the ideal situation as support is centralised. If you’re just looking to buy domain names and not web hosting, it’s best to go through a normal registrar like NameCheap. Registrars have the authority to delegate the sales of domain names and assign them for IP addresses (you’d be surprised how many domains get registered on a yearly basis, just check our internet usage statistics page for some mind-boggling numbers).

Web Hosting

Next up, web hosting. This refers to the online space where you host the files that make up your website, it’s why you’re on this page, to find the best web host for your website.

SSD storage

Once you have registered your domain name, you then point that name toward your hosting space to make the site show up in browsers. Web hosting can cost anywhere from 1$/mo for budget hosts to $500+/mo for a VPS or dedicated servers.

Email Hosting

This just refers to a company that can host your emails. This can be a provider that specifically focuses on email hosting, or it can be your web hosting provider offering the service. We use Gmail for our email needs.

Domain Hosting

Finally domain hosting. This isn’t actually a thing, domain hosting is a combination of domain registration and web page hosting, presumably used by people actually looking for web hosting, but don’t know the correct terminology so they search for “best domain hosting Australia“.

How to choose a web host for Australia?

Alrighty, now that that’s clear, let’s get stuck into which factors you need to consider when looking for the best web hosting services.

Server Location: In Australia, or overseas?

If you’re based in Australia, the easiest thing to do is to look for a web host that’s either in or close-ish to Australia, it’s that simple. Why? Because if you host your website on a server in the US for instance, you’ll probably encounter fun issues like lag, slower load times, delays, etc. Server location matters, but don’t worry about it on a city-specific level, so it doesn’t matter if you’re looking for the best web hosts in Brisbane, Sydney, or Melbourne… you won’t notice the speed difference anyway.

Using a CDN: Going Global

That being said, just because your site is hosted on a specific server in a specific location doesn’t mean you can’t get speedy loading times around the world, in every country. With the help of a CDN, you can serve up your site everywhere with minimal lag.

server location map

A CDN or content delivery network is a geographically distributed network of servers that will use the site visitors location to serve up a cached version of your site’s content from its closest node or server. This not only helps with loading times, but can also block spammers, increase security, and protect you from potential DDOS attacks. One of the most popular CDNs is CloudFlare, they actually have a free plan and a lot of web hosts integrate with them pretty seamlessly.

Check server uptime guarantees

You need to know whether you can rely on your hosting company to provide stable servers and maximized server uptime. We started tracking both overall uptime, and response times for the major hosting services on our web host status page. Most web hosting providers will guarantee you a 99.9% uptime. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, our top 5 does a great job at maintaining maximum uptime though. You need a reliable web hosting provider.

How much storage do you get?

The amount of storage implies how much files you can upload to the server. For blogs and small websites, you won’t need more than a couple of GB’s, which is what most cheap web hosting companies offer. But if you’re looking to host a larger website, you should get a hosting plan with more storage capacity. Make sure to give an advantage to companies that use SSD drives for storing data instead of regular HDDs. SSD storage performs up to x10 better in reading and writing speeds.

How is the performance and response time?

While this one might seem easy, it’s actually multi-layered. Most people think that getting the fastest web hosting service is a combination of server performance + Australian based location, meaning that as long as the server runs smoothly, and the location of the data centre is in Australia (as mentioned above), it should be alright. This is definitely not the case though.

Server speed

In fact, there are multiple web hosts with servers in Singapore or overseas that outperform ones with servers in AU. The truth is that the best hosts usually use custom-built systems and scripts to squeeze as much performance as possible out of their data centres. If you combine that with superior hardware and features like server-side caching, PHP7 support, LiteSpeed integration, it’ll blow the Australian web hosting competition out of the water. The correct server config can really make a difference when it comes to loading times and speed, just check our SiteGround vs HostGator comparison for the difference there (and don’t forget, site speed is now a ranking factor according to Google, so it’s important for SEO as well).

We use Keycdn’s ping tool to check response times for our website hosting providers.

Does the support team have your back?

If you’re searching specifically for the best website hosting, you want to make sure their support team is reliable. First, we look at the number of support options and their response times. These can include phone support, live chat, support tickets, a detailed knowledge base, and even video tutorials.

We’ve found that support tickets are still the most efficient way of getting most issues resolved, they’re also the most easily scalable for the web host (which is critical when an entire server goes down and they receive a massive influx of complaints).

Then we need to consider if the host outsources their support, or if it’s in-house, both options have their pros and cons, with outsourced support being better for scalability and consistency, but in-house support is usually quicker on the ball and more knowledgeable.

Email Features

If you want the complete hosting package from a single provider, you need to check for email features (usually more important for people looking for business web hosting as they’ll probably need multiple email addresses). Not all web hosting services you to create email accounts for your domains. If they do, check whether they provide an interface for the webmail, maybe offer unlimited email (usually not the case but you never know), and integration with external services. Also, watch out for limitations. Some providers allow you to create up to 100 email addresses or send 200 emails per hour.

Backups, how often are they made?

Backups are very important, but unfortunately, it’s low on the priority list for most people. You’ll need to backup your website, database and email files on a regular basis (ideally with daily backups). Check whether the company offers backups, and how often do they backup your files. Also, find out how can you restore the files if something goes wrong. Some companies charge for a backup restore, while some provide the service for free.

How many sites per account?

This is important if you plan to host more than one website with your website hosting plan. The cheaper hosting plans are often limited to only one website.

That being said, if you see super cheap plans with unlimited domains, know that the overall performance will most likely go downhill fast the more domains you add. This is because your server resources will not scale according to the number of domains you’re using, resulting in really poor performance on all your sites.

SSL certificates, security is a must!

Securing your site with an SSL certificate is quickly becoming a requirement rather than an option, so not only e-commerce sites need one, but every other site as well. Google will even label non-https sites as non-secure, which will impact your conversion rates. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is basically a technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server (web host) and a client (the browser). SSL enables personal info like credit card numbers and login details to be transmitted securely.

When you’re researching potential web hosts, see if they offer free SSL certificates (preferably with an easy 1-click install option like SiteGround does). If they don’t, you can still get a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt, and ask your host to install it for you. That being said, the best website hosting services should offer this for free by default.

Which type of Australian web hosting is right for your site?

If your website is small and traffic-potential isn’t that high, there are some excellent cheap web hosting choices. Of course, we will be suggesting affordable shared plans, because that’s all most need.

By cheap, we don’t mean simply “sort by cost: low to high” and give you the first three from the list. For us, it means- from the dozens of web hosting providers we tested, the ones that are low cost and are somewhere between ‘steal deal’ and ‘value for money’.

For more information, have a look at our page reviewing the best cheap web hosts for Australia.

Half of the workforce here is employed by small businesses. If you are a part of one and have decided to take the business online, you are going to need a reliable web hosting.

Given you are a small business and have little exposure ⁠- in internet terms, small initial traffic ⁠- a quality shared hosting will be perfect. It can handle all your traffic and give you a fantastic bang for the buck. However, if you expect more traffic, even in the near future, you might want to look into VPS options.

For more information, have a look at our page comparing the best small business hosting providers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is web hosting per year?

Web hosting can cost as little as $20 per year, though that would be on the cheap side. If you want a quality web host for your business website or blog, then you can expect to be paying around $60 per year. It could be more expensive if you want to host bigger websites like e-commerce stores because you might need more disk space or CPU resources and RAM.

How can I host my website for free?

You can host your website for free with WordPress.com and similar services. They take care of everything but you will get stuck with a subdomain rather than a more professional domain (yourbusiness.com.au). With WordPress it would be yourbusiness.wordpress.com, other services that offer similar free hosting would be Wix and Blogger.

Can I host my website on Google?

Google do not host normal websites or business websites, you need a dedicated web hosting provider to host your site. Google does own a service called Blogger that enables you to get a basic website for free, but you’ll be tied into a specific content management system without much flexibility design-wise.

Can I host my own website on my computer?

You can host your own site on your computer by using a local installation. WAMP is the correct term to use and you can use WampServer to install the full stack. It’s not super easy to do if you’re not familiar with things like MySQL, PHP, Apache, etc. The easiest thing to do would be to follow an online guide on downloading WP from wordpress.org and installing it locally.

Which hosting is best for SEO? – Does hosting affect SEO?

As long the hosting company’s servers’ IPs aren’t notorious for spreading spam traffic on the internet, there’s no direct effect of a hosting provider on SEO. Indirectly, though, quality hosting is crucial for SEO.

Search engines such as Google take loading speed, bounce rate, site availability, and server location into consideration in its ranking algorithm. And the hosting company has a lot to do with all the mentioned factors. For higher speed & lower bounce rate, fast hosting is needed. A site’s availability is the same as the hosting’s uptime. And the server location depends on the hosting provider’s data centre (s).

Considering all, the best hosting providers for SEO are HostPapa, SiteGround, and A2 Hosting.

How do I choose a website host?

If you want to personally decide on a host, you need to do what we reviewers/testers do: experiment for speed, ease of use, features, uptime, technical support, and more.

A better, and more practical way, to choose a website host is by reading/listening to ones who have experienced many web hosts first-hand.

How much does it cost to host a website on Google?

Google is a search engine. You don’t need to pay anything to be on Google. You host your website on the hosting provider’s servers. For example, if you buy hosting from HostPapa, your site’s data is stored and delivered from HostPapa’s physical server ⁠— Google has nothing to do with it.

However, Google also provides hosting with its Google Cloud. The pricing of that depends on your usage ⁠— you are billed based on the bandwidth & resources you use.

Can I keep my domain name when I change a host?

Yes, you can keep your domain name when you change your host. In fact, in most cases, the domain is with one company and hosting with another. However, if it came free with the hosting plan, you will need to pay for the domain to the provider.

Does Google have free Web hosting?

Google doesn’t have free web hosting. But, you can try Google cloud for free ⁠— Google very generously provides free credits for first-time users.

Can you code your own website for free?

If you want to code your website from scratch, of course, you can. You just need to know HTML, CSS, JS, MySQL, and PHP, at the very least. Alternatively, you can also download ready-made templates and edit them for free.

As a matter of fact, that’s the whole business of web designers and developers ⁠— creating a website!

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