10 Things You Should Look For When Choosing a Web Hosting Company
It takes time to choose the right web hosting company. It takes time to select a company that will keep your website accessible and safe come what may. However, since the reputation your business rests in part on the quality of your website, it is time well spent. Haphazardly selecting a web host without doing your due diligence, perhaps making a decision based on price alone, will lead to disastrous results.
We have seen firsthand how devastating selecting the wrong web hosting company can be for businesses. We want to help you avoid making unnecessary mistakes in this regard. The following are 10 things that you should look for when choosing a web hosting company.
1. Know What You Will Need
You should know what your business is going to need. This is going to help you select the right hosting option. For example, are you looking to build a website that’s going to have video features, live streams 24 hours a day, or something that allows visitors to upload their own videos?
Then you’re going to need a hosting service that’s more intensive than someone who is simply looking to create a website with a single page. If your site will have a ton of traffic, a shared service is likely not the right option for you. Shared servers are for small websites that put limited demands on resources.
- Shared hosting is an inexpensive web hosting option. As the name implies, you share a server with other businesses. This may be a good option for you if you are not going to have a lot of customer traffic to your site. With shared hosting, your disc space and bandwidth are limited. If you surpass the limits in the package you purchase, you will be charged extra.
- Dedicate hosting is where you purchase a server for your business that you don’t share with anyone. This is good if you have heavy traffic or you foresee heavy traffic in the future. Of course, dedicate hosting is more expensive than shared hosting.
- VPS hosting is a hybrid option that provides the best of the dedicated server and the shared hosting environment. VPS hosting can be less expensive than dedicated hosting. However, VPS hosting is also more expensive than shared hosting.
You need to ask yourself, how much traffic is your site getting right now? Based on this, you can determine what server option is right for you.
2. Listen to What Others Say
Our site offers reputable reviews where we layout the reliability and reputation of web hosts. These reviews are based on our own research as well as discussions we’ve had with others who are experts in the field. Third-party reviews are useful in unveiling issues or complaints that users have had with a hosting service.
Something that we pay special attention to is customer service. How does a hosting company respond when there is a complaint? This lets you know how they treat unhappy customers.
A major complaint with some hosting companies is problems with bandwidth. When we are talking about bandwidth, we are talking about your connection speed. We are not talking about how fast data can be transferred. When your site has high bandwidth, a number of users can access your website simultaneously.
You can think about it as if it were a four-lane highway. When all the lanes are open, multiple users can look at your site at the same time. However, a site with low bandwidth is comparable to being stuck in rush hour traffic. Since there are too many users on your site, no one sees anything and no one gets anything done. A good hosting company will react when their clients call them complaining about low bandwidth.
We would never recommend that you choose a hosting service based solely on how much it costs. What we would recommend you do is look at the services a web host company provides and then see if there are other companies that offer a similar service or a better service for the same price or less. We will never recommend that you use the cheapest service available.
Most people could care less about the hardware that their web hosting company offers. However, as your web project becomes more complex, you’ll need something more than a simple page display. When this happens, hardware becomes a major factor. Learn about the GPUs, RAM, CPUs, and the type of storage a potential web hosting company uses.
- CPU: This is the brain of your server. Both Intel and ADM manufacture high-end processors. While both companies have their fans and their detractors, it is generally thought that Intel produces a higher quality product. Intel processors have quick read and write speeds. However, in most cases, you are not going to need to worry too much about the processor because you are simply looking to host a website.
- RAM: If the CPU is the brain of your server, the amount of RAM it has will determine the number of computations it can do simultaneously. There are our number of factors you want to consider when determining how much RAM your server needs. You definitely want to opt for more if you can afford it.
- Storage: Most hosting companies provide the option of standard hard drives and SSDs. Similar to your home computer, a solid-state drive has a number of advantages over spinning hard drives. From the standpoint of your server, it provides you with a boost in speed. When it comes to storage, you might see a plan that offers 20 or 30 GB of space. You may think to yourself that the smart phone in your pocket has more storage than that. But, remember, if you create a simple site, the only things that will take up space are text files and media. Those usually don’t add up to too much.
5. Control Panel
The control panel is what you’re going to use to administer your website. The better the control panel is, the easier it will be for you to get the settings that you want. Nothing is more frustrating than using a control panel that is so complicated that you find yourself calling the hosting company every time you want to make even the smallest change. For our money, cPanel or Plesk are your best options.
- User Interfaces: Plesk has a clean graphic user interface and is easier to use. It’s streamlined. cPanel does not group features, so its user interface is seen to be more cluttered. That being said, cPanel does allow you to customize the home screen, so it’s easier to find the things that you need.
- Features and Tools: On the surface, Plesk and cPanel give users basically the same features. You can configure DNS settings, run FTP, and manage email accounts. cPanel lets you add extra apps. Plesk is more useful straight out of the box.
- Security: cPanel and Plesk focus heavily on security. The features each control panel offers are a little bit different, but they both come chocked full with security tools.
6. Uptime Scores/Server Reliability
You need your website to operate 24 hours a day seven days a week. This is because your visitors can come from all over the world and from different time zones. The standard uptime you should expect from any hosting company is 99.95 percent. This includes shared servers. Premium service should provide you 99.99 percent uptime or better. It is not realistic to expect 100 percent uptime, but you should get pretty close.
7. The Sign-Up Price Versus the Renewal Price
Web hosting deals, especially if you’re looking for shared hosting, are a dime a dozen. These services are usually cheap during the initial sign-up.
However, they often come with a very high price when it comes time to renew. You need to be careful before you click buy on a plan that’s offering you that phenomenal discount.
We recommend that you save yourself from any surprises by looking at the terms of service and making sure that you are okay with the renewal rates prior to signing up.
8. Know the Host Company’s Backup Plan
If your website goes down or if you lose your data, the reasons why are not that important. All you care about is getting your site up again and recouping your lost data. This is why it is important for you to know if the web hosting company you choose has a plan in place to help you recover your information in the worst-case scenario. This is one of those things that you need to be direct about. Ask straight out what their plan is. If you are not comfortable with it, it is time to move on.
9. Give the New Guy Time to Get His Footing
New companies offer low prices with the hopes of making up for it in volume. However, a lot of the new hosting companies are not adequately set up to handle a large influx of clients.
It is best to stay with established companies that have proven over time that they can deal with growth without compromising the service they provide you. Web hosting companies that grow too fast do not have the resources to handle it. This leads to slow page load times, lost revenue, and negatively impacted search rankings.
10. When Will They Pull the Plug?
Here is something that most hosting companies do not readily divulge to their clients- a hosting company will pull the plug on your account if they feel that you are using too many resources. Even if they say they offer unlimited hosting, there is a limit.
They will suspend your account if they feel like you are violating the rules. This is why it is important to be familiar with your hosting company’s TOS. Remember, the TOS is a binding contract. When you check the box showing that you agree to the terms of service, you are signing a contract that is as valid as if you physically sign a piece of paper.
Most web hosting companies stipulate that the terms of service can change at any time based on their discretion. This means that the terms of service you agree to today could be radically changed a year later. It’s understandable that a hosting company will want this flexibility. Laws change, technologies change, and some TOS have errors. Either way, it is important for you to be aware of what is in your TOS so that you don’t find your site shut down.
Here’s the kicker, web hosting companies do not like to let the world know about the power of their shared services. When you read their terms of service or their conditions, they may stipulate that your account will be suspended for over utilization of resources. They just don’t tell you what that means.
Finding the best web hosting can only be done after you analyze the features that different hosting companies offer and then compare these to your needs. We recommend that you take a few minutes and write out your objectives. What do you want from your host? Ask yourself if there are some aspects that are more important than others. For example, if you use WordPress or another CMS, you may want to find a web host that specializes in those platforms.
These are just a few of the items you should consider before selecting a web hosting company. We have published and will continue to publish actionable guides and hosting reviews to help you select a hosting company that’s right for your needs. Now that we presented you with an overview a web hosting, we invite you to check out other useful and informative articles on our site. They will give you in-depth knowledge and answer specific questions you may have.
If you have any questions or if there’s a topic you would like us to discuss, let us know in the comments section below.