Whether you want to start a personal blogging site or an aspiring e-commerce website to take on the big names, you will need a place to host your website. Every website, whether large or small, requires a website host. Enormous corporations like Google, Amazon, and Facebook don’t have to worry about hosting their website because they have the infrastructure needed to pull off the feat. For everyone else, this is where the web hosting providers come into play.
If you are to pick a reliable hosting company in the USA and you are new to this, the first thing that will pop into your mind would be, what exactly is a hosting provider, and why do I require to host my website? Let’s get to the important thing first, your website is just a collection of pages that contain text and images, and sometimes other multimedia elements.
When you create a website, you are essentially making these pages that different people can visit. To make your website accessible to people, you need to put it somewhere always connected to the internet. A hosting provider is an entity that gives you this “somewhere” where you can put your website so that anyone can visit it at any time. While you could, theoretically, set up website hosting on your personal computer, you should, most certainly, not do that. If you want to run and manage a successful website, it is best to let the experts handle the technical stuff. There are plenty of options when you look for a website hosting provider.
These hosting providers usually offer a wide variety of functionality at different price points. So, before you start looking for a website hosting provider, you should know what you will need for your website. With the requirements in mind, you can begin looking for a web hosting provider that offers you a fair deal. So you might be thinking, what should I know before looking for a web hosting provider? Here are some questions to answer your questions. Strange, right, how questions can be the answer? But if you ask yourself these before going on the quest, you will know what to look for and what is not relevant:
- How big is the website?
- What security elements do you need for your website?
- Do you want to sell products or on your website?
- How much daily or monthly traffic do you expect on your website?
- How fast do you want your website to load?
- Which hosting environment do you want?
Now, you know what you should be aware of before looking for a web hosting provider. Let’s explore how these questions will help you choose the best hosting provider for your website.
How big is the website?
It is to do with the size of your website. The general rule is the more high-density material you add to your website, the heavier it will become. For instance, a website that only has blog posts consisting mostly of text and a few images will be far lighter than a website containing not only a blog section but a photo gallery and a video library as well. When planning your website, keep the size into consideration.
So you can make choose the appropriate storage option when looking for a hosting provider. All the web hosting providers offer different storage options at other price points, so you should select the one that fits your requirement correctly and is also in your budget.
What security elements do you need for your website?
You might be thinking: all I want is to post some blogs; why should I invest in security features? Consider this, if you open a website, and the browser shows “not secure” next to your website address in the “address bar,” how would you feel about that website? Would you be confident interacting with its content; would you click on the links provided there? If your answer is “no,” you know how important website security is.
Standard security elements like SSL certificates can significantly impact your website’s image, and not only that, you should choose a secure hosting provider to keep your website safe from DDOS and other similar attacks. Look for hosting providers that offer SSL certificates and tools that help you protect from a cyber attack.
Do you want to sell products on your website?
Selling products and services online is why most businesses are looking to create a website. So if you are one of them, make sure to look for a hosting provider that plays nicely with online stores. Some hosting providers offer unique hosting plans for running online stores, but when going for those, make sure they support scalability. It means you start with a small store with limited traffic, but you can expand your website as your business grows. Hosting providers that support popular e-commerce platforms like Magento can be the best fit if your only goal is to run an online store.
How much daily or monthly traffic do you expect on your website?
The bandwidth is an essential aspect of your website. Bandwidth needs are different for every website. A niche blog might see relatively less traffic than an online store selling items that everyone needs. Web hosting providers typically have bandwidth caps for their plans, and these caps differ based on price. Paying for higher bandwidth when your website is only getting a handful of visitors a month is not a smart business decision.
Before going for a hosting provider, assess how many people you expect to visit your website in a month. If you estimate visitors in multiples of thousands, you should go for the high bandwidth option, but if only a few hundred people are visiting, the lower bandwidth option will do just fine. It is crucial to judge your traffic requirement accurately before finalizing the hosting provider. If you opt for a low bandwidth plan, your website will experience outages during unexpected higher traffic activity.
How fast do you want your website to load?
Users expect a website to load within 2 seconds. If they only see a white or loading screen for more than that, they probably will leave. Google also considers site loading speed as a ranking factor, so if your website is slow to load, it can hurt your site’s search ranking. Though various factors can slow down a website, a fast hosting provider that offers enough memory and processing power to facilitate lightning-fast page speed is vital for running a successful website.
Which hosting environment do you want?
There are four types of hosting environments that you should know about:
It is usually the least expensive option of the bunch, but there are significant trade-offs for saving costs. In this hosting method, your website lives on a shared server along with other websites. It shares space and resources with other websites, which means if any website on the shared server experience a traffic surge, your website will also suffer as a result.
During traffic surges on the server, your website might become slow or inaccessible, showing visitors an error message when they try to gain access. In addition to the risk of website outages, shared hosting can have security risks. Shared hosting is best suited for personal websites and blogs that don’t have a high traffic rate.
VPS – Virtual Private Server Hosting
It is the next step in web hosting. A VPS is a virtual space dedicated to a particular website. Though many websites reside on the same server, they don’t compete with each other for resources. Each VPS site has its dedicated virtual portion of the severe, so its performance remains unaffected by traffic changes on other websites on the same physical server. The security risks are also fewer in VPS hosting. Using a virtual private server hosting gives you more control over the web hosting environment.
It is an expensive option, but with dedicated hosting, you will get a physical server running only your website – with all its storage and computing power available for your website alone. Dedicated servers are of two types:
Unmanaged Dedicated Hosting
This method is appropriate for a large company with a dedicated IT department. The server is typically located on-site, i.e., on the company’s premises. In this case, the company is solely responsible for maintaining and managing the server, including dealing with outages and problems, updates, installing and maintaining firewalls, and other security issues.
Managed Dedicated Hosting
It is the method that makes sense for most large businesses that don’t have to deal with the hassle of maintaining a server. If you go for managed dedicated hosting, the hosting provider will rent you out a fully dedicated server and takes care of all the maintenance and security.
These hosting servers run on a vast cloud such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. The cloud combines hundreds of servers’ computing power to provide you with an uninterrupted and robust experience. It is easy to scale without a hitch because cloud hosting is not limited to a single server. You can seamlessly add more storage without requiring you to switch hosting providers or reconfigure your setup.
It is also cost-efficient because you only pay for the resources you use. Cloud hosting ensures maximum uptime for your website because you don’t have to worry about a single severe going down. If one server goes offline due to any reason, the other server in the network will carry your website and prevent an outage. Websites hosted on cloud hosting solutions experience very little to no service interruption.
Some other things to consider while choosing a web hosting company:
Contract’s Terms And Conditions
Some hosting companies provide a pay-as-you-go option, which makes it easier to leave at any time. However, some website hosting providers may rope you in with a contract with low initial rates that rise significantly at the agreement renewal time. Make sure to read thoroughly and understand the contract’s terms and conditions before signing up for any hosting plan.
If you face a problem with your website for any reason, you should be able to count on an immediate response from the support team, irrespective of the time of the day. You must check the three things before deciding on a web hosting provider – if they have a 24/7 customer service helpline. How can you get in touch with the support team (via phone, chat, email, or support ticket)? What is their average response time? If you find the answers to those questions satisfactory, then choose the hosting provider.
Type of Included Security
Any reputable website hosting provider will have a robust firewall with the latest version of antivirus software. They will also offer constant monitoring along with automatic updates, patches, malware detection, and removal.
It is not important which type of website you run. It is crucial to go with a hosting provider that offers daily secure backups. Anything can happen at any time that might corrupt some files on your website or make it entirely inaccessible, and if that happens, you should have a way to recover your website via those backups. Make sure to look for a website hosting provider that will take regular backups and help you restore your website from backup files in case anything goes wrong on the live server.
If you are putting your website on the internet, you want it to be available at all times. Looking at the uptime rating or uptime score of a hosting provider will tell you how much downtime you can experience if you go with that particular company. Uptime rating will let you know the reliability of a hosting company. Avoid website hosting providers that have a below 99.5% uptime rating.
If you are creating a business website, it is essential to check for the easy upgradability path. Website traffic usually grows with time, so having the option to upgrade eventually is necessary. Be sure to check the upgrade options before finalizing a hosting provider.
Restrictions And Limitations
Enquire about any limitation the hosting provided had put on the hosting plan. Commonly restricted or limited items include the number of domains, resource usage, file transfer, etc. If a hosting plan has too many restrictions and limitations, you will be unable to grow your website to its full potential.