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How to Choose the Best Web Host for You
Choosing a web hosting company is no easy task. There are hundreds upon hundreds of options, many of which look like they’re exactly the same. The reality is, there’s no one best web host. Different companies will offer different things that will appeal to different people. Someone wanting to host a simple blog website will need a different host than someone who is wanting to host a business website selling things online.
There is, however, a right web host for every type of website. In order to pick the best web host for your website you’ll need to assess what you need to succeed. Here are a few things to take into account when looking for a web hosting company.
One of the first things you’re going to come across when searching for a web host is the idea that they offer unlimited disk space and/or bandwidth. This simply is not true. There is no such thing as unlimited disk space. Every single web host that you find offering this will have a clause in their terms of service limiting you in some way. Keep this in mind when you shop around.
You’ll also want to see if the web host can run the type of website you want. Compatibility between your website and the web host’s servers is an important step in making sure you choose the best web host for you. Say, for example, you want to run a WordPress website. You’ll want to make sure the web hosting company can run a WordPress website otherwise you’ll not even be able to get started.
While shared hosting is the ideal starting point for most websites, if you’re wanting to host a multimedia heavy website you may want to consider a VPS hosting company. a VPS (Virtual Private Server) will give you much more freedom, especially in terms of multimedia streaming. It will also load quite a bit faster than a standard shared host.
This is something most people, especially those new two web hosting, completely gloss over. The right control panel will save you from becoming completely frustrated with managing your website. I cannot stress this enough.
The short of it is that cPanel is by far and away the best hosting control panel there is. If you find a web host that doesn’t use cPanel then chances are it’s because they don’t want to pay the extra money it costs them to offer it to you. I strongly advise against using a host that doesn’t have cPanel. There’s just no way around it. It makes managing your website, and your web hosting account as a whole, a complete breeze.
Another important aspect of picking the best web host for your needs is their reliability. Your website, of course, is only good to you if it’s online for the world to see. The web host you choose will be in charge of making sure that happens.
Most web hosts will offer, at the very least, a 99% uptime guarantee. Saying they have a guarantee isn’t enough, though. Ask them to send you an uptime report of the server where you’ll be hosted. This is not a difficult thing to do. I know because I’ve done it plenty of times when I was working in the web hosting world. If the representative refuses to send that to you then they shouldn’t earn your business, plain and simple. They are either too lazy to take the time to generate the report or they aren’t reliable enough and they don’t want you to see it.
Keep in mind there is no such thing as a 100% reliable network. There is always the potential for something to happen and for your website to go down. It’s an unfortunate reality of web hosting. When this happens, it’s important to know what you can expect in terms of compensation for the trouble. A good web host will be more than happy to credit your account with extra web hosting time if your website is down for any extended period of time.
Price and Value for Money
There’s a reason I put this last. That reason is that, if you value your website, then the cost alone shouldn’t be the deciding factor, it should only be a deciding factor. If you want a cheap web host just to mess around with a website you’re not serious about then by all means, choose the cheapest one you can find. However, if this is going to a website that you want to take pride in or rely on for your business, you should not try pinching pennies.
I’m not saying that all cheap hosts are bad and should be avoided. Far from it. There are plenty of cheap, reliable hosting companies out there. I do think it’s important to have some perspective on just how little the price difference is between most shared hosts, though. You should not leave your business website on an unreliable host just because it costs so little. You can spend an extra $1.00 a month and get a host that is incredibly reliable. Imagine how much business you’d be costing yourself if your website was down for an entire day because you wanted to save that $1.00/month.
Another thing to look out for, and something that most people miss, is renewal costs. The vast majority of hosts offer “special promotional rates” to get you in the door. Come renewal time, your rates could potentially skyrocket.
As with any long term purchase, it’s just important to do your research. If your website is going to be important to you then it’s important that you take the time to find the best web host for your website.
- What is web hosting?
- What is shared web hosting?
- What’s the difference between shared, VPS, and Dedicated hosting?
- What is a domain name?