How to Choose a Web Host?

Choosing a web host can be quite confusing and challenging at the same time. A web hosting is a location where your website stays and makes it accessible to visitors on the internet. 

The performance of your future website entirely depends on the web hosting provider. There are multiple options available in web hosting based on pricing, functionality, and various other factors. 

Before you choose a web host, you need to decipher a lot of things, as hundreds of web hosting providers promise you a lot while purchasing. 

However, you need to be sure whether web hosting meets your requirement and gives you the best services to keep your website live 24/7 for 365 days. 

While choosing a web hosting service, there are few things you need to focus on some crucial factors. 

The most crucial factors you need to check before choosing a web hosting are Performance, Security, Support, Pricing, and Additional Features. 

Factors to Look at before you Choose a Web Host

Let’s discuss the factors you should check before you choose a web host in detail. 

1. Speed and Performance

Speed and performance is the first and most important thing you should check before purchasing a web hosting for your website. 

The speed and performance of web hosting decide how fast your website will load. Also, it ensures the user experience of your website to your visitors. 

Your visitor won’t stick for long if your website takes time to load. There are thousands of other sites available, so a user doesn’t want to wait for a website to load. 

Moreover, even Google loves the website that loads faster and provides a great user experience to its visitors. 

Hence, you need to check every aspect of the server’s configuration before choosing a web host for your upcoming website. 

Disk Space

With the rise in competition among web hosting companies, various web hosting providers lure you with an offer of unlimited disk space. The reality is that if you have a static website, it won’t even take more than 100 MB.

Yes, you read it right. A static website with few photographs and content can be hosted in less than 100 MB of disk space. 

Also, as a newbie blogger, you won’t need too much disk space. Hence, you need to be aware of your disk space requirement, and web host offers before you choose a web host. 

Always choose a web host that offers you best value for your money with efficient disk space to allow you save your documents and media files without any worries. 

Bandwidth (Data Transfer)

Bandwidth or Data Transfer is the amount of data transferred from your website to your visitors when they visit and browse your site. 

Most of the commercial web host providers promise you unlimited bandwidth in their marketing campaign. Every web hosting provider needs to pay for the bandwidth, and if your website consumes high bandwidth, they won’t bear your cost if you exceed their bandwidth limit. 

You won’t even know, but they will add an extra amount to your bill costing you additional money if you have purchased an unlimited plan. Hence, always make sure that your web hosting provider fulfills your website bandwidth requirement before you are buying. 

Storage Type

A web hosting server is a virtual computer that has a storage device where your website is stored. There are two types of storage that depend on your hosting provider. They are HDD and SSD. 

Choose a Web Host

Hard Disk Storage is an older technology, and a website hosted on HDD loads slower when compared to Solid State Drive (SSD), which is the latest technology. 

Hence, it is always wise to choose a web host offering SSD storage technology if you want your website to load at lightning fast speed. 

Uptime

Uptime is the amount of time your website remains live or available on their server. Most of the hosting companies showcase their uptime in percentage. 

Uptime is one of the most important factors to check before you choose a web host.

Almost every web hosting company guarantees you 99.99% uptime of its servers. However, when you read their terms and conditions, you will be surprised. 

Hence, it is essential to go through the terms and services of a web hosting provider.  

Is it Shared, VPS or Dedicated Server?

The most popular form of web hosting program is shared hosting, where a single server is shared into multiple instances. In a shared hosting environment, various websites share the same resources, such as IP Address, Disk Space, and RAM. 

While in the Virtual Private Server, a single computer is divided into multiple virtual spaces. In a VPS environment, every instance has its resources and does not share resources.

A website hosting on the VPS server has its portion of the server; the performance of every website running on VPS is not at all affected by other servers. 

Another type of hosting environment is the Dedicated Server. In the dedicated server, a single website owns the entire server. Moreover, you get to control how your site uses the whole server. 

However, as a beginner, you don’t need a dedicated server. A dedicated server is primarily for companies with large groups of IT staff and system admins. It is suitable for the websites having millions of traffic in millions. 

2. Datacenter Location

One important thing to look before you choose a web host is the data center location. Let us say you are creating a website whose target audience will be US Citizens; then, it is wise to have your website hosted on a data center located in the United States. 

Choose a Web Host

If your website data center is located near your target audience’s geographical area, your web page will load faster, giving a better user experience. 

However, if you already have purchased web hosting with data location away from your target audience, you can use the Content Delivery Network (CDN) to boost the loading speed of your website. 

3. Web Hosting Technology

A web hosting environment is developed using multiple software programs known as a software stack. You need to make sure that the web hosting you purchase offers you the latest technology. 

Some standard software used for the web hosting environment is Apache, PHP-FPM, NGINX, PHP, LXD Containers, and MariaDB. You can use the NGINX server along with MariaDB if you want the fastest page speed of your website. 

4. Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Content Delivery Network is a service that stores a copy of your website on its various server around the world. Whenever a user visitor opens your website, he is provided with the web page from the nearest CDN server.

For example, if the data center of your web hosting provider is located in Australia, Australian visitors will get fast loading time. While the web page data will travel a greater distance when an Asian user visits your website, taking more time to load. 

Hence, in such a situation, a CDN acts as a mini-server that keeps a copy of your website across its various server across the world. Thus, whenever a user opens your website from any location, the web page is fetched from the nearest server. It makes the web page loading lightning fast. 

5. Caching

Caching is a technology where your website’s unchangeable components are stored on either server or browser level. The caching mechanism helps your web page load faster and enhances the user experience of your website. 

While most of the popular web hosting provider includes caching in their server. But it is not compulsory to have caching if you have optimized your website well to provide optimized performance. 

However, you don’t need to worry if your web hosting provider does not provide caching by default. You can use a caching plugin to boost the loading speed of your website. However, you need to make sure if there is any restriction on any caching plugin by your server. 

6. Scalability

Ensure that your web hosting provider gives you an option to upgrade the resources with an increase in your website requirements. You will notice that your website gets down or loads slowly when there is an increase in traffic or disk space is about to get full. 

In such a scenario, a scalable web hosting will automatically upgrade you or message you to upgrade your server whenever your website is having difficulty with the current configuration. 

7. Virus Scanning and Removal

Before you choose a web host, you need to ensure whether your web hosting provider gives you virus scanning and removal features. Hackers and Spammers often upload a virus and malicious codes, especially in the shared hosting server. 

Hence, you need to check whether your web hosting provider gives you additional features of virus scanning and removal. Also, you can use WordFence and Sucuri WordPress plugin to secure your website. 

8. Security Features

When you choose a web host for your new website, you need to be assured of whether they provide security measures to protect your website from different security attacks. 

Please check whether the web hosting provider updates the OS with the latest security patches and has multi-layer firewall protection. Moreover, the right web hosting provider must provide DDoS protection to your website. 

9. Backups

Backups help you restore your website copy if any mishap happens at your web hosting server resulting in the crashing of your website. Hence, a good web hosting provider must provide regular backups of your website to offer you peace of mind. 

10. SSL Certificate

SSL certificates ensure your visitors that your website is secured with a green color padlock before the URL of your website. 

Moreover, even Google recommends for websites to have SSL certificates to rank them high in Google Search Engine. 

Hence, you need to check whether your web hosting provider is providing a free SSL certificate with their plan or not. Most of the popular web hosting provider gives you one-click SSL installation. Hence you need to make sure. 

11. Customer Support

One of the most important factors to check before you choose a web host is their customer support. Does your hosting provider give you 24/7 customer support by knowledgeable human resources? 

Support doesn’t just mean redirecting you to the written answers, which have been the practice by the various hosting company. Excellent customer support should guide you regarding your issues and help you solve them without much interaction. 

12. Response & Resolution Time

There might be a situation where you are unable to access your website or your visitors. In such a case, you need to contact customer support as soon as possible to learn about the issue and fix it. 

Hence, you need to be assured about the average response time from your web hosting provider for your query, question, or issues. If your website is down, a response time of 1 day or 12 hours is not an option. 

Moreover, it is also crucial to know the resolution time for the customer support team to resolve your website issue. You just don’t want your web hosting provider to take days and weeks to fix your website issues. 

13. Contact Options

Also, you need to see what contact methods a web hosting company provides before you choose a web host. Most of the company offers email and support ticket options to seek assistance. 

However, you need to check if there is a Live Chat Support feature before you choose a web host. Live Chat feature is the fastest method to get support and assistance from your web hosting. 

14. Support Level 

When you are talking about customer support options, you need to understand what level of support the web hosting company provides.

For example, if you choose a web host with a shared environment, you need application-level support with WordPress or other CMS. However, with VPS, Dedicated, and Cloud Hosting, you will need server level support.

So you need to read about their support level in their terms and conditions before you choose a web host. 

15. Pricing

Pricing is a crucial factor while selecting a web hosting provider for your website. The pricing of your web hosting package must fit into your budget before you choose a web host. 

If you are a beginner and your website does not generate any revenue, you need to make sure that your web hosting charges do not break your bank. 

16. Advertised and Renewal Pricing

It has not been a hidden thing that a web hosting company lures you to become their customer with various offers. Most web hosting providers offer you low-cost pricing for the first year; however, they suddenly charge you high during renewal. 

You must have noticed that various popular web hosting providers offer you a web hosting plan for $2.95 per month for shared hosting but will charge you $10-15 per month during renewal next year. 

So please check if your web hosting has similar offers. You can also purchase a web hosting plan for multiple years to save some bucks as they would charge you for the same advertised pricing. 

Also, some web hosting companies add extra charges for services that you don’t require for your website. Hence, you need to make sure you are paying the required money while making the payment. 

17. Cancellation Charges

Also, check for refund and cancellation policy before paying for the web hosting package. You might be attracted to lucrative offers and features promised by the web hosting company while buying.

However, if it doesn’t turn out to be true, you can ask for a refund as most of the web hosting provides a 30 day no question money refund. In case your web hosting does not offer such a thing, you will have to leave your money or use the inefficient hosting for your website. 

Additional Features to Check before you Choose a Web Host

18. Operating System: Linux or Windows

While most web hosting providers use the Linux Operating System, some use the Windows Operating system. 

Linux based servers are costly compared to Windows-based server as Linux is open source and free. 

If you prefer any specific operating system for your web hosting, you need to check before purchasing the web host. 

19. Email Accounts

Most popular web hosting provides you the option to create a custom email account for your business. With this feature, you don’t need to purchase premium email services such as Zoho or Google Suite. 

You need to ensure whether your web hosting provider provides you with an email client to use your custom email or just forwards it to another email. 

20. Developer Features

If you are a developer, you need to be assured whether the web hosting provider provides you development features such as SSH, Root Access, WP-CLI, and Staging Area. 

21. Multi-Domain and Sub-Domain Support

There are various web hosting providers that give you tons of feature for a single domain hosting. However, there are web hosting companies that will let you add multiple domains in the same plan.

You can host multiple domains in the same web hosting plan without paying additional money to host your other websites. It is always wise to pay a bit extra to purchase multi-domain hosting, as it would just cost you a little more money with the option to host multiple websites. 

Make sure how many domains the web hosting provider allows you to host on the hosting package. 

Another essential feature to check is how many sub-domain your web hosting provider allows. You can create a sub-domain for newer services you add on your website. 

Also, you can choose a sub-domain to test your website before making it live on the main domain. 

22. Free Domain

Web hosting companies like Bluehost and SiteGround provides you a free domain name registration with their web hosting plan. 

With this offer, you don’t need to purchase the domain separately. Moreover, it will help you save the additional expenses of domain name registration. 

Also, you don’t need to perform DNS management with your domain name provided by the web hosting provider. 

23. Website Migration Services

If your websites are hosted on another web hosting and are planning to migrate them to other web hosting services, you need to check whether they provide free website migration. 

Various web hosting companies provide free fully-managed website migration services of the first few websites to their new customers. 

If you choose a web host that does not provide website migration service, it can be a hassle to migrate your website from one server to another. 

24. Control Panel

Control Panel is the management area your web hosting company provides you to manage your website. There are various Control Panels a web hosting company offers based on the pricing. cPanel is the most popular control panel. 

Some even provide their custom developed control panel. A control panel will make your website management task easy. You can install CMS applications, update PHP Version, Install SSL, upload Files, and do many more things with web hosting Control Panel. 

25. Reviews and Ratings

Last but not least, you need to check out the reviews and ratings before choosing a web host provider. However, you should look for genuine reviews and ratings written by actual customers instead of general reviews. 

Reviews and Ratings will help you analyze the performance and reliability of a web hosting provider. 

Wrapping Up

You can take into account all the above 25 factors before you choose a web host. Before you purchase a web hosting for your website, you need to ensure that your website should load at a lightning-fast speed. 

Also, it should feature skilled and knowledgeable support staff to help you in case of any issue. It doesn’t matter whether you choose shared hosting, VPS Hosting, Cloud Hosting, or a Dedicated Server for your website. 

The web hosting should provide you the best value for your money and keep your website live 24/7 and 365 days without any downtime. 

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