If you are looking to start your own website and online business, you got to have your own domain name and a web hosting account. A quick search on Google for a web hosting company will give you a ton of results. This overwhelming choice may sometimes confuse you as almost all the web hosting companies out there will make some common promises like 99.99% uptime, awesome support, top-notch hardware, etc.
If you want to cut down all this jargon, here are a few important things that you should look for when searching for a hosting provider.
Know Your Actual Requirement
The first and foremost thing to ask yourself is why you need web hosting. Do you want to host a full-fledged e-commerce site, a blog power by WordPress, Ghost, etc., or do you just want to have a simple three to four-page website to establish your online presence?
For example, if you want a dedicated WordPress hosting then you might what to choose services like WP Engine which provides blazing fast WordPress hosting. If you want a web host that supports different applications and languages, then you might want to choose services like BlueHost which offers Shared, VPS and Dedicated hosting.
Once you have an answer to this question, you can narrow down your search as most web hosting companies provide specialized hosting environments to better suit your needs. This is particularly helpful in estimating your web hosting requirements like features, limitations, pricing, etc.
Moreover, if you are not into technical stuff and want only to concentrate on your website or blog, then having a specialized hosting like WP Engine is a must.
Hardware and Tech Specs
The hardware and tech specs of a web hosting company are the second most important thing you need to consider as some cheap web hosting companies may still be using older hardware and chicken wire to host their client websites. This old hardware and tech specs are sometimes responsible for frequent downtimes, malfunctioning and in the worst case scenarios data loss.
Usually, most and any reputable web hosting company will list all their hardware and tech spec details next to the pricing details or somewhere on their official site. Once you found the details you are looking for, check whether that hardware and tech specs are top-of-the-line or not.
If you cannot determine that for yourself, take some help from your technically sound friend or from an actual expert.
Features and Limitations
Features and limitations are closely related to your actual requirements. Features are what a web hosting company provides to enhance your web hosting environment beyond your regular needs. For instance, besides from hosting your website data, you generally need an in-house control panel (for example, cPanel), website statistics program, file manager to manage website files, etc.
If you are hosting an e-commerce site, then you might need support for SSL, an extra IP addresses, root access, support for different programming languages, redundant backups, etc. So, depending on your needs, check and confirm the list of features provided by the hosting company.
Every feature provided by any hosting company has its own limitations. Even the most graceful promises like the “99.99% uptime” and “Unlimited disk space and bandwidth” have conditions and limits. Some of the limitations include the number of Processor cores and the amount of Memory (RAM) you are allowed to use, amount of processor power you can use, monthly bandwidth, disk space, etc.
So, always search for and/or contact the hosting provider to know more details about the features and limitations before purchasing the actual package. These details will really help you in getting an estimate about the reliability and scalability of the hosting package.
Almost every web hosting company has good support for their sales and billing stuff, but a web hosting company is only as good as its technical support. In an uneventful situation, your site may go down and if the web hosting company’s technical support personnel is not good enough, your site will be down for a long time damaging your site rankings, reputation, and sales.
So, always dig in and get to know more details about how sound their technical support is and the different ways the support is provided.
Most of the time, customer reviews will give you a good picture of how good a hosting company is, but the thing is that you can’t just trust all the customer reviews appearing on the web. This is because, most of these reviews are backed by the actual hosting companies and/or affiliate programs.
So, leverage the power of forums dedicated to webmasters, social media, and try to find reviews from a credible source.
In most cases, pricing is directly proportional to your requirements and the features provided by the web hosting company. Generally, the web hosting prices range anywhere from $1 to several hundred dollars. When comparing web hosting prices, one thing to keep in mind is that if you want a quality web hosting service, then you need to shed some dollars.
For instance, BlueHost charges as low as $3.95/month on their entry level shared hosting and $14.99 on their entry level VPS hosting package. If you are looking for a dedicated WordPress hosting then WP Engine charges $29/month on their entry level package. As you can see, the pricing totally depends on the features you want for your blog or website.
That being said, the web hosting industry is highly competitive thus provides huge discounts and promotions. Moreover, you may already have a budget on how much you are willing to pay for web hosting.
If you are choosing one of those one dollar hosting companies then you shouldn’t be expecting much from them. Do your research and find the web hosting company that appreciates your budget while taking the above things into consideration.
That’s all for now, and hopefully that helps. Do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about the things you should consider while choosing a web host.