Choosing the right web host for your business can be daunting ‒ especially if you’re just starting out your first website.
There’s so much information that you need to digest when it comes to hosting your site. It’s also easy to forget the most crucial things when you’re weighing the pros and cons of different providers.
In this post, we’ll discuss the 15 things that you need to consider when choosing a web host.
Even if the price is one of the top things on our list, it shouldn’t be the main deciding factor or a deal-breaker.
Over time, you’ll come to observe that there are huge price differences that are being offered by different merchants. And sometimes, going for the cheapest option out there isn’t necessarily a great idea, especially in the long run.
When you’re looking for potential choices, keep in mind that the maintenance of a skilled workforce and state of the art software do take a lot of time and money. Thus, a web hosting provider that offers you a $2 monthly subscription might not be one of them.
While it’s still important to search for the best deals out there, you also need to remember the saying “You get what you pay for.”
Area of Expertise
Not all web hosts are the right fit for all kinds of customers. Others offer excellent shared plans but don’t provide the right solutions for a growing business. Others provide excellent enterprise solutions but don’t cater to someone that has an up-and-coming blog.
So it’s vital to compare web hosts first. Look first on a particular web host’s specialty or area of expertise. Then choose a company that understands your needs.
You can also search for reviews and recommendations online. Many of these reviews will talk about specific web host’s strengths and weaknesses.
Reliability and Uptime Score
There’s nothing more important than having a host that operates 24/7. That’s true if your visitors operate in different timezones from all over the world.
You need to search for a web host that offers stable servers and network connections. Usually, the ideal uptime score is 99.95 % ‒ even for those who have shared hosting accounts. There are even premium accounts that offer 99.99% uptime.
Luckily, there are various ways you can obtain this web host uptime information.
For instance, you can track your prospective web host using a server monitoring tool. Most of these tools are usually available for free or offer a free trial period. Apart from that, they’re efficient and easy to use.
The closer your data center is with your web visitors, the faster your loading page will be. So if most of your web visitors come from a single area, you can pick a hosting provider with a nearby data center.
However, if that’s not the case, you can always opt for a web hosting package that offers a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
A CDN will be hosting a copy of the static content of your website and a copy of the page when it’s being accessed from another territory. Also known as caching, site visitors will be able to get the data from the server that’s closest to your location.
Sometimes, one factor that’s commonly overlooked when picking a web host provider is the security of the server.
In fact, according to a report, 1 out of 13 web requests eventually lead to malware. That’s why it’s crucial to pick a web server that can protect your website from these cyber attacks.
Of course, while your site’s security still has a lot to do with how you create and develop your site, having a secure web hosting helps keep potential hackers out.
So, ensure that your web host provider keeps their system updated at all times. You should also check if they conduct an anti-virus and anti-malware software scanning regularly.
Finally, your web host provider should also provide you with user access control. This allows only selected people to access the admin features of your site.
Another thing that you need to consider when picking a web host provider is scalability.
As your site grows and your traffic increases, sometimes your current web plan can no longer sustain your needs. So, if your current web hosting provider couldn’t accommodate you as you grow, this could lead to more serious problems later.
Ask yourself the following questions when picking a web host:
- Do they provide you with the flexibility to upgrade your current subscription anytime you want?
- Will they allow you to shift from a VPS hosting to a dedicated one quite easily?
Remember that switching from one hosting service to another is both time-consuming and costly. So to be able to avoid that, you should pick a web host provider that will allow you to join hands as you please.
As a website owner, you’re likely to encounter issues, especially in the early days of managing a website. Therefore, having access to a highly responsive, friendly, and well-trained technical support team is important.
Ideally, you should look for a service provider that offers high-quality, 24-hour support. However, keep in mind that some companies advertise that they have 24/7 support, but they take hours (or even days) to get back to you and answer your query.
An excellent way to filter out a provider who is likely sticking to their word is to search for reviews, testimonials, and ratings online. Finally, make sure that their technical support is offered in multiple channels such as email, landline, live chat, and so on.
We always think that the worst won’t happen to us. But it’s always best that you come prepared. After all, accidents do happen.
Therefore, if you’re in the position where your site could easily be destroyed, you might want to look for a way to restore it.
A backup is a great way to bring back your site if ever it gets lost. While other methods are available in backing up your site, one of the easiest (and best) ways to do it is through a web host.
It’s also more convenient on your part if the web host offers you daily backups for your website, as well as click-on-demand backups.
As a website owner, you should also be ready to learn and perform various tasks like creating a new email account, a new content management system, and a new plugin by yourself, regardless of whether you know (or don’t) about that particular technology.
To be able to accomplish this, you might have to access a control panel like cPanel or Plesk. Usually, these web-designed applications will allow you to access one of the most important features of a website through a simplistic interface.
So, don’t choose a service provider that doesn’t offer you a control panel that isn’t user-friendly.
A web host can be costly on your part, especially if you’re just starting out and you have a limited budget. That’s why you must choose a web hosting company that gives you some sort of refund policy or a trial period to significantly cut down the costs.
Through free trials, you’re able to test whether a specific hosting plan is great for you, and opt-out if ever it doesn’t fit with your current hosting needs.
If ever things don’t go as you expect it to be, choosing a web hosting provider that provides great refund policies will see to it that you don’t lose out a lot of money.
If you already have a prospective web host, do your research on that particular web hosting company.
Look them up on Google or social media, and see what they’re previous clients are saying about them.
Can they easily be contacted if ever problems arise? What’s their average time to respond? What’s their course of action is if ever a problem arises?
Bandwidth is the quality of data and traffic that’s allowed to travel and transfer to and from your site, web users, and the internet.
Every web hosting company has different levels of bandwidth. If you’re a small blog with an average of 5,000 visitors per month, then you don’t have to worry whether your bandwidth is metered or not.
Several hosting plans will offer an unlimited storage capacity, but that also has restrictions. If you’re a small business website, for instance, a low-cost hosting plan is already enough for your needs.
It’s also unlikely that you’ll need more than 1 GB unless you have larger files like videos and music.
You must also be aware of what type of hardware your hosting company uses.
If your prospective web hosting company doesn’t exactly say what type of web host they use, then you might have to ask. That’s because the hardware they use can significantly affect your server and website’s performance.
This is probably something that you haven’t considered when selecting a web hosting provider.
However, if you encounter a spam problem, then it’s likely because your web host doesn’t have the right solution to address it. Ask about the web host’s spam solutions as well as general email practices.
Over to You
It’s possible to navigate the waters of web hosting and pick the right host. Picking the right choice is all about considering your needs alongside with what a service provider has to offer.
About the Author
Matt Ahlgren is the co-founder of WebsiteHostingRating.com, a reliable website where you can see hosting reviews. He is a web developer with in-depth skills in SEO and affiliate marketing. When not at work, he enjoys spending time with his family and taking his pug for a walk.