Choosing a website hosting service for your new website or changing up your existing website hosting is an important decision that isn’t easily undone if you discover you made the wrong choice. Switching to a new host means you lose any pre-paid fees for hosting (in many cases, although some companies offer a pro-rated refund). A bigger issue is that switching hosts isn’t as easy as it might seem to the outsider and may result in downtime as you make changes to improve the appearance or functionality once the move is accomplished. Having your website go down is something to avoid at all costs, even if her downtime is resolved within a few hours. The right web host offers a clean back end to your website, which is SEO optimized. Web hosts also differ in the load speed they provide and other factors that similarly impact SEO.
With hundreds, if not thousands of hosting providers available today, you might find choosing one overwhelming. Not to worry though, I thought about this and created a list of six things you should consider when choosing the right host for your website:
1. Differences Between Hosting Types
If you tried searching for the right hosting provider, you might encounter terms such as “dedicated, shared, VPS, cloud, reseller, and WordPress” without knowing how these factors impact performance, thus complicating your choice. These terms reflect different types of web hosting, which differ in the performance they offer. Plus, note that not all web hosts offer all these types of website hosting.
Almost every hosting provider, though, provides shared hosting. Shared hosting is when a site shares a server and its resources with other sites. Shared hosting is commonly the least expensive, although it limits the size of your website and the amount of traffic that commonly visits the site. Many hosting firms offer various tiers of shared hosting, with tiers working just fine for most startup businesses. If you don’t expect much traffic and have a tight budget, then this is the best option. However, as you share the resources, mainly storage, with other websites, you might experience the occasional slowdown or other performance issues.
Meanwhile, larger corporations with huge traffic visiting their site commonly choose a VPS or dedicated hosting due to their enhanced performance. The former is like a boosted version of shared hosting, except that there are far fewer sites sharing the server and its resources. Meanwhile, choosing the latter means that you get the server all to yourself, allowing you to leverage the full power of a server.
WordPress hosting allows you to build a website in an environment catering to the most popular CMS in the world which is, obviously, WordPress. That said, you can easily set up a WordPress website on almost all hosting plans.
Reseller hosting, on the other hand, allows you to start your own branded web hosting business without building the infrastructure from scratch. This option is only economical or necessary if you plan to offer hosting to clients, for instance. Cloud hosting is an entirely different beast that allows you to easily scale your site power across numerous servers, although without the normal bells and whistles that come with web hosting.
The pricing for these hosting types and tiers are different from one provider to another, so make sure to shop around. Also, think about what kind of hosting you need for your site today and in the future.
2. Check Performance
Another thing that you should consider is the performance of the hosting provides, such as server reliability, security, and uptime scores. Most providers list these metrics on their websites or consider searching for 3rd party reviews for information. Unstable network connections and weak servers often result in downtime. Downtime means your website isn’t available for shoppers or other visitors, resulting in lower market performance and eroding trust. Plus, it also results in low rankings on search engines.
Partnering with a reputable hosting company with excellent uptime scores, preferable to those with more than 99.5 percent, is key to your website success. In addition, it’s equally important that you have a secure and trusted hosting solution that can protect your business against all kinds of breaches or data leakages.
3. Site Backups
Backup is crucial. Even with all the top-of-the-line security measures in the world, a website may still face some kind of failure, crash, get hacked, or get a virus that can take it down for days, weeks, months, or, worse, shut it down entirely. Occasionally, an update to your CMS or a plugin results in something unexpected that takes your site down or corrupts the data so the website looks wonky.
This is where a good backup policy is crucial. That way, if an incident happens you can always revert to the saved working website. A reliable hosting provider can then restore your full website or, at least, the majority of it with minimal downtime to avoid significant losses or damage to your reputation.
Check that your hosting company performs regular backups or use a plugin to ensure the site is backed up regularly. Also, check that you can manually back up and restore your files via the control panel, or do you need the support staff to restore the backup files?
4. Future Thinking
With growth comes diversification. Although you may be starting with a single site and domain name, you may soon experience the need for multiple sites, domains, and subdomains as your business grows. Thus, before you sign up with a specific service provider, consider the different packages and plans offered, and pay specific attention to whether it allows options for running several websites on a single hosting account.
Also, make sure to check the cost of unlimited site and domain packages, comparing it with other hosting options. Choose a web hosting provider that offers various service plans, allowing you to add new domains and scale over time.
5. Free Trials & Refund Policy
Hosting your website is not cheap. This is especially true if you’re just starting out and don’t have a big budget to spend. The good news is that most hosting company offers some form of free trial periods and/or refund policy that helps reduce costs if you decide the host isn’t working for your needs.
Free trials allow you to safely test the hosting service and plan for a specific period. If it doesn’t fit your site’s needs, then you can always opt-out unscathed. Meanwhile, choosing a hosting provider with a good refund policy helps lower the risk of losing too much money should things go wrong.
Also, take note that some companies charge a cancellation fee when you try to opt-out during the trial periods. Avoid these providers and go for the companies that provide money-back guarantees with pro-rated refunds after your trial period is done.
6. Tech Support
Lastly, you need to check just how quick and reliable a hosting provider’s support is. Just imagine your site going down during peak traffic hours. This can be quite stressful, especially for the non-techy website owners.
A hosting provider with a reliable support team can help you resolve the issue quickly. Ideally, you need a hosting provider with 24/7 responsive tech support either via toll-free phone call or live chat. This way, they help resolve any issues with your site immediately. Some hosts also offer email support for non-emergency queries.
Choosing the right web hosting provider can be quite stressful and overwhelming. However, with the above considerations, you should now be able to make sound web hosting decisions that benefit your end results.