Best-Hosting-Services

How to choose the best web hosting services for your business in 2017?

Zeb Technology Leave a Comment

 

If your domain name is your virtual address, then web hosting is the virtual plot of land on which you build your website.

Too often, people launching new websites will overlook some of the key questions they need to ask themselves at the time they’re choosing their hosting, and just go with the same service via which they purchased their domain name, or the cheapest web hosting they can find.

But this can be a mistake and one you won’t know about until it’s too late. You may be hit with charges, poor service, realise you’re locked into a long contract, or find out your package is completely unsuitable for the kind of site you want to run.

That’s why you need to consider a few vital things before choosing a web hosting package, and take a little time to check out the most important aspects of the hosting you’re being offered. Yes, it adds some extra work and research at your end, but it could be the best decision you ever made. Plus, if you have a guide like this to help you, you don’t need to be an expert to make sure you get the right hosting.

What kind of server is for you?

Of course we all dream of creating a website that has millions of hits every day, but being completely realistic, what are your expectations for the first 12 months of operation? What about the next couple of years after that?

The reason this is important is because you need web hosting that can easily handle the amount of traffic you’re expecting to get to your site, but without paying over the odds for a hosting package that’s far more heavy duty than you really need.

For most websites and blogs, something called ‘shared hosting’ is the best option. This is where many websites share one server, which drives down the cost for everyone.

Space is more limited, as is the amount of traffic your site can handle, but a blog site drawing in up to 40,000 visitors per month should be perfectly fine on a shared server.

If you’re expecting a lot more visitors than that, then virtual private servers or dedicated web servers might be the way to go.

These kinds of servers offer you a designated amount of space which is just for you, and they’re also more secure and faster than shared hosting as a rule.

What does renewal cost?

Unless you’re in it for the short haul, you’re going to want to renew your hosting after the initial sign-up period. And assuming you’re keeping the same package as you’re on at the beginning, you’d expect it to cost the same, right?

Unfortunately that’s very rarely the case. Signing up for your initial hosting package is usually significantly cheaper than renewing that exact same package, but you won’t find out until it’s renewal time – unless you do your research first.
You can find out what you’re likely to pay for renewal by searching the web hosting company’s ‘terms of service’ for ‘renewal’.

Bear in mind you’re unlikely to find many web hosting services that keep their prices consistent for sign-up and renewal, so this is all about finding out what to expect when the time comes to renew.

This is particularly important for auto-renewals, as you could find out only once the money has left your account exactly what your hosting now costs.

 

Compare Signup vs Renewal prices of some of the best hosting services.

Hosting company

Sign Up

Renewal

Difference

Unlimited Packages

avalon-hosting-services-logo

$4.99/mo

$4.99/mo

No difference

Visit website

hostmetro-logo

$2.45.00/mo

$5.00/mo

 $2.55/mo

Visit website

a-small-orange-logo $5.00/mo

$5.00/mo

No difference

Visit website
ehots-logo $2.75/mo $7.98/mo  $5.23/mo Visit website
ipage-logo

$1.99/mo

$7.99/mo

+$6.00/mo

 Visit website
inmotionhosting-logo

$3.49/mo

$7.99/mo

+$4.50/mo

Visit website
Dreamhost-logo

$7.80/mo

$9.95/mo

$2.15/mo

 Visit website
godaddy-logo

$1.99/mo

$9.99/mo

+$8.00/mo

 Visit website

A2hosting-logo

$3.92/mo

 $9.99/mo

 +6.07/mo

 Visit website
justhost-logo $5.95/mo $10.95/mo  $5.00/mo Visit website
logo_hosting

$4.00/mo

$14.95/mo

+$10.95/mo

Visit website

pressidium-logo

$15.00/mo

$15.00/mo

 No difference

Visit Website

wpengine-logo $29/mo $29/mo No difference Visit Websit

 

What does unlimited hosting really mean?

If your web hosting service is offering unlimited storage or data, you had best check their fair usage policy before you assume it really is unlimited.

Too often that phrase is used in advertising when it doesn’t apply at all, and if you fall foul of a fair usage policy you weren’t aware of then your site could be taken down.

Can you handle downtime?

The downside of a shared hosting service is that you’re sharing resources with all of the other sites on that shared server, so you may find that – because of circumstances completely out of your control – you experience slow responsiveness or crashing because of something another site on that server is doing.

This is unlikely to affect your site in a big way – it may only go down a handful of times a month for a few minutes at a time – but if this would be a disaster for your website then shared hosting is unlikely to be the right choice for you no matter how cheap it is.

Take some time to look into the reported reliability of various shared hosting to see if there are some that receive regular complaints. If so, avoid these. Some downtime every so often is inevitable, but consistently bad service is not.

Do you need flexibility?

It may be that you want to spend a year or so developing your site and then you have plans to expand it or launch a major marketing campaign around it.

This would mean your hosting needs would change significantly within a couple of years of launching your site.

One of the things you need to check out, in that case, is what kind of flexibility your hosting service offers when it comes to upgrading, and how long you’re locked into your initial hosting package.

The last thing you want is to set up with a hosting package for more than a year, with a company that doesn’t offer any options other than shared hosting, and then find you have a nightmare trying to upgrade to a different hosting package when you need to.

What kind of support is on offer?

If you’re not an expert in web hosting, or you have some specific needs or questions you need to ask your web hosting company as you set up or update your website, then having access to a support team is key to your peace of mind and success.

Ideally you want a hosting service that offers live chat support around the clock for its customers, because this is usually the best and clearest way to communicate with support staff and you can save chats to refer back to later.

Be very wary of taking up hosting with a company that makes you jump through hoops to speak with support staff, doesn’t have a live chat option, or has no mention of technical support at all.

Do you need e-commerce features?

If you’re planning on taking payments via your website, then you need to be looking at hosting that specifically supports e-commerce sites and features.

This could include helping you to get set-up properly and a designated e-commerce support team, but it also means added security so your customers know they’re safe giving you their bank details.

Do you need email?

If you’re going to want an email address that is you@yourdomain then you need to make sure the web hosting package you’ve got includes that option.

Nothing makes a website seem more unprofessional than having a contact email address that goes to Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail.

Read up on your web hosting company’s email package, how much it costs and how easy it is for you to use, and factor this in when choosing your hosting if you’re wanting a professional website.

Check out the control panel

You could have found the best web hosting deal in the world, but if you’re baffled by the user control panel then you’re very unlikely to be able to take full advantage of what you’ve paid for.

Bear this in mind and try to check out the control panel – possibly through the FAQs or user guides on the site – before you commit to a hosting package.

These days there’s no need for something to be so complicated or off-putting that a user can’t access or understand it properly, so if your web hosting service is asking you to become an expert just to take a look at your hosting options then think twice before going with them.

Do you have any special needs?

You might expect your web hosting service to be able to handle anything you throw at it, but the truth is that some developing tools aren’t compatible with some web hosting, and this can really cause you some problems once you start to develop your site.

Check out what your hosting does and doesn’t support and, if you have a web developer as part of your team, get them to look over this list as well and advise you what you can and can’t do as a result of choosing a particularly web hosting service.

Are you backed up?

Sometimes, bad things happen. Sites get hacked, servers go down, and there’s no predicting when something like this could befall you.

This is why you should look at your web hosting company’s back-up policy. A back-up of your site is the kind of thing that’s worth paying a little extra for because, although you hope you’ll never need it, it could be the best money you ever spend.