When you build a website, one of the first choices you have to make is where to host it. Many inexperienced bloggers and webmasters don’t give much thought to this and have problems later on because of this. There are several important factors to consider before choosing a web host.
So if you’re wondering which company to sign up with, or you’re not happy with the one you have now, the following tips will help you find the ideal web host for your needs.
Tip 1: Identify your hosting needs
Before choosing a web host, you have to know what your needs are and find a company that can satisfy them. Let’s discuss them briefly below.
Are you going to build an e-commerce site? In that case, you need a web host that provides you with plenty of tools to make this easier, such as shopping cart software. You will also want a company that’s extremely reliable, as any downtime can be very detrimental to your business.
From my experience, I highly recommend CS-Cart shopping cart software.
Linux vs. Windows Hosting
Some web hosting companies offer you a choice between Linux and Windows hosting, while others may only offer one or the other. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
You must understand that there’s no relationship between your computer’s operating system and the web hosting you use. So just because your PC uses Windows doesn’t mean you need Windows hosting. You may want to use it for other reasons, though, for example; your legacy application is programmed on ASP.net.
Linux hosting is cheaper, as the Linux/Unix operating system is basically free. Linux also supports virtually any type of script you may want to use, such as Ruby on Rails, Python, PHP, etc. Linux is extremely diverse, which is one of its main strengths!
Windows hosting is not as popular as Linux, but it has its benefits as well. For example, the Windows hosting can support legacy application built on the classic ASP scripting language, as well as Microsoft Access database.
While Linux is ideal for most applications, Windows is needed for certain scripts, most notably .net and .asp. Some webmasters still like to use classic ASP for their websites because they are used to this language.
Another very popular application is WordPress, which allows you to create your own blog in a few clicks of the mouse. While most web hosts will give you a way to setup WordPress, some make it much easier than others. BlueHost, for example, allows you to easily setup WordPress through a installer called SimpleScripts.
If you plan to set up a number of WordPress blogs, each with a unique domain, you should also find a web host that includes unlimited domains with your hosting plan. Check out Bluehost.
Tip 2: Choose a web host that allows future growth
You should also look towards the future when choosing a web host. If you have an online business, you will probably want to expand it at some point. You may put up more products with many more images. On top of this, you may also want to add domains and even create new websites. You will most likely see a large increase in the amount of traffic you get.
HostGator is a great web host for future growth
Most people choose the least expensive and most basic hosting plan when they start out. Hosting companies generally offer several different options.
HostGator, for example, has quite a few plans, such as the Hatchling Plan, the Baby Plan and the Business Plan. These are only their choices for shared hosting; they also offer Reseller, VPS and dedicated servers.
At some point you may need more advanced hosting. Reseller hosting is good if you want to become a web host yourself, or if you need more resources for your websites. Cloud hosting gives you more flexibility and security if you have lots of data or many different sites.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is another option, where you have your own server that is independent from anyone else’s. This is a choice that many small and medium sized businesses find convenient.
Larger businesses generally have their own dedicated server. This is the costliest option, but also the most secure and gives you the widest range of options.
Tip 3: Choose a web host that has solid support
Before choosing a web host, you should know what kind of support they have. Some smaller companies may only offer support during regular business hours. You are strongly advised to only signup with a company that has 24×7 technical support, as you never know at what time of the day a problem might occur! You might face a problem late at night when support is not available! Unimaginable!
It’s best when you can get phone, email and live chat support so that no matter what your circumstances are, you have an easy way to contact the company if necessary. On this point, I vouch for Bluehost, as their technical support is one of the best in the industry!
You can also do some investigating and look into the company’s reputation when it comes to customer support. If a web host has lots of negative reviews in this area, you should probably stay away from them.
Conclusion – Choose the Best Web Host for your needs
You want to find a web host that can help your website grow over many years. That’s why you should keep the above considerations in mind. Think not only of what your needs are right now, but what they are likely to be in a few years.
Ideally, you want to find a web host that will support you at every stage of your online journey. A good web hosting company can help you build your first beginner website and also help you maintain a thriving business with multiple websites in many years in the future!