When it comes to choosing a website hosting company there is a lot of factors. It can also be the cheapest or most expensive choice you make. But not only when it comes to money. Load time and other factors will affect the performance of your website.
There are many options to consider when choosing a host. Let’s dig into the key major points that you should consider before and after you make your choice.
Types of Web Hosting
There are 3 main types of web hosting:
- Shared hosting stores your site on a server that will ‘share’ the resources. These resources are generally memory and processor. The websites get assigned storage space. Any other resource across the server gets split and used by all the sites. This includes any bandwidth.
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS) give a specific number of resources in a virtual environment. Physical resources are still shared. The server operating system yours alone. But you are still bound by the resources assigned to your virtual server.
- A dedicated server gives you a server assigned only to you. All resources are yours and yours alone at the hardware level. You have the most control over all the options. But in most cases, you are also required to maintain the base operating system. You may also be responsible for charges should you need physical interaction. It is also the most expensive option.
For the purposes of this article, we will consider shared hosting only. Shared hosting is the most common option for small businesses. It is the most cost-effective option for those not needing dedicated resources.
Points to consider in a web hosting provider
- Price: At any business, the price will always be a factor. But because the price is the lowest does not mean you will be saving money. The other factors will also need to be considered and determine the real price of the hosting. It is generally better to go with a middle-priced option than to go with either very cheap or very expensive.
- Features: You need to consider what features the provider offers. Do they include email services? How about DNS? How much space or bandwidth do you get? Find out as many features as possible and compare those features between what is offered and what you need. Also, compare what these features are between different providers.
- Customer Service: When it comes to hosting, you need to know how responsive to support calls a provider is. Consider their hold times. Call and find out how easy they are to talk with. Does the tech support know what they are talking about? And are they available during off hours?
- Downtime: It’s important to find out how much downtime the servers have on a regular basis. This should also include any maintenance times. The more downtime your site has will affect its performance.
- Backups: It is important to know how often the server completes a backup. You should also find out how long those backups get kept around. How quick can they restore a backup when needed?
- Growth: Can you add more resources to your hosting as needed? Make sure that you do not get locked into a contract that allows no options to grow. You never know when you may need more resources.
- Reputation: Make sure the provider you choose has good reviews. Either look online, on social media sites or find someone to talk to that also uses the same provider. Read any testimonials that you find.
Why is the right hosting so important?
While all the points above are important to know, how does that affect your website? If you choose a bad host, what are the consequences that you could see?
- Income: The biggest point here is a loss of income. Your website is the gateway to your online presence. If it ends up down all the time, no one will ever get to it. If you sell products or have sales funnel through your site, the loss of income could be extreme with each outage. Not to mention lost data.
- Security: Security is another huge concern. A host that does not maintain their servers well could be more vulnerable to virus and hacking attacks. In turn, your website could be susceptible more often. Search engines may end up classifying your website as a bad site because of this. And all because your site lives on servers that host other bad sites.
- Search Engine Optimization: That brings us to the last major point, S.E.O. Search engine optimization relies on optimal load times. A slow loading server may cause your site to not show as well in the results. Downtime can also change the results of S.E.O. work. If the search engines can never get to your site, or get lots of errors while browsing they will move your site down.
Well now that you know what to look for, and the consequences of a bad choice, it is time to get your hosting. Do your research and compare any potential providers. If you need to, see if you can take a test drive. Don’t forget to think of the future, and plan for anything you may need down the road.