When you are starting out with your first website, it can be confusing to which web hosting company you should choose. There are so many to choose from, and each has its own packages, features and prices. The problem is each web hosting company claims it is the best, with the cheapest price and offers the most features! How do you know which one is really the best web host?
In this article, we’ll be looking at some reliable ways to zero in on the best hosting provider for your website. Don’t worry, we will use simple and easy to understand terms. If you are new to building a website, then read on; but if you are experienced in web hosting, do let us know in the comments if you agree with our tips or otherwise.
Why it matters which web host you choose
Your web host will be responsible for keeping your website running day and night. They will be providing the bandwidth, servers and all the other facilities needed to keep your website running. They will also have security measures in place to keep your site secure and safe from hackers.
If your web host isn’t reliable, or doesn’t have good support, it will make things much more difficult for you. It may also affect the experience your visitors have on your site if your website loaded slowly or is always down! Of course, you want your site to load quickly and be online at all times. An unreliable web host might cause your site to have lots of downtime, or to load slowly.
What to look for in a web host
What are the features and qualities you should look for in a web host? Based on my experience building websites and hosting them with various web hosting companies, I shortlisted the following 4 most important features that you must take into consideration.
How long have they been in business? How many websites or domains do they host?
Do they have a good reputation? What kind of reviews and testimonials can you find about them? Have they won any awards?
Web Hosting Plans
What type of plans do they offer? What kind of pricing do they have? What features are included and what are not?
What other benefits come with their web hosting? Do they offer e-commerce features such as shopping carts? Advertising credits? A good site building tool for beginners?
Types of web hosting
There are many different kinds of web hosting. Most larger web hosting companies offer a variety of web hosting options. The following are some of the most popular ones.
Free Web Hosting
If you are just starting out and don’t have the budget to pay for web hosting, you can find some free options. This is best for people with no technical skills, and who only want to build a basic type of site. With free hosting you don’t usually have your own domain name, which makes it more difficult to promote the site.
Free web hosting usually comes with some limitations. You may have to display third party ads on your site, and you may be limited in terms of disk space or bandwidth. If you want to build a larger or more complicated site, you should try to find a way to afford a regular web hosting plan that charges by the month.
- Personal or family websites
- New websites, or anyone who is building their first website
- Beginners who do not want to spend any money on web hosting
Shared Web Hosting
This is the most common type of web hosting. When you visit a web host’s main site, the plans they usually highlight on the front page are shared plans. This simply means that many users share resources to make the hosting more economical (cheaper).
Shared hosting is sufficient for most of us. It is fine for personal blogs and websites and smaller businesses. The only time you should think about more advanced plans is if your site is going to be very large or you are expecting a great deal of traffic.
- Personal, hobby, portfolio, or family websites
- Small business websites
- Small e-commerce websites and blogs
- Websites that don’t need a lot of disk space
100Webhosting.com has rated Bluehost as the number 1 web hosting company since 2012. The most popular web hosting plan from this web host is their “Professional Web Hosting” shared hosting plan.
With this type of hosting, you have your own private server. This gives you more flexibility and control over managing your site. You also have greater resources at your disposal, so this is a good option for large and high traffic sites.
Dedicated hosting is appropriate for people who are tech savvy, or who have the budget to hire someone to manage the site. This type of hosting is very much costlier compared to shared hosting, so if you’re a beginner with a limited budget you may want to start off with shared hosting and think about upgrading later on.
- Medium to large websites
- E-commerce websites
- Websites that require lots of disk space
- Websites with a lot of traffic
- Hosting multiple websites or blogs
- Websites with special configuration or special installations
Other Types of Web Hosting
There are other web hosting options as well. These include VPS (Virtual Private Server) and Cloud hosting. Both of these are alternatives to dedicated hosting that give you more security and greater resources than shared hosting.
Larger web hosts offer many different levels of hosting, so it’s best to look over their plans carefully. If you are just starting out, however, you will probably be looking at some kind of shared hosting plan since this type of web hosting is the most affordable and offers the most features. They are designed to suit for most people.
Before signing up with a web hosting provider, you should do as much research as possible. First decide what type of hosting is best for you (e.g. free, shared, VPS, dedicated, or even reseller hosting). Then check out as many web hosts as you can and look around their sites.
Aside from comparing plans, features and prices, you should look for a web host that you’re comfortable with. Consider your overall experience when you visit their site. Do you like the layout and the way the information is presented? These are clues to help you make the right choice.
You can also do some independent research by reading web hosting reviews. Of course, you can start your reading on this website itself! Read any comments or complaints people have about different web hosts. All of this information can be useful in helping you find the web host that will serve you best!