When it comes to time to choosing a web hosting company, you have lots of choices to choose from. It can be downright overwhelming when evaluating all of the options before you. But just what should you look for in a web host?
Most importantly, you want to select a web host that is reliable, fast, secure, and offers excellent customer support. More on that in a minute, but first, let’s talk about what a web hosting company is and what it is they provide.
What is a web hosting company?
Before we get into the considerations when choosing a web host, it’s a good idea to first explain what a web hosting company even is. At the very core, a web hosting company (or simply, web host) is a provider of hosting services which allow for your website to be visible on the World Wide Web. A common analogy that hosting is sometimes referred to is that it is like your parking space on the internet.
So when you first decide to have a website created, the to essential things you need are:
- A domain name
Your domain name is essentially the name and address of your website. And hosting is where your website resides. That is to say, where it is hosted. Often times, web hosting companies will offer both of these essential elements in a one-stop shop format. This makes it more convenient for the customer because they don’t need to purchase a domain name from one company and their web hosting from another.
Okay, now that we have the basic groundwork of what a hosting company is and what they provide, here are the top things to look for when doing your research and making a decision.
What to look for in a web host
1 – Speed
At the top of the list is speed. Believe it or not, the hosting you choose can actually make your site load faster or slower. So it’s important to choose a web host that you know is going to allow your site to load at lightning speeds.
Having a website that loads too slowly can have all sort of negative effects. But among the biggest negative effects are on your visitor’s experience and on SEO. That’s right, one of the factors for SEO is how quickly your website loads.
Not to mention, slow loading sites tend to frustrate visitors. In turn, frustrated visitors tend to leave your website faster, than had they had a more seamless visiting experience. So do yourself a favor, and focus on speed. Your visitors (and search engines) will thank you for it.
2 – Reliability
Another important aspect to consider is how reliable a web hosting company is. For this, have a look at the company’s reviews. What have other people’s experiences been like with the web host? Do they have good things to say about their experiences? Or do people complain and grumble about their experience with the web hosting company?
These are all key indicators of what your experience might be like with that particular host. So it’s crucial to choose a provider that you can depend on and is reliable.
3 – Guaranteed Uptime
Similar to reliability, you want your web host to offer a guarantee in uptime. Look for uptime guarantees of 99% or higher.
From time to time, web hosting may need to go down for a short period due for maintenance. When this happens, it’s possible that your website may run slowly, or worse, not even function properly at all during this time. And you of course, don’t want this.
Maintenance is normal, but it shouldn’t happen all the time, and certainly not a peak times when your website is busy or experiences higher rates in visitor traffic. With a web host that has a high percentage of guaranteed uptime, you can rest assured that your website will be accessible and functioning properly more often than not. So look for that assurance in a guarantee.
4 – Security
This is also a big one. Your web hosting provider should offer highly secure hosting on all of its packages and plans. That is to say, every hosting plan offered should ensure 24/7 security monitoring to guarantee that your website and data are always protected and safe.
5 – Easy to Use & Manage
No one likes complicated. The same should be true for your web hosting. Look for a web host that offers some sort of easy to use control panel to manage your hosting. A popular one offered by many hosting companies is cPanel.
This makes it much easier to manage the features of your hosting plan in an intuitive and user-friendly environment. So be sure to look for this when conducting your research.
6 – Flexible Plans
Every now and then, your hosting needs may change. Particularly if your website becomes more popular and begins to experience higher traffic. When this happens, you may find that your previous hosting plan just isn’t cutting it anymore. Because of this, you might decide that it’s time to upgrade (or downgrade in some cases) your existing hosting plan.
Your web hosting company should make this a seamless and easy experience to do. In addition, your web host shouldn’t have any penalty fees for downgrading. They should understand that your needs simply change from time to time.
So it’s best to find a host that is flexible with the hosting plans that they offer. If the process seems to complicated or not straightforward, then that host may not be the right one for you.
7 – 24/7 Support
Your web host should absolutely be available whenever you need them for support. In cases of emergencies, or simply when is convenient for you, your host should offer the support you need day and night. By having 24/7 support that is only a phone call away, you can quickly get issues resolved and answers to your questions. You shouldn’t only be able to reach them during certain windows.
Hosting is one of those things that sometimes cannot simply wait until the next business day. When you need to speak with your web host, they should be available to offer the expert support you need, when you it. Simple as that.
Looking for a web hosting company?
As mentioned, when it comes to web hosting, you have options. Lots of them. But remember, not all web hosts are created equal.
Choose a provider that meets all of these considerations and you will have a much better hosting experience in the long run. Not doing so could cost you additional time and money down the road, unnecessarily.
If you are currently shopping for web hosting, consider trying one of our hosting plans. We offer hosting for all sorts of needs. Whether you are trying to build a WordPress site, or need a more dedicated hosting solution, we have a plan that works for you.