How to choose the right web hosting for a website, is a conversation that I often have with my website customers and students. Since I started building websites years ago, I have used just about all the major web hosts at one time or another, either for my own sites or the ones that I was building, managing, or search engine optimizing for my customers.
Like many things online these days, trying to make a decision by comparing these different companies can be difficult. Most web hosts promise similar things but say them in different ways making it hard to get an even standard of measure to use in evaluating which on is best suited for your website.
There are many different web hosting companies that are good and overall most larger companies will have a fairly good hosting package for you, but that being said, there are some very important factors that I have found to be critical to the success of your blog or website both now and in the future.
Important Factors For Choosing A Web Hosting Company
I am listing customer service and support at number one because to me this is one of the most critical parts of what I am paying for with a web host. As your site grows this becomes more and more important. Imagine if your site was down and you were unable to contact people at the web host to help you? Having your site down for any time at all becomes a much larger issue when it is your sole source of income.
When choosing a web host, be sure you check to see that they have various ways you can contact them 24/7 such as live chat, toll free phone, email ticketing, etc. You also want to be sure that when you do contact them that they will be abel to help you find the solution to your problem quickly.
Lastly, something that has been a great help to me, is that some companies such as my favorite hosting provider Hostgator will even move your websites for you if you are switching to their hosting services from a different host or upgrading to a higher hosting package with them.
When evaluating a hosting company for technical specifications, the first step is to look closely at the website that you are moving or intending to create. It is important to look at what it will be presently and also what you want it to grow into in the future. Different hosting companies specialize in different things. If you are building a WordPress website then there will be some companies who specialize in that and if you are wanting to have robust e-commerce site built on the Magento platform then other companies will be able to address the unique needs of a site like that.
It isn’t necessary to go to a web host that specializes in a small niche, but it can be worth looking into in some cases. The most important thing, as mentioned before, is to look at your site and understand what it needs now and in the future and be sure the web host you choose has those options available for you.
Room for Growth
Having a clear long term goal for your website is vital in choosing a web host company that can grow with you or allow your site to move up from one level of service to another easily to meet its growing needs. Most websites that are just starting out will only need the basic hosting pack available just about anywhere, but once the site starts to grow you will be very glad that you looked into this before hand.
More than once I have been working on websites for my customers who had the site built on the cheapest hosting they could find. Not only was it much harder to move the site to a new host because there just weren’t the right options for growth with the original host, but what they didn’t know was that every dollar they saved by using a cheap host, they probably lost many more every day because their site was down often and had a lot of variability in the speed that the site would load. This can be detrimental to your ranking in search engines like Google too.
I will mention price briefly for one simple point; the most expensive web hosting is not always the best or the right choice for your site. There are several different web hosts that I often recommend that are quite inexpensive, but I have found them to have customer service and support equal to and in some cases greater than much more expensive web hosts.. What I’m looking for personally and for my customers, is a high level of customer service, room to grow, and all at a reasonable price point.
Another option that I highly recommend is a management tool called cPanel. It is a piece of software that your web server runs on and is used to manage your hosting account. cPanel is included with some web hosting companies and is available for an extra charge at others. If you can, always use the cPanel option, it makes managing your site more convenient, makes backing up your data easier, and even moving or upgrading your website much more simple and reliable as well.
Choosing a web Host Check List
So based on my personal experience, here is my basic checklist for selecting the right web hosting company for your website:
- Customer Service – The most important thing is good support anytime you need it.
- Tech Specs – Look at what you need now and will need, find a host to match.
- Room For Growth – Make sure you host will have room to grow as your site grows.
- cPanel – Makes managing your website easier and more dependable
- Price – Look for the best of the above aspects at the most reasonable price, the most expensive is not always the best.
What I Personally Use And Recommend
I have a detailed list of the web tools I use and recommend, but my favorite web hosting company by far is HostGator. I have all my sites there and I build just about all my customers sites there as well. They have an unbelievably low price for the starter package and to me the most important benefit is that even the lowest hosting packages get the same great level of customer support as the higher ones.
If you want to be able to host several different sites, I recommend their VPS Level 3 or above package with cPanel. That is what I have personally with about 5 or 6 websites on it including the one you are on right now. It runs great and I can add as many websites as I want to it, plus it is easy to upgrade should I need to in the future.
Other Web Hosts You Might Want To Consider
Here are some other web hosting companies I have used in the past: