If you are on the hunt for a web hosting service, you have probably noticed that there are many options to choose from. Even worse, almost every service provider you come across will claim that they are the best thing since sliced bread, but can they really meet your needs?
To be able to choose the right provider you will have to take in consideration a lot of things, things such as what type of website you plan to build, how scalable is the hosting service, is your data going to be stored securely, and whether the hosting service comes with customer support.
To help you out in this sticky situation, in this article, we will cover more in-depth the things you should look out for during your journey to finding a suitable web hosting service. So let’s get started!
1. Consider Your Hosting Requirements Based on Your Needs
Not all hosting packages are created equal and for good reason. That reason is of course that not everyone has the same requirements when it comes to hosting.
That is why every hosting service will come with different tiers and types of hosting. Below, you can take a look at the different types of hosting packages most providers will have on offer and maybe get a better understanding of what option will work best for you.
With shared hosting, several sites are stored on one single physical server. This type of hosting is a great option if you’re just starting out and it works well for small to medium-sized websites. Since with this type of hosting there will be several websites on the same server, each of the websites will have to compete for resources provided by the server.
This will not be a problem for smaller operations like personal blogs and online portfolios. However, for more intensive operations, like eCommerce marketplaces, shared hosting may not be sufficient.
Larger operations like these are expected to have high levels of user activity and will probably require more resources than shared hosting can provide.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting gives users more resources for their websites. With this type of hosting, a single physical server has multiple virtual machines installed on it. This setup gives users a larger portion of resources and somewhat resembles a dedicated server.
Cloud hosting uses a collection of virtual and physical cloud servers to provide hosting solutions to customers. This type of hosting is very flexible because resources are essentially available on demand.
This means that if your website has a sudden increase in activity, your cloud hosting will be able to keep up by using more resources from your provider’s servers.
If you need some serious lifting power, then dedicated hosting is the way to go. With dedicated hosting, as the name suggests, you will have an entire physical server dedicated to your hosting needs.
This type of hosting gives users the ability to customize their servers according to their preferences but will require you to be technically skilled in order to do so.
2. Check to See if Your Hosting Service Offers Tools That Accommodate Different Website Platforms
These days, most websites make use of a content management system (CMS). A CMS organizes your website content and makes it easier for you to publish and manage a website. The two most popular CMS platforms today are WordPress and Joomla.
Many hosting providers will offer tools that allow a quick and easy installation of WordPress and/or Joomla. They will also often offer automatic updates for these platforms.
While users can, of course, do the updates on their own, having your hosting service take care of this task for you reduces your workload and makes your life easier overall.
3. Consider Ease of Scalability
Depending on what type of operation you’re running, at one point you may exceed your current hosting plan. Having to switch plans can be a pain, so you should make sure your hosting provider will/is able to do this task for you. Most providers will help you out in this situation, but it doesn’t hurt to check before you commit to a specific provider.
On your hunt for a web hosting service, you should also make sure that you go with a provider that offers several tiers of plans spanning from shared hosting to dedicated hosting. This way, it will be easy for you to switch hosting plans if necessary.
If you think that your website is likely to grow as time goes on, it might be a good idea to veer away from hosting services that specialize in shared hosting. We aren’t saying this to bash these services but only because it’s very likely that your site will outgrow such a service in the near future.
4. Choose a Hosting Service That Values Data Security
If you’re running a website, its data is a precious commodity for you. Your web host should value that data as much as you do and should do everything in its power to protect it.
Here are some data security aspects you should pay attention to when picking a web host:
You worked hard to create the content on your website so you should make sure that it is kept safe. That is why you should seek out a hosting service that provides a backup service and restore points.
An ideal setup would be to have your hosting provider do backups periodically but you should also have the option to make manual backups. You may also want to consider backing up to local storage just to be safe.
Cyberattacks can be characterized by unusual network activity. Your hosting service provider should be monitoring network activity to see if anything unusual is occurring. This way, they will have a better chance of stopping cyberattacks and in turn keeping your site safe.
In this day and age, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to operate a website without having an SSL certificate installed. SSL certificates ensure that the connection between your website and a user’s browser is secure, protects your users from unwanted ads/malicious attacks, and makes your site look more trustworthy.
Firewalls are important for preventing unwanted intrusions. Your hosting provider should have a firewall set up for you so that you can rest easy knowing that your data is being protected.
DDoS (Direct Denial of Service) attacks are becoming increasingly common in this day and age. They work by generating more traffic than your website can handle, ultimately crashing it. This is unfortunate but hosting services should be prepared to handle it.
A firewall is a good place to start, but so is a service from a content delivery network like Cloudflare. A service like Cloudflare will scan website traffic regularly and in that way check if the traffic is legitimate.
Antivirus and Malware Scanning
It’s easy to think of antivirus and malware as a personal computer problem. However, your hosting provider should also actively scan for viruses and malware to ensure that their clients’ data is kept safe.
5. Look for Strong Customer Support
Having strong customer support is important especially for web hosting users. Instead of leaving users out to dry, a quality hosting provider will do all that is in their power to ensure that their customers have the smoothest journey possible.
How a hosting service responds to any possible issues speaks volumes about how good they are. Technical problems are bound to pop up. Therefore, you should look for a hosting service that provides multiple, reliable outlets for contacting them. Look for things like 24/7 support through channels such as live chat, telephone calls, and a ticket system.
Another important resource is the so-called knowledge base. A quality hosting service company knows their stuff and should have a collection of articles that explain to users how to solve common issues and how to carry out common tasks.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to looking for a hosting service is that your needs are specific. In order to find a hosting plan that can meet those needs, you’ll have to do a few things, things such as figuring out what type of website you will be running, how resource-intensive it will be, and looking into the tools that a hosting provider has and how they can make setting up your website an easier task.
In addition, make sure that your hosting provider is following data security best practices, and comes with strong customer support.
Lastly, we know that picking a hosting service can be tough, and with that in mind, we certainly hope that this article will be a useful resource for picking out a great hosting service. We wish you the best of luck!