How to Choose the Best Web Hosting Provider
Without high-quality web hosting, your ability to run a successful website is going to be seriously hindered. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to choose a web hosting provider at random. If there's a situation that calls for some thought, consideration and research, choosing a web hosting provider is it. There's a dizzying array of web hosting providers competing for your business. How can you pinpoint the best one? Start by keeping the following points in mind.
The first thing you need to do when shopping for a webhost is to evaluate your disk space and bandwidth needs. If your site will feature a lot of graphics, dozens of pages and get a lot of traffic, you're going to need decent amounts of bandwidth and disk space. Unlimited plans are available, and they make life easier. If your site is going to be simple and not generate a huge amount of traffic, you should be able to get away with smaller amounts of disk space and bandwidth.
Keep compatibility in mind, too. In the excitement of looking for a web hosting provider, you might overlook one critical thing: the type of operating systems that are supported. You're not going to want to switch operating systems, so double-check this point before settling for a provider.
Reliability and availability are critical characteristics to consider when shopping around for web hosting. The best web hosting providers offer availability rates of 98 and 99 percent. This is frequently referred to as “Uptime”. It's easy to make such claims, though, so make sure to see if they make good on their promises.
Security is also an essential concern. Choosing a web hosting provider without learning about its available security features is a big mistake. Things like firewalls, daily backups and user authentication should all be included. It's also nice to receive notifications whenever changes are made because they can alert you to suspicious activity.
Get a Feel for Pricing & Value
Some people choose web hosting providers strictly based on price. That's not a great strategy, but you should definitely take pricing into consideration. The best providers offer options for every budget. In some cases, signing up for long subscriptions will qualify you for extra discounts.
Also, try to leave yourself room to grow. It's great to choose a web hosting plan that suits your site's current needs. With any luck, though, your site will grow and expand over time. Your needs could change. Switching to a new web hosting provider is a major hassle, so look for one that offers scalable plans. In other words, you should be able to upgrade to another plan easily if necessary. Low prices are always great, but if the low price comes with limits on space or bandwidth, you want to make sure the deal is really worth it.
In the same vein, you may want to note how many e-mail accounts are provided. Whether you think you'll need dozens of email addresses or not, it's nice to have the option to create as many as possible. In most instances, more expensive plans include larger numbers of email addresses. This feature isn't very important to some people, but it is critical to others.
Always Investigate Support and Customer Service
Even if you're a whiz at setting up websites, it's nice to know that help is available whenever you need it. Confirm that the web hosting provider has 24/7 support. Make sure that there are several ways to get support too. The most reliable providers provide support through email, phone and online chat.
Great customer support includes customer freedom. Review their policies to ensure that you have a clear money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with their product. After you've narrowed things down to just a few candidates, search for online reviews about each one. Ideally, the reviews should come from real people. Testimonials on web hosting providers' websites don't count. It shouldn't take long to get a feel for how a web hosting provider treats its customers.
Look for Extras
In addition to providing the basics like bandwidth and disk space, a good web hosting plan will include at least a few extras. If you're running an online store, look for providers that offer e-commerce solutions. If you'd like to be able to perform fast and easy updates, look for a provider that offers content management systems. Make sure that you'll have access to statistics about your site too.
As tempting as it may be to just choose a web hosting provider and get on with your life, it's better to take your time. By doing so, you'll be able to find a provider that you can stick with for the long haul.