Picking the right web host can be tricky business. There are so many different companies out there all competing with each other that you could easily end up picking an unreliable host is going to cause you nothing but problems. If you are currently with a host that you are unhappy with, or if you have a new website that you are looking to get hosted, it is important to shop around before signing up with the first host that you come across.
Do a quick search in Google or your search engine of choice, and you’ll find hundreds of different web hosts all offering their hosting solutions. There are a number of factors that you need to carefully examine before signing up, and in this article, we will look through some of the most important ones.
There are a number of things that make a good web host, with the three most important being performance, price and support.
There are other things that you can look at such as the different types of hosting available, the features available and any additional services that may be offered such as domain name registration, but these are not as important as the aforementioned.
One thing you’ll notice when searching online for web hosting is that you will quickly discover that there are web hosting companies operating out of every country you can imagine. Hosting as a business is universal, and it’s not a problem to be based in the UK and have your hosting account with an Australia company. There are pros and cons to all hosting companies, and where they are located is just one aspect to look at.
If you are targeting a local audience with your website, then you might be better off going with a locally based host, who operate servers in the same country as you. This could be beneficial for your site visitors, as the time needed for your web pages to load up will be slightly quicker than if the website was on a server halfway around the world. If you are targeting an international audience, then it won’t really matter where the servers are located.
There are a number of websites, such as FortuneLords.com, which offer comprehensive reviews and comparison of web hosts from all over the world.
The price you pay for your web hosting will depend on a number of things. Firstly, you’ll need to decide what type of hosting you want to use. There are several options such as shared hosting, VPS (virtual private server) hosting or a dedicated server. Some hosts even offer hosting solutions specially for websites developed with the popular WordPress CMS (content management system).
Once you’ve worked out what type of hosting you will need, and in most cases, it will be shared hosting, unless you have a high traffic website, then you need to check the prices and compare them between hosts. Some hosts offer a much better monthly rate if you sign up for an annual or multiyear account. If you want to go on a month by month basis, then for shared hosting, you could expect to pay anywhere upto $10 a month. Anything over this, and you might want to consider looking elsewhere.
For VPS hosting, the average price range would be between $50 – $60, but this would depend on the specs of the virtual private server. For dedicated servers, you are looking at a minimum of around $160 per month, with prices going up into the hundreds for a very powerful or customized solution.
The main thing to look at with every web host is their uptime. This is the time where your website will be up and working. There will always be times when servers have small problems, need upgrading or maintenance, and when this happens, you could find that your website is down (offline) for a short period of time. Usually when an upgrade or maintenance will be performed, the host will give you prior notice.
However, sometimes there can be problems that have appeared out of nowhere, which could knock the server down for anything from a few minutes to a few days, though admittedly, such cases are very rare.
You’ll want to go with a web host that offers an uptime guarantee of at least 99.9%. Anything less than that, and you might find yourself dealing with a more frequently offline website. Some web hosts do offer to refund you if your site is offline for a certain period of time, so it’s important to have a look at the terms and conditions when signing up to see what their policies are when it comes to downtime caused by issues with the server.
One of the most important things when signing up for any type of service on a subscription is the customer support that the company offers. This is extremely important when it comes to web hosting, as you never know when you might run into a problem.
There can be instances where you are experiencing a problem with your email, or you are having issues with files being uploaded to the server. Whatever the issue, whether it’s something very simple or something complicated, you need to be sure that your host will be on hand to offer you all the support you might need.
A lot of people prefer to use a web host that offers 24/7 support through live chat. This makes things a lot easier and less stressful in times of problems, as you will have someone instantly on hand to help.
If you have a problem and your website is down, the last thing you’ll want is to have to wait 6 hours before you hear back from anyone.
Make sure that you properly research any potential web hosts that you are considering using. There are a number of websites and groups online where people share their experiences with different web hosts, and provide genuine feedback and testimonials.
The hassle of discovering you have picked a lousy web host and have to move your website over to a new host is not much fun, so it’s important that you do all you can to avoid such circumstances from arising.