Choosing a web host is rarely straightforward, even if you have been working with various hosts for a number of years, things change. The number of available plans change, the customer ratings/expert reviews change and the prices change. However, one thing always stays the same – you will need a good web host if you are setting up a website.
Your web host is crucial for getting the best out of your website. As well as providing you with server space to enable people to find your website online, your host will (or will not in some cases) provide a range of features that can help make your website a roaring success.
When we talk about success, we mean that it is fulfilling its objectives. So for most people setting up a website, that will be to attract visitors, either for business or other purposes. Gaining visitors comes down to a large number of factors including how well your website performs in terms of SEO. Or in other words, how Google and other search engines rank your website. This is how new customers will be able to find you, by using the search engines.
Another important factor in the success of your website that your host will determine is performance. Some hosts offer better levels of performance than others, so it is in your interests to find one that offers the best levels of performance, such as page loading speeds and uptime (the amount of time the website is online). There are other factors that will impact page loading speed such as your content and whether it is optimised for fast page loading, but your host will also have an influence in this. Many hosts offer so called unlimited hosting on most shared plans so ensure you read the small print and check the limitations on bandwidth as in many cases unlimited is never truly unlimited.
When you find that you need some help either when you are setting your website up or when you are up and running, some hosts will provide better support than others. So check for things like ratings on customer support, as you never know when you might need some urgent help. Some hosts have phone lines, online chat and email support that is open 24/7 and others do not, so watch out for those differences in support levels.
If you decide that you want to use WordPress then to make life easier, you might want to select a host that offers one-click WordPress installation. This feature is offered by many different hosts but again, you will find that there are some that do not and the installation will be a lot more complicated than it needs to be.
It is really hard to predict how well your website or even your business is going to do. If you are just starting up, you probably want to start small with your website functionality but in time, that may change. Opting for a flexible host that offers scalability to grow if your business grows is a very wise idea. Otherwise, you could end up wasting time setting up with a host and then discovering it will not support the increased demands of your growth.
The volumes of storage and bandwidth provided by each host varies as well. You may consider using a free hosting solution but then you may find out that you have very limited storage and bandwidth that will hold you back in your plans.
Costs of plans vary and sometimes hosts will advertise 70% discounts and other seemingly amazing deals but don’t let this persuade you to sign up before checking out what else is on offer. Most hosting fees stay pretty static or work out and around the same price over 12 months, after whichever discount is applied.