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Have you ever hosted a website online? Do you know what a person should look before choosing a web hosting company for your small business/blog etc? If not then you will surely like this article because at the end of it, you will have the solid understanding of things which are important while choosing a web hosting company for your business website/personal blog etc.
When I started my website (http://digitalharpreet.com), I too had very little information about web hosting and different web hosting companies. So, to understand this very important area of anyone’s online business, I did some research.
My aim was to figure out:
- Where most people host their WordPress powered websites?
- What features or services should I look for before choosing web host?
- Is there a way to save money in web-hosting?
- How to make use of promotion price for long time?
For many people, selecting web host is little tough job if they are from a non-technical background. It is little difficult to understand the importance of things like server reliability, up-time scores, upgrade options, multiple domain addon support, renewal fees, and many others things. As a newbie blogger, people sometimes don’t realize the important of these things, maybe because they wanted to run their website over the internet as soon as possible.
Today in this blog post, I will share very useful information about ” 11 Things People Should Consider Before Choosing a Web Host Company” for any website. This is article is not only for newbie bloggers but also for people who are looking to switch from existing web host to a new host. For better comparison, i have added hosting cost and order of ranking based on customers feedback.
Important Tip: If you are a newbie blogger and reading this post first time, I wanted to give you a personal advice – “While making web-host purchase decision, please do not follow everything what professional bloggers/marketers recommend you. You might end up in investing more money then what you could save on hosting.” This is just a personal recommendation and a lesson learned when I was buying hosting for digitalharpreet.com. You should consider the pros and cons of everything before you make a final purchase because once you make a purchase you may not be able to avail offers which hosting companies provide to their new customers. The bottom line is to make a calculated decision before your purchase as hosting is everything for a website and without that you are out of the business.
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Now let’s move on and check out things to consider before choosing the hosting company.
First of all, let’s check how much you already know ? Ask following questions to yourself –
- How do you decide if a web host is good or bad?
- What are the features you are looking for?
- Or, You are just confused and not sure about anything?
How to choosing Web Hosting Company?
If you are new in choosing web host then it might be difficult for you to answer these basic questions. To make it little simple for you, here are few questions that you can ask yourself before taking this big step:
- What are your hosting needs? (Small, Medium, Large Business)
- What is the up-time guarantee the web host is providing & is it reliable?
- Upgrading Option available to you & cost of upgrading?
- Hosting features available like multiple addon domains, free domains along with hosting, number of domain email addresses etc.
- Most important – Cost at the time of sign-up and renewal?
- If you want to go deeper, you may also want to know about what are the account suspension and server usage policy.
Identify Your Hosting Needs
Understanding you hosting needs is the crucial thing and without that, you cannot get the right web host. So it very important to identify what you actually need? I would suggest to keep everything aside including this and thoroughly think about what are you looking for in future? Some sample questions that you might want to ask yourself are –
- What kind of website you are building?
- What kind of platform will you use? eg. WordPress
- Are you building a blogging website, an organizational website, portfolio website etc?
- Whether you need a special software to code your website like php, java, .net etc?
- What is the volume of traffic you are looking for?
- Are you interested in building multiple websites?
You can ask these questions to yourself to get an idea of what you actually wanted to achieve? And what is your plan for the next 12 months with it? It is very important to plan the future of your business right now.
A Personal Recommendation for Newbie Bloggers –
If you are a newbie blogger or an individual then without thinking much, go with shared hosting plans that web hosting companies provide. A shared hosting account is a cheap, easy to maintain and sufficient for almost all the new websites. One more tip is staying there (shared hosting) until your web host kicks you out because of high traffic volume and difficult for them to maintain your shared account. The important thing to consider here is that whatever host you are choosing, it should provide you upgrade options to VPS or dedicating hosting in the later stage when your website grows and your shared hosting account cannot provide support to your growing traffic needs.
Recommended Cheapest Shared Hosting Providers –
11 Things To Consider Before Choosing A Web-Host
Web Host Server Reliability & Server Uptime
This is the most important factor to consider before choosing the web hosting provider. It’s really important for a web host server to operate 24×7 to support the website availability over the internet. You never want your website to go down even for a very small period of time. So, it very important to have a web host which is operating on a powerful server with good hardware and stable network connections. It is highly recommended to choose a web host with 99.5% and more uptime score. Anything which is below 99% is not a reliable and unacceptable for web hosting.
Factors like RAID protected storage, Daily Back-Ups, and Bandwidth also plays the vital role for any web hosting company to be in the list of most reliable web hosting service providers.
24×7 customer support is another factor which provides the certificate of reliability to web-hosting companies. It’s another important factor to consider before choosing the web host.
When you start a new website/blog, it is highly recommended to purchase a shared web hosting plan. This way you can save a lot of money on hosting bill during the time you grow you website/blog. Shared hosting is Web hosting in which the service provider serves multiple Web sites, each having its own Internet domain name, from a single WebServer. Most Web hosting companies provide the shared hosting plan nowadays.
As a rough estimate, the shared web hosting account is sufficient to support a properly optimized WordPress website with 35,000 to 50,000 unique visitors. However, if you are expecting your website to grow into a real big in next two or three years then it’s worth considering – what are the upgrade options web host provide you at the time of purchase. You may like to migrate from shared web hosting account to VPS or dedicated server for more disk storage, memory capacity and processing power with added security features. So, it’s very important to inquire about these upgrades options at the time of setting up web host account.
Addon Domain /Websites Options
If you are a newbie blogger or a someone who is purchasing a web hosting service for the first time, then it is important for you to understand this feature. With Addon domain option, you can run multiple websites under your single web hosting account. When you purchase a web host, they usually provide you different plans. For example, if you are looking to purchase a shared hosting (which you might be if you are setting up a brand new website) then you see multiple shared web hosting options, like below one from Bluehost –
Highlighted above is the addon domains/website that you can have under different shared hosting plans that Bluehost provide. In general, most shared hosting companies provide at least 25 addon domains in their medium size plan (Bluehost Plus Plan). When I started Digital Harpreet, I was so careless that I purchased a web hosting account with only one domain and later I regret that decision. To add multiple domains to my web host accounting, then I upgraded my plan with “unlimited” domains. I got what I wanted but I ended up paying extra money with no promotional discounts because I was not the new customer. So, please DO NOT repeat the same mistake what I made and make sure to check the domain capacity before you make a final purchase.
Renewal Cost & Signup Cost
Out of all different types of hosting plans (Shared, VPS, Cloud, Dedicated), shared hosting is the most attractive to the new customers because shared hosting plans are cheapest than any other type of hosting account. But the question is – Are they really cheap when you renew them after your initial period?
Most hosting service providers sell shared hosting plan at very cheap rates to new customers but make lots of money at the time of renewal. And don’t worry about the renewal cost because its industry norm these days to charge more on renewals. You can hop between different hosting providers in every two or three years to save some money but there is no way around to avoid the higher renewal fees. Below is the chart where you can compare the sign-up cost and renewal cost of various the web hosting companies:
|Web Host||New Customer/Signup||Renewal Cost||Extra Money to Pay on Renewal||More info|
Customer service is another thing which is worth considering before signing up for a web host account. One thing you don’t want is to wait for a long time in a queue. Everyone wants great customer service. If you are good in googling and solving your own problems then its well and good but if you rely solely on your web host for your problems then it’s important to consider a web host with the highest qualify of customer service. Following are the Best Web-Hosting companies based on highest customer satisfaction rating that I found out during my research –
These days all web host companies have refund policy or trial period and during which you can try the hosting services and decide whether you would like to continue or not. Remember that, if you forget to cancel your account before the last day of your trial period then you will be charged for the whole trial period. If you have this question in mind then it’s worth asking beforehand. Some companies do not require credit card information during the trial period and later when you decide to continue with then you will need to upgrade to your chosen plan after the end of trial period.
Another thing which is worth considering is to select web host which provides longest trial period so that you will get sufficient time to try all the services they provide for the selected plan. Questions that you must ask yourself while selecting could be –
- Can I get the full refund if I cancel my web host account within the trial period?
- How much money would I be charged if I cancel my web host account after the trial period?
- Is there any cancellation charges if I cancel services before the trial period end or after the trial period?
- Can I still be eligible to get the promotional price after the end of the trial period?
- Can I upgrade to higher plan after the trial period and Can I still be eligible to get the promotional price?
- Can I upgrade my plan from monthly to 24/36 months and still get the current promotional price?
These are some basic questions that are worth asking before you invest in signing up for the web host account because if you have any plans to move to another host then you can get your invested money back if you clarify your doubts beforehand.
WordPress Specific Services
If you are searching a web host for your WordPress website then you can select any web host company that offers shared Linus Hosting server with PHP as that can run WordPress. You do not need a wordpress hosting to run a wordpress website. In case you need some special WordPress related services like emergency wordpress patching, wordpress optimization,virus removal etc then you can consider WordPress specific hosting.
If you are planning to host an E-Commerce website with features like – Online Payment Options, Automatic Taxes, Automatic Shipping Support etc them it’s important to choose a web host which support these e-commerce features. You will need an SSL certificate for your website to provide the same level of security that banks provide to their customers.
When you are running a website, it’s quite possible that your website crashes and inaccessible to the users. There could be multiple reasons for website crash, for example, a hacker might have damaged your index.php file or your entire database? Once you in this such problem then it’s very important to have site backups so that you can restore your website again. Another reason for website crash could be when you are making code customizations and you mistakenly deleted or added code with errors and then you don’t know how to correct it?
If you web host takes the site backup regularly and then you don’t need to worry about all those things. So, it very important to consider this point before you choose a web host. You can ask following questions to the web hosting provider before you finalize them –
- Do you take automatic backups regularly?
- Do you have site backup options in admin control panel?
- Is there any option for manual site backup?
- Do you provide any plugin for site backup?
- Do you provide assistance in restoring the site backup?
In WordPress, we have something called “plugins” which are the portion of software that provides additional features and functionality that isn’t built into WordPress. However, some plugins conflict with how hosting companies servers and are banned by them. Some plugins are simply bad pieces of software, so they are banned as well. But some hosting companies allow you to install and experiment as much as you want. Remember that, wordpress plugins are something which boost the functionality of your website and if any of them is banned by the web hosting company on your website the that is a very big loss for you. So, ask them about this and make sure that they allow you to install and experiment as many plugins you want on your website without any restriction.
Speaking for myself, I like clean, smooth, user-friendly backend. Some people don’t care about the design – they just want everything to be there and to function. Some people really don’t care about the backend – they want all technical options open for professionals (either a hired developer or customer support) to use as needed. You can experiment these things during the trial period and then decide what you want? Believe me, things are really important if you are serious about your project and really want to take it to another level.
To be honest, the truth is that the things liked or enjoyed by one person may be distasteful to another. It’s not necessary that everyone would consider all the points that I have mentioned above. It’s possible that some of them are least important for you but for others, it’s mandatory to have.
After considering all the aspects, I would recommendations following web hosting companies –
This is it. I hope this guide to selected perfect web host for your website/blog will help you in making a correct decision based on your needs. If you think there are some other aspects that one should consider before selecting web host then share with us? Also, share which one you trusted most and what are the things you like most about your web host provider?