Are you getting ready to move your website to a new host, or want to launch a brand new site? See below to learn how to pick the best web hosting service for you.
Like most things, making a decision on which web hosting company to choose can be tough. With all the companies out there each promising to have 99% uptime, unlimited resources, and knowledgeable support, there has to be a way to cut through the jargon and make an informed decision. Right?
This guide will help you make that decision by showing you how to compare apples to apples. By understanding what hosting companies mean by what they say, you’ll be able to decide which hosting company and package best suits your needs.
There are thousands of web hosting companies – the services that essentially connect your site to the internet. So how do I choose the one that’s right for his or her business?
1. Know Your Hosting Needs
You can never get the right web host without knowing what you need. To have a website on the Internet, the most basic needs you require are disk space and bandwidth.
Disk space is the amount of data you can store on the web server. Obviously, the amount of space needed depends on the size of your website.
Bandwidth is the amount of data you are allowed to transfer to and from your web server per month. This includes all uploads and downloads, both HTTP and FTP. Bandwidth depends on your web page size, as well as the number of visitors to your website and the number of pages they visit.
So before you go any further – put everything aside (including this guide you are reading) and think thoroughly on your own needs.
- What kind of website are you building?
- Do you want something common (a WordPress blog, or Prestashop ecommerce for example)?
- Do you need Windows applications?
- Do you need a special version of software (ie. PHP, PostgreSQL, MySQL)?
- Does your website need special software?
- How big (or small) can the web traffic volume go?
These are some of the basic questions you need to answer for yourself.
If you are totally new…
For newbies, the no-brainer rule is to always start small with a good shared hosting account. This is the basic type of hosting which most people will want. A shared hosting account is cheap, easy to maintain, and sufficient for most new web sites. Plus, you can always upgrade to VPS or dedicated hosting in the later stage when your site grows bigger.
2. Multiple Domains / Multiple sites.
I own more than 30 domain names in my GoDaddy and NameCheap accounts. And I’m not alone. According to this Web Hosting Talk’s survey – 80% of the voters own more than 5 domains and more than 40% of the voters own more than 25! And this is why it is important to have a web hosting account that allows adding multiple domains.
3. Hosting costs.
Hosting deals, shared hosting especially, are normally selling very cheap on signup prices but charge much higher on renewals.
Usually when you buy hosting from any of the hosting companies, you can easily find discount coupons on the web. One mistake which people make is that they buy hosting for one year only. When you make the first purchase, you have an option to buy hosting for more than one year. It is a good idea to buy your hosting from a reliable company, and purchase a package for two or three years.
Let me do a quick calculation for HostGator here:
- If I purchase for one year, and pay in full for next two years of renewal: $3.58 * 12 + $8.95 * 24 = $257.76
- Now, let’s consider the cost if I buy hosting for three years: $2.78 * 36 = $100.08
That’s straight away a savings of $157
4. Auto Script Installer, Cron Jobs, .htaccess
I am always surprise that some web hosts out there still do not offer these basic hosting features nowadays. Whether you want to create a blog, start a forum, use a CMS, wiki, upload to your own photo gallery, or sell online with an E-commerce store, you can do so quickly and easily through HostGator. You SHOULD NOT settle with hosting providers that do not supply them.
5. An Easy-to-use Hosting Control Panel
A user-friendly and functional hosting control panel is very, very important.
This is called various names by different hosts, but essentially, they all allow you to manage different aspects of your web account yourself. Typically, and at the very minimum, it should allow you to do things like add, delete, and manage your email addresses, and change passwords for your account. I will not sign up with a host where I have to go through their technical support each time I want to change a password or add/delete an email account.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a cPanel or a Plesk or a third party control panels (like what we have at GoDaddy) – we are okay as long as it is user-friendly and come with all the necessary functions.