Do you know how many web hosting companies there are in the world? Over 3.8 million. No wonder so many people experience difficulty in choosing a web host. With so many different options, it can be easy to experience information paralysis and become confused about which option is best.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that difficult to choose the right web host. Below, we break down the process to help you understand the different types of web hosts and the factors to consider when choosing a web host. We also explore the potential consequences of choosing the wrong web host.
Why Do You Even Need to Worry about Choosing Web Hosting?
This is a common question many people ask. After all, with so many web hosts out there, aren’t they all the same?
Choosing web hosting is the first step you should take when you begin a website project.
For your website to be available online, you need a host. Web hosting is the service that provides a place for all of your website files to be stored. It handles the delivery of traffic to your site and often provides some additional services, such as email services, technical assistance, FTP access, firewall protection, website building tools, domain name registration, etc.
The website host you choose can play a significant role in terms of the uptime or downtime of your site as well as the type and quality of services you receive.
Imagine for a moment that you build an excellent website. It has everything your target audience wants. It’s perfectly optimized to drive optimal traffic. The only problem is that your visitors can never actually reach it because your site is always down.
Poor-quality web hosting.
Are you new to website building? Do you have a great idea for a new website but never have built one before and aren’t ready to hire a professional to create it for you?
Web hosting companies can provide some helpful extra services, including website building tools. Every host is different, however, and how easy those tools are to use varies from one host to another, so it’s important to choose wisely.
What Is Your Website Needs?
One of the first things you need to address when choosing a web host is your website needs. What is it you need from a web host? The answer to this is different for every person.
What Type of Web Hosting Do You Need?
One area of choosing web hosting where many people become easily confused is the type of web hosting to choose. Not all websites require the same performance level from a hosting company because they do not experience the same level of traffic, have the same type of audience, or feature the same content.
As the website owner, you will need to analyze the purpose, anticipate the performance, and estimate the level of traffic to your site to evaluate various web hosting options correctly. Depending on your website needs, web hosting providers usually offer a few different choices.
The most common and also the most affordable type of web hosting server is the shared server. With this option, the hosting provider can accommodate a large number of websites on a single server. If you have a small website and not a lot of demands, this could be a good option. Keep in mind, however, that you will receive very few administrative resources with this type of web host.
A dedicated server is often a better choice for webmasters who have a higher budget and require more dependable service. Due to the feature set and the amount of resources provided, the cost can vary with a dedicated server.
Virtual Private Server
Also known as a VPS, a Virtual Private Server is typically used for larger websites that need a lot of services. With this option, you will not receive as many resources as you would with a dedicated server, but you also do not have to worry about the outages and interruptions that will be more common with a shared server. Expect the cost for a VPS to fall somewhere between a shared and a dedicated server.
Larger, busier websites often require a more advanced type of dedicated hosting. Managed hosting will often provide state-of-the-art equipment and additional technical support. In most instances, you will lease connectivity and equipment from the web host provider, who will be responsible for maintaining the server, other devices, and the network.
At the same time, managed hosting requires you to keep control of the operating system, hosting environment, and applications. In this way, both the web host and the customer have shared responsibilities that are usually contractually defined. If your needs exceed the services of a basic dedicated host regarding uptime, scalability, security, and performance, a managed host could be a good option.
What Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Web Host?
You should consider some factors in selecting a web host. Keep in mind that while pricing will naturally be an important consideration, it is important not to base your choice of web hosting provider solely on pricing.
Plans & Pricing
Ideally, it is better to choose a web host that offers a variety of plan options and pricing, so you can choose the plan that meets both your needs and your budget without paying for more than what you need.
An important consideration in choosing web hosting is the amount of technical support and customer service offered. This is particularly important if you are dependent upon your website for income generation. It can also be important when you are just launching your website, as you will want to know how to get started, upload files, create an email account, and more.
Your best option is always a web hosting company that provides around-the-clock technical support. Preferably, your chosen web host should offer support through a variety of channels, such as live chat, IM, email, or phone.
It’s also a good idea to find out what the average response time is to questions and requests for help. Look for a provider who will respond to questions within a maximum of two hours.
Uptime & Reliability
The last thing you want is to choose an unreliable web host provider. Carefully consider the host’s reported uptime and avoid any web host that is not able to provide a minimum of 99 percent uptime.
The number of features offered by web hosting providers is continually expanding. Consider whether the hosting provider provides support for email, autoresponders, blogs, galleries, forums, and CMS. Does the provider offer an option for e-commerce, including a shopping cart and SSL? What about website building tools?
Control Panel/User Interface
It’s highly advisable to select a web hosting provider that offers a control panel. With a control panel, you will be able to handle the functionality for your website’s administration. One of the most common control panels is the cPanel. This panel gives you the option to made changes to your site with ease.
Regardless of the type of control panel offered by a web host, make sure that the available panel is stable and reputable and has reliable support. Do not make the mistake of downplaying the importance of administrative controls, as they can have a significant impact on the stability and functionality of your website’s performance.
Every web hosting company that you research will claim to have the best and fastest service and make grand promises. Of course, the reality is that not all web hosting companies are the same, so it’s important to take the time to research what their existing clients have to say about their level of service.
Spend some time reading online reviews posted by actual customers as well as reviewing technical publications to obtain a fair idea of what you can expect from each company’s service.
Finally, consider the limitations of the web hosting provider. In some instances, you may need to make trade-offs, but it is important to consider whether you can live with the limitations of the provider you choose and to what degree those limitations may impact the performance of your website.
Choosing a Managed Hosting Provider
Some factors should be considered in choosing a managed hosting provider, including ensuring that all of the data center hardware used by the provider is enterprise-grade. Low-end equipment may cause system failures, resulting in data loss and instability. It’s also important to ask questions about the plans the provider has for handling disaster recovery.
Choosing a WordPress Hosting Provider
Managed hosting designed specifically for WordPress websites can help remove a lot of headaches and hassles because it will handle the technical elements of WordPress without you needing to worry about it.
Free WordPress hosting is available, but there will usually be a catch with most such services. In most cases, in exchange for free hosting, you will have to live with banner ads on your site, which results in an unprofessional appearance. Paid hosting is a far better investment. In choosing a host, look for reliability, security, and speed.
Choosing a Drupal Hosting Provider
Drupal is known for the incredible level of flexibility it provides. To take full advantage of that flexibility, you need an entirely compatible server. As part of the process of choosing web hosting for your Drupal site, keep in mind that you will need to look for a web host that provides the most up-to-date version of Drupal to ensure maximum security, stability, and reliability.
Choosing a Joomla Hosting Provider
One of the most popular contents management systems, Joomla has a lot going for it. You will need a web host that can fully support the software to make the most of everything that Joomla offers. Joomla can run on any server equipped with PHP, Apache, and MySQL, but you may need particular versions of these applications based on the Joomla version you wish to run.
It’s also a good idea to find a web host that has the most updated version of Joomla. Consider how the software will be installed and the level of database support that is provided.
What Happens When You Make the Wrong Hosting Choice?
Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but when you make a mistake when choosing a web hosting provider, the consequences can be dire for your website and your business. Below are just a few of the negative effects that can occur as the result of a poor web hosting choice.
Loss of Revenue
If your site experiences a lot of downtimes, prospective customers will not be able to learn about your services and products or read your blogs and other content. This effect can be compounded if you operate an online store, meaning you could lose potential sales.
Negative Impact on SEO Ranking
Among the most important goals of content marketing is to rank as high as possible in search engine results pages. If your site is down a lot, search engines will not be able to find you, and your ranking will suffer.
Everyone today is concerned about malware attacks and with good reason. While there are no solutions for keeping your website 100% protected, a reputable web hosting company will back up your data using a remote server, thus making restoration easier in the event of an attack. Furthermore, a reliable web hosting provider will offer assistance with security, maintenance, and technical support.
Which Web Host Should I Use?
The decision as to which web host you should use will depend on your specific needs and the requirements of your website. By following these basic guidelines, you can be assured of choosing web hosting that is efficient and reliable.