So, you have just stepped into the entrepreneurial water? Great! Now, something you need to think about is creating your own website. With the number of internet users increasing at a tremendous speed, a constantly available website is an absolute must-have now.
And a quality hosting is what you need to offer an excellent visitor experience on your website. A website with a wrong hosting is like driving a vehicle with eyes closed. After all, you wouldn’t want your users to find your site down or offline, would you?
If you choose a host only to realize that another host would be a better choice for you, it can be a real pain in the neck to migrate the site. This is why you need to consider everything from the speed, stability, security, and uptime of your website while selecting a host.
But with millions of best-rated web hosting providers are there, picking the best one is the biggest dilemma. This is why we’ve curated a complete guide to help you evaluate and choose the hosting plan that best suits your needs.
Know Your Hosting Need
Before you start looking for your hosting mate, take a moment to determine your hosting needs. People tend to flock to the hosting service providers that offer the most features for the fewest dollars. However, the right way to go is to choose the one that is compatible with your specific needs.
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For instance, for the website with a single page, a small, shared hosting plan will work. However, if you own a corporate business website with huge traffic, a dedicated server will do the best. Below are some questions that you must ask yourself before settling for any host.
- What type of website are you creating?
- Do you need any specialized software?
- What platform do you want to choose?
- Are you planning to build more than one website?
- What amount of traffic are you targeting?
Using the above questions as a guideline will give you an idea of what you want to achieve with your website. Here are a few more points to consider while selecting a host.
Storage and RAM
When it comes to web hosting storage, the important thing to look for is SSD or Solid-state drives. SSDs are faster and reliable while the traditional hard-disk drives come with higher capacities.
Consider a host that offers superfast Solid State Disc (SSD) technology and cutting-edge processors. Go through the hardware specifications in detail and select the one with features for optimal web hosting.
Bandwidth and Data Transfer
The size of data downloaded or uploaded from a site depends on the bandwidth or data transfer. It is all about how quickly your users can access the information on your website.
This implies that the higher the bandwidth, the more number of people will be able to view your site at the same time. So make sure the host you chose is offering enough bandwidth to handle your site’s traffic without losing performance.
Every second counts when it comes to making your site available online. If your site becomes inaccessible for a single second, you can miss hundreds of sales opportunities which ultimately damage the brand reputation and productivity.
While talking about uptime, it’s better to opt for a hosting company with a powerful server and stable network connections. You need a host that can keep your site up-and-running at all times. A web hosting company that offers a 99.9% uptime, reliability and dedicated staff at data centers is good to go.
Security and Support
Although the security of your website largely depends on an administrator’s behavior and password strength, the hosting company’s infrastructure also plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety.
Host’s vulnerability can largely impact a website and hence look for the providers that offer firewalls, monitoring services, and other security add-ons.
Also, make sure automatic backups, hands-free WordPress updates, and 24/7 support through multiple channels are included in their package.
Understand the Types of Web Hosting
Free Web Hosting
With such type of hosting, you will get a small bit of space on the server that you will be sharing with many other systems. Well the benefit, of course, is that it will not cost you anything. However, if you weigh up the downside, it will far outweigh this minor advantage.
You will get low bandwidth and data transfer capabilities with free hosting, and that means your site will not support much traffic and will run like a sloth in quicksand.
Not only that, but it is less secure, less reliable with reckless customer support. And if you want any technical guidance, it’s not happening. So, it is needless to say that free hosting is not the way to go for a serious web operation.
Next is the shared hosting in which you again need to share the server and its resources with other sites. But there are many benefits like low cost, quicker technical support as many sites are sharing the server. However, if anything goes wrong with any other sites on the server, it can wreck yours too.
Your website may run sluggish, and you will have very little control over the resources. For a small business with limited budget and fewer visitors, shared hosting is good to go.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
VPS is like having a server without actually having your own server. Just like shared hosting, there are multiple sites on the server, but they are partitioned.
That means every site will have their own operating system, disc space, and bandwidth. It gives you a greater degree of individual control and root access.
However, you can still experience limitations, if other sites running on the server are drawing too much CPU power. For those with more than 100,000 visitors to their site each month, VPS is a good option to consider.
With dedicated hosting, you go “all-in.” You will have the entire server to yourself, and that means you can get the maximum level of power, flexibility, and control. It is easier to shoulder large amounts of traffic and achieve a higher level of stability with such type of hosting.
But remember, this also demands more overhead and a greater investment of time and money. Moreover, you are responsible if something goes wrong in case of dedicated hosting.
The concept of pooling of resources is introduced with cloud hosting. This is where you get multiple machines to support your website.
And the best part about cloud hosting is, your website will still pull resources from other machines even if one goes offline. This way the security measure for your site will be doubled, and you will have full data control with a cloud hosting model.
Evaluate Customer Service & Support
Imagine, it’s almost midnight, and suddenly something goes wrong with your website. Who do you turn to? No matter whatever the time is you need someone who knows what to do about it.
This is why it is essential to have a hosting provider who can listen to your problem and to communicate with you in a friendly and human way and sort out the issue no matter what time is it. Here are things to check out before signing up for any hosting service provider.
- Do they provide 24/7 customer support?
- What support channels do they offer?
- How friendly and prompt is the support team and is it in-house or outsourced?
- What’s the response time of the company for resolving issues?
- How long it takes to get to an operator?
- What types of issues are resolved through the support channels?
- What are the limits?
Analyze Features & Limitations
The software and infrastructure of the hosting company are necessary to run your website. So, the company you choose should offer features that support the way you work.
Make sure they include system requirements like domain registration and transfers, email hosting, and database management.
Also find out whether they provide website migrations, SSL and other essential features that are imperative to run your website smoothly.
Consider the Price
While shopping for a new web host, cost usually reigns supreme. But Jumping on the first cheapest option is not the best idea.
Consider your budget for services like domain name registration and other themes or plugins that you need to add. You must gauge whether the service is cost competitive. Compare the costs offered by the hosting providers and narrow your choices by keeping both the cost and features in mind.
Take Scalability In to Consideration
Another key dimension that you need to look for while choosing a web hosting is the scalability. Your requirements may change with time, and you will be forced into switching your web host.
Changing the host later will be daunting, and hence it is wise to opt for a hosting company that can accommodate your growth. You must evaluate the scalability of potential hosting provider before saying yes to any company. The hosting service should be flexible enough to support your growth.
Test the Water Before Jumping In
The company you choose should not be impulsive or based purely on a sales pitch. Some companies allow you to test their service and you should definitely consider it before taking the plunge. The simple way to decide whether a host is good for your site is to sign up for the host and test it on the clone of your site to gauge its performance.
Whether you have an online store, or a company website, having a reliable and high-performing WordPress hosting service is crucial for your business.
When done right, you will have a reliable and high-performing host who is always available to answer your burning late-night questions.
However, choosing a host without doing research can leave you feeling trapped, misled, or extorted. So, take your time to go through the above guide and finally make an informed decision.