You may be an entrepreneur, a small business owner, or want to start a blog and think of starting a website.
After doing a lot of research to decide the niche of your business or a blog and its domain name, what’s the next step?
The next and most important decision you need to make is choosing the right and the most reliable web hosting service provider. People will visit your website only when it’s hosted.
The web hosting service provider not only stores your website files and data but also takes care of the security and performance of your site. Also, it provides you with the flexibility to upgrade and downsize the service plans as the need arises and grow your website.
With hundreds of thousands of options on the internet, all claiming to provide the best service, choosing the best one is always a hard and daunting task. However, there are some criteria you can use in deciding which one you should go with.
To make your job easier, here, in this article, we bring to you the 10 essential factors in choosing the best web hosting service provider. But before we move further with the factors, let’s try to understand what web hosting is, what it does for you, who are the top hosting service providers, and the types of web hosting.
What is web hosting?
A web host is a company that gives you access to a web server that stores all the essential files and data of your website. When people visit your site, your web host delivers that data to them.
The data and files a web host stores might include images, videos, HTML files, and CSS. The browser of your website visitors uses these data to locate your web host and thus access your website’s contents. In other words, other people are able to access your site on the internet only because of web hosting.
Web hosting also impacts the SEO of your site significantly.
But how? The SEO factors like loading speed, security, and efficiency of your website are affected by your web host.
So, no matter whether you are a blogger, or running a small or big business if you have a website, you need web hosting.
And it’s crucial that you choose your web host wisely.
What does a web hosting provider do for you?
It’s only because your web hosting provider getting your website live on the internet that people are able to access it. There are a number of services that web hosting companies provide to their customers. But the three major things a web hosting provider gives you are:
Your domain name is basically the address of your website on the internet. This is what people type in their browsers to access your website. For example, people need to use the domain name https://www.digitalutsav.com to go to my website.
Most hosting provider companies help you choose and register a domain name for your website. And they will maintain your domain name for as long as you keep paying the annual fee.
Related: 10 Essential Tips For Choosing the Best Domain Name
It’s the machine or computer that hosts your website on the internet and serves it to the public.
Though you can set up something similar to the server, it may require a lot of time, effort, and money. So, the better idea is to get your site hosted by some website hosting provider. For this, you just need to choose one of the hosting plans according to your needs and get your site up and running.
Your web host will take care of all the hard work in getting your website live on the internet so that people can easily access it.
#3. Storage space
Your web host’s server stores all these files which makes those data or information accessible to the people who visit your site.
All web hosting providers offer these three basic functionalities.
In short, we can say, a web host provides a domain (the address of your website), a server (it hosts your site and makes it accessible to the public), and storage space (a dedicated space to store all the files of your website).
Who are the top web hosting providers?
It requires a lot of research and careful consideration to choose the best out of dozens of reputable and viable web hosting providers available globally today.
While choosing a web hosting company, the most important thing you have to keep in mind is what exactly the needs of your website are.
Here is a list of 3 top web hosting service providers (in no particular order) offering the best services at affordable prices:
Founded in 2011, Hostinger has become one of the most popular web hosting service providers in the world. If you are on a tight budget, it could be one of the best options to host your website.
Hostinger’s incredible pricing plans provide a wide range of services that could meet all the needs of your website.
The pricing starts at $1.99 per month. With this plan, you can host one website, and includes free weekly backups, free SSL certificates, enough bandwidth for 10,000 visitors, etc.
The Premium shared hosting plan is the most popular plan costing $2.59 per month. With this plan, you can create up to 100 websites and get unlimited bandwidth and free domain registration for one year.
With its LiteSpeed web server technology, you can maximize your site’s performance for a better user experience.
You can receive help from their agents 24/7 via live chat support. Its 99.99% uptime guarantee ensures your site’s maximum online presence.
My website (www.digitalutsav.com) is also being hosted by Hostinger and I am completely satisfied with their services. I never faced any issues regarding uptime, website speed, etc.
Founded in 2003, Bluehost is a leading web hosting company powering over 2 million websites all over the world. It’s one of the three hosts WordPress recommends.
Bluehost works best with WordPress. But you can build other types of websites as well.
The starting plan is the Basic plan. With this plan, you get a free domain and a free SSL certificate for the first year and can get hosted one website.
Bluehost’s recommended plan is the Choice Plus plan. This plan offers a free domain for the first year, free SSL, and can get hosted an unlimited number of websites. The main security features of this plan are daily website backup for the first year, malware scanning, and domain privacy. This plan lets you host 200k visits per month.
It also guarantees 99.99% uptime meaning your site will remain online 24/7 and 365 days a year.
If you need any help, it provides 24/7 support by phone or live chat.
Claiming to provide ultrafast WordPress hosting and recommended by WordPress, Siteground offers free SSL, email, CDN, and backups. Best of all, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Since it is built on the premium Google cloud infrastructure, Siteground obviously becomes the most reliable, secure, and faster web host. Its PHP setup cuts the TTFB (time to the first byte) significantly resulting in loading your pages 30% faster on average.
Because it’s being one of the WordPress recommended hosts, all the WordPress sites that are hosted by Siteground get static and dynamic caching enabled which makes the site 5X faster.
With plenty of security features, Siteground keeps your site fully safe and secure. Its AI-backed system blocks between 500,000 to 2 million brute force attempts per hour. Also, its in-house developed server monitoring system checks the server status every 0.5 seconds making your site more and more secure.
Here are its hosting plans and pricing:
- Startup – $3.99 per month
- GrowBig – $6.99 per month
- GoGeek – $10.99 per month
All the plans include a one-click WordPress installation. Though the plans are a bit more expensive than its competitors, it offers some of the best services, the fastest speeds, and reliable security features.
Siteground also provides solutions for e-commerce. It allows you to choose and install your preferred shopping cart software such as WooCommerce. And you can get your fully-functional online store ready in minutes.
Types of Web Hosting
Depending on your needs and budget, there are basically four main types of web hosting options available to choose from:
In this type of hosting service, multiple websites are hosted on a single server. Since all these websites share the same server resource such as CPU, memory, and storage space, shared hosting becomes the most economical of all the types of web hosting.
This is a great option for beginners, small businesses, personal websites, or those who are on a limited budget.
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. In this hosting type, many websites are hosted by one cloud-based server system. But as the name suggests, you get a unique virtual server and a unique IP address. Because of this unique IP address, you get dedicated processing power, RAM, and disk space.
No matter how many resources other users use up on the server, it’s not going to affect your website.
VPS hosting is more expensive than shared hosting. But with VPS hosting, you get more power and your site is more secure. A VPS-hosted website can handle significantly more traffic.
If you have an e-commerce website or you expect your site to grow in the near future that will be attracting a lot of traffic, VPS hosting is the perfect hosting for you.
On the other hand, if your site isn’t going to get lots of visitors, you shouldn’t go for this type of hosting. This is because, for low-traffic websites, this hosting is a waste of resources.
Dedicated hosting means one server for one website. In this type of hosting, you share an entire server over which you have full control, including the choice of operating system, hardware, etc. You don’t share the server with anyone else.
Though dedicated hosting is far more expensive as compared to other types of hosting, it is the most reliable and secure.
If you have a big organization or a well-established business that will be attracting a great amount of traffic, this is, without a doubt, the best option to consider.
In cloud hosting, the service providers host their clients’ websites through a network of servers connected over the internet.
Cloud servers usually run on giant public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. In the beginning, this hosting isn’t going to be that expensive. This is because the service providers charge you based on the resources you use.
But over the course of time, as your site starts gaining popularity and attracts massive amounts of traffic, obviously, your expenses will also increase with it.
Now, let’s get started with the essential factors in choosing the best web hosting service provider.
Key considerations when choosing the best web hosting company:
- Storage Space
- Loading Speed
- Customer Support
- Sign-up and Renewal Prices
- Ease of Setup
- Ability to Scale
By uptime we mean the percentage of time a website is available online to the users without any issues. It’s natural that you would want your website to be visible to your users 100% of the time.
It’s always frustrating if your website is unavailable for long periods of time. When people click on the link and the site doesn’t open, chances are great that they won’t be returning again.
Frequent downtime or unavailability of a website not only annoys the users but also Google itself. And the ranking of your website in search results starts declining.
So for a website to be successful and that could earn more revenue, it’s important that it is up most of the time.
But it’s impossible to find a hosting service provider that could guarantee 100% uptime. Also, it sounds impractical for a website to be online 100% of the time. This is because, sometimes, there must be some genuine issues regarding the server or hardware that might result in a website being down.
So, most of the reliable hosting providers commit to 99.99% uptime. When choosing your web host for your website, it’s advisable to keep an eye on this and go for the one that guarantees 99.99% uptime.
Pro tip: You must read the customer reviews to make sure the claim of your hosting provider of 99.99% uptime is genuine.
Hackers hack over 30,000 websites every day and create more than 300,000 new pieces of malware every day.
As cyberattacks have grown in the recent past, website security is becoming more important than ever before.
If your website is affected by some actors, it could damage your as well your visitors’ computers.
At the end of the day, if something goes wrong, it’s you will be held accountable.
Your web host must have high-level security practices in place to protect your website from malicious actors like bots or hackers.
When choosing a hosting provider and selecting one of its hosting plans, make sure it offers an SSL certificate, firewall, anti-malware, and automated backups and updates.
SSL certificate encrypts all the data that is shared between your website and the visitors, such as your visitors’ email addresses, credit card numbers, home addresses, etc. Also, Google or other search engines rank those websites higher in their search results that have SSL certificates. So, SSL certificates are important from an SEO point of view as well.
A reputable web hosting provider will scrutinize all the requests to your site and deny the malicious actors’ requests.
On the other hand, a web host that doesn’t provide good technical support, security, maintenance, and backup facilities could be risky for your website and business.
#3. Storage space
How much storage space you need depends on the purpose of your website. If you add only text files, you won’t need a lot of space. But if you plan on storing multimedia files, such as images or videos, you’ll need more storage space.
How to determine the amount of storage space you need?
To gauge the amount of storage space you’ll need, you just have to use the files on your hard drive.
If you require a lot of space, make sure the hosting plan of your web host offers the amount of space you need so that your site doesn’t run out of memory. And, if you need little space, you should go for cheaper plans and don’t waste your money on the space that’ll remain unused.
Pro tip: While choosing the web host, make sure that it allows scaling up whenever the need for more space arises.
Bandwidth refers to the limit of websites to transfer data within a period (typically a month).
There are two categories of bandwidth:
In metered bandwidth, there’s a limit on how much traffic a website can generate. If a site exceeds that threshold, it will no longer be accessible to visitors. On the contrary, in unmetered bandwidth, there’s no cap on monthly bandwidth usage.
If your site will be attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, you must keep in mind the bandwidth while choosing the hosting plan. However, you can opt for the cheaper plans if you expect a few hundred or a few thousand visitors per month.
A good idea is to first determine the number of resources your site currently needs. And then select a plan that provides 50% more resources than the required amount.
But how to calculate your bandwidth needs?
For this, you need to find out the average size of your web pages, the average number of monthly visitors, and the average page views. And then multiply all those numbers.
For example, if the average size of your web pages is 3 MB, the average number of monthly visitors is 2,500, and the average page views are 2, the result will be 2,500×3×2 = 1,500 MB or 15 GB.
By the 50 % rule, the required bandwidth per month will be 22.5 GB.
#5. Loading Speed
Would you ever like the pages of your site to load slower, and your users to get annoyed by the delay, and leave your page?
The answer must be, “no, never”.
Yeah! Loading speed is crucial for SEO. Google always aims to give its users the best experience. And it ranks those sites higher in the results pages that load faster.
Also, if your site takes longer to load pages, you will end up losing many valuable customers and thus sales will decline significantly.
So, the hosting service provider you are going to pick must offer a good loading speed.
You can use the tools such as GTMetrix, GooglePageInsights, or WebPageTest to check the loading speed of your pages. And test how fast the server of your web host is performing.
#6. Customer Support
This is also one of the most important considerations in the decision-making process of choosing the best web hosting service provider. If you are facing some issues, for example, malicious attacks on your site or your website going down, you may want to talk to someone to resolve the issues as soon as possible.
If your website is offline even for a minute, it will not only cost you visitors and sales but also damage the relationship you have built with your users over the years.
So, make sure the web hosting service provider you are considering hiring offers support 24/7. Their experts must be knowledgeable and helpful to answer all your questions related to hosting and fix any hosting problems you may have as quickly as possible.
You should also check the means of contacting their representatives such as live chat, email, or phone calls. The best and the most reliable web hosts offer personalized customer support through live representatives via phone or chat.
#7. Sign-up and Renewal Prices
Though pricing isn’t that important factor, it’s probably the most obvious detail to consider when you choose the best and ideal web hosting service provider. Comparing the pricing plans of various hosting companies also helps you in making the decision easier.
All the web hosts offer discounts if you pay annually instead of monthly. And if you several years at a time, you’ll get even more discount.
Many web hosts offer discounts on renewal prices as well.
But you must check their terms and conditions before you agree to a plan. This is because, in the beginning, they promise to offer discounts, but just after a few months or years of service, they start charging higher prices.
A service being cheaper or expensive doesn’t make it low-quality or high-quality.
Understanding the type of your need is important. Always go for that hosting provider’s plan that best suits your needs and is under your budget.
#8. Ease of Setup
Make sure the interface your hosting provider offers is user-friendly. This will make managing many aspects of your website easier.
Most reliable web hosts work cPanel, a very popular control panel brand. It should be easy to navigate and tailored to all types of customers.
You shouldn’t be having any problems managing domain names and hosting, installing any software, updating your content, or tracking visitor activity.
Also, while picking your hosting provider, you must check whether it provides you with all the information and knowledge base to help you get started.
#9. Ability to Scale
Most entrepreneurs, business owners, and bloggers don’t pay much attention to scalability.
But don’t you think that the website you are working so hard for will eventually grow, have more content, and attract more traffic?
It’s always wise to check if the web hosting provider you are choosing has plans that are scalable or not.
If not, then in the future when your blog or podcast goes viral, your website might run out of storage space or other resources crucial for growth.
Before hiring your web host, make sure it gives you the option to upgrade or downsize your hosting package according to your needs.
Suppose you have a seasonal business and hundreds of thousands of visitors come to your website during a particular season. No doubt, you would prefer to scale up your plan for that particular period. And during the off-season, you’ll need to downsize your package to avoid wasting your money.
If your website faces database and hard disk failures, virus attacks, or hackers, it will take your website down and lose all its data and progress.
Would you ever want this to happen to your website?
Before signing on to a web hosting provider, make sure it has a backup plan, your website never goes down, and it’s always up and running.
If something worse happens and you lose all the data, code, and content from your website, it will cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars to recover them. Also, recreating an entire website takes lots of time.
Now that you have read this blog post, I hope all the important things about web hosting and the tips on choosing the best hosting service provider are clear.
In this article, we covered:
- What is web hosting?
- What does a web hosting service provider do for you?
- Who are the top web hosting service providers?
- Types of web hosting
- Key considerations when choosing the best web hosting service provider
If you understand your needs, choosing a web hosting service provider isn’t that difficult.
So, have patience, take your time, and use the tips discussed in this article to pick the right web hosting service provider for your website.
Do you have any additional tips that I might have not covered here? Feel free to let me know in the comments section below.