How to choose your web hosting provider?
We at Top11Hosting understand that this process can be rather confusing and time consuming, so we try to outline the most important and easy to understand factors that you have to consider when choosing your web hosting provider.
In case you wonder how we came up with the winner of our Web Host of the year award, here is the process we follow, which is the process we recommend that you follow as well.
Before you begin evaluating your web hosting option, one thing you need to confirm is:
What are your website requirements?
Do you need a simple website which you can build using an online website builder tool or using platform such as WordPress? Most web hosting providers will provide you by default with an online website builder, or one click installer for the WordPress platform (20% of the Internet websites are using WordPress!)
If you have more complex requirements, please check with your designer/developer on the details, such as platform: Linux or Windows, technolgies used for your website such as PHP/Java/ASP.NET, databases requirements such as: MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, etc.
Don’t worry if it gets confusing, in our directory we include companies that can help with any of your requirements
Packages and Scalability:
Does the host offer more than 1 package? Besides shared/WordPress hosting does the host offer opportunities for growth such as VPS or Dedicated or Cloud Servers?
It is important for anyone to understand how critical is for a host to be able to offer scalable solutions with an easy to upgrade option. If your website needs more resources later on, you need a provider which can provide you with a more powerful solution such as VPS or Cloud server, and offer you smooth migration to such package as well.
We found that some of the providers in the business are limited to a single plan or specialize primarily in shared hosting which at one point is out grown by most hosting clients. Some providers won’t offer much assistance if you need to migrate from one package to another.
Besides your standard features such as disk space (most providers offer unlimited/unmetered disk space), and bandwidth, there are couple of features that we think are must have:
Website Builder or Optimized for WordPress hosting package – for those of you who plan on building their website from scratch via website builder, or those migrating from another WordPress based package. The good news is that 99% of all web hosting providers include these for free.
Free SSL Certificate – Google requires every website to be secured via SSL, and will be decreasing the Google Search ranking for websites that lack SSL certificates. If you have more than 1 website hosted, make sure that you get a package which offers you free SSL for all of your websites. There are several providers that offer Free SSL for 1 or more websites, but its free ONLY for the first year or billing cycle, afterwards you may get charged a hefty fee for every SSL installed.
Backup – its important that your web hosting company offers a backup solution. Most providers will include backup as a free service, some will offer it as an extra paid service, some won’t offer it for their lower end packages at all.
cPanel Control Panel – being the leader in the industry, going for a company that offers cPanel allows you to easily migrate from one cPanel based hosting provider to another. cPanel allows for easy account migrations, with almost 0 downtime.
Migration assistance – most cPanel based providers will offer free cPanel to cPanel migration assistance, or WordPress to WordPress using some of the more popular and readily available WordPress migration plugins. Please, note that couple of providers will charge for migration, so you will have to either do it yourself or get professional help.
Malware / Anti virus scanning – make sure that your hosting provider includes some sort of online security scanner, which protects or detects any potential infections within website applications. Some providers will include these for free, some will charge extra.
Free Tools – most hosting providers will offer 1 click install solutions, which will allow you to use for free some of the most popular open source scripts out there, including WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop, Magento, etc. The rule of thumb, is the more the better.
Speed – check to see if the web host company is providing any additional speed related tools or optimizations such as caching, performance optimized WordPress, Free CDN. These all make a difference especially for WordPress based websites
Developer friendly features (Advanced) – these are features mostly important for the developer community, or your website designer/developer, and might not be in interest for everyone. Some features to watch out for are: SSH access, SVN/git support, other technologies: Ruby, Python, Perl, Java, ASP.NET, nodejs, Laravel, wp-cli, databases: MySQL/MariaDB, PostgreSQL, MS SQL,
While you can find plenty of deals from pretty much all web hosting providers, you want to pay special attention on the initial special price being offered vs their renewal price. Most web hosting providers will offer their best deals for longer payment plans, such as 3 years.
If you go for the 3 year plan, make sure that the web host can offer you lower price renewal or keep the same price for the renewal. We have seen providers offering super aggressive discounts for their initial price such as 80% or more discount, and then the renewal price increases by 500% !
This conclude our list of recommended features that you should review and discuss with your potential web hosting provider. Good luck!
Top11Hosting.com Editorial Team
Categorised in: Hosting Articles