Web hosting is the link that connects your website to the internet. Without it, visitors won’t be able to access your website.
With so many different web hosting services available, though, you might be wondering which one to choose. While all web hosting services can get your website online, some offer better performance and value than others.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the most important factors to consider.
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The 7 Most Important Things To Consider When Choosing A Web Host
1) Customer Service
The quality of a web hosting service can largely be measured by its customer service.
If you discover a hosting-related technical problem with your website, you’ll need to contact the hosting provider for assistance. If the hosting provider doesn’t respond with a solution in a timely manner, visitors may encounter something like a 500 Internal Server Error when attempting to access your website.
You can’t always prevent technical problems from occurring, but you can mitigate the damage they cause by choosing a web hosting service with excellent customer service.
At a minimum, the hosting provider should offer a ticketing system, email and phone for customer support inquiries.
When shopping for a web hosting service, read the backup policies of prospective providers.
Different hosting providers have different policies regarding when and how they create backups of customers’ websites.
Some hosting providers rarely or never create backups, whereas others automatically create backups on a monthly or weekly basis. The best web hosts will back up your content daily.
You may never need to use backup, but it’s still a good idea to choose a web hosting service that creates backups automatically and frequently.
If you experience a data loss event or cyber attack, you can use the backup to restore your website. Just remember to download and save the automatically created backups locally, such as on your computer or an external hard drive.
3) Control Panel
If you have limited knowledge of system administration, you’ll likely want to choose a web hosting service that offers a control panel.
A control panel is a web-based graphical user interface (GUI) that allows you to easily manage your website. Among other things, it supports file transfers, database creation and management, subdomains, add-on domains, backups and one-click installations.
Some of the most popular control panels include cPanel and Plesk. Using either of them, you can easily manage your website from your web browser. Some web hosts also have their own proprietary control panels.
With that said, not all hosting providers offer a control panel, and some hosting providers charge extra for this feature. Before committing to a web hosting service, check to see whether it offers a control panel and, if so, whether it’s free or costs extra.
Of course, you should consider security when choosing a web hosting service.
Statistics show approximately 30,000 blogs and websites are hacked each day.
If your website is hosted on a server with lax security measures, hackers may target it. Many hackers, in fact, specifically look for websites with hosting-related vulnerabilities because they are easier to infiltrate than websites with secure web hosting.
A web hosting service should offer Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates to encrypt your website’s traffic. With an SSL certificate installed, your website’s traffic will automatically be encrypted using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). As a result, hackers can’t decipher or use any data intercepted between your website and its visitors.
Note: You should NOT have to pay extra for an SSL certificate. Check out our article on The Best WordPress Hosting With Free SSL 🔐
How much bandwidth does the web hosting service offer?
Bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data that can be sent to and from your website’s server during a specified period.
Most hosting providers track bandwidth usage on a monthly basis, such as 300 GB or 700 GB per month. Once the total amount of data transferred to and from your server has reached the bandwidth limit, your hosting provider may take your website offline.
Keep in mind, there’s no such thing as unlimited bandwidth. Even if a hosting provider markets its packages as unlimited bandwidth, there’s only so much data you can transfer to and from your website’s server.
Bandwidth is a finite resource, so hosting providers will take action against customers who use an excessive amount of bandwidth with their website. If a hosting package is marketed as offering unlimited bandwidth, it simply means the hosting provider hasn’t set a quantifiable limit to how much data customers can transfer.
6) Disk Space
In addition to bandwidth, you should consider disk space when choosing a web hosting service.
Disk space refers to the maximum amount of data you are allowed to store on your website’s server.
Whether it’s a web page, a PHP file, an image, a video or a database, each of your website’s files will consume disk space. Web pages and PHP files are typically smaller than video and database files. Nonetheless, you must host all of your website’s files on your server, thereby consuming some of the available disk space.
Hosting providers may offer anywhere from 100 GB to over 1 TB of disk space. But like bandwidth, disk space is sometimes marketed as unlimited in hosting package, meaning the hosting provider doesn’t track or meter customers’ disk space usage.
Finally, you should consider the price when choosing a web hosting service.
Hosting providers typically offer three tiers of plans: shared hosting, virtual private servers (VPS) and dedicated servers.
Shared plans are the cheapest at roughly $4 to $10 per month, whereas dedicated server plans are the most expensive at roughly $100 to $300 per month.
If you’re on a shoestring budget, you may assume that a shared plan will suffice. Some shared plans, especially those offered by reputable hosting providers, are reliable and offer plenty of bandwidth as well as disk space, but they often suffer from performance issues.
If you choose a shared plan, your website will be hosted on the same server as hundreds or even thousands of other websites. As a result, your website may suffer from longer load times than it would when using a VPS or dedicated server plan.
Regardless of what type of website you are building, you need to choose the right web hosting service for it. All web hosting services will connect your website to the internet. Performance and value, however, varies between the different hosting providers and their packages.
🚨 If you use WordPress and want to see our top web hosting picks based on the criteria above, check out our WordPress hosting recommendations here.
If you have any questions about choosing a web host, feel free to leave a comment below!