With thousands of web hosting companies to choose from, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed by your options. If you haven’t had to choose a web hosting company before, you may not understand what to expect or look for. Fortunately, it’s easy to choose a web hosting provider once you know what to look for.
This post will cover everything you should know and consider before you choose a web hosting company. Choosing the wrong hosting provider can cause lost revenue due to downtime, have negative effects on your site’s SEO, and even lead to malware attacks due to faulty security.
Don’t let your site fall victim to bad hosting companies – learn what to look for in a web hosting company so your website has the best potential for growth and success.
Types of Web Hosting Plans
Before you buy web hosting, you’ll need to know what kind of hosting service is best suited for your website. If you’re only hosting your site for a short period of time or to an extremely limited audience, you may be fine using free web hosting. Free hosting is more limited than paid hosting, but it’s a great place to start if you’ve never hosted a website before.
If your site is for a blog or business that expects to see more traffic than a few visitors per day, there are three basic types of web hosting plans you need to know about:
Shared hosting is the best option for most websites because it is the least costly and is appropriate for moderate levels of traffic. With shared hosting, your website is stored on the same server as other sites and share the cost and resources. Each user has their own limits on disk space, email accounts, monthly traffic, etc.
VPS hosting is like having a dedicated server, but at a fraction of the cost. It allows you to pull the computing power from the cloud and customize your piece of the server. VPS hosting is ideal for those seeking a cost-effective hosting plan with room to grow. If your website frequently has high levels of traffic or needs higher specifications, an upgrade to dedicated hosting may be the best option.
Dedicated hosting lets you lease an entire server, giving you full access to customize the hardware, operating system, and more. You also have exclusive rights to the server’s bandwidth and memory that unlike other hosting plans, is not affected by the usage of other users. Usually, dedicated servers are for high-volume sites that a shared or VPS hosting plan couldn’t handle.
What To Consider Before Choosing A Web Hosting Company
Now that you’re familiar with the types of web hosting plans that are available, you’ll need to find the right service for your site. It’s important to keep in mind that these plans differ in the level of expertise required to manage them. Generally, shared hosting is the most basic and easy to understand while dedicated servers require more technical knowledge.
(You can find more information about these three types of hosting plans here)
After you’ve decided which plan will best suit your site, your next decision is to choose a web hosting provider. Though cost is likely one of your greatest determining factors, don’t let price be your only reason for choosing a web hosting service. Desired features and cost will vary for each situation, but you should always look for these characteristics:
This is extremely important, because choosing an unreliable host can mean downtime for your site – even a few minutes of downtime can lead to the loss of traffic or revenue. Most web hosting companies promise at least 99% uptime, but that doesn’t include everything that could go wrong. Find a host that has a proven track record of reliability or offers an uptime guarantee so you’ll never have to worry about your site going down and costing you more money.
- 24/7 Live Support
You’re going to have questions, so you’ll need an experienced support team available around the clock to make sure your site is running smoothly. If you encounter a problem with your site or service, you’ll want experts that will be able to swiftly solve it for you. Don’t settle for email or forum only support unless you’re fine with waiting for a few hours up to a couple days for a response.
- Room To Grow
You want your site to grow, so make sure your hosting company has an easy transition process if your site exceeds its server requirements. If the company’s upgraded server plans are too expensive, take this as a warning that your site will not have room to grow. Take into account that traffic levels can jump intermittently, so your hosting provider and plan needs to be able to accommodate these spikes.
- Renewal Prices
If cost is important to you, then this is crucial. Many companies will offer promotional prices for their hosting services and then hike up the price come renewal time. These higher renewal prices can cost you as much as $300 over the course of six years, even though you’re still getting the same quality of service. Look for hosting companies without increased renewal prices so you can save money in the long run.
- Reputation (Watch Out For Misleading Affiliate Programs!)
Finding a reliable web hosting company that lives up to their promises can be tough, so welcome the power of the customer review. Don’t trust web hosting review sites or referrals without reading the fine print. Many of these companies have “affiliate programs” that allow web hosting companies to pay a premium to have a positive review written about them.
This is just one example among many – at first glance, this website appears to offer real reviews on web hosting companies from “Jerry Low and team”.
However, if you scroll to the bottom of the page you’ll find a disclaimer that looks like this:
These sites exist solely to make money off of tricking people into purchasing hosting based on paid referrals. Not all of these sites have a disclaimer that is clear to see, so the best way to get accurate information is to use trustworthy sites. Google Reviews are one good source, as users are required to have a verified Google Plus account to be able to post a review.
The features you look for in a web hosting company depend entirely on your site’s needs. For instance if you’re hosting an app, you’ll need to determine if your app will perform better on a shared or VPS hosting plan. Hosting a WordPress, Drupal, or eCommerce site? Make sure your hosting company has an easy, 1-click option to install these applications.
Those with less web development experience could run into technical issues and may prefer using a site builder. Know your limitations and look for a web hosting company that offers features you need to keep your website running smooth.
Choosing the wrong web hosting company can be extremely detrimental to your business. Overcrowded servers can lead to downtime, which loses revenue but can also have a negative effect on your site’s SEO. Visitors will see that your site is down and quickly click away, which tells Google your site should be pushed further down in the rankings.
Another problem with choosing the wrong hosting company is the risk of security and malware attacks, which are also common among overcrowded servers. We hope this guide helps you know what to look for in a web hosting company so you can avoid downtime, malware, and paying too much for your service.