Nowadays, there are thousands of web hosting providers to choose from, and making the right decision can be incredibly tricky. Your web hosting choice is very important because it can determine your website’s overall performance, which can directly impact the success of your business.
When browsing web hosting websites, you can quickly become bombarded with random facts and figures that may make your decision even harder. Users can easily fall into a trap and find themselves paying much more for features and resources that they don’t necessarily need. Alternatively, users might discover that their pages are loading too slow, or that their web host cannot provide enough resources for their website to run efficiently. To help you out, we’ve laid out some of the key factors to consider before choosing a web hosting provider so you can confidently make the best decision.
Want to choose a web host but still haven’t decided what type of solution to choose? Read more about the different types of web hosting to see which is best for your website.
Factors to consider before choosing a web hosting provider
Most importantly, you’ll want a web host that is reliable and has very little downtime. After all, you don’t want visitors not being able to access your website, and if your page is constantly down, then it will have trouble ranking on search engines such as Google. Even just an hour or two of downtime can significantly impact your potential sales.
When looking for a suitable hosting provider, make sure to check what their average uptime is, and the closer it is to 100%, the better. The industry standard is currently 99.95% uptime, so you should prioritize any provider that has more than 99% or more uptime on average. There is a range of server monitoring tools such as Hostscore that you can use to check the uptime of popular web hosting providers.
A key factor that drastically influences how much traffic your website will get is the page load time. Visitors want to quickly jump from page to page without having to stare at a loading icon for ages. A study from Google has shown that 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load, so it’s vital that you deliver a fast web experience with your web host.
Also, remember that Google will always prioritize the fastest loading pages that load faster as it wants to ensure the best experience possible for users, so if you want your website to rank well on search results, then you need to carefully consider the loading speeds that your chosen web host can provide.
If speed is your priority, then your best bet is SiteGround, a web host that offers various speed-boosting features to ensure it can deliver exceptionally fast loading speeds.
Depending on the purpose of your website, you need to consider how much of each resource is required. Many web hosting providers have a range of different plans that are targeted at either small, medium, or large websites. You should think carefully about how much of each resource you need, including CPU cores, RAM, and SSD space, so you don’t end up needlessly paying too much. Also, the amount of bandwidth you need will vary depending on the size of your website, but we do suggest that you always opt for web hosts that offer unlimited/unmetered bandwidth.
Some providers also offer the chance to create your own specialized plan. For example, with Scala Hosting you can build your own cloud-managed VPS plan by selecting how many CPU cores you want as well as how much RAM and SSD storage space your website requires. It’s best to check out the available plans for certain providers to see if one best fits your website’s demands.
Another important factor to consider is scalability. As the traffic to your website increases, you may find at one point that your chosen hosting plan cannot accommodate all of your needs. Therefore, you need a web host that is flexible and can upgrade your subscription plan when required. Also, you’ll want to know how easily your web host can handle the demands of seasonal traffic fluctuation as well as long-term traffic increases.
Migrating from one hosting provider to another can be very costly and time-consuming, so it’s essential to check beforehand whether your chosen web host can fully support you as your website grows.
The price you pay for a web hosting provider comes down to the size of your website and your level of expertise. If you’re just starting out and are only planning to create a smaller website then there’s no need to splash out on a super expensive web host. However, if you’re looking for a top-notch web host that provides a reliable service, minimal downtime, fast speeds, and a range of additional features, then you must be willing to pay a premium price. Like with everything else you purchase, you get what you pay for.
Also, make sure to check the renewal prices and not just the initial sign-up price. Many hosting providers will have a special introductory offer, so when you renew for another month or year, you may be surprised to find that the price will be significantly higher.
If you’re looking for a budget web host that’s still packed with features, then iPage may be your best choice. This hosting provider offers starter plans at a great value without cutting any corners when it comes to speed and performance.
Last, but certainly not least, you need to make sure your chosen web host has a helpful and knowledgeable customer support team. If you run into any issues, then you’ll want them to be resolved as fast as possible. That’s why you should always choose web hosting providers that have 24/7 customer support. Whether it’s email, live-chat, phone, or ticket-based, the provider’s top priority is making sure that your queries are quickly responded to. An additional bonus is when providers have a knowledge base full of tutorials and common issues. You can usually access this from the provider’s website, even if you haven’t paid for one of their plans, so it’s a good idea to check these resources beforehand to see how extensive their knowledge base really is.
You should also look for a web host that has a straightforward and hassle-free refund policy. Many top hosting providers offer a 30 to 90-day money-back guarantee, so you can try out all the features for a limited time before deciding whether the chosen provider offers everything you need. If your web host offers a free trial, then you should read their ToS to check whether they charge a cancellation fee if you cancel your account during the trial period. Generally, we advise you to avoid providers that offer free trials and instead opt for the ones that have money-back guarantees.
All in all, if you carefully consider the factors we’ve listed then you’ll be able to confidently choose a fantastic web host that provides you with exactly what you need. So, whether you’re looking for top-grade performance, fast loading speeds, a cheap deal, or all of the above, with our guide you can be sure that you’ve carefully weighed all your options.