When creating a website, you’ll need web hosting. It’s how your website will become accessible online. Your web hosting provider is also partially responsible for how well your website functions. Therefore, it’s essential to know your requirements and base your choice on that.
Web hosting works by storing all of your website’s files and data on their servers, showing it to visitors when they enter your URL address into their browsers. It also determines how fast your site loads and how smoothly it works when it’s loaded.
To help you ensure you pick a reliable web host that can meet your needs, read the ten things you should pay attention to below.
1. Understand the Hosting Environment You Need
Infographic created by HotWire Networks, a web hosting company
Each hosting plan caters to websites that have different requirements. For example, if you’re building a blog or a portfolio site, you won’t need many resources. Meaning, a shared hosting plan is a way to go.
If you’re planning to build a website that will have a lot of content and receive tons of traffic, going for a VPS, cloud, or dedicated hosting is the right choice for you. They each provide dedicated resources for your website, meaning your website will be able to handle the load.
Evaluate future plans and the potential size of your website, and choose a hosting plan according to that.
2. Server Uptime and Speed
Make sure that your web hosting provider is fast and has at least a 99.9% uptime guarantee. This is because 40% of users will leave your site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. You also don’t want your visitors to be unable to access your website during essential times. Managed WordPress hosting providers like Cloudways put a special focus on speed and uptime, ensuring performance boosts and constant availability resulting in low bounce rates and extra revenues.
According to Google, your hosting’s server should have a response time of 200 milliseconds or lower. Anything higher than that, and Google will deem your website too slow and not rank it well on search engine result pages.
While most hosting providers will guarantee great uptime for your website, you need to double-check to see whether their promises are true or not. Look at customer reviews to make sure.
One of the crucial points to consider when choosing a hosting provider is the set of features it provides. Choosing a hosting service that comes with tons of features is a waste of money if you won’t use them all.
So, make sure you know what features you need for your website. If you’re just starting your website, you’ll need a free SSL certificate, WordPress Accelerator, website builder, one-click WordPress installer, 24/7 customer support, and basic SEO tools.
4. Storage and Bandwidth Sizes
Storage and bandwidth are probably the most crucial points to look at for your website.
Storage is the amount of data you can store on the server, consisting of files, HTML, emails, scripts, images, and other data.
Bandwidth is the amount of data you can transfer between your website and your visitor’s browser during a specific timeframe. Every upload and download activity is included here.
When looking for the right hosting provider, pay attention to the starting amount of storage and bandwidth they give and at what price. Also, make sure the hosting plan can be upgraded because your business might grow and need more storage and bandwidth.
Ideally, your web hosting provider should offer regular website backups or at least make it simple for you to do them yourself. A site backup means that it keeps a copy of your website and prevents you from losing all your data if something goes wrong.
Even with multi-layer security measures, your website might face some kind of issues, like malware, hacking, crashing, or a shutdown. A good hosting provider should be able to help restore your whole website with minimum downtime.
Look for hosting providers that conduct regular and automated backups with a one-click restoration feature.
As mentioned before, one of the features a hosting provider should have is a free SSL certificate. SSL is one of the most basic yet very much-needed security features that protect sensitive information when it’s sent from your site to the end-user. It also encrypts this data so only the end-user can access it.
It’s such a crucial point that, as of 2018, Google has made SSL a significant ranking factor. Websites that don’t have an SSL will be deemed unsafe. You can check whether a website has SSL by looking for a padlock icon on the browser’s address bar.
Because it’s so necessary, hosting providers usually provide an SSL certificate for free when purchasing one of the plans. While most hosting providers do this, some require you to purchase an SSL certificate separately, so pay attention to this when choosing.
7. Control Panel
Your hosting provider should have a very intuitive and easy-to-use interface or dashboard. You should be able to get things done without needing to contact customer support for help. Things like setting up FTP accounts, emails and installing WordPress should be done quickly.
8. Customer Support
A good web host should provide you with 24/7 customer support no matter which hosting plan you buy.
This is a crucial point because when you run into issues or have questions, customer support is how you’ll get immediate assistance.
One of the last things you want is to have an extended downtime because customer support doesn’t respond to your inquiries or does so very slowly. Ideally, they should be in touch with you within minutes of your query.
A good tip for choosing a provider with excellent customer service is to inspect customer reviews and testimonials.
Because there are many web hosting providers, you have the privilege to compare them before making a choice. Then, since you already know the most crucial factors to pay attention to, you can find the right hosting provider that gives you the best price-to-performance ratio.
This means you should look for hosting providers that give outstanding service for a competitive price. To do so, look at expert comparisons and customer reviews. Also, check the hosting providers for any ongoing discounts and promotions.
Once you’ve narrowed them down to a handful, look at the following crucial point as your deciding factor to choose correctly.
10. Scalability Options
If you’re just starting, you’re probably going to go for a shared hosting plan. However, since the plan itself has limited resources, the chances are that you’ll be upgrading it in the future when your website grows.
Because of this, you’ll want to choose a hosting provider that allows you to upgrade your hosting plan without having any significant downtime. You’ll want the process to be seamless and quick.
Now that you know the ten crucial points you need to look at, all that’s left to do is choose a hosting provider for your website.
Remember that a good hosting provider should have:
- Great security
- Excellent uptime
- A plethora of features
- Plenty of storage and bandwidth options
- Excellent customer support
- Easy scalability
- A great cost-to-performance ratio
Evaluate your priorities and needs and choose the best web host for your site based on that.