Q: I’m confused by some of the stuff on your web hosting comparison chart. What’s chat support? Do I need to download something to do it? 

A: Most of the web hosts we’ve reviewed offer a lot of access to customer and technical support. This can be really important, particularly for beginners, since setting up a website and managing your hosting can be complex. Chat support means you can quickly speak to a support person online, usually by clicking on a button on the website that pops up a small chat window for you.

Though you sometimes have to wait a few moments for a representative to get to your chat, once you are speaking with support, the responses will be a much quicker back and forth than you’d get over email. You won’t need to download anything, chat support should work in pretty much any web browser. This is great for quick questions, particularly if you don’t want to take the time to talk to someone on the phone or wait for a response to your email when you have a problem with your hosting.

Other common support options include phone and email support. We recommend that beginners in particular stick with hosts that offer at least phone support, since it can be important to have quick, easy access to support personnel. Remember to check support hours (they’re included in our reviews) to make sure that you’ll be able to call whenever you need help. Most of our top hosts offer 24 hour phone and chat support.