It seems like everyone has a blog these days, most of which are sporadically updated, and that’s fine since the freedom to do so is what’s important. However, there are those who then want to take it to a different level by having their own separate websites by getting web hosting. This lets them have more control over their websites, letting them customize both appearance and overall functionality.
However, not all web hosting services are alike, and customers these days are spoiled for choice with all the different services online vying for your money. There are several factors to consider in order to know which one of them you should give your hard-earned cash to.
- Compare Prices
Web hosting is no good if you can’t afford it and/or it doesn’t give you the value you were looking for. It’s not just about how much you have to pay every month, but also what you can get out of it while you’re subscribed. There may also be promos wherein you can get better prices by entering a web hosting coupon code or going for a longer subscription plan, which can be helpful.
- Know Where the Servers Are
Consider where you and your core audience are and where the web hosting servers are. The nearer the server is, the better your website’s performance will be. For instance, if your audience is mostly from the US, then perhaps you should go for web hosting from there as well. Just make sure that it’s still fast enough for you to upload your files to your hosting at a reasonable amount of time.
- Research the Company Background
Not all web hosting companies are the same. Those who may be offering the most affordable services may not be that stringent with their standards or ethical with their business practices. It pays to do a bit of research on the history and origins of a web hosting company so you know if they’re affiliated with a certain organization whose policies oppose your point of view or if they’re even solvent for the forseeable future. Getting web hosting from a reputable company will save you from future headaches and ensure that you have the best service possible.
- Look at Specifications and Infrastructure
The performance of your website is mostly dependent on how good the servers are and if they can handle the load from the views it gets from its audience. Servers that fall short in terms of technical specifications can lead to your website often being offline and your audience not being able to visit. That can take away more from your business the more often the website is down, so always look for web hosting that has good technical specs and solid infrastructure.
- Read User Reviews
This is perhaps one of the most useful ways to judge whether a web hosting service is worth your money or not. These people have tried it out and have stories to tell about their dealings with the service itself, the customer service, and everything else in between. If there are common problems associated with a certain web hosting service, then user reviews should tell you what they are. If the reviews are mostly positive and it does look like they come from real people, then perhaps that service is indeed good.
- Check Their Customer Support
This is another detail you’ll have to look for in the user reviews. It’s one thing to subscribe for web hosting, and it’s another thing to live with it. Two things can make your life easier in the long run—consistent service and good customer support in those times of inconsistency. Bad customer support is almost always the deal breaker when it comes to a lot of things, including web hosting. It’s good if the service has 24/7 live customer support so that you need not wait to file your ticket and be attended to.
- Go for Flexible Plans
It’s important that the web hosting service you choose lets you change your subscription plan whenever you need to. When your website is growing, the basic plan may not be as good as it was due to the influx of visitors. Therefore, you’ll need to make sure that the web hosting service you choose will let you change over whenever you want so that your website can scale with your business.
- Choose Which Kind of Hosting You Need
There are different kinds of web hosting for different needs with different pricing. Make sure that you get what’s sufficient for your needs to make the most of what you pay for. They are the following:
The most basic of all web hosting services. It’s pretty much steak and potatoes for the most part with the things you need for a website and not much else. You share a space in a server with other shared hosting subscribers, hence the name. Since you’re sharing with other websites, performance is split as well. On the other hand, maintenance costs are amortized over the customers sharing that server, making it the most economical of web hosting services.
This is for those who want more out of their hosting and wish to customize their own space on the Internet. An instance of virtual private server hosting runs its own operating system and the user have superuser-level access, which means that you can install almost whatever you want on that operating system to tweak your website however you wish. That level of freedom does mean you have to pay a bit more for VPS hosting.
Take shared hosting and remove the “shared” part of it. That’s what dedicated hosting is—you have your own server all by yourself. That means you have all the space and performance from that server, making it a lot more flexible than shared hosting. That does mean you have to pay top dollar for it, but you get stability, performance, and control in exchange.
This is basically web hosting that makes use of resources from several clustered servers instead of just one server, which distributes the load evenly among them. This can be a more secure option for those who value stability above all else. This can be an option for websites that have outgrown conventional shared hosting services.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Most websites on the Internet make use of WordPress as its content management system. However, installing WordPress can be rather tedious, especially for those who may not be that knowledgeable about things related to web development. Therefore, having a web hosting service that takes care of the WordPress installation and management can be quite convenient.
- Pay Attention to Uptime
This is the main basis for the reliability of a web hosting service. You want as close to 100% uptime as possible, but do note that any service advertising absolutely 100% uptime may not be telling the truth since web hosting does go down for various reasons from time to time. The thing about downtime is that as long as they happen for a short time every now and then, it shouldn’t be a problem. User reviews should give you a good idea of a web hosting service’s usual uptime.
- Take a Look at the Backend
The backend is what let’s you get into the guts of your web hosting. It’s how you can upload files, create and back up databases, create and check your email accounts, create subdomains, and so on. Usually, it’s something like cPanel or other similar backend platforms. Make sure to take a look beforehand so that you’ll know your way around it and not be confused when you actually get the web hosting.
- Take a Look at Renewal Rates
This is where a lot of web hosting services get you. While you can get your first year of web hosting quite cheap, you may later find out that renewal is more than what you bargained for. It’s pretty much one of the ways they get back from giving such low prices to attract customers.
It’s not really a bad thing, but make sure that you take a look at what you’ll have to pay the second and succeeding times around and be certain that you can actually afford it. If it’s indeed too steep and it does look like a service would be ripping you off, then skip that.
- See How Much Traffic It Can Really Handle
There are plenty of web hosting service plans that boast unlimited bandwidth, meaning that they claim to allow for unlimited amount of traffic to your website. However, the truth is that most of them would just crash when there’s a sudden influx of massive traffic, especially if it’s just shared hosting. There are some that are more realistic and show something like 300 GB of traffic per month or so.
Whatever it is, knowing how much traffic you’d get each month and using that estimate to base your decision on which web hosting you’ll get to accommodate that is good practice. Of course, that is if you actually know just how much traffic you’ll actually get.
- Look for Other Supporting Features
While you may be looking for just the basic bells and whistles, it’s not a bad thing to have some other features to sweeten the deal. Whether it’s automatic site backup, environmentally friendly servers, or so on, these additional features can be handy or at least ease your conscience.
- Pay Attention to the Terms of Service
This is the boring, but unmistakably essential part of choosing a web hosting service. Every experience with a service all boils down to the terms and conditions, including information regarding details like account suspension and server usage. You have to look carefully at these parts so that you know beforehand if what you have in mind for your website is in line with the service’s policies or you might just find your website nixed with little to no warning.
By accepting the terms of service, you’re basically agreeing that they can do what they see fit and there will be almost nothing you can do about it if things do go south.
- Make Sure You Can Easily Transfer to Another Service
The hard truth with web hosting is that you may not hit the jackpot with your first service, so you may end up not being satisfied with the service and would like to transfer to a different one. This is absolutely alright as it’s usually the case for a lot of businesses whose websites either outgrow their web hosting or didn’t work well because of bad service.
Some services may actually have something in place that makes it hard to transfer to a different service. It may be easy to think that there won’t be any need to find another service, do remember that you can never be too sure.
Once you do decide on which web hosting service you want to host your website, communication becomes key to smooth sailing. If there are problems, you should be able to tell customer service and they should be able to address it. Finding web hosting that does everything right is indeed a beautiful thing, and you may find one that’s right for you by considering the factors listed above.