Choosing the best website hosting for your website can be a confusing process and not one you should take lightly. However, with so many web hosting companies out there, it’s not easy to know which one to work with–and it’s definitely not a decision you should make at random either. With that in mind, use the following guide to help you determine the best web host for your next web project.
1. CONSIDER YOUR SPECIFIC NEEDS
Unfortunately, choosing the best web host isn’t as simple as picking one from a list. Everyone’s idea of “best” will depend on their unique needs.
Before you start shopping for web hosts, sit down and outline what you need from a website hosting. Consider the following questions:
- What type of site will you be creating? For example, will you be working with WordPress or creating a static HTML website?
- Will you be creating more than one site? Some hosts allow you to create multiple sites from the same account.
- How much traffic do you expect to receive each month? Be realistic. This will help determine how much resources you need. If you plan to grow your traffic over time, you may need a host that offers scalability in their package offerings.
- Do you need extra features, such as email hosting or an SSL certificate? Be sure the host you choose offers what you’re looking for (and at a reasonable rate).
- What is your monthly budget? Knowing this can help you weed out certain hosts and packages before you waste time comparing features of hosts outside your range.
2. LOOK INTO HOSTING RELIABILITY AND SPEED
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a website hosting is the host’s reliability and uptime scores. Obviously, you want your site to be operating as often as possible. Even a few minutes of downtime per day can lead to lost revenue and a poor customer experience.
While no host can guarantee their servers will be active 100 percent of the time, there are many companies that boast uptimes of 99.5 percent and higher. Avoid hosting companies that report anything below 99 percent.
In addition to uptime, you’ll want to choose a host with fast servers. There are plenty of ways to speed up your website, but if your site is on a slow server, it doesn’t matter how many other tweaks you make to it; it will always be slow.
To find reliability and speed stats on a given host, start by looking at their website, and then browse through online reviews to get a feel for how other customers’ sites have performed with that host.
3. KNOW YOUR UPGRADE OPTIONS
Generally, shared website hosting is a good place to start because it’s cheap and suits most beginners’ needs. However, your needs may not stay the same forever. As your website grows, you may find yourself needing more bandwidth, email storage, and other resources.
Don’t be fooled by unmetered or unlimited offers, either. In many cases, your service agreement will allow your host to throttle website performance after a certain amount of use, which can drastically slow your website speeds. Some agreements even allow hosts to shut down your site or require you to upgrade if you’re using up too many resources.
That’s why you’ll want to look for a host that offers room to grow. Though you might start out on a shared hosting plan, a host that also offers VPS hosting and dedicated hosting will be able to help you make the transition to a new server easier as your site grows.
4. EXPLORE SECURITY FEATURES
Another important aspect to consider in a web host is their security features. This is especially true if you’re planning to run a website that stores or transports sensitive data, such as customers’ credit card numbers.
Start by looking at whether or not the host runs firewalls or malware detection on their servers. Ask them if they monitor their servers for unusual activity. Look for a host that offers SSL certificates to ensure that the data sent over your site remains secure and encrypted. Some hosts also offer IP deny services, which allow you to block specific IP addresses, such as those that might come from groups of hackers.
Finally, you’ll want to look into whether or not the host offers frequent site backups. Even with a range of security measures in place, it’s never a guarantee that your site won’t be hacked or compromised through another disaster. If your host offers backup services, you’ll be able to quickly restore your site in the event of a crisis.
5. LOOK FOR QUALITY CUSTOMER SUPPORT
Good customer support can mean all the difference with a hosting provider, especially if you need a bit of hand-holding to get your site up and running. During your research process, look to see what sort of support channels are available, such as live chat, email, or phone support.
Also take a look at each host’s support hours. Some hosts offer customer support 24/7, while others are only available during business hours, which can make them difficult to get ahold of when you need support ASAP.