Choosing a web host boils down to the three main “S” criteria – Speed, Security, and Support – each with its own set of factors.
1. Understand the needs of your site
A quick Google search will show you that there are tons of web host providers out there. But before you can even consider any of them, you need to know the needs of your website.
The first step towards choosing the right web host is to identify what your needs are for your website. Ask yourself questions such as “what type of website am I building?”, “Do I want to use WordPress?”, or “How much traffic am I expecting?”.
Now, these questions might seem basic but are actually important. Why?
Because the more detailed you can be, the easier it will be for deciding which hosting provider will be right for the job. Going for WordPress? Consider a managed WordPress hosting provider. Building an online store? Look at hosting providers that specialize in eCommerce.
2. Server Reliability, Uptime Scores, And Security
Weak servers and unstable network connections can often push your site offline. This not only denies you possible viewership or sales for an e-commerce store but also leads to low rankings on search engines like Google and Yahoo. Banking on a hosting company with reputable uptime scores, preferably above 99.5 percent is, therefore, key to your site’s success. Avoid companies that report an annual uptime score below 99 percent.
3. Availability Of Site Backups
The current wave of cyber threats like ransomware is no longer solely directed to finance websites. It has seen an increased number of general websites being targeted by these online extortionists. Such acts often result in irreparable damages like the destruction or replacement of your site’s index.php file. Similarly, you might also experience severe server or local hard disk failures. It, therefore, becomes important that you only engage a host service provider that offers regular web data backup.
4. The ability to upgrade your server
Hosting plans come in all shapes and sizes today but if you’re just starting out, odds are you’ll end up with a shared hosting plan.
If you do, then it’s recommended that you choose a provider that allows you to upgrade your server down the road.
The reason being, even if you opt for a really good shared hosting plan, there’s still a limit to the resources you have available. Once your website grows bigger and attracts larger traffic (above 30,000 unique visitors), then a shared hosting plan will not be enough to accommodate all that bandwidth.
A hosting provider that allows you to upgrade your plan will be a lot more useful than having to find a new host and migrating your entire website.
If you’re a beginner, here’s a quick tip:
A VPS or dedicated server plan offers greater server resources once your website outgrows the shared hosting plan. Be on the lookout for web hosts that offers the flexibility to scale up when your website demands it.
5. Registration And Maintenance Costs
The web hosting industry ordinarily offers attractive hosting deals during signup and even for your first payment. However, the renewal charges often more than triple. Are they avoidable? Only if you hope to jump from one hosting service provider with discounted sign-up rates to another after every two years. To avoid the surprise bill effect at the end of the discount period, check the renewal charges for your preferred package.
6. E-Commerce And Email Options
You stand to receive more feedback and even subscriber conversions if you have your email linked to your website’s domain name. In this case, when looking for the right web hosting company, chose one that provides email hosting for your website’s primary email.
In the past, most individuals identified the right hosting company with the amount of disk space and bandwidth that is provided. The perception of what is more important has now shifted to affordability. However, if you seek to run and continuously grow your site into the foreseeable future, consider adopting a comprehensive approach to identifying a suitable web host provider by looking at all the factors acting upon the optimal functionality of your website.
7. Customer Service
How effective and speedy is the company in providing support for technical problems? Try to choose a host that offers live support to their clients, 24/7. Also look for those who offer chat support, as well as social media visibility as opposed to email and support tickets. Give priority to companies with an in-house customer support department. They have a better grasp of the company’s operation compared to outsourced customer support service.
When choosing a hosting company, take your time and weigh all the options. You can save a lot of tie and trouble if you just be more mindful of how you choose your web hosting provider.
Just keep the following factors in mind before when you look for a web host:
- Your website needs
- Their uptime scores/server reliability
- How flexible are their plans
- The signup and renewal pricing
- Their refund policy/free trials
- What features they offer
- Backups for your website
- Quality of customer support
- Server speed and responsiveness
While there are many more factors when comes to choosing a web host, the ones we’ve listed above should help you greatly in deciding on the right hosting provider for your business and your website.