Choosing a host is like searching for Mr. or Mrs. Right. Great hosting boils down to the 3 S’s: speed, support, and security. Hosting services are available in a wide range of prices ranging from a few shillings a month to thousands per year.
If done right, you will spend a lifetime of happiness with a reliable and high-performing host who is always available to assist you when you get stuck. However, rushing into a hosting relationship without doing your research could lead to feeling trapped, misled, or extorted. Choosing the wrong host often ends with headaches and a messy, expensive divorce — and you again alone, holding on to all the files you used to share.
In general, a personal portfolio website does not need a dedicated server, just like a high-traffic, a high-volume online store shouldn’t cut corners with the cheapest shared hosting plan. Shared Hosting is Great for Small to Medium Sites.
Here is what we recommend you consider when choosing a hosting provider.
1. Your website needs
What will you be doing with your website? The right web host will support the platforms or building tools you need to create the website you want, as well as provide your site with adequate storage, speed, and reliability. For example, do you need to process online payments? Are you writing a blog or creating a visual gallery? Here are a few other factors to consider:
- Uptime: There is nothing more frustrating on the internet than clicking on a link and the target site not opening. This problem not only annoys the user but also Google itself, which starts to give less value to organic search results for that address. So, make sure that the website hosting service you are hiring offers the best quality of availability. This factor, also called uptime, can be measured using a number. The closer to 100%, the better the service availability guarantees. When choosing your website hosting provider, keep an eye on this, and prioritize the options that offer uptime above 99%.
- Available storage: Depending on your website’s purpose, you will need a lot or a little storage space for the files you add to it. Regardless of which is your case, it’s always recommended that you hire the service that best suits your needs. If you need a lot of space, make sure that the website hosting company offers the amount you need to keep from running out of memory. Or, if you need little, opt for cheaper plans and save money that you would pay for unnecessary space. But if your service has unlimited disk space, you can relax about that factor and skip to the next tip!
- Monthly traffic: You may not know this but some website hosting services have a monthly traffic limit. In practice, this means that after a specific amount of access, the server will charge an additional fee for “extra visitors” or will stop displaying your website on the web. Therefore, always be attentive to the information given by companies and make sure to use those with unlimited data traffic so as not to run the risk of your website being down.
- Loading speed: If you already know a little about SEO, you know that Google will always prioritize the pages that load faster, always aiming to offer the best experience for its users. So, check if the website hosting service you are hiring offers a good loading speed. It’s worth remembering that it may seem an insignificant difference in theory but, in practice, it’s the difference between a user remaining actively consuming your content or being annoyed by the delay and abandoning your page.
2. The features they offer
- What features are on offer?
- Does the host use cPanel for one-click installations of selected software?
- How much storage and bandwidth is available?
- How many domains can be hosted on one account?
Functionality is important for any website and so is future-proofing. If your company grows and with it the amount of space you need, does the hosting company have the capacity and the features to allow for growth?
The hosting provider you select should be able to simply move you seamlessly to the next plan or storage space capacity to meet the needs of your business or website. An important feature that is often overlooked is scalability – both upgrade and downgrade. This is an important feature because what also happens if you are in the wrong hosting product that is too big for your website? You will want a hosting provider who will put you in the right plan.
Be wary of unlimited offers. Some hosting providers offer so-called unlimited storage and bandwidth for a cheap price. This deal often isn’t what it seems to be. If you pay 10 US Dollars a year for hosting, there will likely be something in your terms of service allowing your hosting provider to either throttle your performance or shut you down after a certain usage level.
3. Choose a portable content management system to avoid lock-in
Most hosts are pretty good, but times change. Management changes, acquisitions, and technology shifts can alter your web hosting plans. Make sure your site is not locked to any one host — and that you have a backup practice in place.
Many people use WordPress on top of PHP, which will run on just about anything. Do regular updates and site backups, so you always have access to your site’s data, media, and structure. This approach means all you need to do is load your backup on another provider’s service and point your domain name to that provider. Now that you know how to get your site up onto the internet, you’re all set to get started.
4. Their customer support service
When choosing a web host, scrutinize in great detail the features offered by the prospective web hosts.
What are the available support channels: email, forums, live chat, telephone, 24/7, or office hours? Before engaging any hosting company, check their customer reviews on google. If the reviews are good, go to the next step, test all their customer support channels. Call their support number or email them with questions related to your business hosting needs. Wait and see their response time and the kind of assistance they are willing to give.
If anything happens to your server or website, from technical errors to DNS attacks, you need to be able to remedy the situation quickly. This becomes more pressing depending on your website. For example, if you run an e-commerce site, you’ll be losing money every minute you’re offline. So, make sure the support is right for you.
Make sure that the support you are looking for takes place on multiple channels. Likely, you will not always be able to pick up the phone and call, so make sure your selected hosting provider has chat, email, and other means of communication.
Communication is key when you have a problem that needs to be solved quickly. A hosting provider with locally-based customer service and support understands the nuances of working with your business, customers, and your time zone. There really is power in a personal touch when it comes to customer service and the success of solving your problem.
5. Do you need a website?
Boost your online branding and get more business with a professional blog, portfolio, or online shop today. A good business website will help you generate more leads and sales. It has an SEO-friendly structure as well as dependable support. Allow us to assist you to get your business online fast and affordably. Get a website here