Web Hosting Companies: What You Need to Look For in a Host

Overcoming The Paradox of Choice

It might sound a bit extreme in this case, it’s just to get the point across. With so many different hosting companies around, you might ask yourself:

How do I even choose the best web hosting plan for myself?

Well, there’s isn’t just one answer, nor an easy answer. In other words, there isn't one web hosting provider out there with a solution that meets everyone’s needs. There is no such thing as “best” in this case.

It starts with knowing the different types of web hosting services, as well as understanding the characteristics and technical features of the web hosting companies.

Does it sound confusing?

Don’t worry about it! We’ll go over every aspect at play and explain you the ins and outs of web hosting companies in order for you to choose the most suitable plan for your blog.

By the end of this article, you’ll be able to have a clear view what you’ll need to look for in web hosting companies!

Know Your Web Hosting Types

Numerous different types of web hosting are available on the market, we will highlight and explain the most important ones. Choosing the right web hosting comes down to your blogging goals, available budget, and technical savviness.

If you don’t quite have a grasp on what each of the web host types listed below do, we suggest checking out our article “What is a Web Host and Why Do You Need One?”. You’ll find all the answers there.

Now, let’s check out the pros and cons for every web hosting option below:

Shared Web Hosting

Pros:  

Shared web hosting is relatively cheap and offers everything you need in the beginning. The web hosting companies will maintain the server and database, saving you any technical hassle. In case you need any support, most host companies have outstanding support departments available 24/7. Upgrading a package or add-ons are within one-click if needed.

Cons:

You share security risks and server capabilities with other websites. It may affect your website in some ways in regard to site speed and protection.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Pros:

Your site’s loading speed will increase drastically due to cloud architecture and improved efficiency. In addition, advanced security measures provide daily backups, one-click scalabilitiy and WordPress expert support.

Cons:

Obviously, you’ll have to run your website or blog using WordPress as you're content management system (CMS).

Cloud Hosting

Pros:

Cloud hosting is up to 2 times faster than shared web hosting because you’ll have access to low-density servers and VIP hardware solutions. Also, scalability is within one-click away in case you experience traffic spikes. Track your blog’s performance through an innovative yet easy-to-use dashboard.

Cons:

Due to the lack of customization possibilities, cloud hosting may limit your needs in the future – no root access. Root access gives you administrative authority to install or uninstall any software on the server. Root access basically means that you can access and edit any available file on your server, thus, you don’t have access to do this with cloud hosting.

VPS Hosting

Pros:

Complete root access control over your hosting because the virtual server is completely allocated to your website and it’s cheaper than dedicated hosting. Multiple protection layers to ensure server reliability. Fully scalable to the needs of your website.

Cons:

You’ll have to be tech savvy to run your website on a VPS hosting plan. The server may affect your website negatively due to downtime, speed issues, etc. Plus, it falls short on total control and flexibility in comparison to a dedicated server.

We hope this clears up any doubts or questions you had about types of web hosting – let’s move on to the next step!

Keep in Mind: For most beginners, shared web hosting will do the trick.

The Characteristics of a Great Web Host

You might ask yourself…

…what hosting plan should I choose?

Before we explain to you how to make the best web hosting decision, let’s take a look at the characteristics that will steer you in the right direction.

Check out the list of general characteristics below:

Up-Time

A reliable server is extremely important to any website owner. It’s super simple:

server down = website down = losing traffic = potential loss of revenue

Perhaps an update of 100% is not feasible, however, you want to be as close to 100 as you possible.

Scalability

When launching a brand new website, shared web hosting plan is sufficient in order for a website to run smoothly. When your website’s traffic increases significantly over the next years, you want to be able to scale your web host plan to manage the traffic. Upgraded packages offer more processing power, storage, capacity, and security.

Domains

There are usually two options available when choosing a hosting plan:

  • Single Domain
  • Unlimited Domains

Are you planning to launch multiple websites or blogs in the next few years? You might want to select a plan with unlimited domain count. However, it’s very tempting to simply go for unlimited domains while it’s not really necessary and you could actually  save the extra cash for now.

Pricing Strategy

Most shared web hosting plans are very affordable when you sign up, however, prices increase when the initial hosting plan is due and you need to renew your plan.

You don’t want to migrate your website to a different web host every 1, 2 or 3 years so it’s pretty much unavoidable – at some point you’ll have to face the music. Be aware or renewal rates!

Refund Policy

Don’t let policies suddenly surprise you when you’re not happy with your hosting plan. Some web host guarantee full refunds within 30 days after the signup date while others charge ridiculous cancellation fees.

Take some time to go through refund policies and avoid any web host that does not guarantee full refund policies within 30 days or a similar trial period.

E-Commerce Features

This topic is only important when you’re planning to launch an e-commerce website that requires certain shopping carts, payment possibilities, extra security, one-click software installation.

Make sure the web host is compatible with the shopping cart software and payment solution. In addition, due to sensitive information involved in buying products, you want to have extra security in the form of SSL and a dedicated IP wit firewall protection.

User Experience

You don’t want to be contacting the technical support desk at every turn. Therefore, a control panel that’s very user-friendly with one-click installation add-ons and other features is very important.

Professional E-mail

An e-mail account @YourDomainName is professional and recommended to have as a website owner.

It’s not a must when you purchase a hosting plan also because there are multiple ways to acquire a branded email later.

We’re getting close now…

 

Understand the Technical Side of Web Hosting

It's time to put on your nerdy glasses!

Since we’ve covered the general characteristics of web hosting companies that you should look for when choosing a host, we’ll now continue with the more technical side of web hosts.

Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as you might think!

Let’s zoom in on the technical features you should take into consideration:

Storage

The space on your server where all your data, images, website scripts – such as a contact form, and email are saved, is called the “storage space”. Normally, the cheapest shared hosting plans offer enough storage when you’re just starting out. When an option doesn’t offer enough GB, you can upgrade to unlimited storage packages.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth stands for the maximum amount of data that visitors can upload and download within a given period of time. It’s usually measured per month.

The amount of bandwidth required depends on whether you have a data heavy website with a lot of videos and high-quality images. The amount of unique visitors you expect your site to get will also effect how much bandwidth you will need.

Enterprise Database

A “data heavy” website is best described as a website with an incredible amount of pages, pictures, items, and usually very high traffic numbers – a great number of people visiting the website on a daily basis.

Such websites require database management systems, basically a software tool that’s supporting you to handle all incoming and outgoing data around the database. Examples of such database management software tools are MySQL and Oracle.

When your website requires database support tools, make sure to check available options of the web host. Usually, web host companies offer MySQL or Oracle.

This feature might not be the most important when you’re just starting out, however, when your website keeps growing you may need to consider expanding the server capacities and the technical aspects that come with that.

CMS

WordPress is an example of a content management system. Many web host providers offer one-click installation features for CMS like WordPress.

It’ll take your literally 2 minutes to setup WordPress in the control panel.

Mobile

Mobile traffic is getting increasingly more important and Google is actually boosting pages now that are optimized for mobile devices, also known as accelerated mobile pages. This might become an more popular trend in the future but some hosting providers are already advertising mobile-enabled pages.

Backups & Technical Support

The majority of shared web host providers offer extra add-ons for daily backup. Usually you’ll have to pay extra for these add-ons but there are also free plugins to do the job.

Nowadays, most web host providers offer 24/7/365 technical support through a number of different communication channels such as email, chat, phone, etc. Check out review sections to find out what people say about the support desk!

Let’s wrap things up!

 

One Size Does NOT Fit All

As the title says – there is not one solution to every blog’s owner needs.

We recommend going for a shared web hosting plan when you’re new in the blogging scene. However, every blog owner has different needs. If you feel like you need little extra, go for it!

Don’t just randomly start looking for a web host that you might “like” but rather create a list with your needs and pick the web host provider that matches YOUR needs best. Creating web hosting comparisons are definitely worth the time spent on research!

At the end of the day, the goal is to find a suitable web host based on price, general characteristics and technical features. To see a list of web hosting companies we recommend, click here!

What's Next

If you still have any questions in regards to web hosting or the different web hosting companies, just drop a comment below! 

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