If you are looking to set up a website or multiple websites, you are going to have to select a web host that can meet your needs. There are many hosting providers out there that offer a range of different products, services and pricing models. Here are some considerations you should make when selecting the best web host for you.
Before looking at your options, you need to know your needs. Do you expect your websites to get lots of traffic? Are your sites going to be built using a common CMS like WordPress? Will you need to install special software on your server? These are all questions you should ask yourself before looking at your different hosting options.
You will want to minimize the amount of downtime your websites experience, so look for hosting providers that have uptimes of 99.5% or higher. If your web host experiences a lot of server downtime, this could potentially cost you a lot of money, especially if you are hosting an e-commerce website that receives a lot of traffic.
To determine how reliable the server is for a particular hosting provider, look at customer reviews. You can also use server monitoring tools to monitor server performance.
If you are new to web hosting and are building a website that won't be seeing high traffic (i.e. less than 50 000 visitors a month), then a shared hosting service is probably a safe place to start. Shared hosting plans are inexpensive and easy to maintain.
Here is a list of popular shared hosting providers:
However, if you foresee your website gaining lots of traffic in the next 3-4 years, make sure you are with a host that easily allows you to upgrade to a VPS or Dedicated Server. VPSs and Dedicated Servers have more computing power, memory storage, disk space, and higher security levels than shared hosting plans.
Hosting costs are usually at a large premium for the first year but are much more expensive for subsequent years. Make sure to carefully look at the pricing model for each hosting provider.
You may end up trying a web host and you will not be satisfied with them for any number of reasons. If this occurs, you may be able to get a refund depending on the terms of service of the hosting provider. Make sure to look at refund policies before choosing your host.
Does your website need to be encrypted? Maybe you are selling products on your site and visitors have to enter credit card information to purchase your products. If this is the case, you will need SSL certification on your site so none of your customer's credit card information is easily exposed. Some hosting providers charge large fees to have your website encrypted, so make sure to look at these additional costs.
In case your website gets hacked or your website no longer functions after some major update, you may want to restore your site from a backup. Make sure that it is easy to backup and restore your website files with your hosting provider. There are also some hosts that will automatically backup your sites for you, especially if you are on a managed VPS plan.
Are you going to want your host to deal with an email address at your domain name? If so, make sure this is a feature offered by your web host. If not, you can also use services such as G Suite or Zoho Mail to set up an email at your domain name.
When changing settings on your web host, you will need to access the control panel provided by your web host. Some common and easy to use control panels include cPanel and Plesk, but some hosting providers may have other less user-friendly control panels. Make sure your control panel will be easy to use or you will be dealing with tech support much more frequently.
Do you need to be able to call a support agent to address your issues? Maybe you prefer to talk with someone right away through a live chat? Look into the different ways you can contact your web host's support team and how fast they are able to respond to your issues.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when deciding on a web host. There are also a lot of hosting providers to pick from. Make sure to look at many different options before making your final decision.
If things don't work out, then you can always find another host, but you will not want to switch too frequently. Moving from one web host to another can be a hassle and time consuming and it is usually something you will want to avoid.